It’s been a long time since I’ve talked about Boo’s sleep training…probably because it’s been going so well, that it’s no longer top of mind. You read that right: it’s been SUPER DUPER and I’m so proud of my little man.
Not long after moving breastfeeding to the beginning of our bedtime routine, Boo became pretty disinterested in it, and we soon cut it out entirely. Instead of breastfeeding I began offering a sippy cup of milk, and eventually we settled on Yop….the kid loves his yogourt. We moved this portion of the routine to the living room where we can sit with Daddy.
Once Boo finishes his Yop (well, it’s actually only half a Yop), we head to his room and resume the diaper/pyjamas/hygiene/kiss daddy goodnight/stories routine exactly as we’ve been doing it for months and months and months. The remainder of the routine, however, began to be adjusted just as soon as I discovered I was pregnant, and knew that rocking the little man to sleep would get increasingly uncomfortable. So after singing while Boo was still in my arms, I started putting him directly into his crib and….leaving him there. I’d kiss him goodnight, and leave the room.
The only change since has been sometimes putting Boo into his crib while I sing – eliminating the cuddle time – since he’s pretty squirmy, my lap has become virtually non-existent, and I can sometimes feel his little sisters’ protests as she bunches up to the opposite side of my belly.
Miraculously he goes to sleep. Eventually.
Sometimes I hear him talking, laughing, and moving about in his crib for an hour or more before he falls asleep. But he does fall asleep, and without any kind of protest or crying.
And then he sleeps through the night.
I consider it a win.
As for naps….Boo resisted letting go of his suck-to-sleep association at naptime for quite a while. Eventually, however, it became obvious that he’d stopped nursing entirely, and was just using me as a soother to fall asleep with. So one day as he was doing so, and almost sawing at my breast with his increasing number of teeth, I popped it out and said, “OK, that’s it!” and that was that.
Boo didn’t seem too concerned, as he’d basically weaned himself by reducing his breastmilk intake so slowly and gradually to pretty much nothing. From that moment, I took to rocking the little man to sleep, as I’d previously done at bedtime.
The rocking lasted a long, long, long time.
I think I was partly to blame as I feared that, like bedtime, he’d take up to an hour to fall asleep on his own and “lose out” on precious nap time. At least in my arms I knew I could rock him to sleep in 10-20 minutes.
Until, of course, my pregnancy (literally) got in the way and I couldn’t keep rocking the little man to sleep. As my lap got smaller, he also began to protest more and more, becoming increasingly squirmy and difficult to hold. So now I sing him a nap song (adapted from a Sesame Street song by Bert and Ernie), and then dump him in his crib.
I usually give him about 30-40 minutes to fall asleep on his own before I go in and intervene – which means I (very uncomfortably) hold him on my lap and let him scream at me for 2-5 minutes until he falls asleep (then I dump him back in his crib…there’s no other way to put him in there, now that my belly is completely in the way…luckily he stays asleep). I’d say that, on average, he now falls asleep in about 25-30 minutes, and only requires an intervention a few times a week. This is progress. Just a few weeks ago, he needed me to intervene most days.
So positive steps and progress on all fronts, just in time for the baby’s arrival to throw everything off!
Here’s hoping that, after all of our hard work, he doesn’t regress too much (fingers crossed…he’s already started poking my belly some nights…and on those nights only, he’s not going to sleep quietly).