Saturday, November 7, 2009

Sleep success!!!

Well, we did it... we let her cry it out. Almost 2 weeks ago, she started putting herself to sleep. At first, she was NOT thrilled. In fact, she was pretty pissed off.

I got the book "Sleeping Through the Night" by Jodi Mindell and read it in one afternoon. That very night, we put our new knowledge to use. The book said to expect crying for about 45 minutes the first night, or up to 2 hours for stubborn kids. We were expecting the full two hours.

It was decided that Nate would be the one to break her heart, I mean, put her to bed on the first night. We did her bedtime routine and then Nate took her in the bedroom for story/cuddle time. Then he put her in the crib, said good night, I love you, etc.... and left.

After the initial look of shock, she cried. And cried. And cried. I cried right along with her. The first night, we checked on her a total of three times (every five-six minutes). I went first, then Nate, then me again. After 22 minutes, she laid down! Within three minutes of laying down, she was sleeping! She fell asleep in almost HALF the time the book said it would take! (I LOVE my video monitor, by the way. Really don't know how we functioned without it.)

The book said to expect around an hour of crying the second night. It said something about how the kid is thinking, "Okay, last night was a fluke. Tonight I really mean it." Or something along those lines. I thought that was funny and pretty scary sounding. So we prepared ourselves for lots and lots of crying. It was decided again that Nate would put her to bed. I just wasn't prepared to do it yet. After story time, he put in her the crib, said good night, I love you, etc, and left.... my precious little baby girl, who I am sooo very proud of, cried for less than a minute before laying down. She squirmed around a little and then fell asleep! We were SOOO impressed with our daughter.

Since then, she cries for around 10 seconds or less when she goes to bed. And Nate doesn't have to do it all by himself anymore. I de-wussed myself on the fourth night and managed to put her to bed. My heart was breaking as I was reading the last book and I was trying, pretty unsuccessfully, to hold back tears. After a day or two, when she caught on, it was especially heart breaking reading to her before a nap or bedtime. She'd cry every time a story would end, and then be okay when I picked up another book. And she'd whimper throughout the last book that we always read before we put her down. She is so dang smart. She doesn't really do this anymore, thankfully. She does reach for more books though.

We started doing this "sleep training" at nap times about a week ago. It was really hard on all involved at first. She didn't care for it. But we got through it and now for the most part, she goes down for naps pretty good.

Before we "trained" her, putting her to bed, for naps and at bedtime, was sometimes an hour long (or more) ordeal. And then sometimes it didn't take very long. After the bedtime routine, and the story/cuddle time, we'd have to pace the floor or sit in the rocking chair until she fell asleep. Then slowly, oh-so-carefully put her in the crib, silently pleading with her to not wake up when we lay her down. The pleading rarely worked. Sometimes she'd stay asleep, but a lot of times she'd wake up the first couple times we would lay her down. She'd wake up enough to realize that she was in her crib and then would start crying, stand up, reach for us... we'd start over. Rocking... pacing... taking shifts, waiting for her to fall asleep. Etc etc etc.

For a while, she slept through the night. She didn't sleep in like her mother would like her to, but she slept until around 7:30. But recently, she had been waking up a lot in the middle of the night. Usually Nate or I would just have to go in there and pick her up and she'd be out within seconds. And then we repeat the pleading to not wake up when we lay her down again. And sometimes she wouldn't go back to sleep until she ate again. It was like she wanted to go back to sleep but just didn't know how to do it by herself.

Now, however, is a different story. Now my wondeful little baby girl sleeps through the night. Yep. You read that right. She sleeps through the night!! Anywhere from 9-11 hours straight, without waking up!! Well, without needing us to put her back to sleep anyway. She will sometimes wake up, maybe sit or stand up, maybe even cry or fuss for a minute, but she puts herself back to sleep. She'll find her binky and lay back down. Its incredible. We haven't had to go in there to put her back to sleep since before Day 1 of this new sleeping situation. (By the way, this book says that if the baby has night wakings, you can put the baby back to sleep as you normally would, so pacing, rocking, etc. They don't need to keep crying it out all night.) But, we haven't had to!

Putting our daughter to bed is no longer such a chore. We don't fight over who's turn it is. It is actully really nice to have that special cuddle time while we read books before she goes to bed. I don't cry (as much) when we put her down. She still cries for the 10 seconds or less, but I'll take it. Of course there are times that she will even cry for a minute or so, and we realize that there will probably be setbacks from time to time for various reasons. That's okay. Because right now, our baby girl is sleeping!