This image is too funny...and quite accurate! Henley is almost 8 months old and we have had a relatively smooth time with nights. In the beginning (and by beginning I mean the first 5 months) she got up every two hours to nurse but always went right back down. It was tough getting up but I got used to it and her going back down easily made it much easier.
Around 5 months she teased me with a few days of sleeping 10+ hours through the night. Since then, she started waking once, sometimes twice a night to nurse. I still didn't mind this because just like before, she always went back down.
Starting about three weeks ago, Henley started having pretty erratic nights of sleeping. There were a few days were she was up for 2-3 hours wide awake, there were nights she wouldn't go down for an hour or two, there were nights of her crying inconsolably, and in most of these situations she would end up in our bed. I love co-sleeping with her and we have done it quite a bit over the months but now that she is so much bigger, no one sleeps great when she's in our bed. It's amazing that someone so teeny could take up so much of the bed!
All of this brings us to last night and sleep training night one.
Since before Henley was born I had been strongly opposed to "crying it out". I thought there had to be other ways and since she was ultimately sleeping pretty well, I didn't really need to worry about any sleep training. These last three weeks got my wheels turning and I spent quite a bit of time researching other methods. I took some tips and tricks and tried there here and there, some worked and some failed. I asked a lot of people that have been here before me and every single person used CIO to get there littles to sleep. This was not what I wanted to hear. I wanted people to tell me that they got sleep and didn't havea screaming baby in the process.
Starting around Tuesday or so of this week I started discussing CIO with Teddy. He was not on board what-so-ever but I went over the stats of our friends' experiences that I collected. On Thursday I came across Isis Parenting's Webinars that discuss CIO, also know as Interval Sleep Training or Ferber, and both Teddy and I listened and considered this was the right thing to do.
Initially thinking about CIO, I pictured Henley crying for hours being left alone, feeling abandoned. The webinar stated that it doesn't have to be total abandonment, meaning we could pick whatever time intervals we see fit to go in and console her while she was crying.
We decided last night (Friday) would be the best since it would give us the weekend to recoup in case it went terribly wrong. We decided on night one to use timed check-in intervals of 1 minute, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, etc. I also knew that I would soothe her by picking her up and doing a quick rocking to get her to calm down. The webinar suggests one parent lead the charge and since Teddy still wasn't loving the idea, although he was on board, we decided I would do it. I have to admit I was nervous! Getting her ready for bed, I actually had a knot in my stomach! So away we went and here is how our night went:
6:30: Feed Henley dinner, she had carrots and loved them!
6:50: Dad gave her a bath
7:10: Diaper and PJ time!
7:20: In the nursery, nursing Henley one last time before bed.
7:28: In the crib, Mom leaves the room
She would cry for 30 seconds, put her fingers in her mouth and calm down then repeat. It was hard to get one full minute of crying before I could go back in to soothe.
7:33: Crying for one full minute, Mom in the room to soothe. I picked her up, cradled her until she calmed down. She started closing her eyes and sucking her fingers so I laid her back down. Major crying ensued, I left the room
She did the same thing with short bouts of crying
7:40: Crying for 2 full minutes, Mom in her room and soothing the same way.
I think this time me going into the room made it worse! We let her cry a little longer this time.
7:46: Crying 3 and a half minutes, Mom in the room to soothe and put her down. Started crying immediately when I left the room.
From this point until about 7:50 she would have 30 seconds of crying and about a minute of silence. She finally laid her head down around 7:54 and made her last peep at 7:58, exactly 30 minutes later. I was so relieved---not bad at all.
She wasn't totally distressed this whole time, she was just pissed. I was also worried that she would be standing the whole time in the crib and that only last 1-2 minutes until she sat down and played with her Glow Seahorse and her little Lovey toy she has in the crib.
I was impressed. All of my nerves we put to rest and I was so relieved it went so well!! It felt liberating in a weird way.
Henley slept from 7:58 - 1:45 (her normal wake time). I got up to nurse her and laid her back down awake. She cried for about 15 seconds before she totally passed out. She only nursed for about 4 minutes so I believe she is waking at this time out of habit. I planned to wean this feeding this week. She woke again at 5 so I got up and nursed her. I think she was actually hungry at this point because she nursed for a little while longer. Once she was finished I laid her in the crib awake again and she cried about the same, 15 seconds before she was out. She finally woke for the day at 7:26! Almost 12 hours of slightly broken sleep. It was glorious!
She is napping as we type/read and went down with about 3-4 cries, that's it! I'm so pleased this is working and it not traumatizing for either of us. She woke up SO happy and babbling like always.
I hope tonight is similar and we are on our way to the next chapter with Henley. Despite being totally opposed to this in the beginning, I really think this worked well for us. I have to say that Teddy and I make every decision for Henley and her growth very thoughtfully. Every choice we have made from when to introduce a bottle to how to transition her to the crib has been made very seriously and this was no different. We did tons of research and made sure this was right for us. We tried other methods over the weeks and this was our last resort and it worked. Sometimes what we think we need doesn't always work out and we go back to the drawing board. I love that I have a husband that is considerate and thoughtful in these decisions with me. (Although he did tell Henley this was my idea last night before bed lol) ;-)
Wish us luck tonight, I hope it goes well!!
Happy Saturday folks---Henley and I are having a mom and daughter shopping day when she wakes up from her nap!