Re: Sleep training?
posted at 4/7/2013 1:05 PM EDT
We all go through this, and it can be rough. Regardless of what the "experts" say, it's important to find an approach that works for your family. I could not bear prolonged periods of crying, so we went with a modified version of a few different methods.
It helped me a lot to make a plan. Make it during the day, when you're clear headed and calm. Involve any partners who will be doing this with you to make sure everyone is on the same page. Having a set plan helped me feel more in control and less likely to make emotional/desperate/exhausted decisions.
For bedtime, it helped me a lot to establish a set routine (bottle, 2 books, 5 minutes of snuggle/singing, into bed), whatever works for you, keeping in mind that it's something you may have to maintain for the long term. Consistency is really important. It will help you feel calm, and help the baby feel secure.
For the crying at bedtime or in the middle of the night, we applied the same thinking. Make a plan, and be consistent. I know that even one minute of crying can feel like forever, but if you have a stopwatch, you can see it as a reasonable, finite period of time for you, and your baby. Again, consistency is key here. To get over the initial hump, I decided, OK, I'll do this for one week and then re-evaluate. Knowing that there was a potential end in sight really helped me get through it.
We also did the method mentioned above, of slowly moving farther from the room, which seemed to work pretty well too.
You don't say how long this has been going on, but keep in mind that at that age, there are a lot of developmental things happening, so it's possible that those things are affecting sleep patterns. Also, soon the baby will start being more mobile, which will definitely help wear her out and encourage better sleeping.
After so many months of thinking of your little one as a fragile little baby, it's can be hard to shift your thinking to see her as a hearty little person, ready for a new phase. She's bigger and stronger, and ready for new things.
I know, it can feel overwhelming. Try to think of it as a transition. You're doing a lot of good things, and you'll figure it out. Hang in there!