Really, who has all the answers to sleep training? I've been banging my head against a wall since, basically, day 1 of Presley's life trying to figure out how this whole sleep training thing is supposed to go down. How old should she be? How will we know she's ready? How the heck do you do it? If I love snuggling her so much, will I ever be ready? To be honest, I haven't laid a finger on a book about sleep training, because...
- looking at the Google search results alone was already overwhelming,
- I secretly bargained with God that she'd be a "good sleeper" without any issues whatsoever,
- it seemed time-consuming, and I'm already exhausted from work and home life, and
- friends had so many different answers, because... "every baby is different"... which made me wonder why I was even trying to decode sleep training in the first place.
Until last week, dear husband and I have only loosely talked about Presley's sleeping. He would ask me questions since I've had more experience with babies, but I had little more than tidbits of information that I read online. Having a lot of family and friends with babies isn't the same as raising a baby. In true millennial fashion, I crowdsourced on Facebook to get some first-hand advice. As expected, everyone offered different approaches.
Some raved about The Sleepeasy Solution.
Some talked about some level of crying it out.
Some cited all the ways crying it out may ruin a child.
Some mentioned diffusing essential oils.
Some proudly stated that they are happy to co-sleep until further notice.
Some shared that their baby was in the crib from the beginning and didn't need sleep training.
WHAT THE HECK. I was left feeling more informed but more confused.
After a few solid weeks of climbing Mount Frustration and nearly drowning in Lake Is This Real Life, something had to give. It seemed like Presley's sleep was getting worse each night. She was waking more often and for up to two hours at a time. As I tried to soothe her back to sleep, she screamed inconsolably. We attributed it to teething and her rapid development from sitting up independently to crawling and standing. I pleaded with her.
Then, we made a decision. We had talked so much about how much she'd grown and changed. Maybe she was ready to try sleeping on her own. We felt ready to dip our toe in the water and committed to doing whatever it took to help her stay in her crib for a full night. I warned that they (baby sleep experts) say we might be up all night, but "we have to start somewhere."
We have had eight consecutive nights of Presley sleeping in her crib and almost sleeping completely through the night from 7:45 PM to 6:30 AM -- a far cry from the last two months! We learned that she wasn't sleeping through the night, because we never gave her the chance to try. The second we heard her whine on the monitor, we rushed to her room. The middle-of-the-night transfers to our bed only left her rolling into one of us. Whenever we changed positions in bed, we disturbed her sleep. Whenever she woke up, I popped a boob in her mouth. Now when I hear her on the monitor, I look at the clock. I give her five minutes to put herself back to sleep, but her whimpers usually trail off into silence within 1 to 3 minutes!
I know this isn't the end. I know there will be rough nights in the future with teething, illness, or crummy moods from missing nap time. But right now, all of us are enjoying better sleep at night and happier moods during the day. It took the internet and some gut feeling.
Presley, we apologize for ruining your sleep all this time!
** I do not claim to have all the answers about baby sleep training. If anything, this post proves that I support whatever feels right for any given family.