Sleep Training.. Should you do it?
I remember being so frustrated with sleep time. Naps were the worst. It would take me an hour to get Joe down for a nap and it will get him 30 minutes to be up. I felt like I did not have enough time to relieve the stress that was caused by nap time. We started researching on how to make this situation better. I am not big on reading books but for this, I read 3 and watched a tone of youtube videos. I was getting ready to tackle this issue once and for all.
The first thing I tried was the no cry sleep solution but could not continue. This method requires a lot of patience which I lack. I tried it when Joe was around 3 months. He was still waking up every couple of hours. it was hard. I quit after 2 days. Friends of mine tried it and loved it. The book itself is very informative and is a nice read. It was time for me to try other methods and I did until I finally succeeded. The second thing I tried was Sleep Sense program. This is what ended up working for me.
The no cry sleep solution is basically putting the baby in his crib. If the baby cried you carry him and walk around until he calms down. Make sure the baby doesn't fall asleep in your arms. When the baby is calm again you put him back in the crib. You keep doing this until the baby falls asleep in the crib. In 2-3 weeks the baby should be trained. This is a short summary but the book has a lot more helpful information. I found this method to work better with new babies. When I tried it with Joe at 3 months, I found he was learning something I was avoiding. I cry she carried me. I really did not want that to be a thing in my house. So I decided to try something else. This process required a lot of patience. One of the other reasons I stopped is because I was too tired to do it. Taking an hour to try and sleep train a baby when you are exhausted and not sleeping is a very hard task.
Joe has swimming once a week. After the activity is done, the parents get together and take the kids to play in the park. We were talking about sleep training. One of the father's said they used a method where they would put the baby in his crib and stand near him as they tapped him back gently until he slept. The point was to teach the child that the crib is where he sleeps. It took few months for the baby to finally start sleeping as soon as one of the parents put him in the crib. It is a process that had positive results but it required time and patience. If you don't want your child to cry and do not mind standing beside him for an hour every day for months then this might be how you train you to train your baby.
I trained both my kids using sleep sense program. It is a middle ground between letting your child cry it out and tapping him on his back until he sleeps. This takes about 2 weeks for the baby to get trained. It is a 10-day process:
- First 3 days you stand near their crib and calm them down when they cry. You can do anything your child likes expect carrying them.
- Middle 3 days you go to the middle of the room. You go calm them down when needed but less than the first 3 days
- Last 3 days you stand at the door and calm them down less and less
- On the Final day, you leave the room. You start going in every 10 minutes if they are crying.
During the 10 days, you never take them out of the crib. If they wake up at night give them 10 minutes before going in. Most of the time they will go back to bed on their own. After the 10th day, you start sticking to the 10-minute increments.
It is important to know that every now and then it will seem like the training was pointless. This is because there will be days where the child will try and test his/her limits. You have to stick to the original plans. Everything should go back to normal in about 3 days. AS they grow they hope that they can get away with more. These are the times that you should stay tough and let them know nothing changed.
Not everyone wants to sleep train their kids. Most of my mom friends did not do it. A lot of them regret it. You are lucky if your child is a naturally good sleeper but that is not the case most of the time. People complain that their 3-year-old won't sleep before 12 AM. Others that their toddler sleeps with them and refuses to use their bed. Some complain that their toddlers still wake up at night and require them to sit beside them until they fall asleep again. A friend told me she wakes up to find her 5-year-old sleeping on their bedroom floor because she told him he wasn't allowed to sleep in their bed anymore.
I sleep trained my kids at 7 Months of age. At 6:00 PM we do our routine. We take a bath then we brush our teeth. I sit and read a couple of stories. I put a little prayer for them I turn off the light and I kiss them good night and leave. At 7:00 PM they are each in their beds and I don't see them until 6:00 AM the next day. From my kids sleeping habits to stories, I hear from parents of untrained kids. I definitely recommend sleep training. I am not going to lie and tell you it was a piece of cake. The 2 weeks it took were hard. No mother wants to hear her baby cry but sometimes you got to toughen up and get it done. They learned to soothe themselves which is a skill that is good to have in the long run. They sleep early and I get some time for myself and my husband. A tried mom is not the best mom to be. This gives me time to be ready tomorrow and run around with and after them.
Sleep training is something that is very dependent on the time of parent you want to be. Are you a parent that doesn't want their baby to cry? Are you a parent who completely refuses the concept of sleep training? Are you one that is patient enough to let the sleep training process take months? Are you like me, a parent that does not mind letting their kids cry to get results?
For Extra Resources Check out the links below:
The Ultimate Children’s Sleep Chart is a good guide to how much should your child be sleeping. It also has lots of extra information that is worth going through.
Parent’s Guide to Healthy Sleep is very detailed and goes into a lot of different sleep issues and topics from infants all the way to teenagers. It also offers a lot of great resources to check out.