Over the last three months or so, we’ve managed to get Leo into a routine, more or less. We’ve figured out when he likes to sleep, and have been fairly regular about getting him to bed. Trouble is, we’ve been bouncing him to sleep in our arms, so he rarely falls asleep in his own crib. Evidently, that’s not a sustainable plan. Can you picture us in 5 years bouncing him to sleep? Ack!
A few of the baby books Claire’s been reading say that the 3-4 month age is perfect for extinction therapy. The idea is basically to put the baby to bed while still awake, around the time he’d usually fall asleep, and leave him there. If he cries, you let him do that for an hour or so before giving him any attention. Hopefully, he falls asleep before the hour is up.
Does it work?
Our jury’s out on that, but we’re still trying. Most of the time, Leo does fall asleep within 15-30 minutes. Music and his motorized mobile help. We play the same music we used to dance him to sleep on the boombox in his room. It’s got a “sleep” feature, so we repeat his favourite song until it shuts off automatically in 30 minutes. Usually he’s asleep before the music is off.
Occasionally, he has fussed or cried the whole hour, and Claire has had to come to the rescue.
It’s really difficult to let your baby cry. You want to pick him up, and hug him, and kiss him, and comfort him. But it really is hard work to do that on a regular basis. How will he ever learn to go to sleep on his own?
We’ll keep working this method for a while, and post our impressions right here.