Yes, we finally enlisted. Since Cooper never grew out of the Wake Up Every Three Hours Nighttime Extravaganza expected in infancy and appalling in near toddlerhood, sleep training was the next step. We’ve had big plans for sleep training ever since Cooper was six months old but there was always something. For example, I am still nursing, which was always such an unknown since I can’t see how much was consumed and I constantly worried if he was hungry. Then, we were fighting a constant case of eczema and cradle cap, which is notorious for waking little people and driving them crazy with all the itchiness (same applies to adults). Then, we discovered a milk sensitivity, which ruled out many types of formula and further delayed any plans for weaning. And when we tasted a little freedom once daycare started, the parade of sickness started, which always led to another ear infection. Which led to antibiotics. Which led to a decreased appetite and frequent messy diapers. Which made me sympathetic to his needs for comfort and extra feedings. Rinse and repeat.
There were sporadic stretches of good nights where Cooper would only wake up once and we thought that perhaps Cooper would just figure it out on his own. Alas, things would just get a little worse. In the last six weeks, things deteriorated so much that we expected to have to put him back to sleep within just one hour of being put to bed supposedly for the night. Once his first wakeup occurred, I could expect to be beckoned every 2-3 hours until he was up for the day at 7am. More recently, we were even having trouble getting him down for a nap. Oh, he’d fall asleep just fine in our arms but would immediately wake up as we slowly started the descent into his crib’s airspace. Yet, daycare claimed that he went to sleep beautifully on his own in a crib, with no feeding or rocking, and stayed asleep for at least 1.5 hours for each nap. I was willing to try this voodoo at home.
Last week, after several days of failed naps and waking every 2 hours during the night and most annoying of all, waking up only ten minutes after bedtime, Mike was willing to start the terribly-named Cry-It-Out method. We had done the same thing with Maxon when he was 6.5 months old with little trouble and beautiful results. After an hour of checking on him if he was still crying, Cooper finally laid himself down and went to sleep. He woke up a couple of times during the night but always laid back down and went back to sleep within minutes. We did the same thing for his first nap the next day and after only a few minutes of crying, he went to sleep for 2 hours! Since then, I have not nursed him before his nap and I have made sure that he didn’t fall all the way asleep during his bedtime nursing and to put him in his crib drowsy and calm but still awake. He still protested as I left the room but it never lasted more than a few minutes before he calmed down, rolled over on his belly, and went to sleep. Last night he didn’t even make a peep when I left the room.
This is still a work in progress. For instance, yesterday he protested both naps by booting all of his friends out of the crib before giving up and going to sleep. He still gets up once a night to nurse, which I’m willing to accept for now. One battle at a time!