Since Bruce was born, on and off, we bed share. Which is exactly what it sounds like, he sleeps in bed with us. No Dock a Tot, no bedside bassinet, no. (I see you Judgmental Jenny! Fuck outta here!) It made night feedings easier, I loved feeling his little toes on my belly and I liked to hear him breathing. Now that he is 8 months old, and very mobile, sleeping with him is not as fun. I wake up with his ass in my face all the time or he’ll kick my husband in the kidneys. He’s an early bird, so he’s up around 7am everyday and he likes to wake us up with a nice hair pull or head smack. So I decided to sleep train him this week. I hate it.
We first tried to sleep train Bruce when he was about 4 months old. But both Bruce and I weren’t ready. I cried. (I have learned that motherhood consist of a lot of crying and other unexplained outbursts of emotions.) We tried for about 2 hours and I completely caved. It was too heartbreaking. I wanted to hold him and rock him to sleep. Then we tried when he was 6 months old and again he wasn’t ready. I knew what to expect so I felt like I was more prepared but it was still hard and I held him until he fell asleep. I wish that I didn’t let outside thoughts and opinions force me into trying to sleep train him when I knew we weren’t ready.
If there is any advice I would hope you take from me it would be to trust your own instincts. Listen to YOUR gut (not Sally's or whothefuckever has an opinion). If you’re unsure, of course ask for help, but if it doesn’t sit well with you, don’t do it. The best thing about advice is that you don’t have to listen to it.
Now here we are. Bruce will be 9 months in about 2 weeks. We can’t sleep with him in our bed anymore. So I started our sleep training journey. I wanted to wait for the weekend so that the screams of a baby wouldn’t bother our neighbors too much. I made sure we continued with the usual bedtime routine. I nursed him for the last time that night. He was dozing off so it was time to put him in his bed. He was still awake when I laid him down and as soon as he felt me lowering him, he clung on to me and started to scream. I kissed him, said goodnight, and walked out. It’s so hard to listen to him screaming. I was so sad. I sat outside his door and listened to him.
Now, there are a few ways to help baby soothe themselves to sleep. The previous times we tried to sleep train Bruce we used the modified Ferber method. Checking in on him every few minutes, but Bruce caught on to that. He’s a stubborn boy. (I have no fucking clue where he gets that trait from…) So this time around, I had to shut the door and walk away. He cried for a while. It was getting hard for me but I could hear him getting tired. But I couldn’t handle it so I went into his room. I got into the bed with him and nursed him again and we talked for a while. He got distracted with a little bear in his crib so I snuck out. He cried for about 8 minutes and he was out after that! After a while I got curious so I made the mistake of peeking into his room. I swear, it was a scene from a horror movie. I turned my phone flash light on and shined it at Bruce. He was sitting straight up, with his back to the door, hunched over. He didn’t even move when I flashed the light on him. WHAT THE FUCK. I was so creeped out. I asked Tyler to go check on him. When he went in, he said Bruce was sitting up but he turned to face the door. He had his eyes open but he wasn’t moving. It was so fucking scary you guys. I swear I thought he was possessed. I guess he eventually fell over and passed out.
It was so bittersweet to have him sleeping in his own bed. Obviously I was so stoked to be able to stretch the fuck out in my bed, but I missed him. I woke up a few times looking for him. But we kept at it for a week. Same bedtime routine every night; dinner, a little playtime, a bath, read some books, and the last nursing session for the night, then bed. I keep a bluetooth speaker in his room and I play his favorite sleepy time music. He still whines a little bit but he’s usually out in about a minute or two. He sleeps a good 10 or 11 hours and he wakes between 6-7a everyday. Now if only we could get nap time down...
So that’s how sleep training worked for us. It’s not for everyone, or the faint of heart. It’s hard to hear your baby cry. Would I recommend it? I don’t know. To each his own honestly. What works for me, might not work for you. But to all you mommies who are trying it, good luck!