Thursday, June 2, 2016

adventures in sleep training: a lazy mother's guide

Before I had Teddy, I read approximately ten million articles online about sleep training, co-sleeping, cry-it-out, and the like.  I asked all of my mom friends what they did and how they managed to get their babies sleeping through the night.  I even bought a book on children's sleep. Methods were as varied as the babies themselves.

I rejected co-sleeping almost immediately.  I treasure my sleep and must have a regular sleep schedule or things get out of whack quickly for me.  Being constantly afraid of rolling on an infant was not appealing to me at all!  I was more interested in cry-it-out, but all of the negative press about it made me reconsider.  Cry-it-out in gradually increasing increments is what I would have chosen.  The sleep training method I ultimately chose was, "Really Good Sleeping Baby."

At about eight weeks, Teddy started sleeping 8-10 hour stretches and by three or four months he was sleeping a solid twelve hours a night.  I thought I had a method, which included always putting him to sleep, whether for a nap or for the night, directly after a bottle when he was a little drowsy.  I'd heard to put them to bed drowsy but awake.  He made "sleep training" easy by just being a really good sleeper.  I was pretty anal about putting him down immediately after a bottle though, as if that was really what was doing it.  I didn't spike the bottle with Benadryl or anything, I promise!  I was actually afraid that when I weaned him off bottles that he'd stop sleeping.  He didn't.

When Oliver came around, I was prepared for him to be different from Teddy.  He was early, he had bigger glucose issues than Teddy, and of course he was a brand new person.  I worried that he wouldn't sleep as well and fretted about the whole sleep training issue all over again.  Admittedly, he didn't begin sleeping through the night as early as Teddy, but I gave him some slack since he was slightly premature.  He started sleeping 8-10 hours by about three months.  Then he had a horrible winter of sickness, so more slack was given.  By the time he was five months, however, I stopped getting up with him in the middle of the night.  He needed to sleep through and I knew he didn't need the bottle in the middle of the night.  Within days of me stopping getting up with him, he started sleeping straight through.  He's eight months and sleeping at least eleven hours a night.  He gets up earlier in the morning than Teddy, around seven, but it's alright!

I relaxed about the bottles with Oliver.  As long as he has a bottle within an hour or so of nap/bedtime then he's good to go.  So why do these two sleep so well?  Is it their personalities?  Is it because I didn't nurse/bottle them all the way to sleep?  Or rock them to sleep?  I put them down and if they cry, it's only for an extremely short time.  Maybe I'm callous because I didn't rock my babies to sleep every night.  I save that for when they're sick or hurt.  Whatever it is, I'm fortunate that they are such good sleepers.  I, myself, am a terrible sleeper.  I hope they continue to sleep well, even after they are not in cribs (no! never!), even after they start to share a room (after the inevitable big boy beds).  

P.S.  I'm not trying to brag about my good sleepers, I'm just exploring why they are.  Did I unknowingly sleep train them?  Or is it just them?

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