There are no two ways about it, sleep training involving tears is hard. Hopefully you won’t have to do it (BabyGirl didn’t really need it) but if you do (as we had to with BabyBoy) hopefully the following will help you:
1. Be ready. This is key. It took me a long long time to be fully convinced that BabyBoy needed to be sleep-trained. We ran the gauntlet of trying everything else before we turned to the graduated extinction method. It is important that you have convinced yourself that baby is not getting hungry during the night, and is not ill, teething, getting used to a new room / routine, going through severe separation anxiety…or anything else you can think of that might mean sleep training is not appropriate. Listening to baby cry will make the question ‘what is wrong?’ reverberate around your mind, so think about it in advance. If necessary, write down a list of things you have considered so that you can reassure yourself during the night that, yes, rationally you think sleep training is now needed.
2. If you can, arrange for someone to take over baby duty for a few hours during the day, so that you can get some rest. Sleep training is easier when you have resigned yourself to not sleeping for part of the night. If you’re desperately trying to squeeze in more night-time sleep, you will be more inclined to ditch the sleep-training method ‘just for tonight’. And once you’ve done that, you set yourself back several steps.
4. Once you’ve resigned yourself to no sleep you have to sit listening to baby cry. It is hard. If you are doing graduated extinction keep a clock in sight so that you can time the intervals. Write down the intervals so that you can see, yes, it’s only been five minutes. And, although it seems callous, have a distraction to hand – whether it’s referring to your baby sleep book, flicking over the pages of a magazine, scrolling through this blog….you are not going to take anything in, but it will help you keep going for just a few more minutes…and those few minutes may be all baby needs to resettle himself.
5. Persevere. Some sleep training information gives the impression that it takes is a couple of nights and then, hooray, baby will sleep through. I really hope that is what happens in your case. But it might not. It took 25 nights before BabyBoy hit the magic hour of 6am. Apparently early morning waking is one of the hardest habits to break and having gone through it with BabyBoy, I fully agree.