Author Topic: sleep training  (Read 1207 times)

c-kat

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sleep training
« on: October 25, 2017, 11:38:30 AM »
I'm a First Time Mom who really needs advice on how to teach my 9 month old to sleep on her own. 

She had colic and severe acid reflux as a baby, and so we had to stay up holding her all night so she could sleep upright against us (hence our sleep deprivation). I know this is what started the sleep associations but we really had no choice as the reflux was that bad. The colic passed at 4 months and the reflux improved at 6 months when we finally found the right medication, at which time we transitioned her to sleeping in the crib, but I had to either nurse her to sleep or rock her to sleep and put her in the crib asleep for naps and at night.

I stopped breastfeeding last week which has made her more clingy and upset. it was gradual as we introduced a bottle at 6 months for half her feeds as my milk supply had lessened. Once we got down to 2 nursing sessions a day (the rest were bottle), I stopped rather than going to one because she was getting confused as to when she could and couldn't nurse, plus i have PPD and sleep deprivation and my doctor said I needed to stop for my own health.

Things are really bad now and have been for the last 8 weeks ( even before stopping the nursing) because it often takes hours to rock her to sleep or we have to go for a car ride to get her to sleep. Most days she doesn't nap at all now. Not good for her as she needs more sleep or me as I can't get any chores done or rest myself. When we've tried some modified cry it outs, she has screamed until she had severe reflux and just didn't stop, had involuntary eye twitching etc which scared us, so we stopped things, which I know isn't great. And I realize we need to commit to something beyond trying it once.. i just find it so hard to hear her screaming and I don't like the reflux coming back.

We went to a sleep consultant which was a total waste of money. She told me to nurse her to sleep until she grows out of it on her own.  As she gets older she just cries louder and harder and I really think she needs to learn to self soothe. I spend about 5 hours of my day trying to get her to sleep (naps and bedtime combined).

Any suggestions?


 




mm1970

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Re: sleep training
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2017, 11:48:42 AM »
I had to sleep train both my kids multiple times, because any disruption (teething, a vacation, an illness) would "reset".

I wish I could actually remember what we did, but I cannot say for sure.  I do remember a few things, and I remember watching a few episodes of "Super Nanny", and reading "Healthy sleep habits, happy child".

First, on the nursing thing.  Kid #1 nursed until 13.5 months, kid #2 until 10 months.  Once they were able to sleep through the night, *ONLY* my husband went to them if they woke and cried in the middle of the night - because mommy is FOOD and daddy is NOT.  So they got the picture that by waking, they were not going to get fed.  That helped them along on going back to sleep.

Next, going to sleep at night, we used graduated extinction.  We developed a routine and said "bed time".  As they cried, we would go in, and say "bed time".

We would go to them, not necessarily pick them up, just stroke them so they know we are there.  First few nights it takes FOREVER, but eventually they go back to sleep faster.

I will say that we have, in desperation done the car ride thing.  And with the second kid, it's harder because you are more tired.  Kid #2 is 5, and yes, he falls asleep with one of us in his bed, every single night.  Still.  Because it's just easier!

You need a better sleep consultant.  I'd read a few books on the subject (they vary), and just try things.

brycedoula

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Re: sleep training
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2017, 12:05:42 PM »
My daughter was around 8-9 months when we did sleep training. Here's what we did (with a disclaimer that it was a year ago & the sleep deprivation in early motherhood makes me forget), starting around ? 6-7 months:

- I read pretty much EVERY post on the Precious Little Sleep website
- I read The No-Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley
- Nursing her to sleep, and then me putting her in her crib; shushing & patting as required, which sometimes took awhile.
- Nursing her to sleep, and then transferring to Daddy for the crib put-down; shushing and patting as required.
- Nursing until drowsy, then rocking/bouncing to sleep, then crib put-down; shushing & patting as required
- Nursing until drowsy, then Daddy rocking/bounding to sleep, then crib put-down; shushing & patting as required.

AND THEN I LOST PATIENCE FOR THAT.

I found that I didn't have the mental fortitude to do Cry It Out (CIO) in the evenings - I was tried already & couldn't handle the extended efforts to shush, or the crying. So I started during naps instead, and found success pretty quickly. New plan was as follows:

- Nurse, then a few stories in the rocking chair, then baby in crib, fan on, lights out & leave the room (I chose to do "extinction method", rather than "Ferber-izing", which recommends gradually increasing the length of time before you go back into your kid's room). She would cry, not gonna lie, but the first few days would be 15-20 minutes of crying (not screaming, just crying), then 10 minutes, then 5 minutes, and then pretty much napping as soon as I left the room.
- Once she'd gotten the hang of the daytime napping we did the same for bedtime - alternating with both me & my husband reading stories so she wouldn't get "set" with just one parent doing the bedtime routine. Again, the first few nights there was some crying, but she figured it out after a few days & it was AMAZING because we suddenly felt like we had so much more time in the evenings!

It sounds mean, and while I personally wouldn't attempt this with a younger baby, it worked GREAT with our kid. She was old enough that I didn't feel like I was "damaging" her by letting her cry, but young enough that she wasn't really able to "push back" too much.

bognish

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Re: sleep training
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2017, 12:44:07 PM »
I am replying just to let you know its not the end of the world if you don't get this down. My wife slept with both kids and nursed them for atleast a year. When they were older 1-2ish? I was so tired that I would get in bed with them to read a bedtime book and fall asleep with them for a few hours, sneeking out around midnight. Many nights they would wake up alone and come sleep in our bed with us. I remember feeling guilty for not trying harder to get them "proper" sleep habits. Eventually they grew out of needing us in the bed to fall asleep or feel safe. My kids are now 6 & 9 and sleep alone just fine for the last few years.

If you can sleep train, or do whatever to get them to fall asleep alone at an early age do it. If not the kids will eventually grow out of it. Now I miss it.

Sibley

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Re: sleep training
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2017, 01:28:36 PM »
First, I'm NOT a parent. But, can you get some friends who are, or family, or really ANYONE to take the baby for a few days so you can sleep? Off load the chores to someone else? I'm guessing you're stressed, overwhelmed, unhappy, and that's without the PPD - and that may be feeding back into baby. If you can reset YOU, that might help with baby.

And just in case you're getting crap from strangers, I'll give you some good from a stranger:
It is NOT shameful to take care of yourself. You are NOT a bad mother because you're struggling right now. You're a mother doing her best who needs some help right now. Hang in there.

Millennialworkerbee

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Re: sleep training
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2017, 01:58:05 PM »
This is a great time to start sleep training. Really, babies are so much more adaptable than we give them credit for. Yes, she may cry for a long time the first few days. But if you are consistent, it will get better (not trying to judge on the consistency thing- we definitely have room for improvement in this area too).

What really helped me those first few days/weeks was going outside right after leaving the baby's room. If you know they are safe, there isn't a difference between sitting outside the room and crying while they cry, or going for a 5-10 minute walk and then coming back to check on them.

Our LO still cries for a few minutes before falling asleep sometimes even at 16 months. But it is rarely more than 5 minutes (it still feels like an eternity though!). His middle of the night wakings greatly decreased when we started sleep training around 5 months and I think it totally had to do with the fact that he learned that he can put himself back to sleep.

Remember, falling asleep and staying asleep is a SKILL that babies must LEARN. It's a lot like sitting up or walking; you can help set them up for success with a good environment but it is still something they've got to learn for themselves. At least that's my view, but I know I'm going to be a strict parent ;)

I forgot to ask: What do you put in the crib with her? This is a good time to introduce a small lovey if you haven't yet! We bought a cheap $5 stuffed from Babies r us (actually 4 of them for lots of backups haha) and it was around your daughters age that our son started showing a strong preference for owl!
« Last Edit: October 25, 2017, 02:03:31 PM by Millennialworkerbee »

Ceredwyn

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Re: sleep training
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2017, 02:24:18 PM »
That's a tough spot to be in. Have you talked to your pediatrician about whether the reflux is an issue for sleep training? If they give you the green light, I suggest forcing yourself to commit to it for a week. In my experience sleep training is terrible when you're doing it but is also the only thing that actually works.

After reading a million things on the internet/books, we did Ferber (cry it out with parental checks-ins on increasing intervals; although the check-ins just made our baby cry louder). We kept a log of how long the baby cried each time before falling asleep, to be able to prove to ourselves that it was getting better over time. If nothing has improved after a week, you can re-evaluate. It worked for us, parents and baby are all much happier now that everyone is getting some sleep.

Also, when we were in the midst of this problem, we found this satire to be relevant:
https://www.reddit.com/r/Parenting/comments/1cqncb/i_read_all_the_major_books_on_baby_sleep_here_is/

ABC123

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Re: sleep training
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2017, 02:41:05 PM »
There are a million different "expert" opinions on getting your baby to sleep.  There are people who will tell you that your baby crying in the crib means he needs you, so you need to go in and pick him up right away or he will think you don't love him.  I disagree with all that.  I mean, no, don't put your baby in the crib and let them cry for hours.  That's just mean.  But I believe in giving your baby what he actually needs - and if he is tired, then what he needs is sleep.  Teaching your baby to learn how to put himself to sleep is the greatest gift you will give him and you.

Tonight, when it is bedtime, put baby in the crib when he is sleepy but still awake.  He will likely cry if he isn't used to it.  Go out of the door, and let him cry for whatever time you are comfortable with - 2 minutes, 5 minutes, whatever.  If he is still crying, go in and pat his back or sing a song or whatever but don't pick up.  Then go back out and wait another 5 minutes. If still crying, go back and do it again.  If you know for sure that baby does not need you, then start going longer periods of time - 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes.  Eventually, he will pass out from exhaustion, or you will give up and go get him.  Try again tomorrow night.  Hopefully, after a night or two of that, baby will be sleeping great and your life will improve one million percent.

Kapiira

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Re: sleep training
« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2017, 03:22:25 PM »
I agree with double checking about the reflux before starting sleep training.  My son had colic and was a terrible sleeper.  I figured out that I couldn't eat dairy and his colic improved.  I tried sleep training and it was a total failure despite sticking with it for a week.  Eventually I realized he was still having food intolerance issues because we were still eating foods that had dairy in them without knowing it.  Once I understood that pretty much all processed foods have dairy in them and cut them out of our diets, his sleep improved.  He was just uncomfortable. 

I know that this isn't going to be the case for every baby, but the previous problems with colic and reflux make me think that you should take another look at that medical issue.  Best of luck!

moof

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Re: sleep training
« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2017, 04:41:00 PM »
For us it took a while to sleep train, but most of the training was getting our own expectations right.  Basically the kid will get used to a cycle of cry longer and the parents will cave and come back, which is a vicious cycle that has to be broken.  Set a goal of at least 1 hour of letting them cry it out before you go back in and make a blood oath to not go back in until then.  If you are still doing a night feeding make a deal to alternate nights as to who will cover that shift, and feel no guilt when you shove your spouse out of bed when it is their turn.

Bruinguy

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Re: sleep training
« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2017, 05:55:59 PM »
Sounds similar to my first.  She had reflux too. 

My only thought was to insert a step where you are putting her in the crib before she is asleep and stay with her, not holding her, and sooth her until she is calm/sleeping.  If she can get used to falling asleep in the crib, that could be a good start.

Although, I see that you say that she takes hours to fall asleep even when you are holding her.  I don't think that sleep training is going to solve that problem.  Maybe wait longer to start the sleep process so she is more tired?  Skip trying to have her nap for a day and see if she falls asleep easier at night? 

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Re: sleep training
« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2017, 03:42:10 AM »
Not a parent (yet), but whatever you choose to try, for your own sanity please put a boundary around it. Decide how long to try it for (a week? Two weeks?) and what success will look like (perfectly sleeping baby? Marginally less crying?) and write out a plan and stick to it. Then you can think "Only three more days of cry it out hell before we evaluate" or whatever, rather than "WILL WE STILL BE DOING THIS WHEN IT LEAVES HOME?!?!" Give yourself an end date for the experiment. If you have seen no change, move on. The open-ended "until it works" thing is depressing.


lifejoy

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Re: sleep training
« Reply #12 on: October 26, 2017, 12:09:03 PM »
PTF

BAM

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Re: sleep training
« Reply #13 on: October 26, 2017, 12:52:49 PM »
I would definitely start with a Dr visit to make sure everything is okay with your little one. Make sure you mention the reflux after crying and the involuntary eye twitching. That will give you peace of mind as you approach the sleep issues.

Then I would start transferring the sleep associations to an object - a special stuffed animal or blanket. Whenever you rock her or give her a bottle or put her in bed or even in the car, give her that special object (might want to get two of the same so you don't have to worry about leaving it somewhere). If you are holding it while you hold her, it will pick up some of your smell which will help also.

I would start with nap time, as someone else suggested. You are less likely to be worn out and wanting sleep yourself. It is also shorter so there is an end in sight as you are working through it.
Start before the time when you want her down for nap and go through a set of steps that are the same every. single. time. So, for example, diaper change, book, bottle, rock (with set limit of time), put her in bed, leave. Have the special object with you for the whole time. The earlier start time will also make her
After she's in bed, I would keep an eye on the clock. That way you know how long she is actually crying. Plus you can have a set time for leaving her to cry before you go in to check or lay her back down.

Few other things:
Make sure she is getting lots of snuggle time when she is awake. That can help her to become less clingy.
If she is waking during the night, you may want to divide the night into a couple stages for sleep training. With my child that wasn't eating well during the day, I sleep trained him until 3 am first and then pushed until 7 after he had 3 am down well.
Another thing I noticed with many of my kids: the more sleep deprived they are, they harder time they have going to sleep and staying asleep. Might want to consider nursing (if you can) and getting her a few nights o good sleep before starting the sleep training to eliminate this possibility -keep the special object with her while you do (if you decide to use one) to have with the transition later.

elaine amj

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Re: sleep training
« Reply #14 on: October 26, 2017, 02:51:31 PM »
I went through this with 2 kids. Let me tell you one secret - every kid is different. So no, there just isn't one best way.

Child #1: was an OK sleeper but at about 4-5 months started waking up multiple times through the night. I was a zombie and DH put his foot down and insisted on sleep training. We did full on Cry it out cold turkey. I felt so guilty, and insisted on suffering with her. I sat in the hallway outside her room through it all. DH sometimes had to insist I not go in. It wasn't too bad looking back. An hour maybe the first night that gradually dwindled and it was done in 4-5 days. She napped so much better after that - it was worth everything.

Child #2: I went through every possible type of sleep training. And I was militant about it sticking to the "rules" . Also started at about 4-5 months. Sometimes a technique would work for a bit but the next illness / teething, etc and we would be back to square 1. This went on for YEARS. Finally at about 4/5 (maybe younger, maybe older - I have blacked it out), I realized that this was just my kid and I accepted it. He would wake up twice a night and I would hand him a sippy of water (sometimes an apple), maybe the bathroom, then tuck him back into bed.

After that, getting woken up every night was just something I did. At about 6/7yrs, I was talking to a new mom about sleep training and was horrified to realize I was STILL waking up every night to escort him to the bathroom!! I spent some months nipping that in the bud and finally was able to sleep through the night. Most of the time anyway.

There's more. At 10/11, he had the opportunity to share a room with his grandma (he actually begged). Turns out this kid has always hated sleeping by himself.

I don't like cosleeping (I get a bit claustrophobic),  but I really really wish I had sucked it up and co - slept with him.

On the good side, he is a happy healthy 14 year old boy and my mistakes didn't scar him for life. Kids are flexible creatures and flourish in all kinds of circumstances as long as there is lots of love.

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« Last Edit: October 26, 2017, 02:53:16 PM by elaine amj »
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tweezers

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Re: sleep training
« Reply #15 on: October 27, 2017, 10:13:59 AM »
Our attempts at sleep training resulted in vomiting (daughter) and lots of tears (daughter and me). We ended up co-sleeping to everyone's betterment so I don't have guidance on that front.  However, I did want to mention that there is a wonder week at 9 months so it might not be the best time to start this process because baby's already going through a big developmental leap that is upsetting the status quo.  I attached the sunny/stormy chart too, which both our kids followed pretty closely.  It was helpful to know that these periods were not because I was failing them.  Good luck...its a tiring time, but they eventually sleep on their own!

https://www.thewonderweeks.com/the-mental-leaps-and-wonder-weeks/


backandforth

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Re: sleep training
« Reply #16 on: October 30, 2017, 09:39:50 AM »
Really don't have good ideas for you here. We have tried from gentle to CIO with our kids, and hired a total of 3 sleep consultants. Didn't quite work out (the crying and puking just won't stop, or the PUPD would make them wake MANY more times somehow) the training actually made thing worse for weeks after we decided it was not working and gave up. It was tough.

As they get older, things start to get better, very gradually. Still cosleep with one, and the other one requires someone lay down next to in order to sleep, but will STTN most nights. Funny thing is that the cosleeper was actually the better sleeper at the beginning, but never improved much, but the horrid sleeper caught up and zoomed past at about 18M old.

I go to sleep very early these days and feel much better. When you get interrupted sleep, if the total hours are good and you get at least a solid 4 hours chunck, you will likely be quite functional the next day.

Sorry it may not be what you want to hear. But if you have to resort to co-sleep in the end to get some shut-eye, there is no shame in it. Co-sleep has been the norm for thousands of years and still is in most parts of the world (I think sleep training is another "American Invention") until the kids are quite a bit older, nothing wrong with it and they grow up just fine.


c-kat

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Re: sleep training
« Reply #17 on: November 09, 2017, 11:40:32 AM »
Just wanted to say a big thank you for all of your advice and encouragement.  We started sleep training the day after I started this thread and even though it was hard, it worked! The first night my daughter cried for 30 minutes ( but I went in at various intervals). It improved most nights, with two that increased, but the last three nights there have been no tears at all. We put her in her crib, she smiles, and then puts her head down and goes to sleep for 11 to 12 hours!

The tough part now is sleep training for naps as the sleep drive isn't as high as it is at night  I started three days ago and she's still crying for about twenty minutes, but I feel confident it will decrease like it did at night.

To be honest, when I posted on a mommy thread, people made me feel horrible about wanting to sleep train.  Like I was a bad mom.  But I have three books on no cry solutions and none of those solutions worked. This was what she needed. Thank you for the support. :)

elaine amj

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Re: sleep training
« Reply #18 on: November 09, 2017, 02:10:52 PM »
Just wanted to say a big thank you for all of your advice and encouragement.  We started sleep training the day after I started this thread and even though it was hard, it worked! The first night my daughter cried for 30 minutes ( but I went in at various intervals). It improved most nights, with two that increased, but the last three nights there have been no tears at all. We put her in her crib, she smiles, and then puts her head down and goes to sleep for 11 to 12 hours!

The tough part now is sleep training for naps as the sleep drive isn't as high as it is at night  I started three days ago and she's still crying for about twenty minutes, but I feel confident it will decrease like it did at night.

To be honest, when I posted on a mommy thread, people made me feel horrible about wanting to sleep train.  Like I was a bad mom.  But I have three books on no cry solutions and none of those solutions worked. This was what she needed. Thank you for the support. :)

Woot!! That is so so awesome!!!

I felt horrible sleep training my first - but Cry It Out worked so incredibly well on her that it was hard to argue with the results. She slept so much better after that which increased her happiness on a daily basis, which in turn, vastly increased mine. It was well worth the few days of pain.

Of course, it didn't work so well on my second...but he was a different child. Oh well.
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tyrannostache

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Re: sleep training
« Reply #19 on: November 09, 2017, 02:21:24 PM »
Glad to hear it worked, c-kat!

Your experience is almost exactly what happened with my first. We got desperate. After just a few nights of gentle extinction, she was sleeping 11-12 hours.

My second was a great sleeper until 4-5 months, and we're still in the thick of it at nearly 7 months. We had gotten into a pretty good routine with just 1-2 short wakeups per night, and then she got a nasty virus & croup. Now that's she's better, we have to start sleep training all over again. FML. At least we've seen the other side.

moof

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Re: sleep training
« Reply #20 on: November 09, 2017, 02:22:32 PM »
Just wanted to say a big thank you for all of your advice and encouragement.  We started sleep training the day after I started this thread and even though it was hard, it worked! The first night my daughter cried for 30 minutes ( but I went in at various intervals). It improved most nights, with two that increased, but the last three nights there have been no tears at all. We put her in her crib, she smiles, and then puts her head down and goes to sleep for 11 to 12 hours!

The tough part now is sleep training for naps as the sleep drive isn't as high as it is at night  I started three days ago and she's still crying for about twenty minutes, but I feel confident it will decrease like it did at night.

To be honest, when I posted on a mommy thread, people made me feel horrible about wanting to sleep train.  Like I was a bad mom.  But I have three books on no cry solutions and none of those solutions worked. This was what she needed. Thank you for the support. :)

Congratulations!

Napping for us ended at 2 1/2, but he kept getting "quiet time" from 2:30-4:30 or so.  He needed it, or he would come unhinged by dinner time without it.  To this day at age 5 he asks for his quiet time where he very rarely sleeps, but the rest and quiet helps reset his energy, mood, and self control.  Every kid is different, but just know that actual sleep at nap time is not necessary to reap a lot of the benefits.

FLBiker

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Re: sleep training
« Reply #21 on: November 09, 2017, 02:24:27 PM »
Wow, thanks for sharing this!  Our DD is 2.5 and still nurses to sleep.  DW just went back to work, though, so we're thinking about sleep training.  We didn't want to wean her at night, though, since she gets lots of good antibodies to counter all the new germs she's encountering at daycare. :)

And we just potty-trained (which went very well).  It's great to read about a success story!

englishteacheralex

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Re: sleep training
« Reply #22 on: November 09, 2017, 02:49:04 PM »
Awesome. The sleep thing is huge.

With #1 I did every sleep training method by the book, and got really bogged down. Finally, when he was a year old, I was fed up and just let him cry in his room for around 45 minutes. It was horrible, but eventually he went to sleep. And then he never woke up in the middle of the night again. I mean, unless he gets sick or something normal. I was so mad at myself for doing all these different methods with patting and rocking and shushing and egg timers with the ferberizing etc.

With #2, at six months I let her cry for 45 minutes. She didn't stop so I caved, went in and nursed her to sleep. Exact same scenario for three more days: 45 minutes of crying, mom finally comes in and nurses. Fourth night: she never woke up. Slept through the night for months after that.

Now we're back to occasional 2:30 am wake ups. Sucks. She's eleven months old now, and I weaned her several months ago. I know this is not recommended, but I just toss her a bottle of formula and go back to bed. So far no ear infections.

If she keeps up with the 2:30 am wake ups...next time I really should just let her cry it out. I always go in to check that she isn't sick, kiss her, put her back down and let her wail. I can't sleep while she's crying, and sometimes I'm crying, too, because I'm tired and frustrated and I hate hearing her cry.

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lifejoy

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Re: sleep training
« Reply #23 on: November 09, 2017, 03:03:42 PM »
OP, so glad you got the support you needed and that things are going well for you! My 3-month-old does not sleep through the night. One day I will get desperate and try CIO but for now I'm just a zombie :)

katscratch

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Re: sleep training
« Reply #24 on: November 09, 2017, 04:14:02 PM »
I'm a parent of a college student and have to admit this thread is fascinating. I've never heard of sleep training or consultants.

So glad, OP, you found something that's working for you :)