Perseverance and determination. That’s all it takes, simples!
I have spent hours trying to find methods to get my little one to, firstly, get to sleep by himself and secondly, sleep through the night. I thought baby steps is best, if I can get him to fall asleep without me rocking him off then we have overcome one hurdle and then I will tackle the big one, sleeping through the night.
It didn’t take too long to get him to send himself off to sleep and for this we used the controlled crying method. Now, this is not for everyone and apparently health visitors in the UK no longer recommend using this method however, we tried it and after a week or two he was able to get to sleep without to much hassle. It was tough, especially for me, I couldn’t stand hearing Little D upset and for the first few days had to go up after less than 5 minutes but my partner told me that we need to persevere and try leaving him a bit longer, which eventually I managed to leave him for 15 minutes at a time. It sounds cruel and at first I thought it was cruel but I knew that he had to learn to get himself off to sleep somehow and we had tried me being in the room and moving closer to the door but that just seemed to keep him awake longer.
Now, we didn’t start controlled crying until he was at least 7/8 months old and the only reason we did it was because my partner kept telling me that we need to let him learn how to settle himself and the sooner we do it the better otherwise I will probably be rocking him off to sleep till he’s 18 (what a scary thought). So I did some research and I really did not like what I read. The problem is luckily for us, Little D doesn’t get upset and cry much and when he does he has a perfectly good reason to do so. I wasn’t used to him being upset for no apparent reason and I felt that controlled crying was a bit like child cruelty, it isn’t but I thought that.
Anyway on with how I made it work for me and little D, it is pretty simple;
* I started off only leaving him for 5 minutes at a time, it was about as much as I could cope with without feeling too guilty. Trust me when you hear your little one crying up in their cot, all alone it is really difficult not to go running straight away. So, after 5 minutes I would go up, lye him down, give him his dummy and then leave without looking back. Eventually, after a week I managed to leave him for 15 minutes at a time but this was only manageable because of my partner. He would tell me to just wait a little bit longer. I really recommend that you have someone to be the strict parent and not let you give in after 60 seconds of crying, I needed that as I didn’t have any strength to tell myself to leave him a little longer.
* I struggled in the first week, at nap times, because my other half wasn’t around to keep me in check. I only managed to get through this because I thought about what would he do/say if he was here and not at work. He would tell me to leave him a little longer and I just about got through it. The second week was easier because I had got used to leaving him, if I was starting to find it hard I would turn the baby monitor down so I couldn’t hear him, but I could still see him as we had a video baby monitor – best thing EVER! Also, Little D was starting to get used to it so he wouldn’t get upset as quickly and it was starting to take less time for him to get himself off to sleep.
There you go, two easy-ish steps. It is hard to begin with but you get used to it and eventually they will be going to sleep without a peep. Yes, sometimes it will take longer for them to go off to sleep, sometimes ours goes off within 20 minutes of being up in his bed and other times it take him at least 2 hours! However, he isn’t screaming and crying for two hours, he is sat in his cot entertaining himself. I have read a lot of articles about controlled crying which say you will notice the difference in a week/ two weeks but I don’t think you should give up after one or two weeks, if you see a bit of improvement, keep at it! It will take time and sometimes it will be awful, we have had weeks where he has been great at getting himself to sleep then suddenly he’s crying and screaming in his cot and it feels like we are back at square one, don’t fear just re-do what you did in the first place. It might take a couple of goes to get right but it is worth trying.
Also, I wouldn’t worry about getting them to sleep through the night if you are one of the unlucky one’s (like me). I have spent days and weeks and months stressing, worrying and trying everything possible to get him to sleep through the night and nothing seems to work. I think it’s an unrealistic target, when do you sleep through the night without waking? I know I wake up at least once or twice, the problem is you know how to communicate and you know that you don’t have to tell the whole street that you have woken up, you see our little one’s don’t know that important bit of information yet!
If you have read this post because you’re considering using controlled crying then please comment below and let me know how you get on. If you have already tried it then let me know how it worked for you and if it didn’t, what did? I would love to know! 😀