"Sleep Training"

Last week, on Twitter, I mentioned that we were beginning "sleep training" (I hate that term) with Gunner. I've received a few emails asking how it was going and then asking what approach we've used, so here are all of the details.

1) What approach are you using?
We have used the approach described in Ferber's book Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems. Ferber recommends The Progressive-Waiting Approach. He also talks a lot about sleep associations, and this information is something I found extremely valuable. I'll admit at first I was scared of using any recommendations from Ferber because I'd heard so many misconceptions on what he believes. In short terms, The Progressive-Waiting Approach is a "crying it out" technique but Ferber never recommends you letting a child cry for an unlimited amount of time. I know some people see "crying it out" as evil, but this plan gradually uses increasing time amounts for the crying...basically, each night you let them cry a little longer. The longest G ever had to cried before falling asleep was 15 minutes. I am never a fan of letting my child cry, but this approach worked best for Gunner, I won't spend any more time describing the approach but if you'd like more details you are more than welcome to email me. 
2) Do you still feed him in the middle of the night?
Yes and no. We learned from Gunner's pediatrician that at this point in time there is no nutritional need for him to eat in the middle of the night; however, we made a personal decision that if he wakes after 5 am, we will feed him. Holding off his feeding has not been a problem at all. 

3) Has Gunner's night sleep improved?
Yes, yes, yes! Now, it took about 3 days to get there but he is now falling asleep on his own when put down for bed and when he wakes at night. I really loved rocking my son to sleep at night, but not so much at 3 am. He also has slept three full nights in a row...asleep at 7:30 pm, awake at 6:00(ish) am to eat.
4) Has his napping gotten any better?
No, not yet. But we have hope! We decided we would get his night sleeping under control before working on his napping.
All in all, Gunner's sleep has improved remarkably. The past few nights, he has actually whined if I try to cuddle him a little before putting him down. We have a son that badly needed the sleep structure and so we did what was necessary. However, I do want to say that I don't believe that sleep training is for everyone or every baby. I know several babies who have never needed it. Those babies fall asleep easily on their own or don't wake in the night, if you have one of those babies, consider yourself lucky and don't worry much about sleep training. Even if you don't have one of those babies, I'm not saying you have to sleep train. Do what is best for your child, and remember that only you can decide what that is. 

If you have any other specific questions, please email me! I'd love to help in any way that I can. texaslovebirds {@} gmail {dot} com.