I think that if I try to step away from what is going on and look in from the outside, it’s actually much worse than I would like to admit. He needs to be rocked or nursed to sleep every night, this takes 10 minutes on a good night or 2 hours on a bad night. I do it every single night and on the bad nights, it makes me want to jump out the window. After all that hard work, he generally wakes up 1 hour later where I have to do it all again. We finally got him out of the swaddle last week, so that’s one less thing. He’s now sleeping in a sleep sack and mittens so he won’t scratch his face off. Doesn’t sound too bad? It gets worse. He also sleeps in a rocker, it’s an inclined Fisher Price rocker for little babies. His feet hang over the edge, this is not made for a baby of his age so that’s a problem. He’s just the kind of baby who loves to sleep at a big incline like that rocker or his car seat or the swing at daycare. That is fine, but it’s not ideal since he really needs to be in his crib at night to be safe now that he’s very mobile and active. Also, he wakes up a lot. At one point in his life he only woke up once or occasionally slept through the night… those were the days. Now he wakes up a lot, 3 times at a minimum and 7 times on a bad night. Each time, I have to get up and rock him back to sleep which means another 10-45 minutes of lost sleep on my end. I don’t know if it’s sleep regression or if those good times were just a fluke. I can’t see straight anymore, that much I know.
Enter: Sleep Training.
I’m attempting to do this now, although I’m fully aware that some babies aren’t ready at 5 months. I really do think he is ready though. Last night was the first night, after many many attempts at rocking him to sleep and placing him down and just getting frustrated at our current system. Each time I placed him down (at least 4 times) he would start crying immediately. I really think that he just wanted me to hold him and didn’t want to be put down. I must be super comfortable. There was nothing wrong with him, and that’s sweet and all but I can’t hold him all night. Finally, I just couldn’t take it anymore, so I rocked him until he was looking really sleepy and put him in his crib (note: not the rocker) and shut the door. I decided that I am Ok with using a cry it out method and I chose Ferber. Some people think his method is extreme, but I have a super stubborn baby and I don’t think the crying hurts him. I saw all of this back when I was bottle training him, and after loud protests, he gave in and now will take the bottle anytime. This sleep training method has you check on your baby to reassure him that you haven’t abandoned him at intervals but shows him that crying doesn’t get him picked up.
Don’t mind the ridiculously blurry photo. The idea is that he had worked himself up into such a tizzy that he ended up doing a 90 degree turn and passing out like a drunk close to 10pm. So I guess he didn’t really soothe himself to sleep, he more just passed out.
As the night went on, he woke up a couple more times and each time I would feed him when needed and put him back down awake. He protested each time, but for less time each occurrence so it really was progressing even in one night.
This morning, I saw him wake up around 6:15 but he went back to sleep on his own. So then I woke him up to go to daycare at 6:45am, letting him sleep in about 45 minutes since he didn’t get to sleep until really late last night. He was basically in the same position as he was when I put him down previously. We have a side sleeper! I’m thankful for mesh crib bumpers.
I’ve already begun Night #2 and it’s going even better than I had imagined. It could be that he’s just super tired after getting a little less sleep last night, or maybe he’s figuring it out. By the 4th of July, I hope to have him sleep trained or Mostly sleep trained! In the parenting world, that would be considered a Major Life Changing milestone for the whole household. Even the dog will be giving high fives.