Sleep Training- A need for a more gentle approach

I sleep trained Morris when he was 5 months old by letting him cry and ssshhhh’ing him. He started sleeping 12 hours a night after 3 nights, prior to that he woke hourly.  I felt like an expert on sleep training. I preached how easy sleep training was (apart from listening to the crying) to anyone who would listen. Well guess who just threw in the towel on that method of sleep training? (points finger at self)

baby girl smiling, laying in a dockatot looking to the side (can only see half of her face) wearing a sleep sack having just woke up after failed sleep training attempt
Rose in her Nested Bean Sleep Sack (it has a gentle weight on the chest to simulate a parents touch)

This past week I decided that Rose was ready to sleep through the night. For no other reason than I am very tired of going up to her room numerous times in the evening to stick her pacifer back in her mouth when she wakes up. I don’t actually mind the night feeds. I’m used to them and am able to fall back asleep quickly. Fast forward one week and I no longer consider myself an expert in sleep training.

5 month old light skinned baby girl sitting up next to a teddy bear smiling with her tongue out, wearing a shirt that says "5 months"

Night one

That was torture. Rose screamed (she has quite a set of lungs on her) for 1 hour and 5 minutes. I went in numerous times to sshhhhh and console her, to no avail. She finally fell asleep but woke many times throughout the night. Each time she cried and I shhhhh’ed (I sleep in her room). This went on until 6:30am when I gave up and fed her. Her naps the following day were ok, she cried for maybe 30 minutes each time and then slept well.

Night two

Amazing. After 1 hour of crying Rose fell asleep. She slept until I woke up her at 6am because I heard her poop (she slept right through it). I thought, YES, I did it again, I am a a sleep training expert!

Night three

This is where things started to go downhill.  She fell asleep faster, maybe 45 minutes, but then cried a lot during the night.

Night four

She fell asleep instantly (for my mom, I was out for dinner). Then she again woke up throughout the night and screamed. She seemed very gassy (I’m assuming from swallowing air when she was crying- yep I felt like the worst mom ever!)

Night five and Night six

These nights were horrible. I’ve blocked them from my memory. I cried both mornings from lack of sleep.  I somehow managed to keep the kids alive and entertained, but the details of the weekend are a complete blur (my husband was away at a bachelor party, so that didn’t help the situation).

Night seven

I’m done. I’m researching more gentle approaches. I gave back Rose’s pacifier and am nursing her on demand at night.

5 month old light skinned baby girl smiling with her tongue out, wearing a pink bow on her head and a shirt that says "hunny bunny"

What I learned:

  1. I am clearly not a sleep training expert (to anyone that I preached my “sure way” to get your baby to sleep and it didn’t work, I’m sorry)-this is not to say that it won’t work for you, it may and its definitely worth a try- just don’t be upset if it takes longer or you need a different approach.
  2. Every child is different, what works so easily with one may not work at all for another.
  3. Rose needs a different, likely more gentle approach. I’m working on it.
  4. Sleep deprivation is no joke. Its terrible.
  5. It is VERY helpful to have support when sleep training.  A spouse, friend, family member and/or a sleep consultant.. someone to talk and vent to and bounce ideas of off (especially when the sleep deprivation is at its peak because its hard to think clearly)

If I ever figure out a gentle approach that works for Rose I will write about it. For now I’m open to suggestions so please comment below with any!

a four year old light skinned boy laying on a bed with his 5 month old light skinned sister, he is helping her by putting a pacifier in her mouth


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