Before I had gone back to work, I never got Teagan into a sleep routine as far as naps go. That child has always loved and been fine with her bedtime and sleeping through the nights but naps are a different story. I assumed once she started daycare she would naturally fall into a sleep routine, especially with all the stimulation she would get there.
Yeah, that never happened. Occasionally she would sleep 30-45 minutes out of the 8 hours she was there. To me that just never seemed healthy. She would fall asleep on our 5 minute drive home everyday and nap for 1-2 hours, wake up for 1 hour and then go down for the night. It was really sad for Cary and I because that meant we were really never getting to interact with her.
Once I quit, I decided we were going to try sleep training. The first 4 days, I didn’t want to do the whole cry it out thing. I would nurse her, put her in her crib and she would immediately wake up and start crying. I stayed in there with her and gave her a pacifier and would try to calm her down without picking her up but it would never work. So I would pick her up and rock her for a few minutes until she would either calm down and fall asleep or calm down enough to put back in her crib.
This whole process was getting really frustrating for both me and Teagan. After a few days of no luck or consistency, I decided to try the cry it out method. Now I know a lot of people are against it but I am not opposed to letting Teagan cry for a reasonable amount of time. We would do it when she was awake and playing and she was forced to wait and cry at daycare just simply because of the ratio so I know she knows how to self soothe.
So the first nap we tried it and she cried for about 15 minutes and I went in and rocked her, put her back in her crib. She cried for 3 minutes and then went to sleep. The second nap she cried for 11 minutes and then went to sleep. It made her more fussy at actual bedtime which we never had issues with in the past so I was nervous but after a few days of doing cry it out and staying consistent we went back to normal.
Now we are at the point where I don’t even have to feed or rock her before a nap. I just take her up to her room when she shows the sleepy cues and put her in her crib. She will cry the second I put her in her crib but the second I shut the door she stops. Clearly she is trying to work one over on me but I learned pretty quickly that the longer I stay in the room the more upset she gets. She will typically just roll over and go to sleep. Other time she will play with her wubbanub for 10 minutes and then go to sleep but I’d say we are officially sleep trained.
Her morning nap is the long one ranging 1-2 hours. Sometimes 2.5 hours. Her second nap is really all over the place. On Tuesday it was 1.5 hours, Thursday it was 25 minutes. We don’t have a lot of consistency on that second one but that’s okay. She’s still getting some sleep and that is all that matters to me.
Since sleep training, Cary and I have both noticed a huge difference in her during her awake hours. She never cries or fusses anymore unless she is getting tired. Most days she will go the entire day without crying one time. As long as I act on her sleepy cues fast enough we are in the clear. I try to stay pretty strict with her schedule. We don’t stay out passed her bedtime. I make plans around her morning nap and I try to keep our routines… well routine.
Now I know the cry it out method doesn’t work for every baby and some people just don’t feel comfortable with it and I think that is 100% okay. Every baby and family is different and I feel strongly that you need to find what works for you guys and go with it. My only job is to do what I think is best for Teagan and I’d say we are all pretty happy with how our sleep training has gone thus far.