The Inevitable Has Arrived

5 Aug

Well it was sunshine and unicorn farts for a while there, but it looks like at 11 months, we have to sleep train Bunny. She’s a champ at sleeping through the night, but getting her to sleep has become a nightmare (yes, even when we make bed time later, and after a long day).

And I’ll be honest, I have no patience for a weeks-long research and book reading marathon here – so here’s where you come in.

We want something quick and dirty, to pull the band aid off, so-to-speak. That’s the way Bunny adjusts best to change.

So – links or a quick (or in-depth!) overview of methodology would be awesome.

And I am fully ok with cry-it-out as long as it as there’s something in place which gives her a sense of security.

Also – in case you’re new here, let me make this clear: ALL PHILOSOPHIES are welcome, and any mommy war BS will be outright rejected. This is why I moderate comments, and I’m not afraid to hit “reject” if things get catty.

So please keep it civil, but have at it folks! How do I teach this girl to fall asleep by herself?

Thanks guys!


31 Responses to “The Inevitable Has Arrived”

  1. Kathryn August 5, 2014 at 19:12 #

    I did what Sunny from (Cease & Decyst) did, with continuing to lay her back down in her crib. First, I started the night out as usual, and I also verbally told her (and still do) what I expect her to do each night. “I’m going to put you in your crib, it’s night night time. I want you to get your lovie and lie down and go night night. If you wake up before morning, I want you to find your lovie and lie back down and go night night. I’ll be here if you need me, but it’s night night time.” Then, put her in the crib and lie her down.
    The first night or two, she will stand up and cry. Just immediately lie her back down and just say some sort of phrase consistently “Shhh, it’s night night time. Lie down.” Continue doing this, even if she’s crying. Pat her back, whatever. Stay by her crib. Keep laying her back down. It may take awhile the first night.
    The next night will be much easier, and even easier after that (I was shocked when all I had to do was sit in the room and within 10 minutes she had put herself to sleep).
    She was going through a bad separation anxiety phase at that time, so I always made sure to stay in the room with her. It was important that she could see me if she wanted to. Now, I just put her in her crib, tell her night night and I love her, she looks at me and smiles, I walk out and she goes to bed. You just have to gauge it for your child and what you feel like she needs.
    Essentially, biggest rule of thumb is do not let her out of her crib for any reason at bedtime. Stay consistent, keep laying her down, keep comforting her, eventually she will fall asleep but there might be lots of tears (but you’ll be there with her).
    That’s what worked wonders for me!
    Good luck with whatever you choose!

    • Mo August 5, 2014 at 19:31 #

      Oh Kathryn thank you! This makes a lot of sense. how old was Tabs when you started this? Also – Bunny hasn’t really attached to a lovie yet. Should we encourage that, or is that optional?

      • Kathryn August 5, 2014 at 19:51 #

        I think she was right around 10 months too. She would get so hyper in her crib, jumping, playing etc. I couldn’t rock her to sleep anymore because she would have a squirm fest. The sleep training had to commence!!!

        We got her attached to her lovie when we took the pacifier away in December (that was hell). She would suck/chew on the lovie in it’s place. She is super attached to her lovie.
        I can’t tell you really whether you should encourage it or not, I think it depends on Bunny. If she’s sleeping through the night really well and can put herself back to sleep when waking, she may be totally find without it.
        It’s not a bad idea though to have a comfort/safety item.
        Also, at 10-11 months, your child is really starting to understand so much of what you tell her, so I really encourage you to explain to her what’s going to happen and what to expect. Say it several times, remind her, etc.
        I’ll be of any help!
        But seriously, the 2nd night of doing that, Tabitha put herself to bed with like, 0 crying. I was shocked.

    • Katie August 5, 2014 at 21:53 #

      I haven’t read all the comments, so sorry if this is duplicative. (1) Lovie: I would identify one for her now and immediately order a couple of back-ups! I can’t remember when our guy attached to his, but I am so glad that we have 3 of them. One stays home, one goes to daycare, and we have a spare. I always tell him, “(Lovie) makes everything better!” (2) Definitely agree with others about an earlier bedtime. If you start the bedtime routine at 6:00, it should be no problem to get her to bed at 7:00 or 7:30 at the latest (unless 6:00 is still eating). Our routine: bath, PJ’s, brush teeth, bedtime stories, rock in his dark room singing a few songs, bed. Sometimes this can take over an hour, but we can do it all in 30 minutes with a quick bath, a couple of books and a couple of songs. It doesn’t matter what the routine is; it’s just important to have a routine and be consistent. (3) Definitely like the advice to tell her what to expect. “We are going to take a bath, put your PJ’s on, read books, sing songs, and then it’s time for bed.” Then in the middle, “We are going to read books now and then sing songs; then you go to bed.” When we sing songs: “Two more songs, then you go to bed.” You get the picture. (4) Put her down to sleep in her bed, tell her good-night and leave. (5) I like Weissbluth/Ferber. Weissbluth emphasizes that sleep is all about the daily cycle, not just night time or nap time. It’s critical at her age that she is getting two good naps a day. She should be up from the second one by 3:00 to preserve night-time sleep. He coined the phrase “sleep begets sleep”, hence the importance of putting her down earlier for an earlier bedtime if needed. When we did CIO, our ped told us to tell him that it was bedtime, night-night, etc. Leave the room. Let him cry for 5 minutes, go back in, rub his back, talk to him quietly and reinforce that it’s time for bed. No lights and don’t get her out of the crib. Leave. Then we let him cry for 10 minutes, go back in, repeat. Then 15 minutes. Then 20 minutes. Then 20 minutes, etc. No longer than 20 minutes. FWIW, our guy slept through the night at 4 months but at 11 months we had to sleep train him. We were shocked. First thing we did was have him checked out by ped to make sure he didn’t have an ear infection or something. When he was cleared, we did CIO. It took 3 nights. It was awful. I cried. But he’s slept like a champ since then (now 2+ years old). Our ped told us we were doing him a favor with CIO because we were teaching him to sleep well on his own. It was one of the hardest things DH have ever done but so worth it. Good luck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Geochick (@geochick_1) August 5, 2014 at 19:30 #

    Specifically, this worked great right around the 1-year mark. 🙂 First, I read the book “Healthy Sleep, Happy Child” for some ideas. Second, kind of against instinct, but try putting her down earlier rather than later (like before she’s really acting tired). For example, we moved his bedtime all the way up to 7-7:30 and it made it easier! Establish a routine. We would put him in his pajamas then read him a book while in his room before putting him in the crib. Also rocked him for a while (with mixed results). He took a pacifier, so it was a pacifier and his lovey blankie in the crib with him. We let him CIO a little bit although that was really hard to do and I don’t think either one of us ever lasted past 20-30 minutes listening to that. What we stopped doing was picking him up out of the crib though. We’d go into the room, pat him on the back and stand there for a couple minutes, then try to back our way out of the room once he calmed down.

    Good luck! I hope that gives you some ideas.

    • Mo August 5, 2014 at 19:33 #

      yep. I think the rocking thing isn’t working for us either.
      Now I’m really worried that she hasn’t attached to a lovie yet… Insight on that? Thanks!

  3. Sara L. Uckelman August 5, 2014 at 19:37 #

    As counterintuitive as it may seem: Try an earlier bedtime. If she’s had a long day, or she’s stayed up later than optimal, then it will be _harder_ for her to fall asleep than if you catch her at an earlier point before she’s overtired.

    • Mo August 5, 2014 at 19:38 #

      Thanks Sara!
      We’re actually starting the bedtime routine at 6pm at this point, so I don’t see how we could go earlier. We tried to play around with later, but you’re right – we’ll stick to the early bed time.

  4. Heather August 5, 2014 at 19:56 #

    I’m keen to follow the comments because I’m having a similar problem. Well actually I’m trying to wean Nicky off the boob and I need a replacement. Boob works wonders but now I need a new plan. I’m not keen to get him attached to a dummy but I will work with soft toys and blankies!

    • Mo August 5, 2014 at 20:00 #

      oh! have you read Belle’s blog lately (scrambled eggs) she had a whole issue around sleep training but made it happen. Check it out, it may give you some insight…

  5. Jenny August 5, 2014 at 20:03 #

    I have no real advice because I feel like I’m just making stuff up as I go, but I do echo what the other ladies have said about having a comfort item for Bunny. My guy just can’t get attached to a lovie, but he’s really big on blankies, especially the soft, fuzzy kind. He never stays covered up with them, but he likes to hug them and will seek them out for comfort if he wakes up during the night.

    Good luck!

  6. Amy August 5, 2014 at 20:03 #

    Yay, something I feel qualified to help on! I feel you, girl…baby sleep issues on top of grief and loss on top of anxiety is no joke. I truly believe I was *this close* to going completely crazy. We hired a sleep doula (DH – who tends to be a skeptic on everything under the sun – later said it was the best money we ever spent.) We did the Sleep Lady Shuffle (I left a comment about the book on your last post). Asher was still in our room in the pack and play at 7 months, not sleeping through the night, not going down easily, and then waking too early and fighting sleep, making my get-ready-for-work routine hell. He also rarely napped We started Sleep Lady Shuffle on a Friday night, anticipating problems (there weren’t any). This does require absolute consistency and routine. (The week before, I changed his eating schedule so he was no longer waking up at 4:40 a.m. for a bottle. That was a big part.)

    This is long…I apologize…but sleep is SO important!

    Some things we learned:
    No bottles or diaper changes (unless they poop) after bedtime. He was old enough at 7 months to go the 11-12 hours overnight without eating. We tanked him up with his “dinner” bottle (6oz) and his bedtime bottle (7oz) about 1-1.5 hours apart, with the bedtime one part of his going to bed routine.

    Baby has to be asleep within a 30 minute timeframe and up within a 30 minute timeframe every day. For Asher, he’s asleep between 6-6:30 p.m. and gets up between 6-6:30 a.m. every day because of my work/commute schedule W-Th. No more sleeping in for me (I can’t rely on DH to get up, so I do it, 7 days a week). We have forgone a social life and dinners out so that our son can get to bed on time every.single.night.

    White noise machines rock, and work best at 60-70 decibels (from baby’s position in the crib). I downloaded a decibel meter for my iPhone. We leave his on all night.

    White and blue light are THE WORST for waking us out of sleep. Red and orange are the least impactful. We put away the cute owl LED night light and covered the green light on his baby monitor and the blue/white light on the noise machine.

    A sick or teething baby is not a sleep-trainable baby. Sleep training has to be put on hold until baby is better. Once health/comfort is restored, you can pick up training where you left off. Teething hasn’t been too bad, but Asher got an ear infection right at during a transition time of the SLS, so we had to take a break until the antibiotics kicked in.

    Overtired babies have a hard time falling asleep and staying asleep. Keeping them up later makes it worse. The more tired they are, the more sleep they need, so if Asher doesn’t get enough during the day, he goes down earlier that night. He will still wake at the same time! (Also, babies who are overtired are more likely to sleep in the car or in your arms because of sheer exhaustion. Now that Asher gets all his sleep daily (14-15 hours total), he rarely sleeps in the car…which sometimes sucks!) Baby sleep cycles are 45 minutes long, and they often stir and even make noise during the transition between two cycles. I don’t interfere now unless he’s truly crying.

    Ok, the Sleep Lady Shuffle: over the course of about 2 weeks, you place baby – drowsy but awake – in the crib with the lights out after the bedtime routine and yourself move progressively farther away. Nights 1-3, sit in a chair beside the crib. Pat baby’s butt or stroke the back, shush, but no talking or singing, and no picking up unless baby’s having a genuine freak out. Nights 4-6, move the chair halfway across the room. Nights 7-9, move the chair to the door. Nights 10-12, move the chair right outside the door. Always calm, always present, but always quiet. You’re providing reassurance that you’re nearby while baby gets a chance to learn to fall asleep.

    Asher’s room is tiny and he did really, really well, so I moved every 2 days or so, and from crib side to middle of the room to outside the door (with the door cracked). He didn’t cry, fussed a little, but no biggie…and he’s put himself to sleep every single night since (sometimes taking awhile, but he always does it)…for the last six months. He sleeps 11-12 hours every night, from about 6-6:30 p.m. to about 6-6:30 a.m.

    Best of luck, love. I know you don’t have time to read, but I refer back to that book all the time. It’s broken down by age with sleep needs (amount of time needed changes as they get older, as do nap requirements). I love it, and will get it for baby showers from now on.


    • Amy August 5, 2014 at 20:07 #

      Sorry, one more thing: Asher hides his sleep signs, which is common. We used to have to watch for an eye rub or a yawn or stare into space. Now we anticipate those based on the time, and put him down. But yawns, eye rubs, etc. are actually late sleep signs. 😐

    • Mo August 5, 2014 at 20:09 #

      Thanks Amy! I’ll definitely consider this if the quick-and-dirty method doesn’t work for us. And thanks so much for taking the time to break it down in detail! 🙂

  7. mrsoz August 5, 2014 at 20:05 #

    I saw your posts asking about the lovies. Both of my kids didn’t really get attached to anything until somewhere between 9-12 months. And for some reason, with both kids, they each had 3 lovies. Couldn’t go to bed without all 3. To get them attached to one item, we just chose something and began keeping it with them at all times. They got attached to that one item, and both chose two items on their own. Hauling around the three items was a bit obnoxious, but they worked, so I went with it. My daughter has outgrown them (and did around age 2.5), my son, who is nearly 2, still needs all 3.

    Good luck!

    • Mo August 5, 2014 at 20:10 #

      Awesome. Thanks for the insight!

  8. thecornfedfeminist August 5, 2014 at 20:38 #

    I would suggest that, whatever you do, make sure you stay consistent with your routine so she knows what’s coming. We did pjs, brush teeth, read, turn off light and stand over crib snuggling while seahorse music plays (little glow seahorse is the best) and then I laid her down and said “Night night baby, I love you.” The first few times she would get right back up and fuss for a while, but once she figured out it was time to sleep and I wasn’t coming back in to get her, she settled down (this may have taken a couple weeks and she was probably about 10 months old?). Now at 21 months I put her in her crib, tuck a baby doll under each arm, smooth her hair down on her forehead and say “Night night baby, I love you” and she cheerfully says “Bye!” and after a little chatter, goes to sleep.

    Oh, and if you’re a Game of Thrones watcher, she has her Arya death list every night and recites the names of everyone she knows, including extended family and daycare kids. My name always comes first, so she must really have it in for me. 🙂

    Best of luck!

    • Mo August 5, 2014 at 20:39 #

      LOL 🙂
      And thanks!

  9. Jo August 5, 2014 at 21:23 #

    Here’s my philosophy in a nutshell:

    • Nikki August 6, 2014 at 05:10 #

      That is my philosophy also. It gets hard at times though. I allowed my son to eat at night for as long as he wanted. Once he started sleeping on his own through the night for a couple of weeks I stopped the night feedings for him. We’ve been through all the sleep regressions and are currently going through a rough one at 2 years old but I’ve noticed that his behavior as a toddler is better than those that sleep trained their kids out of my friends. I lost my job so I do get to stay home with him. If he cries at night I always go. On rough nights I will wake my husband and ask him to take over for me for a bit so I can calm down and rest.

  10. Prasmich August 6, 2014 at 01:55 #

    Hey love your blog! So honest and open.

    actually making bedtime later has the opposite effect on babies and simply makes then overtired and more awake. we found the baby whisperer pick up out down technique worked the best and you can go online to find easy versions of it tailored to your daughter’s age.

  11. sorrelen August 6, 2014 at 05:26 #

    My son didn’t attach to his lovie until he was around 18 months. He had it in the crib always but it took him that long to really attach to it. I use the aden and anais double pack lovies. That way I have two. He now carries it around a lot. I started a consistent night time routine for him early on. Bath, teeth, lotion, pj’s, milk while reading a book then rocking for a few minutes and then crib. When he was younger it took him a while to get used to being put down awake. We would just keep laying him down and if he would cry I would pick him up and cuddle for a few minutes. Then one night he was just okay with being set down in the crib. He has the tranquil turtle in his crib which he loves to play with before falling asleep. He gets his lovie as well. We just started using a nightlight at 2 years old. He has been having a rough time at night recently. His language skills are taking off right now so I’m thinking that is part of the problem. I allowed him to eat at night for as long as he wanted. Around 11 months he started sleeping through the night consistently on his own so I cut those out then. I gave him bottles until around 18 months and then we switched to straw cups for milk. He had been using a straw cup during the day for water so it was an easy switch. Up until 2 he was getting toddler formula at night before bed. He still doesn’t like milk so currently he isn’t getting a night time cup of milk. He doesn’t seem bothered by it now. If he cries at night I still go to him. We hit the usual sleep regressions but those usually only lasted a week. Then he would sleep his 11 to 12 at night with a 2 hour nap during the day.

    I suggest going for an earlier bed time. I stuck with an 8 o clock start time. Bath and all that at 8 so he would be down before 9. It worked well. He knew when I would say night night and he would head for the stairs for bed. No fight at all. I find consistency to work the best for him. I would say make bed time earlier. The later you make the harder it is for them to fall asleep. Their little bodies pump out the cortisol and they fight it. If he goes to bed late it makes for a bad night with wakings and a cranky toddler.

    The older they get the more aware they get and when they are going through something developmentally it is hard for them to sleep. Whenever he got a new skill he would wake at night.

    I would look into the pick up put down method for bunny to help her adjust to falling asleep. That’s what I did.

  12. Trisha August 6, 2014 at 06:51 #

    We did Ferber at 5.5 months. Basically it is CIO where you go in at increased time periods to soothe them (5min, then 10, 15 ect). However we quickly found that us going into the room made it so much worse. So in the end we did CIO. She actually never cried more than 10 minutes. Within 3 nights she was going to bed on her own with no tears, 6 months later she is still a champ at going to bed. I also found a routine helped. She knows when it is time for bed just based on the routine now. Good luck!

  13. someday-soon August 6, 2014 at 21:50 #

    We did a modified CIO too, much like what Trisha says above, going back for soothing at longer intervals. The max time period we leave for is the number of minutes to match their age (ie, if they are 11 months we leave for a max of 11 minutes). It’s really helped with both of our kids.

  14. Lisa August 7, 2014 at 17:01 #

    Chipmunk was waking every hour at 8 months. She wasn’t hungry, but before we treated her reflux, that’s what she was doing and even though she wasn’t in pain any more she was still in the every hour habit. We were losing our minds. We were going to Ferber it, but going in to check on her made it soooo much worse. She would completely flip out when we left her. So we did the Weissbluth/Healthy Sleep Habits full extinction. The full on mean CIO. It was quick. The first night she cried for an hour. I was not beside myself with stress over it because at that point I was so damned tired I couldn’t see straight. The second night, about half an hour. The third, 15 minutes. Now she goes to sleep no problem and it carried over to naps at home and at daycare. No more song and dance. We do our nighttime routine, lay her down, and she’s out. I’d tried to introduce a lovey, but she really doesn’t care about it. Come to find out her pacifier is pretty much her lovey. I still put her down with the taggie lovey and she does grab it sometimes, but she could take it or leave it at this point. Oh, and she is her loving, happy self and still cries when she needs us. We didn’t scar her for life as far as I can tell. I do still feed her once at night (around 3 AM), but she’s super tiny and still needs it. She doesn’t wake other than for this feeding. Good luck!!!!

    • Mo August 7, 2014 at 17:59 #

      Thanks Lisa! We may go full on CIO if we see that what we’re doing now doesn’t work. I appreciate the encouragement too. Last night was a total nightmare so I’m totally guilt-ridden (surprise, surprise).

  15. NewMom August 8, 2014 at 05:58 #

    I haven’t bothered to read the 29 comments so I hope I am not repeating anything. Sorry in advance!

    I did this about the same age with my son 11-12 months. It was hard but SO worth it. Literally we picked a routine and stuck with it. We did the same thing, in the same order, every night. No changes, like staying out later etc etc. Ours was/is dinner sometime between 5-6. Bath right after, (one parent did bath, the other parent cleaned the kitchen lol!) PJ’s, then milk reading. At 7 (now 8) we put him in the crib, said the same prayer, shut the door. The first week I would go in after several minutes of crying and give him a passy etc. Finally we bought the Fisher Price musical seahorse (this may get recalled but anything that lights up and plays music should work) and that drastically cut down the length of crying. He was playing for maybe 30 minutes, but personally I am okay with that. Your routine could be totally different, I think the key is just doing the same thing so they know what to expect.

    Once he could get out of his crib and we transitioned to the toddler bed we basically had to do this all over again (to teach him not to just walk out of his room but actually stay in bed) Also when we have a few days in a row of not sticking to the routine, there are rough nights after. Nothing is perfect! I would say 80-90% of the time he gets himself to sleep in 20 minutes. Some nights it takes him a little longer to “wind down”. I allow him to play, but only if its in his bed. I figure it’s not harming anything. Not bad for a 2 year old. But he thrives on routine!

    My second baby is nothing like this, but I have not “sleep trained” him yet. Haven’t needed to… he pretty much does it all on his own. I call him my angel baby! Point being, every baby is different.

    Good luck! Anything worth doing is usually hard work, that’s my motto in life 🙂

  16. NewMom August 8, 2014 at 06:08 #

    Okay well crap. I just scanned through the comments and looks like everyone did exactly what I did. Yay! Sorry for the repeat advice!!

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