For the last few weeks we’ve been really struggling with sleep. Isaac has gotten to the point that he only wants to sleep while being held. He will fall asleep drinking his bottle and being rocked, then the second you lay him down, he will wake up and jump up reaching to be held again. While I always enjoy snuggling, this routine has gotten out of hand. Jon and I were spending hours trying to get him to bed, or worse, trying to get him back to bed in the middle of the night.
From day one I have wanted to avoid the “cry it out” method. I absolutely hate the thought of him wanting me for comfort and me not coming to him. It makes me sick, and makes me want to cry myself.
This routine we had going became increasingly worse until Tuesday morning’s nap when I had finally had enough. I felt in my heart that not only was I ready to endure him being upset with me, but more importantly, I felt he was ready. I’ve noticed more and more lately that he is understanding what I’m saying to him. Simple things like, “no” or “come here”. Knowing that, I felt like I could talk to him and he would catch on to the idea with a little work.
So, on a whim, when I laid him down for Tuesday morning’s nap, and he popped up like he has been doing, I simply said to him “It’s time to take a nap, I love you” , gave him a kiss on the head and walked out.
In that moment I decided that I would let him be upset for 5 minutes, then return to comfort him and try again. It only took one time of going back in for him to lay down and sleep.
Tuesday’s afternoon nap was another story. After 3 times, he finally slept. This was the most heart wrenching, but I also believe it was the turning point.
That night at bedtime, I didn’t have to go back in at all, and he slept straight through the night, something that hasn’t happened without soothing for quite some time.
Since then, nap times and bed times have been pretty smooth. He’s still upset when we leave the room, but with every time he seems a little more calm. He doesn’t always go straight to sleep, but he doesn’t cry but for a minute or less. Sometimes he plays, or looks around, but I can tell he’s getting used to the idea of going to sleep on his own.
He is no doubt sleeping better, getting more rest, and is actually sleeping longer in the morning. I can tell he’s happier when he wakes and more rested. (And, so are we!)
I don’t regret waiting to do this at all. I’m so glad I waited until he was ready, and I was ready. It still breaks my heart to leave the room when he’s reaching for me, but I know that in the long run, this is best for him. My baby is growing up!