There are some very controversial topics when it comes to babies: immunizations, breastfeed vs. bottlefeed, tummy vs. back, the list goes on. But one of the most common topics I see people going back and forth about is sleep training. I mean think about it... from the moment we bring baby home from the hospital, one of the biggest changes in parents' lives is the amount of sleep they will get (or not get). Sleep deprivation is beyond frustrating, and many parents are desperate to find a way to get their sleep schedule back to normal... or at least consistent.
Our family chose to use the Ferber Method (aka "Cry It Out"). We co-slept in the early newborn days. At about two months, Nicole was in her own crib in her own room. But then literally the day she turned 4 months old, we put Ferber in effect! Mama needed her sleep! One of the first changes we made was moving her bedtime up to 7pm. At first I thought it was insane that she'd be ready to sleep for the night that early, especially since it was still sunny outside at that time of the year. But we closed the blinds and curtains and gave it a try, honestly expecting it to fail. That first night, I sat in the room with her, but where she couldn't see me. She cried and cried for about 40 minutes that first night, and it was absolutely heartbreaking! I silently mouthed to her, "Mommy's here," trying to hold back my tears. But at the same time, I was 100% convinced that we were doing the right thing and that it would be for the best for all of us in the long run.
Now I know we were lucky, because some babies go even longer than that in the beginning. So we were grateful that it wasn't too terribly long. Then the next night, we tried it again, and it only took 20 minutes. Then the following night... 15 minutes! Then the fourth night, I decided to just leave the room all-together after putting her down, and it took about 10 minutes for her to fall asleep. And that's pretty much how it went every night after that. It has always taken about 10-15 minutes for her to fall asleep on her own. (Some off-nights it would take longer, but those were little onesie-twosies!) Eventually it happened without crying, but that was just a maturity thing... like when she was able to roll over and play with her feet or something else to entertain herself. I can't really remember exactly when she started sleeping completely through the night; but I was breastfeeding, and I know that I went from nursing twice during the night, to once, and then none before she turned one. And to this day, the girl sleeps like a champ! Even her daytime nap can sometimes be up to three hours!
But hey, that was just our story. Many parents can't stand the sound of their baby crying, and that's totally understandable! And just like any other decision that parents make for their families, whatever works best for their family is the right decision. It's so hard not to compare ourselves to other parents. And n baby is the same as another. All I can say is to be strong in your stance on any issue. You will hear lots of opinions and advice, and sometimes people can make you feel like a horrible parent because you are doing something different than they do. Take a deep breath and shake all that off. As long as your baby is safe and happy, know that you're doing a great job!
Here's a link to an article about different kinds of sleep training methods, for any of you who are currently in this situation: https://www.todaysparent.com/baby/baby-sleep/most-popular-sleep-training-methods-explained/
Share your experiences in sleep training (or not training) with the other readers by commenting below! You never know how what you have to say can help encourage another parent! And if you know someone who could use some help and encouragement with their baby's sleep, feel free to share!
I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas!