I don’t think we’ve ever talked about this before, but it’s been on my mind because a friend and I have been discussing: What has been your approach to helping your baby learn to sleep? If you followed a program or method, what did you try and how did you like it? If you’ve done different approaches with different children, how did you pick?
For my own $.02, when my eldest was born there was a lot in the media about “cry it out” routines, including a book that encouraged parents to start at about nine weeks. J was older than that, but not by much when we tried it one evening. We put him in his crib at the appropriate time, after the usual nighttime routine, and then left the room.
He screamed at the top of his lungs for HOURS.
You could not PAY me to scream this hard, or this long.
My husband and I were both horrified and shell-shocked (and we STILL ended up going in there that night, and nothing ever came of it).
He’s turned out OK for now (at least, he hasn’t stabbed us in our sleep yet) and obviously has no memory of this fateful evening, but wow.
After that, we only stuck with gentler routines for both boys, which involved a lot of back-rubbing and white noise machines and blackout shades… When they were the most sleep deprived and refused to nap we would take them on long walks in their stroller, or on aimless drives in their car seat. In fact, in my opinion, consistent and good quality naps were the biggest factor on how well the nighttime sleep went.
Which isn’t to say that the boys’ sleep was always great — both have had looong struggles with it, and I can’t tell you how many “sleep diaries” I’ve started on my iPhone. I’d say everything got a lot better for both boys around age 5, but ohhhhh… it was a long road.
Readers, how about you — did you try a specific method for sleep training? Who are your favorite authors or other resources on this subject?
Psst: Stay tuned for a roundup of some of our favorite sleep-related products for babies, toddlers and kids!
Stock photo via Stencil.