Well, we did it. We began sleep training little Graham this past Friday based on our pediatrician’s recommendation. As discussed in my last post, co-sleeping was no longer working for our family. We were all running on too little sleep, and things were getting depressing around here.
My husband and I decided to take advantage of the long Labor Day weekend to start this new routine. I literally was a wreck all day Friday, dreading the night to come. We had finally decided to cry-it-out, and my heart was breaking long before my little one’s tears began. His pediatrician said that we could expect for him to possibly “cry for hours” the first night—and knowing how persistent little Graham is, I knew he was probably right.
We’ve been trying to be better about having a consistent bedtime routine for Graham lately. A good bedtime routine wasn’t quite as important for us before when we were co-sleeping; we just took Graham with us when we went to bed, and he would nurse to sleep. Now, we do a fun but soothing bubble bath, a lotion massage and lavender oil rubbed on his feet, put on pjs, read several bedtime stories, and then I nurse or Matthew gives him a bottle. I want bedtime to be a soothing and consistent routine for him now that he’ll be falling asleep on his own.
Friday night we did our bedtime routine, and when he was done nursing and very drowsy, Matthew and I gave him hugs and kisses, told him how much we loved him and that we would see him in the morning. We laid him in the crib and closed the door behind us. We then ran downstairs to watch him on the video monitor.
He immediately started crying—our hearts were breaking not going to pick him up. He cried for 40 minutes before finally falling asleep. While 40 minutes is a very long time to listen to your sweet baby cry, it was honestly less time than we had expected. I heard him wake up and cry several times throughout the night, but not for quite as long. He was exhausted the next day (and so were we!) and napped for much longer than he normally does.
On Saturday, I once again dreaded the night all day long. However, this time there was much less crying. Graham fell asleep with less than 10 minutes of crying! We couldn’t believe it. He woke up twice in the night, crying for about 15 minutes each time. Overall, it was a significant improvement from the first night.
On Sunday, Graham fell asleep within five minutes of being put in the crib. There was no real crying, only mild fussing on and off for five minutes. He woke up a couple of times, one and two hours after being put in the crib, and fussed for a couple minutes. And then he slept from 11 p.m. to 5:15 a.m. with no crying! We were absolutely amazed. I can’t believe how quickly he is adapting to falling asleep on his own.
I was so worried about this new routine affecting my sweet boy’s personality, but I see no negative changes in him. He seems to be his same happy self and doesn’t seem to be holding a grudge against us for changing our sleeping customs. I’ve noticed that he’s napping much better now as well—even falling asleep independently today for a nap with no crying, something that he never would have done before. I hope things continue to improve as they have. Deciding to “cry it out” was a hard decision for us, but I’m starting to feel like we made the right choice for our family.