Training day is here; the time has come—time to transition Meebs from the family bed to her crib. We’ve set up her crib in the master bedroom so she’ll be close to us, and the surroundings will be familiar during this adjustment period. In truth this setup is as much for me as it is for her.

We’ve somewhat come to an agreement on our approach, but honestly we’re probably going to make it up as we go. I’ve never been comfortable with the full-blown cry-it-out method. I know there’ll be some tears, but to place my baby in her crib, turn my back and shut the door, leaving her to cry herself to sleep alone seems like a breach of trust, not at all indicative of the nurturing bond we’ve formed. I’m not one to cast judgement on those who’ve had success using this method; simply, it isn’t right for me. At the same time, I want Meebs to learn to fall asleep by herself, removing any crutch she’s become dependent on, such as nursing and sleeping next to me. Our friends are encouraging, “stay strong, there’ll be a few rough nights, but it’s for the best in the long run.” Intellectually, I get it; emotionally, I’m struggling.

I’ve psyched myself up for a few tears; even the “no tears” methods involve a little crying—and I don’t just mean the baby. A key difference seems to centre on whether you leave your baby to cry alone and for how long. The idea is not to teach your baby to cry herself to sleep, it’s to self-soothe and help her understand she can fall asleep on her own. Whether or not crying is involved, establishing healthy sleep habits early on is a beautiful gift to give your child. It’s this loving principle, as opposed to puritanical-sounding sleep “training”, that will get me through the rough patches, and maybe a glass of wine, as well.  Either way, I imagine our methods will fall somewhere between the Sears/Pantley camp and the Ferber/Controlled Crying camp. I guess we’ll know for sure after tonight.

One thing opposing experts agree on is the importance of creating bedtime cues and establishing a solid bedtime routine.

Our current routine has been this: 

  • Dinner
  • Quiet play and reading with Daddy
  • Brush teeth
  • Bath with Mommy ~ 6:30pm
  • Dry-off, lotion and pj’s with Daddy
  • Nurse to sleep, and sleep in Mommy’s arms ~7pm
  • Go to bed with Mommy ~10pm

Our new routine is this:

  • Dinner
  • Quiet play and reading with Daddy
  • Brush teeth
  • Bath with Mommy ~ 6:30pm
  • Dry-off, lotion and pj’s with Daddy
  • Nurse until drowsy with Mommy ~7pm
  • Placed in crib by Mommy ~7:30pm

Well, I suppose it can’t be put off any longer. Sleep Training Day is here; we start tonight! Here goes nothing!