Sleep Training….lets see how it goes

Well Thing 2 is at the 6 week mark so we are starting to sleep train.  This is a controversial practice that parents either love the sound of or hate the sound of.  Myself and my hubby are very structured and do everything by routine so for us the Dr Spock method of child rearing suits us very well.  Its funny because when we went to buy the book at the store, my hubby asked the lady for “a book about babies written by a vulcan” lol! she just stared at him.

Dr Spock’s theories and practice are not for the faint hearted.  They require nerves of steal and persistence but I tell you for us they worked a treat.  Essentially Dr Spock is all about structure and discipline from a very young age.  It worked a treat with Thing 1 so we are giving it a go with Thing 2.

First project is sleep training, aka, I feel like the biggest bitch in the world.  The aim of this is to have Thing 2 get used to soothing herself back to sleep if she wakes up during the night.  It also allows for Thing 2 to fall asleep from being awake rather having a baby fall asleep on you and then you carefully having to put baby in the crib without waking it up again.  Before I did this I would hear Thing 1 wake up and run in and pick her up and hold her.  It got exhausting and I realized that she was probably doing it for comfort and the danger of that is it becomes a habit.  This is where I feel like a bitch because, surely its nice to have your child want you for comfort, but when I have to go back to work after next week, I can’t be doing that all night as I will need my sleep.  Dr Spock basically says as long as the child is fed, dry and burped there should not be a reason that the baby cannot soothe itself to sleep.

A lot of people think it is selfish of the parents to do this and Dr Spock got a lot of flack over his methods but for millions of people they have been relied upon for generations.  There really is not right and wrong way and no one practice fits all, as long as the child is loved, safe and well balanced that is all you can ask for.

Basically how we do it is if the baby wakes up and cries, we time 5 minutes. We have a camera in her crib so we can see if there is anything wrong with her.  If after 5 minutes she hasn’t stopped crying then one of us will go in and just stroke her head or the good old stroking down the nose trick.  Some gentle “shhh shhh” noises usually work too.  At first this is the most excruciating thing to do as when you hear the baby cry every bone in your body yells “i want to go hold my baby”  But after a minute or so you can gauge if it is a serious cry or just an “i want attention” cry.  You may have 10 to 15 seconds of silence between sobs, thats when you know she is starting to settle down.  She will usually find her hand and suck on it or cling on to a piece of blanket and she will settle down.

Like I said this is not for the fainthearted and it takes a lot of patience but the results are amazing.  We have been doing this for a week now.  The first 2 nights were a little tough but now she manages to settle herself down 9 times out of 10.  It also means that we do not have to do the Indiana Jones style “statue/bag of sand swaperoo” to put her down in her crib.  She can go in the crib awake and she will fall asleep herself.

Thing 1 caught on to this very quickly and we have fantastic nights with her.  She is also very contented on her own in her room even of she is not asleep.  She will tab a book and just sit and read.

The main battle is the emotional guilt of thinking that your child is in there crying on their own, but here are 2 things that may help with this.  number 1, it is better to do this while they are young and before they can properly understand what is going on and 2, you only leave them 5 minutes.  You may even want to make it shorter than that and then build up if that is what you would prefer.  You will find a way that suits you or you may choose not to do it at all.  I am proud to say that it worked for us and I we are glad we did it.

If you did want to learn more about Dr Spocks method of child rearing, please follow this link.

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