New to this topic? I suggest you read this post first. I left off with…
Then I started to go to mom/baby meet ups and started hearing about (most) everyone practicing sleep training, usually a form of cry it out.
I started to wonder if we should try it again; we had tried it briefly back at 3.5 months or so much gave up after a few nights of Edith screaming for too long. We discussed things and decided that since Edith was a bit older that she might take to it better so we decided to try The Baby Whisperer pick up/put down method. After about 65 (yes I counted) pink up, soothe, comforting phrase, put down there was no letting up and ultimately it just seemed to make Edith more angry. We tried this for about three days and after 247 attempts we deciding that rather than seeing any improvement that things were just getting worse.
Then we tried The Ferber Method, a method that supposedly teaches your baby to sooth themselves. In this method you practice a calming bedtime routine and put your baby to bed awake even if they cry out in protest. You then practice progressive waiting before you go in and check them and comfort before once again leaving for a longer period of time. We tried this and it was terrible. I had read about so many parents using this method and how by day two they saw improvement and by day three their child was going to bed on their own and most nights sleeping 9-13 hours without needing to go in to feed or soothe.
After four days things had gotten progressively worse; feeling frustrated Neil and I sat down and talked about what we had tried and how we were feeling about things. We both came to the conclusion that these two methods didn’t feel natural to us at all. We felt anxious and stressed and overall it just wasn’t working.
So we talked about what was working.
When it was all laid out in front of us we saw that we kept returning to the same routine of nursing in bed, putting Edith down in her crib, rising to soothe/nurse 1-2 times (more when sick, traveling or teething) and most nights bringing her to bed with us around 3am or so. Over the past 6 months that is what we had returned to every.single.time.We would try a different approach, a popular method and then we would go back to ol’faithful. Although it is not always ideal and Edith doesn’t sleep through the night it is what works for us. She is only 9 months, she nurses frequently and we aren’t actively weaning. Lastly we like bed-sharing, just not all night,but we do enjoy it.
That being said our current routine is bed anywhere between 7:15pm-9pm (Edith is very clear about when she is ready to go), bedtime routine of quiet play, diaper change, sleep sack on and then we nurse in bed. After this Edith is generally up 1-2 hours after we put her to bed, she nurses and then if she is up again before 2 hours has passed Neil takes a turn at soothing. She is usually up again between 12:30-3am to nurse and then again between 3:30-5am. Neil and I have decided that if 30 minutes have passed and there is no getting her back down in her crib she comes to bed otherwise she usually comes to bed around 5am. This is for our own sanity, sleep and so we can have some baby-free bed time.
What we have noticed since we stopped stressing about Edith’s sleep is that she sleeps better, sleeps longer in the morning and wakes up happier. I’m not sure if we will try another approach as she gets older but for now this is what works for us.
What is your approach to sleep?
Future post topics: Travel Sleep Situations, The Wonder Weeks of Hellish Sleep, Teething & Sleeping (or the lack of it), Sleep & Illness (Both child and parent)