Oh my gosh mama, if you’re like me the words “sleep training” came with so much fear, anxiety, and guilt and an automatic “NOT HAPPENING” directed towards my sweet husband. He would loving look at me and just say, “OK, I understand”. I primarily was the one waking up with Vincent during the night so I told him, until I had a problem with it or wanted to stop it should be my choice. If I didn’t mind waking up 2, 3, or 4 times than what was the big deal? Or this one, which Brian has heard more times than I can count, “He can’t talk to us, the only way he can communicate with us is crying… if I don’t answer him he will think we don’t care, are abandoning him, or ignoring his needs”.
Well, mamas, it wasn’t until I started to really notice and see what a toll it was taking on me, on sweet little Vincent, and on our marriage. It is my job to give Vincent the best I can, right? So, after I realized I wasn’t doing that by letting him continue to wake up multiple times a night, I knew it was time. I also was longing for uninterrupted nights with my husband. There were so many times we would put Vincent to bed, have dinner, snuggle on the couch together ready to watch a show or a movie and just as we settled in, Vincent would start screaming and crying. One of us would go up there – usually me first, I would feed him and place him, like a ticking time bomb, into his crib. Then 10 – 20 mins later he would start crying again, Brian would go up, rock him to sleep and do the same thing. Sometimes, this continued over and over … so, yep, our precious time together that we don’t always get, went right out the window.
If you follow me on Instagram, you know how I love Cara from Taking Cara Babies and if you don’t follow her on Instagram – I highly recommend it. After doing my research and reading about the importance of teaching your baby independence and self-soothing, learning about the benefits cognitively for a baby who can fall asleep independently, as well as the importance of restorative sleep for his development, I knew it was time.
Once Vincent turned 8 months, I just knew in my gut it was time. So, I talked with Brian and he was totally on board ((I am sure my loving, sweet, and generous husband was doing an I told you sodance in private)). We purchased the 5-24month course from Taking Cara Babies and were ready to dig in. We watched the videos and got ourselves ready and committed to start this journey with Vincent. Hours before we started Night 1 the panic, fear, regret, and mom-guilt started to flood my body. How can I be so selfish to not want to keep waking up with him in the middle of the night anymore? Is it really that big of a deal? He will eventually learn sleep. He is ONLY 8 months! And the thoughts went on and on.
I had to reframe my thinking. For every negative and guilt-ridden thought that came into my mind, I replaced it with knowledge and research I learned from watching the course and doing my research. I want to give Vincent the best I can. We are doing this to help him develop independence. Babies brains develop so rapidly that they NEED their restorative, uninterrupted sleep to help them grow, Brian and I deserve to have our nights back.
As the hours drew closer to bedtime, I told Vincent over and over how much we loved him. How we knew he was going to do such a great job. That we would be right here with him the whole time. We started our bedtime routine, gave him extra snuggles and kisses and placed him in his crib. Of course, he cried but we were armed with Cara’s plan and followed it step by step. AND Vincent put himself to bed in 40 minutes!! Brian and I did a little happy dance in the kitchen! We continued the plan throughout the night. He woke up twice and both times put himself back to bed!
Night two through four were very similar! Once we got to night five, Vincent was sleeping through the night! The whole night! With no wake ups! Even when we travelled to Chicago he continued to sleep through the night!
As a mama who was SO AGAINST sleep training, it was the best decision we have ever made! It has given Brian and I our nights back, it has given us a sense of relief and calm around bedtime that was never there before. It has allowed us to leave for a date night and a weekend confidently because we knew he would sleep through the night.
If you want to see more about the sleep training check out my highlighted “baby” story on my Instagram!
The Hidden Blessing: Trusting my momtuition and learning to put my fears aside to let Vincent move into the independence that I know he needs developmentally. Understanding and accepting the letting go and letting him grow.