Monday, December 20, 2010

Sleep re-training.

I'll admit it, we've had it pretty easy. Rory is a good sleeper and he has been since he was 3 months old. He sleeps through the night and we've only had to work our way through a very light pattern of sleep training during the day, but other than that, we put Rory in his crib and he goes to sleep.

Then there was last night. And the night before. And perhaps the night before that. I honestly feel like I haven't slept in a week, and today will inevitably be one of those barely functioning days. I have so much to do. Why didn't I get the memo that this week is Christmas?

Ok, so here's the thing... this time, I think our current sleep issue is actually probably my fault. Can you create poor sleep associations in a week or two? I googled it, and apparently you can.

So Rory has been sick for almost 8 days (thankfully he is better now). A cold virus has slowly made it's way through our home and completely disrupted our month of December (which is why I still have so much to do).  And in an effort to save our sanity and navigate our way through family and friend holiday obligations with a sick baby, I have been doing a ton of stuff to sooth Rory that I had long ago abandoned.  

Things like...

- rocking Rory to sleep
- holding Rory while he sleeps
- letting Rory sleep on my chest
- night feeding Rory to get him to go back to sleep

And I am sure there is more. Eek...

I guess I never really thought I could totally change his sleeping habits in a week?  But I did, and I have. And it looks like sleep associations are just THAT easy to create. Here's hoping they're just THAT easy to get rid of or it's going to be a long week. We need to get this under control before we show our faces in Almonte because Gramma is sorta right wing on the sleep training debate. 

So I ask you moms out there in all honesty, is this what we're up against every time Rory has a cold, or a new tooth coming through?  What is a parent to do?  My instinct is to sooth them however I can, but if that disrupts their whole schedule from there on in is that the best decision?  

Here's to a sleepy and snowy Monday.


  1. OH yeah, you can totally change their sleep habits. We are trying to re-train as well thanks to stupid teething!

  2. I know babies supposedly hit a sleep regression at 4 months, and then I think at nine months and again at 18 months. I think you can totally re-train them. If he's been a good sleeper thus far, you know he's capable of it. I was starting to do similiar things when my daughter was little - hold her again while she slept, etc. And I think every parent has to do what they believe is right for their child. So if you honestly feel for the most part he's better sleeping on his own, I would go with that instinct. My daughter is currently 14-months old and a solid 12-13 hour a night sleeper. She has the odd rough night when sick or teething, but I try to keep my patterns consistent. If I do pick her up to comfort her, I'll do it once or twice if she's really screaming, but not enough to make it an established habit. Most often I'll try to offer her a soother if she's really bad in the night. If it's illness, I'll offer Tylenol if she won't settle. I try to pick her up during the night as little as possible. It doesn't take babies long to pick up new habits - if they expect to be attended to in the night, I believe it will become a habit. It's not intentional, but it's definite cause-and-effect. "I cry, mom comes to me and picks me up/fees me." I find that within a week or so after a new tooth or a cold, if I stay consistent with not holding/picking up once my child is well, she's usually readjusted and starts sleeping just fine again. The nights are hard, but once things get back to normal, looking back they feel like a small blip in their sleep schedule.