Getting My Infant to Sleep through the Night
It was only pretty recently (the beginning of July) that I was able to master getting my infant son Jack to sleep. After he learned to crawl at six months old, my wife nor I were no longer able to get him to sleep without him (and us) getting extremely upset. So I tried my own version of the “cry it out” method and it has worked great. I highly recommend it.
Unfortunately, we soon realized that the getting to sleep was only the first half of the problem. Even though we could get him to fall asleep, he was not able to remain asleep for more than a couple of hours. That meant that none of the three of us were ever getting enough sleep (especially my wife and my son). Additionally, it meant our son was drinking at least three bottles of formula during the night and therefore needing three additional diaper changes.
After a decent amount of research, and obviously acknowledging the immediate effectiveness of the “cry it out” method, my wife gave me the green light to apply the “cold turkey” method to get him to sleep through the night without needing to eat. So I did. And it is so awesome. Life is beautiful, now.
Here’s what I did the first night of applying the “cold turkey” method: When I put him to sleep for the night (around 7:00 PM), I closed his bedroom door most of the way, then I didn’t come back until the morning when he cried after 6:00 AM.
On the first night of going “cold turkey,” he woke up after an hour and cried for 30 minutes straight, but then fell asleep for two solid hours. Then he woke up and cried for 10 minutes and fell asleep for three hours. Next he woke up and cried for 5 minutes, then another couple of hours. As the night progressed, he continued to sleep longer and cry less.
We heard him cry at 5:40 AM, but knew not to go get him yet since it was still before 6:00 AM. So we waited, and the next time he cried it was an hour later, and we went to go get him.
I can honestly say that the three of us were never happier to see each other in the morning. Jack had survived his first night without eating since his dinner meal; plus, his diaper was dry. And we, the parents, both were able to sleep more solidly than any other night while being in the same house with him.
More than a month has passed since that first night; this system has been so good for all of us. Now when he does wake up in the middle of the night it only takes a couple of minutes for him to get back to sleep- on his own.
We had been hindering his sleep by continuing to feed him through the night; preventing him from progressing deeper into his sleep cycle because we would comfort him not only with food, but with additional soothing. Therefore we fed him too often and he never learned to fall asleep without parental help. We had been enabling him to overeat and under-sleep.
Have you half-way considered this technique, in your desperation to get your infant to sleep, but just felt that A) it was too cruel, B) it would mess up your kid psychologically, and/or C) you never knew any nice, normal parents to ever do this method?
Well, I am indeed a nice, normal parent who believes in the importance of raising my son in the most positively reinforced ways possible. I came to the conclusion I was hurting him more by not teaching him to fall asleep on his own. And I can obviously see that, so far, I have not messed him up psychologically and he still treats me the same.
But if you should have any doubts, continue reading The Dadabase every day. That way, you can still check in on my son to make sure that both the “cry it out” and the “cold turkey” methods are not only effective, but for my son at least, they are also a good and necessary thing.