Jillian has never been a good sleeper. Because of this, bedtime has been a constant struggle for us and I can't remember a time when I didn't dread it. We made the mistake in the beginning of never putting Jillian to bed 'drowsy but awake'. We always made sure that she was asleep when laying her down at night because we hated to hear her cry. Putting Jillian to bed at night would typically go two different ways. One, she would either fall asleep while drinking her bedtime bottle and we would successfully place her in her crib sound asleep, or two, she would not fall asleep with her bedtime bottle and we would struggle for 30 to 60 minutes trying to get her to fall asleep. When this happened, we would typically rock her or walk around with her to get her to fall asleep. We would then place her in her crib while holding our breath that she wouldn't wake up. Neither method is recommended by any Baby sleep book that you read.
As you know, I have blogged about the past several months being a sleeping nightmare with Jillian's chronic ear infections. Jillian has never been that great of a sleeper, and with these past few months, she has gone from bad to worse. Bedtime with an ear infection was a constant struggle for us because the laying down position brought on even more pain and discomfort for her. We would spend hours before bedtime rocking and soothing Jillian trying to get her to sleep. A typical night would consist of Jillian waking up 1-2 times with me getting up with her and holding her upright for several hours in her rocker. There have been times when nights have been so rough that nursing her was the only option in getting her to sleep.
Needless to say, Jeff and I were so relieved when Jillian finally had tubes placed in her ears. The tubes were a sign of better nights ahead and a happier and healthier Jillian. The first two nights after her surgery, Jillian slept through the night without a peep. Putting her to bed was still a struggle, however once asleep, she slept beautifully. It was such a relief. However, after those two nights, Jillian starting waking up again and staying awake for several hours at a time. I had to revert back to my old methods of trying to get her to sleep again. Jeff and I were so worried that the surgery didn't work and that perhaps there was still some trapped fluid in Jillian's ears. Perhaps the ENT didn't get it all and one of the tubes was now clogged. So we made an appointment with the ENT on Monday, convinced that something went wrong with the surgery. One look at Jillian's ears and our ENT told us that her ears looked perfect. She shouldn't be experiencing any ear pain or discomfort besides from a little teething here or there. I could tell by the look on our ENT's face that pretty much read that it was her, not her ears. It was such a relief knowing that Jillian's ears were fine. It also explained that Jillian was no longer waking up because of ear discomfort, but out of habit.
Jeff and I finally made the decision to sleep train Jillian and to let her 'Cry it Out'. Like any Mom, I really did not want to go down this path AT ALL. I had been living in denial that her sleep issues would all work themselves out on their own. However, I was wrong. No one was sleeping in our house and that wasn't good for anyone.
I am in the process of putting together a series of blog posts detailing out each night of Jillian's sleep training. I want to share our experience with you because I know that I had so many questions, doubts and fears about this process. I am hoping that I can some how help out another Mom who is also struggling with a similar situation. If you do have any questions about sleep training, please leave me a comment. I will try to answer them in my upcoming sleep training posts.