Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sleep Training!

So a little back story, when Carter first was born I never planned on co-sleeping. I had always assumed that he would sleep in his crib just as all babies do. It never even crossed my mind that it was a possibility because all I had heard was how dangerous it was to sleep with your baby in your bed. Well one of the biggest lessons I've learned as a parent is that any "plans" you have for your child or how you plan on raising them might as well be thrown out the window because nothing will go as you plan. Nothing. And you probably won't be the parent you said you were, and you'll probably do all the things you said you weren't going to because that's life.
I quickly found out that my newborn did NOT want to sleep in his bassinet. Or in his crib. Or in his boppy seat. Or anywhere other than my arms. This I wasn't prepared for. I remember being told that I wouldn't have time to myself again for many years after having a child and I would joke to my husband that they were all wrong because "don't they sleep?" No, no they don't. Unless of coarse he fell asleep in my arms while nursing. In a state of complete sleep deprivation and exhaustion, I started nursing him lying down in bed, and he would "gasp" fall asleep in my arms, and to my better judgement I went to sleep too. He was a lot safer then you would think in the position we slept in (and to this day I get achey elbows from sleeping like this). But in extreme sleep deprivation, nothing matters. This went on for days, weeks, months, and continued even after we were done nursing. Yes I tried putting him in his crib here and there and he would scream his little head off and my heart would break and I'd go and get him. I liked having him close to me every night. I liked co-sleeping. I also loved waking up in the morning - especially weekends - and we'd all cuddle and be silly.
Now I realize the problem wasn't that he wouldn't sleep in his crib, it was that I wasn't ready emotionally and physically to let go. I loved it too much, and wasn't strong enough to listen to him cry and not get him. I did want my bed to myself again though. My husband and I hadn't slept without Carter since he existed, we had zero down time, and our bed was getting really, really cramped.
But time went by, and the longer it did, the more impossible it seemed. I started to think Carter would be in our bed forever. It just seemed like an impossible task. But the urge to get him out got stronger and stronger. The nights became much more cramped and difficult. Carter was waking in the middle of the night and would cry and kick and toss and turn. I'd get him a bottle, rub his head, snuggle him - I'd pretty much do ANYTHING to get him back down. It was exhausting and he wasn't learning to self-soothe. I knew this wasn't good for him nor us, and that we needed a change fast. But weeks and months kept flying by.
About two weeks ago I was reading a blog and I don't remember specifics except that a blogger posted that Ferberizing her 15 month old was the best thing she ever did, and it was necessary for the overall well being of the household. She had a story similar to mine. She was right, and I had hope! Carter was 19 months old, but it was certainly not too late. All the sudden it didn't seem so impossible.
That night we put him in his crib, did our best to comfort him and then let him cry it out. It was insanely hard for me for about 10 minutes, that was it. I could handle it. We've had a few rough moments, but I am so proud to say he officially sleeps in his crib and we couldn't be happier! Tonight he actually *wanted* to go in his crib and went down without a single tear!! We did it! I am one happy lady. And so is my household. We were worried that our weekend away in San Diego would mess him up since we didn't have a crib with us, and he'd have to start over when we got back, but we didn't. We continued where we left off, and he was fine. I can officially say he no longer sleeps in our bed!
A well-rested Momma in a happy household
P.S. - I just wrote this whole blog ON MY iPad! Neatttttt.


Anonymous said...

I was the same way! Never, ever planned on co-sleeping with Gavin, but it happened. We stuck with it for 2 1/2 years. David was mostly gone during that time anyhow (Korea and Iraq).

When Gavin was about 2 1/2, we bought him a "big boy" bed, and do I mean "big boy" - we bought him a double because he was such a wiggly sleeper! LOL He went right into it without a problem and, after that, weaned himself from his nighttime nursing and his pacifier. It was a sad thing to see him let go of those things from his infancy, but of course so nice to see him embracing his independence. :3

Every parent has got to do what works best for them and their family, whether it's co-sleeping or not, or any of the other choices we have out there!