We Used Extinction And It Wasn't So Bad


The other day, as a sort of “Whatever, I’ll try anything once” sort of deal, we (meaning Huck and I) decided to try the extinction method of sleep training that my crazy pediatrician “recommended” to me.

Huck’s sleeping is . . . well it’s not ideal. He’s up twice to eat on good nights, and this nap thing has got to stop. Naps! Oh naps, the bane of my existence! Naps are this long, drawn out “pleeeeease sleeeeeeeep” sort of exercise, where I rock him in the car seat, or nurse him, or push him in the stroller, or nurse him some more, all the while pleading with the Heavens above for something–anything–to work, please God! (God must not feel the need to give me any nap miracles? Blah.) And I’d really, really like to get him to sleep in his crib. The stroller/car seat deal might work for Huck, but it does not work for Mama. Mama really needs to win this one.

What I’d really like is to be able to put him down in his crib at night without a fuss, wake only once to feed him, and get him to happily nap in his crib two to three times a day for however long he needs to wake up feeling happy to be alive. I mean, this seems reasonable, but then I might be crazy. Do you think I am crazy?

So, extinction. Sure. Why not? Three days. I can do three days.

It worked after just one day.

But then it stopped working after just two days.



1. If Huck cries 37 minutes on night one, 2 minutes on night two (and only wakes up to eat at 5AM before going back to sleep until 7:30), but then cries over an hour on night three, only to finally fall asleep nursing, and then wakes twice that night to eat some more, what does that mean? Does that mean I broke it? It’s my fault, isn’t it? Do I have to start over from Day 1?

2. How the hell do you get your child to take naps? Do you let them cry it out then, too? Because Huck had three “naps” today, which means he cried in his crib for an hour on three separate occasions before I gave up, only to have him fall asleep 1. in the stroller immediately after, 2. while nursing immediately after, and 3. in the Ergo while I walked the dogs immediately after. (All told, Huck napped a total of two hours today and has been a sad, grouchy panda all day long, his mother is PMSing and dealing with insane allergies, so our house is real fun today.) Do you leave your child to cry in there for one hour? For two hours? Forever hours until he sleeps? But what if he finally falls asleep after 45 minutes but only stays asleep for 10 minutes? Do you keep going? For how long? I have these awful suspicions that if I didn’t give up on the whole deal, a CIO nap session could last five hours.

3. Is it possible to have a child who is impervious to sleep training?

4. I gave back the car seat to the friend I borrowed it from, so if I decide this isn’t for me, I actually have no other way of tricking my baby into falling asleep. So what am I going to do if I give up?

I would really love your help on this one, Babblies.

Please, for the love, don’t anyone comment about how sleep training is cruel, or heartless, or wrong, because that won’t help me or anybody. Don’t tell me what you wouldn’t do, just tell me what you did do. And you can tell me what you would do, if you were in my shoes.

You can also tell me that I’m doing a good job, because I’d sure like to hear that. I mean, you might not think I’m doing a good job, ’cause I don’t think I am either, but say so anyway, pretty please?

Article Posted 7 years Ago

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