I hate to say anything because I don't want to jinx it.... but I think we might, we just might be getting somewhere in sleep training over here. We started the process last Thursday so it's been one full week and it's not been easy, I tell you. Katifriend has had to hold my hand the whole way via supportive text messages.
I've done a lot of reading and polling of friends who sleep train and this is what we've come up with for ourselves:
*Establish nap pattern. Morning nap an hour after wake up time. Afternoon nap within 2 hours after waking from morning nap. Sometimes a third nap around 4PM if she wakes up early from the afternoon nap. If she wakes up happy from a nap I know she is rested. If she wakes up crying, I rock her back to sleep.
*We give her a bath between 6PM-7PM then feed her a bottle and lay her down while she is sleepy but still awake.
*Then the hardest part ever: she cries. At first we'd go in and soothe her every 10 minutes until she stayed asleep but the last few days we've let her cry for up to 40 minutes without soothing her. It's heartbreaking. But the beautiful thing? She now goes to sleep on her own! This is HUGE.
For 3 nights in a row she's gone to sleep on her own (tonight it only took 20 minutes) and she STAYS ASLEEP until about 2AM for a feeding. And then she STAYS ASLEEP until 6:30AM.
I am so proud and happy right now I could cry.
I just hope this continues and gets even better. I'd love for her to only cry a few minutes before falling asleep or, better yet, not cry at all. But we're getting there.
It's been really difficult for us to come to the point where we're letting her cry it out some. Before I was born, I had a brother, Blake, who died at 4 months of SIDS. This has constantly been on my mind since Avery was born and I've worried so much about how she's sleeping, letting her cry, what's in her crib, etc.
Two things helped me get over this:
1. Avery is now older than 4 months. I know SIDS can still be a risk until she is 1 or something, but in my mind, she's older than Blake was and it feels like the risk isn't so much there anymore.
2. We were so freaking sleep deprived we could hardly function. It took a long time to get Avery to sleep and stay asleep every night and even then she'd wake up at least 3 or 4 times every single night. And that was a good night. On a bad night we were up every hour or more. No joke. We had to do something. We were desperate!
A couple of nights during the last week were terrible and she woke up a lot and cried a lot and we didn't get any sleep. But having a few days of success in a row is encouraging and I think Avery is really responding well to it now. We are also learning to read her more and understand when she is getting sleepy so we don't let her get overtired.
So there you have it. That's our plan. I like our plan because I feel like we are teaching Avery how to sleep while being flexible enough to adjust to what she needs.
I like it most because so far it is working.
And thank goodness.
I've really missed my sleep.