Sleep Training: Day II and Night III

What a difference three nights makes....

Today started off well, with a happy, smiling Juna, and equally happy, smiling parents! Her late morning nap required only twelve minutes of held crying, and one ten-minute intervention at the forty-minute mark by Bradford to get her back to sleep, for a total of one-and-a-half hours. She hasn't napped that long in weeks!

We determined I should again put her down for her afternoon catnap, and in the spirit of consistency, I ventured to use the new technique. I'll admit I was nervous, seeing as how my usual reaction to Juna's crying is utter and absolute panic and sadness, but I surprised myself. I held her as she writhed in her swaddle, lightly patted her back and whispered "shhhhh" over and over. She eventually relaxed into me after only ten minutes, and five minutes later I laid her down in her crib. I continued to pat her belly and whisper "shhhh", and watched as her little eyes fluttered and closed. It took a grand total of fifteen minutes! I stayed for an extra ten to make sure she was really asleep, and then tiptoed downstairs, victorious!  She again slept for only forty-five minutes, but that was the perfect length for a catnap.

We went to the park again today, and Juna was a doll the whole time. It felt so good to be out in the world and not be worried about her getting upset. One thing about this routine that works really well for us is the scheduled feeding. She eats with more intention at each feeding, because they're spaced out by an extra half hour (we used to feed approximately every two- to two-and-a-half hours, sometimes less, sometimes more). We are able to leave the house for a half an hour and know that she will not need to eat for that time. I am also able to pump more regularly, since I don't have to worry that pumping will interfere with her next feeding. This will enable me to get out every now and again.

Tonight, after Juna's last feeding, I made a last minute decision to put her down myself. She was already relaxed in my arms, so I swaddled her up and sat down ready for the fight. It only took about five minutes of her fussing, no crying, before she settled herself against my shoulder. I put her down in her crib, eyes wide open, continued to pat her tummy and shush her, and within two minutes she had closed her eyes. I sat down in the chair next to her crib and listened to her little sighs and rustling around, and then, miraculously, heard her breath become more even and shallow. I crept downstairs and she has been asleep ever since. That was almost three-and-a-half hours ago! I am going to try the dreamfeed again and see if we can lengthen her nighttime sleep.

Now, we are not out of the woods yet, but considering we have been executing our plan only two days and three nights, this is excellent progress! Juna seems much happier and more relaxed, though that could be because she is expending an incredible amount of energy to learn her new sleeping technique. The predictability of her day seems to agree with her; she doesn't seem panicked about when she'll be eating or resting next, and enjoys our little activities with clear, bright eyes and a calm demeanor. I'm actually looking forward to seeing how tonight goes!
Ready to go to the park! 


  1. I am very much enjoying reading about your sleep training. You and Bradford are doing such a wonderful job working it out in a way you're (mostly) comfortable with. My beautiful daughter is 9 now but it doesn't seem that long ago that we dealt with sleep issues. She was a champion sleeper at night but refused naps unless she was in my arms. Carriers, car seats, wraps and slings made very angry. Once in her crib, she would sleep nor more than ten minutes before the screaming to get back into my arms would start. I had a 1 year old son, so my mindset and schedule weren't quite the same as yours. This baby needed to nap! At four months old I ended up doing a modified CIO where I would look for her cues of being sleepy but not to the point of exhaustion. I would put her in her crib, where she would inevitably cry. I'd go in every 10-15 minutes to soothe her but not pick her up. It broke my heart to hear her cry and not go to her. The first day was rough, the second day easier, and on the third day she was able to self soothe and go right to sleep for naps. She remained a fabulous napper until she dropped naps at age 4 1/2 years...late, according to my mommy friends.

    I hope you don't feel like you're a "bad mother" for teaching your baby how to comfort herself and fall asleep....whether in your arms or in her crib. I believe it's a skill you are teaching her, just like any other skill children learn as they grow.

    I wish I could hug you and Bradford and tell you that this too shall pass, and then onto the next challenge. Just when you think you've got your kid all figured out, they change. :-)

  2. I have heard that cry it out with checks is actually the fastest way to get a baby to learn how to fall asleep on his/her own. I would venture to guess that in the long term, cry it out cumulatively involves less crying than a longer process! I'm glad that worked for your family. Juna is a little young to do that yet, but we had to do something now. I feel pretty good about how we did this, especially now that I am seeing the benefits of her getting more sleep. She is a much happier baby! Thanks for your support, I truly appreciate it!