Full-on sleep training starts tonight.
I ordered the Sleep Sense program yesterday and read pretty much the entire thing over the afternoon/evening. We are ready to start.
(Incidentally, I chose this program for a few reasons: I've heard good things about it, her philosophy seems sound to me, and the author lives just a hop, skip and a jump across the water in Sechelt, which somehow makes her more of a real person to me.)
(Also, the No-Cry program was totally not working. Every night we did the same thing, and every night Gwen gave us a different result: anywhere from 40 minutes to 10 hours of sleep. Maddening! My patience was starting to wear very thin.)
I put Gwen down for her nap just now, in the usual way: nursed her to sleep on my lap, then gently transferred her to her crib. I marvelled at the fact that tonight, by my own choice, I will trade this peaceful routine - who doesn't love to have a sleeping baby in their lap? - for a night of crying, screaming, and anguish. Not all of it Gwen's.
But that choice, I am convinced, is the right one. It makes sense to me that a baby (or child, or adult) who goes to sleep in one place and wakes up in another will feel disoriented and upset. It makes sense that that baby would then cry out and insist that the original circumstances be re-created so she can go back to sleep. It makes sense that if those circumstances involve my lap and my breast, I will need to be physically involved every single time she wakes. And it sure as hell makes sense that I can't continue to provide that forever.
I know tonight will be hard. But labour was hard too, and we got through it because we knew the result would be worth it. Falling to sleep on one's own, learning to self-soothe, is an absolutely vital skill, and one that Gwen will use all her life. It will be worth it.
Look forward to more posting tonight while I listen to my baby scream in protest.