Friday, February 08, 2013

Our Thoughts on Sleep Training

Everything had been going great.  Our baby was sleeping well.  He was awake when we were and asleep when we were.  He was on our schedule, and he was napping when he dictated it.  Nothing was broken, and nothing needed fixin'.  We should have left well enough alone.

But, when Liam turned four months old, Michael and I thought we had to get serious about sleep training.  It was time for us to bulk up and strengthen our parenting muscles, we thought (or so this book said).  We got our game faces on, read the appropriate pages in the book, and prepared ourselves for the infamous Cry It Out Method.  Here we go.

It went horribly.  Liam couldn't understand the change, he cried the entire time, and we had to endure his wails in surround-sound, for the monitor seemed to be just as loud as he was.  I busied myself with the kitchen floor and then the dishes and then obsessive dusting.  I even alphabetized my spices and alphabetized my recipes.  I was doing just about anything I could to keep my motherly arms from scooping up my child.  Oh, how it hurt.

Michael sat on the couch, re-reading the book to make sure we hadn't missed an important step.  Then he tried to watch the television but couldn't.  He tried to use the computer but couldn't.  He tried to stare at the ceiling but couldn't.  It was the LONGEST hour and a half of our lives.

Finally, we could take it no longer.  We rescued our crying boy and promised never to do that again to him.  Michael drove the book back to the library that very night.  We wanted it out of our house.  We were SO DONE.

The next day, we became advocates of the No Tears Method.  We learned all the steps on the Internet, then got ready to employ the method that night.  Oh, how the time passed.  Three hours into it, we decided to abandon the insanity of scooping him up and down and up and down...and just go back to what worked for our little family in the first three months.

So, here we are today, now with Liam being 5 months old, and the same thing that has worked from Day #1 still works perfectly, even though its Day #160.  For our little boy and for this little family, we are of neither camp of sleep training.

We don't train, we just go to sleep.  We turn off the lights, I lay on my side, Liam nurses until he's groggy, and then into his crib he goes.  It's totally silent, it only takes 20 minutes, and it works for us.

The beautiful thing that I embrace about parenthood is that you've got to do whatever works for YOU and THAT particular child.  There is no perfect way; rather, it's just whatever is a perfect fit for the family.  :)