I'm one of those moms who swore I wouldn't let my baby cry it out. For the first four months I did it...never allowing my daughter to cry more than a few minutes. (With the exception of one day where I was at my wits end, got in the shower and stayed there until the monitor went silent.) Instead, I decided I'd follow advice I found in several books Happiest Baby on the Block and Good Night, Sleep Tight: The Sleep Lady's Gentle Guide to Helping Your Child Go to Sleep, Stay Asleep and Wake up Happy. The methods worked for getting my daughter to sleep...but it was staying asleep that was the main problem. She'd nap fine...sometimes I'd even have to wake her if her nap went 2.5 hours or more. But at 18 weeks she still isn't sleeping through the night. We did have four consecutive and gloriously peaceful nights when she slept through, waking up at 6:30. For the record, these were nights when I was still working overnight, and therefore didn't get to enjoy. But since then and before then it's been a struggle.
I believe part of the problem is just as she was learning to sleep through the night, she got sick. She had a cold which developed into an ear infection for three weeks. She got better for a week (hence the nights she slept through) and then developed another cold and stuffy nose which has gotten us to this point. I also believe part of the problem is she's sleeping too long at daycare. (If you're thinking, "I thought you were a stay at home mom?" well I am, but I had to keep her in daycare until the end of the year because we signed up for it.) There are days when she'll sleep 5 hours before 2pm. Most babies at her age don't need more than 4-5 hours of sleep ALL DAY. And I KNOW part of the problem is me and inconsistencies. I'm enabling her to do this...her knowing that I'll come running. But no more. All this has landed me at my last resort: cry it out. Here's how it's gone so far.
Night 1: Baby wakes up crying at 1:15 am. I give in and feed her (problem #1, I know) she falls asleep in my arms. As soon as I put her down, she cries. I pick her back up, take her down to the swing (problem #2, I know) that doesn't work. It's now 2:30 and I feel I have no other choice...I decide for the first time to let her cry it out. By 2:56 she's asleep...and stays that way until 7am.
Night 2: Pretty much the same thing, except she only cries for 15 minutes before falling back asleep.
Night 3: Wake up time: around 2am. Wondering if she's uncomfortable in her carseat (where she's been sleeping for months at the dr's advice due to reflux) we move her to her crib. This seems to help. I resist feeding her this night, knowing that's part of why she continues to wake up. At 14-15 pounds she should definitely be able to make it through the night without eating. I simply re-wrap her in her swaddle (which she can't sleep without) give her a binky, and place her back in the crib. She cries for about 20 minutes, then goes back to sleep until morning.
Night 4: I convince my husband he should go in when she cries since she smells me, her food supply. Of course, she doesn't wake up until 6:30 am . Praise the Lord...but will it last???
Night 5: Didn't think so!!! Wake up time, 4 am. My husband goes in reinserts the binky, gives her a little rub, says "love ya" and leaves the room. She cries for nearly 3o minutes then finally falls to sleep.
Night 6: Same thing as Night 5 except she cried for an hour. I can't take it anymore, something must be wrong. I go in, give her the binky (resist picking her up...small victory) give her a little rub and leave the room. She stays asleep for an hour until 5:40am then wakes up screaming. I don't go in to feed her until 6am. She goes back to sleep, and we have to wake her up at 8am.
I'll continue to update you on our progress. I know it's a process and I know we have to break her and our bad habits. But hopefully sooner rather than later she'll be sleeping like a baby.
Night 7: My daughter woke up crying multiple times, but only because her swaddled got loose and she managed to wiggle her arms out. She can't sleep unless she's swaddled. Yes, I know, she's four months old. That's my next project! Anyway, everytime I reswaddled her, I gave her a little pat, a little kiss and a good night. And she went right back to sleep. She started crying around 5:50 and I thought, okay that's good enough. I went to pump a little before I fed her and by the time I was finished she was quiet. She had fallen back to sleep. She didn't wake up until 8:30!!!
Night 8: Praise the Lord she slept through the night without a peep! 7:45pm - 6:03am.
The Sleep Solution Audio Program
The 45 Minute Nap
How Much Sleep Does My Baby Need
Get Some Sleep: Turn Off the Baby Monitor
How to Get a Baby to Sleep
Getting Your Baby to Sleep Through the Night
Trouble With Naps: The 2 Day Solution
The books I found the most useful as far as teaching my daughter to sleep are: