Who trained who?

A few weeks ago after Ingrid cleared her mucus muck we started ‘sleep training’ as she was waking up at least 2-3 times a night (one to feed, the others to just yell).  I was starting to go a little bat-shit crazy as this sleep deprivation was going on 6 months (I count the last few months of pregnancy when my sleep started to wane). Yawn.

As a refresher I read the “sleep associations” chapter of my Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems book.  It was a nice kick in the butt — Hey! you…yes YOU!  YOU ARE YOUR CHILD’S SLEEP PROBLEM.  Ya ya I know (sheepish shrug). Royce and I weren’t doing Ingrid any favors.  Since the girls are sharing a room we have been relatively hyper-responsive to every peep, fart and grunt Ingrid makes.  We swoop in at the mildest of fussing so that she won’t disturb Sydney.  When she would fuss I would either feed her, or we would take her out of the room and put her somewhere else (most likely the swing). It’s hard to know if the grunts she was making were even associated with hunger or waking or if they were just natural sleep cycle sounds. And when we moved her, and she woke again in her new location, she was probably like WTF where am I?!  and then she would start in on the yelling. After some thought I realized we made Syd fuss for a LOT longer than we ever did Ingrid and we rarely removed her from the room. Because of this Sydney was trained to be a good sleeper, and if I wanted the same for Ingrid I needed to do the same. Thankfully Ingrid has always been really good at putting herself to sleep; I put her in the crib awake and typically 10 mins later she is asleep with no fuss. So we didn’t have to train her on getting to sleep — it was more staying asleep (with a side of self soothing).

Now it’s time for a disclaimer; what we did was best for our family and I’m not insinuating at all that this is the best (or only way) to do things. Many many people are vehemently opposed to the cry-it-out (CYO) methods outlined in Ferber’s book. Although I’m not in opposition to CYO (obviously) it’s definitely not something parents should consider until your babe has mid-line awareness (stops the Moro reflex) as this allows them to bring their hands to their mouth (and keep them there) for sucking/soothing. With Ingrid she was probably ready somewhere around 3 to 3.5 months but we didn’t start sleep training til 4.5-months because of the aforementioned cold and we had a Grandma visiting whose sleep we didn’t want to interrupt. Before considering CYO it’s also good for you to know your kids cry and temperament. Ingrid isn’t much of a crier but sometimes she can get really freaked out and worked up — she can’t self soothe herself out of that so it’s not productive to make her.  I guess what I’m saying is take books and methods and use them as a guide not law — do what’s best for you and your baby.

One of my friends who has been having a horrendous time with getting her almost 2-year old to sleep through the night recommended to me that we move Syd out of the room instead of moving Ingrid.  I thought this over and it made sense.  If we moved Ingrid into the spare bedroom in a pack-n-play it’s hard to tell if she would wake because she was 1) hungry 2) didn’t know where she was or 3) didn’t find the pack-n-play comfortable.  We thought about moving her crib to the spare room (although that would require us to completely dismantle the thing) but when we moved it back into the room with Syd we still may have problems because it would be a new room.  In the end we chose to move Syd into the spare bedroom where we have the full-sized bed. We were a bit nervous how it would go with Syd but she did great! We made it familiar by bringing in all her blankets and animals, fun by laying in bed together for story time, and safe by putting chairs on the side of the bed to prevent falls.

And then we turned off the monitor and let Ingrid cry a bit before jumping in to help.

And guess what…it only took two nights…and a few non-feeding interventions…and she is now going from 8p-6:30a (for the most part) without fuss.

She typically only wakes now if she flips over onto her belly — man she gets PISSED — so we go in and help sooth her back down and put her back on her back. Syd has also slept a few nights in with Ingrid, although she sometimes still requests to sleep in the “big bed so little sister won’t wake me up”…this is usually after a night were Ingrid was fussing. Although moving Sydney out of the room worked for us; I think this is really child (Sydney is quite adaptable) and house dependent (Royce recently replaced all our flimsy hollow doors with solid core doors so the rooms are really quiet even though they are right next to each other).

It’s hard to tell who trained who in this situation.  I think turning off the monitor and not hyper-reacting to every movement Ingrid made in order to save Syd’s sleep helped us…and I think letting her soothe her self a bit has helped her too!  And of course this amazing thing called 8-hours of un-interrupted sleep is really helping Mama!


  1. Glad she’s finally sleeping well for you! I had that same realization with Naomi around 4 months — that I was the problem and not her. Our “sleep training” only lasted 1-2 days also before she was sleeping reliably by herself for 11-12 hours at a time! I know lots of people are super anti-CYO but I seriously don’t get that. If baby’s temperament is ok for it (and most, though admittedly not all, are) and they’re old enough, CYO only lasts a couple of days and you buy yourself YEARS of good sleep!

    Congrats on making it there!

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