Cole turned seven months old on June 8th, and he was still waking up two to three times a night and taking one or two bottles. Shortly afterwards, Mark said to me, "We need to DO something." Sleeptraining research began.
I borrowed two books from the library, another from a friend, and I began asking around. Many more moms than I'd ever realized had sleep trained their kids. And many more than I would have guessed had used the Ferber Method or Cry-It-Out method. Some would volunteer this information proudly. Others more reluctantly and only if you asked. And all the ones who had persevered with the Ferber method said it had worked in two to three days!
TWO TO THREE DAYS!
In two to three days, their babies were sleeping through the night. I was dumbfounded. I'd struck gold. I mean, who couldn't handle a bit of crying for two to three nights if it meant very soon there would be blissful nights of consolidated rest. I was ecstatic and eager to begin.
Mark and I decided it would be best to wait until he was finished with school for the year. I began to excitedly discuss my plans to "sleep train" Cole with anyone who would listen. I explained the reasoning and how I used to think that I'd never let my baby cry-it-out but that he was old enough now and he'd never remember anyway and that I was doing what was best for him in the long run - teaching him how to self-soothe. These books, in fact, had me petrified of leaving the matter any longer. They assured me that I could do some permanent damage and end up with a terribly dependent toddler if I didn't deal with this "sleep disorder" soon.
My mother was babysitting on the weekend. Monday night was the planned begin date. By Wednesday, I'd be in heaven.
Monday, Mark asked me what the plan was. I explained, "I will do our bedtime routine. Change Cole, give him his bottle in the rocking chair. I may even rock him for 30 seconds. Then, I will put him into the crib and tell him I love him and leave the room."
"Even if he's not calm?"
I paused. "Then I will set the timer. In five minutes, I'll go back in to reassure him that we have not abandonned him but I mustn't pick him up. Then I leave for 10 minutes. Then 15."
"How long do you think it'll take?"
"Not long." I said.
All Monday, my confidence flucutated. At naptime, while I rocked my lovely baby, I became certain I could not do the sleep training. Then I went to the spa for a facial and a pedicure. There, I became sure I could do just about anything.
Monday night came. I took my lovely baby and fed him and kissed him good-night. I set him in his crib. He got up and climbed to a standing position and began to cry. I laid him back down, told him I loved him and left the room.
He cried. Mark and I set the stove timer. We listened to him cry. After five minutes, I went up to Cole's room to find he had thrown up all over. I was so upset, we abandoned the whole plan.
"I can't do it," I explained to Mark.
"We'll find another plan," Mark reassured me.
I became disheartened. I didn't have the nerve and surely, according to the books, Cole would be sleep disordered forever. All Tuesday these thoughts haunted me. I needed a new plan, but I could think of nothing. I went to sleep Tuesday night with no new plan.
And what do ya know?
Tuesday night, Cole slept all night.