I can't think of a torture worse than sleep deprivation. Ok, maybe I can. but a lack of sleep is no joke. Don't believe me? Try it, I dare you. Well, Octavian decided to have a serious sleep regression and onset of separation anxiety a little over two weeks ago. He decided that he would not fall asleep at night or for naps unless he was rocked and nursed into a deep sleep. Sometimes this took over an hour. He also thought it would be fun to wake up a little after midnight like he always would, but rather than go back to sleep in his crib after nursing, he would cry hysterically when I would try to set him down. This little song and dance to get him back in his crib took hours. HOURS. Every single night. Finally, after more than 4 hours one night trying to get my sweet child back in his crib so that we could both go back to sleep, I decided I couldn't do this anymore. He would not co-sleep and so my only option was sleep training. I was a miserable mess during the day. My eye balls were sand paper, my skin hurt to touch, I had no appetite yet I wanted to eat everything (sugar!), I cried and cried over any and everything, and my patience flew out the window. It was not healthy for my child to see his mother this way. And while I tried to pull myself together, sometimes it was too much. And I wasn't the only one suffering. Octavian needed better sleep too. He is walking and learning more and more each day. The kid needs sleep. Not crap sleep, he needs quality sleep. His little brain is working overtime and it's my job to make sure he is getting the sleep he needs.
(side note- this morning when I asked him, "Octavian, where is your yellow ball? Can you bring mommy your yellow ball?" He went to his yellow ball and picked it up! You guys, this is HUGE!!! such a proud moment)
Anyway, sleep training. We decided to follow The Sleep Easy Solution. In a nutshell- checks are at 5, 10, and 15 minute intervals. He goes into his crib awake, but sleepy. Also, no more night nursing! NO MORE. He is a year old (in two days) and he does not need to nurse 1-3 times in the middle of the night anymore. Aaron was in charge of checks. Once I put him in his crib he would not see me (unless something was wrong) until the next morning.
The first night- He knew something was going on so he didn't nurse before bed. I tried and tried, but he just wouldn't do it. So, books were read, kisses were given and into his crib he went. It was 808pm. He cried for about 15 minutes. Aaron did the 5 minute check, and the 10 minute check. He fell asleep after. I tried to do a dream feed at 11pm. no luck. again at 12am. no luck. so, finally, again at 3am. nope. He woke up at 730am. Just over 11 hours of solid sleep! It was a miracle. Although I didn't sleep more than a couple hours (that's the thing with sleep deprivation. you get too tired to sleep), I know I would be getting some soon if we kept this up.
Second night- In bed by 809pm. Thankfully this time he nursed for a couple minutes! He fell asleep right after the 5 minute check. He did wake up at 4am and fussed for about 10 minutes, but it did not require checks to calm him. He woke up at 734am! I slept from 930pm-730am. I did not get out of bed once. First time I got that much sleep since before Octavian was born.
The third night- In bed by 8:12pm. He was really anxious all through bathtime and bedtime routine, but he did nurse! He let out a loud sob when I put him in his crib, but that was it. He woke up at 420am fussing and then he started crying. Aaron did one check which calmed him down. He fell asleep after about an hour. This is not unusual. Often in the past, during regressions, he would wake up and roll around for up to an hour. This is actually what started a lot of the night feeding. To get him back to sleep faster I would just go in and nurse him. He woke up at 804am and I rushed in to get him up before he fell back to sleep again. Letting him sleep any later would guarantee a crazy day trying to get him his two naps and into bed by 8ish.
So, there you have it. I will save nap training for another day- it's been a bit more challenging.
Overall, I am so happy we decided to re-visit sleep training. I was so worried he would cry for hours and hours. I am so thankful that wasn't the case! I'm starting to feel human again and Octavian has also been one happy boy!
So, tell me, have you sleep trained? What was your experience?