If you told me a year ago that I would resort to sleep training I would call you a liar to your face. Then slap it too. How dare you utter those words. I don’t think so Susan! Not in this house.
I was the absolute LAST person who would even think of trying sleep training purely because my heart just can’t deal hearing my kids cry for me and I can’t pick them up.
When you reach a certain level of sleep deprivation, you become sort of desperate and you then start considering things that would normally go against your every belief.
Look, I’ve heard of many success stories, but many failures too. Each person has their own 2 cents, methods, opinions etc. So I chatted to many moms who have tried it, researched different methods to the ends of the earth and we finally settled on Gentle Sleep Training. I for one would never try or recommend the Crying-It-Out method… it goes against all logical reasoning with regards to your baby’s emotional well-being! (In my opinion)
We did not follow all the guidelines to the T, but we discussed and settled on our own version and I can proudly say that we succeeded. From the day the Trips were born, we agreed on never rocking our babies to sleep. Out of experience with my eldest, it’s a natural instinct to rock your baby. Well meaning also. But it can also be the straw that breaks the camels back. Literally.
I remember rocking Teenager to sleep for at least an hour every night when she was a baby. It became the norm as she couldn’t fall asleep on her own as she was now used to it. She is almost 15 now and the irreversible damage I have done to my neck, shoulders & back has been immense. I still suffer from random muscle spasms if I don’t regularly go for physio sessions. You see, hindsight is a wonderful thing… We teach our kids these bad habits then bitch & moan when we can’t get them out of it. We are our own worst enemies.
Getting back to trying gentle sleep training..
It literally took us 3 nights. THREE. And the Trips were into their new bedtime routine. Crazy right?! So, if you’d like to know what we did, here’s my step by step guide to our Gentle Sleep Training success.
Just for reference purposes, our previous normal bedtime routine entailed the following:
19:00 – Bathtime
19:40 – We (Hubs, Teenager & myself) would each take a Triplet, cuddle with them on the couch whilst giving them their bottle and they would fall asleep in our arms. Once they were fully asleep (around 20 – 30 minutes later), we would put them in bed.
19:00 – Bathtime
19:40 – I say “It’s bedtime” and they follow me to their bedroom, we put them in their Sleep Sense sleeping bags, into bed with their blankies & bottle, and I sit on the floor in the middle of their room reading a bedtime story, say a prayer, say goodnight to each baby and turn the lights out.
Night 1 (Monday. Sidenote: Why is it that we feel so brave on Mondays to start new things… diets, new habits etc)
Followed new bedtime routine, left nightlight on dim, said goodnight and walked out of the room and sat in the lounge (This was my biggest mistake)
These poor babies balled their eyes out. 15 Minutes in and I caved when I saw my littlest Triplet sitting in the corner of his cot sobbing his little heart out. So we each picked up a baby and went back to the old bedtime routine for the night. My heart just couldn’t deal.
Night 1 (again, as the first night 1 was a failure)
Followed the new bedtime routine, but sat on a chair in the middle of the room after I turned the light off. Whenever the crying got a bit much, I would sing a lullabye (maybe that’s why they were crying… for me to stop). In between that I would softly & gently reassure them that I was there and that it was sleepy time. Only 55 minutes of intermittent crying and they were fast asleep.
Followed the new bedtime routine, still seated on chair against their cupboards, turned the light off. Sang another lullabye or 2, still gently reassured, but not as much as the previous night. Only 15 minutes of intermittent crying and they were fast asleep.
Followed the new bedtime routine, but this time, I sat on a pillow on the floor against their cupboard, no singing or reassuring, just silent. Only one of our Triplets whined around 3 times and within 10-15 minutes, they were fast asleep.
Night 4 – 5
Followed the new bedtime routine, still seated on a pillow on the floor against their cupboard, silent. Fast asleep within 10 minutes
Followed the new bedtime routine, only this time I told them that I was going to sit in the lounge with daddy and I walked out of the room after saying good night. 10 minutes, fast asleep.
And since then it has been a breeze putting our little angels to bed every night. Is it for everybody? Probably not. Will it be as easy as I make it out to be? Might not. But it sure has made a huge difference in our lives in such a short time!
The only advice I can give is to make sure that everyone in your team is ready to make the change. Never forget, they are still your little babies, so be gentle Mama. On yourself and on them. If it doesn’t work the first time round, wait a couple of weeks and try again.
Next challenge: Getting the Trips to sleep through the night.
I’m still a bit emotionally scarred following the first 2 nights of sleep training, think this one can wait for summer.
Challenge accepted (but postponed).
In the the words of Christina Perri – “I’m only human”
Peace out Mamas