Sleep Training, Night One

E.K. is 8.5 months old. He is a feisty but loving 8.5 month old who wants what he wants when he wants it. Lately, that want has been me coddling him to sleep each night in my arms and then transitioning him to his crib where he will typically sleep any where from 1 to 3 hours at a time before waking up screaming like he’s losing his mind until I rush into his room and nurse him back to sleep. Needless to say, E.K. associates sleeping with being on the boob {insert deep sigh here}. Whelp enough is enough… or is it???

The husband and I decided we need to try to sleep train again (we failed miserably the first few times we’ve tried in the past months). This time, we are being consistent which is key in having success according to the experts. Here is where we started:

  • I researched like a mad woman. The Ferber method (aka the cry-it-out method) is listed pretty much everywhere and we decided to take some tips from it and tailor it to our child.
  • I created a schedule that we will try to stick to consistently over the next few weeks. The schedule includes E.K.’s bedtime routine (so that my husband has something to reference in the event I’m away). I taped it to E.K.’s bedroom door.
  • Our pediatrician confirmed at E.K.’s 6 month appointment that he was perfectly healthy and allowing him to cry for a bit to get sleep trained was strongly advised. She assured us that the temporary discomfort of hearing our baby scream and cry would be well worth it later as he needs the sleep just as much if not more than we do as his parents. I strongly advise that you see your child’s pediatrician to make sure your baby doesn’t have any underlying health issues before you try any cry-it-out type sleep training methods.
  • [5:30pm] I made sure to feed E.K. a full dinner. This is important — you don’t want to put your child to sleep on a half empty or empty tummy because they will be hungry and likely wake up pissed looking to be fed. I typically feed E.K. dinner at approx. 5:30pm and I let him play after dinner to give him time to process the food the eliminate the waste (read: poop) before I run his bubble bath.
  • [6:30pm] I then give E.K. a super warm lavender bubble bath. He loves to splash the water everywhere, so after I wash him and his hair I let him splash and play for 5 min before removing him from his bath. His bath usually lasts no more than 15 min total.
  • [6:45pm] After his bath, I massage him with coconut oil and lavender baby lotion. This is sometimes a task because he is in the “toss, roll, laugh and play” mode after his bath.
  • [7:00pm] I turn on his sound machine, humidifier and the ceiling projector in his room. I also make sure his room is the perfect temperature so that he doesn’t get too hot or cold.
  • E.K. and I then sit in the rocking chair where I give him 4 to 6 oz of warm milk with cereal in it. I found that he prefers the fast flow nipples, so we use level 4 Avent nipples for him now.
  • We have prayer. I pray over E.K. as he is drinking his bedtime bottle and his eyes typically start to get super heavy. This is tricky. You don’t want your baby to be asleep when you place him in his crib, but if he is too awake… it becomes a battle to get him to lay down. So when I notice his eyes rolling and the blinking getting longer, I ease him into his crib and lay him on his belly. I think pat his back and tell him that I love him before kissing him goodnight and leaving the room.

[7:30pm] Night one he went down with a little resistance and started to whine but went to sleep after I patted his back for about 5 minutes as he laid on his tummy.

[11:50pm] E.K. starts to toss and turn. He begins to cry…

[11:55pm] I walk into E.K.’s room and begin to say “shhhhhh” as I pat his back. He rolls over and sits up… then begins the pterodactyl scream that would have the deepest sleeping neighbors scare awake. At this point, E.K. has turned into a mini-monster standing up on his crib with his eyes still closed and screaming non-stop. What part of the game is this ish!?

[12:05am] I got to the fridge and take out a small tommee tippee sippy cup that had 2 oz of formula in it. I heated it and brought it back to E.K. (never picking him up) and handed it to him. He drank it and it was just enough to get him to stop screaming and soothe a bit. When he finished the 2 oz, I removed the cup from him and turned him onto his tummy where I patted his back saying “shhhhh”. [approx. 12:15am]  He went back to sleep.

[2:48am] E.K. wakes up with the pterodactyl scream again — stands up at the corner of his crib screaming at the door. This time it’s on level 5000. The husband attempts to go in and lay E.K. back down while patting his back but E.K. wants no part of it. After about 15 minutes of this screaming like someone just karate chopped him in his shin, I get up and go get another bottle (thinking maybe he’s hungry). I relieve the husband and take over the patting and never picking E.K. up. This kid absolutely lost his little mind. He kept standing up and hollering while reaching for me to pick him up. This sh*t is real on the heart strings! I stand firm on the no-picking-him-up method and handed him the bottle. He sipped maybe 1 oz (if that) while fussing and then threw the bottle and proceeded to scream more.

[3:20am] I leave the room. E.K. is steadily screaming. This time, he finds the security camera casually placed on the top of his crib frame and he knocks it down while screaming. I go back into the room and reposition the camera and attempt to pat him down again. No use…. he’s pissed. Like REALLY pissed. [3:40am] I leave the room, again.

The husband and I turned the volume of the monitor off while watching the baby monster’s every move. Eventually we doze off — yes, we were THAT DAMN exhausted.

[4:45am] I wake up frantic. I don’t hear anything. Oh sh*t, is E.K. okay?!?!? My husband leans over and says “he’s sleep. He successfully cried his little self to sleep”.

Well damn.

[5:45am] I get up and go wake E.K. up to nurse him and get him ready for daycare. It takes our overly exhausted baby a little bit to wake up, but he opened his eyes and smiled. Our kid has the best smile ever. He was actually happy to wake up to me hovering over him singing “good morning honey”.

Maybe we can do this after all. Maybe E.K. won’t hate us for helping him learn to self soothe and sleep. This was just night one. Let’s see how he does the rest of the week. God help us!

– Love, Peace, Coffee, and Wine after 12 noon!