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When Will Sleep Training Start Working?










QUESTION:

My first born is just rounding out 6 months now, and we're giving sleep training another go. The first time we tried was at 4 months and the stress of him crying on my wife nearly ended our marriage. Now, after a month of him sleeping on my chest as I got no sleep for the next day's work, we're trying again. Except now, I've been given a new rule; Don't let him cry. I love my wife, but the poor dear just can't handle crying.

He fights going to bed, and when he's finally asleep, he's only out for 30-40 minutes at a time. Then I have to spend nearly an hour getting him to calm down and go back to sleep. Meanwhile, if I try let him cry for even five minutes, in an attempt to self-soothe, I risk my wife swooping in and rocking him for the rest of the night with me painted as the jerk who let him cry when "all he wants is to be comforted."

Everything I've read says that this is the complete wrong way to be going about it. I'm hindering his ability to learn to sleep, and in the process, I'm still watching the sun rise as I sit on the nursery floor waiting for the next outburst. My wife however, gets extremely upset/defensive if I bring up any sort of outside information on the topic of babies. Like all of it shouldn't be trusted.

So, I continue to go without sleep, completely stumped at what to do. It's been three weeks of sleep training and it only seems like he's sleeping worse than before. I just want us ALL to get some sleep, but I don't think this train will be stopping any time soon.




ANSWER:

Sleep deprivation amounts to torture, and the only thing worse for your mate is thinking she is a bad mother because she (or you) lets her baby cry. I am sure you have heard he will grow out of it, basically useless information when you both are being tortured. The conflict this causes between new parents, just as you are forming your new family, is destructive.

Food for thought; some ideas that might help:

  • Start with something new that enables you to regain her confidence.
  • Forget the sleep training and try new things to put him out; white noise, car seat on the dryer; one guy duck taped a portable drill set on low to the bottom side of his baby’s mattress– the swing worked great for me.
  • Bedtime stroller ride outside the house where she can’t hear him cry, and send her a picture when he is blissfully asleep so she can relax. Once home, leave him in the stroller to sleep until he wakes up; then he can go into his crib.
  • I also used the stroller in the house; when I stopped he would wake up, so I would push the stroller and rock it side to side and hung one of my other kid’s mechanical toys on the handle so it would keep rocking when I stopped pushing it. Wife thought I was a genius.
  • Transferring him to the cold sheets of his crib would wake him up, so I put a heating pad on low in his bed first. Us dads are naturally creative.

I was the king of crying babies (we had 4 and I have about 50 nephews and nieces), and I could always put them out. Sometimes it took a long time, but I took it as a challenge. (I had 9 younger brothers and sisters so I grew up listening to babies cry.)

Once you have regained her confidence, she might be open to sleep training; she might listen to his pediatrician on this subject too. If you two can work this out together, the other conflicts that new parents naturally have will seem like a cakewalk.

Good luck to you; nice move to reach out for advice; most guys just suffer through it and get a lousy start as a dad and mate.

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