My youngest child is almost 7 months old and we've reached the point of needing to sleep train. Sigh.
I approached sleep differently with her than with my first two. Knowing she was my last baby changed things for me, so I snuggled with her in ways I never did before. I also did things differently to avoid sleep deprivation, including things that aren't recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics or myself. You know the old adage, "do as I say, not as I do." When you have 3 kids under the age of 4, you do what you feel is necessary to get some sleep. Now that she is moving around so much, I don't feel comfortable co-bedding even under the safest conditions. Therefore, I've decided it's time to move her to her crib, which will inevitably require some level of sleep training.
Even though I coach parents through sleep training, it doesn't mean that I love doing it any more than you do or that it's any easier for me. In fact, I believe this is what makes me a great sleep coach. I will be walking in your shoes for the third time since 2014. I know first hand the anxiety that sleep training provokes. I understand the stress of hearing your baby cry, even if only for a minute. I have experienced personally the self doubt that comes screaming into your head at 2 am after you were convinced you were doing the right thing only 4 short hours earlier. I know the roller coaster of emotions; I shed the tears too.
Mostly though, I know the benefit of sleep training. I know that a couple of challenging nights will lead to a lifetime of consolidated sleep. My baby will be happier and healthier as a result. I know that uninterupted sleep also means a happier and healthier Mom. While I started this journey wanting to help sleep deprived children, what I've really learned is that it is equally as important for the parent to sleep. And after 7 months, I am ready to sleep. I NEED to sleep.
What is my next step? I pick the method that's right for me, my family, and my baby. I pick the start date and I activate my support system - my husband, my friends, my family, and my sleep peeps (aka my Sleep Coach peers). I practice patience and consistency. I let my baby WOW me and show me what she's capable of. I continually remind myself of my WHY. The reason why I am doing this. I look forward to a few nights from now, when I know we will both be sleeping better.
Sigh. (this time, a sigh of relief)