What Sleep Training Baby Looks Like in Our House
Putting an end to those sleepless nights takes discipline and an iron will. This is a sample of the process and accompanying emotions that my husband and I go through when trying to establish and stick to a nighttime ritual with our baby.
What Sleep Training Looks Like in Our House
Sleep training your baby. It’s not for the faint of heart. Parents of infants around the world are trying different methods to get junior in a sleep routine and to get some sleep, themselves. For some lucky moms and dads, it happens right away. Miracle baby starts sleeping through the night at 6 weeks and they live happily every after. For others, baby continues to wake up well into being a toddler. And some parents get gangster, resisting the urge to scoop the baby up, and let that little bundle of joy cry it out for as long as it takes to sleep train him.
Our sleep training journey started off easy breezy. Around 4 months, Stella would stir in the middle of the night, and then put herself back to sleep. She would cry during that short period, but only for 5 minutes, 10 minutes MAX. After only 2 or 3 nights of that, she was sleeping through the night.
Well, in the last month, we’ve done some traveling and moved to a different house. Baby Stella was thrown off, and now has to be sleep trained, AGAIN at 8 months. And it is not so easy this time.
I start off the evening really loving the bedtime ritual. At 7:30, Stella gets a bath. Nothing cuter than a naked baby splashing in the tub, and so we’re both all smiles. I get her in her jim-jams (adopted that term from my British husband) and read the little cub a book. She listens and drags her tiny fingers down each page. I bite my lip from cuteness overload. I love baby bedtime. Spirits are high.
After the story, I give her a bottle. She looks up at me and paws at me like a baby bear cub while she drinks. She’s definitely settling down now. She seems so calm and ready to sleep. I sing her a lullaby while I feed her. Something by Beyonce. But not “Single Ladies”. Not tonight. Feeling so relaxed.
Everybody stay calm. I'm laying her down in the crib.
After a few songs, I lay Stella down in her crib. She’s still smiling. Looking good, bedtime ritual. Maybe this time she won’t freak out when I walk away. Maybe this time she’ll just roll over and close her eyes. I’m staying positive. Just as I start to close the door behind me…Stella starts to cry. Full on wailing. My eyes close and my chin drops to my chest. She sounds pissed.
We're going to be just fine.
So, Stella may be crying, but it’s all good. We need to let her work it out. She needs to self-soothe. It shouldn’t last long. We’ll watch How I Met Your Mother to take our minds off of it.
We can still hear her crying.
It’s been 10 minutes, and she’s still crying. We were both just pretending to laugh at Barney Stinson.
Baby 1, Parents 0
She started crying so hard she was gagging, we think. We totally caved. We’ll let her calm down and put her back to bed, we told each other.
I'm just going to check on her.
We put her back into her crib after 10-ish minutes. She’s crying again. I’m just going to check on her to make sure she’s not gagging on her sad saliva.
This is torture
“Are you sure we aren’t emotionally scarring her?” ~Peter(Dad)
He winces every time Stella belts out a new wail. And then the cries settle down. Big exhale from the both of us. And I realize that I had been tensing up my neck and shoulders the whole time.
Just making sure she's asleep
Just had to confirm that she’s asleep. And yes, we both had to check. And she’s making that hiccupy, catch-your-breath inhale noise that babies make when they have cried too hard. It’s like she’s crying in her sleep. I feel heart pains.
Oh no you didn't
After 20 minutes of no baby cries, I catch Peter leaning into the crib to kiss Stella. Yeah, that sounds precious until Stella’s superhuman hearing detects his loudest tip toe in the world. By the time he gets to the door, she’s crying again. I want to sweep his leg.
Gotta stay strong!
We need to stick to our guns and continue to sleep train. This can’t last too much longer. Her cries crescendo into shrill screams. She is definitely not soothing herself, now.
I'll let her know I haven't abandoned her.
After another 10 minutes of crying, I went to her room. “Stella baby, Mommy’s right here. Go to sleep, sweetheart. I’ll be back to check on you.” Translation into words I really said: “Mommy’s here to rescue you, sweetheart.”
We'll try again another night
Take a hike, sleep training. Sleep tight, my princess.
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