Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sleep Training: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

I have been back and forth on the idea of sleep training for over a year now. Initially I thought there was no harm in doing it, so long as it was age appropriate (aka 6 months or older). Then Cole hit his 4.5 month sleep regression and I thought we should give it a go a tad bit early. We persevered through 3 days/nights of it and unfortunately during one of those nights he cried for 5 stopping. Needless to say the idea was therefore trashed.

Around six months we were getting frustrated because by this point we were going on well over a month of zero sleep. I got up the courage to try again, but after 14 days Cole was still crying/screaming intensely for anywhere from an hour and a half to three hours each night before bed. There was no progress, so again I chucked it.

Sadly I should have seen the obvious..."what is the obvious?" you ask? Why, that would be the fact that I, Amanda, Cole's beloved mom (understatement of the year), was the one putting him to sleep each night. It may sound ridiculous, but try to follow my logic...

I am an active member of the Fussy Baby Site forum ( which is an awesome resource for parents raising high need infants/toddlers/children. During the month of February I posted so much that I actually won a grand prize - a sleep consultation and ongoing support from Dawnn Whittaker ( We discussed Cole and his habits/tendencies when it comes to sleep and Dawnn then created a unique sleep plan to fit his age and personality.

A HUGE part of this plan is to involve Jake, especially in the beginning. We began the training on Friday evening. The plan will take at least 3 weeks to help Cole create better sleep habits and already we are seeing some excellent progress. Here is how long it has taken us to get him to fall asleep on his own, unaided (no pacifier), in his crib each night and for each nap:

Friday evening - 15 minutes
*Saturday morning nap - 1 hour & 50 minutes
Saturday afternoon nap - 25 minutes
Saturday evening - 20 minutes
Sunday morning nap - 20 minutes
Sunday afternoon nap - 20 minutes
Sunday evening - 5 minutes

*This was the ONE time I attempted to step in and sleep train Cole as Jake was at school/work

The good news is that Cole is responding very well to sleep training...and even better news is that he sleeps anywhere from 10 to 12 hours with zero nightwakings. Unfortunately I am unable to put him to sleep. Eventually I know this will change, but for now it is pretty ridiculous. It is all a part of the plan, however, and Dawnn warned us that it would be much more difficult for him when I am there versus Jake. It is also more difficult putting him in his crib awake for naps, especially the afternoon nap.

We are plodding through, however, and in three weeks we will hopefully see some amazing results (especially since the results already are pretty amazing at least to us!) I'll try to keep you updated as we go through the process...signing off...with a ton of free time and it is only 8:20!! Totally awesome.


Holly said...

Woohoo!! This is awesome Amanda! I'm so happy you are getting some sleep these days...

Amanda E. said...

Thanks Holly! Last night he went to bed with no crying in 2 minutes for Jake!!! We are shocked...