We actually had a good night last night. I did Henry’s bedtime routine, which was a book, pjs and nursing. I rocked and cuddled him a bit when he was done and then I put him into his crib awake without his pacifier and without being swaddled. I expected something to happen similar to the other night we tried that, but we had a completely different reaction to it this time.
Henry fussed and cried for about 20 minutes. I went in to check on him every 5. I’d pat his tummy and tell him I loved him and then I’d leave the room. After the 20 minutes of crying/fussing he calmed down and was awake in his crib for close to 30 minutes, but he wasn’t crying. Eventually, he just went to sleep.
I was dumbfounded. I kept staring at the monitor thinking: “it can’t be this easy.” But it was.
He woke up a few times throughout the night and instead of running to him at the first peep he made, J and I let him fuss and cry for a bit. If it lasted longer than 5 minutes we got up to check on him and tell him that he was ok and that we loved him. We did this at 11, 2, 4 and then he woke up at 7:00, which is when we got up and started our day.
I wish nap time was going as smoothly. I put Henry down for a nap at around 8:45, and he fussed and cried for about 3 minutes and then was quiet. But, about 10 minutes later he started crying. It didn’t last every long, maybe 5 minutes and then he was asleep, but he only stayed down for 20 minutes. After that he woke up crying again. 20 minutes is not a sufficient nap, so he’s been going through crying bursts – where he’ll cry for a bit and then be calm for a bit and then repeat.
I’m hoping that it won’t last much longer, but if it does I’m going to have to go and get him and try a nap again later.* It’s really hard hearing him cry, but I know that he’s not crying because he needs anything. He’s crying because he’s being made to give up his pacifier, which he’s relied on for naps since he was 6 weeks old. I know that this is going to be tough for him, hell, it’s tough for me. But, it will be worth it in the end when J and I can both put him down in his crib and he’ll just go to sleep.
I know that a lot of people think that 5 (almost 6) months is too soon to make a child give up their pacifier, but it got to the point that we were replacing it upwards to 10 times a night, and upwards of 10 times for a nap – which is just ridiculous. He will have to learn at some point to live without it and it will be easier for him and us to do that now than if he were 18 months or more.
Sleep training is hard. It’s hard on him, and it’s hard on us, but I think it’s also necessary.
*He stopped crying and went to sleep as I was writing this.