Want to hear about one of the coolest things in the world? Okay, I’m probably exaggerating just a bit, but it is pretty darn cool, and for a parent, it’s a been a pretty big lifesaver. What I’m talking about is sleep-training, and while it wasn’t easy, now that we’ve done it, it’s pretty great.
So, for a long time, we had issues getting Emmy to sleep—like, it was a big pain in the butt and we knew that something had to change. We would spend anywhere from ten minutes to an hour and a half trying to get the girl to go down without having a bit of a freakout and we didn’t really know what we were going to do.
Early on, I got into the habit of patting her back to get her to relax and sleep and once that habit was established, it was all but impossible to get her to go down unless she was being touched. It became a big nuisance having to carry her around for forever every night, patting and patting her back, then laying her down and continuing to pat until she was out. Then we would have to creep out of her room, and if she woke up at all, go back and pat her until she was safely asleep yet again. This became the nightly thing and it would take extended periods of time and it started to wear on us, beeeeeg time.
We had been looking into sleep-training and the Ferber Method for a long time and had tried it just a few, but it was always hard for us to commit to because A. Who likes to let their baby just sit and cry, B. We were constantly having visitors or visiting somewhere so it was hard to keep up a routine, and C. We weren’t sure if it would work or if the method was for us or for Emmy. Let me tell you, we were wrong.
We began trying Ferber (mainly me, as Kayleigh had a very hard time going in to comfort her after she was crying for a time and then leaving her when she wasn’t even back down again to let the cycle start all over again) and at first we thought we weren’t going to see results. For the first week or two, it was hard. It was hard seeing Emmy full of tears and scared after having to leave her for five to seven minutes at a time and then going in, getting her happy again, and then leaving her to fend for herself for another five to seven. It was hard hearing her scream and cry and pound on her crib because she was scared and wanted us to help her get to sleep. It was hard not knowing whether we were doing the right thing or not.
Then things changed. Suddenly, the cries were less intense and we began hearing her calmly sit and talk to herself and her stuffed animals through her monitor after I left the room. Suddenly, I’d go back into her room after the five minutes and she wouldn’t be standing in her crib, pounding on the bars to get out, but she’d still be under her covers just hanging out. Suddenly, I’d go back into her room after the five to seven and she was asleep and I’d have to do nothing more than making sure she was tucked in tight and her light on her white noise machine was at the correct level.
It was strange how quickly it worked and how just when we thought it wasn’t for us, we realized that maybe it was. It now takes anywhere from five to fifteen minutes to get her fully down on a typical night and once I leave the room the first time, whether she’s asleep or not, that’s usually all that it takes. Even the nights where she’s still awake after I leave, we’ll hear her for maybe two to five minutes and then all goes quiet and she’s out.
We no longer have to fight and hope and pat and be brought to near tears getting her to get to bed every night and let me tell you, it’s like a beautiful miracle. I never thought that she would go to bed pretty much on her own and be okay with going to sleep in a mostly dark room, by herself, at age one, but guess what, she is and she does. Sometimes your baby will surprise you and do things you never thought he/she would do simply because you decided to try and you stuck to it.
Emmy is now a pretty great sleeper and she’s easy to get down and we are much happier this way. Emerson seems happier, Kayleigh is happier, I am happier; everything is great and I would definitely recommend any parents struggling with getting their kids to sleep to just try it—just give sleep-training and Ferber a shot because you never know, it could totally be for you and your baby.
Sleep is a wonderful thing to get as a parent and us working out what it was that we all needed in this situation was the best thing we’ve done in a long time. It’s important for you and your children to be rested so that things don’t get out of hand and you don’t end up in big trouble for something crazy you do while your sleep-deprived mind is in control! It’s happened and will continue to happen because we cranky motha funk’s when we don’t get enough sleep, I know.
With that, I am gone. Until Saturday, my friends.