One of our faithful readers (Hi! ramona!) asked:
did you find with liza that a “switch” went off and she started sleeping longer (my friends who don’t sleep train say that this will be the case at some point). I just wonder because we sleep trained Sean starting at 6 months, and it wasn’t as easy as all the doctors and books said it was going to be (3 nights crying, then you’re done). Eventually Sean has been more consistent at sleeping longer, but I’m not sure I would entirely attribute it to our training as so much as he was ready to do it himself. I was just wondering your thoughts?
Oh, ramona, how I would like to tell you that I did something right! And that with these three easy steps you can get your nighttime maniac to sleep through the night too! And also? We have Ginsu Knives to give away. (Knives not for use in putting baby to sleep.)
But I can’t.
Eli was our textbook cry-it-out sleeper at ten months. We let him cry it out for just under a week and then he was done and he slept like a champ. He’s never had a moment’s trouble sleeping since.
Liza? We tried just about every option I could read about and only a couple of them worked for short periods of time.
Here’s what I do know about when she started sleeping better:
1.) I weaned her. I officially did it because I was going to be traveling without her and it was close enough to her birthday that her pediatrician said I could put her on cow’s milk. So she started drinking Horizon Organic Whole Milk with DHA. (Why organic? It’s not because I think the only thing that should pass my baby’s lips should be organic. It’s because their whole milk with DHA added is the nectar of the gods. I’m not kidding, it’s like drinking butter. It’s all I can do to keep from guzzling it straight from the carton.) So she probably got a big boost of fat from that. And she started packing away the table food. Maybe her tummy is fuller now when she goes to bed.
2.) It got to be warmer weather. She’s sensitive to temperature while she sleeps and she got the last room in our house, which happens to be the coldest room in our house in the winter. Often I had the humidifier running in her room as well, which makes a cold room feel several degrees colder. So with spring time warmth, it’s much warmer in her room even when the air conditioner is running.
3.) I quit doing wake to sleep because often I was waking her and having to sit and rock her anyway. I don’t know if she was getting used to me coming in or if something else developmentally was happening but it quit working and before I found another thing to try she was sleeping better.
4.) I started having to put her in bed still awake. Up until very recently, I was rocking her to full sleep because any time she spent in the crib awake to her was about as pleasant as being flayed with those Ginsu Knives I was trying to sell you earlier. But about a month or so ago she started this flipping thing. Once I turned out her light and started singing to her, she’d turn on her back and then onto her stomach, then onto her back, then roll around so her head was on my knees, etc. After about five minutes of that I was exhausted and grouchy so I started putting her in the crib. Usually she’d cry for a while and I’d have to go back in and rock her. It was like she had to visit the crib, remember she hated falling asleep on her own and then call me back into the room to do the job for her. Eventually she started falling asleep on her own even with the grouching. Now I put her in the crib awake and she talks for a bit, plays with her doll and blankie and then falls asleep.
5.) Her separation anxiety got better. I don’t know if her SA got better because she started sleeping better or her sleeping got better because her separation anxiety lessened. Either way, WIN!
So those are the five things that all happened about 5-6 weeks ago. Did a switch flip and she decided to sleep better or did something among those five things listed above actually help? I have no idea. I can tell you, ramona, that it does get better. Just stay with it and be patient. Tag out with your partner when you can’t handle the nighttime stress any longer and before you know it, your little one will be rolling in at 11 after a night with his friends and crashing on the sofa. You’ll have to beg him to get up and go to school.