This past week was really rough on J and I. Ben would scream his little head off, we’d run in, pick him up, either nurse or rock him to sleep, and then try to put him back in his crib. The key word there being “try.” As soon as he touched the mattress, his eyes would pop open and he’d scream bloody murder again and we’d then have to repeat the process. Inevitably, he would end up in our bed because we both just got so tired that even crappy sleep with a squirmy baby between us was better than no sleep.
Friday night, we decided to change that.
One of my friends sent me a link on how she sleep trained her son, and told me that she had really good success with it.
Here’s the gist:
Instead of rushing in when your baby wakes up crying in the middle of the night, wait outside the door and go in when the baby isn’t crying. In the beginning that might be the breath between screams, but that’s ok. The point is for the kiddo to learn that when they’re quiet is when they get what they want. You also want to go in frequently at the start of this, so they really start to make that association between being quiet, and mom/dad coming back. As they start to catch on, you can lengthen the amount of time between visits.
Also, even though your precious angel is screaming like they’re dying, you’re supposed to have a smile on your face and act like nothing is wrong. So, when you go into the their room, enter relaxed and smiling, and lean over the crib, pat the kid and say “Good baby! Your’e going to sleep! I’ll be back soon!” and then turn around and leave the room.
At this point Ben started to scream louder, and J was looking at me like I was nuts to even suggest this approach. But, after sticking with it for 30 minutes, Ben was asleep again. We only had to do this once more around 4 in the morning, before it was time to get up for the day.
The next night went very similar, but the crying didn’t last nearly as long. We also had to repeat the process again at 5:00 in the morning.
Last night, Ben woke up at 12:30, but was asleep again at 12:35, and slept the rest of the way through the night.
As a side note, during the first night when we went in while Ben was quiet, I came over to his crib and saw that he was sucking on the edge of his blanket. It was the cutest sight ever, probably even more cute because I made that blanket for him – so it really melted my heart.
And, on another note, we found that using Scout while sleep training both of our kids really helped. We would turn on the “Nighttime Music” each time we went in,and in two nights, Ben now associates that with sleep, not even kidding. You turn that music on while he’s in his crib, and his eyes close. Henry learned to turn the music on himself at around 10 months, and I’m hoping Ben will too.
I really hope that Ben keeps this going, and that J and I really start to feel rested again. It’s amazing what a solid night of sleep can do, and I can only imagine what a string of solid nights feel like.