Sleep Training 101

04/08/2010 at 9:29 am | Posted in Belly to Butterfly | 1 Comment
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(This is part of Belly to Butterfly, by my sis Laura.)

Go ahead, ask me how long O slept last night. Ask me!

12 hours. Straight. No crying before, during or after. Just sleep…sweet, sweet I love you so much sleep.

A week ago we were up every two hours…slightly worse than our usual 3-4 hour stretches.  I figured we were going through a growth spurt or maybe a developmental spurt. But then two nights in a row, when C would give her a bottle like usual, she’d only drink a bit and then start wailing.

Finally, I asked a couple of mom friends who are also nursing their babies if this was normal.  What I learned was that O, like most 8-month-old babies, was going through separation anxiety.  Ahh, that would explain why she was having trouble when C or I left a room…or why she prefers to climb on us rather than the floor…or why she uses my hair as her blankie.

They recommended letting her cry it out. My heart sank.

I walked her home from the park and from our friends that day full of dread. I called Suzanne on the way home and asked her to be honest if she thought we’d reached the C.I.O point. Her response was “yes,” and lots of encouraging words about how well Small Fry slept once they started her sleep training.

When C got home I broke the news to him…in tears.

That night we did our normal bedtime routine: dinner, playing, bath, books, milk and singing.  I squeezed her extra hard, told her I loved her and anxiously put her in her crib for the night.

Smooth sailing until 11pm.  She (and I!) cried off and on for 2 looooong hours before finally falling back to sleep for good. She didn’t wake again until 7am.  I actually ran into her room to get her.  The smile on her face made my heartache go away instantly.

The next night she cried for one hour right at the beginning, then didn’t wake again until morning.  And the last few nights (even with the interruption of waking her up to take her home from Suzanne’s), she’s slept straight through.

I’m hoping I’ll get to really enjoy this soon and not sleep with one ear aimed for her room, waiting for her to cry.  Before long, I’ll have a hard time remembering what it was like not to get any real sleep.

Suzanne was right; the hardest night is the first. It’s the one where you lie awake listening to baby cry thinking, “Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe she’s hungry. She’s probably wondering where the heck I am. She’s never going to smile again.”  But then she wakes with a grin and you realize how well rested she is…and how good you feel.  Ready to tackle the world…or at least be able to keep up with a crawling baby all day!

One happy camper, rocking the bed-head.


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  1. Yay!! That is such great news. Good for you for sticking it out. I know how hard that can be!! Sweet dreams 🙂

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