The result, I love. A baby who can soothe himself to sleep is gift from heaven. But listening to your child cry and keeping yourself from stopping it is excruciating. It's awful.
My six month old son is still not sleeping through the night. He never sleeps more than 5 hours at a time- no matter how much he's eaten- so it's time to buckle down and commit to the sleep training once and for all. We've half-assed it so far, but we need to make sure he can soothe himself. I know it's ultimately better for him, but I still feel like I'm torturing him.
We sleep trained my older son at four months and, though it sucked, it went relatively smoothly. After a few days, he learned to put himself to sleep. If he woke up in the middle of the night, he would fuss a bit, then soothe himself. Done and done. My second son has been a bit different. Not so easy as the first one, this guy. Luckily, he's cute as the dickens. He's never had trouble going to sleep in the first place, but has always woken up more than I'd like and isn't able to calm himself at that point. Normally, he'll sleep from 7pm until 10:30pm or 11pm, then nurse and go to sleep until 3am or 4am, then nurse and wake up anywhere between 6am and 7am. Not horrendous, but it's rare that I get 4 hours of sleep in a row, and this is totally kicking my ass. Last night he woke up 45 minutes after I put him down and would NOT be calmed. I'm not nursing him back to sleep every 5 minutes. It's time.
I'm doing the good ol' Ferber method and going up every 5, then 10, then 15 minutes (and so on...), but I tend to have stubborn babies and it's not going quickly. Yesterday, after two full hours he was still crying. He wasn't hysterical and there was no blood-curdling screaming, but the last time I went up to pat his back, he startled and then realized I was there. He looked at me with such relief and reached for my hand before smiling the biggest, most beautiful smile. And then I had to leave. And he started crying... again. Holy guilt, Batman. Nonetheless, his actions tell me one thing: he really just wants me there. Many would say that there's nothing wrong with that. I can be there, so I should be there. But the truth is, I can't be at his side every time he stirs in his sleep. He will continue to wake throughout the night for... oh, FOREVER, so he needs to be able to calm down on his own. His smile last night bolsters my confidence. He was wasn't inconsolable, wasn't feeling so miserable that he was past smiling. He was just pissed off. Pissed off I can handle.
Sooo... I am officially on the Sleep Training Roller Coaster. It's a bumpy ride, folks.