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Parenting

Sleep Training Chronicle

Roger was never a good sleeper. He’s not what I consider to be particularly problematic, but by all account, he is just not a good sleeper. My grandparents who helped raise me, used to tell me how I was a bad sleeper too, so I took everything in stride.   I spent 3 months getting him to be comfortable hanging out in a crib, but he was not into sleeping in it at all. Plus, since starting daycare he has taken to eating a lot more at night and it has mean frequent wakings at night. Plus, he is getting too big for me to sleep with him in the lazy boy and he is taking to rolling around; in the king sized bed, he ends up turning horizontal and we end up sleeping in H formation.

During sleep, Roger will fuss and roll, and try to climb on top of me. He usually does this every 2 to 2.5 hours and sometimes he falls right back to sleep after I breastfeed him, and other times he tosses about for a while. I had never really been able to transfer Roger to the crib — it has only worked twice, and those are times that he was in very deep sleep. Most of the time he wakes up as soon as his back hits the mattress and starts to get upset. For months now either James or I have to hold him in the lazyboy for him to sleep (starting from 6:30pm to 11pm). Then we move him to the bed with us when we all want to sleep.

To give you some info on this — I read 3 books on this topic and did a lot of research starting when Roger was 3 months old. We went to this class at Birthways on sleep when Roger was 4 months old. I also talked with a new mom friend who is also a doctor (her baby and Roger are actually a day a part), and other moms that I have met through various places like support groups or mothers clubs. My friend Emilly and her husband were also supportive — their baby girl is two months older than Roger and I was glad that we talked to them before embarking on this. I waited until after 6 months to make sure that Roger is ready and I don’t have to second guess myself on that. Don’t read the stuff on the internet too much — that is not as helpful.

Which books are you reading? I read:
Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth
Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems by Richard Ferber
No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley

I also talked with my pediatrician and personal physician about this as well. We even considered hiring a sleep consultant but she charges too much, so we decided to do it ourselves. I read all the books, James didn’t but I just showed him the part of the book that he needed. In the end, James and I felt the most comfortable with Ferber, which has a progressive check-in method (check in at 3-5-10-min intervals and then going longer each progressive day) as opposed to Weissbluth’s extinction (the true cry it out) method.

I have also come to the conclusion that this is an area where that Father energy really helps. If you want to do this, I would really recommend enlisting the help of Kevin. I think of myself as tough, but I am still not tough enough to do this by myself — it is one of the hardest things I have had to do as a mother thus far, and I think that my mothering programming is what makes this hard. Fathers have more immunity to it, though it’s not like James just was able to do it without feeling as bad, whereas I feel like I will go insane hearing Roger cry.

Our experiment with controlled crying (Ferber method) is a bitter sweet one. Even though we had a little bit of success it was very short-lived due to Roger’s teething, and we have decided to co-sleep a little longer. Even though he still wakes at night, he is sleeping a little longer than before. James and I will continue to try to get Roger more comfortable sleeping in the crib, but sometimes I think maybe we are just naturally inclined evolutionarily to not liking sleeping alone?

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