Who doesn’t love sleep? Babies. Babies don’t love sleep. They don’t even like it as a friend. And they certainly don’t tolerate it. That’s been my experience anyways. We didn’t use any sleep training with our first and it set us up for failure. Mason wouldn’t sleep in his own crib, he would only nurse to sleep, and it made getting him to sleep in his big boy bed a nightmare later on. Even to this day, we still have trouble getting Mason to take a nap or go to sleep at night. It took hours to nurse Mason to sleep and the second I attempted to get up, he’d jerk awake and I’d have to start the entire process all over again. It was a nightmare. I had absolutely no time to get anything done around the house and it really made me miserable. I was a slave to my baby.
Enter Baby Jensen
There were a LOT of things we did with Mason that we wanted to do differently with Jensen. Getting him to sleep in his own crib was one of them. Mason’s crib was always in his own room. The only time Mason ever went to that room was to go to sleep, so it wasn’t familiar and of course it was probably terrifying. We were first time parents and hindsight is 20/20. This time around, we set up the crib in the corner of our room and put Jensen in it as often as possible. We still co-sleep to a point since he is still nursing at night, but if he isn’t nursing, he’s in his own bed. He is NOT a fan. At 8 months, Jensen is bucking the system. I spend sometimes up to or over an hour nursing him to sleep just to have him wake up the second I put him in the crib. Ain’t nobody got time for that. I know this song and dance all too well and I’m over it.
Mom guilt is a very REAL thing. I gave sleep training a shot with Mason, but listening to him scream for hours on end made me feel like the worst mom in the world. I was so sure that I was going to make him feel abandoned and unloved and would ruin his entire life. I couldn’t handle listening to my sweet baby sound like he was dying. I was sleep deprived, running on E, and didn’t have an iron clad resolve. I gave up. And I shouldn’t have. I did Mason a disservice, made my life so much harder than it had to be, and set the mood for naps and bedtimes for all of forever.
Now that Jensen is taking a page from his brother’s book, it’s time that we flipped the script and tried our hand at this sleep training business again. As a mom of both a baby AND a toddler, I can’t be stuck in the bed with the baby while my 3-year-old runs amok and destroys my house. I was perusing Pinterest while I was trying to get Jensen to sleep when I found THIS post on the secret to sleep training. Obviously I wasn’t hip to the “secret” part of this program the first time around and it would be my key to success this time! The steps listed are pretty much common sense, but it really seemed to good to be true.
So, I tried it. And Jensen did NOT like it. He screamed and bawled and carried on much in the way his big brother had when he was in the same situation. I tried to follow the guidelines as best I could, but had to go in a few times when the only “quiet” moment was when he was so worked up that he had to take a pause in between screaming. Eventually, I had to go downstairs and start dinner, so I couldn’t pop in whenever he was quiet, but I did use our two-way baby monitor to talk to him and let him know he was being a good boy and that everything was okay and I loved him. It took about an hour and a half of Jensen screaming and crying and me going in to show him that he was not in fact abandoned and that everything was okay and talking to him on the baby monitor before he FINALLY gave it up and went to sleep. And he probably would’ve slept longer if his older brother hadn’t been so loud going upstairs and woke him up. Ah, c’est la vie.
The Secret to Success
I think the REAL secret to success with this sleep training endeavor (much like anything else in this world) is to stick with it. Don’t give in, don’t give up, don’t throw in the towel when things get rough. You’re going to be exhausted, sleep deprived, wishing for a caffeine IV, and just DONE, but you have to keep pushing through. Yes, listening to the screaming and crying will pull at your heart-strings and you’ll be fighting the urge to rush to your sweet baby, scoop them up, dry their tears, and rock them to sleep, but then where will that put you? Right back at the beginning. You’ll confuse your little one and just make it harder on yourself. Don’t do it!
Be consistent and persistent, but be loving and kind and show yourself AND your little one grace. This is tough for both of you! I don’t know if you’ll have immediate success like the lady from the post, but even if you don’t, that’s okay. Not every child is the same and just because it’s taking you longer to get this down pat, it doesn’t mean you OR your baby are a failure (you’ll need to remember this down the road when you start potty training). It just means that it’s going to take a little longer. So pull up your big girl panties, grab your 64 oz cup of caffeine, and get comfy because you’re in it to win it, girlfriend! You’ll be listening to all the sweet noise your baby ISN’T making while sleeping so soundly before you know it!