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smackdown-update

Update On: Sleep Training & the Struggling Parent

By Amalah

Amy!

Thank you so much for answering me! It was the final push I needed!
I talked to my therapist and enlisted my husband and we sleep trained him! He was SO ready.

I modified the checks to what I felt comfortable with 2 min and 5 min depending on how upset he got, and I would go in and pat him and sing the same little song every check.

We did the same bedtime routine that we’ve always done and sang our song and laid him down in his crib.

The first night he was asleep at 31 min! He didn’t even cry that whole time, he mostly babbled!

The second night he was asleep at 11 min!

The third at TWO!

Every naptime or bedtime since then has been the same-fussing or whining for 1-2 min (not crying) or going to sleep with no whining at all. He still wakes once a night to eat, but immediately goes back to sleep with no problem, and we still do the first nursing session of the day in my bed so that we get our snuggle fix:)

It’s nothing like the judgey opinions swirling in my head thought it would be. He cried less during sleep training than he cried on a regular night trying to get him down!

I’m writing to you now, after taking him into his room at naptime. He CRIED AND REACHED TO GO IN HIS CRIB AND THEN PROMPTLY ROLLED OVER AND GRABBED HIS LOVIE AND WENT TO SLEEP!

I don’t know if it’s my imagination, but I’m feeling so much less anxious than before and more capable overall. I have so much energy! My brain feels clear! My sweet little boy is full of smiles and calm and happier than before!

Sleep, it’s a beautiful thing!

Thank you so much for your help and your wonderful blog and sharing your beautiful baby boys lives with us!

FLAILING HAPPY KERMIT ARMS YAAAAYYYYYY

This is probably a Smackdown record for the fastest follow-up update letter, and I promise I’m not just publishing this one because it proved how Righty Right Righterson I was (although…cough), but because I’ve been talking about sleep training via the extinction method (aka Ferberizing, but modified to your personal comfort level) quite a bit lately. And this letter demonstrates exactly how that method can work, and how it’s absolutely NOT the cruel, heartless “you’ll sleep in your crib whether you like it or not because FOREVER ALONE” scenario that some people immediately assume it is. (And why our poor OP was working herself into a exhausted, anxious wreck over even considering it.)

What you said here: He cried less during sleep training than he cried on a regular night trying to get him down! I mean, I KNOW, RIGHT? I had this same realization as well, every time (especially with baby #3, by which point you really think I would’ve know better). All my efforts at a no-cry bedtime resulted in…crying. Lots of it. A rapid-fire escalation from fussing to screaming, either because:

  1. I went in too quickly at the first sound of fussing/crying, instead of waiting to see if my baby was capable of deescalating/self-soothing. Turns out he totally was, and my interruptions were basically setting the fuss-it-out sleep timer over and over again, until he was an overtired wreck and thus incapable of settling himself down.
  2. I was inconsistent with my checks and interventions (waiting too long, picking the baby up one time and then trying to just back-pat the next, etc.). Once again, the crying escalated out of control and everything was just a mess. There really IS a reason…or science…or maybe witchcraft…to the set timing of the checks and repeating the exact same motion/words at each one, over and over.

Now I KNOW that the no-cry solutions work for people. (I mean, they have to, right?) But I get an awful lot of letters from parents who tried them, failed miserably, and now are terrified of trying a different approach because “CIO” gets painted with such an awful, brutal brush. How could you DO that to your BABY? You’ll RUIN your ATTACHMENT and TRUST and EVERYTHING.

This letter describes how it worked for us, three times, almost exactly. Three nights of LESS crying overall than in the months before. (I think we had ONE baby go for an hour ONE night, then like 10 minutes the next.) Not to mention the end result of a happy, well-rested baby who PUTS HIMSELF TO SLEEP LIKE A SENSIBLE PERSON.

Every baby is different. For some babies, this is what they need, and parents who go this route are NOT abusive hell-demons who let their babies scream for hours and hours. This might not be what your baby needs or needed, but I do think we collectively need to lay off with the judgement.

I’m very happy it worked out so well for you, OP (and your baby, who also sounds like he’s pretty satisfied with the results), and I’m doubly glad you were able to push your fears and guilt aside and do what was best for you AND your son. May you both be blessed with many years of predictable, peaceful…and above all COMPLETELY NECESSARY TO FUNCTION…full nights of sleep.

Amalah
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch

Amalah

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 Ama...

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.

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