We have been "sleep training" Ruby over the past week. How does one train a baby to sleep, you ask...well, I will get to that. Ruby hit what is called the "four month sleep regression". It's terrible and no fun for all involved. Basically, she changed her sleep pattern from newborn sleep to more adult sleep cycles. Newborns can sleep anywhere because when they fall asleep, they are in a deep sleep. That changes when they hit four months old. Now, she has sleep cycles like the big people so she cycles from light, deep, and REM sleep. Problem is....when she would hit that light sleep phase, she would wake up! And we ALWAYS rock her to sleep (rookie mistake). So she would be awake in her crib wanting to go to sleep but not knowing how to do that on her own and yelling at me to come rock her fat self back to sleep. This happened every hour for about three days. (sleep cycles are about 45 minutes long...so that makes sense).
We knew something had to be done so we got the books, we read the books, we talked with friends, and we formulated a plan. We decided it would be best for everyone involved to sleep train her. There are a number of ways you can do this with varying degrees of crying. I had tried a no-cry or less-crying version and it just pissed her off. Like, really pissed her off. I would be in her room trying to console her and she would just scream at me to pick her up. I always broke down and took her to the rocking chair because she is my fatty lumpkins, and it made my heart hurt to see her cry.
Since she got so royally pissed off when I was in the room, we knew we had to do the hard version. It's called extinction and you basically just leave her in there to cry it out. It sucked. I had to leave the house. The book said an average amount of crying goes like this
Day 1: 45 minutes
Day 2: 45 minutes
Day 3: 20 minutes
Day 4: No crying
Two problems with this. 1. Ruby didn't read this book and 2. The book freaking lied.
Our week looked something like this
Day 1: 1 hour and 15 minutes (I left the house)
Day 2: 1 hour and 15 minutes (I left again)
Day 3: 50 minutes (I was about 30 seconds away from running to her room when she fell asleep)
Day 4: 45 minutes (I seriously felt like giving up)
Day 5: 15 minutes!!!! (I wanted to cry!)
Day 6: 12 minutes (very weak and sporadic crying)
Day 7: NO CRYING!!!!
So it took a bit longer than I thought it would...but even on Day 1, she slept for a solid 8 hours. We figured it has to be better for her development to get a solid amount of sleep...at least that's how I justify this. The crying can't be good for her :( but it was only for a week and now she will reap the benefits of more sound sleep. Since the hell week, she still goes down without much fussing. Maybe a few minutes, but her heart really isn't in it when she does cry. And she still sleeps long stretches at night.
Now naps are another story...you would think that all sleep is the same but it is not. She WILL NOT sleep in her crib for naps even though she sleeps just fine in her crib at night. We will work on this in the future...I'll keep you posted.