For the past month, we have attempted to transition Olivia from co-sleeping to her crib. She was almost 11 months old and she was still waking up to comfort nurse 3-5 times a night. After researching and reading and talking with other parents, we chose our method of sleep coaching, created a schedule and a routine, and started putting her in her crib - as everyone encourages - drowsy but awake.
The past month has been one of the hardest of parenthood and, possibly, my entire life. Olivia is not sleeping better; in fact, she cries more and is harder to put to sleep now than she was just a few weeks ago. I am more stressed and less happy. I found myself facing the same feelings of depression and anxiety that I had felt in the months after Olivia's birth. I dreaded nap time and hated the bedtime fight.
Today, when she was ready for a nap, I put Olivia in our bed. I nursed her and sang to her and stroked her hair. Within minutes, she was asleep. I lay beside her and remembered the struggle we had to even breastfeed in the beginning. I felt comfortable and content; I was again the mother I wanted to be - a mother who did not feel resentment or anxiety, but who cherished these simple moments.
Today, I quit sleep training. Someday, Olivia won't even want me to look at her, let alone comfort her to sleep. We will face many struggles but today, sleep training won't be one of them.