Have you tried sleep training?
It’s meant to be a short term measure for long term happiness – for parents and babies!
I used a modified cry-it-out method with Ethan, which worked after about a week. But I was pleased when Elijah seemed like he was able to self soothe and sleep for hours and hours, all by himself!
That changed a few months ago, when Elijah had a bad bout of flu. His nose was stuffy, and his chesty cough was pretty bad. But since he was only 4 months old at the time, there were few medications that he could take to relieve the symptoms.
During those weeks, he started waking up a few times each night.
And the night wakings continued. Even when he got better.
Here we are at 8 months, and at a time when sleep should be getting better, it’s actually getting worse!
So, 2 nights ago, when he woke up at 2.26am, I let him cry. And cry. And cry. For almost half an hour, EJ and I listened to the wails of our little angel baby who hardly cries- ever. And when Elijah finally went to sleep, so did we, with heavy, guilt-ridden hearts.
But guess what? Last night, Elijah slept all the way from about 10pm until 7am this morning! I know it’s getting my hopes up a little early, but for the first time in months, I could sleep for more than 3 hours at one go. And it feels GREAT.
Have you felt guilty about letting your child cry it out? (Or other sleep training methods) A recent study showed that, perhaps, our guilt has been unfounded!
Both graduated extinction and bedtime fading provide significant sleep benefits above control, yet convey no adverse stress responses or long-term effects on parent-child attachment or child emotions and behavior.
As a psychologist friend of mine said, as long as the sleep training intervention is BRIEF, it is unlikely to cause long-term psychological damage to the child. Children who have attachment issues usually have had long term and consistent experiences of neglect.
So, my fellow imperfect parents, may you persevere through the sleep debt, and emerge from these years with your sanity intact!