At around 7.30p each day, #OhBoy kisses and waves everyone good night. Me and him step into the bedroom and approx. 20mins later I am out. He sleeps through the night and wakes up at around 6am next morning.

This was not the case a year ago. Here is our journey.

How it was

A year ago, #OhBoy would wake up every 45m to an hour and would only fall asleep with a feed. He was using The Missus as a soothing toy to fall sleep. Both of them were not happy with this arrangement and resulted in cranky behavior throughout the day (dare I say for both!).

Things got so bad that we would dread evenings as the sleep time approached. This is the time The Missus read about sleep training (on Mint Lounge, I think). She searched about the author Kerry Bajaj and purchased her book—Sleep, Baby, Sleep, on Kindle.

Discovering sleep training

The Missus read it first and was convinced on the way forward. I read the first chapter and agreed with her. The book talks of many things—setting a routine and avoid surprises, being boring at sleep time, low to no light in the room, white noise etc.

We were adopting some of those things already. Like an evening routine—bath, powder, read a book and sleep, using yellow lights instead of white lights etc.

Braving the start

A year ago from today, 29th May 2020, we went cold turkey to begin sleep training. We stuck newspapers on windows to block ambient light. Setup a nice cozy bed for the evening and showed it to #OhBoy all day to make it familiar. Fed him well to sustain the night. I had an early dinner at 7.30p and went into the room with him. I locked ourselves up with just a bottle of water for him and a speaker playing rain sounds.

After almost 45mins of crying and fighting to get out of the room, he slept off. It was tough on us to bear those cries, but we all believed it was the right thing.

The first night he woke up 4-5 times. Each time I gave him water and he grudgingly had it and fought a little, but went back to sleep.

He was on a two nap routine, so we did the same next day for his morning and afternoon naps as well. Day naps were tougher than nights, given the daylight around. But we made it a point that this was the way he is going to sleep.

The transformation

What started with so much resistance from him, went on to become something he loved. He began seeing sleep as an enjoyable activity, instead of something that made him miss all the fun around.

During the course of the year, we invested in a separate bed/crib for him.

We went on a couple of vacations, but all through, kept up with the routine (much to the disappointing nods from many around!).

We also took turns on who would put him to sleep, so he would not build an attachment to just one of us to fall asleep.

We were able to see the change. He was a happier kid with less cranky outbursts. More importantly he embraced sleep as another essential activity.

We still have off-days once in a while, when he wants to lie in bed and throw silly tantrums. Then there are days when he goes on about choosing pillows/sheets, wanting to get cozy on the shoulder, asking to pat or sing a song etc. But more often than not, we both would get in, talk for a while and he would lie down, toss around and fall asleep.

We see our role now as those enabling him to catch the sleep train each night.

Our guide for sleep training

We highly recommend the book Sleep, Baby, Sleep by Kerry Bajaj. In fact, we have presented the book to new parents in our circles and talked about it at every chance with new parents.

PS: Yes, our parents did not follow this “fad” of sleep training. But this is the need of our times. Super bright lights, plethora of screens, increased ambient noises etc., have all changed since we were kids. IMO to accommodate all these changes, we need to sleep train kids. Else it is a disservice to them.