Sleep Training

Sleep training = NOT GOING WELL.

What I’ve learned this week is that it’s ok to ask for help, but trust your gut and your own instincts. I’m referring to this sleep training malarkey with LL and an appointment we had with a Health Visitor. To put it bluntly, LL is a shit sleeper (as you probably know from some of my previous posts!) She fights her naps and bedtime is a battle of wills. It can take me up to 45 minutes, sometimes longer, to get her off to sleep. She puts up such a fight. The main issue we have now is that she isn’t going to bed at night until around 9.15pm. This means our evenings are spent trying to get our daughter to sleep and it’s exhausting. Hubby and I haven’t spent any time together for weeks. We know this comes with the territory but after months of lack of sleep and interrupted sleep every night it gets quite tough. We’ve tried controlled crying, cry it out (to some extent!) and most recently the detachment method. All have ended up with the same result…a hysterical little girl who makes herself sick. She has recently started pooing, too. I’ve Googled and researched everything I can find on sleep training (yes I know, it’s probably the worst thing you can do!) The methods and opinions vary. Some people say leave the baby to cry and others say absolutely not. I’ve always leaned towards the absolutely not verdict, but I appreciate everyone’s opinion and what works best for them. I think there is definitely a divide on what people feel is the right thing to do regarding sleep training. I personally don’t feel there is a one size fits all approach. I have people comment on how we’ve “made a rod for our own backs” and “if you don’t get her out of this “habit” then it won’t ever get better.” I disagree with both views, purely because people aren’t going through our personal situation so they have no idea. They also don’t know our baby. That’s my opinion.

The HV was lovely and really understanding. I was told to go back to basics and stay in her room. She said it would be going cold turkey. Eeekkk. I had to put LL down when she was still awake, cover her over and sit with my back to her. I couldn’t look at her, touch her, or talk to her. Immediately I felt uneasy. As soon as I put her down she screamed, which I knew she would. I kept lying her down but I couldn’t not soothe her in some way as she was extreamly upset, so I whispered quietly to her, held her face in my hands and told her it was ok, mummy was here. I kept sitting on the floor with my back to her. If controlled crying was bad then this was torture. Never have I seen my baby girl so distressed. I was told to stick with it, no matter how upset she was. I questioned whether this was right and she said unless I wanted it to work I had to do it. She pooed once so I changed her, then tried again. She kept wanting to rest her head on my chest and I felt my heart breaking when I put her back in her cot. She pooed again. Something wasn’t right. She was getting really stressed and I felt extreamly uncomfortable about continuing.

I text Hubby who was sitting downstairs (no doubt in a cold sweat listening to our child absolutely hysterical.) He came up to us and I just burst into tears. I felt horrendous. We all sat together on the floor and had a cuddle. LL was so upset she was taking double breaths (the kind after you’ve finished sobbing and your calming down). Hubby and I both looked at each other and knew this approach wasn’t right for our child. We’ve agreed we will never do this to her again. All the approaches we’ve tried have ended up with her in a state but this was the worst we’ve ever seen her. Maybe when she’s a bit older to understand we might try a different approach.  We’ve tried the methods recommended to us but right now we are doing what we feel is best for her. And that’s ok. And whatever you’re doing as parents to get your little one to sleep, that’s ok too.

We let her fall asleep on us, then transfer her to her cot. After child proofing her bedroom we have taken one side of her cot down and fixed a stair gate at her door. I think she feels restricted with the cot bars as she can’t get to me, so having her bed more open might make her feel more relaxed. I’ve bought a Peppa Pig duvet set as she loves her so hopefully she’ll enjoy her bed more! Since we’ve done this she’s spending time on her bed reading her books and playing with her soft toys. She’s even bouncing up and down on it! Usually her cot was somewhere she didn’t like spending time in so it’s lovely to see her a lot happier. I think it shall all just take time. I keep reassuring myself that it’s just a phase. (PLEEEAAASSSEEE let it be a phase!)

Its such an anxious time when your little one won’t sleep. You have the dreaded mummy guilt anyway everyday and question everything, such as am I feeding her enough, am I feeding her the right stuff, should I go out food shopping when she won’t sleep but is obviously tired, am I doing enough  with her in the day… the list is endless. I just want to be a good mum and do the best I can for my precious baby girl. I know that feeling will never change.

Have you got a baby who won’t sleep? What advice can you give? Xxx

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2 thoughts on “Sleep Training

  1. Yes I have one! He only falls asleep with me lying next to him and typically stays asleep for three hours. He’s nearly two and this has always been the case for us though he has gone through phases when he sleeps much longer stretches. I’ve learned to accept this and sleep with him every night so I can actually get some rest! I’m hoping when he starts properly talking I can explain bedtimes and how he has nothing to worry about when he’s alone in his room. Sending lots of sympathy and hope it changes soon.

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  2. Oh bless you, I can totally relate! It’s a nightmare isn’t it but all we can do is focus on getting through it as best we can and getting some rest ourselves too, and if that means LO sharing our bed then so be it! I agree about when they’re older and being able to explain bedtime to them. Sending lots of love your way xxx

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