Sleep Training Baby #2: Same Stress, Better Perspective

Disclaimer: This is an outdated photo of a sleeping Baby B. Still adorable, though.
Right now we're potty training and sleep training (yeah, gooood times!). You can guess which kid is going through their respective stage, right? These are seriously two of the hardest pieces of parenting that we've experienced. Since potty training has been rough and I can't tell you what works, today I'd like to focus on sleep training your second child. You feel confident after successfully training #1, but it's still stressful for mom and dad.

Here is what we've learned this week about sleep training: it doesn't necessarily get easier with your second baby. We had much of the same concerns training B at seven months that we did when we trained W at nine months. But, we both know it's time. B slept through the night from two months to four months, but for the last three months he's been up all night. Our nights have been dominated by a baby in bed between us, waking up and wanting to be comforted. He likes to sleep with his forehead pressed against mine, which is sweet until you find yourself using the bedside table for a pillow. I started to reach low points of exhaustion after three months of not sleeping. It was time.

We used the Ferber Method, which worked like a charm for W. The first night is stressful. B woke up crying and after five minutes Matt went in to comfort him, then we waited ten before comforting again, and then 15 before another visit. And then... Silence. Sweet silence.

It was a painful 40 minutes. We stared at each other, tried to watch Portlandia, and I googled "Ferber Method night one" in search of posts and articles to reinforce that we were doing the right thing. Listening to your baby cry is torture and nothing makes you question yourself more as a parent, even the second time around. Even when you know it's right.

But there was a distinct difference this time around: Perspective. It's almost as if we've looked ahead in the book and see it will be alright... We know that ultimately we're doing what's best. With W we weren't sure whether we were doing the right thing or how long it would take. We also didn't know how much of a difference a reliable sleep schedule makes. Hannemaniacs are happy with reliable sleep. And in 2012 we're bringing reliable sleep back into this house.

Parenting is about making difficult decisions that you know will be best in the long run. Every parenting decision feels heavy. They don't feel easier just because you've made them before.

It's Night 4 and we're still not out of the woods (though he did sleep through the night on Night 3). Each night has gotten better, but it could still take come time. We're still stressed about when we might hear him cry, but we're not nearly as freaked out as we were last time around.

Hopefully potty training will be similar in a few years, because right now it's hell.

Note: There are extreme opinions encouraging or discouraging just about every choice you make in parenting and sleeping is one of those hot topics. I love comments (really I do), but if they're attack comments, they'll be deleted. We all raise our children differently. You have your way. I have mine. Let's not attack each other's decisions.

1 comment:

Gregory R.Olmo said...
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