I don’t want to bounce this little man forever. For one, Wally IV can’t do the bouncing, as it hurts his back, so I am having to bounce him to nap around 3-5 times a day. At the recommendation of several people who commented on my blog, I decided to figure out how to get Wally Ben to fall asleep on his own. But I didn’t want to start by just letting him cry unless I knew how to do it right.

So, one day my mom and I worked our way through “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” (which I do like, by the way, as my mommy friend said, as much as you can like a book about baby sleep) to put together a plan for me to follow to help Wally Ben get to sleep. We decided to try the “Controlled Cry” method. In this method, you do your it’s-time-to-sleep routine, and then set the baby in the crib. You let him cry for 5 minutes, then check on him, soothe him, and put him back in the crib. Then you let him cry 10 minutes, check, soothe, put him back. And so on, adding 5 minutes each time until he decides to give up and go to sleep.

I felt good. We had a plan. A regimented, here’s what we’ll do, plan. It sounded easy. That night, we tried it. Wally Ben woke up after I set him in the crib. And cried. For five minutes. Not too bad! Wally IV went in, soothed, and were on to 10. After 4 of the 10, Wally IV and I were looking at the timer wondering, is it broken? But no. Sure enough, counting down. Slowly. Very slowly. After 10 hour-long minutes, I went in, and he was so relieved to see me. He quieted down. He had baby tears on his cheeks. He whimpered, pleading with me, Please don’t leave me again. I promise I’ll be good. I will be a good baby. Just don’t leave, please! But alas, I left. And alas, he wailed for another 15 minutes. 15 minutes of crying time. Wailing, my parents are mean, I’m abandoned, please save me crying. Wally IV went in to soothe and the cycle started again.

Me: I can’t believe people advocate this. Wally IV: He’s so tired. He’s never going to give up! Wally Ben then wailed for 17 and quieted for 10. We thought it was over. At last! Relief! And then, wail. One last, 10 minute long, that’s what you get, you jerks, I want to be adopted, wail. And finally he quieted and went to sleep.

And this is where I’d love to say what all the other parents say. I closed the door, and Wally Ben slept the best night of his life. Wally IV and I woke up refreshed and floated down the lovely rainbow that had formed from our window into a pool of marshmallows and chocolate and free diapers that would be our happy parenting life from then on. But it didn’t happen. We had about the same kind of night we usually have, me getting up twice to feed him. Which was all actually okay with me.

The main issue came up when we decided to try the same thing for the next morning’s nap. Our new eat, play, sleep schedule put Wally as ready for a nap after 1-2 hours of being awake. So around the normal naptime, I went through our nap routine and set him in the crib. And he cried. And cried. For 15 minutes. And so, like the book recommended, we picked him up and decided to try again later. Later came around, and the same issue. Crying, and no sleeping. To keep the story short, the entire morning and early afternoon was a mess of crying in the crib, fussing when awake, and only one 20 minute nap after eating one time.

And Wally Ben wasn’t the only one crying. For the two weeks prior, I had felt in control. I knew when Wally Ben needed a nap, and I helped him to take one. Days he napped best, he slept best at night. Days he napped poorly, he didn’t sleep as well and naps progressively became harder to start and lasted only briefly. So I cried because I felt like I had lost all of that control, like Wally Ben would never catch up now, and I knew that night would be a horrible night’s sleep. I cried to Wally IV, cried to my mom.

And finally, when at 1PM Wally Ben had not really napped and had not smiled all day, I decided we weren’t ready yet for nap sleep training. The book said post-colicky babies may not take to sleep training as well, as they were not used to falling asleep on their own. It said you may want to start later with the post-colicky baby, at four months, because at three they may not be ready yet. But I know the actual truth: the book said Wally Ben may not be ready to sleep train, but I believe it’s actually me who’s not ready.

I could handle the evening sleep training, and we’ve stuck with that for now. At night, if he wakes up as I’m putting him to bed, he cries for at most 10 minutes, then sleeps. (Although since we started this, he’s been a pretty bad night sleeper–he gave up all 5+ stretches of sleep, so I’m up with him every 3 hours, and he’s crying here and there between. I’m so tired! Okay, enough complaining… putting my big girl panties back on now.) But for naps, for the next few weeks, I’ll be bouncing away.

I’ve got control of our schedule back. And at four months (just around the corner, yipes!) some weekend, I’ll flex my mommy muscles and take the flying leap into nap sleep training again. And I’m okay with this plan. I’m relieved. I’m doing what my gut says. But when he’s 4 months old, Wally Ben had better watch out. I am mommy, hear me roar. You will fall asleep on your own, boy. In a few weeks. You will.

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