Friday, August 6, 2010

Sleep Training.....

...also known as, how many glasses of wine does it take before the sound of my child crying doesn't make me clench up and huddle in a fetal position on the couch?

The answer? About 2.5.

So, we went up to Portland to visit some friends last weekend, and after witnessing how (relatively) docilely their 18-month-old son went to bed at 7:30 each night, we decided the Chicklette's whole "hey, maybe I'll go to bed at 8, or maybe I'll go to bed at 11:30" thing wasn't really doing it for us anymore. It's not that she's not a good sleeper -- she almost always sleeps through until 7:00, no matter what time she does down -- it's just that the fact that my husband and I haven't gone to bed at the same time in 8 months is starting to take a toll on our marriage. And the unpredictability is sort of terrifying to me.

I read Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child and Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems at the end of my pregnancy, but I'll be damned if I remembered ANYTHING except some vague concepts of "crying" and "extinction." Sounds fun, no? I mean, philosophically we've always been on board with the concept of "crying it out," (please don't hate on me -- I know it's not for everyone) but the mechanics have always sort of eluded me. And frankly, who the hell wants to hear their kid cry? It's like, hey, can I please have an extra pelvic exam?

So. We did a little research, talked to some other friends, and decided last night was the night to put her down and let 'er rip. We'd do our little routine (dinner, bath, some quiet play time, then into the nursery for a bottle and in the crib soon after that), and go cry it out ourselves in the family room for a while. I put her in her crib at 8:58 (a little later than ideal, but hey, baby steps), sort of asleep. She started crying at 9:04. And kept crying. At about 9:21, I started to lose my will. My husband restrained me, and we turned on an episode of Top Chef. At 9:27, we noticed that she was no longer crying. Sleepy baby. Aaahhh.

She was happy this morning, so not scarred for life (at least not yet). So, all in all, not bad. We'll try again tonight, a little earlier. But the feeling of triumph at 9:27 was pretty awesome. We put our baby to bed!

(Oh, and by the way, the sleep section in Baby 411 suggests parents who are waiting for their kids to cry it out to try "making love with earplugs" to pass the time. Apparently I am 12 because I begin snickering uncontrollably every time I think about it. Making love! With earplugs!)


Jo said...

While it's totally not the same thing, I had the pleasure of sleep-training my (then 2.5 year old) niece. She had, prior to this, only gone to sleep with someone (usually her grandmother) lying in bed with her -- a process that took HOURS.

The first night, she screamed for almost 30 minutes, while *I* had to restrain Grandma.

The next night? She cried for about 5 minutes.

The third night she went down without a fuss and the rest was history.

Hope your "sleep training" is as easy as that.

Big hugs,

Anonymous said...

Good job, mama! Way to stick it out!
And if you're gonna go for with earplugs, you might as well throw in a couple of blindfolds and silk ties, too! ;)

Amber said...

That sounds pretty good for not doing any sleep training with her prior. We followed a little bit of the Babywise method, and Drake's been going down well since about 3 months. They talked about moving it up 15 minutes at a time every couple days so you might want to consider that. Of course, Chicklette may adjust just fine, and you can ignore my comment. :-) Good luck!

Brooke said...

Keep it up. I think the first couple nights are really hard but after that you might as well stick with it because you have already passed the hardest part. C will put himself to sleep most nights if he makes it past his bedtime nursing awake. He does wake up once a night and I tried to let him CIO a couple nights but my allergies got the best of me and I gave up on night two. You have to do what works for you and it sounds like just getting her a bedtime is the first big step. Routine is key there. Stick with it and you will be so much better for it and so will she.

ana said...

Ha! We did this exactly a month earlier---my son wasn't sleeping through the night and it was driving us insane. He woke up ONCE the first night, and that was torture, but now when he wakes at night he quickly puts himself back to sleep. But we still have some screamy bedtimes. He just doesn't want to go to bed anymore now that life has gotten considerably more exciting, what with the crawling and the pulling up....

I read that in the Baby 411 book, also, and I laughed so much! Where the hell did they come up with that one? I go for the drinking wine and watching TV when he's getting particularly scream-y.

my verification word is "dicaf". Oh no, at this hour I need all the caf I can get!!!

kdactyl said...

Good job mama...CIO isn't for everyone...but has never failed me and we have never had more than a night or two of real crying...Our son sleep trained very early (about 4-5 months)....but i found I had to re-train several times in the past couple years (following an illness, or a vacation where we relaxed the routine, after a teething spell) my best advice is to just continue to be very, very consistent so that when you have to will happen very quickly. We just transitioned to a bed from the crib this last weekend and it was really easy...I think our consistency with bedtime really played well in that so it was no big deal to him to be in a different bed because the routine was the same.
Continued good luck with sleep training!