This morning Gavin, my youngest, woke up earlier than usual. At 5:45a.m. to be exact. We had been hearing him complaining from his crib for a while, but the real crying didn’t begin until 5:45 came around. The horrifying part is that my alarm clock is set to go off at 5:55a.m. He robbed me of ten whole minutes which are oh-so-precious to me.
This got me thinking of how different all of my kids have been when it comes to sleep training. Trying to get Gavin to sleep through the night in his crib is not a faraway memory. In fact, he didn’t sleep on his own through the night until he was about 8 months old, he is now 15 months. Now I’m convinced that sleep training has very little to do with the techniques used or parenting skills and more to do with the baby’s personality.
See, Joshua is my oldest, and when he was born he simply refused to sleep in his crib. Refused! I would rock him and feed him until he was fast asleep. Then moving slowly and in my tippy toes I’d walk over to his crib and gently lay him down while holding my breath so as to not cause any movement. The moment his little back touched the sheets he would open his eyes. If left there awake, he would scream in a matter of minutes. So what did we do? We carried him to our bed and he slept with us until he was three years old.
Khloe, my middle child and the princess of the house was independent from the day she was born. She slept in a bassinet next to our bed from the day we brought her home from the hospital. Every three to four hours I would hear her whimper so I’d get up, change her, feed her, swaddle her in her blanky and place her awake back in her bassinet. She would sooth herself back to sleep (without a sound). This little trooper was sleeping through the night at four months and alone in her room by five.
When I was preparing for Gavin’s arrival I would say every time the topic came up that I wouldn’t have a hard time with this, I would just follow everything I did with Khloe. I was so confident, that it is embarrassing to admit. It’s funny how life has a way to humble you. Gavin was a screamer! He cried ALL THE TIME. Day and night. Just like the picture you see above. In part, I’m sure this had something to do with his milk allergies, but the crying was non-stop.
See for yourself:
As he got older he would sleep longer stretches from 10:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. – sometimes 3 – and would wake up screaming. After changing him and feeding him, it would take almost an hour to soothe him back to sleep. It was exhausting and we did this every night for 8 months. To tell you that I don’t know how my marriage survived this is an understatement. The night that he slept through I was so scared thinking something had happened that I snuck into his room to make sure he was breathing.
This confirms my believe that sleep training is more about the baby than techniques. I did everything to try to get Joshua and Gavin to sleep. I read books, blogs, followed tips from other parent, I even put cereal in Joshua milk bottle (gasp!). I bathed them late at night with chamomile soap, with lavender soap, I warmed up their milk, I swaddled them, I un-swaddled then, I let them cry-it-out, I rocked them to sleep, I did everything within my power and nothing worked until they were ready.
I am by far not knocking any technique out there. And if you are going through a rough time with sleep training yourself, please know that I’m 100% behind you in trying to find a solution because I have been that mom in the corner soothing her baby while crying herself. And if it works for you great (honestly), but if it doesn’t I want you to know that you are not alone. I have been in your shoes, and it does get better and you will be able to sleep again. Only with time.
If you have a sleeping technique that has worked for you, write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me about it.