Sleep Training: Cry It Out Part 2

by Nicole on May 16, 2013

Here we are at part 2.  If you missed it, part 1 is here.

Let me just be clear about a few things:

  • No one WANTS to do cry it out. You don’t want to make your baby cry to sleep. It’s sad and heart breaking. But for us, it was the only option left. I love sleep and I love my husband. In order to be good parents we need sleep and we need time together. I also need to be a happy mama…which also goes back to sleep. I need it. And all of that is second to the fact that Olivia needs sleep to develop and grow. She was not getting good sleep when she was up every 20 minutes for hours.
  • We were at our breaking point, which led to us being fully committed. We were on the same page. There was NO backing out.
  • At this point, she was still napping in a non-moving swing. She goes in completely awake and falls asleep on her own.
  • She was a couple days over 6 months. (She turned 6 months on Saturday and we started 4 days later.)
  • We were NOT doing this to wean her from her overnight feeding. We would still feed her when she got up once a night, but no more. We decided to feed her around her usual time and any other wake ups, we’d let her cry.

I was honestly afraid she would cry and cry and never fall asleep. I have a very stubborn, smart baby. I had read about all these stories how babies get it in 3-4 nights. But I have a friend who’s baby is 5 months older than her and they are very similar. It took them awhile for him to 100% get it and that’s what I expected.

So we prepared for the first night. We did our bedtime routine (bath, book & bottle, prayers) and then we placed her in the crib. We said to her “okay it’s time for bed now. We love you. Have a good sleep.”  (I have always said this to her when I put her down for naps. Why? I have no clue…I just started it and kind of like it.)

We went downstairs and I made a cup of tea. Danny said he would stay on the first floor and clean up from dinner so I could go in the basement and distract myself with Chicago Fire for the first night. He took the monitor. We decided he wouldn’t come downstairs until she fell asleep. This was basically for me because I had a stomachache about this and didn’t even want to see the monitor.

Okay, so here are my notes…(I’m sharing this because I felt it was SO helpful to read other mom’s accounts of what happened.)

4/24

7:15 – put down in crib
cried 35 minutes and was asleep at 7:50
11:30 woke up to eat. Put back in crib and she cried for 1 hour 45 minutes. Danny finally went in and gave her a pacifier and left.
1:15 she fell asleep
5:54 woke up. 

4/25

7:00 put in crib and fell asleep immediately. no crying.
11:30 woke up to eat. fell asleep right away.
1:30 woke up and cried for 1 hour, 25 minutes.
2:55 fell asleep
6:20 woke up
6:30 fell back to sleep
6:45 woke up for the day

4/26

7:07 put down in crib and started crying. cried 28 minutes.
7:35 asleep
12:20 ate. cried 2 minutes. went to sleep
6:50 woke up

4/27

bedtime at 8 (naps were off and took a late nap because we were in car) cried for 10 minutes.
8:10 sleeping.
10:30 woke up. cried for 60 minutes.
11:30 ate (had a poopy diaper. which is probably why she woke up) cried for 3 minutes
11:50 asleep. 
11:52 woke up. woke up on and off for 10 minutes and gave pacifier. fell asleep
12 started crying again. cried till 2.  We picked her up and brought her into bed and called it quits for the night.
*I was SO SO SO defeated after this night, but we were NOT giving up. I felt awful she had a poopy diaper and we didn’t know. We decided to call it quits after a really rough night. This was the hardest night by far but we were both glad to stop at 2. You’ll see that it didn’t end up affecting the big picture. 

4/28

6:52 put down. cried on and off for 10 minutes and fell asleep.
11:20 up and ate. slept right away.
3:40 up. cried for an hour. back to sleep.
7:15 up for the day.

4/29

7:00 put down. cried for not even a minute. fell asleep
11:30 up to eat. right back to sleep
5:30 whined but fell back.
6:50 up for the day.

4/30

7 put down. cried for 35 minutes. 
11:30 ate. back to sleep.
6:30 woke up for the day. 
 

Thoughts looking back:

  • I was right in saying our child wouldn’t be one to just get it in 4 days and be done. She’s smart and stubborn and it took awhile for her. I would say it took about a week to be SO SO SO much better. Now we’re in a good grove, but she still has her nights that are off. (She was up 2x last night and up from 3:30-6 wide awake.)
  • It did get better each night except the night we had to abandon it. I tried to focus on the big picture in that one night wasn’t going to ruin everything. It took A LOT of talking with mom friends to realize this. I was really upset about it.
  • CIO is REALLY hard, but it works. Most babies don’t take this long to get it.
  • We transitioned to naps in the crib about 2 weeks after we started CIO. The transition wasn’t really a big deal. She got it quickly, but did much better when it was just me during the week. She’s not really a fan of napping on the weekends when Dan is home.
  • Doing this was good for Olivia and good for us. We are all sleeping better.
  • I spent a couple of nights downstairs in the guest room with a pillow over my head and a podcast blasting. It didn’t really help because I felt like my mommy hearing still could hear Liv.
  • Every morning when I’d go in and get Liv she was perfectly happy, laughing and smiling. This was important because it showed she was happy and didn’t get mad at the night before.

If you automatically have a great sleeper, props to you. It seems like many blog mamas do and I’m insanely jealous. Eventually we will wean her off of the nighttime bottle, but I’m going to wait until she is eating more solids. I’ll probably start decreasing it at 7.5 months or so.

Thanks for reading. Obviously this is a very personal topic and you have to do what’s right for your baby and your family. I’m only sharing my experiences because I want to give hope to parents who feel like they will never sleep again!

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Krysten Siba Bishop (@darwinianfail) May 16, 2013 at 8:02 am

Aw jeeze! Sounds like you guys are doing great!

PS love that little face!

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nicole May 17, 2013 at 7:13 am

thank you! xoxo

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[email protected] May 16, 2013 at 10:13 am

sleep training…so so hard but once they “get” it…amazing..I love that you and are husband agree and are on the same page…that helps SO much to have each others support! It is amazing what sleep can do for your mind, body, and soul!

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nicole May 17, 2013 at 7:14 am

yes I SOOOOO 1,000,000x agree. and i’m thankful to have you on twitter for support!

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Lauren May 16, 2013 at 3:19 pm

This post made me tear up a little because I know this is what we need to do. Thank you SO much for sharing your experience. It is incredibly helpful to see it all laid out like this, especially knowing we too have a very stubborn baby and it’s not going to just click overnight.
I’m so glad it has worked for you and you are getting better sleep. I never realized how much I needed quality sleep until I wasn’t getting it :)

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nicole May 17, 2013 at 7:14 am

aww Lauren, I know. I felt the same way. Let me know if you need any mental support!

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Lauren May 28, 2013 at 9:58 pm

I had to come back on here and tell you we did it!!!! Our 7th and final night of sleep training ended last night and I swear we have a new baby. He did SO much better with it than we thought he would. I was so prepared for the worst. Yes, the first few nights broke my heart a little, but as the nights went on and we saw improvements we knew it was worth if. Our little guy is so much less fussy during the day now, wakes up happy, and has been going to sleep at night with maybe 15 seconds of fussing. It’s a miracle! :) Thank you so much for posting your experience. It was definitely the push we needed to try it and I’m so happy we stuck with it.

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Alexis May 16, 2013 at 8:59 pm

A few thoughts I wanted to share:
1) Kudos to you for having the courage to make this change that is really a positive one for EVERYBODY!
2) And thank you for having the courage to SHARE it! I totally get the fear of angry mobs of judgy mommies coming to get you. But as you can see here in the comments – your sharing helps others :)
3) Awesome photo!

Cheers :)
Alexis

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nicole May 17, 2013 at 7:16 am

ahh Alexis. You have helped our life in SO many ways! basically lived off your website for the first 6 months :)

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Katie Heddleston May 16, 2013 at 9:50 pm

Ha, well Xander isn’t one of those blog babies that knew how to sleep!! He wasn’t until he hit a year that he figured things out. Even at his 9 month pediatrician appointment she told us that all his night feedings were most likely necessary. Sleeping and babies is definitely an interesting thing!

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nicole May 17, 2013 at 7:16 am

they so are katie!

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MIz May 20, 2013 at 7:38 am

LOVING THESE POSTS too.
I needed them back in the day—as it can feel so overwhelming and isolating too.

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sarah @runfargirl May 22, 2013 at 2:52 pm

Good for you for sharing your experience. Not only will it help other moms, but it is probably so helpful to you to be able to look at the progression over a week. Probably helps with the commitment:) It will get better. Jack has just started sleeping through the night again. Last night he went 6:30pm to 6am. I am sooooo happy to be getting sleep again! Such a difference from the 2-3 nightly wakings.

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nicole May 23, 2013 at 6:14 am

thank you sarah! I’m so glad Jack is STTN again!

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Wendy June 4, 2013 at 4:18 pm

My baby is 9 mos/17 lbs and is still in the Rock ‘n Play. She was only 5 lbs when she was born, and didn’t reach her birth weight for a month. She would always wake up after 20 min when we would put her in the co-sleeper. I found the RNP and read the reviews, and she stayed asleep in it she was STTN by 3 mos old and has ever since (except for maybe 2x where she woke screaming and wouldn’t go back to sleep so I nursed her down again). I do nurse her to sleep and lay her down asleep. However, now she is squirming and twisting and last night was able to turn herself all the way around. I was watching on the monitor and went to intervene and found she was completely out of the harness! She is also held for naps by daddy… I know we need to move her to the crib (a long time ago), but we are at a loss of how to do it. It’s especially hard because I work full time and don’t want to give up her STTN… Any suggestions?

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