When Kor Kor was about seven months old, he did not sleep well at all. He cried when I put him in the cot after nursing, he woke up numerous times during the night, he refused to go back to sleep at 3am+.
I can’t say I was very tired or very stressed, since I had only one child then and wasn’t working and could rest when he did sleep or when he was playing on his own… but I was very unhappy and angry. I didn’t know what to do, or what I did wrong. So I started to read about babies’ sleep issues, and came to the conclusion that my only choices for sleep training was graduated extinction (ignore some crying), or extinction (ignore all crying), also known as the cry-it-out (CIO) method. Because I really did not want to co-sleep.
[ I do not think co-sleeping or sleep training is better than the other. I do not believe that co-sleeping babies grow up to be less independent, or that sleep-trained babies feel abandoned. I feel that it’s a matter of personal preference and lifestyle. I knew I was bad-tempered because of the numerous night wakings, and I chose to remove the cause of the bad-temperedness. To mummies who have the heart and will to co-sleep with your baby, I applaud you. I am sharing my experience for mummies who want to sleep-train their child but might need more info.]
I also learnt that overtired babies would find it more difficult to fall asleep, until they got so tired that they KO, but then that would mean they would not be well rested the next morning.
Thus, for Kor Kor, I decided to ‘repay’ his sleep debt first. I knew by then that I had not implemented proper routines or sleep habits for him. So I was determined to somehow make him sleep enough first, before I started CIO. Twice a day, I rocked him to sleep in the Baby Bjorn and then either sat or stood throughout his nap. If he stirred before I felt he had slept enough, I would rock him back to sleep. Didn’t want to risk putting him in the cot and waking him up.
(Ahh.. the luxury of being a mother of one… seems like ages ago…)
Did that for about one week. Then started off with graduated extinction for bedtime in the evening. But Daddy and I realised very quickly that it would not work – Kor Kor just cried more loudly after each time I went to check on him. So we switched to extinction – just let the baby cry till he fell asleep.
The first night he cried for about an hour. On each subsequent night the duration of crying got shorter and shorter, and after one week or so, he was only whimpering at bedtime. Good enough! Then we moved on to sleep training for naptimes. But I can’t remember how we did it. Oops. The things three pregnancies do to a brain. But it was definitely easier cos we (parents and baby) had already got the hang of it.
I had sleep trained Kor Kor when he was about eight months old, and I had intended to wait till Didi was around the same age before sleep training him. But I found it very difficult, near impossible, to manage on my own when Didi was no longer able to sleep by himself around five months old. I wasn’t sure whether it was ok to sleep train him at five months old, and I desperately sought advice from parenting books, parenting websites, mummies’ forums, and my friends on social media. This time round, I learnt about Pick Up Put Down (Baby Whisperer) and shush-pat.
Tried these methods as they seemed much gentler than CIO, and I was hesitant to do CIO with such a young baby. They sorta worked for a while… but the effects were not sustainable. Thus I turned to CIO again.
This time, I had read Dr Marc Weissbluth’s Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, as recommended by another mummy. In its 500 pages, it clearly explains the importance of good quality sleep for the child, and provides clear guidelines for training your child according to age. Armed with this book and our earlier sleep training success with Kor Kor, I felt assured and confident.
Didi’s training was faster and easier. There was no serious ‘sleep debt’, as I was more aware of sleep habits and routines now.
I really love this book
Meimei was such an angel that I told myself I would rock her to sleep till she was much older. Furthermore she would be my last baby… *emo*
But it was not just about whether I was willing. Now I had two noisemakers instead of one. Didi walked like an ELEPHANT…!!! And would create more noise by crying, wailing and throwing tantrum when I told him to GO AWAY. Kor Kor was older and could obey instructions to stay away from Meimei’s room… most of the time… But he was also tempted to follow Mummy when he saw Didi doing so.
That sealed her fate. Sayang-ing her would not gain her quality rest (since the noisemakers would definitely be around to make noise). Sleep training it was then.
Happy Ending : )