Monday, December 7, 2009

"Sleep Training"

For the longest time (and by that I mean "practically since she was born save a few flukes") Aurora has gone to bed after midnight. Mike and I endured many nights of her screaming until 2 or 3 AM. She was probably overtired. I know we were. I just didn't know how to get her to bed any earlier than that, and neither did he. I'm firmly against young babies crying it out, and even though we co-slept for a few months, she would scream if we tried to lay down with her before she was "ready." We just put up with it.

Lately I was proud of getting her to bed at around midnight, but I decided it actually kind of sucked to have her sleeping until noon. My final straw was three nights ago, I was up with her until nearly 1 AM again after she'd been going to bed very reliably around midnight. After being a sobbing puddle on the floor of her bedroom as she screamed, I decided I would do "
sleep training."*

* not actually sleep training, by the socially accepted definition of such (cry it out).

It starts at about 9:30. I have Mike turn down the TV (he's usually playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 around this time) and I sit down to nurse her. After 30 minutes of nursing, we go into her nursery. I turn on her mobile and hum along with the music, usually for the entire 10 minutes the mobile is on. I gently lay her down once she's fast asleep and sneak out. If she wakes up, I come back in and repeat - rock her to sleep, lay her down once she's asleep. I repeat this process until it's been 30 minutes without a peep, then I go to bed myself.

The first night I had to go in and repeat the rocking three times. I was okay with this. She stopped crying as soon as I picked her up, so I didn't have the frustration of listening to her scream. This is, of course, what left me a sobbing puddle on the floor of her bedroom the night before. She was successfully asleep around 11 PM. She woke up at 8 AM (her "usual" time) but refused to go back to sleep even though she needed it. She ended up taking a very long nap around 4 PM- nearly two hours long, even though her usual is 30 minutes.

Last night I only had to go in once. I know this may not be how it is tonight, I may have to go in three or four or ten times. I am determined to make this work, though, for both of our sakes. She needs plenty of sleep, and I need to not be a sobbing wreck as I try to get her to bed.

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