Sleep Training, Okay, But Like Really This Time

Regular readers will know that I have changed my mind approximately one thousand times about whether or not to sleep train my baby, and have been sort of pseudo-sleep training her, sometimes, -ish.

On Saturday night, I relented (again) and rocked Edith to sleep before putting her down, and she subsequently woke up THREE TIMES and did not actually fall asleep until well after nine, and only then because I finally just let her cry for 40 minutes.

So, I thought, ok, I have to sleep train.

But then I googled “sleep training — bad?” (for the billionth time) and read all these moms who say that you’re not actually training your baby to fall asleep on her own, but are actually just teaching her to give up because no one is coming.

“How could I have done this to Edith?” I thought. I shared my concern with my mother, and she said, “Well, yeah! That’s the point — you’re teaching her to give up and go to sleep!”

I asked the pediatrician what she thought and explained my previous attempts. “So…you have been lying right next to this baby while she screams every night for an hour?” the pediatrician asked.

I am very familiar with this sort of question, asked in this sort of tone. It means that something that I have been doing, which seemed normal and adaptive to me, is actually completely insane.

So, it seems that everyone is on the same page about this, and that I had lost perspective. So last night, I did the first night of the Ferber method. I moved Edith’s crib across the room, and then I put her in it. And then I left the room.

I checked on her at 3 minutes, then 5 minutes, then 10 minutes, and then 10 minutes. She screamed her head off for 28 minutes exactly, and was not remotely comforted by my coming in to rub her back. And then she fell asleep.

Then, I took a shower and went to bed and we both slept until 6:30 when she woke me up by babbling happily.

I can’t predict what will happen next, but it seems possible that what you have to do here is what every single person says you have to do and the results of doing it are exactly what every single person says they will be. Incredible.

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