advert

Sleep Training Wars

Jul08

by

Dear Amy,

My husband and I are at loggerheads over when and how to sleep train our baby. Whenever we are truly at an impasse, we go to a neutral third party (with the relevant skill set) to decide the issue. I thought of you. With your experience both raising three children and answering countless baby sleep questions, I hope you can help us. I will try to present the issue as evenly as possible (otherwise my husband won’t accept the outcome).

I am not working now and my husband works from home. So I do most of the childcare, while my husband lends a hand throughout the day. Our baby girl is fourth months on July 2. We went to her four-month checkup on June 28. The doctor told us that at any time we can start sleep training our baby and advocated letting her cry for 10-15 minutes, going in to check on her, and repeat. She also said if we wanted to eliminate the night wakings, let her cry when she wakes up and don’t feed her. (BTW–our baby is now just over 16 pounds.)

So here is the background on our baby’s sleep situation. I sleep in the baby’s room; since I’m breastfeeding, we figured there was no point in both of us getting up at night. It’s been working for us so far. The baby usually wakes up three times at night. She starts the night in her crib, then after a stretch of 4-6 hours, wakes up. I feed her, then put her in a cosleeper next to the bed (although recently I’ve started putting her back in her crib). She goes back to sleep easily. She wakes up again about 3 hours later, and I feed her and then usually keep her in bed with me, with off-and-on nursing until she’s up for the day. Twice she’s slept 8 hours straight, but usually it is in the 4-5 hour range, with an occasional 6.

To get her to sleep, we usually bounce her with an exercise ball. Up until 3 or 3 1/2 months, I would bounce her until her eyes got heavy (more often closed than open), then put her in her crib. Sometimes I would jiggle her until she fell asleep, or sometimes just leave. If she started crying (which was often), either I or my husband would go back in and bounce her. Since three months, we have not put her down asleep (and before then would aim for drowsy-but-awake as much as possible). About 1-2 weeks ago, I started a bedtime routine of boob, books, sing one song while bouncing, put in crib and sing another song. She rarely goes right to sleep. I let her cry as long as it sounds to me like fussing-going-to-sleeping crying. Once it escalates, I first try to leave her in her crib, but hold a pacifier in her mouth to calm her down. But if that doesn’t work, either my husband or I bounce her a little while singing. (My perhaps-naïve-first-time-parent plan is that the baby will associate the singing with sleep, and we will wean her off the bouncing.) It usually takes going in twice after she’s down before she falls asleep.

Naptime is similar. I bounce her until she is drowsy, then put her in her crib awake. I usually have to go in a couple of time before she falls asleep. I don’t wait a particular amount of time; rather I base it on the type of cry. I have a fairly high tolerance for the fussy, poor-me cry, but a low one for the frantic, world-about-to-end cry. She consistently naps for approximately 45 minutes and is awake for about an hour or an hour and a half between naps.

Sorry for the novel-length introduction. Here is the issue: my husband thinks we need to start sleep training her now by letting her cry it out (I’m not sure if he means Ferber or Weissbluth). Not doing so is ruining our lives and harming her. It is ruining our lives because, if we sleep train, the baby will sleep from 6:30 or 7:30 until the morning, so we’ll get to watch TV or hang out at night until I go to bed (which has always been early, around 9:30 or 10). Instead, in his mind, we’re still in “survival mode.” It is harming her because she will never learn good sleep habits or how to self-soothe.

I don’t agree with him, nor do I trust his opinion. He has been talking about sleep training since before our daughter was conceived and is sure he knows The Right Way to do it. I don’t trust his opinion because I don’t think there is A Right Way, and much of his opinion is based on the experience of what worked for friends of ours with their baby (sample size of one). Further, how can he know what is best or right for our baby if this has been his plan since she was still a twinkle in his eye? But most damning, in my eyes, is that he thinks we should have done this two months ago—when she was just two months old! This just demonstrates to me a lack of understanding. Granted, she was almost 14 pounds, but a baby must be both physically and developmentally ready to be sleep trained. At two months, she may have been big enough, but she was not ready developmentally to cry it out.

I have nothing against crying it out, and I know that eventually we will have to do it. (Nor do I think I coddle her. During the day when she cries, I tend to wait and see if she will resolve whatever is bothering her on her own rather than rushing over.) But I don’t think our baby or I am ready to sleep train yet for several reasons. First, I don’t think we’ve had enough time for the bedtime routine to be established. I had a hard time figuring out when was “bedtime”, so I would put her down for a nap and she would be down for the night. Or I would realize too late that it was bedtime and not have enough time to do the bedtime routine. Second, I think it would be too much for me to move out of her room and start sleep training at the same time, so I want to do one, then the other. Third, I don’t have a problem with how things are. I am no longer exhausted like I was at the beginning and don’t mind waking up to feed her. (I would prefer that her daytime naps start consolidating, but my doctor said that won’t happen until she sleeps better at night, so I’m fine with waiting.) And fourth, I am a little sad to stop sharing a bed with her and to leave her room, but I know at some point it will have to happen.

I know my husband truly believes that it is best for our baby to sleep train her now and is convinced that I am not being my normal rational self, but instead letting my emotions get the best of me. He thinks all of my reasons are just excuses to put off the sleep training, and I will just keep inventing more reasons to keep putting it off. He wants a firm date, which I can’t give him.

So, what are your thoughts? Is 4 months the “best” time to sleep train her? Are we doing her and ourselves a disservice if we wait a month or so? My plan is that by six months I’ll be out of her room and we’ll be down to one waking at night, if that. (That is another issue–my husband thinks I should night wean her as soon as possible–but I’m not going to deal with that until after the sleep training is done and I see how her night wakings go.)

Thanks for your help! We have a slight détente because my husband is overseas at a conference and I’m at my parents’ with the baby, so nothing will happen for a week. But this issue will arise again once we both return. If I am doing something nonproductive, I will stop. But I need someone other than my husband to tell me that.

Nope. Nope nope nope. While I’d love to be all diplomatic and happy-fun-everyone’s-a-winner here, I can’t. Your husband is wrong; you are right; there is NOTHING out-of-the-ordinary or red-flaggish about ANY of your daughter’s sleep and bedtime habits. Everybody go home. We’re done here.

OKAY FINE.

Maybe instead of “wrong,” we’ll call your husband’s views on sleep and sleep training “dated.” Once upon a time, yes. Very very little babies were plopped in cribs and left to basically fend for themselves and “learn” that no one was coming to feed or comfort them. Newborns were put on strict feeding schedules (vs. on demand) and new parents were advised to start solid foods incredibly (even dangerously) early. We used whiskey for teething, picnic baskets for car seats, and formula was going to save humanity from disgusting female boobgerms.

And while the baby-rearing industry is still a seething mass of conflicting opinions about many things, hardcore CIO sleep training of a 2 month old has pretty much COMPLETELY fallen into the “please don’t do that” column. A 2-month-old baby needs to eat at night. So does a 4 month old. It is not until closer to six months that babies can realistically go eight hours without at least one pitstop of breastmilk or formula. SCIENCE!

So, despite your doctor’s blase approach to “sleep train whenever,” I’m going to draw the line at six months old. Sleep training before six months is unrealistic and can even be counter-intuitive, since you can end up introducing separation anxiety or fear of the crib if you get too hardcore prematurely.

None of this is to say that some 4-month-old babies DON’T sleep through the night. My first baby did. My second followed about a month after. (Though note that my definition of “through the night” at that age is one six-hour stretch, an early waking and then some morning nursing/dozing. So by that measure, you are often getting the best sleep-case scenario for her developmental stage.) And I did not technically “sleep train” beyond what you’re describing: Let them fuss, give them time to settle, but intervene when it’s obvious they are awake and need/want you. Routine, routine, routine. Be careful/mindful of any non-sustainable dependencies you create during the newborn survival period (swaddling, bouncing, pacifiers, etc.) and slowly work on making yourself extinct from the soothing-back-to-sleep process.

But none of that needs to be Priority Number One at four months. Nothing bad or terrible will happen if your baby is not sleeping through the night completely independently at four or five or even 10 months old. My third baby was a fairly wretched and inconsistent sleeper until eight months, when I finally used the Ferber method. HE IS FINE. HE SLEEPS. HE IS EASY. I put him to bed wide awake and he figures the rest out and sleeps through the night and I don’t seem to have irreparably screwed him up. (Yet.) And I only employed the Ferber method because he met the criteria of the book’s title: Solve Your Child’s Sleep PROBLEMS. His sleep WAS a problem. For us and for him. He was overtired and miserable and had no self-soothing skills. See? Problems that needed a solution.

Your daughter’s sleep seems to only be a “problem” for your husband, because everything you describe strikes me as perfectly normal and developmentally appropriate, and clearly moving in the natural direction of longer stretches of sleep and less dependency on you guys (i.e. she is put down drowsy but awake,  given the opportunity to fuss if needed, you are focused on creating a bedtime routine and moving away from the bouncing, etc.) I think it would be worth figuring out why.

If I could switch out my Armchair Sleep Bossy-Person Hat for my Armchair Therapist Hat, I’d wager that this is actually more of a marital issue than a parenting one. He misses you. He feels like he’s “lost” you to the baby and that you are “hers” and hers alone at night. Your sleeping arrangements probably sounded convenient once upon a time but I bet he wants you back in your room, your bed, with him. Some fathers absolutely do experience a strange (to them, anyway; it’s actually fairly normal) feeling of jealousy/competition with their newborns. Suddenly their wives’ bodies and time and affections are all going to this new unformed, personality-less needy creature that they haven’t particularly bonded with as a PERSON (also normal!!). The fact that you sleep in your daughter’s room probably exacerbates some of these rumblings and while YOU think you’re arguing the position of “our baby is not ready to sleep-train,” HE’s hearing you argue against trying to get back to being a normal married couple who spends their evenings and nights together, and thus lashes out with the “STOP WITH THE LADY HORMONE EXCUSES” nonsense because he’s actually concerned that…geez. Maybe she doesn’t care and is fine with things always being like this. Maybe she’ll never want to wean or focus on anything other than The Baby and things will never be the same for us OH MY GOD WHAT HAVE WE DONE. Classic marital fight about one thing that is really about another, completely different thing.

Dear Husband: Things will be the same, kind of. Things will go back to normal, kind of. Just…slow your roll, homeboy. Your baby is so young and your baby is so normal and sleep training is not — I REPEAT NOT — the holy grail of infancy that works for every baby ever. It works for some. It backfires for others. It’s a plus-six-months thing for most, however, and I swear, you guys are doing good. She sounds fine and I personally predict that as the next couple months go by she’ll nurse less at night and start solids during the day and you’ll get those eight hour stretches of sleep without even trying. If not, okay. Buy a couple books on sleep and READ THEM. (The No-Cry Sleep Solution and Ferber’s book will give you a couple different, yet equally valid opinions on sleep and sleep training.) Proceed accordingly, but as a team. Because TRUST: sleep training — even perfectly necessary and non-hardcore-CIO is no magic picnic. It’s actually draining and stressful and can take a lot longer than you’re probably thinking. You guys need to be united on this. Compromise is necessary, refrain from judgment or blaming your wife’s “emotions.”

And now back to you, OP. You can absolutely stand strong on the needlessness of sleep training right now. You sound like you’ve got the bedtime/nighttime thing down, or at least know what steps to start taking as she gets older. (Put her to bed drowsy but awake, even after night nursings. Wean from external soothing methods. Bath/boob/book/song routine times eleventy billion. Etc.) Tell your husband the conversation is tabled until six months, at least, and even then you’re expecting him to read some damn books (written in the past CENTURY, at least) and that you will decide on a plan together as a team.

Also, since you expressed concern over not knowing when to even put her to bed: “Bedtime” up until four months or can indeed be late: anytime between 8 and 11 p.m., so don’t stress that you haven’t gotten that “down” yet. Because it’s about to change, anyway. (Once again please refer to the excellent chart on this page for bedtimes and nap expectations by age — and note that yes, babies your daughter’s age STILL NEED TO EAT AT NIGHT BECAUSE SCIENCE.) Between four and six months bedtime usually creeps up. Try putting her down for naps around 9, 12 and 3 (I believe that’s assuming a 7/8 a.m. waking). Her bedtime should be about 3.5 to four hours after she wakes up from that third nap — though note that naps can be a total crapshoot even WITH consistent nighttime sleeping, so again, no stressing that a sloppy nap schedule is a sign that you’re messing things up at night.

In the meantime, though…maybe rethink the sleeping in the nursery all night, every night. That was a perfectly fine newborn survival approach but I do think about 90% of your husband’s insistence on SLEEP TRAIN APOCALYPSE NOW could be lessened if you make some moves to separate from her at night. Not even every night. Just when you put her down for that 4-6 hour stretch…go to YOUR bed. Or to the couch to watch a 30-minute TV show together or to talk about something other than sleep-diapers-boobs-vomit. Unless there’s a great distance between your bedroom and hers, you probably won’t even need a baby monitor at this point — your boobs and brain will wake you up when she needs you. (If you’re concerned but don’t want to disturb your husband, get a lights-and-sound monitor and keep it on lights-only right by your face. When my babies were that small that’s all I usually needed for my body to be all, GET UP BABY ALERT HELLOOOO.) Bring her to your bed for the early morning nurse-doze so Daddy gets to see that lovely smiley good mood that so many babies have when they wake up for good.

And finally, consider getting a breast pump and a babysitter/relative and taking a night off for dinner and a movie or both. A break and a chance to be your old pre-baby selves could be something you both don’t even realize how badly you need right now. Argue over splitting dessert instead of sleep training, at least for a little while longer.

About the author

Amalah

http://www.amalah.com
Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy's daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it's pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.


Subscribe to posts by Amalah

24 Responses to “Sleep Training Wars”

  1. MR Jul 08 at 1:50 pm Reply Reply

    As usual, Amy hit it out of the park. It sounds like your routine is really good right now, and the only switch I would suggest is you moving back to your bed.
    However, I will also touch on your comment of you not trusting your dh’s input here. Ouch. Even if his input is “dated” this screams of “I know better than him.” And new dads have a hard time with feeling like they can participate too. Maybe this was just a one time lapse of how it came across, but I would urge you to look at the attitudes there and see if there need to be any adjustments.

  2. Kate Jul 08 at 3:04 pm Reply Reply

    What great advice. You guys need to get on the same page. Has your DH read any sleep books or is he just basing this on comments from the doc and friends? You might consider both reading a book on sleep training and then using it as a way to negotiate the plan forward (if he thinks Amy is too much in your camp/biased).

    And for the record, my (brooklyn based) pediatrician recommends sleep training at 2 months! We basically followed Weisbluth. Did some training at 4 months, but still had a middle of the night feeding until about 8-9 months. 4 months was the right time for our little guy, but Amy is right, there is plenty of time.

  3. Myriam Jul 08 at 3:28 pm Reply Reply

    My daughter, whom I breastfed until 15 months, woke up at night for the whole time, and that was part of the reason I weaned her. Baby sleep is not – I repeat NOT – linear. It will ebb and flow, there will be regressions, teething etc. You should try to talk to your husband, honestly and without judgement (you come across as judgy in your email, as MR pointed out…), and go back to your bed for at least the 1st stretch of the night. He’ll be glad to have you back, and that will put you on a course where you are 1st, out of the baby’s room, then 2nd, sleep-training. That plan might reassure both you and your husband that you are doing the best for your daughter.
    Finally, I was wondering if your husband is on a strict work schedule, or if he has a little lee-way as he is working from home? I might suggest to get him more involved in the bedtime routine, both for bedtime and during the night. Switch places with him for everything but the nursing part, and let him find a way. Facing reality of a night-waking baby might also slow him down a bit, when he sees that you are not doing it on purpose!

  4. SarahB Jul 08 at 4:26 pm Reply Reply

    Small quibble: I do believe that Ferber says 5 months is acceptable for sleep training.  I think we did it at around 5 1/2.

    Another thought besides getting back to your marital bed: Does DH do any of the night work at all?  Have you gotten more than those two eight-hour stretches of sleep since your baby has been born?  Because perhaps part of the issue is DH’s concern for your sleep or lack thereof and how it affects you…I wonder if he could handle one of the night feedings if you were able to pump during the day, or just bring you the baby to feed and then do the soothing back to sleep part.  It might help bring you together more on that issue, so DH actually sees how the baby is in the middle of the night, and go from there.

  5. Charity Jul 08 at 4:32 pm Reply Reply

    Perfectly fine to wait! You need to BOTH be on board with the training…whenever you do it, otherwise it will be a disaster. However, we did do sleep training (and night weaning) at 4 months on the dot with both of my sons with great success and no issues. Each kid is different! Maybe 6 months is better for some. But I don’t think that the concept of training at 4 months is wrong…if it works for you!

  6. Autumn Jul 08 at 4:50 pm Reply Reply

    I nursed my baby to sleep until she was 14 months old.  I was home with her for 7 months before she started part time day care.  Why did I nurse to sleep that long, , , it was easy and it worked 95% of the time.  From about 4 months to 7 months, she was sleeping 1130 PM till 830 or 9 AM.  Life was good.  

    We decided to sleep train at 14 months because we had a terrible regression  when Mr Autumn was out of town for a week.  Sick kid, stressed out mom alone, I said never again.  

    We used The sleep lady Shuffle (checked it out from the library actually,)  What I liked was it had sleep tips for every age group so you could tailor your approach based on your baby’s age.  Because you are nursing, basically sleep training became Dad’s job. Now at 22 months, I brush teeth and we split who does the bath 50/50, then I put her in jammies, and he reads stories and lays her down.  We both have our own style, but this way she is used to either of us doing the whole”routine” so if He’s traveling or I’m sick, it doesn’t affect her.  

  7. Karen Jul 08 at 5:33 pm Reply Reply

    ok, I’m at work right now, and work is kind of stressful today, so… excuse my rant.

    My oldest is nearly 4, still nursing the 17 month old (to sleep) who is waking a couple times a night (starts night in crib, finishes in our bed, husband is ok with it because we are on the same page). And we both work outside the home. I was at a baby shower over the weekend with lots of new parents and kept hearing these things, “baby must learn to self-soothe,” “dont fall asleep nursing, the baby won’t go to Harvard,” “when can we get back to our old lives?”, as if it’s possible to have the ‘old life’?, etc.

    I guess these problems once seemed like Real Problems to me too.

    I see this type of conflict between dad and mom come up a lot at my LLL meetings, it’s super common. I would repeat what Myriam said too – nothing about a child’s development is linear and I also worry that too often we, as a culture, just assume we can “train” out aspects of our children’s behavior or habits that we find undesirable – rather than actually thinking about how we want to parent and what their individual needs are.

  8. Kat Jul 08 at 6:04 pm Reply Reply

    Sleep is so tricky! Amy’s response is great. There is no deadline for sleep training, and as several people have noted, sleep is not a linear experience for most children. Honestly, you are already “sleep training” in the sense that you put her down drowsy but awake, are working on a consistent bedtime routine and are aware that it’s okay for your baby to fuss for a few minutes while she settles herself down (with a little bit of support from you/your husband).
    Weaning now seems a bit much. We didn’t night wean until about 9 months. At that point, we were down to one feeding at midnight, but it seemed that he was waking more out of habit than hunger. I backed down the ounces (at that point we had to switch to formula, thanks crappy supply). For us, the key was following our baby’s cues. He didn’t need “sleep training” until it was apparent that he had not developed his own coping/settling routine in his crib. But some babies never need an actual sleep intervention, some sleep really well when you don’t mess with them and let them work it out on their own schedule (see Amy’s first two). When it was obvious that he needed a little help (at about 7 months), we used a super gentle CIO method (Sleep Easy Solution). After that, he cut down his night feedings to 1 on his own, and then it was easy to eliminate the last one because he was ready. Long story short – sounds like you are right on schedule to me. Maybe the issue truly is that your husband is feeling a bit neglected, and perhaps part of the solution is returning to your own bed for part of the night, and having him look at some of the resources Amy referenced to ensure both of you have realistic expectations when it comes to infant sleep progression.

  9. Belinda Jul 08 at 6:22 pm Reply Reply

    Loved reading this.  My son sounds very similar to this young lady.

  10. Arialvetica Jul 08 at 8:34 pm Reply Reply

    I breastfed my 21-month-old son until 18 months, but night-weaned and sleep-trained at 7 months.  For parents who want a gentle+effective sleep training method, I *highly* recommend The Baby Whisperer.  My son goes down for nap/bed without a fight (in fact this week he has started REQUESTING his nap, sua sponte) and sleeps for 12 hours at night takes one 2-hour nap in the afternoon.  Every baby is different, of course, but I recommend trying The Baby Whisperer method.  (Don’t even have to buy the book, just find the forum online and ask for personalized help!)

  11. Heather Jul 08 at 10:05 pm Reply Reply

    I agree – it sounds like you are doing great! I think it is a little too early to start sleep training (and it sounds like the baby & you have a good routine so far). I also agree w/others re getting on the same page w/your husband by reading a couple of books together, and coming up with an agreed upon plan that you both will follow. But most importantly, enjoy your baby! Enjoy breastfeeding & the sleep routine…you’ll be amazed at how it changes & will look back on this time & smile (yes, you will! ;)

  12. Autumn Jul 09 at 1:50 am Reply Reply

    The other thing I didn’t mention is it seems like OP’s hubby is missing couple time.  We rigged up a TV screen so we could sit on the couch and snuggle while the baby was playing on the floor.  Basically we strung a blanket between the coffee table and an end table so she couldn’t see the TV when on the floor.  Worked wonders till she started crawling.

  13. lindsay Jul 09 at 10:43 am Reply Reply

    keep in mind that when pediatricians say that you can sleep train at 4 months, they mean that your baby will be physically okay if you sleep train. however, these pediatricians are NOT psychologists. for your baby’s psychological wellbeing, wait until 6 months. at that point, you will see that he is more ‘mature’ and could handle it better.

  14. Kelli Oliver George Jul 09 at 10:49 am Reply Reply

    For the husband, I highly recommend the book The Science of Parenting.  It does an excellent job of explaining why extended crying leads to excessive levels of the stress hormone cortisol which is simply not good for a baby’s developing brain.

    I am so so grateful I read this book and understand the impact of putting my kids at unhealthy levels of stress (the book also does a GREAT job of explaining tantrums, the different types and healthy ways to help a child sort through their tantrums!)

    • Emily Sep 27 at 10:45 pm Reply Reply

      just requested this book at the library! thank you

  15. Lindsay Jul 09 at 2:02 pm Reply Reply

    Oh I feel you. My husband and I fought over this starting at least at 3 months: I said it was too soon, he said it wasn’t. Also, our baby was a total crap sleeper, way worse than yours. Like 2-hour stretches bad. The good thing was that even though we never really agreed, we fought for a few months and then it was time to sleep train anyway. This is the rare marital issue that will actually just go away on its own eventually. I do completely agree with Amy’s advice by the way, but I also know that with my own husband it would have meant zero. Internet advice lady is not convincing to him.  He was somewhat willing to listen to Ferber, but Ferber says you can sleep train at 4 months, so that may not help.  Good luck, and know that this problem will eventually just go away!

  16. RJL Jul 10 at 6:01 pm Reply Reply

    I totally agree with Amy’s therapy assessment! I chose to co-sleep with our baby until he was 3 months old using an in-bed cosleeper mattress. I found that co-sleeping and breastfeeding in a side-lying position helped me get a ton of rest. 

    Unfortunately, my husband saw having the baby in our bed as The End of Our Sex Life. Even when I pointed out that a, we could try to be more creative about other times/places and b, my libido was not what it used to be anyway what with the hormones and body changes and the sleep deprivation. His preference for the traditional marital bed situation made him want to sleep train ASAP! We ended up compromising by trying to find private adult time during naps, and ending the cosleeping at 3 months (a bit sooner than I would have liked!)  But this was definitely a sore spot between us for a couple months. 

    Amy was spot-on yet again. Our conflict over co-sleeping also turned out to be much more about martial issues than about the baby. OP, I think it will be worth your while to have a frank and open discussion with your husband about this issue. Good luck!

  17. Name (required) Jul 10 at 9:39 pm Reply Reply

    I agree with the husband! The baby can go all night without eating and will not be harmed psychologically. You can always go in a rub the babys back to soothe her but she does not need to eat through the night at this point.

    I do agree that the husband needs a deserves you back in the bedroom with him. he was there before the kids and will be there when they head off to college and leave! you must nurture this relationship. its vital to having a happy family.

  18. Mary Jul 11 at 2:17 pm Reply Reply

    I still get up with my 12 month old once a night. It’s a quick nurse/snuggle and it doesn’t bother me or my husband. Sure, I could force her to drop it but if it doesn’t bother me, why make it an issue. It’s all about balancing what is best for you, baby and hubby.

  19. KO Jul 11 at 5:14 pm Reply Reply

    Looks like I’m in the minority here, but don’t worry, I’m not planning to be pushy about it. :) For us, we were incredibly sleep-deprived, so it WAS a problem—and both of us agreed it was a problem. 

    I cannot express enough how grateful I am that we did sleep training when we did (4.5 months). My son will be two years old in two months, and has been sleeping from 6:30/7:00pm until 7ish for most of the time since then (of course, now I’ll probably jinx it, lol). Also, I’ll note that we continued breastfeeding until 20 or 21 months, so I’m definitely on your side as far as feeding as long as possible!!

    Here’s what we did, and it’s not super rigid: my husband was the secret. Once my son was able to sleep 8 hours straight, we gradually just cut out the nighttime feedings. My husband and I slept in our room, and our son slept in his crib (in the next room). Whenever he’d wake up crying, we’d give him 20min to settle back down to sleep. Like you, we were definitely sensitive to his crying—if it was TOO frantic, we’d go in earlier. 

    The key, though, was that my husband did any necessary diapers/soothing during the night, because if I even set foot in the room, our son would go craaaaazy because MAMA’S MILK SMELLS SOOOOO GOOD. Eventually…he just stopped waking up at night and started sleeping straight through. We had also read advice that said, “If he wakes up before 6AM, don’t go to him until then.” And that’s what we did—eventually, he slept all the way until 6.

    For a while, I fed him at 6 every morning and that’s when our day started. I am a writer, though, and morning hours are my most productive, so there was a certain point when we decided to push that feed back to 7:30 or 8am. I’d work downstairs, and my husband would get him out of his crib. After a few days of no-6AM-feedings…he just stopped waking up for them! He eventually started sleeping until about 7:30ish, on average.

    So. All that to say, you guys know what’s best for you. If your husband is insistent on trying cry-it-out, show him my story and see if he’s up for taking all the nighttime responsibility—I am absolutely convinced this is The Secret to why it worked for us. I And, of course, you are totally allowed to be fine with things how they are—it’s your baby!! :) I just know for me, personally, once I started sleeping through the night again, I was just like…dude…sleep is magical. I feel so much more prepared to deal with stuff when I’m well-rested.

    Anyway! Good luck! Hope to hear an update! :)

  20. Marissa Jul 11 at 11:17 pm Reply Reply

    This chart has always amazed and helped me with sleep patterns and knowing what’s normal: http://www.babysleepsite.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Sleep-Schedule-All-Data1.jpg

    Amalah, what’s “non-sustainable” about pacifiers? Is it just that we don’t want our preschoolers walking around with pacis . . . ?

  21. OP Jul 12 at 3:03 am Reply Reply

    Hi, all! I’m the OP here. Thanks, Amy, for answering my question, and to all the commenters for chiming in. My husband was not convinced–looking back, it appears I was too judgy and not objective enough. He still thinks his way is Right (and claims our doctor and Ferber back him up). But I feel more confident in insisting on doing what I think is best. Over the past week, we have eliminated the bouncing–one night my baby gave me a look like, get this over with already, let me go to sleep–and her sleep tends to go 6-8 hours now. Since I’m fine with the night feedings, I’d rather wait a little longer to see if she gives them up on her own before taking action.

    I think you are right about the marital issues. Mostly–we’ve never shared a bed. I’ve always gone to bed and woken up so much earlier than him that it made more sense for us to sleep apart. It’s worked great for us, so I’m nervous about when I finally move out of the baby’s (formerly my) room and into his (soon-to-be our) room. But I think you’re right as applied to the intimacy part (which would be soooo much easier for me to make time for if it didn’t hurt so much, it’s like the Sahara down there). We’ll get this all figured out.

  22. BlesstheFunk Jul 30 at 1:22 am Reply Reply

    I’m so happy to see the OP chiming in! I do understand that Husband feels he is right, with “The Experts” telling him the CIO method (whatever that means to him, it feels like he doesn’t really have defined system) is the way. Let me just say: you baby is sleeping 6-8 hours?!? Good for you! You listened to your gut and her cues (love the “get this over with” look. Yeah…)

    PS: lube lube lube. I understand. That is all.

  23. Emily Sep 27 at 10:41 pm Reply Reply

    this is amazing. I needed to read this. My little one is nearly 4 months and about 5 weeks ago had a huge regression and went from waking 1x/night to 3x/night. 

Follow us on Pinterest

Close