Lisa: Sleep Training
When entering into mommyhood, I understand that I probably wouldn’t be getting much sleep in the first few months of Molly’s life. Now with that being said, NO ONE can prepare you for the feeling of being sleep deprived! Up until she was 8-8.5 weeks old, I would spend up to 1.5 hours trying to put her bed, this included bedtime and after each nighttime feeding. If you do the math, babies this age feed approximately every 2-4 hours in the middle of the night, so I was getting maybe 2 hours of sleep in between feedings…to say the least, this was extremely exhausting.
Our nighttime routine would be as follows- while holding my daughter I would bounce on an exercise ball (this is suppose to mimic the feeling of being in the womb- this still works for Molly at 11 months old) until she was asleep and then attempt to transfer her into her crib as I prayed she was in a deep enough sleep for a successful transfer. The part of the process that took the longest was the several attempts at transferring her into bed because she wasn’t in a deep enough sleep.
I remember going into her pediatrician’s office around 8.5 weeks and breaking down in tears because I was so exhausted. This is when she advised me to sleep train Molly. She acknowledged that it was a bit early, but that she would respond just fine to being sleep trained and it would help save my sanity! After that appointment, I bought the sleep training book, Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems by Richard Ferber, M.D. Dr. Ferber recommends allowing your child to cry in increasingly longer increments prior to going in and checking on them. Before becoming a mom, I didn’t think I would be onboard with allowing my child to “cry-it-out”, but now that I have experienced my daughter’s strong-will personality, I know this was the right decision for her.
My husband and I both spent time reading the chapters in the book that pertained to our situation (the book also has chapters on older children) and geared up for a few long nights as we set out to sleep train. I’m happy to report that after less than a week of sleep training, Molly learned how to self-sooth and put herself to sleep!!! This allowed us to feel like we were normal again because my husband and I were able to actually go to bed at the same time AND bedtime and nighttime feedings weren’t ruling our lives anymore!
For those of you who are attempting to sleep train your babies, remember to stay strong and be consistent! The one thing that kept me going was the light at the end of the tunnel and knowing that I was teaching my daughter her very first lesson in life!