At S's last well baby appointment, his doctor told me I needed to teach him how to fall asleep on his own, rather than on me. She said that everyone wakes up in the middle of the night but we each know how to get comfortable again to go back to sleep. S's way to get comfortable again is to fall asleep on me, which means I have to get up and get him back to sleep. She said it wouldn't hurt him to cry and to do it now rather than when he knows real words or is in a bed he can get out of. I tried, based on my sister's experience, for five nights and it was completely miserable. Then he cried so hard he threw up and I realized I was just way out of my league and needed an actual book or something.
I kind of put it all off. My friend came to visit and that was going to disrupt the normal day to day schedule (in a wonderful way, but still) so I wanted to wait until after she went home. Then I got a book and read it and was set to go and S started really walking. The book suggested not starting sleep training while the baby is teething or if they have learned a new big skill because that really affects their sleep schedule. So, this was the week.
I've been dreading it. It is completely awful to hear my baby cry and not go to comfort him. But in this case, it has to be done so he can learn how to self soothe himself back to sleep. The book asks that you commit to one night at a time and says that most people see results in five nights. I figured I could do one night and even bargained with myself that if after two hours he was still hysterical, I'd just start again tomorrow.
We went through the normal bed time routine. Can I just say how freaking adorable he is about bath time? You can ask "Are you ready for a bath with bubbles?" and he will drop whatever he's doing and walk to the bathroom and try to open the door. I gave him a bottle (which is the next thing to go, by the way) and then we sat and chatted for a bit and then I took him to his crib. He started whimpering before I had even put him in his crib and was full on screaming by the time I was out the door. I waited five minutes, and went in. I could see his tear streaked face and he was reaching with both arms towards me. I followed the instructions and went back to the living room and set the timer for ten minutes. Same thing. I went back and set the timer for fifteen minutes. After about five minutes, it was considerably quieter. By the time fifteen minutes rolled around, it was silent. I snuck in, and sure enough, S was laying down, snoring. He looked exactly like he does when I let him fall asleep on me and then put him in the crib.
I was dreading this all of last week and it was so easy! I mean, ridiculously hard to not pick up S when he was reaching for me, but it wasn't just to be mean, but so much less crying than I was anticipating!
Do you know what this means?! I might be able to go to sleep at a decent hour on a regular basis AND sleep all the way through the night! The world is so much easier to face on more than four hours of sleep!