Sleep Training: How and why I made the jump from never to maybe to we did it!

Sleeping Baby

Sleeeeeeeeeeeeeep. It’s a wonderful thing, isn’t it? Only thing is, you don’t realize how wonderful until you’re missing it.

And I’m not talking, oh, it’s been such a busy week at work. I can’t wait until the weekend to catch up on a little shut eye. No, I’m talking, so my baby is six months old and I need two hands to count the number of times she’s waking at night. Every night. (I love you, sweetheart, but I don’t need you to wake up to remind me how much!)

If you’re unlike me, you’ve got what us parents commonly call a “good sleeper”. (Not a fan of the term but that’s a whole other post ;)) Basically, a baby who sleeps a decent amount, naps well and knows how to fall on his or her own. Or maybe you’d watched family or friends struggle with a not-so-good sleeper and knew what you might be in for. Either way, you, my friends, are the lucky ones.

If you’re like me, you went into this whole parenting thing assuming that sleep was a given. The amount may vary, but everyone knows how to fall, right?

WRONG!

Now let me take a minute here to explain a little about my original parenting philosophy – that dreamy idea you have in your pre-baby mind about what you will and won’t do once little one arrives.

Ya, so, before S was born last summer I believed pretty strongly in giving her complete freedom to grow and explore life at her own pace. I didn’t really believe in setting firm rules, pushing development or pointing her in any particular direction. I also didn’t believe in crying. Yup, you’re right – sleep training was a definite no go!

So when presented with a tired, unhappy little one looking up at me from her bassinet, fighting bedtime like it’s enemy number one, you wouldn’t exactly say the ideas were free flowing.

Fast forward through a half dozen months and a downward spiral towards sleep dependency and you’re aboooooout where we were a week ago: tired, frustrated and in need of a change!

Throughout S’s life, I’d periodically loosened my self imposed Google ban long enough to read up on a few things, sleep being one of them. To date, I’ve read about the Great “Cry It Out” Debate, the Ferber method, the leave and check method, when to sleep train, how to sleep train, why and why not to sleep train… You name it, I’ve read it!

Despite the oodles and oodles of articles I’d devoured, nothing struck me as right for our family – until last week.

If you ask Adrian, he’ll tell you I’m a bit of a sucker for a well presented, logical solution to an every day problem. Well, The Sleep Sense program was just that! (No, don’t worry – this isn’t a sponsored post :))

I’ll be honest. I wasn’t too hopeful when I sat down to read about it, but I did my darnedest to keep a sliver of my mind open. We were desperate!

As I began reading, I felt myself relax just a little. Then a little more and a little more. Hmm, maybe this could work.

Because I was still apprehensive about anything remotely related to the topic and to allowing S to cry, I did a little experimenting on my own throughout the week, gradually stretching S’s capabilities around getting to and staying asleep on her own. By Friday, I was ready to give things a shot for real.

As I type this, it’s Sunday afternoon. We’ve been following The Sleep Sense chair method for the last 48 hours and honestly, I feel like life has changed. S is getting more sleep and for the first time in months I’ve been free to do a few chores and – gasp – have a little time to myself throughout the day. Adrian and I have also enjoyed evenings together.

In the end, (can you call 48 hours the end?) Sleep Sense has provided our family with a fresh new way to look at sleep training, many more hours of sleep, a happier, better rested little lady and a new outlook for the future. Man, am I grateful!

Suffice it to say I’ll be writing more about this sleep stuff over the next few weeks, including my new and improved take on the term “sleep training”, a detailed account of our experience and an update on how things are going so keep an eye out!

Now we’d like to know, what are your thoughts on sleep training? Have they changed since becoming a parent? Have you tried it? Let us know in the comments below.