Today on Mom Talk I wanted to share my sleep training experience with Luna. At 8 months luna was still waking up on average between every two to three hours at night. I was becoming a grumpy, exhausted human zombie. Just I don't even know how I was getting through my day and doing all that I needed to do and surviving. I was constantly getting grumpy with Lucas and just overall feeling like I was worn so thin. I would look over at Lucas while he was sleeping next to me while I was sitting there feeding Luna and I just wanted to punch him in the face because I was so jealous that he was pretty much sleeping through the night and I was waking up every two hours and it was just exhausting.
THE BREAKING POINT
I finally reached my breaking point and I told Lucas, we need to do something, something needs to change or I'm going to go crazy. I didn't want to do the cry it out method because just the idea of it made me nauseous and my stomach just twist and turn at the idea of having to listen to my daughter cry all night long while I wait for her to just fall back asleep. So I was searching the Internet, looking for alternatives and I tried the pick-up-put-down method. I don't know if any of you know what that is, but essentially you put your baby down to go to sleep. And if they don't go to sleep, you said like lay them back down in their bed. And if they get back up and stand up or if they continue crying, like, sit up. Then you lay them back down. And the whole entire time you're sitting near their crib, you're not looking at them. And I tried that for one naptime, just one. And I never did it again because it was awful. She was sitting there and I could feel her eyes just burrowing into my back, being like, why are you sitting right here? You keep coming and laying me back down. But I know you're there, so just come pick me up. Like, what are you doing, mom?
DO I BUY THE COURSE OR TRIAL AND ERROR?
So at that point, I felt really defeated. And I had found this program online by a woman named Cara, and it was called Taking Cara Babies. A lot of women had recommended it to me, but it was slightly pricey. I think it was $180 for the course, and I was struggling to justify purchasing it. In my mind, because I was like, you know what, Laura? You can do this. You're totally capable of figuring out how to sleep, train your daughter on your own. But when it came down to it, I didn't want to have to spend the time and effort to figure out how to sleep, train my daughter when I could buy a course, watch it for the two to three hours and then know how what steps I needed to take in order to make that happen.
So I purchased it and we went through all of the steps that she laid out in her program. And the first thing was we needed to do because we live in a one-bedroom apartment, Luna needed her own room, so we had to sleep out on the couch. And so we decided to. OK, we're gonna do this. Whatever this looks like for this takes two weeks. Fine. We're gonna make this happen. Two weeks vs. the next, however many months of a lack of sleep is definitely worth it to the both of us. So we picked up all of our stuff, moved out to the couch, and it really took about three nights, three nights.
THE FIRST FEW NIGHTS
The first night she was crying for about two hours and then slept for the rest of the night. The second night it was like 30 minutes and then the third night probably fifteen 5-15 minutes. From the fourth night on, she was pretty much sleeping from the time we put her to bed at 7:00 until about 5 am and that's still pretty much her schedule for the most part. I was amazed.
YOUR CHILD CAN DO IT!
I legitimately thought this probably isn't going to work. Luna has to eat, my mind, I figured, "No, my daughter is just different. She has a fast metabolism like me. She has to eat every two to three hours. That's just what she needs." But obviously, looking back now she is sleeping those 10 hours and she doesn't need to eat. She is completely fine. A happy baby. She hasn't lost weight. She's progressing, hitting all of her milestones. That was my biggest fear. My biggest fear in sleep training Luna was that I was being a terrible mom. I was being selfish. I felt like I should be able to just push through it. It will change. It will get better. But the reality was, is it was getting worse. She at times was able to sleep every three hours. But then there were nights where she would wake up after an hour after I fed her. And I was just like, what is going on?
STOP THE CRUTCH
Luna didn't need that. I was interrupting her sleep. I had trained her to want to wake up every two to three hours to eat, and she didn't need it. One of the things that were told to me in this course that really resonated with me was that sleep is the best gift that you can give yourself and you can give your child. Sleep is necessary for growth and development. And if you are sleeping well. Your relationship with your spouse is going to be better. Your relationship with yourself is going to be better. The same with your child. I mean, your kid needs to be able to sleep and to get that deep REM sleep. And in order to do that and to transition those sleep cycles, they need to be able to put themselves back to sleep without the need of you popping them on your boob or rocking them to sleep. Whatever that looks like right now, whatever crutch you have that is required for them to fall back asleep.
WALK ALONGSIDE YOUR CHILD
The basis of this sleep training method was, first of all, yes, your child will cry. But I found a little bit of comfort in the fact that I wasn't just putting Luna in her room and letting her cry by herself through the night without checking in on her or telling her like it's gonna be okay. I wanted to be a part of this experience with her and show her mama's here still. "You're okay. This is just I know this is uncomfortable and it's a new thing that you're not used to, but we'll work through it together and you're going to be a happier, more well-rested baby in the long run."
So what we would do is she would start crying after five minutes of letting her cry. We would go in. We would just quickly say, it's okay. We're here. You're just going back to sleep. We love you. And then we would leave. We went pick her up. Just acknowledge that we're there. We're here with her. This is something new and we're working through it together. After if she continues crying after ten minutes, go back in and do the same thing. Continues crying after 15 minutes, go back and do the same thing. And then after that, 15-minute intervals just continuing to do that.
YOU AND YOUR PARTNER ARE A TEAM
Without Lucas also on the same page as me, his help and our foundation together saying, "we've got this, we're doing this. It's gonna be OK. We're not terrible parents. We're doing what's best for our child and for us, which ultimately is great for her child." So we had to remind ourselves of that. And the first night, as I said, was difficult because it was two hours crying. Going into the room every fifteen minutes we were going in saying "It's okay. We love you. You're just trying something new. We'll figure it out together. We've got this."
HALLELUJAH I'M SLEEPING!
But now I'm sleeping. She goes to bed at 7. I go to bed usually around 9:00. And she sleeps until 4:30 am. I let her eat. I will feed her at that point. Then she goes back to sleep until 6:00 am. Then she wakes up for her day and we get ready and then take dad to work. But I just want to say, starting sleep training is scary. At least I felt it was scary. I was concerned that I wasn't doing what was best for my daughter. And it took me a long time to get to the place at which I was at my breaking point, which was eight months and I wish I had done it sooner. For our next kid, I definitely plan on implementing these things much sooner and their development probably around 4 months or so. But you are doing a great and wonderful thing for your child by helping them learn how to sleep and helping them get that deep sleep that they need in order to grow and just develop as a child.
If you feel like this course is too expensive for you, which I understand, maybe find if you have other mom friends who are in the same situation as you. Maybe you guys can go in on it together and and that way it's a little bit less expensive, but you still are getting that information. Otherwise, you can also check out her website, www.takingcarababies.com. I went on that and I did quite a bit of research before I decided to invest in the course. And I fully stand beside my purchase, I recommend this to pretty much all moms who are struggling with a lack of sleep or wanting to do sleep training.
THE REWARD IS WORTH THE TEMPORARY DISCOMFORT
I just want to let you know it's temporary and the reward is so much greater than the painful 3 days that it may take or might take a little bit more, it might take a little bit less. But the reward is so much greater than that short period of pain that you might be feeling. And you are doing what's best for you and your child. If your child is past 4 or 5 months and your doctor aren't on any strict feeding schedules. I truly believe that implementing sleep training will be a wonderful thing for both you and your child.