When we decided to sleep train Charlie I felt all sorts of invisible but very present judgement, pressure, preconceived notions….etc. People don’t seem to really fall in the middle on this issue-you either think it is definitely necessary and a gift to your child, or you think there is no way you would ever do it and that it’s unnatural.
Frankly, I did fall in between for a while. I wasn’t sure I wanted to do it but I also didn’t judge other people who did do it-even cry it out didn’t seem wrong to me as long as it was age appropriate and done correctly. I did tons and tons of research. And at any rate, up until Charlie was eight months old I didn’t really feel the need to formally sleep train. Cosleeping was working for us and she would sleep the first half of the night in her pack n play so I could have some baby free time in the living room.
Then, all of a sudden, what was working just…wasn’t anymore. Charlie couldn’t seem to sleep in our room at all. I couldn’t ever tell what she needed-did she need to be rocked? Nursed? Was I reinforcing bad habits? So we took the plunge and did Happy Sleeper. I don’t need to rehash all of it because I wrote about some of it here. Suffice it to say-it worked for us. Big time. I was able to successfully night wean her gradually and without any trauma to either of us and she started sleeping through the night right around the one year mark.
All of this is well and good, but yesterday I was reminded of how much I appreciate sleep training. I put Charlie in bed and she started to fuss, which is sort of unusual for her. Usually she goes down happily and plays with her stuffed animal until she falls asleep. So I left and watched the monitor carefully. Fussing turned to crying, and crying quickly turned to wailing.
Because we sleep trained I KNEW something was wrong. Charlie never cries at night unless something is up. I went back in and swooped her up to sit in the glider. I expected her to want to nurse but she didn’t. She just wanted to be cuddled. She was clutching her stuffed pig and I rocked her and rubbed my hand up and down her back until her breathing slowed and her weight got heavy. After she had been asleep for about five minutes I was able to lay her (and the pig) back in her bed and leave the room.
Tonight she was fine when I put her down. No problems-went to play with Mr. Pig and Big Bird, and eventually settled in to sleep. I don’t know what was up yesterday. It was a MDO day so she could have been having some need for extra momma time. And I never regret an opportunity to rock my baby to sleep. I’m so grateful that we chose to sleep train so that I could have no doubt that rocking my sweet girl to sleep last night was absolutely necessary.