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Monday, May 17, 2010


Before: Sleeping while being held.

Katie is 4 months old, and a couple of weeks. About two months ago, right after she got her first vaccinations, she was sleeping through the night like a dream--8-10 hours, it was fantastic. She did this for about a month.

Then, we moved, she got her own room, and suddenly, she's getting up 2-4 times a night.


I know, I should just be grateful for the month of sleep that we got. It's just really hard to go from getting a good amount of sleep to suddenly waking up again. I started thinking that my new life theme song would have to be "Who Needs Sleep?" For the past month, I've been trying to do all kinds of things to get Katie to sleep.

First, I tried to stop swaddling her. It gets pretty hot in our apartment by the end of the day, and I was worried she'd be too hot while sleeping, and maybe that was waking her up. Clearly, this wasn't the answer, because she would not go to sleep without being swaddled unless she was exhausted, and she wouldn't stay asleep once we put her down.

Next, I tried to focus on naps during the day. According to one book that we got, better naps during the day=better sleep at night. Following the suggestions in this book, we got a few great naps, which was nice, because I was finally doing some household chores and unpacking, I even baked bread! However, night sleep wasn't getting any better.

So, at the start of this week, Nate and I decided to finally try just letting Katie "Cry it out." I had wanted to avoid doing it because I'm not really a fan of crying. We tried the following method:

Put her down around 8:30 (she starts crying about 2 seconds after the door is shut)
3 minutes later, Nate goes in and offers comforting words and patting, but no picking up (she's now mad that we know she's crying, and we're not helping her)
5 minutes later, I go in and comfort and pat. She grabs my hand, I just about break down, but leave the room instead.
7 minutes later, Nate goes in again
10 minutes later, I go in
10 minutes later, we're ready to go in, but the crying has stopped, so we decide not to mess with it
10 minutes later, she's still sleeping.

She woke up around 10:30, but she was really hungry, so I fed her, she went right back to sleep, and slept until about 6:30 the next morning. This is great progress for us!

During: not a happy camper (this picture is actually from a couple of months ago).

The next night, I fed her, put her into her crib in that pseudo-awake, milk-drunk state at 8:00. She started crying. I was prepared to go and comfort her in about 5 minutes, following this suggested schedule, but about 2 minutes later, the crying stopped, and she was completely asleep. She stayed that way until 7:30 in the morning. that's 11.5 hours! When I went in to get her, she was smiling, happy, and the first thing she did when she saw me was laugh. This was great, but I was a little bit skeptical, since it had only been one night. The rest of the week went as follows:

Wednesday: Katie cries for 45 minutes before finally going to sleep. After checking and trying to soothe her with shushing and such, we decide that all it does is make her mad, and we stop going in to see her.
Thursday: Katie goes to sleep after about 2 minutes of crying.
Friday: Another 45 minute bought. Though the crying is more intermittent than constant.
Saturday: About 5 minutes of crying
Sunday: Really, just a little bit of fussing, that's all.
Tonight: No crying--a couple of little whimpers as she struggled to get her arms free, but she's currently sleeping, and she's not crying.

I guess we'll have to see how it works, but so far, this is good. I am now a believer in the fact that some babies just have to learn to go to sleep on their own. Katie falls asleep while nursing all the time, but before this last week, she hasn't really ever just fallen asleep without a car ride, feeding, or 15-30 minutes in a swing or with a bouncy chair being bounced for pretty much the whole time. Naps have even been going better! When she's really tired, I can just put her in her crib, and she'll go to sleep in a bit. Nate even put her down for a nap today with no crying involved.

Anyway, I thought I'd share our experience with the crying it out thing. It's kind of hard to go through, but I think that Katie, and Nate and I, are happier overall getting better rest.
After: Everyone is a bit happier around here.


  1. I found the same thing with Evan. And especially once I stopped nursing him at night, he had to learn to relax on his own. When he was about 10 months we started being really good about a bedtime routine - bath, book, prayer, and a few songs sitting with me in the rocking chair. But even now he'll cry sometimes because he's big enough to understand that he doesn't get to play anymore, and that's always been the hardest for me. I just want to go get him so he isn't sad! Oh well. I'm glad you guys are getting more sleep!

  2. I am ALL about letting them cry it out. It's hard and it sucks for a bit but it really doesn't take them long to catch on. I did it with Wes, I did it with the little girl I nanny and I am totally planning on it with Jones. Sometimes they just need to cry!

  3. I am a full-follower/believer in this method!!! I used it with all three kids and Lilly is doing well with it right now! I love that we are getting the sleep that we need and that Lilly also seems to be sleeping better.
    Our one problem is that sometimes we forget that she sleeps better when she falls asleep on her own so we rock her to sleep and then end up waking up all night again. :) Yay for you!

  4. I'm a believer too! James stopped sleeping at 4 months after being perfect. I tried everything, better naps, more food, whatever, and nothing worked. So we did the cry it out, and all it took was ONE night, and he's back to sleeping through the night. Makes everyone around here happier! You moved again, where to? What happened to the old place? Hope that all is going well, miss you guys!

  5. I did the same thing with Calvin. It works. I really think they just need to have a moment by themselves to work things out. It doesn't mean not being at the ready every 15 minutes to check on them, but after a day or so, they don't even need that long. Calvin usually needed only about 7 minutes of alone time, then bam!, he'd be asleep. I know I would've only disturbed him had I gone in really often. So glad to hear things are going well!