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Comments

Linda

I think all of parenting can be summed up as a "choose your own adventure depending on your child's temperament." That is awesome.

Shandra

Commiseration here. :) My son's 19 months old and although he's gone through worse phases and better phases, you've basically described his base sleeping pattern - down around 7, up at 11:30, 2, and 5 in his case, up for the day at 7.

At this point he often drops the 11:30 time (3-4 times a week). But the last time I crowed about that he stopped, so. :)

Things that have sometimes worked for us (some won't be appropriate for your babe yet) are:

- a lovey has gone a long way
- a banana before bed helps with the 11:30 wake up (brush teeth after though)
- his dad does take him sometimes, esp. at 2 am, if he's not desperate for a nurse
- we bring him into bed with us at 5, occasionally at 2. This is supposed to be pure evil though, so it may not help his sleep pattern - but it really helps me :)
- now that he's a toddler active exercise outside during the day seems to be essential to nighttime sleep

Things that didn't help:
- he does put himself to sleep in his crib a lot of nights. For my son that doesn't correlate with whether he gets up or not, so so much for the "he'll be happy where he falls asleep" theory (in his case)
- seeing if he could go without anything but water at night. That was a disaster for us, although maybe we're wusses :)

Things that helped me:
- one to two nights a week if I'm tired I go to bed with the babe at 7. Okay those nights I don't really eat dinner and the house goes untended and it has to be post-deadline at work, but it makes a world of difference to me. And if it happens to be a night he sleeps to 2 am, yeeha
- As often as we can swing it (1-2 times a month) my husband takes the baby for the weekend morning (as yours gets more onto solids this gets easier) and I have a sleep fest and sleep 7 am - noon. That 5 hr stretch is amazing. Having your partner on board for this kind of things can really help, esp. if (like me) you get past 16 mos and realize you're probably in for this pattern until he's two. And you were just hanging on for him to change it at 15-16 months. :)
- Saying no to things. I've done less volunteering & socializing this year than any other year but I intend to keep saying no until I am getting more sleep.

I know it's counter-cultural to treat it like a parent time management/sleep issue rather than the baby's issue. And so much depends on your life - if I worked full time out of the home I would probably not be able to totally balance things (although I work a lot at night as I only have a sitter in for half the hrs I work, so in some ways it has been harder to get sleep).

Hang in there :)

erika

My daughter consistently woke up around 10-ish, around 2-ish and then sometime between 4 and 5. For 16 months. I nursed her back to sleep each time pretty easily but it wasn't ideal sleep for any of us (we co-sleep). I finally decided that it was time to wean her of a couple of the middle-of-the-night feedings. We used advice from Jay Gordon and decided that the 10:30 - 5:30 wake-ups were the ones we wanted to eliminate. There were a few rough nights with lots of hugs and crying and being upset and angry but then she slept straight through. *Fingers crossed* it will stick. We're still co-sleeping and she knows now to wait to ask for milk until the morning alarm beeps (5:30). So far, so good.

erika

Link to the Dr. Jay Gordon article on night weaning: https://www.drjaygordon.com/development/ap/sleep.asp

Kate

Even if I weren't philosophically troubled by CIO, I knew (KNEW!) that my daughter would absolutely scream all night long. When she is upset she does not wear out and collapse, but rather channels the Energizer bunny until the issue is resolved.

She had a lot of tummy issues from the time she was an infant. By the time those were taken care of, she was definitely in the habit of waking up. She dropped one nursing on her own. We (and I mean my husband did the hard part) gently phased out the second at 12 months. I nightweaned at 19 months, but she continued to wake at that hour (4:00) to be fetched from her toddler bed and come in to snuggle. She slept through at just about 2 years (she is now 2 3/4), although she still sometimes wakes up asking for water in the middle of the night or me at the ungodly hour of 5 am.

Of course we never got to enjoy the sleeping through because by then we had had another baby! My son (11 months) is not as high-maintenance, but this time we are full-on cosleepers. (Lazy much?) He has just (this weekend) started to accept my husband as a decent sub for the boobs and managed to go something ridiculous like 7 hours without nursing (I had a pumped bottle that he refused). I was in another room, though, so I have no idea if this would work otherwise. Anyway, once my husband's busy season at work is over we're going to repeat the "Mommy? She's not here right now, but Daddy will snuggle you" for several nights and hope it sticks.

Courage to Pamela and beware of teething, which can temporarily sidetrack progress!

Signed,
Been There and Am There Again

Shiri

My 3.5YO was always a problem with sleep. Used to wake up a lot and from every little creaking or cracking and took forever to put back to sleep.
Good news: he only wakes up once now in order to come to our bed where he promptly falls back to sleep, otherwise he doesn't wake up from anything, even not when his brother starts screaming in the next bed.
Bad news: he still takes forever and ever and ever to go to sleep on bedtime, and we have to lie with him in his bed for almost an hour on bad days. I think the later is a matter of changing habits, which is always a hard thing to do, but that we will have to start doing now.

With my 15 MO I've tried the CIO thing, and it works for him on bedtime. During the night - not so much, but that's probably because I'm too tired to be consistent with it.

Bobbi

Just commiseration here...

I am the mom of 4 really different little people. My oldest was a fabulous sleeper - through the night at 8 weeks old and unless she was sick, NEVER woke during the night. My second was a nightmare - didn't start sleeping through until almost 4 (and still wakes occaisionally) and was one of those who intensified the longer he cried, so any kind of sleep training was not going to work. My 3rd was one of those who vehemently refused to fall asleep inyour arms from about 2 months old on. She had to be put down awake, and then fussed herself to sleep. My youngest is 3 weeks old. Jury's still out on what he'll need.

All this to say, every kid is different. They'll let you know what they need if you listen to them. No one can tell you (experts included) what YOUR child needs. Hang in there - you'll get through it (I promise!!)

Good luck!

Jezer

For the last 14.5 months, I have done Whatever It Took to make sleep (the boy's and mine) easier. He has never, ever slept through the night, I still breastfeed, and we cosleep. There have been good months (waking 1-2 times per night) and bad months (waking every 1-2 hours). I've never done anything more than nurse on demand during the sleeping hours. It's my opinion that cosleeping is the only way to do that and not go insane from sleep deprivation, though.

After all those months of just going with the flow, my son has now started sleeping almost all the way through the night. He usually wakes very briefly around 3am, and then goes right back to sleep with a little patting or sometimes a few sips from a bottle or the breast.

My point is that without really doing anything special at all, my child is on the verge of sleeping through the night at 15 months. If you can just try to make everyone as comfy as possible for the next few months, it will most likely happen on its own.

Good luck!

Debbie

I would recommend the having your partner go to him for the 11 p.m. and 4:30 a.m. wakeup. At his age, he can probably go until 2 a.m without eating. We did this with our son and it is seems to be working -- fingers crossed. My husband would rock him back to sleep when he went to him. I would go in at 2 a.m. on the assumption that he could legitimately need to eat. He quit the 11 p.m. wakeup pretty quickly. Over the course of a couple of weeks, he kind of consolidated to one night waking but the time would vary. If he got up before midnight, my husband would still go to him and if it was after midnight I would go. Midnight was sort of our arbitrary cutoff as I was nursing him last around 7 p.m. so we figured he probably wasn't hungry when he was waking up earlier. (in the early days though our "backup" plan was for me to still go nurse if my husband couldn't get him back down, i.e. he got upset and was obviously hungry). Lately, he has been sleeping through without getting up at all but we still have our plan in place for nights when he does get up. Good luck with whatever you do. I keep telling my husband I will be so happy when I quit obsessing about baby sleep. :)

Debbie

I just realized I forgot to say in my post that our son was waking up at almost those exact same times though the 4:30 a.m. was usually more like 5:30 for him.

Lisa V

My 12 year-old daughter slept very well until she hit 10 months, then she started waking during the night. We tried some CIO stuff and it just didn't work. Even the neighbors commented on her crying during the night. We lived in a house, their house and ours had 15 feet between them. She was that loud. We gave up after a handful of tries.
Instead we started going in, not picking her up, patting her back until she settled and was drowsy. We took turns, it lasted a couple of weeks, but then she got herself sleeping again.

After 4 kids- this is the good news, they all sleep through the night eventually. No matter how many mistakes we make as parents trying to figure out what works for them.

girlfiend

After sleeping for 6 hours at a stretch sporadically for the first two months of his life my son stopped. He'd nurse down easily, but he woke up hourly for months. At some point he switched to waking up every few hours and three hours in a row felt heavenly.

Then, to really mess me up he stopped falling asleep and it took hours to get him down only to have him wake up crying 2 hours later. That's when I decided I was done.

Even though it did not work at all when he was younger, I made the decision that I was going to let him cry to fall asleep, but I'd get him if he woke up. The crying was excruciating, but he pretty much fell asleep after 20 minutes. Then he slept for 6 or 7 hours. If he didn't stop crying after 20 minutes I'd nurse him again and hope he'd sleep. He usually did. If he didn't nurse to sleep the second round he'd cry himself to sleep after about a minute and a half.

This lasted a week or two. Then it stopped. The new plan was to let him cry, but if he woke up before 2 to send my husband in to rock him so I wouldn't have to nurse him. This did not work at all. Instead of me getting sleep I'd have to listed to my husband's off-key rendition of Joshua Giraffe while my son screamed relentlessly.

New plan. We moved bedtime up to 5.30- 6.00. This pretty much coincided with 11 months. He started to magically sleep through the night. Some nights I'd hear him wake up and cry but he always fell asleep on his own after 4 or 5 minutes. I can take credit for nothing. I think the earlier bedtime helped, but it may just have been 11 month magic.

I'm just now, more than a month later, starting to relax, though I still fear this good sleeping is a phase, not a given.

This comment probably isn't helpful. My point is that Sam woke up hourly then out of nowhere he started sleeping. CIO didn't really work and I only used it when he stopped falling asleep, not for any of the wakeups. It sort of helped for a week or two, and now that he's older I don't feel like I'm damaging him by letting him cry a few minutes to fall asleep, but I never, ever would have been able to let him cry for hours at a time the way some people do. It wasn't for me and if it's not for you don't do it.

The earlier bedtime may help if you haven't tried it.

Fahmi

We tried Weissbluth's method when the baby was five months old. One day that made my heart break, and he was fine. And then when he was eight or nine months old, he started sleeping poorly, and we realized almost instantly that now that he was older and knew where we were, crying just made him more agitated to the point where he couldn't sleep.

So we tried the Sleep Lady approach when he was ten months old. He responded to it really well. We worried for a while that the approach where we were sitting in his room, patting him until he fell asleep, would just get him used to that and won't be able to let go, but he's been good so far. Naps were a different story, but the night time approach really worked for us when we tried the gentler and more gradual process. Perhaps someone can explain it to me, but it seemed to me the Sleep Lady wasn't CIO - because I am right there the entire time trying to comfort the child. But it isn't totally attachment since obviously the kid is crying.

Like Moxie said, it definitely depends on the kid how well he/she responds to the various sleep training methods, and in our experience, age matters, too. We were lucky that he was okay with just having us nearby and didn't insist on being held (after the first night) and that we were able to get him to sleep by the end of three weeks. But I know that none of these methods are "magical" - not everyone responds the same.

Our philosophy has always been to try things for five days before deciding it doesn't work. He doesn't like a certain food? Well, try it for five days.

We do what Debbie does, too - from bedtime to midnight, my husband would respond when he started crying - whether it was just for gently patting his back, holding his hand, or other calming motions, and I would get th e midnight to morning. It has helped me get a few extra hours of sleep that way - since I would generally get to sleep straight from 10 to 3.

Jane Plane

First off, I'd just like to say that there's no reason except misinformation to keep Ferber at bay (I haven't spent much time with Weissbluth) - Ferber has gotten a bum rap. The newest edition of his book is especially sensitive to attachment parenting issues, but he has never advocated simple extinction crying, or CIO for every circumstance. He's a doctor who has spent a lot of time with people whose children have serious sleep problems and talks about sleep assocations and other topics for those of with kids who just have regular sleep issues, which is to say, most of us. There is one chapter on "CIO" and the rest is simply information, and good information at that.

That aside, here's my anecdote. With my oldest son, who was not someone who was capable of crying to sleep, we moved at 8 months old (I think, I was in a sleep deprivation haze) to going to his crib and singing to him at his wakings, instead of bringing him into bed with us and having him gnaw at my breasts all night. In retrospect, it was a little absurd (especially because what we sang was "I've been working on the railroad"), but it really helped us pinpoint a few things: One, he didn't need to nurse during the night the way we thought he did. Two, he only had two to three real "rousings" at night, when we thought he was having five or six. Three, he was capable of making different sleep associations than nursing to sleep.

When he was around 11 months old, we utilized the technique in the "No Cry Sleep Solution" book, without ever having read it (I'm not even sure it was written yet). We would basically comfort him without picking him up, and leave. If he cried, we went back in, comforted him, and left. It took a few nights of some serious work at bedtime, but by the second night, he wasn't waking in the middle of the night anymore.

I can't tell you the difference it made for everyone in our family to sleep all night. All three of us were healthier, happier, more patient and loving. Just in time for him to become a toddler!

Nicole

At about 10.5 months, we started doing the 'Dad goes in for first waking' plan, and after two nights, she started going 7 p.m.- 5 a.m. (as opposed to 7-11, 11-2, 2-5, 5-8). Then she got really sick and it has stopped working. She is 11 months today, so maybe I'll just hope things naturally change tonight? I've honestly just about given up.

Try the dad going in plan. I think if they know the boob won't be there, they stop having a reason to wake up.

Amy

I so wish this blog had been around when my oldest was a baby... I tried CIO with him around 10-11 months. It was a nightmare. Vomit everywhere from his crying fit, and, of course, they tell you not to fall for that "trick" b/c he'll just vomit every night thereafter... I'm so ashamed to admit that we did let him sleep like that one night. In the end, his sleep problems had nothing to do with how we put him down (thus, CIO didn't work) but much more to do with his sleep personality.

No real advice here, just empathy. The sleep thing is so hard.

Kate

Oh, the commiseration! My son is 27 months old, and he didn't sleep through the night until just about his second birthday. Until then, he was up at least 3 times a night, nursing.

We tried night weaning at about 18 or 20 months, I think, and it did NOT work. It was ugly and sad and horrible. So we stopped trying.

(I completely agree with the commenter above, who said that co-sleeping is the only way to get through extended night nursing with your sanity.)

We tried night weaning again at 24 months, and it worked like a charm. No fuss, no muss, no ugliness. A couple of nights of "the nurs are asleep, you need to sleep too" and we were done.

For me, it wasn't worth the agony of trying to force something my son wasn't ready for. When he's ready, it's painless.

Your mileage may vary.
:)

Melissa

Jezer give me back my kid! :-) You described my little Bean to a T, except that she's only 7 1/2 months old. We coslept until the 6 month regression was over, then moved her into a sidecar. Well, she starts out there anyway but by the 3rd or 4th wake up I give in and pull her into bed with me so I don't have to lie half in the crib and half under my own covers to nurse her back to sleep.

But yes, some nights she wakes every hour (feels like every ten minutes) and some nights she wakes only twice (and I wake every hour wondering what's wrong, lol).

I'm really hoping this means she'll start sleeping through around 15 months! (if not sooner, that would certainly be okay with me!).

Joanne

This sleep thing has been one of my biggest obsessions concerning our 11-month-old daughter. She has never been a great napper. Would wake after 30 mins till she was around 9 months. She is definitely a child who needs to be held and hates being alone. Because of that I nursed her down ALWAYS. That is until around 9 months when I used the Pantley method and amazingly was able to rock her down. Who would've thunk it! Because I nursed her so often I thought she would be difficult to wean but going gradually and at a very slow pace really helped.
She has good nights and not so great nights. On good nights will sleep nine hours, and not good nights will wake twice (around midnight and again at 3) just looking for comfort and a snuggle.
On those very isolated and inadvertent moments where she's cried it out a bit, it's disasterous and a nightmare getting her to sleep the following two nights. She holds on to the trauma of being alone, frustrated and afraid. She will cling to me like a little spider monkey not wanting to be put down and as mentioned, it will take a good three more nights of our regular routine to get her relaxed and back into the groove.
Now, if I may just vent a teeny bit. I guess what I despise is being told by the older generation that CIO is the only way to do it. I feel at a loss for words in those moments because I don't want to offend or sound superior, but at the same time I wish these people would read something new or surf the web to see how progressive parenting has become. And no, we don't just put our kids down with two frickin bottles in the crib so they can soothe (stuff) themselves back to sleep!
Good luck to you. I'd really second what Moxie has to say, as it was from her advice that I realized it's fine to nurse down or rock down, or do whatever that's going to make our wee ones most comfortable for sleep. I explained to my husband last night that we won't be rocking her down when she's in college regardless of what his mother might think.
Perhaps at the 15 month mark we'll both be more bright-eyed from better sleep. In the meantime I'll cherish the closeness because before you know it they'll be embarrassed to be seen with us! :)

smashedpea

I second the leave-out-the-feedings suggestions. Both my midwife and family doctor told me that babies don't really need to eat once they weigh more than 10 lbs. They get used to it and want to and wake for it, but they don't really need it. We followed that advice and stopped the feedings at night after the baby was only a couple of months old (she was over 10 lbs at birth, so we had that part covered early).

My husband picked her up and got her back to sleep while we were getting her used to not eating during the night. It was hard for him 'cause he had to go to work in the morning, but it never worked when I was trying to do it or was even in the same room.

Even if this doesn't work for all babies, I'd give it a try. We had sleep problems from 4 months through 9 months, and couldn't come up with anything that worked reliable. I remember well how horrible it is to constantly go on interrupted sleep. Trying the no food thing is fairly easy by comparison :)

We're having another one in June, and this, above all, is what has me scared half to death. No sleep, plus a baby and a stubborn toddler..... not good. Anyway, good luck to you!

Tired

Am I the only one whose todder wakes up more like TEN times a night? Not to eat, it's not hunger or thirst. And he has no trouble GOING to sleep in the first place. We've ruled out allergies & other obvious medical causes. I'm just at my wit's end.

Sue

Pamela, you are not in denial about cry-it-out. I agree that there are some kids who need to fuss a bit before sleeping, and those for whom being left alone in a crib to cry is really not soothing. I have 11 month old twins and about two months ago was so discouraged with my daughter's sleeping habits. She had been in our bed since about 7 months because that seemed to work well, but at 9 months it didn't any longer. Our goal was to get her to sleep the night (not necessarily wake-up free) in her crib. I did try the "Sleep Lady Shuffle", but it basically turned into cry-it-out because you're not really supposed to pick up your kid unless they're really upset...well, that was the whole time...which kind of defeated the purpose. What actually has worked to get her to be in her crib for the night, has been an idea from the No Cry Sleep Solution (Elizabeth Pantley). {BTW, you can always just request these books from the library instead of buying them, if you can wait a bit until they get there.)

I kept a log of her hours slept in the crib, and it took about 20 days to really get her the whole night in her crib. But here's what we did: we put a mattress on her floor and my husband really did most of the work. When she woke up screaming, he would go and try about two or three times to rock her to sleep and put her back in her crib. If that didn't work, he just slept with her on the mattress, where she'd usually fall asleep. If he felt like he could get her back in her crib while she was asleep, he would place her back in there. Of course, this depended on his ability to get his own self up and put her back...kind of tough at 2:30 when she's finally sleeping and he just wants to sleep too. Then if she woke up again, he would start over trying to rock her a couple times, then it was to the mattress if necessary. I also had pumped milk in the fridge for him to feed her if he felt she was hungry (once or twice a night I think).

Anyway, she went from about 2.5 hours a night in her crib at the beginning (just after going to bed, which wasn't a problem), to about 4 or 5 after about 8 days, to about 7-9 after 12 days or so, and finally worked up to the whole night after about 20 days. She still wakes up a couple times a night to get comforted or to eat, but I really feel it's a LOT better now just having her be able to go back to sleep in her crib.

I hope you find something that works for you, but it can take a little while to get something that takes hold. But really, I think a slower approach is more humane and will last longer than the kind of awful other approaches.

Charisse

I third the Pantley "No Cry Sleep Solution" recommendations--we "pantlified" Mouse on a number of occasions, using the "gentle removal plan" to get her from nursing back down to rocking back down to patting back down to putting herself back to sleep.

I think you would like the book, Pamela, because the first chapter talks about her frustration with the only two options being "cry it out" or "live with it" and how the book came out of her search to find another way. You're not in denial, it isn't the one and only solution...and at the same time, your baby isn't abnormal either.

Hang in there!

AmyinMotown

Amen to Jane Plane. Ferber's pretty well misinterpreted.

And amen to Moxie that it''s all pretty much "choose your own adventure." I don't think any one way is THE way to go. Mothers are so willing to cling to "my way is the right way and everyone else is Baaaddd" but so much of it depends on your kid's temperament, your temperament, and what other things you have going on in your life.


We had a kid who, hell if I know if she released tension by crying or not, she just REFUSED to sleep because she might miss something fun. Like we'd nurse and rock and snuggle and love and she'd be fast asleep, and the MINUTE we put her down in her crib up she'd pop. Repeat for three hours. So teaching some self-soothing was important to us. It took exactly, in total, over two nights, 15 minutes of crying and three "pop-ins" to comfort her and let her know we didn't move to Tiimbuktu to get it to work and so I think we made the right choice. Another poster above said they have the five-day rule before deciding anyone thing doesn't work, which I think I am adopting right now.

That being said, I'm mostly commisserating because we enjoyed three months of lovely, lovely through-the-night sleep and then girlfriend went though a pretty bad sleep regression at 10 months or so (I've blocked out specifics, apparently). UGH. So hard. Know you're not doing anything wrong, although I think everybody has some great suggestions. Little kids are confounding creatures sometimes!

hedra

Well, my oldest was like Tired's - woke 6, 8, more times a night. For him, it really was health issues, but they were each small and overlapping, so finding them was... well, took a LONG time (btw, even low-grade milk protien intolerance, which does not show up on allergy tests, may STILL show up as sleep issues, and the only way to know for sure is to cut out ALL dairy, even traces, including through nursing, for five weeks. Yeah, five.). For ours, it was chiropractic (neck misaligned probably from birth), silent reflux (no obvious symptoms - they had to scope him to figure that out, and that was for a different reason), lower than 'exepcted' body temp (after a fever this week, his temp returned to normal... 95.4! - but it turns out that kids can have normal body temps between 94 and 99), some allergy issues (mild and some seasonal), sensory integration issues (hypersensitive to physical sensations), and then some general metabolic issues (got thirsty at night, etc.). Fixing each one got us a little farther toward sleeping all night, and some had bigger impact than others (the chiropractic was the biggest single fix, followed by reflux meds). But a cold room helped too, as did a sippy of water, as did flannel sheets (typical percale was too sensory-stimulating), and so forth. He didn't sleep through regularly and reliably until he was 4 years old (two weeks after we started him with the chiropractor). So... well, if they wake hourly, I'd still seek a medical issue, despite it not being obvious medical causes - the subtle stuff can play a big role, too. HUGE. Hints that it was discomfort were that he snored (chiropractic fixed that), he sweated, he was 'active' when he was asleep (moved around, ended up in odd positions), he grunted/muttered a lot, and he woke on pretty much every dream cycle, which means he had a slightly longer first sleep, then the periods got closer and closer together as the night went on.

My other kids, really all over the place. My second was sleeping 'by age in weeks' - 5 hours at 5 weeks, 6 hours at 6 weeks... ah, so nice. The twins... well, I really pretty much stopped paying attention to whether they were sleeping X hours or waking Y times by that point - if we woke rested, I didn't care what got us there, and counting only made me grumpy even if I was relatively well rested. But I did notice when R started sleeping through that M did not, and then realized she was waking up to grouse/mutter and then nurse, which got me thinking 'night-time/positional reflux' which I then got treated and she started sleeping MUCH better, though still woke probably 2 x/night (and that was after a year old). R started sleeping through at few times a week I think either around 11 or 15 months, but I honestly don't recall which. They both still wake regularly to nurse, at 2 1/2, though (we still cosleep) - I started to night wean, but boy did that piss off R, who then spent the next week attached all night long, and is still really grumpy about being asked to let go even if she's so out she's snoring. sigh. M would probably be more okay, but if she wakes to nurse, it is more likely to be break-through reflux, and not nursing her then seems just unkind. Ah, well, I know they'll sleep on their own eventually. And I know I can survive 4 years of horribly interrupted sleep, so this isn't 'bad' yet.

I definitely agree that you have to know your child. And know that your child may change, and their reactions may vary. My oldest didn't cycle 'up' when he cried. Except when he did. Which was about 1 in 3 wakings or so. It would take about 3-4 minutes to know if he was going 'up' or going 'down'. Down, I could let go and he's just grouse about being awake when he was sleepy and go back to sleep. Up, I'd have to jump and run for him (he didn't cosleep) before it hit a certain point, or I'd be calming him and then getting him back down, which meant being fully awake myself. And it had to be me. MOMMY only, or we'd have another big cycle to wind down. Until it wasn't, and then it had to be DADDY. At least for a few months. We did what we could to get sleep, including me sleeping in a recliner in his room for quite a while.

Also, I'd estimate more than the number Moxie says 'don't sleep through at X months' or with Y method. I recall reading research that said that 1 in 3 1-year olds sleeps 'through', 1 in 3 wakes 1-3 times a night, and 1 in 3 wakes 3 or more times a night. And that's the NORMAL split. Plus, the definitions of 'wake' was 'wake enough that parents must be involved in putting back to sleep'... which then skews the actual wakings toward more kids doing it more often than even that.

And I'll also ditto the recommendation that people look into Ferber's new book if they're having kid-sleep troubles. There's more to it than CIO, and he's not evil, just misused.

claire

This is EXACTLY our story at 10 months with our son. I'd dithered about and tried various methods, but half-heartedly, as I was NOT cool with CIO. I wish there was magic, right, but what happened was this: I got so freaking tired somewhere around the 14 month mark that we implemented the Moxie system. And it worked. The first two or three nights were marginally hellish, but I knew he was with daddy and not scared, just mad. And I was soooo tired that I let them work it out -- and they did! He really and truly started to sleep through the night, all of a sudden. A miracle! He's 19 months now and, I can honestly say, a fairly decent sleeper. He experiences setbacks with illness, teething, growth spurts, etc, but I no longer stress because I know that he CAN sleep, and sooner or later, he WILL again.
I believe it's a combination of baby and parents ready to make the transition. A few months earlier, he wasn't ready sleep through, even with Dad's reassurance, and I wasn't ready to push the issue.
That's what we discovered. Hope your breakthrough comes earlier (:

Jan

Just wanted to chime in and say that even though my kids were both sleeping through the night (most nights) starting at about 4 months, the 9-10 months age was perfectly awful. I specifically remember thinking with my son that he had been better at 2 months than at 2.

I absolutely think trying no-food soothings might work well. At that age, it seems unlikely that your little one needs food after only 3 hours.

The sleep thing is hard and no matter what you do you're always going to feel like somebody else is doing it better.

Ditto, come to think of it, for parenting!


P.S. I don't know if this falls into the category of philosophical stuff, and if so, I apologize, but I feel like Weissbluth is unfairly maligned. I got so much out of his book about sleep patterns and issues. He does talk about using CIO and why it's OK, but he never, ever says it's the only way to get your kid to sleep. He only presents it as a viable option, and defends that position somewhat. At any rate, I used the information in that book a ton with our son and if he's ever been left to cry it's been by accident.

ellen landrum

I think it's funny that I found your baby's waking schedule to be relatively blissful! I don't have much to offer except that our night-life got REALLY difficult around the 10-month mark. The past 4 months have been worse, in many ways, than the newborn period. I think it's in large part due to my daughter's trouble with teething- it just seems to disrupt some kids more than others. But another part has been her development- walking, talking, and her brain becoming more and more aware, and expectant of a certain routine. I encourage you to read Jay Gordon's article (that erika recommended)- it's relevant to all sorts of issues, not just nightweaning. We're currently trying to get Sophie to give up the rocking chair, and fall asleep with boob/on her own (with me in bed with her). It was important to remind myself just how smart she is, and how stubborn she is about giving up a routine. This is all to say, it may get worse before it gets better, but every kid is different, and a different challenge!! Godd Luck!

julie

Pamela, I feel for you! My little one went through exactly what you are describing. We pretty much tried everything suggested above….but the two things that worked best for us (and that doesn’t mean it changed anything dramatically, but things did improve for a little bit here and there and at least I was feeling like I was doing something that worked at least SOME of the time) were:
-warm water in a bottle….this seemed to make our son’s tummy feel warm and full long enough for him to be soothed and fall back asleep. But note that our temperamental sleeper was also a temperamental eater and so was not always insistent on food-food-food all of the time.
-Putting him to bed ultra early – like 6 or 6:30. This is not always an attractive solution – especially for parents who might work until then and might not see him. It just happened to work for us. I worried at first that instead of waking up 3-4 times a night, he might start waking up more, since he was going to bed so early. While that might happen with an adult, it doesn’t seem to happen with babies. We found the earlier he went to bed, the longer stretches of time he slept….the 6:30-midnight stretch possibly started training his body to sleep for longer periods of time (?? Who knows, huh?) And if he did wake up between 6:30 and midnight, that for some reason was not nearly so painful for me as waking up after midnight.

Overall, I’m a big fan of Doing Whatever Works For However Long It Works. I tried all of the No-Cry, Pick-Up-Put-Down, Pat-His-Back stuff and none of it worked for us. I was spending more time (up to 2 hours) getting him to go back to sleep without nursing him, for him to only sleep for about 40 minutes before hauling my butt out of bed to start the whole routine all over again. I finally gave up and decided that I might in fact be the biggest idiot in the world since all I needed to do was nurse him for 10 minutes and we could ALL go back to sleep for another 3-4 hours. Not ideal, but an improvement over some of the “programs” we tried. Worrying about how that might prolong his night-waking if he needed to nurse to go back to sleep went out the window. I no longer cared, I just wanted to sleep. And let’s face it…when you’re exhausted, you’re not focused on being consistent. You’re focused on SLEEPING. Whenever and wherever you can.

That being said, he eventually grew out of waking every 3-4 hours and began waking only twice, which then turned to waking only once. That lasted for a long time…..but that was definitely something I could live with indefinitely. After months of waking every 3-4 hours, waking up just once around 2 was like a little piece of heaven. And he eventually grew out of that as well. Not all at once. And certainly without quite a few regressions along the way…and some more regressions in our future (he’s 17 months old, so I know we have lots of sleeping fun ahead of us still).

I know it is not helpful to hear people tell you that this phase will end on it’s own….. “Ending in it’s own time” was not a plan I could implement. Try some of the ideas, see if any of them work. If your gut tells you CIO is not the way to go…..then don’t do it. Listen to your baby.

Also remember that one day…….a long, long time from now, you will be wishing your child didn’t sleep so much or for so long in the mornings....and you'll wish they needed you just a littel bit more. Somewhere in there is a great cosmic joke played on sleep-deprived mothers……

julie

I also wanted to chime in on the person above who said they got a lot from Weissbluth - I have to agree 100%. I read his book and understood infant sleep much better. I've heard the same about Ferber's new book as well. No child is a cookie cutter kid and will fit any one philosophy perfectly. We took from Weissbluth the main idea of early bedtime, set wake times and set nap times to help our son's body clock become consistent....and it changed our lives. None of that (luckily) involved letting him cry for prolonged periods of time.

amyjane

We love Weissbluth too!
Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" is our sleep bible. There's so much more to his ideas than CIO, which he directly says you may choose to use or not use, you just have to be consistent after you choose.
As far as commiseration, I think every baby/toddler goes through phases of sleeping like a champ and then not so much for a while. I know that last month our 16 month old slept every night from 7 PM to 7 AM with no wakenings. Then he got some new teeth, and a cold and BAM, we've been up several times every night this month and are trying to retrain yet again. Good luck--choose your own sleep adventure!

shaynee

I definitely feel for you--the 10-month sleep "regression" touched off perhaps my lowest point of parenting so far. My daughter was waking about every one to two hours at night and taking two 37-minute naps daily. When I heard her over the monitor at night, I would physically cringe. I walked up the stairs to her room every time feeling a mixture of hopelessness and anger. Our situation was probably made worse by the sleep regression coinciding with a it-must-be-Mommy stage (which she still hasn't left behind, at a couple of months past her second birthday), so my husband didn't take any of the wakings. When he tried, she worked herself up into such a state crying that she began dry heaving. During the part of the night when we co-slept it was easier to comfort her with patting, but I absolutely dreaded the wakings when we were still up, as it meant I often was tethered to the rocking chair in her room.

Now, at 2, she still wakes a few times a night, but it doesn't require nearly as much effort to ease her back to sleep: a few minutes of rocking or a couple of pats if we're all in bed together. Although I look forward longingly to a time when she (and I) will actually sleep through the night, we are in a much better place now than we were at 10 months.

One thing I have pondered is whether a disruption at a critical sleep-development point (for want of a better term) can lead to poor sleep ability. To that end: my daughter was actually a decent sleeper as a newborn, not through the night but perfectly fine by newborn standards (eating every 3 or so hours). She slept through the night (using the technical definition of 5 to 6 hours straight) for the first, and only, time for four days straight when she was four months old...and then we took her on her first road trip to visit relatives. And, of course, her sleeping went out the window. I have debated whether the upheaval at that precise point developmentally led to the setbacks we've experienced. Guess I'll never know.

Pamela

Wow, I'm overwhelmed by the sympathy.

Of course, his two front teeth are crowning now, and the old 3-4 times a night wake schedule that I wrote in about looks like a rest cure compared to what the past couple nights have been. (10pm, and I've nursed him back to sleep four, yes, four times already!)

We did try the "husband gets him before midnight" technique, but it was a couple months ago, and is worth trying again. Once this teething bout is over, we'll give that a go.

I actually have both Ferber & Weissbluth's books, and while I found them useful for sleep pattern info, I was always disturbed by how they made the sleep "fixes" sound so simple.
Do this, and your child will sleep. Crying will fix it (to be fair, Ferber was nicer about it). We tried some Ferber a while back. It helped some for about a week, and then it was right back to waking 3 times or more a night. I just can't do any CIO at this point -- I've never been comfortable with it, just not for me (and not for my son, I'm convinced).

The pressure to sleep train is intense here in NYC, it's all you hear about from other moms and pediatricians (though I suspect the peds only hear back from the parents for whom it worked "great suggestion doc, worked like a charm!").

There used to be an expectation that babies are wakeful. I'd be much happier if we could get back to that -- it seems to reflect reality.

Thanks again for the commiseration -- hope you all get some good sleep tonight!

Tina

Pamela, you are so totally not alone. My Samantha (who just turned 1 year on Friday) was the exact same way... literally down to the hour!

For the longest time she did the 11pm, 2ish and 4ish waking... and then was up for the day by 6am (i'm like can't you even just sleep to 7! ;)

I've had my moments where I just would get tired of it and leave her to cry some nights... but it never worked. She is a cry to build tension kinda gal, so eventually we would just end up going into her room anyways (and nurse her back to sleep in 5 minutes vs. 30 mins of listening to her cry).

I've always nursed and rocked her to sleep... and yes, at the 11 month mark she did stop waking up so much. We are now down to about 2 wakings a night... around 1ish and 5ish... After the many many months of 3+ wakings it feels like heaven to me! It's amazing how much easier 2 wakings is then 3-4 wakings...

We haven't done anything special or different around this change... I just noticed one day that I could put her down drowsy and she'd cuddle up to her soft blanket and fall asleep eventually. Whereas before I could NEVER put her down unless she was asleep... kinda cool to see those changes without trying to 'force' it in any way.

All along I told myself that we would start doing the 'night weaning' thing at around a year... just to give me something to look forward to? (countdown the days, hehe) And until then we would respond to her night wakings on demand. We were going to do the 10 day plan in Jay Gordon's book... but right now we are in a good space so i'm going to leave it 'as is' at the one year mark.

And now she's teething again, so who knows... I could be back to the 3+ wakings again soon (fingers crossed).

Amanda

I have a troublesome ten month old too! First she was getting up close to six times a night, then we let her CIO, which initially appeared to work because she definitely falls into the "releases tension" category. But then, a week into the CIO routine, she started randomly waking up in the middle of the night and crying for up to an hour. I couldn't let that go on, so I started nursing her again and within three nights I was back to getting up five times again. Magically, she's slept through the night for the past four days. I'm only letting her cry for 5-10 minutes, if at all. Sometimes I just think they'll sleep when they're damn good and ready.

Nikole Gipps

I think that if your baby only wakes up 3-4 times a night ... don't feel bad. Mine is 16 months, wakes up a WHOLE lot more than that, and will NOT take daddy for an answer NO MATTER WHAT. (Seeing him just makes her even more mad.)

What made me feel better was not anything I did with her or to her or anything else. It was just the realization that no matter what I did, she was going to sleep how she was going to sleep, being the little individual personality that she is. Letting Go - it was the key for me months ago. (She's even in a funk right now and has woken up 3 times in the past HOUR ... and yet, it doesn't bother me, because everything is temporary in the grand scheme.)

Reading these comments even makes me feel better - people have called me lazy for just 'waiting it out'! But honestly, it's easier to just see what happens instead of forcing the issue before she feels she's ready. It's just what works for us.

Katherine

I feel your pain, my six mo does the same thing.

You seem to indicate that the baby wakes at approx. the same time every night. I have read, although I have not tried it yet, that it can help to WAKE the baby before he wakes on his own. After a few nights of this, stop each waking one at a time. The theory seems to be that this messes with his internal clock and he won't go back to waking at that time. Good Luck.

Lisa C.

My son didn't sleep until a few months ago. He's almost 4 now (I can't believe it - my babbbbbbyyyyy!!). For us, it was the teeth. Once he stopped teething, he slept. It took him a few months to get a real sleep cycle down, but now he sleeps through for the most part.

The best part about having a verbal child is that when they wake up at 5 am for the day (and their normal time is 9 AM) you can explain that we don't get out of bed until the sun comes up. It works! He now greets me in the morning with, "It's a sunny day! Time to get up!" Indeed.

Stephanie

My two year old still wakes up once a night. My one week old is also waking, once a night. I don't know why she sleeps and he doesn't. I know, she's only a week, so this may end very soon. But it's pretty clear to me that different people and different personalities make for different sleep habits.

My husband can sleep anywhere, anytime, anyhow. It takes me 45 minutes to fall asleep almost every night. Well, except for right now, but I did just give birth....

Sarah V.

My story, for what it's worth:

My son never seemed to be a good sleeper. He always woke two or three times in a night. This was actually not a problem for me because I could haul him into bed, pop him on my boob, and go straight back to sleep again while he nursed (or, in later months, while he comfort-sucked). I had a LOT of problems with his sleep, but they were entirely around his inability to fall asleep by himself at naptime and bedtime - times when I wouldn't normally have been asleep, and therefore it was pretty awkward always to have to be there with him the whole time. That's a whole other story, but I think it's relevant in that I did teach him to fall asleep by himself at bedtime when he was around a year old, and I think it's probably because he already knew how to fall asleep by himself in one situation that it turned out to be very easy to get him sleeping through the night eventually. (As to how I did that: A method called PU/PD from Tracy Hogg's 'Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems', moving on after that to a modified Ferber. If anyone wants details, they're welcome to contact me - just leave a comment on my blog.)

Anyway, as to the night waking, what eventually happened was this: When he was sixteen months old, I night-weaned him. (It was probably the easiest night-weaning anyone's ever had, BTW. I gave him a bottle for a couple of nights just to confirm what I already knew - namely, that he was just comfort-sucking and hardly taking any milk - and then after that just took him into our bed with a dummy, and he settled.) This wasn't, at the time, even intended as a strategy to get him sleeping through - I was just weaning him, and was perfectly happy to keep taking him into bed with us for the foreseeable future. But the effect on his night waking was dramatic. He went immediately from two or three wakings a night down to one, and was easy to settle at that time with some patting and a dummy - I usually took him into bed anyway because I have a VERY low threshold for giving up on any kind of middle-of-the-night intervention, but there were several times when I didn't even have to do that because he would settle within seconds. Within two or three weeks, he was sleeping through. That was it.

So, I don't know whether or not that's of any help. But I do know that sometimes a gentle approach of gradually reducing the amount of input you give a child in order to help him get back to sleep can work wonders. (And I know lots of people can disagree with this - but, yes, Ferber can be a stage on that journey, and was when it came to getting my child settling at bedtime.)

baby metropolis

I would try the 'dreamfeeding' method where you wake him up to feed him shortly before he would normally wake up. For you that would be maybe 10:30- especially if it corresponds with your normal bedtime. We put our 6 month old down around 9pm and then I wake her to feed her at midnight when I go to bed. She seems to be pretty good at self soothing and getting herself to sleep now. (I am knocking on wood.)

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jennifer Edgerton

i have to say, i'm glad to have found this blog. i've been reading the entries on CIO and it is all making more and more sense to me. our daughter is 13 months and is defintely one who becomes more intensified and stressed when left alone for a few minutes to go to sleep. once she betls out that cry it is allllll over. she would cry until she is hoarse if if you did not go and get her. so she currently co sleeps with us,and i'm really worried about how we are going to start the transition to sleeping by herself....

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I feel your pain, my six mo does the same thing.

You seem to indicate that the baby wakes at approx. the same time every night. I have read, although I have not tried it yet, that it can help to WAKE the baby before he wakes on his own. After a few nights of this, stop each waking one at a time. The theory seems to be that this messes with his internal clock and he won't go back to waking at that time. Good Luck.

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I think that if your baby only wakes up 3-4 times a night ... don't feel bad. Mine is 16 months, wakes up a WHOLE lot more than that, and will NOT take daddy for an answer NO MATTER WHAT. (Seeing him just makes her even more mad.)

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dorothy

I have to chime in and say that Weissbluth has been the only thing that worked for us. My 19 moth old sleeps from 5:30-6:30 until 6-:7:30 most nights, and believe me it was not always this way. She was an up for 3 ours in the middle of the night 15 month old. I think the guy gets a bad wrap. The point isnt the crying, its to put the kid too bed at the right time so she doesnt cry. The unfortuneate part is that 5:30 is a pain in the ass. But every time I move it later, she starts waking up again, or earlier in the morning.What I took from the book was, that kids need more sleep than we think, and that if they cry at bedtime it means I waited too long. I think our modern lives are really the problem. In the past people were home and just put the baby to bed wicked early and had a drink. We all work too hard and so we are all tired. Us and the kids. It sucks...but eventually no matter what we do, they get there because eventually they need less sleep and 7-8pm isnt too late anymore.

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Luisa

Just saw the latest, cuetst videos of Lucas standing up in his crib and nite-nite time. He is so adorable. Can't believe how much he has grown since February. Do love the videographer, too! Good job.

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  • My expertise is in helping people be who they want to be, with a specialty in how being a parent fits into everything else. I like people. I like parents. I think you're doing a fantastic job. The nitty-gritty of what you do with your kids is up to you, although I'm happy to post questions here to get data points of how you could try approaching different stages, because, let's face it, this shit is hard. As for me, I have two kids who sleep through the night and can tie their own shoes. I've been a married SAHM, a married freelance WAHM, a divorcing WOHM, a divorced WOHM, and now a WAHM again. I'm not buying the Mommy Wars and I'll come sit next to you no matter how you're feeding your kid. When in doubt, follow the money trail. And don't believe the hype.
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