My Sleep Training Challenges (and Resolution!)

My Sleep Training Challenges (and Resolution!)
May 21, 2018 Our Circle of Moms

By: Jillian


I have a son who cries when he’s tired rather than fall asleep. Sound familiar?

This infant is so resistant to sleeping that he has come up with creative ways to avoid nap time. For example, on multiple occasions  he waited until we did our nap time routine to have a huge poop. This pattern began when I started trying “cry it out,” Each time I tried letting him cry for 5 minutes, I’ve gone back into his room only to smell a dirty diaper. It’s like he waits to poop until nap time to get out of sleeping because he knows I’ll change him. Of course, if he didn’t also roll around on the changing pad while I tried to change him the process would not interfere with nap time. But he is so clever with escaping nap time that his skills have also included finding ways to escape being changed. I haven’t decided if this is a typical baby thing so if you Mamas struggle with dirty diapers at nap time and squirming at the changing table then maybe this is not just a clever little “my” baby trick! As I finished writing this my little one pooped and reset our bedtime routine! Babies…

bebe-3401066_1920So, strategy one–cry it out (CIO) isn’t for us at this time. When my son cries it is because he needs something–typically a diaper change! 

Our main hesitation to CIO is that our son  will scream for hours. He also keeps himself busy by standing up in his crib. I wonder if CIO would’ve been more successful if we started it before he was so mobile. 

Up until trying CIO we alternated between me nursing him to sleep and my husband using the 5 s’ from Dr. Karp’s “happiest baby on the block.” The reason I began trying other methods was because I was told our son needs to learn to sleep in his crib and the only way he can do that is if we put him down awake. Besides, I was getting tired of having him fall asleep and then trying to put him down like some sort of ninja–delicately and quietly so as to not wake him up. And when we got really desperate for a change the night he woke every two hours to nurse! Isn’t he supposed to sleep through the night at his age? Isn’t his belly full? In the midst of this nighttime torture, I read that during sleep regressions it’s typical for babies to be more needy. I know he has slept almost ten hours on his own in the past so he CAN do it, so I feel better going with my mommy instinct and just hugging and feeding him when he wakes up. I do wait five minutes just to see if rocking helps and sometimes that does the trick. 

We started strategy two after a few weeks of abandoning traditional  CIO. The plan was to lay him down and verbally soothe him and occasionally rub his back when he wasn’t crying. He cried while laying in his crib, but I felt better not leaving the room while he was crying. The first night he did eventually roll over and go to sleep! To my amazement. Luckily, my husband was in the room at that time rather than me because our son was crying hard right before he rolled over and fell asleep. I would have caved and picked him up when he was just about asleep! Even though he put himself to sleep, he woke up every two hours throughout the night after that. So we were right back to the reason we started trying this method of CIO.

The second night we tried bedtime routine and laying him down with verbal soothing. he went back to his old tricks and had a dirty diaper right before he fell asleep! This was an hour after my husband started sitting with him and verbally soothing him so we were very frustrated. I ended up nursing him to sleep. 

After trying method 2, I realized that our son may be in a growth spurt because he has been nursing a lot more than usual and eating solids more too. He also cut two teeth and learned to walk with support so it was a big week!

Ultimately, my son likes when we comfort him and I like to comfort him so it was a difficult thing to try variations of CIO. It doesn’t help that I worry he is crying for a reason–in pain from teething, hungry, needing a new diaper, or just wanting to be snuggled.

I found this post helpful for providing multiple options to sleep train:

How do I teach my baby to soothe herself to sleep?” via BabyCenter

The most useful idea is making bedtime earlier and feeding first rather than last; I have ended with nursing rather than a story. I’m not brave enough to wake him up from nursing to continue his bedtime routine though. 

Today at nap time, I nursed and switched to pacifier and put him down before fully asleep. He slept two hours after that! But then at bedtime that approach didn’t work so I nursed him to sleep and laid him down. About 30 minutes later, he rolled over and slept for 2 hours. Apparently, his sleep patterns and schedule is as variable as he is from one day to the next. Sound familiar??

Ultimately, I hope to one day have a baby who I can lay in bed and actually goes to sleep! But for now, we have abandoned those sleep training methods. This post made me feel better about my choice: 5111WMvH6cL._SX260_

“Night Weaning” via KellyMom

If you want to feel better about not using CIO, then check out this book. This is the cheapest I’ve ever seen it and worth way more than $1.99. The best part is that anyone can put baby to sleep. Mamas of the world rejoice, you can sleep BEFORE baby does!

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