I can’t say I’m a huge fan of sleep training.** The whole concept of “training” your baby immediately makes me think of the only other small family member people typically try to train – their dog. I’d like to think that my approach to baby-rearing would be a little different than my approach to caring for my (hypothetical) pooch.
So right from the start, let’s ditch the term training and call it teaching instead. Or maybe practicing. I can see us practicing something over and over again until we get it right (I know, I know…you’d practice over and over with your dog as well, but….it just sounds better to me).
With my little Boo there are a number of areas where we need to practice better sleeping habits.
I am the first to admit that my Boo has a very serious suck-to-sleep association. He will not fall asleep for naps or at bedtime without his Mama’s help (and by help, I mean my nipple). I’ve tried working on breaking this association repeatedly (mostly via the Pantley Pull Off), but ultimately find myself giving up as over and over again Boo desperately searches for my nipple, kicks and flails and ultimately starts crying if he doesn’t find it. I can only do this so many times before I actually wake him up (I think my record was about 15 tries).
A little while ago I decided to take a break and tackle another issue: naps.
Since the very beginning, I’ve successfully been able to put a sleeping Boo into his crib for bedtime. But he’s never really allowed me to do so for naps. Within 5-10 minutes of putting him down, he wakes up. Crabby. So to ensure he gets his sleep I’ve had him nap in my arms every day, twice a day. It can be kind of sweet….but also incredibly inconvenient.
The only other way to ensure a good daytime sleep for my little man has been to lie down with him once he’s asleep…my proximity obviously provides him comfort. Which got me thinking of a new strategy. Instead of putting him into his crib and quietly sneaking away, I’ve been staying in his room to comfort or shush him if need be. I started off sitting right next to his crib, and am now sitting on the other side of the room. So far…it’s working. He generally remains asleep for a good hour, and sometimes up to 2 hours. Technically, I’m still kinda trapped. But not nearly to the same extent as I was before. Now I can move (!), I can read a book, use my iPad or laptop. I can fold laundry, or drink a cup of tea. It’s wonderful.
I’m hoping to continue this strategy. Eventually I’ll move to just outside the doorway, and then completely out of his room, and……God only knows what I’ll do with the time! Maybe I’ll devise a new plan to (eventually) get little Boo to fall asleep without his Mama.
**Please note that my opinions on sleep training are just that – opinions – and in no way are a commentary on whatever methods you’ve used to get your baby to sleep (so long as the kid gets to sleep, I think you’re doing a great job). It just so happens that formal sleep training isn’t for me….probably because I’m not disciplined enough. Then again, if I find a method that works, maybe I’ll change my tune and embark on a little
training practice programme of my own.