This week, on Tuesday, we began full-on, hard core sleep training with Brooklyn. Since we stopped swaddling her at 5 months, she has taken our bed as hers and only occasionally slept in her pack n' play and none in her crib. At first, I didn't mind her sleeping with us. She wasn't rolling over and she was pretty calm. BUT, the older she got, the more she moved in her sleep and the more room she took up. It was getting pretty cramped in our bed with the three of us. So I decided that once I was out for the summer, I would sleep train her, thus avoiding going in to teach 137 teenagers on little-to-no sleep. Good idea!
The plan was to start it the very first week of summer break but that week we had our family reunion and I didn't want my hard work during the week to be undone that weekend when we stayed at the hotel. Then the next week rolled around and I didn't want to do it then either, so now, in the third week of summer break, I have finally gotten the ball rolling on this. The first two nights were torture. We decided to go with the Cry It Out method. She cried for exactly an hour the first night before finally falling asleep. She slept that night from 10:20pm till 2am when we tried to get her to go back to sleep in her crib, without a bottle. I went in there first to try to calm her down and was in there for 5-10 minutes, then I left because I saw she wasn't going to go down without a fight and I didn't feel like fighting. Waylon went back in there and rubbed her back and she got quiet for about 20 minutes but as soon as he would stop, she would freak out so he brought her back to our bed where she slept the rest of the night. Next night was about the same. She cried for a little less an hour and then slept till about the same time and we brought her to bed with us again.
We deviated from this the third night because I was out later and she was already pretty groggy when I got home. So I rocked her in her rocking chair and then laid her in bed and she went right to sleep. Since that night, we've done a little routine where I put on her jammies, give her a bottle and rock her while singing to her. I also have the noise machine on "waterfall" which is the same as white noise on other machines. (Mine's fancy. All the sounds are "nature" sounds. lol) So I sing to her and she has the white noise in the background. I rock her for about 10-15 minutes and sing pretty much the same songs every night. By the end of the 10 minutes, she is usually asleep or almost asleep so I lay her in her crib on her belly or side. She might fuss for a few seconds but has been going right to sleep and staying asleep until about 2-3am. We are very pleased with the progress this far! Just having our bed to ourselves for the first half of the night has been a HUGE improvement. I don't mind snuggling with her the rest of the night. We are hoping that she will eventually start sleeping later though. I do not give her a bottle when she wakes up at that point. I wait until at least 4-5am before giving her a bottle. She usually wakes up around then and wants one. She will actually point to it if I have one on the window sill. It's amazing how much she already knows.
I know that some of you who are great at routines are probably thinking this sounds horrible and that I'm not being strict enough, but for me, this is really doing well and I feel good about it! I do eventually want her sleeping through the night and not coming to our bed. I don't know when this will happen. Brooklyn is not a heavy sleeper and wakes up on her own several times a night. I don't know what else to do to keep her from waking since I'm already not giving her a bottle when she does. I know that if I left her in her own bed and just let her cry in the middle of the night that THAT might help too, but I'm just not ready to be awake for 20 minutes or more in the middle of the night for her to settle down. I can handle bringing her to my bed so I can get a little extra sleep. Call me lazy! lol.
What I have enjoyed about the sleep training is the time I rock her to sleep each night. That's been the unexpected surprise for me. I've really enjoyed snuggling with her and singing to her. I also take that time to pray over her. I always pray for her to have a peaceful night and get lots of sleep and rest and that God watch over her and keep her healthy and that she will be able to live a long happy life. I enjoy that private moment with just Me, Brooklyn and God. I pray out loud so that she hears it too. I also want to get to where I read to her but right now she just tries to eat the book and I get frustrated so I'm waiting to implement that. I want to get a good children's Bible with pictures for that time too.
So there is my journey so far in sleep training. If this post seems a bit discombobulated and broken up, it's because it has taken me 3 days to write it! Yes, I've not had enough time to sit and write it all at once so I'm writing a little at a time! Hope it wasn't too bad!