This post is about Cry It Out and some might find it upsetting, but these are my children and I am not being cruel to them, but teaching them the skill of sleeping which will serve them well their whole lives. If you don’t like it don’t read it.
So Sleep Training started on Tuesday night. Problem number one was the fact that somewhere along the way Chris was no longer allowed to deal with the kids, they only wanted Mommy at sleep time and only Mommy was good enough. Now at first it’s actually quite sweet and nothing makes you feel more loved than this, but eventually it was wearing me down. We have two babies and I need them to have two parents so we can all cope better. So after much discussion about the approach we were going to take to sleep training we agreed that step one is that Chris would start doing the put down at the end of the bedtime routine. Partially this would help to break the manipulation of Mommy that was going on, partially we hoped that mixing things up would help them make the change and largely to help Chris re-establish the dependence they have on him.
Night One, we go through our nightly ritual, dinner, a bit of time together, teeth brushing, nappy changes and then bottles of milk on the rocking chair. We agreed that we were going to stop the nursery rhymes while they were drinking. It seems our kids are very easily stimulated. We had to stop reading stories too close to bedtime because the stories seemed to get their little brains going and even seemed to cause nightmares in Sausage. And the nursery rhymes were having the same effect, Pudding would ask for the rhymes to be repeated over and over and over while she memorised them and then wanted to chat all night. And Sausage would get into bed singing after the nursery rhymes. So no nursery rhymes, just quiet chatting while they had their milk. Second decision was to cut the drinking time shorter. We had reached a point where drinking of bottles and associated songs etc was taking around an hour. So half an hour of chatting, Mom sang “Rock a Bye Baby”, then stand up from the rocking chairs, kissies good night all round and saying “night night” to everything we pass on the way to bed. This really is very cute but also getting a little out of hand. We say “night night” to every picture on the route, and now even say “night night” to the keys near the door, the lights, the door, the walls, the TV room, the bathroom literally EVERYTHING we pass on route to their bed gets a “night night”. Then we put them in bed and Mom walked out.
Cue tears from Pudding. Sausage seemed okay that Dad had stayed behind, but Pudding’s little heart was broken. She started screaming while Chris was singing the “Hush Little Baby” lullaby that is their sleep time cue. So Chris said if she didn’t stop screaming he was leaving. That shut her up very quickly. He then said our little sleep time chant (yes we have lots of sleep time rituals) “lie still, keep very quiet, close your eyes and go to sleep”. Then told them he was leaving and loved them and would see them in the morning and walked out. 10 minutes in total from when they were put into bed. And that was that! They went to sleep! No tears at all. And we were so geared up for full on cry it out sleep training. They slept pretty well. There were a few cry outs during the night, but settled very quickly without any input from Mom or Dad. They slept until 5.30, but as we had had such a good night we decided not to push our luck and allow that to be wake up time.
Night Two. As above, but this time Pudding stops crying after mom walks out within seconds and Dad is out the room within six minutes of put down. Some moaning and brief crying which settle within seconds through the night and they slept until 6.00!
Definite success, but I was totally suspicious because we have had some good nights during our three months of sleeplessness, so maybe these two nights were just like that, not success of sleep training at all, because let’s face it we haven’t really done any ‘training’.
Night Three (here there should be some horror movie type music in the background when you read this). As above, but when Dad walked out after six minutes all hell broke loose. Pudding was having none of this new routine. She cried and cried (not hysterically), but solidly for ten minutes. Chris went back in, put her back into bed because she had climbed out and couldn’t get back in. Settled her down, told her he loved her, but it was sleep time and walked back out. She cried again for ten minutes. Chris went back in, put her back into bed, told her he loved her, but it was sleep time and walked out. Then she cried for another five minutes and went to sleep. Not too bad actually. Near midnight Sausage cried desperately, I went straight to him to find him on the floor, I think he had decided to sleep there, and he was looking for his bunny and dummy which of course was still in bed. So I picked him up, put him back into bed and he went straight back to sleep, no drama. 4.30 Pudding started moaning, she didn’t seem upset and kept going quiet in between so I left her to it, but by 4.50am she was crying. I went to her, she was once again out of bed, so put her back in bed, told her I loved her but it was sleep time and walked out. She cried and cried. After ten minutes I went back in, put her back in bed (yes out again), gave her her pillow which she was calling for (she is a little obsessed with her “piyow” which she sometimes carries around with her along with her bunny). She kept saying “Mommy sitting, Mommy sitting” as her way of asking me to sit in the chair and stay with her until she was asleep, but I stayed firm, told her I loved her but it was sleep time and walked out. Well this sent her over the edge. Full blown temper tantrum. This was not our first middle of the night temper tantrum, they normally go on for twenty minutes and involve a lot of throwing herself around and throwing things and lashing out at anyone in reach and lots of spitting. So I was braced for things to go horribly wrong once the tantrum started. But within five minutes we were back to just crying and after 10 minutes from last walking out, I went back, soothed her (she spat at me), put her back into bed, told her I loved her but it was sleep time and walked out. Well obviously she realised she was not going to win and she went straight to sleep. Of course I do now also know that her tantrums pass much quicker if I am not around.
And I hear you asking what was Sausage doing while she was screaming the house down. He kept saying “shoesh, stop it” to her. Quite funny really, but probably didn’t help with her temper. But he mostly stayed very calm. I’m not sure he went back to sleep at all, but he stayed settled and in bed until our alarm went off at 6am.
So in my opinion night three was probably our first real night of sleep training and even that wasn’t actually that bad. Other than the tantrum the crying was not hysterical and we have seen tantrums when I go straight to her and stay with her, so I don’t think it was prompted by the sleep training.
On the up side both kids got up this morning full of smiles and very loving and happy. And we both gave them lots of extra cuddles and loves so they know just how much Mommy and Daddy really do love them.