After months of 10+ wakeups per night, 10+ mini nursing sessions per night, much fussing, a seriously sore back (and boobs for that matter), and a bed that was no longer parents-only, I decided that I needed to seriously buckle down and attempt to sleep train Tristan. This past long weekend seemed perfect. I had four nights that were followed by days that either my parents or Russ were around to support me if I needed to pass out from exhaustion so I mentally and emotionally prepared myself for the torture ahead.
I chose to follow the Baby Whisperer's "Pick Up / Put Down" method, with a few adjustments. I really don't think Tristan is getting enough calories during the day to sustain him through a long period at night so I figured I'd feed him if I felt it had been long enough (and/or I was so freaking tired that I didn't have the energy to listen to him scream). I really wasn't expecting him to start sleeping through the night within a couple of days; my main goals were to get him to sleep without nursing, rocking or bouncing him, have him go a decent amount of time between nursing sessions, and keep him out of our bed. So far I'm fairly happy about our progress. Although I don't have set times for naps and bedtimes yet, I'm trying to put him down for his nap 2 hours after he wakes up from his previous wakeup time and he's been taking 5 or 20 minutes (yes, one or the other for some reason) to fall asleep. We sing a couple of songs, then I lay him down on his tummy (because I've always been an evil parent who puts children to sleep the wrong way). Usually he starts crying within a couple of minutes at which point I pick him up and hold him until he quiets down, starts pushing me away, or a couple of minutes of crying passes. Then I put him down and start all over. Three days ago he started rolling over in protest which annoyed the hell out of me and made me have to hold him straight, but thankfully he isn't doing it as much anymore. Now he likes me to shush really loud while holding my hand on his back. Whatever works.
He seems to be getting used to going to sleep this way, which is good because I used to hate taking forever to get him to sleep. He hasn't slept in our bed since last Thursday night and he usually goes 2 to 4 hours between wakeups during the night. I've been giving him a "dream feed" at 10 PM where I basically pull him out of the crib and feed him while he's still asleep. When it goes as planned, he sleeps 2-3 hours before the dream feed, goes down without a problem afterwards, then sleeps another 4 hours afterwards. I usually feed him at this point, but when he doesn't go a full 4 hours I'm in for a screaming fight to get him back to sleep. Now I know that I shouldn't be excited about getting 4 hours of sleep but after what I've been through it's freaking awesome. Hopefully things will continue to improve. If he starts to regress I may have to be a little stricter with making sure he eats enough during the day and not feeding him at night, but for now I'm pretty happy with how things are going. Just don't ask me about it after a night of him screaming angrily in my face for an hour.