You guys read about the sleeping troubles at our house a few weeks ago. Well - here I am - happy to report that baby boy is: a) sleeping in his own room for naps and nighttime, b) putting himself to sleep in his crib with minimal or no tears, and c) sleeping either all night (roughly 7pm to 6/7am) or waking up once to eat. And mom is: a) happy and b) well rested.
The day Bates and I left St. Louis was his 5 month birthday. And essentially the whole time we were there, he slept like crap. (Not that I was magically expecting him to sleep well or anything, but just as a point of reference, he was not in any way sleeping well.) So when we got back, I referred to one of the three books I'd read on sleep, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. (I also read The No-Cry Sleep Solution and The Mom's On Call Guide To Basic Baby Care. I like HSHHC the best because a) it was the only one written by a doctor and b) I liked the scientific approach to the biology of a baby's sleep.) The author, Dr. Weissbluth, basically breaks down a child's sleep patterns according to age.
In my mind, I was sort of waiting for the 6-month mark to try any more sleep training. But I was surprised to see that Dr. Weissbluth biologically grouped 3-4 month olds together, and then 5-9 month olds. Out of sleep deprivation and straight-up hope, we decided to see if the month that had passed since our last attempt was enough for Bates to be ready.
We first tried putting him down without rocking him to sleep for his morning nap on a Saturday. He cried for 50 minutes! Fifty! But then fell asleep. For the afternoon nap, he cried for 20. We were making progress! When we put him down for the nighttime, he cried for about 15. Then he woke up at 10:30 and sobbed hysterically.
This was the hardest part of the whole thing because this was usually when I would go and console him back to sleep. Jonathan and I sat in the family room listening to him while I cried and Jonathan started to lose resolve, saying "maybe I'll just go in there for a second to comfort him and then slip out." But the book said if you really wanted to be aggressive about solving sleep problems, you needed to stand firm. In fact, there was a little mantra in the book you were supposed to read out loud if you needed reminding. Through tears, I read it, something like: "My baby is crying because he loves me and wants to spend time with me. But I love my baby so much and since I know how important sleep is, I'm going to let him sleep." The book said if you go comfort your crying baby after X amount of time, you're basically teaching him to cry for said amount of time before you'll go to him.
So Bates cried until 11. Half an hour. And then.....and then....
HE SLEPT UNTIL 7:15 THE NEXT DAY!
I woke up around 4am, I think, and was like, "he's dead!" I ran into his room. But nope - not dead - just sleeping. He hadn't slept that long in maybe 7 weeks?
So that night confirmed for us that he was ready. Ready to be in his own room, learn to put himself to sleep, and ready to comfort himself back to sleep if/when he wakes up in the night.
There have definitely been some nights when he wakes up and cries for a little bit, but overall, we're in a great place! I can't tell you how nice it is to be well rested! I'm also so glad we didn't push it at 4 months, when he clearly wasn't ready. I know there will be more sleep "regressions" as the months go by, but I at least feel like he's learned some valuable sleeping "tools" that he can use.