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January 02, 2009

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Elizabeth

My kid didn't sleep through the night until 13 months, which felt like 13 years. I night weaned him at 9 months and yet he was still up twice a night, like clockwork. I don't know what we did or what happened in his little body or brain, but suddenly he slept 7-7 every night (barring illness or teeth).

Is she still swaddled? I know it seems late, but some kids just need it longer. I thought we'd be sending ours to college with the world's biggest Miracle Blanket and directions for his roommate.

We also moved him to his crib and that seemed to cut down on the amount of tiny noises I could hear and react to in my sleep-addled state. She's probably too little to really self-soothe, but maybe a minute to see if she's really up or just resettling would mean less time out of bed for you. I found that just being woken up wasn't nearly as traumatic as being forced to get up and out of bed.

I wish I had an answer for you, but I think sleep is one of the biggest baby mysteries.

the planet of janet

my dear, chloe has trained you well. now you must train HER and retrain yourself.

i had a child who did this at 15 months. i nearly went insane. he would only sleep with my boob in his mouth (yes, i breastfed him til he was OLD).

dr. ferber was my salvation. you must be willing to let her cyo, though. other people may have other suggestions, but ferber? is a god, in my opinion.

Sonya

HA - I had a dream that I was pregnant last night and I was stressing about the impending 2+ years of no sleep! We have three girls and I still have not found the magic sleep solution. Our first slept through the night a 17 months, when I completely weaned her from the breast. Our second was around two when she slept through the night (she was still nursing). Our third we adopted from China at 9 months. She was sleeping through the night when she joined our family, but once she figured out that there were two whole people who would cater to her needs in the middle of the night, she quickly got over it. She just turned three and STILL wakes up once most nights. But...all this is so not helpful to you! Our kids have all slept in our room until they were 3-ish. I think you are right that moving Chloe to her own room may mean LESS sleep for you. And getting up at 4:45!!! I don't know how you function - you are my hero! Hang in there - you will eventually sleep again (although if that pregnancy test turns up positive...LOL).

Amy

I'm realizing now, as I'm contemplating cutting back on nursing my toddler, that the times we are most frustrated and wanting to push the babe toward independence because the DEpendence is what's killing you is when the babe NEEDS you more than ever. Don't force her along when she's obviously in a needy phase. Wait until she's in an easier streak and then gently make the changes you need to make. The funny thing is, though, that when she's going through an easier time, you are feeling pretty good about things and don't want to rock the boat.

My 2.5 year old does not sleep through the night. I don't think that has much to do with me or how I parent her--she is her own person and happens to wake up regularly. Lately she is completely delightful and sweet at 3am, so it doesn't bother me. But I know THIS is the time I really should be nightweaning, not when she's in a needy phase. Then I come up with a million excuses why I don't want to do it right now.

I agree with Elizabeth about swaddling. We swaddled for a REALLY long time. She outgrew the blankets made for it, so I just used a long piece of knit cloth and bundled her up. Then we moved to a sleep sack for a while (I think even both at the same time in winter!)

Have you read the Wonder Weeks? It is an excellent book that helps you understand the phases your baby is going through. When you can intellectually get why she is doing X, Y, or Z, it makes it a lot easier to cope with it.

Mandy

Even if you don't end up using the method he describes (which really gets a bad rap--it's really not that bad), you should read Ferber's book called Solving Your Child's Sleep Problems. Whatever method you choose, I found his book (of the 4 or 5 I read and tried) to be the most clear in terms of describing how kids sleep and the behaviors (parent or child) that result in wakings; it gave us the ability to look at his sleeping arrangements and patterns and figure out what was happening that we could fix. In the end, we also used Ferber's sleep training method, and it changed our son's sleep for the better literally by the next day. His naps, which had always been in 15 minute increments (sleep, wake up cry, be soothed, repeated 4 or 5 times), went instantly to 1.5 hours in a row--we really lucked out. I remember sitting down and crying in exhausted relief and terror that it was a fluke. It took a little longer for the night time to work without some crying(say 3 days?) and a few weeks until it was like clockwork, but it has changed our lives in ways we didn't think possible. good luck--this is really a loaded topic and one which kind of inflames people. Find something that you and yours are comfortable with and can implement consistently and go with it, and you may have to say to hell with anyone else; what works for some will not appeal to others. May the force be with you.

Amy

Janet, we posted at the same time. I just want to respectfully disagree with the notion of training a baby. Of COURSE the baby trains us! That's the way nature works! And good for you for nursing that long, but 15 months isn't that old (did you know the AAP and WHO say to bf for 2 years!?)

Heather

Long time reader, first time comment!
We moved our daughter to her crib at 3 months, she was to big for the bassinet we had. So, I was up every 2 hours to breastfeed with her. However, it sounds like her room is a lot closer to ours than Chloe to yours. Anyway, around 4 months we were down to a pattern of every 3 hours. At 6 or 7 months she was eating solids well, and filling up nicely. With her guidance, we weaned down to 1 night feeding. There were a few times where we had to do CIO, but after 2 nights she got it and off to sleep she went.
Now, when I say CIO, it's more of what I call a modified CIO. We would go in and soothe but not pick up, and I made my husband do it. Once daughter saw me all bets were off, it was feedig time. However, once she saw him, she seemed to calm down a bit easier. A struggle at first? Yes. Worth it? You bet. She's the best sleeper I know.
You also have to look at Chloe's personality. My daughter was a very laid back infant, now toddler. If she didn't get what she wanted after a few minutes, fine. To this day if something doesn't go her way (ie. a puzzle piece fitting) she just goes on to the next thing.
We used bits and pieces from Weisbluth's book.
This is my experience, I hope that it helped.

Shannon

I'm almost afraid to post this (especially so early in the comment thread!), but here goes... I recommend getting the newest edition of Ferber's book and reading it. He has some very interesting science about infant sleep, which is useful for understanding what might be going on right now, and he has strategies for using his approach -- IF YOU CHOSE TO -- with a baby that sleeps in your room and/or breastfeeds.

Our story: by six months, we were in exactly the same boat you are now. She had to be swaddled to fall asleep, but if she woke up the swaddle made her freak out. Night waking had increased to 4-6 times per night, and only reswaddling and nursing her would get her back down. Patting and shushing had no impact on my girl, and cosleeping actually made her wake up more often. I told my husband we could try Ferber, and that I would rigidly adhere to the method, for one week -- if there was no improvement by that time, I would be calling the whole (*&%@ thing off. It worked. At the same time, we slowly consolidated her feedings from 4-6 per night to two, and eventually to one in the wee hours of the morning. I thought it was important that I not cut her off abruptly at night, since she'd grown used to getting those calories overnight and I wanted to give her a chance to adjust her intake during the day. I still do that one 4-ish a.m. feeding now, and she's over 9 months old.

I'm glad we didn't try any "sleep training" earlier than we did, and I would have kept doing things the same way if it hadn't become so clear that the swaddling and nursing to sleep ritual was no longer working for her. Do some research and reading, and then go with your gut... you know your baby and your family best. Good luck!

Kristy

My a(ss)dvice is to let DH do it. Chloe connects YOU with BOOBY so you can shoosh and pat all night long and she'll just be wondering why you aren't giving it up. Put her in her own room and unless she's upstairs and you're downstairs, don't use a monitor (you don't want to hear every peep or squeak). Then when she wakes up and it is not time to eat (have a set time decided upon: after midnight she can eat) have DH go in and work w/ her to get her back to sleep. This is the only thing that ever worked w/ my kiddos. DH was always the Official Patter. And we never expected to go straight from 4 wakeups per night to none at all in one fell swoop. We had goals and once the 2 wakeups per night was met we moved on to the next goal of one wakeup per night and so on.

She probably will start sleeping better once she's in her own room--your night noises likely wake her up, too. Atleast try it for a few nights and see how it goes. Best of luck to you!

Shanna

23 months old (twins). I might possibly maybe say I could call what we have now "sleeping through the night," in that for the past couple of weeks we've had either zero wakeups or only one wakeup from only one child each night. But until very very recently, they just didn't sleep through. Sometimes it was as simple as a paci replacement or a quick hug or backrub. But the wakeups were there, and not always at hours we were happy with.

First month - kids were in a co-sleeper in our room.

Months 1 - 4(ish) - kids were in a crib in our room.

We moved them to a crib in their own room around 5 months old. (Separated them two weeks later, but that's irrelevant to you.)

My daughter needed a swaddle until a few weeks after the move to their own room, though around 3 months old we modified it to leave her arms out so she could find her thumb. She is still a thumb sucker. My son used a paci from three weeks old, and still does (for sleep only).

I nursed for almost every wakeup (as long as at least 90 minutes had passed for that kid since the previous one) until they were a year old. We didn't start actively nightweaning until they were 13 months old. At about 14 months we did a modified Ferber for our daughter, moving her to the PNP in our room when she woke up and getting up to calm her down every few minutes - it worked well for her after a few nights, but a similar plan for our son backfired after one attempt and we spent the next two weeks having to sit with him before every nap and bedtime because he got scared of his crib and refused to go to sleep alone.

Moving her out of your room may help in and of itself - she won't be so near your sounds and smells, and therefore has less of an incentive to wake up fully when she has her regular partial wakeups overnight (which we all have). If you can, I might try the graduated approach of having her in the crib in your room for a few weeks, then in the crib in her own room, just so she's not making two switches at the same time. I also personally am in favor of rapid response overnight at this age, whether or not you are going to nurse, so that she doesn't associate being in her crib with being abandoned. I know Ferber (and others) are in favor of sleep training as young as four months old, and I certainly know many children who were trained that young and do not seem any the worse for it, but it just didn't seem right to us - and if it doesn't seem right to you, then don't do it.

catherine illian

what worked for us-- and got the night wakings down to fewer times per night was my husband going in a settling him down every time he cried-- until we woke up- which if you are waking up at 4:45-- sounds like a reasonable time...

it was hard-- but he got used to it-- just no more night feeding-- I guess what is hard is that you aren't around during the day-- to up the day feedings-- and bc you aren't she may be getting more at night--

the thing that really improved things was us leaving him with my mom for 2 weeks when he was about 14 m onths old-- I was still nursing 2x a day-- and pumped while we were gone-- but having someone else do the sleep thing-- really helped for us as well..

hope that helps--

Auburn

I have a one year old who is a horrible sleeper and has been since that whole 4 month sleep regression thing. He goes down to sleep in his crib but when he wakes up for the first time, anywhere from 11:30-3:00, I just take him into bed with me and nurse side lying on and off all night. That way I only get up once per night. I work full time too so there is just no way I would get up, go to the other room, comfort him back to sleep, go back to bed, later, rinse, repeat. No way. I need my sleep and I won't do the cry it out thing so that's just the way it goes. Once he's latched I fall back asleep and never have to get out of bed. My husband doesn't sleep well this way so he sometimes ends up in the guest bed. I'll be night weening him in the next 2-3 months since his molars are coming in now and I don't want him to end up with cavities from the night nursing (with Dr. Jay Gordon's method) and hope that will help him sleep longer stretches. Not looking forward to it though.

Cecilia

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child saved me. I know I am very lucky, but my 5 month old sleeps 12 hours at a stretch now and for months has been a very good sleeper. The first couple nights of crying were tough, but since then it's been so great. And it really only took 2 nights before he got the hang of falling asleep on his own. We moved him from the bassinet to the crib over a couple weeks. He'd start the night in our room, then after his middle of the night feeding, I'd put him down in his crib for the rest of the night. After a couple weeks of this I'd leave him there all night. Good luck!

Annika

I hate all the Ferber training stuff. Training a baby to sleep isn't natural - babies wake up because they are designed to. I know how crazy-making it is but the 8 or 9 times in one night thing is temporary. She is probably getting a tooth or going into a sleep regression early. My kid didn't sleep through the night till he was almost 2.5 and he still doesn't do it every night (he's just over 2.5, it hasn't been that long). He gets hungry and I nurse him at least once a night. Getting up and going down the hall seems like it would be AWFUL for the mom. I sometimes sleep in the den (it sounds so fancy when I call it a den) until Sam wants me and even getting up to go get into bed is hard.

Mandy

Like I said in my previous comment, what makes sense for one family may not be cool with another. We found Ferber worked for us and our cranky kiddo turned into a totally different and much happier kiddo once he got more sleep--and our AP friends even commented on the change when they saw him, so I know it was not just in our imaginations. Yes, babies do need to wake and be fed, but there comes a time when they can "starve for sleep", too. We as parents have benefited from getting more sleep because of this, but to me that was a side benefit; I don't think our choice to use Ferber's method had that much to do with us, and had more to do with what we felt our child needed for his health and happiness, namely a way to stop the anxiety and frustration he was having with wanting to sleep but not being able to settle himself. He is 18 months now, and knows when he's tired and will let us know, and sometimes he even asks to go to bed if it's earlier than normal. I respectfully submit that this is true for us, even if it may not be a choice others have made or wish to understand.

Veronica

Sleep? HAHAHAHAHA! There is a reason my blog is called Sleepless Nights. Amy is nearly 2 and a half and she still doesn't sleep through, although god knows she is lots better than she used to be.

At about 6 months my partner started to crack up about Amy being in bed with us. I did what any sane (breastfeeding) mother should do and kicked him out of bed instead. We continued to co-sleep until she was 14 months because it was honestly the ONLY way I got any sleep. She was a big fan of waking at 1am and not going back down until 4-5am. I would have been a wreck had I had to get out of bed to tend to her.

At 14 months when I moved her into her own bed because I felt it was time, she slept through the night for the first time ever. Sure, it didn't happen again for weeks, but it was a start.

The best thing I ever did was night weaning. She seemed to sleep better and be easier to settle when she wasn't asking for boobies all night. But like I said, she was 14 months old at that point (we went on to do day feeds for another 5 months).

So, that's my sleep story. Nothing the 'experts' said ever worked for us. CIO didn't work, she would just cry so hard she would vomit. The only thing that worked was her getting older.

And she STILL doesn't sleep through regularly - although the 2-3 nights a week I do get are blissful.

Alana

Tonight is actually night night 5 of our modified Freber method. Madison is 7 months old and got to where she'd fall asleep around 8:30 then wake up crying every 20 minutes for the next 3 hours. Up and downstairs we'd go. I would hold her, rock her, nurse her but each night this was the new routine for a month. So anyway, we started with the cio on Monday. I went in first every 5-10 minutes. night 2 would go 10-15 minutes. Night 3 15-20 minutes. The first 3 night I broke and picked her up and held her after an hour. But night 4 I just hugged her (she stands in her crib now) kissed her told her it's night-night time and layed her back down. She still cried some. Tonight (I live in Madrid) I did her usual bath, massage and nursing, had everybody kiss her "good-night" and brought her to her room. I sung her a song, hugged her, kissed her, and told her it's night-night time and put her in bed. She was quiet so I left the room and crossed my fingers. It's been 2 hours and she never cried once. I think I am seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. And she seems to be happier during the day now btw. I hope whatever you decide you have success.

Stacy

My son, now 2 1/2 did not sleep through the night until he was 17 months old. If I could re-do some things the one thing I would have done much earlier, was to night wean him. He did not completely wean until just a month ago. Once he was night weaned he slept consistently through the night. I tried all kinds of things to improve his sleep habits...making his belly full, using formula (BIG TIME FAILURE), cry it out, etc.

It didn't happen all at once. I started off by telling him that there would not be any milk while the sun was sleeping. I repeated this over and over during the day when he was about 17 months old. I still nursed him to sleep for both nap and bed time but if he woke during the night I would go in and talk to him. I would tell him that "mommy milk" was for when the sun was awake and the sun was sleeping so he should be to. Over the next few days we moved further away from the crib and would only come to his door and talk to him from there. Eventually I would (or DH would) just yell from our bed that it was night night time and he needed to go to sleep. Amazingly, it worked. (when this was suggested to me to do it this way I was certain it would never work but it did and it was so much better and easier than anything I read in a book).

I did read Ferber (and every other sleep training book out there)and was pleasantly surprised at the method in his book being nothing like what I had been told by other mothers about the "cry it out method." We did try it when James was about 12 months but it never worked well and never provided consistent sleep for him or us.

In hindsight I would have started night weaning at 12 months using the "no milk while the sun is sleeping method."

The most important thing is to talk to her and let her know what your expectations are for her. I realized that I never had any conversation with James about what I expected/hoped for each night in regard to sleep.

He does not sleep through the night ever night but usually we are only up once every 2 weeks or so and then he is back to sleep within jsut a couple of minutes. He ight wake becasue he is cold/wet/had a bad dream, etc.

I also realize that it is unrealistic to expect anyoen to sleep through the night ever single night. I wake up occasioanlly to pee, check on my son, or just because I cant sleep.

One final thoguht, be very careful about anyoen who tells you their child slept through the night at age 1 week, 1 month, 1 year etc. Everyones definition of "sleep through the night" is very different. I even know someone who siad her daughter slept through teh night at 3 weeks. They co-slpet and the daughter would wake to nurse several times a night but becuase the mom didn't have to get out of bed, she considered that sleeing through the night.

Good luck and it will get better!!

Sarah

I hope to god I don't jinx myself by saying this but my breastfed 3.5 month old has been waking just once a night for the past month. He has a bedtime of sometime between 7:30 to 8:30 pm and he'll sleep until sometime between 2 to 4 am, waking once for a feeding, and then going down until 6:30 am. On the weekends I can feed him at 6:30 and get him to go down an additional hour until 8am. It has saved my sanity.

When we put him down, he will "complain cry" for 7 minutes. It's not "in-pain cry" -- if he does that we pick him up immediately. By the way, 7 minutes of even just a complain or whiny cry is hard to listen to and feels LONG. But I let him do it while looking at the clock. Most of the time he is out after 7 minutes.

I would let her cry a little and have your husband get involved by patting her or giving her a pacifier. I don't think she needs to nurse for nutrition, but instead for comfort. I find that sometimes what my baby needs is not my comfort (me reeking of breastmilk). In fact, my husband is often more successful without the boob (obviously). How does she nap?

Lawmommy

I have very little in the way of advice. My son didn't sleep through the night until he was 3. It was, I'm not kidding, hell on earth. It is the primary reason his sister is adopted and no, I'm not kidding, not even a little bit, about that. I could not face the idea of another 3 years of not sleeping. (I used to cry at Ambien commercials, because they said 'you must be able to devote 7 to 8 hours to sleep to use this product' - and I didn't believe I would EVER get that much sleep again, ever, in my life. Hence the crying.) (I do get good sleep, now, but my kids are 6 and 8).

You start to lose your mind a little bit, when you don't sleep. Maybe more than a little.

I would recommend putting her in her own bed and NOT turning on the monitor, such that her little noises will not wake you and she will have to really make enough noise - i.e. be really hungry.

Many people gave me that piece of advice. I was not able to follow it. But maybe you will be able to.

Best of luck.

Summer

I didn't sleep for pretty much the first year and a half of my son's life; I now seriously entertain the theory that I can't conceive again because my body has said OH HELL NO to the idea of another year or more without sleep.

I kept my son in my bed for the first 14 months, and always nursed him when he woke. As time wore on, he woke to nurse more and more often, sometimes as often as ten times a night. He was (and is) a skinny kid, low on the weight charts, and I was reluctant to deny him food at any hour of the day. But you know what? Even the skinniest kid doesn't need to nurse TEN TIMES every night. I think I was too sleep-deprived to recognize that at the time.

When I reached my breaking point, a friend with a child the same age as my son loaned me her copy of Ferber's book. What really resonated was the idea that we all have sleep habits, certain things or rituals that trigger the idea that it's time to sleep. For an adult, that might be brushing teeth, getting into bed, snuggling into the covers... but for my son, I'd inadvertently trained him that the only way to fall asleep was by nursing. So anytime he woke up during the night, he felt that he needed to nurse to fall back asleep. I used Ferber's method for nightweaning, which is to gradually cut back the amount of time he was allowed to nurse at night, and we managed to nightwean in under a week. Then we moved him to his crib, in his own room, and used the method of checking on him at specified intervals if he was crying. Within three days, he was going to sleep in his own bed without much fuss, and STAYING asleep. Or at least he was staying asleep enough not to bother me! We didn't use a monitor; if he was really crying we could easily hear him, and I didn't want to have to hear every grunt and snuffle.

I do recommend that you read Ferber, even if you decide that you don't want to, or aren't ready to use the methods described. The chapters about sleep patterns in children and adults are full of insights that will help you figure out how best to get everyone some sleep.

Em

I'll tell you something, when my very best sleeper (all children should sleep like this boy sleeps. At least all of my children) was still in our room, having night feedings and waking us a couple of times a night, we moved him to his own room. It turns out, he wasn't waking us, we were waking him. From night one, he slept through the night once he had the quiet and space to do it. Of course, your mileage may vary but this is a best case scenario that actually happened to us.

With my first, and worst sleeper, the advice I took most to heart in terms of her crying it out was #1 that, at 6 months, she COULD get through the night without a feed. She was physically able to do that and I wasn't depriving her of anything she needed to survive comfortably. And #2 that eventually, unless I chose a family bed, which I did not, she would have to do this eventually. Did I want to do it at 6 months where she would get to sleep eventually or wait until she was 18 months and calling me "mama" and staying awake because she was angry, etc. It was hard enough without hearing her call me Mama.

So those are my experiences, I hope they help you.

Em

Using more than my share here but I thought of one more thing that was helpful to me. Once I knew I would hear my kids if they cried, I got rid of the monitor. Hearing every little peep and movement is no help to anyone. When they are tiny and you are not sure you will hear them cry or if your room is on another floor or something, I can see it but if you are a few rooms away and you know that when they are serious about being awake, you'll know it, the monitor is only a torture device (and a chastity belt).

Beth

My assvice: I liked the Goodnight, Sleep Tight (Kim West) approach. I read all the books and this was the one that best fit our family.

I"m so glad you are back in the blogosphere. I love reading about your happily (if tired) ever after.

becky

NCSS is the best book for you. Did you read the intro? The author had a 13 month old boob addicted son that slept in bed with her! Perfect -- same scenario as you practically, but 6 months down the road! She has a great set of steps for moving your child from all night feeds and into their own crib.

I also have to warn you that the feeding all night like that can lead to tooth decay, just like it can with bottle feeds. A good friend of mine just had to put false teeth in her 20 month old because he sucked on the breast on and off all night. Very sad. I don't think peds warn BF mommies as much as they do the bottle mommies!

Anyway, I work a lot with mom's and babies with sleep issues, and there isn't any problem that can't be fixed. I can GUARANTEE the first 3 days will suck. But then you will have some miraculous progress and you will know that you've done the right thing. Your DD isn't getting the restorative sleep she needs for brain development and growth, and you're probably a zombie! So do yourselves both a favor and do some NCSS sleep training. It's truly a great method. If you want another no cry method, you can also check out the Babywhisperer website. That's where I hang, and there's a lot of awesome moms who love to help each other.

Once you've got her in her crib and mostly trained, then start wearing ear plugs at night. That's what I finally ahd to do. I was making my son's nightwakings WORSE by responding to every little fuss. Turns out that's normal for them tof uss in their sleep! Once I started wearing ear plugs I only responded to the full-on cries, and then he stopped fussing so much in his sleep! I was just reinforcing the wakings!!! That's also what you're doing with the BFs because she doesn't need it for nutrition -- she's just doing it for comfort. The more you BF her at night, the more she's going to wake to do it.

Seriously, NCSS will change your life. Good luck!

becky

Oh, and I don't know if anyone has mentioned this book yet but Dr. Weissbluth's "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" is fantastic. I don't do any cry it out, so his controlled crying method isn't one I used. However, his information on how children sleep and why it is necessary for them to get good sleep is fantastic info. He even breaks his book down into age groups so you can quickly look at the chapter with your child's age. Understanding sleep patterns (like a 30-45 minute waking is due to failing to make a sleep transition) can help you so much in fixing a child's bad sleep habits.

Rachel Henry

Do you know about askmoxie.org? She has some very wise and useful sleep stuff there. In particular, you might find her talk about sleep regressions (http://moxie.blogs.com/askmoxie/2006/02/qa_what_are_sle.html) enlightening and helpful.

In my house, when I'm nursing an infant, it is my husband's job to notice the crying and go fetch the infant for night-time nursing. It is also his job to make sure said infant is in a clean diaper. He brings the baby to me, I nurse the baby in bed -- he sleeps a bit, I sleep a bit. When the baby is done, he tucks the baby back into the crib. (This is for 3mo+ -- before that, I co-slept with the babies.)

Michelle

It always surprises me that so many people on the internet are SO adamently opposed to CIO, when all the people I know IRL have done some form of CIO at some point with their kids. Actually, no, I do know one person who never did. Her 8 year old still sleeps in bed with her parents (and is one of the most insecure kids I know.) And when people do the CIO most of them say it was hardly as bad as they thought it would be - a few nights of some crying for a lifetime of good sleep for everyone? (Consistant sleep for the child is important, too.) I'll take it. I'm a Weissbluth fan personally, but you certainly have to find the book and method that works for you.

One question I have is are you sure Chloe would really cry, as opposed to fuss, if she woke at night in her own crib? We just stopped swaddling our 4 month old and he definately is waking a bit more, but last night after I nursed him at the first awakening (after 7 hours, he was probably legitimately hungry) I didn't go in again until morning. And I heard him and watched what he did on the video monitor when he woke. He never really cried, just made "UHHH" sounds and moved around in his crib until he fell back asleep. If he had been in the bed with me, I'm sure I would have just nursed him, but I don't think he NEEDED it. My neighbor just had the same experience with her 7 month old who had been waking to nurse every couple hours since birth. When she moved her to her own crib, she woke, but never really cried hard and settled herself back down. So you never know what "Cry it Out" really looks like - I think it is rarely the hours of screaming that opponants make it out to be.

groovyjen

Sleeping in another room does not mean that the breastfeeding will suffer. I promise (1 year bfing x 2 kids - promise).

Put her in her own room, plug in the monitor and turn it on the lowest setting.

She will learn how to self soothe (because a one minute feeding is clearly not about hunger, right?) and you will learn how to sleep again.

Good luck! You can do it.

Lee

Who has time/energy to read an entire book? My advice is to speak directly with a sleep consultant:

http://www.jfcsboston.org/fcs/sleep_consultations.cfm (and I don't think they'll care that you're not calling from Massachusetts).

I did this a little under a year ago and it cost me $75 for a one hour phone consult. WORTH ITS WEIGHT IN GOLD!

(And, since you asked, my book of choice is Weissbluth.)

Good luck!


wavybrains

DD is 15 months old and until recently was still waking every two hours for her dose of booby. She could only nap if I was right there with booby, and only nursed to sleep. However, things have gotten much better recently. We decided to night wean, and instead of nursing her when she woke up, we rocked and patted her back to sleep. It took about 4-5 days of DH handling most of the night waking and rocking her back to sleep. There was a bit of crying, but someone was holding her and rocking her, so not CIO. We followed Dr. Sears' and Dr. Jay Gordon's tips on night weaning. I don't think I could have done this method at 7 months though--I'm not sure that either of us would have been ready for it. Dr. Gordon suggests waiting till a year to night wean.

I think I would start with other things like assembling the crib. DD stopped sleeping well in anything other than a crib/bed mattress at around 6 months. Those thin bassinet mattresses could be a good starting point. We moved her to her own space gradually. We assembled a crib right next to the bed, co-sleeper style and used that for a few months. Then we moved it a few feet away, then to the other side of the room, and now she has her own space slightly off our room. I noticed that she actually slept BETTER the further away from us she was. You never know--in her own space, on a nice comfy crib mattress with a white noise machine going on high, she might give you some nice long stretches. We also got better sleep with the white noise machine, total darkness, and switching to overnight huggies--DD wakes herself up if she pees even a tiny so those help a lot. She might be really picky about how warm/cold she is, so try experimenting with different sleepers/blanket combos.

Could you put an air mattress in her room so that you could sleep right by the crib if you have a 2 a.m. Mama call? You can get a twin size aerobed knock-off pretty darn cheap.

Hope some of these suggestions help!

Eva

My favorite sleep book was Jodi Mindell's Sleeping through the night. No Cry just didn't work for us with twins. I like Mindell because she's more scientific -- she backs up what she says with research (she's a researcher with published articles herself) and is probably in the middle between No Cry and things like Weisbluth. It worked for us. But what also worked for me was reading lots of books and fashioning my own.

I did the every 1 - 2 hours, every night, for a year, with twins. There were many nights I never slept a whole hour at a time; our bed was sometimes like a revolving door, with kids coming in and out, nursing, sleeping with us, until the next kid woke up. After a year I couldn't take it and did some of Mindell's controlled crying techniques at bedtime. I wasn't ready to do it before a year (more like 13/14 months) but looking back I don't know how I survived. I wasn't ready for it until they were that age and I felt like they were old enough to understand, though I have friends who have done it earlier.

The long term thing I want to mention is that there is ALWAYS a possible reason they're not sleeping well. My husband and I did this for 18 months -- they're teething; she has a stuffy nose; she's stressed about X; she didn't eat enough; she didn't poop today so her tummy bothers her; he's having bad dreams; he's too cold/hot/wet/itchy... I realized at some point that there's always an explanation, but eventually we had to deal with the sleep issues (this dawned on me when I talked to a colleague who still slept in his 6 year old's bed, every night from 8:00 PM until 4:00 AM, then got up to work. That worked for him, not for us.

Everyone has to find what works for them, and hopefully you will soon. If it takes a few more months to get things into a better pattern, just remember long term, it's a small fraction of your life, and it will get better! Good luck and happy new year.

Mara

There is a second No Cry book (for toddlers/preschoolers) that specifically deals with a nighttime nurser....

Bethany

My daughter woke every 45 minutes -2 hours all.night.long to nurse her entire first ten months of life. It didn't matter that she was in her own room. It didn't matter if she was in our room. At ten months I started implementing the No cry sleep solution and I loved it. It's amazing how a tiny little thing can really make a difference. For me, it was the tip Elizabeth Pantley offered to pull your baby off the breast while pushing her chin/mouth shut when she first starts to slow her sucking (from eating to just suckling). You have to be persistent, but any alternative to cry it out was optimal for me. I was willing to take some time to try to get her sleeping through the night (esp. after all the time I put into getting up with her all night long, anyway).

I remember the 7-month mark, though, and it was hell. It was all hell looking back, however. I have no idea how I functioned. When she finally started sleeping through the night, I was able to equate all of that waking and trudging myself down the hall, feeding, etc. etc. to my body getting 3.5 hours of sleep every night for those first ten months. Ack! I feel your pain, my friend, I really do!

Keep us posted!

Shelly

With DS #1 (3.5 yo) we did Ferber at around 4 months. He would only sleep with the boob in the mouth. If it fell out he would grunt around until he found it. Ferber was like a miracle for him. He would not sleep without touching a person until then. It was a horrible first night (2 hours of screaming until he fell asleep). He got mad after a few times of checking on him because he realized I was not going to pick him up. The second night was about 30 minutes, the third night was about 15 minutes and after that 5-10 minutes of fussing. He then would sleep about 7- 8 hrs and I would bring him to bed. After about 2 weeks, he started sleeping about 11 hours straight. It was amazing. I then would pump about 4 am (when bursting) and get so much milk. I digress.

With DS #2 (almost exactly Chloe's age) I have not yet Ferberized. He will go down with about 5-10 minutes of fussing in his crib since about 6 weeks. He wakes up 1-2 times per night and I bring him back to bed and nurse him. Then put him in his bed again. I keep the monitor sound turned down so that I can hear if he is screaming, but the little sounds don't wake me up. Also, ours has a voice activation mode, so the little noises don't turn it on but crying does. I sleep much more soundly this way, but still hear him. I'm trying to figure out how to get him to sleep through the night since he is still drinking a lot (evidence by the super wet diapers in the AM). I'm thinking of shortening the night nursing (which would require me to stay awake during the feeding) time gradually and trying to keep him from being hungry then. Then, I'll let him try to go back to sleep on his own. I've just been lazy with him because he started self soothing to sleep around 6 weeks when not hungry and in the time it takes to tell if he is hungry I could be done feeding him.

If Chloe is really attached to nursing, Ferber with Dad doing the checking might work. It sounds awful, so you have to be at wits end and ready to give it 1 week of commitment. Then I recommend some wine and a loud movie on the first night. MP might need to go on a sleep over if she wakes up easily with crying. Ferber seems cruel, but they do learn self soothing skills and sleep much better if you can stand to let them CIO. 6 months is old enough to sleep through the night from a developmental stand point, but that doesn't mean that all babies do.

NCSS did not work for stubborn and nummie-loving DS#1, but maybe with a more mellow kid it would. Although DH read it recently and was laughing at it and how it would never have worked for DS #1. I read almost every book known to man during the first 4 months. The scientist in me thought that I just needed the right protocol to make it work, when really we just needed some maturity.

Good luck!!!

Beth

Every child is different, that's for sure. That said, my experience was nearly identical to Em's. I was miserable at the thought of moving my first out of our room but discovered that once he couldn't hear our oh-so-quiet night time noises/movements, he didn't wake up! Prior to moving him out of our room, I also stopped nursing at night once I realized that he could go through the night w/o nursing. Once I knew he'd done it w/o starving, I figured out that he only nursed a minute or 2 for comfort and then went back to sleep. So I started just offering him a paci and patting him and we were really lucky -- that was enough. Then, once he went into his own room, even that went away (for the most part). On the nights he did wake up, one of us would go in and just pat and shush and comfort without picking him up (a modified Ferber approach, I think.) It worked for us. But, all kids really are different. I wish you lots of luck. Try something new for a week and if you see no differences, try something else. A week should be enough to see some shift...or not and then you'll know your strategy isn't helping. Good luck, good luck -- sleep stuff is SO hard!! Hang in there.

Sacha

Hmmm, sleep...

#1 Nursed, slept through at 5 weeks; never looked back

#2 Nursed, slept through at 11 months, woke to eat every 2-3 hours until then. Weaned at 8 months because I was PREGNANT WHILE NURSING ON DEMAND ALL THE TIME.

#3 Nursed til 1 year, slept through at 1 year and 2 weeks but woke 1-2 times a night until then. Little shit - sleeps like an angel now.

Carol

Hmmmm....it's hard to remember those days when:

1. They were relatively long ago; and:
2. I'm still stunned almost speechless by the beauty of your girls in the previous photographs;

but I'll try.......

My DD was my first, and even though she was still exclusively breastfeeding, she would sleep 10-hour stretches starting at 5 months. I was so smug. Then I had my DS 3 years later.

I read the No Cry Sleep Solution and it just seemed like a lot of work for little results. We Ferberized. Twice. It didn't work. It seems to me that when Ferberizing doesn't work, you're really screwed.

He only slept through the night finally at 9 months when my sister had to take him and wean him overnight because I was in the hospital and the meds I had to take meant I couldn't breastfeed. When I got him back a week later, he was on soy formula and sleeping through the night.

However, that was only my experience. YMMV, because each baby is different. Like I said, my first slept through the night at 5 months even though she was still exclusively breastfeeding. I think a lot of it is just developmental, and it can only be influenced so much by outside factors.

But I'd definitely read No Cry Sleep Solution, the Ferber Book, and the other one (Baby Whisperer?) and I think there might be a fourth one that I forgot the name of? I know, like you have time to read 4 books. But there are about 4 baby sleep philosophies out there and at least some of what you read should help. I think the rest is just time. Good luck. That sleep deprivation is HARD.

I've heard and read a few times that one shouldn't try to Ferberize (the most well-known CIO method) until the baby is 6 months.

Carol

Oh, and have you tried a binky? That worked for both kids at various stages.

Shandra

At 7 months my son was definitely a sleep nightmare. He didn't sleep through the night consistently for a very long time.

We took the approach to try gentle things, like not nursing completely down, but we didn't push it too hard and just worked on getting sleep at other times. (HA HA HA.) Actually around 11 months we did try CIO. That's when he learned to climb out of his crib and we spent a night in emerg. Hrumph. The biggest change came when he was over a year old and we set his mealtimes and wake time in close to stone. But it took a while to get there.

Now he goes to bed fine (3.5).

I think there are a lot of horror/happy stories out there about how one week of your time following a particular method will solve all your problems forever. But every child's personality is different. Not only that but often these statements come from parents enjoying sweet spots (like 5 months old).

I think the best thing is just to keep trying things that fit within your philosophy and relationship with your child, until either one works, or it passes, which may just coincide. Good luck. :)

Anna

My daughter is 22 months and still not sleeping through the night, although we have had a few stretches of 5/6 hours.

We co-sleep and although I do breastfeed her when she wakes I usually do the 'Pantley Pull-Off' from the NCSS so she doesn't actually go to sleep on the boob.

We have tried a few different things, basically anything that didn't involve leaving her alone to cry. My husband slept with her for a while which worked for a bit, but then she went through a very Mummy-oriented time and no matter how much he patted/cuddled/rocked she would just scream until I came or she threw up. Nothing else we have done has really made a long-term difference.

Right now she is probably waking between 2 and 4 times a night and is dropping her day sleep. She used to routinely wake between 8 and 10 times a night, so she has improved. I think it's just age, and although I sometimes feel like weeping with despair over it all, I mostly try to be fairly zen about it all.

I don't really believe that babies need to be 'taught' how to sleep; it just doesn't make sense to me. Do apes do controlled crying? I have a completely delightful, easy-going, loving, secure and well-attached toddler who happens to be very wakeful. I do hope our next one is an easier sleeper though.

amy

After a year of not sleeping through the night I did the Ferber Method. Turn off that monitor, invest in some ear plugs and get some sleep woman! Once son learned how to sleep through the night he turned from a crabby little guy to the sweetheart he is today (at almost 16!)

When the twins were born 4 years later I used his recommendations (no soother, put them to bed awake for naps and bed on a regular schedule) and had NONE of the problems. No crying. Nothing but sleep blissful sleep.

Baby needs her own room and to learn she can make it through the night without interventions on your part. She is FINE. And you will be so much the better mom with some sleep under your belt, trust me.

Aurelia

she is teething, same as Julius. Motrin, Tylenol, oragel. Just drug em up for a few days or longer until the tooth breaks through. Then they will go back to sleeping 6-7 hours like before.

I know--scandalous. Oh well. At least I sleep and so does the kid.

Tertia

I woke up 6 times last night for my four year old twins. I have no advice, clearly. I feel your pain though.

Meredith

This is probably not what you want to hear, but...my kid is 22 months and still not sleeping through the night. Until he was about 15 months, he would occasionally sleep for a 6 hour stretch, but more often wake several times to nurse. After 15 months the long stretches increased, but we still had nights with 8-10 wakings. At 20 months he started tapering off night nursings and slept through the night for the first time ever, but it's still a random event. Last night he woke once. The night before he woke three times. Both times there was a lot of screaming involved. Things ARE improving, though. That or I've gone insane from nearly two years of sleep deprivation and just can't tell anymore.

My husband and I read a bunch of books on sleep, but I won't recommend any of them because my child never seemed to follow the patterns described or respond in the way they assured me he would to interventions. We also discussed getting him out of our room and into his own but, like you, I couldn't deal with the prospect of having to listen to a monitor and go down the hall; it just seemed like more work. So. He still sleeps with us. And a new baby is coming.

I don't want to offer any advice, because I really believe that every baby is different and what works or doesn't work for you is unique. But I want to say that I've been there (am there) and am sending empathy. Sleep is a wonderful, glorious, thing and it sucks to be missing it.

electriclady

My 23-month old woke up around once or twice a night from 2 months on, which was pretty doable for us. Even started sleeping straight through at 6 months. We thought we were parenting geniuses! Then at 7 months, she started crawling and pulling up and it all went to hell. She woke up every 60-90 minutes for...oh god, a long time. Nothing we did worked. It was just a sleep regression--a hellish one--and eventually she went back to only waking up once a night or not at all. We did not give her a bottle every wakeup in the 60-90 minutes period, because that was ridiculous, but we did pick her up and soothe/rock.

Do you read Ask Moxie? There's some helpful stuff about 8 month sleep regression there, and at the very least you'll see by the comments that you're not alone. askmoxie.org

kristylynne

I went through this with my son, who was breastfed and didn't sleep thru the night until after he turned one. And I tried everything. Bought piles of books. And finally came to the conclusion that babies will sleep through when they are good and ready, and only then. And there is nothing to be done about it.

I did notice a correlation between good sleeping and the end of breastfeeding (for us, at age 1, self-weaning) and the start of toddler formula and lots of solids. I think he woke up a lot as a baby because he was hungry: breastmilk wasn't getting him through more than four hours or so before he got hungry again.

Chloe's still very little, and if she usually wakes only 2 times a night, I think that's normal for her age, especially with breastfeeding. The 8-9 times a night is rough, but it's also unusual. Maybe she's getting sick, maybe teething, maybe gassy, maybe just a bad night. I hope it gets better.

cindy w

My little girl didn't sleep through the night until she was a year old. But most of that time she only woke up once a night, which didn't seem too unmanageable. Not like 8 or 9 times - good lord, I'm tired on your behalf just reading that!

My assvice is to go ahead and move her to her crib in her room. One of the reasons for her constant night wakings is probably because of you & Random being in the same room with her. Every time you roll over, cough, breathe too loud, whatever, it disrupts her sleep and could potentially wake her up. If she's in her own room where it's quiet - maybe with something for white noise to drown out any background/house sounds (try a fan, air filter, whatever) - she'll be far less likely to wake up as often.

I'd also recommend that you move her to her room on a Friday night, so if the first night or two turns out to be rough, you can feel miserable and exhausted over the weekend and it won't be as bad as during the week when you need to use your brain. Hope that helps - best of luck with whatever you decide to do!

AMY

Best parenting decision I ever made was to put my son in his crib in his own room at about 3 months old. He has been a great sleeper since then (he's 15 months old now). I think it gives them a sense of self and independence and security. With the exception of teething and illness, he sleeps 12 hours a night, every night. Try it, you won't be sorry:)

Jessica (from It's my life...)

16 months. That's all I have to say. My 17 month old baby started sleeping through the night last month. At Chloe's age she was waking up and nursing AT LEAST twice a night too. That didn't stop until I partially weaned her at 10 months, only giving her the beloved boobie at 5am when we would cuddle until it was time to get up.
The fact that she has asthma has made it hard for us to sleep train her, but sleep train we did. In our room. And it was the most horrible thing I've ever had to do. That said, it only ever took a night or two of letting her cry through a feed to get her to skip it the next night.
But what do I know, I've barely slept for the last two years, for all I know I was hallucinating the whole thing.

Hang tight. You will sleep again one day. Or at least that's what people keep promising me!

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