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Sleep training is not for the weak…

Posted Nov 21 2010 4:09pm

Yup, hubs and I are finding ourselves in the deepest, darkest place right now…in the depths of sleep training.  But not sleep training for the new little guy, re-training of the older little guy!

My husband and I have always been firm believers in sleep training for babies and children.  And by that I mean, our parenting philosophy does not include picking up our babies every time they cry and feeding them whenever their mouths are open.  With Marcus we worked very diligently to get him into a feeding and sleeping routine and were thrilled when he started sleeping 8+ hours a night by the time he was 8 weeks old.  Our baby routine has been a blessing for the family and has allowed us to have a well-rested, satisfied, happy and content little guy and the schedule makes it so easy to plan outings, babysitting, errands etc.  Once he was ‘trained’, we could pretty much always count on when Marcus would wake up, eat and go back to sleep.  Sleep training and scheduling doesn’t fly with everyone, but it worked beautifully for our family.

Anyhow, Marcus has been a dream for the past year but has been turned a little upside down by the recent changes in our family aka Riley.  He’s great during the day, but his naps have suddenly become a gong show and since he’s sometimes being woken up at night by Riley’s cries, he’s not getting his usual uninterrupted sleep each night.  Altogether it’s made him a weird little kid the past week and needless to say, he’s totally overtired.  So, we figured it was time to pull out the sleep training again and get the kids back on track.

Enter “the day everything changed”.  That’s right, Friday morning we went in to get Marcus up in the morning and lo and behold, he was laying on the floor playing with his stuffed animals!  The little stinker had learned how to get out of his crib!  Thus, Friday was the day that everything changed.

So, on top of being overtired, a little off schedule and woken up at night, we now had to add  ‘big boy bed’ training into the mix.  Yikes!

The big boy bed was something we were planning to put off for awhile, but we don’t feel comfortable having him sleep in a crib that he can get out of.  Have you seen the size of the kids head?  If we fell, he’s build up way too much speed with that big noggin!  Anyhow, we scrambled to get his crib taken apart, the big boy mattress moved onto his floor and every possible item that could be any kind of hazard moved out of his room.  We figured if his sleep is already off-kilter, maybe now isn’t such a bad time to do the bed thing – if we had to work on his sleep anyways, may as well go big or go home.

The first day sucked – he cried, he hollered, he whimpered, he banged on the door, scratched at the door and spun the door handle around and around and around.  Mike and I wore ourselves out going back in and tucking him back into his bed.  Heart breaking.  Bedtime was a bit better and he eventually fell asleep.  Day two’s nap was no better but he fell asleep at bedtime – in his bed - with hardly a whimper.  Now today is Day three and I am pleased to say, he is soundly sleeping in his bed and having a nap!  Not sure what tonight will bring, or the next night etc, but I think we’re making some progress.

I say that sleep training is not for the weak, because as much as I believe in it (whether its getting your kid to sleep on his own, sleep through the night or sleep in a big boy bed) it’s gotta be one of the hardest things to do as a parent of a little one.  It involves lots of work many tears – both parent and child – and can break your heart listening to them cry.  Mike and I have definitely had our moments where we wanted to give in and give up, but we’ve stuck with it and it always pays off.  Oh, and a big glass of wine and an iPod with headphones really help!

So anyways, that’s what we’re up to in our household these days.  Riley is doing great and Marcus is learning how to sleep in a big boy bed.  Good time, good times. 

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