Wednesday, November 07, 2012

The Doctor's Wife: Sleep Q & A

In 2011, I innocently posted something on my blog about the fact that I had two babies, under nine months apart, who were both sleeping through the night by the time they were three months old.

I had no idea what I had begun!

After receiving dozens of requests to learn my "secret", I published a two-part series on my blog: My Sleep Bible I and My Sleep Bible II.

Since I originally published that piece in 2011, I have added two more children to my brood. And I will unashamedly admit that all four of my kiddos have slept through the night by the time they are three months old. This was a combination of boys, girls, bottle, and breast-fed babies both biological and adopted.

In addition, my husband was, at the time, a family medicine doctor. He was getting mothers in every week who were at the end of their rope. They were sleep-deprived and often battling the beginnings of depression. Their children were crabby and they were in tears from the lack of rest.

My husband began sharing what we had done with our children. He found that in families that followed his guidelines, he saw 100% success by the time they returned to the office one week later. 

In the last few months, I have started receiving emails and Facebook questions from moms quite regularly. I would say I am trying to help about 3-5 moms every month. 

I thus decided that it would be prudent for me, with their permission of course, to compile the Q&A with these moms permission in one location -- to hopefully help eliminate the need to go through all these questions over and over again. I am still very willing to help new moms, but hopefully, by reading these Q&A's, they will have a lot of their questions answered.

I want to preface this Q&A with one VERY important point.

My husband and I do NOT think that this is the WAY you HAVE to go for your children. We truly believe that if something is working for your family and you are enjoying it and your house is happy, then it is good for your family. I do NOT thrust this idea on anyone. I do NOT tell people they HAVE to do this. Many of my very good friends do not agree with the way I did it, and they are happy nursing or bottle-feeding throughout the night.

This set of guidelines is for people who are NOT happy with how things are going. What they are doing is not working for them, and they NEED more sleep. I am a woman who MUST have a good night sleep to be a good mom. For me, the only way I survived four children in five years was to have them SLEEP. I therefore offer these guidelines as simply a way to have a baby sleep through the night ... IF you want and/or need that.

So without further ado, here is the Q&A:


PATTY: Hey Wendi...sleep guru! I could use some help!
Our baby is 4.5 months old, 2 adjusted. From 3 months till last week, he has slept 10-12 hours a day and has taken really good naps, with about 45-60 minutes of wake time between naps. Well, last week, we got 4 month vaccines. That first night, he was up several times, like every 2-3 hours. I thought it was soreness from the shots or whatnot. And the next day ... crap naps! I mean really crappy! like anywhere from 20-45 minutes. We put him down drowsy, no sleep aids, he puts himself to sleep and then BAM! wakes up shortly thereafter. If I put him in the swing, he will continue his nap for about 2 hours. However, I don't want to do this! I don't want to have to resort to swinging or baby wearing for naps. I kind of feel like that would be setting myself up for failure later on.
Anyway, we do eat/play/sleep routine and always have. I let him fuss for a bit ... maybe 10 minutes or so (2.5 months developmentally seems early to CIO?) before going to get him. Is this just a normal regression? What can I do to help him sleep better overall, naps and nightly?
Thanks in advance!
WENDI: Great question. I conferred with my doctor/husband and here is what we think ... Most likely he did have a hard time after shots and as a result he got you to wait on him during the time (which you have to do when they are sick.) I I often find that after a sickness I have to restart sleep training.

So now you have a baby who is thinking that he needs mom for comfort instead of sleep for comfort. So now you have to decide. It is my and hubby's opinion that he is not too young to sleep train.

If you really don't want to then you can just wait a bit and institute it in a few months but most likely the sleep issues will continue until then.

Personally I would go ahead and work to CIO with him now. Let me know if you'd like further direction with how to do that successfully!

But our diagnosis is sickness induced sleep regression!

Here is a link to what I recommend: My Sleep Bible.

To summarize, I would first start with nighttime. For now, if he's napping in his swing, I'd let him do that and just work on the night time. I am not sure what method we used exactly (a variation of Baby Wise -- not nearly as strict). We would give them up to 1 hour but usually 45 minutes. At that point, we'd go in, feed, change, and start the process over again always making sure to put baby down awake.

It is my opinion that if you implement this, within 1 week he'll be back to sleeping through the night. THEN you can work on naps.

What you are trying to teach him is that SLEEP brings comfort -- not MOm. Which he got confused when he got sick. (Travel can do the same thing!)
PATTY:  I meant to ask-should I swaddle the dude? Up till this past week, he has done well unswaddled. Now I'm realizing that he found his fingers (visually) and is in love with them. So while I think he's been napping-he's quietly been checking out his own digits...goodness!
WENDI: OH YES! SWADDLE!!! You can consider leaving an arm out if you think he needs it for comfort.
PATTY: Because I know you'll celebrate with me here-he slept 12 HOURS last night! He whimpered a little after 10 hours and fell asleep after about 3 minutes... The 2 nights previous...not so much! Again, he slept 12 hours last night and is still sleeping this morning. I can't believe it only took a couple nights of letting him work it out!

Onto I just need to be consistently watching for the cues and lay him down when he's not overtired? We've been getting one good nap a day and 2-3 shorter ones. That 45 minute wake up is a hard one for us to get past. Should I let him CIO for a nap or just hang on until he develops more structured naps? 
For what it's worth, I am SO glad I asked for your advice. I would probably be getting up with him in the night still had you not reassured me that he was developmentally ready to figure out sleeping again. THANK YOU so much for sharing your wisdom and passion for sleeping children.
WENDI: You are so welcome. Honestly, it brings me such joy because I truly feel that under slept moms and babies are making for very hard parenthood.
So tell me what his nap schedule is right now?
PATTY: He's usually up at 8, naps from 9:30-10:15...occasionally he will go till 11. Then he goes back down at 12:30 and is up around 2. He will sleep longer, but we have preschool pick up! So if you count transferring him to the ergo (where he continues to sleep) he will sleep till 3. That's his solid nap of the day. Fri, sat, sun he will go 12:30-3 pretty consistently. After that, he's totally hit or miss. I swaddle him around 4;30 and lie him down so I can get dinner done. I generally end up transferring him to the swing, where he may or may not fall asleep for a short time. If he doesn't sleep, he takes a little snooze between 6:30 and I wake him at 7:30, after the older 2 are in bed, to do his bedtime, and he's generally in bed by 8. Sometimes, no matter how much he's in the swing, he won't sleep. I just don't have the hands to hold him while I'm making dinner and getting the other 2 kids into bed (if we deviate with them, they're up at 5:30 am-no thanks!). So, do I let him cry more in the evening? He already cluster feeds (which adds to the busy nights), so I don't think he's hungry....
When my husband is home in the evenings (he works rotating shifts, rotating days) Jonathan tends to still be fussy and not nap even when he gets 1:1 snuggle or play time.
WENDI: You know his naps seem a little inconsistent with the having to transfer, etc. The question is: is how he is napping now working for you?
I generally find that prior to about 9 months, my babies naps were a little all over the place and that worked fine for me. I was okay with it because they could nap on the go and they liked that and they were happy babies.
But around 9 months old, they started clearly getting into a 2 (or 3) nap a day schedule that we made sure we were home for and IN their beds. At this age, napping on the fly was much harder.
If this is not working for you, then I would consider adjusting schedule (if that's even possible?) so you were home for naps and they were all in the bed, but my personal advice is, if he is sleeping great overnight, then go ahead and let the naps be a little haphazard for right now because it works well for your schedule. In the next few months, as he stops napping on the go as much, start working on getting a schedule.
For me this meant at about 9:00am, baby went down and I did CIO if needed and they usually slept about 2-3 hours. I did another nap after lunch (1-4 or so). This is always tough because you are trapped at home but it made for a happy baby for me!
PATTY: 2 more 12 hour nights! I think he whimpered a bit last night but I was too tired to care
wink emoticon. Apparently wasn't for too long wink emoticon. Thank you for being so helpful and supportive!

JAN: I'm starting to sleep training my twins, who are almost 5 mo old and have never slept through the night. My DD Toni is a better sleeper and takes the paci and can find her thumb, she usually wakes up at 1-2am to eat and 5-6 am to eat. My DS is the troublesome one, he wakes up very frequently, sometimes every 1-2 hrs and can't put himself back to sleep even though I've let him cio for up to 2 hrs before. They have no trouble going down at bedtime, it's the frequent waking that my son Thomas has trouble with, can't seem to put himself back to sleep after waking up. Bedtime is at 730-8pm. They are breastfed with final feeding being bottle. Naps are ok usually. 3naps 1-2 hrs each. I give them white noise when sleeping and they transitioned out of swaddle into the Merlin magic suit. Thanks Wendi, any advice is appreciated!

WENDI: Hi new friend! What adorable little babies!!!

My first thought is: after CIO for 2 hours, what do you do next? At this point, I would get him up, feed him, and put him back down again immediately. I would continue to do this until he eventually, has to fall asleep. 

A few other questions: do you ever put him down asleep? Or is he always awake when he goes down?

I'm very big on saying that while I have learned some very good tips (from 4 babies in 5 years) and a husband who is a doctor, I definitely don't think there is a right way. I think I have a GREAT WAY but I totally respect other ways IF they work for you. If they aren't working for you .... which when you are tired, it isn't working, that's when I think a change needs to be made! But I only like to help people that genuinely want help -- I don't want to force my viewpoints on anyone.

My last thought: are they sleeping in the same room? Any chance he's getting woken up?

JAN: Hi Wendi, thanks for your response! I really appreciate your help. I try my best to put them down awake at bedtime, sometimes they need a few pats before going down but usually they are pretty good. I'm just confused when Thomas wakes up in a few hrs why it's much harder to self soothe 😕 after the 2 hr cio session, I picked him up and rocked for a few minutes, then he was calm and would go to sleep. Well, until an hr or so later to wake up again. Toni, my daughter, if she wakes up, I usually can just put the paci in her mouth and she's fine. I really try not to feed sooner than 4 hrs for the first session of sleep. We separate them for the first session of sleep. What age did you start training your kids ? Thanks again!

WENDI: So at 5 months old, babies are totally capable of going a complete 10-12 hours without needing a feed.
When I re-read your story, I find that both of your children are actually doing the same thing. Your daughter, however, is content with just a pacifier to return to sleep. Your son is not.
It is very normal for a baby to wake up between 60-120 minutes. That is a normal "sleep cycle" that we all have. We all have a period in our sleep that we are sleeping lighter and more prone to waking up. So what is happening is that he is waking up at that time and used to mom helping him go back to sleep with comfort (feed, pats, etc.) Your daughter is doing the same thing but she gets the paci and goes back to sleep which doesn't work for him.
What he needs is actually NOT food. What he THINKS he needs is mom's comfort, which you are providing.
If I am being completely honest with you, your daughter does not need that 1am feed. They are both capable of going all night. (At least until the 5am feed.) It isn't about food. It's about the comfort. You are putting the paci in her mouth which means she is really doing the same thing he is -- she is requiring something from you.
My suggestion would be to start letting them both CIO this would include not having to put the paci in your daughter's mouth. (Although you may want to do this just because it isn't much work and not worth fighting her on.)
I would give them a solid hour to cry in the middle of the night. If, at that point, they are still crying, then I'd get them up, feed them, and then put them down awake. I, personally, would let the CIO go as long as 2 hours but that feels like too much for many people I talk to .
What your son is doing is, he is crying until you come in. When you rock him to sleep, he thinks he needs mom to fall asleep instead of being able to fall asleep himself. That's why I suggest the "feed and put down awake" system. You are making SURE they aren't hungry but not putting them to sleep FOR them.
Does this make sense?
I am here to help you on this journey and can walk you through it each day you attempt this.
Also, I wanted to quickly say, here is what this would look like for me.

  • Give BIG feed to baby boy
  • Put him to bed AWAKE
  • When he wakes, crying, let him CIO. (At LEAST 1 hour but 2 would be FINE).
  • If at that mark, he is still crying, go in, feed, and put down awake again.
  • Then repeat this cycle.

  • Eventually, the feed "needs" Should eliminate themselves.

  • With baby girl, I would stop the pacifier putting in but you could keep doing that if you wanted.

  • But I would start eliminating the 1am feed with CIO the same way as above.

JAN: I took your advice, The first two nights, they both cried for abt an hr around 2am ish and I didn't comfort nor feed til 5am both nights. Thomas found his thumb finally! So last night, he slept from 8pm to 5:20 am with no crying! Just few seconds of talking here and there then back to sleep. Toni, however got sick last night and had a fever so did not sleep well at all thankfully, she's much better this evening after a long afternoon nap. Now both asleep with no crying so far. I wanted to ask, how much are they suppose to nap at this age? So far, I have been putting them down as much as possible. Usually they'll nap one hr at a time, occasionally longer. I try to feed after wake up instead of before nap. Thanks so much for your advice!!

WENDI: Babies in this age range are supposed to get about 14 hours of sleep a night. However, I would first work on the nighttime sleep. Once you get that really good, you can start redefining naps (and I can help with that.) And yes, you want to try and put them to bed AWAKE. That's the big thing at naps. Once the nighttime gets good, naps can be more defined. Babies kind of "sleep a lot" all day until about 9 months old when they get really "set" in nap times.


ANDY: My (just turned) 5 month old son is really not getting the sleep that I think he should be at his age. He's often overtired or isn't able to go very long without being so. 

We have been sleep training for almost a month and while I do see some improvements in his nighttime sleep it's still pretty rough over here. I haven't attempted much at naps yet...If you have time to give me any advice or suggestions I would love that! 
WENDI: Thanks for reaching out! I am pretty passionate about children and sleep and as my husband is a family medicine doc, I've sort of implemented what he uses for patients with the general public without charging as much.

Firstly, let me send you a link to a series of two posts I wrote on children and sleep.

After you read these, could you let me know if what you are doing looks similar? To help you get started, I really need to know what "sleep training" looks like for you.
And as always, the advice I offer worked for me and works for many people but it is not the end all be all. The thing you REALLY want is for everyone to be getting good healthy sleep to make you a better family. And I know some families who have achieved that in different ways! I don't say my way is the right way -- just the best way for our family!

ANDY: Wendi, Thank you so much! I read through your posts and we are doing *some* things that are similar. Well, we were...
A little background. We started cry it out about a month ago and the first night baby cried for 45 minutes, the second night about 40, third night was 30, fourth night 15, and then the fifth night he whined for about 8 mins. It was crazy exciting, and I noticed a couple of things those next days after we started this. He was in a MUCH better mood (less fussy!) and he would go down for a nap WAY easier than before. And when I say easier...I wasn't having to rock him to sleep for about 45 mins to get a 40 min nap. I rocked him for maybe 10-15 mins and he would go to sleep for a 40 minute nap. The bedtime routine was: breastfeeding, bath, pjs, books, bed.
Well, then we started to become inconsistent because he started crying for longer and LOUDER the next few nights so we started going in for checks and feeding him and so on. It really screwed things up a bit. We had some really rough weeks and then we started again with a little bit of a different approach. Now its: breastfeed, bath, pjs, breastfeed (shorter than the first, more of a snack to calm him down), books, bed. We put him in his crib and pat his bottom while singing him a song for maybe 2-5 mins. We sometimes will go back in to pat his bottom again if he's screaming for longer than 20-30 mins. He has been doing a little better the last few days, but it is pretty irregular. Last night he whined for about 10 mins. Tonight he screamed for about 30 minutes.
Throughout the night he wakes every 2-3 hours..but more on the 3 hour side. I feed him every 3 hours but not before. If he cries before the 3 hour mark my husband or I will pat him bottom until he falls back to sleep.
Naps are ranging from 30-40 mins. I rock him to sleep and put him in his crib (sometimes he does sleep on me, but I try to limit those naps to 1 or 2 a day). He takes 3-4 naps a day. He is up for about 2-3 hours and then naps. He is usually way, way tired if he is up for 3 hours or more before a nap.
Oh, I forgot to mention that my husband and I are very anxious and we do check on him a lot while he's asleep. We will go in check to make sure he is breathing by placing our hand on his back or shining the light from our cell phones to see his back go up and down. I'm sure this doesn't help his sleep at all. We also readjust him sometimes if it seems like he is in a uncomfortable position or if his face his up again the mesh bumpers. Again, probably super unhelpful.
Also, I forgot to mention he has not been swaddled since about 4 months because he started to roll from his back to tummy.
WENDI: So honestly, your problem is super easy to fix.
The hyper vigilance is not a major problem. Checking on him a lot is probably not effecting him (although a cell phone light might be.) I would consider getting another steady more soothing light in the room so you feel you can check on him.
So generally speaking I think you have the basic approach down. You were doing it, it was working, and then he had a bit of regression, which isn't abnormal, and you lost your groove a bit. What you are describing (up to 30 minutes of crying) is very normal, and until you solidify your approach, you'll continue to have some unevenness in how he does this.
If you bit the bullet and went full out CIO, within a week, it's likely he'd be going to sleep within about 10 minutes. Some kiddos will cry a small amount (10 minutes or so) more frequently, but generally, it should dissipate.
But the issue is that he's getting a few confusing signals because you put him to nap asleep. He's a bit confused as to what brings him comfort -- sleep or mom.
At five months old, babe shouldn't need to be eating at night at all. At 5 months old, he is capable of 10-12 hours. The fact that he is getting up every 3 hours would mean that he is getting up on what is a fairly normal "awake" sleep pattern. (we cycle through sleep every 90 minutes or so.) Which means he is waking up, not seeing mom, and thinking he needs that patting to go back to sleep -- instead of thinking he can fall asleep on his own.
As always, you do not HAVE to follow what I suggest. I don't think there is a right or wrong way -- only a way that will help YOU get more sleep and HIM more sleep which makes you both happier people.
So the suggestion would be, go back to the CIO. I would also suggest, because you are using the bottom patting midway through the night, to try avoid doing that before he goes to sleep. I would simply go through whatever routine you establish, put him to sleep and let him CIO. I personally would give him AT LEAST one hour (if he goes that long) before getting him up, feeding, and putting him down awake again.
Also remember: YOU ARE NOT HARMING YOUR BABY. If you see my kiddos, you will sleep content, happy sleepers, that see their beds as very good things.
I would work on this for at least a week. Once you have him going down to bed pretty easily, I would start working on the nighttime feedings and letting him CIO through there. Let me know when you get there and we can brainstorm on this one.
You also want to work on naps but it is up to you WHEN You want to do that (simultaneously or afterwards) ... you want to make sure you are putting him down for a nap AWAKE. (You can cheat now and then -- sleeping on mom is so wonderful -- but you may need to cut that out until you have the norm established.)
Feel free to throw any additional questions my way!!!!
ANDY: This sounds really good, Wendi! Hard, but good. Thank you for all of this!
Some questions:
Should we wait until he is only crying for about 10 mins in the beginning of the night to start the night weaning?
When we do start night weaning is their a time limit on how long we should let him cry in the middle of the night?
Should I try to extend those 3 hour feedings gradually or stop them all together?
For long should I let him cry it out for those?
And if he does fall asleep, but wakes after only 40 I let him cry it out again to see if he will sleep longer or get him up?
Thank you again! This helps SO much.
WENDI: So those are great questions.
You can do it however you want but the fastest way is the hardest way. If you are giving him "intermittent gratification" those are mixed signals and will slow down the learning curve. It isn't wrong. But it will take longer.
What's important to remember is that what he is wanting in the middle of the night is not food as much as it is mom comfort. He thinks he needs mom to go back to sleep -- while in fact he needs sleep.
He doesn't know the difference between feed 1 (the BEDTIME TIME) and the subsequent feeds that follow.
If it were me, I would make sure before feed 1 he is very, very, very full. Even possibly feed him, wait a bit and feed again. Majorly top him off!! Then put him down. When he wakes in the middle of the night, I would give him up to an hour to CIO. I might go in just to comfort and tell him I love him, but I wouldn't pat the bottom or try to help him fall asleep. If, after an hour, he is still crying, I would then go in, feed, and lay RIGHT back down with no sleep help again. Most likely, as you get tougher on it, these will get farther apart or non existent.
I will tell you that almost every time my husband saw his patients for this (which was frequently and usually because the mom was losing her mind from lack of sleep) he almost always had a believer and a non-believer. Sometimes the non-believer was Grama. Sometimes it was the mom. Sometimes the dad. That person would be cursing doctor Kitsteiner while they listened to their baby cry. But at the end of a week, they would come in and say, "You are right. I'm so glad we listened. We are sleeping and our house is not a zombie apocolypse anymore!" LOL.
No one likes to hear their baby cry. But you have to remember that you are NOT harming him. People from the opposing viewpoint say you should always respond to a baby's cry. Well then surely God wouldn't have ever give a mom twins or triplets where responding is IMPOSSIBLE! Exhaustion will win in the end and remember you are trying to help YOU and YOUR SON be more rested which translates into a happier family.
Ask away -- and I'm here to guide you each night through it so check in with me and let me know how it is going.
ANDY: Thank you so much, Wendi! I'm going to tell my husband all that you told me and hopefully we will start this ASAP. I think I need to prepare myself a bit and go in with THE game plan and we should be good to go. Your guidance and support are going to be SO helpful. Thank you again. I cannot tell you how much this means to me!
Oh, haha...another question. Does anything change when it comes to teething? I have no clue if Edmund is teething or not, but sometimes it seems like he might be. Do you adjust anything for teething?
WENDI: My husband really believes teething is a bit over-blamed for things. However, teething does cause kids to put everything in their mouth which means they get a lot of colds while teething which is the bigger culprit.
Anytime a child is sick, the rules can be a bit thrown out the window. You end up with them at night because they don't feel good. It is sort of like us as grown ups. But when you can, you have to get right back on track. The closer you can stay to the track, the easier it will be to return to normal. Traveling can also do this to people so you have to try to "get back in gear" after traveling to.
So to answer that question, teething/sickness may cause a child to need you more in the middle of the night. I would not start this when they are sick. But once you have them trained, try to stay on track as much as you can but just know that once he is feeling better, you might need a day or two to return to normal but returns to normal are easier than the initial sleep training will be.
Here is the thing with sleep training. It will hurt your heart and you will question whether you are doing the right thing. You have to remind yourself of some very important facts:
1. Exhaustion WILL win. 2. Crying is actually GOOD for a child (burns calories and healthy activity) 3. You are doing this to be a better mom. 4. You are diong this because sleep IS good for him.
So many children are WAY underslept. And unfortunately, so are the parents. I have a lot of friends who totally disagree with me and want to co-sleep and be up a lot nursing. If they like that, that's totally fine. But if they are in tears from depression/exhaustion than it is not working.
ANDY: Hi Wendi! Things are going pretty well! We have been sticking to cry it out for nighttime and have been doing this for naps too, but are a inconsistent with those...
He's been waking in the night and cries for maybe 20 mins and goes back to sleep. I've been feeding him between 1:30-2:30am and that is his only feed in the middle of the night. I do feel him between 4:30-6:30am if he wakes because it is kind of a snooze button feed smile emoticon But the night time feedings have decreased quite a bit! It used to be 4-5 times and now it has been no more than 2! Wow, what a difference this makes for my sleep! smile emoticon His naps are still no more than 40 mins. He cries no more than 20 for those too and goes to sleep, but I can't seem to figure out how to extend those longer than 40 mins. Does this come with age, maybe? Overall, I think he had been doing an amazing job! Thanks so much for checking in Wendi and for all the help you have been!
WENDI: This sounds outstanding! I consider "through the night" to be about 10pm-6am so you are really close to that! I'd keep working on the overnight thing. Get him to go 12 hours. Once he is there, then you can start playing with naps. The "40 minute wake up" is a big problem for moms. But babies at his age can still sleep on the go and don't get really WELL defined naps like a 9 month old does. By the time he is 9 months old, you'll be getting 2 or 3 well-defined naps out of him if you can perfect the night time.
Again, it isn't about doing it perfectly, it's about getting it to perfectly work for you. Even if you kept doing 1 feed in the night, how wonderful that will feel for you!!!!!
ANDY: Last night he did awesome! He woke about 3 hours after putting him to bed and cried for 6 mins and went back to sleep. He woke around 1:45am and I fed him and didn't wake until 6:30am! He went fell asleep for the night a 7pm so that is almost 12 hours! I can't believe it!! I'm so proud of my boy! And I'm so thankful for all of your help! Thank you! Thank you!


HOLLY: Mainly, my issue is that my daughter is a sleep nightmare. I am sure we did not try hard enough to train her as an infant. Constant transition has also played a role in that whenever we get close to a routine, we moved or I would have to travel for work, and she does not handle change well. But what I am wondering is about re-training her now.

She will be 3 at the end of June, she is a terror at bedtime (refuses to go to sleep alone, and has cried for 2+ hours when we have tried to force it), and comes downstairs and gets in bed with us every night between 1 and 5 am.

At this point, I don't know if it is hopeless to try to retrain her or not.

Or how many nights of hell we would have to go

When she was a newborn, I tried to sleep train, but hubby couldn't handle the crying and I wasn't strong enough to stand firm.

I also read a book that took the stance that your baby crying was something you should always respond to, and was against methods like Babywise - and it presented it all from a faith-based standpoint, which was tough for me to knock.

But we sure have suffered because of it!

I want to do things differently with the new baby, but I would like to get my daughter sleeping sensibly before the baby arrives, too.

I don't even know where to begin or what to try, how long to give it, anything. Just at a loss.

WENDI: Oh man ... Yeah, this is tough.

First of all, I think it important to know that I don't think there is a right or wrong way. It is what is working for you. And it sounds like this isn't working for you.

The big thing is, you are going to have a baby, and having Lil waking you up will not be good amidst a baby doing the same thing.

The short answer is ... Yes, it is fixable. It always is. But it will take time and you have to decide whether it is worth the fight.

Normally I tell people that the cry it out method takes a week. Jb uses this with patients too and has had great feedback and success. But with her being older, it could take a lot longer.
And I disagree with the respond to cry philosophy. This isn't how we, as Christians, respond to our kids overall. We teach them that they have to listen and follow our rules. In addition, if you come into my house, there is no gnashing of teeth. There is no crying. There is sweet sleep.

So if you wanted to do it, I can help you with a strategy but it will involve her crying and probably a lot. Shel

But fatigue will always win and she will see it your way .... The question is, is it worth it to you.

You could also try a halfway step. Like having her sleep on a bed in the floor in your room instead. Something that isn't as drastic but allows YOU to get good sleep which is really a huge part of this.

What you have to know is that the crying or fits most likely won't get worse.

So let's say she fights you for, three hours on night one.

Most likely, it will be less and less each night. If you think it will help, you can use a reward in the morning. Something enticing she gets. Maybe a show in the morning if she goes to sleep without you.

But then you do not, under any circumstance, give in and lay with her.
You can do this how you like. You can sit outside the room. Or you can sit in the living room and call to her. Whatever works to let her not feel alone.

But you tell her that you won't be sleeping in there at all.

It sounds like she HAS gone to sleep without you, so she will eventually go to sleep. It could take hours.

Don't worry about how long it had taken. Try to remind yourself that crying is not bad.

1 comment:

Steve Berke said...

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