17 January 2013

Sleep Training

We've been sleep-training our youngest pup, L., for the past week.

It was tough on me, at first. Even though L is a year old, I have always nursed him to sleep in the living room, enjoying that quiet time together, all snuggled up on the couch. And having to give that up was harder on me than it was on him, I imagine.

But it was due time.

The first few nights were trying on me. I nursed him in the semi-dark, hugged him while we rocked for a minute, and then laid him down in the crib. I told him over and over how much I loved him, how I would see him in the morning. And then I would leave.

And he would stand up at the side of the crib ... and cry. Loud, heart-wrenching cries. And I let him.

The first night it was five minute intervals. And then I would go in, calm him down, kiss him again, and leave. More crying. Until, after 25 minutes, he figured it out for the night. The second night, I upped it to ten minutes in between trips in to calm him. By the third night, I decided to wait almost 15 minutes before going in to comfort him -- and surprise!! Before that point, he calmed himself down and fell asleep.

The fourth night was the same.

By the fifth night?! I laid him down, he looked at me as I left ... and nothing.

Not a peep. No whimpers. No little fusses. No calling out for Mama. Nothing. He had figured it out! Which was definitely a lot less taxing on my heart strings. It didn't make me miss those snuggles any less ... but at least I didn't feel guilty for letting him cry alone in the other room!

Now -- it hasn't helped him sleep through the night. And I anticipated that. It didn't with our oldest, either. That doesn't usually come, in this house, until the kids are weaned. In fact, its had an opposite effect of sorts. It seems that L is testing me to see if I'll really come to his aid when he calls out, and has been waking up every one to two hours the past few nights.

He's also cutting molars ... so that could be our culprit. But alas. I've never been one for sleeping a whole lot. So I'm still functioning quite well.

But at least my boy is "sleep trained" -- and has figured out how to put himself to sleep at night. It makes a routine around here a lot more fluid.

Who else has a fairy tale to tell about their sleep training experience? Any horror stories?!


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