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Sleep training: the rest after the storm

standard April 21, 2008 12 responses

A few nights ago, Monday to be precise, Little L woke up from a deep sleep around 11pm. As was our norm I pulled her out of her crib and rocked her back to sleep; it only took a minute. Seconds after being placed back in her crib she woke up again and cried for me. I pulled her out and rocked her again. And again, after a short minute, I placed a deeply sleeping child back in the crib, only to have her wake right up again moments later. This time she feel asleep again the instant I picked her up and I realized that she fully intended to sleep in my arms.

That was it, that was my wall, my “it’s time to let this child cry herself to sleep” moment. While I was fine with having her in my bed for a few hours in the early morning, all night was a whole other ball park. And so I patted her tummy gently, kissed her goodnight, gave her a pacifier, and walked away. She screamed for 31 minutes and fell asleep. Without any planning or agonizing we were sleep training, and sleep training with big guns; none of the reassuring her every 10/15/20 minutes. Nope, we went for the big “lalalalala can’t hear you cry” guns.

The next night, empowered by my win I decided to go a step further: get rid of the 1am feed. She fell asleep after 25 minutes of crying, slept through her 11pm wake-up, and woke up at 1. I let her cry, and cry, and cry. She screamed and wailed. She moaned, and then she screamed some more. It was like a scene from The Exorcist. She cried for an hour and forty minutes before I caved and fed her. She ate voraciously and went back to sleep without a fuss. She slept in her crib until 6.

The following night was even better. She fell asleep in seven minutes, slept though the 11pm wake up, through the 1am feeding and didn’t cry until 3. I let her cry and moan until 4, fed her, and put her back in her crib, where she stayed until she woke up for the day.

Friday we put her down early because we were going on a date and didn’t want to torture the sitter any more than necessary. She took longer to fall asleep (45 minutes), but slept until 4. This time she didn’t scream and cry, just fussed until 5, and when I went to feed her she barely ate and went right back to sleep until 6:30.

Last night we were out late celebrating Passover. Little L fell asleep during dinner, but woke up before we got home, so she ate later than usual. Despite that, I still feel that last night was our biggest win yet. She fussed for 3o seconds when I put her down and she woke up briefly at 5, moaned for a few minutes and went back to sleep until 7:30.

If the week has been anything to go by, tonight she should sleep through, though she does have a cough and a cold so that might complicate matters. But that’s OK, because have you been following? I’ve been sleeping! For the first time in 8 months I’ve been sleeping more than three hours in a row. So even if tonight goes badly I know that we can persevere, I’ve tasted the sweetness of real sleep and I’m not going back, not now.

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12 responses

  • Sun

    woohoo!! congrats on the sleep!! don’t you feel like a new person w/ more than 3hrs of sleep? 🙂

  • Oooh!! I’m crossing my fingers for you!!

  • yay! congrats!

    btw much appologies, i tagged you for Meme but feel free to participate or not. 🙂

  • I just posted today about how you should *not* let your kids cry and I have already received several angry emails about it.

    I was very close to taking that post down, until a friend told me that would be insane and cowardly.

    Anyway, I think it’s great that you’re doing what works for you and your family. being well-rested is
    definitely important, for you and for your kids.

  • That is awesome progress… way to go! Sleep for everyone, even better.

    (via cre8Buzz)

  • woo – hoo! Yay for sleep! I know what its like. I went 2 years with only 3-4 hours at a time. I finally reached my breaking point and then… no looking back! I am so happy for you! Remember, if she gets sick and has a bad night it may take a little time to get back to the good sleep habits again.

  • I mentioned awhile ago that you will get to a day where BAM that is it. You no longer feel guilty about letting your kid cry because you are just so damn tired of being TIRED!

    Good for you!!!!

  • This is now my life…I love reading your blog as I can totally relate to many things..the sleep thing I know will continue to be a problem…My first took to the crib and sleep like no other. NEVER any issues…I often said if I could have kids like this I would have 10. Well #2 either due to colic or whatever will not sleep anywhere for any length of time except IN MY ARMS! or if I put him in the bassinet-2 hours is the max. I am sleep deprived and its only been two weeks! I cant imagine 9 months of this!
    Congrats on getting some sleep!

  • Girl, I remember those days…anyway, CONGRATULATIONS! 🙂

  • Congratulations! I’m so jealous. At 10 months, I’m still getting up every two hours, just to rock my son back to sleep. It’s hard to let him cry it out with my parents staying at our house. They either wake up to get him and/or make me feel guilty for letting him cry. Once they move out at the end of the month, I’m going to see if I can get him to sleep through the night. *crossing fingers*

  • I’m so happy for you.

    Despite a lot of well-intentioned comments from your readers, it was really always just a matter of when she got the idea, and when you had enough 😉 Good work, both of you.

  • Oh those first days of real sleep are so great. We left our daughter in her crib and she could scream all she wanted, we didn’t care anymore, because that light on the other side was getting brighter and brighter! (Welcome back to that side, by the way.)

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