After 6 nearly 7 months of no sleep, tons of research on sleep training and trying lots of different ‘methods’. I finally plucked up the courage to sit with my health visitor and go over the right way to proceed with the only sleep training method left for me to try… cry it out.
As I am sure most Mum’s are, I was really nervous and anxious about this. It really was a method I was hoping I didn’t have to come too. I mean, it just isn’t natural to leave your little baby crying all alone is it!
Although initially it sounds horrific and super harsh! I soon began to realise it isn’t all bad. I soon learnt that crying isn’t going to scar him for life and ultimately I am doing him a huge favour by letting him learn to settle himself to sleep. Babies need sleep in order to develop and Mum needs sleep in order to be the best she can… So after lots of research and consideration I decided to take the plunge…
We decided we would start this method for a lunchtime nap, the same time everyday. The reason for this is Spencer doesn’t sleep in the day. We thought if we could crack at least one decent nap a day Spencer would be less tired at nighttime resulting in a better nights sleep as he shouldn’t be so overtired.
Day 1 (Thursday) I gave Spencer his lunch and let him play for 20 mins while he digested lunch. All the time I had butterflies in my belly knowing what was about to come next! Once it come to nap time, I changed Spencer’s nappy, got him undressed (as it’s so hot this week I didn’t want heat to be another reason for him to wake!) and gave him some milk before putting him down. I put him down in his cot said ‘night night Spencer, love you’ and left the room. Of course, the protesting and screaming started instantly. I left Spencer for 3 minutes before going in for a minute to try and comfort him slightly – this made him even worse! I left the room after a minute and this time left him for 4 minutes before going in, then 5… you get the picture! It took 35 minutes but to my amazement Spencer did eventually fall asleep! I can truly say this was the hardest 35 mins of my life and there were tears from me and Spencer!! He only napped for 35 mins but at least I knew he could settle himself eventually. That night however, Spencer was a little unsettled for the first few hours but then something happened that has never happened! Spencer slept through!!! By through I mean 9pm-5am which is good enough for me!! I couldn’t believe it!! I was so worried about having to leave him crying all night but he did so well I didn’t need too!!
I won’t bore you with all the nitty gritty details but here is a summary of the next few days…
Day 2 – This time it only took 20 minutes to get Spencer to sleep for his lunchtime nap and he slept for… 1 HOUR 45MINS!!!! That night was exactly the same as day 1. He was a little unsettled at first then slept from 9-5 again!
Day 3 – This time it only took 15 minutes to get Spencer to sleep for his lunchtime nap and he slept for an hour and a half!! That night was even better in my eyes,
This time he slept from 7-3 he had a bottle at 3am then went straight back to sleep until 6.30am!!
Day 4 – This time it only took 7 minutes to get Spencer to sleep for his lunchtime nap. This time however, he slept for half an hour before waking. I had to let him cry it out for 3 mins then 4 mins before he fell back to sleep again for another 50 mins. That night he slept from 7-half 2, had a bottle then went back to sleep 3-6!
As you can see, I am so happy the cry it out seems to be working. This really does motivate me to stick with it as hard as it may be!! The lunchtime naps are lasting 3x longer than before and are taking less and less time to get him to sleep. Night time is just like having a new baby! I have gone from waking every 3 hours (at best!) to getting a solid 8 hours sleep.
I must just point out, I am really not THAT naive. I am fully aware that there will be bumps along the way and I am only on day 4. I’ve read that around day 4 you usually get a hiccup so I am waiting for this tonight! There will also be factors like teething, if Spencer is unwell, the heat etc but the point is, overall, cry it out is the best thing I have done for the both of us!! I finally feel like there is light at the end of the horrible sleep deprived tunnel!
I really would encourage any parent having sleep trouble, if you can and feel comfortable with giving cry it out a go – do!! I am such a softy but as you can see I am living proof that so far it seems to be going in the right direction!! Spencer is not only sleeping better but he is such a different baby in the day too. He’s so much happier and content!
I will update you on how we’re getting on once our full week of sleep training is up…