Since birth, I've been nursing Elyssa to sleep at night. Even after giving her formula milk as the last feed (from 4 months+ onwards), I'll still let her suckle until she falls fast asleep. This can take up to an hour plus cos she sometimes suckles then pulls away, then suckles again . I tried giving her the pacifier and patting her after she's a little drowsy, but then she'll just start to cry and I end up giving in.
But after she passed her six month mark, hubby and I decided to start the "sleep training".
2 objectives here -
(a) to train her to sleep on her own
(b) to train her not to wake up for night feeds.
We opted for the "Ferber" method which is to let the baby cry for a while, then pick her up and soothe her, then put her down again and repeat the process till she falls asleep. The book also recommended that the soothing be done by the daddy since baby will associate mummy's scent with mummy's milk.
Our first attempt was on Oct 11, and it was heartbreaking! I nursed her until she was a little drowsy then pulled away and let hubby take-over. He sang and soothed her but she just cried / wailed/ yelled on top of her lungs. *Sigh*, I had leave the room to prevent myself from giving in to her. After what seemed like an eternity of cries and short silence and cries again, hubby finally came down the stairs and said that she's finally asleep. Probably about an hour, but I'm not too sure.. But anyway, achieved objective (a) for the night.
Around 3am Elyssa cried for her usual night feed. Again, hubby did the "Ferber" method. This time was worse. Hubby said that when she cried, she looked straight into his eyes and kept scratching his arm and trying to climb on him. Though he persisted with the "training", he broke down and cried too... She did fall asleep in the end and woke up again around 6.30am. This time, I gave in and nursed her back to sleep.
Day 2 (Sun night) - Slight improvement compared to Day 1. Funny thing was that when hubby sang to her, she babbled away and "sang back" as well. Felt like a daddy-baby karaoke session! But then the crying started when she got sleepy. We decided to drop objective (b) after that night as we were both panda-eyed at work the next day.
Day 3, 4 - Objective (a) achieved quite well. Whole process was about 15 minutes.
Day 5 (Weds night) - Hubby was so pleased with training to date. Got ambitious and wanted to try objective (b) again. Bad idea cos it was again a difficult time. We were up at 2am, 4am & 6am, and were panda-eyed at work..
Day 6 (last night) - Quite good progress. Obj (a) achieved in less than 15 minutes but the best part was that she only woke up for night feed around 5.30am!
Will be continuing this training for next couple of days/weeks. I'm glad that it's progressing well. Luckily Elyssa seems to be doing fine. She still wakes up smiling in the morning, with seemingly no memory of her experience the night before!