Sleep Training Fail

March 10, 2015

I've had many parents tell me about sleep training and how it will be very important for both the child and parent. I've never read any books about it, but I did do a little research online to get a better idea. Before Erin was here, I told myself that sleep training would be a must and that I'd accept nothing less. That was definitely easier said than done. I will admit, I am a sleep training failure. Here's a little of what my successes and failures looked like in the last 18 months.
  • Erin at 3 months - She started sleeping in her own room. At this age, I still nursed her to sleep. She slept in her crib and still woke up at least 2-3 times a night for a feeding, but because she wasn't eating enough during the day, I welcomed the night wakings. So no sleep training at this point.
  • Erin at 6 months - We attempted sleep training. Erin wouldn't fall asleep nursing as often at this age so on those off days we'd sleep train. We let her cry it out, but it only ended up lasting a mere 10-15 minutes. After just a few days, she wasn't crying at all and was falling asleep on her own. Success! I was relieved that my little baby didn't end up crying for hours before falling asleep and that the training didn't take long at all. She'd have a couple of nights of regressing and sleeping in our bed, but in general, she self soothed and slept well in her own room. (Still was still waking up at least once for a feeding during the night).
  • Erin at 9 months - Regression. Erin hit a regression and wasn't sleeping well anymore. We tried sleep training again (sleep train again?! what the what?!). She'd cry and cry and it'd break my heart to see her sweating and crying out for us. She'd go on for over an hour, probably cry for several hours if we didn't go in. I couldn't bear to hear her crying, so she made her way back in our bed. Having her sleep with us was a bit of a pain/challenge in the beginning. Homegirl takes up A LOT of room and she moves ALL over the place. It took some getting used to, but after a while, I loved having her sleep with us. I actually welcomed it. (She was still waking up at least once for a feeding during the night).
  • Erin at 12 months - By some miracle, Erin was back to self soothing and sleeping on her own. Oh, and finally sleeping through the night! No sleep training here. She just did it herself. Whatever the reason might have been, Ken and I were just happy to be getting a full nights rest, finally. Wweeeee! (No more night feedings).
  • Erin at 14.5 months - The full nights rest didn't last very long. Erin hit yet another regression. This one was a doozy. This regression was the worst of what we've seen so far. With her being older came more of a stubbornness. We attempted to sleep train her again, but had no success. There were a lot of rough nights with night wakings and she'd want to stay awake, showing absolutely no signs of tiredness. (Ex., She'd wake up at 12am and wouldn't fall back asleep till 2am).
  • Erin at 18 months and current - She won't fall asleep unless someone is in the room with her. So Ken and I just sit next to her crib till she falls asleep. Sometimes it'll take a few minutes and other times it can take up to 30 minutes. I guess we had this coming right? Erin will start off sleeping in her room and may sleep through the night or she'll wake up and end up in our bed. Talk about inconsistent. But, on the bright side, her daytime naps have been consistently good since birth. She rarely puts up a fight during her naps.

So to sum it all up, we've had more sleep training failures than successes. Sleep training requires 100% commitment and both Ken and I were halfheartedly doing it (you'll need to re-sleep train after each regression, not.kool). It really requires you to throw away sleep for a handful of days and I just didn't have the heart, time or energy. A few of the reasons being: A) felt bad for my neighbors; B) felt bad for Erin; C) too lazy and tired because of work; and D) didn't mind having Erin in our bed. 

I guess our "sleep training" approach was more of a: let things happen naturally and lets do what we can so we all can get some rest? Maybe because Erin's a girl and we didn't want to be too tough with her has something to do with it? Maybe we'll sleep train again? Who knows. All of this has been a learning experience. I learned a lot about regressions and why babies have them. I learned that kids are all so different so there isn't just one way to do things. I ended up enjoying co-sleeping more than I had expected.  I learned that there is no such thing as consistency when it comes to my daughter's sleep. Her sleep in a month literally looks something like this:

There are definitely more bad days than good. But I realized that some babies just love sleep and are great sleepers, while others just don't sleep much at all. There's no real wrong or right way and I've learned that as a parent, you really are the one that knows what's best for your child. I just hope that all this will help pave better or more effective decisions with my future kids.

A picture from one of her good days. She just recently started sleeping on her stomach.

Oh, and much as I love having Erin in our bed, I hope it's something Erin will grow out of (hopefully she'll start getting annoyed of daddy's snoring). But, how can we say no to this face??


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