Archive | Milestones RSS feed for this section

The ‘Dreaded’ Sleep Training and How We Did It

29 Dec

merry christmas and happy new year!

unlike last year’s christmas, which we spent at mt. sinai hospital getting phototherapy treatment for miss ej, this year’s christmas was… just perfect!

we spent christmas day at my in-laws with 10+ relatives, eating loads of food and drinking merrily. miss ej usually finds difficulty adjusting to a new environment/house. the last time we went to my in-laws, miss ej cried for hours, non-stop. surprisingly, this time around, she was an angel. she spent hours chasing after their 2 cats, which are the apples of my father-in-law’s eyes. she even tried to use one of the cats as a pillow, putting her head down on the cat’s prone body. she must have ran/walked around the house at least 20 times.

i’m allergic to cats and i was worried that miss ej would be too, but she wasn’t and she loved them! i’m worried that when she grows up, she will ask to own a cat one day. i was also worried for her sleep because she usually needs our bed in order to fall asleep and she has a hard time falling asleep when there are a lot of people or noise. so, i didn’t even bother to try putting her to sleep, even when she showed signs of fatigue. however, her dad, without even consulting me, took miss ej to her grandfather’s bed and tried to put her to sleep. eventually, i lied down with them, not believing that she would actually fall asleep. however, to my surprise, 15 minutes later, miss ej was deep asleep. it was unbelievable! 🙂

we came home really late and although miss ej awoke from her deep sleep, she didn’t shed a single tear, said goodbye to her grandparents and then sat in her carseat quietly, all the way home. i ended up falling asleep because she was so quiet.

speaking of sleep, a couple of weeks ago, my husband and i decided to ‘try’ sleep training miss ej. as i have mentioned in a previous post, miss ej has been co-sleeping with us ever since she was 4-5 months old. now that she’s a year old, we knew sleep training her wouldn’t be so easy, so we decided to try it out during my husband’s 1 week vacation, which is this week. we were dreading the day. ideally, we wanted to start from monday, but things got busy that we forgot. then, wednesday came along and i felt the pressure… i felt like it was going to be now or never. when i discussed my concerns to mr. jq, he felt the same way and all of a sudden, we were extremely fearful and anxious. ok, we were scared to our wit’s end!

we must have discussed a million pros and cons. the good outweighing the bad. the bad outweighing the good. we thought about every possible scenario and examples of other kids. i purposely didn’t go to google search because i knew it will only make me more confused. finally, the decision was made. thank god for my husband who possesses the ability to make a decision (more often good than bad). so we decided to start sleep training and we chose the most debatable ‘cry it out’ (CIO) method, which is also known for its cruelty.

for those who do not know CIO, this is the method we used;

1. bed time routine – bath, read a book, pray together, hug, kiss and say good night and we love you.

2. put the baby in the crib and leave the room. the baby will cry – miss ej cried hard (as hard as she could).

3. you let your baby cry (it out) for about 5 minutes – miss ej wailed.

4. after 5 minutes, go to your baby, say comforting words (without making it sound sad or guilty) and without picking up the baby – miss ej wanted to be picked up and she cried so much that she was shaking a bit. it was incredibly hard to witness and i also cried a bit. i know i wasn’t supposed to show any sadness or guilt, but i ended up putting my face against her crib so that she can touch my face with her fingers. she poked and stroked my face, begging me to hold her. i told her i was sorry and i love her but it’s her bed time and she needs to go to sleep. i repeated those words many times before leaving the room. it was the toughest thing i ever had to do.

5. leave after a couple of minutes. the baby will continue to cry or cry harder because you left again – i stayed with her for about 3 minutes and then left the room. yes, she screamed and cried the whole time.

6. this time, go to your baby after 10 minutes and repeat stage 4 (for each subsequent time, add 10 mins and stay with your baby a little less each time) – i didn’t have nerve to go through it again, so this time, my husband went and did what he had to do. i don’t honestly know what he actually did and i didn’t want to know. mr. jq stayed with her for a minute or so. he left fairly quick and she continued to cry hard.

we repeated stage 6 once. we waited about 2 minutes and we noticed that miss ej’s cries became weaker and in 5 minutes or so it died down. i urged my husband to go in and check but he waited until 20 minutes were up and went to see miss ej. apparently, she was trembling a little and sniffling as she was falling asleep. all in all, she was asleep.

sleep training day 1 was successful and it surpassed my expectations by far. i was thinking it would take hours and i would experience continual wake up cries, but it only took less than 30 minutes and she got up only twice, once at 4 am and once around 7 am. at 4 am, she was standing up in her crib, so i held her for a couple of seconds and put her back in her crib. she didn’t cry or get up. she went to sleep right away. at 7 am, my husband simply looked at her as she was lying down and was still sleeping. at 8:30 am, miss ej got up, cried for us and we all got up and had breakfast.

my husband’s and my biggest fear with this method was the damage it might cause (if any) to a baby. would she feel abandoned? will she develop some kind of phobia? will she hate us? will she develop high blood pressure for crying so hard? would it affect her heart as her heart rate will increase for a long period of time?

maybe it did cause some of these things. we don’t know as we have no way of gauging it, but we decided to observe miss ej carefully the next day, which was today. she seemed fine and we didn’t notice any changes. it felt like it never happened so we were relieved.

today was sleep training day 2. i’m happy to say it went well, even better than yesterday.

today, we only got to stage 5, i mentioned above. she was asleep in 10 minutes. i never thought she would do so well. my husband said to me, “why didn’t we do this before?”

hopefully, we will only get to stage 1 tomorrow.

and i really hope and wish that she or we (me and my husband) will not regress (especially, when she gets sick or is teething).

i also hope that this post doesn’t come across as i’m bragging or i’ve experienced a complete success. i know that there are many more trials and difficulties ahead for us. every baby is different and every parent is different. there are different ways to sleep with or without your baby. i’m simply writing about what we (my husband and i) decided to do. we decided on co-sleeping until age 1, then tried the CIO method after the 1st birthday. personally, i’m happy with our decision and if i ever have a second baby, i would choose this option again.

i’m a proponent of co-sleeping. i still am, even more so now because i feel that co-sleeping allowed her to feel secure enough to sleep on her own, when the timing was right. i feel like for miss ej, age 1 was the correct time because i sensed that she understood a lot of things like cause and effect, the meaning of ‘no’ and good and bad (up to a certain point).

mind you, we tried a couple of times previously and it was not successful. perhaps, the timing wasn’t right or it was because we didn’t follow the ‘correct’ method (we never left the room, when we tried previously) or maybe it’s a combination of both. i don’t know.

what i know is that the decision to not co-sleep when the baby is no longer a baby, but a toddler, is up to the parent (and the child) and the timing depends on the child. in another words, there is no correct way and it’s really dependent on you and your child. i’ve said that i will choose this method again with my second child, but who knows, it might be out the window with my second.

Advertisements