If you’ve been reading my blog then you know that sleeping through the night has been a struggle for Diego. I haven’t been able to figure out why exactly it’s taking him so long to master this. The fact that he has slept 10-11 hours straight on occasion tells me that he is capable. My question is, how do I create an environment that encourages repeat performances?
For many months, his bedtime routine has been consistent. He has a bath, followed by a massage with moisturizer before putting on his pajamas. He then has a bottle before falling asleep.
Up until mid November he was accustomed to falling asleep in our arms before we made the precarious journey from chair to crib. A lot of the time he would awaken, and then take a bit of time to settle again. This, coupled with the fact that he now weighs enough where your arm hurts from supporting his head, prompted me to finally break this cycle.
I have always been aware of parents who choose to teach their babies to put themselves to sleep as early as six months. I am of the opinion that sleep training prior to their first birthday is a bit cruel and because I had no reason to do so I waited until I felt comfortable with it. And so it was that after his usual night time routine I placed him in his crib and left the room.
The hysterics that ensued were awful! He cried his little heart out for almost two hours. I would pop into his room every twenty minutes or so, whispered soothingly as I laid him back down and told him to go to sleep. It was frustrating more than upsetting to me and I considered throwing in the towel only to preserve my sanity. He fell asleep that night and slept straight through. An auspicious beginning if I ever saw one. The next night wasn’t much better but he cried for a lot less before succumbing to exhaustion. He didn’t sleep all night, however, and awoke maybe once or twice.
When my husband got involved in this new routine I had established he altered it. Instead of giving him his bottle well before his bath he started giving it to him once he was in his crib. This is of course creating something else I will have to take away. Diego doesn’t get a bottle during the day and getting him used to falling asleep with a full belly will only cause more problems. For now, he still gets the bottle and is asleep within minutes.
Of course I can’t discount this as a small victory because he is falling asleep in his crib rather than in our arms. That alone is cause for celebration. Now if only he’d stay there. Whenever he wakes up during the night he will scream until one of us goes to him and once we are there there is a 75% chance that he will refuse to remain in his crib. I usually end up bringing him into our bed.
Letting him cry it out is difficult for me when it’s the middle of the night. By the time he’s finished, which takes at least an hour, I am wide awake and unable to fall asleep. Just last night he cried from 3am to well past 4am. I am hoping that by sticking it out for a week or so he will improve.