That Sleep Training Thing Again

It seems like only yesterday we were bringing Babycakes home from the hospital – and now she’s just days away from being 10 months old.

She also still has not reached the “sleeping through the night” milestone.

I’m aware that, for many babies, it is developmentally appropriate to wake 1-3 times a night well into their second year or beyond. But the hubs and I are tired.

Babycakes is tired.

We’re starting to run on fumes.

The hubs and I had sort of agreed that we weren’t going to force sleep training on Babycakes. At least, we weren’t going to make her Cry-It-Out or even do controlled crying, or that thing where you stand there and watch your baby cry and fuss and reach for you while you just keep telling her it’s “time for sleepies” (which is what her pediatrician said to do).

That last option really just seems incredibly mean.

I’m standing right here. I hear and see you desperately trying to get me to pick you up, and I know as soon as I do, you’ll stop crying and settle down. But that creates dependency, you see, and I don’t want to have to move into your college dorm room with you to help you fall asleep when you wake up in the middle of the night.

Bollocks.

To be fair, it’s been a long time since Babycakes has nursed into complete oblivion, and it’s a rare thing for her to be totally asleep when either of us lay her down, whether after nursing or rocking/bouncing. How do we know this? Probably 99% of the time when we lay her down – on her back, even though she’s capable of rolling, crawling, sitting up, standing up, etc. and ends up on her tummy a couple times a week anyway – she rolls onto her side and props her feet up on the crib rails. So whatever we’ve been doing seems to be working. She’s getting to sleep without crying herself to sleep, and most of the time we’re just getting her calm enough to allow her to finish falling asleep on her own.

That’s the point, right?

Of course, if we even wanted to try sleep training, there’s no good time. All the “expert” advice says not to do so during the following situations:

  • When traveling or about to travel
  • When baby is sick (horrible cold right at 6 months)
  • When baby is teething (She’s been since 2.5 months and we only have two teeth to show for it. Teething is sort of a constant state of being, so….)
  • During the holidays (yeah, there went Christmas, which included travel)
  • During a move (Did I mention we just moved to Charlotte? We moved to Charlotte.)
  • During a time of transition to new childcare/mom’s return to work (so all of August will be out if I go back to teaching)

See what I mean?

I guess we’ve sort of developed our own sleep training method. Babycakes is (usually) well-rested, and definitely thriving.

One of the things I’ve tried to do for a number of months is get her attached to a lovey.

In fact, she has four.

The Sleep Entourage: Lambie, Purple Pingu, Bear, and Giraffe

The Sleep Entourage:
Lambie, Purple Pingu, Bear, and Giraffe

I was so desperate to get her attached to these loveys that we invested in a second Lambie and a Spare Bear, there are three different colored Pingus, and that pink Giraffe is the younger sister of the yellow Giraffe my mom gave Babycakes for Christmas (it lights up and plays music if you press the tummy).

These four friends, along with her Classic Pooh mobile that was over her crib until she started pulling herself up about a month ago, have been with her pretty much constantly during sleep times since she was four months old.

I know. No stuffed animals in the crib. But before she was mobile enough to do anything dangerous, Lambie and Bear were lashed to the rails, and Pingu and Giraffe are so round, one little bat of her hand would send them flying. She had plenty of opportunities to play with the second set, so by the time she was yanking Lambie and Bear so hard the ties were coming loose, I knew she’d be okay to have them unlashed.

(We also used a blanket securely tucked under the mattress. I know. More rule breaking. Maybe we’ll be better about the rules with Hypothetical Baby #2.)

In my motherly opinion, having the sleep entourage has prevented a lot of unwarranted crying. Why do I know this? Because since we moved her to her own room, we’d often hear her talking to her loveys when she woke in the morning. She also plays happily with them when she wakes from most naps. So it was worth breaking (or at least bending) the rules a little bit.

Of course, the funny thing is that the item she actually attached to, that she fiddles with and gets sleepy when she rubs it on her face?

The frigging cloth diapers I use as burp cloths.

It’s probably because I’ve used them since she was born, so she associates them with nursing and Mommy.

So while we have a small fortune in Sleep Entourage members, both primary and secondary, if I filled her crib with extra burp clothes, she’d probably be just as happy.

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