Friday, March 11, 2011

sleep training: the good, the bad and the ugly

Warning: loaded topic ahead. I know many people have very strong feelings about sleep training. I'm not even going to pretend that I know what I'm doing, let alone try to sounds like an expert. I'm merely sharing my thoughts here and I'm very happy to hear your thoughts and suggestions. I personally believe that every family has to do what feels best for them.

Baby Jacob has spoiled his parents. He's been a wonderful sleeper from Day #1. For the most part though, he nurses to sleep. It wasn't something we planned on; he just tends to fall asleep while having his last feeding of the evening. Now we're working on teaching him to go into his crib awake before naps and bedtime and fall asleep on his own. We've only just begun the process, but here are a few of my initial observations.

The good:
  • Success. When it works, it feels amazing. He might fuss or cry for a few minutes, but then he lays his little head down for some much-needed rest. It's such a relief for me, knowing he's comfortable and satisfied.
  • Sleep. Getting to sleep isn't always the perfect process, but once he's in dreamland, Jacob is a pro. Other than disruptions from teething pain or hunger, he rarely wakes during naps or night sleeps.
  • Smiles. Seeing his sweet face look up at me from his crib, completely rested, has got to be one of my favourite moments of the day.

The bad:
  • Fear. Jacob absolutely loves his room. He always gets a smile on his face when he's in there, playing on the floor, getting his diaper changed or reading books in his chair. I worry that being upset before falling asleep will make him feel differently about his bed and his nursery. I don't want him to fear or resent the space he loves so much.
  • Second guessing. Are we doing it right? When it works, it feels amazing. When it doesn't work (read: I cave), it feels awful. There are SO many theories out there about how to sleep train. Everyone you ask has a different opinion. I have to work on trusting instincts.
The ugly:
  • The video monitor. While this handy little device has its upsides, being able to see my boy when he wakes up and cries makes sleep training about a million times harder. I can't bare to see him in distress (read: sometimes I cave).
What do you think? What worked for you or someone you know?

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