Sleep training can be a very controversial subject. There are a lot of different opinions, none are right and none are wrong. It all depends on your baby and you as a parent.
Paige was always a great sleeper. She had a rough time around 7/8 months and that's when we first tried sleep training. We already had a routine in place, we tried gradually moving further away from her cot, white noise, rocking her then we tried the crying it out method. It isn't for everyone and it was heart breaking but it worked. Paige is now almost 3 and for the most part is an amazing sleeper.
Parker on the other hand wasn't so easy. He wasn't the worst sleeper but it could be better. On a good night we'd be up twice and on a bad night it would be 6+ times. We know that he could settle himself as he had slept 8 hours straight twice in 7 months. But something clicked inside me. Call me a bad mum but after 7 months I'd had enough. I'd had enough of crying because I was so tired, I'd had enough of falling behind on housework because I didn't have the energy and i'd had enough of snapping at Mark. Sleep deprivation is a terrible thing, especially when you have multiple children. Before children I'd always loved sleep. I'm one of those people that needs a good 9-10 hours a night. I've always been that way and I think I always will. So something had to change.
The day after Parker turned 7 months I decided it was time to try sleep training him. Just like with Paige we choose the crying it out method as we were already doing a lot of the other things and they weren't working. Some people don't truly understand the crying it out method and that's why they disagree with it, others do understand and disagree anyway and that's fine. I'm not here to tell you how to raise your child, I'm just telling you how I'm raising mine and if you disagree that's perfectly fine. Everyone is allowed there own opinion.
Many people understand the crying it out method to involve a screaming baby in their cot for hours and hours on end. This isn't the case. Yes there will most likely be some crying but only in short bursts. You simply put your child in there cot, awake but sleepy. You then leave the room for 2 minutes for example. After 2 minutes if they are crying you go in and comfort them but don't pick them up. You then leave again but increase the time, say to 4 minutes. If they are crying you again go in and offer comfort. You leave again and increase the time to say 6 minutes. We kept doing this until the time we were leaving reached 8 minutes. We then went in every 8 minutes. There isn't a rule on how long to leave them, just do that you feel comfortable doing. For me the longest time was 8 minutes.
Now Parker cried. I cried. But we carried on and after 1 hours 10 minutes he feel asleep on his own. Yes an hour and 10 minutes felt like the longest time in the world and I did cry for most of that time but Parker didn't. He was ok, I knew that he was ok. I could see him on the baby monitor. He wasn't in pain or hungry and didn't have a dirty nappy. He was tired and he needed to learn to fall asleep on his own and he did.
He slept for 24 minutes then woke up crying. I knew he was still tired so we started again. This time he feel asleep within 25 minutes and slept for 1 hour 5 minutes. The longest nap he'd ever taken without me holding him!
The next nap time came around. We repeated all the steps and it took him 25 minutes to fall asleep again. He slept for 1 hour and 40 minutes. Another huge nap!!
Come night time we did the same, it took him 25 minutes to fall asleep and he slept 4 hours. I fed him and he slept another 4 hours. I've chosen to not cut out his milk during the night as I truly believe that they cut it out themselves when they are ready. We did the same with Paige and would feed her if she woke in the night hungry. I have no problem getting up to feed a hungry baby once a night. It was the getting up every 40 minutes or so because they were unable to transition to the sleep cycle.
The next day we carried on and has similar results with nap time. At night time he put himself to sleep in 4 minutes!! He slept 4 hours and then 5 hours after a feed. Parker has never drank a lot of milk at once. Paige always had bigger quantities of milk. The most Parker will take is 7oz so it makes sense that he sometimes needs an extra feed through the night. It isn't every night he gets a feed but most nights he will.
Since then he's got better and better. He's slept through 11 hours on multiple occasions. The other times he is up once a night between 12-4am for a feed. I don't have to stand by his cot rocking him back to sleep. I simply feed him, place him back in his cot and he drifts back off. Sometimes it takes him a couple of minutes, sometimes it's 25 minutes and I pop to see him a few times but I'm ok with that.
I was worried how it would effect Paige as she is only across the hall from Parker but it's been fine. There's been the odd night where he has woke her up but there's been the odd night when she has woken him up. I guess that having two they will wake each other up every now and again. We have all even shared a room and for the most part Paige she slept through still.
Some would say that sleep training hasn't worked as Parker is still normally up once a night for a feed and some would say to cut out that feed but we are doing what we think is best for Parker. He wakes up in the morning and from naps happy and content. Before he would wake up crying, clearly still tired. He will sometimes only have a 40 minute nap but most of the time is one and a half hours. If he does wake up after 40 minutes I leave him for a couple of minutes. Most of the time if he wakes crying he is still tired and will moan for a few seconds and put himself back to sleep. If he doesn't then of course I go see him.
Now Parker is 8 and a half months. He always puts himself to sleep in his cot. We sing him a little song, out his white noise machine on and give him his comforter then lay him down. He will sometimes falls asleep within a minute if he's really tired. Others times he will sit, pull up or play but he always puts himself to sleep.
Crying it out isn't for everyone. It's horrible when you first start but for us it worked, twice. I do want to add that we first tried crying it out with Parker at 6 months which is the youngest recommended age and it didn't work. We only tried for one nap time but he wasn't ready at all. Call it a motherly instinct but I knew he wasn't ready.
Trust in yourself and your child. You know that child better than anyone else.
Have you tried sleep training?