Sleep training for babies and other funny stories

I remember the last time I got a full night’s sleep. It was back in August. August 23rd (2015) to be exact. Good times.

I found out I was pregnant on the 31st August 2015 and then frequent toilet trips, back and hip ache and itchy skin made sleeping pretty impossible. With a baby, sleep has become a punchline. Just typing the word makes me giggle. Nervously. Through tears.

Rosie is now 8 months and when it comes to putting her to bed it usually takes between 20-40 minutes and whilst some nights it’s a feed and then BAM she’s asleep, other nights it involves lots of back patting and bouncing. Now it’s not that I don’t love the time with her, it’s just that after a seriously busy work day, I desperately need time to recuperate with Mr H. So, the other night I decided to see if I could start sleep training Rosie by placing her in her cot and letting her get herself to sleep

Sleep Training: The naive belief that one can simply teach a baby to sleep so that a mother may skip away into an evening of relaxing.

It was awful. It didn’t work. There was a lot of screaming and tears and that was just from me. After a wasted hour, I went into Rosie’s bedroom, picked her up and fed her to sleep. The whole process was exhausting and it made me do something I never usually do, I asked other parents for any tips and advice.

The feedback was almost unanimous in proclaiming that the cry it out method of sleeping training was barbaric and mostly everyone said that I should simply enjoy the cuddle time and hug harder and longer. Other parents suggested that I look towards the gentle methods of sleep training from Baby Wise or Baby sense which sets out routines. One woman bravely stated that she did the CIO (cry it out method) and it worked perfectly for her.
With so many different view points, I decided to do a Pros & Cons list for each.

Cherish the moments
PROS – I could breathe in Rosie’s scent all day, every day and I love having her in my arms.
PROS – I get to have personal quiet time with Rosie and she gets to feel truly loved.
CONS – It’s quite a tiring, hot and sweaty process trying to get her to sleep sometimes.
CONS – Spending 40 minutes battling to get a baby to sleep can really dent your couples time. I feel that time with your partner in the evening should be non-negotiable as a family is not just about baby, but about each individual member.

Gentle Sleep Training
PROS – It’s good for babies to get into a routine and can give parents much needed stability.
CONS – I am terrible at following a routine and the idea of sticking to a plan that might not even work makes me shudder.

PROS – My mother did it with me and I am the perfect example of complete sanity.
CONS – You wouldn’t leave an adult to cry hysterically alone in a room so why would you do it to a baby?
CONS – I can’t hear my series over the screams.

The list hasn’t really given me a definitive answer but everyone’s advice has once again reiterated the fact that every baby is different and there really is NO ONE SIZE FITS ALL.

Since Rosie was born, she’s loved being with people and goes bananas if someone leaves a room and she perceives herself to be alone. Placing her in her cot and walking away must feel like the end of the world to her so I can’t do that to her again.

For now, I will stick to feeding her and cuddling her to sleep – perhaps adding in bath time at 6pm every night or lots of activities to tire her out – and perhaps, in a few months, she’ll get herself to a stage of only needing me for 10 minutes….or perhaps, in a few months, I’ll be writing another post punctuated by swear words.
Now, if anyone knows how I can get Rosie to sleep through the night, that will be great.

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