Well, we’ve caved. We’ve officially started sleep training Akira. I was really hoping that we wouldn’t have to; after all, his sister was one of those unicorn babies who fell asleep without fussing within two minutes of being put in her crib. Akira has already proven to be a very different baby, but that still didn’t stop me from giving him the benefit of the doubt when it came to sleep. And so it began.
I’ve read multiple articles on how to sleep train a baby. And something that is consistent in all of them is routine. Well, with the cold, dry air and Akira’s eczema, my go-to bath routine for my baby went out the window. It dries out his skin too much, so we try to give him baths only when necessary.
That said, we’ve done other things to wind him down. Anaïs typically goes to bed around 7:30 in the evening, and one of us will read her some stories after she’s had a bath or a shower, brushed her teeth and gone to the bathroom. When she’s ready for her stories, I’ve started to bring Akira in to listen and look at the pictures. It’s never too early to start a baby on books, right? What’s fascinating is that he’s actually enthralled. He loves looking at the books, and whenever his sister reacts or interjects, it actually looks like he’s interested in what she has to say! It’s pretty endearing, to be honest.
Once the books are done, Anaïs climbs up in her bed, and I tuck her in, turn on the white noise machine and turn off the lights. Then, I nurse Akira in their cool dark room until he falls asleep on me. You see, that’s the trickiest part of the whole sleep-training endeavor: They share a room. You read that correctly—our almost-4-year-old and infant share a bedroom.
It may sound crazy. It might not make any sense. But somehow it’s been OK. It absolutely helps that Anaïs will (for the most part) sleep through Akira’s night wakings. We started letting him sleep in his crib in their room since just after Thanksgiving, and for the last two-and-a-half months, Anaïs has only come into our bedroom twice because Akira woke her up. In any case, we are still in a two-bedroom condo, and they are sharing a room.
Well, the first night we tried it was probably the hardest for all of us. I reread Hannah’s post on sleep training Graham, and as I started to put Akira down, I started feeling the anxiety she must’ve felt. I went through the motions with him—we did Anaïs’s shower, a story, tucking her in and nursing him. They say to put a baby in his crib drowsy, so when he pulled away from nursing for the night, I made sure he was still just barely awake. I put him down and walked away. Not a peep! It was OK! I was going to survive this and so was he! So I went into our bedroom and poured myself a glass of wine.
Two hours later he started crying. And crying. And crying. (And Anaïs continued to snooze as deeply as she always has! Can you believe that?) What seemed like an eternity stopped exactly 25 minutes later. I gave it a few more minutes before checking on him. He was fine. He was asleep. He was OK.
Flash forward eight hours later at 5:27 in the morning. This was the first time he made a peep since he cried! That was a whopping eight hours of consecutive sleep. So I got up, nursed him, and he fell right back asleep for another two hours! You guys, he survived our first night. We survived our first night.
Fingers crossed this happens again for us tonight!