Saturday, 12 January 2013

Sleep Training

A few weeks back I wrote about my confusion and unhappiness at Frostina's new sleeping patterns.

It all started when she dropped her night feed. She wasn't hungry in the middle of the night, but she still wanted to hang out with me. So she would get up and make noises which would eventually turn into crying. I would pop out of bed each time and rush to her aid.

After a couple weeks I figured out that she really didn't need anything... she just wanted me to come see her. One night I was sure she was teething and crying out in pain. But the second I picked her up to give her some medicine she started kicking and smiling. No teething pain, she just wanted her Mommy to come in and pick her up.

So I stopped picking her up and would only go in to replace the pacifier/dummy. Well she got wise to this little trick as well. One night she was screaming so I went in to see what was wrong. I was quite shocked to see her holding her pacifier/dummy in both hands directly above her face. She was crying until she saw me. Then she flashed me a huge smile and popped the pacifier/dummy right back into her mouth. She had gotten me again, that cheeky monkey!

So I decided that I needed to do some kind of sleep training because going back and forth from my room to hers 8 or 9 times a night just wasn't working for me. To be fair, it wasn't working for her either because she wasn't getting enough sleep. As a result, she started having trouble with her naps as well and was quickly becoming a cranky, overtired little baby.

The Hubby wasn't as keen on the sleep training idea. Not because he didn't think she needed it, but because he has a hard time listening to her cry. He also has to go to work every day and didn't like the idea that he would be up from 2-5am every night while we went through it. I explained to him that each night was getting worse and we needed to do something soon.

We finally agreed that I would do the sleep training when he was away on a work trip. He would be gone for a week and I could do it then. Sounds like a pretty cushy deal for him doesn't it?? He gets to sleep uninterrupted in a nice hotel room while I sleep train on my own. I can't say I was thrilled to be doing it all on my own, but sometimes we gotta do what we gotta do.

I chose a variation of Dr Ferber and Dr Weissbluth's methods. Basically I let her cry for 5 minutes then went in to check on her. Then I would increase the time by 5 minutes each time if she was still crying. Not going for longer than 15 minutes without checking on her.

The first night was of course the hardest. She was up from 3 until 4 crying in spurts with me checking on her at the designated intervals. She finally fell back to sleep a bit after 4 and slept until her normal wake up time. I was thinking that there was no way I would be able to last through a week of this and almost gave up after the first night.

The second night was so much better. She only got up once at 4am and immediately fell asleep after I went in to check on her after the first 5 minutes of crying. Back to sleep and then up at her normal wake up time.

The third and fourth nights I increased the first crying wait time to 10 minutes. On the 3rd night she got up two different times and cried for 10 minutes each time. On the 4th night she cried for a few minutes and then put herself back to sleep (success!!) and then got up one more time and cried for 10 minutes but went right back to sleep after I went in to reassure her.

On the fifth night she did a bit of crying in very short bursts but I didn't have to go into her room even once!!! And from there it's slowly getting better. She's not sleeping all the way through each night just yet but I'm not having to get up 8 or 9 times anymore.

We did have a bit of an issue when The Hubby got back though. You see, while I thought it was terrible that I had to sleep train by myself, it turns out that it was actually a good thing. You see, The Hubby and I have different levels of tolerance for Frostina's crying.

After a week of sleep training, mine has built up. But his is very low. I had wanted to let her cry for longer intervals as the days went on but he didn't agree with me. His first night back she was crying and I wanted to leave her a bit longer. He basically told me that I was letting her cry too long and if I didn't go check on her than he would.

So I did, and she fell right back to sleep. And we have compromised and agreed that I won't let her cry for longer than 15 minutes without checking on her. I just hope that won't teach her to just cry for 15 minutes and Mommy will come rushing in. I'm hoping that over the week of sleep training she's now able to put herself back to sleep and won't want anymore middle of the night playtime.

So while sleep training was absolutely horrible, it seems to have worked. I know it's controversial and not for everyone, but I'm happy I did it.


  1. How wonderful that it has worked for you! Sleep deprivation is nothing to mess with!

  2. Sleep training is stressful for all, but I've always been a believer in it. It worked for us and we only have issues if G is teething or having tummy troubles. We've had to go back to square one a few times, but it isn't as rough as the very first time we did our version of CIO. I'm glad to hear it's working for you! Yay sleep!

  3. Sleep training literally took us 14 nights to master, even with a strict schedule and spreadsheets graphing our trends. HA! I am a firm believer in sleep training and applaud you for sticking to your guns. It's hard, very hard. I was the only one interested in it in our house too and it was up to me to make it work. And it worked wonders! Our son has only woken up a handful of times in the night since he was trained over 8 months ago - and he's only gotten up when he's been super sick or teething terribly.

    Good for you and Frostina!

  4. Congrats on getting into a groove. We're still working on it, but it's not that bad yet. :/

    Ps. My husband and I are the reverse- I can barely stand hearing her cry and he never notices! ha!

  5. Congrats. I am a fan of sleep training and teaching your child to self settle. Did it with my first IVF miracle at 4 months and started from 5 weeks with my son.
    Both are fabulous sleepers and we are better parents having had more sleep.

  6. Sounds like sleep training is working really well!

  7. Sounds like it is going well. So happy! Check out my latest post, doing a giveaway!

  8. Sounds like you're doing a great job.. My sister has the same issue with her husband - he has a low tolerance for the crying and he'll just pick up their kids and put them in bed with them.. Which is why their 4.5 year old is still not sleeping all night in her own bed. Stick with it.. It'll be worth it in the long run!

  9. This is pretty much exactly what I did. Way to go! Yes, sometimes it's easier doing it yourself, because getting the guilt trip from daddy makes you question yourself. You're doing the right thing: She NEEDS the sleep. Remind hubby of that when at 15 minutes she's still crying. This is in her best interest - seriously. She'll stop the crying soon, though, so I doubt it'll be much of an issue.

  10. Wow glad it worked for you. I'm still torn and reading about the process I'm even more torn, I'd find it hard to do, that said my 2 yr old still wakes and night and sleeps with us for half the night. Not sure if its too late for him, but I'm going to be a bit stronger with new baby. She only wakes twice so I'm hoping it will be easier to settle her when the time comes.
    All the best mama.

  11. I read this entry when you first posted it, and I came back to it this morning for encouragement after our third night of sleep training. It is getting better but those first two nights were rough. But I an already see an improvement and his daytime naps are better, too; I really do believe that sleep begets sleep. And overtired infant benefits nobody. Thanks so much for sharing this, it's nice to have the camaraderie, if only virtually!