Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sleep training Clara, Day 5

Here's the scoop from the last few days in the Blackburn house. . .

Run down of Day 4

Which bring us to. . . 

Day #5: 9/8/12
  • 7am - she wakes on her own so I go get her to start the day, followed by some playtime. 
  • 8am - feeding
  • 8:15am  - start winding her down for nap and plop her in bed by 8:20am
  • 8:30am - 10:30am - nap #1 - she fusses for a few minutes and then she drifts off to sleep. NO CRYING! At 9am - wakes up and fusses for maybe three minutes. She then starts playing in her bed but by 9:20 she's back asleep w/ no more fussing. She wakes at 10:30 but is content playing in her bed for a good 20 minutes so I let her hang out for a bit.
  • 10:50am - playtime
  • 11:30 - 12pm - feeding (she takes a feeding at 11:30am, spits up four times, so give her more at 12pm, before we wind down for nap #2)
  • 12:30pm - 3:30pm - nap #2 - she goes down very easily and just babbles herself to sleep! NO CRYING. 
  • 3:30pm - feeding then we run some errands as a family 
  • 4:45pm - she's getting tired so I give 2 more oz of milk and then plop her in bed by 5pm for a third nap. She is restless and by 5:30pm it is evident that she is not going to nap. Hmmm. In order to avoid her third nap being too late and thus requiring a later than desired bedtime, I decide to go get her and just start the process for bedtime and get her there by 6:15pm or so. Just to see what happens and praying this decision doesn't backfire on me. But. . . Weissbluth and others strongly suggest that the earlier the bedtime the better baby sleeps and the less night awakening baby will experience. We will see. . . 
  • 5:40pm - go get her for bath, lotion, etc
  • 6pm - feeding, she takes another 3.5 oz and by the end of the feeding she is wiped out
  • 6:15pm - lay in crib, NO FUSSING OR CRYING, and she falls fast asleep. 
  • The rest of the night I am scared to document on the internet for fear of forever receiving hate comments on this blog post. If a crying baby brings up feelings of anger in you, please stop reading and just know that we had a long, hard evening. If your good then. . .  
  • 7:30pm - 12:30am - she wakes up and starts crying which by 8:15pm turns into screaming. At 9pm she is still screaming so I consult my amazing mommy friend on what to do. We decide I should go in now and feed, burp and check her diaper and then do not return. She eats a little over 4 oz at 9:15pm, burps and gets a fresh diaper (it wasn't dirty) and by 9:30pm she's back in her crib (she calmed the second I picked her up). She's calm for a little while longer, maybe 20 minutes, and then the screaming starts again. In full force. And doesn't stop. Worst feeling ever. Cue me sitting in my living room bawling on the couch wanting to call it quits. Because I feel like a neglectful mom. Maybe the cumulation of her crying over the past five days is finally starting to wear me down. At 11pm I let Ashlie know that she stopped screaming (yay!) and we come up with a game plan for the night. Well the screaming stopped for 10 minutes. And then it started again promptly at 11:10pm. At this point I can't even distract myself.  I wonder why we are taking huge leaps in the wrong direction, or so it seems. Screaming continues and her voice is getting more and more hoarse. I feel like I want to throw up. Finally, at 12:30am she surrenders to exhaustion. Y'all - that is 4 hours or so of crying with a 30 min break (feeding plus her calmness after feeding) I have no words. So much for her getting some good consolidated sleep at the front end of the night. Ugh. 
  • 7am - she is still asleep, praise God, so I go in to get her to begin another day. Cuddle her like I have never cuddled her before. 
On a happier, less gut renching note, here are a few pics of my sweet baby fully enjoying her nap time

Positives from our day:
No crying at all at nap #1
No crying at all at nap #2
She is consistently going down easily for naps
She is adjusting to her new nap schedule quite well
No crying at all when put to bed 

Questions for those of you who did CIO. . . (I will also be consulting our pediatrician this week, but just trying to gather info from those who have gone before me.) 
  1. Did you find that your baby made progress with one or the other, naps or bedtime, first? Or did your baby seem to catch on to both simultaneously?
  2. For those of you with a post colicky baby, at what point did you wean baby from a night feeding? (I'm OK if Clara needs to eat in the night, my goal in all of this is not to avoid night feedings, but I do find that when I go in to feed her she completely wakes up and the scream sessions start again, or start from square one, soon after I leave the room). 
  3. HSHHC says to pick one or two times you will go in at night to feed baby and then, regardless of crying, do not go back in. How did you decide the time(s) that you would intervene?
  4. On nights like the one described above, did you allow your baby to sleep in a tad later than their regular wake time (say 7:30 or 8am, if wake time is usually 7am) to allow them to get in a bit more consolidated sleep? (I'm assuming no, to keep their biological clocks in synch & to keep naps on schedule, but just thought I would ask.)


  1. Oh Brittnie, I totally feel your anguish. Any time I felt like I was the Worst Mom of the Year, I'd open up Healthy Sleep Habits and read the pages that encouraged us moms to do what is best for our babes -- teach them to sleep! So just remember, you are teaching her the first very hard lesson of her life, but it's worth it. Only those of us with babies who wake up every hour for months on end understand why teaching a baby to soothe themselves is necessary. There is a whole team of Moms cheering you on right now!!

    I also think you did the right thing by trying to fit in a third nap but realized it quickly wasn't going to happen so you went to go get her and move on. You are following your gut, and that's all you can do! Keep it up!!

    To answer a few of your questions (in hopes of helping you!!)

    1) Cam caught onto both quickly and at the same time. I think I explained it to you before how we chose to do our training, we did naps and bedtime simultaneously and if he didnt sleep for after an hour of crying, we'd go get him and move on with our day... dealt with a cranky baby for a couple hours and then put him down again for a nap. This worked for us in a matter of two days. But again, each baby is different.

    2) When we decided to sleep train, we made the decision we were NOT going to focus on weaning night feedings. We just wanted to teach him to go back to sleep on his own and we were content feeding him once a night (which is what he was doing at 4 months old) if he would go to sleep right after. By 5 months old, he weaned himself and just slept through that feeding. We also played around with increasing ounces of food... perhaps you can try feeding more oz. during the day or before bed? Cam had horrendous reflux so we had to feed fewer oz. more often, but maybe you could try that!? (As a side note, we did not start solids until 6 months old... we were told by many doctors that solids do not help night sleep and we agree. Cam had his sleeping down before solids were introduced, so don't fret about whether or not you should try solids yet!)

    3) Cam had slept a stretch of 6 hours once or twice previously in his life, so when we started sleep training we decided we knew he could handle going 6 hours without eating, so we agreed that if he ate at 6 pm and went to bed, we wouldn't feed him again until midnight. This worked for us. The first couple of nights, he woke up and cried and we left him and he managed to go back to sleep. When he woke up again after midnight, we would go in and feed. This feed ended up being anywhere from 1-3 am, just depending when he woke up. I think you should follow your gut for how long you think Clara can go, and then stick to that plan. If you think she can go five hours, then try that!

    4) I'm pretty sure there were days when we decided to let him sleep in a bit longer, but I can't honestly remember. I think the biological clock thing is a valid point, but I also think babies are humans and just like us adults, sometimes they just need an extra twenty minutes to sleep in. I am not a stickler of the clock... if bedtime is supposed to be 7 pm but Cam is tired at 6:30 I put him down. It has never backfired on us, and I am a STRONG believer (as are you!) that early bedtime is a miracle! I think you should let her "sleep in" if you think it will help her naps the next day. It's a matter of survival right now, and whatever you think will make your day and her day a tad easier.. do it.

    I know this is lengthy and wordy, but the best advice I can give you is to take Clara's lead.

    And just a little encouragement -- while Cam only took a couple of nights to get this down, our Pediatrician told us it takes an average of 7 nights to sleep train a baby. So hang in there. You are not alone!

    1. Thank you for taking the time to explain and write down all of this for me. I really really appreciate your input. Everything you said makes perfect sense and I am encouraged by what your pediatrician said in terms of it taking a solid week for some kiddos. That gives me some hope, ha ha! Again, thank you!

  2. Keeping in mind that I don't know Clara at all, and you know her really well, I just want to encourage you to follow your gut when your having a hard time with her crying for so long. JOshua was colicky and he had food issues that made his stomach hurt, and it just took him a little longer to learn to soothe himself in addition to the fact that sometimes he just needed to be held to feel good. I would give yourself permission to go in and get her when she's having an unusually hard time going back to sleep at night and not worry about setbacks. If she normally goes to sleep fine by herself (like with her naps and at bedtime) then when she wakes and cries, it might be that she has a need, even if it's not food or diaper, but to be held.

    I'm not trying to be critical at all, so I hope this isn't taken that way.

    Good luck, you're doing a great job!!

    1. I appreciate your comment, Jana, and I know you are not being critical. Thank you for giving me permission to break "the rules" if my gut says so.

  3. You are doing a great job! I never could handle the crying at night very long. But luckily my daughter got it really easily. Maybe a week and then she was good. But I agree with the follow your heart. Have you read the Spirit-Led Parenting book yet, it helped me. Good luck in whatever method you choose!

    1. I actually just pulled out that book today to start reading during Clara's nap times. I am excited to get started! Thanks for the encouragement!

  4. Here are a few thoughts from my experience, but mostly just a word of encouragement. You are a great mom...knowing what to do isn't always easy (wait until you get to discipline), but you have good intentions and a lot of love for Clara. She will be better for it.

    I know this process is so hard, but it is totally, totally worth it. Ashlie and I are in the same camp when it comes to sleep training our kiddos. And Austin and Ashley are the best sleepers ever! I can't remember all the details as to what we did (b/c I didn't write it all down) except that Ashley took a little bit longer to get the hang of things than Austin did. By 9 weeks old Austin was sleeping 9 hours straight pretty consistently but we had to work with him on soothing himself to sleep during naptime. We were having to "bounce" him to sleep initially which was getting really old the bigger he got. Not too long after that, he started the 12-13 hour stretch. Ashley didn't sleep 9 hours straight until about 4 months old and she fought naps, so definitely she didn't pick up on things all at once. But I think you have to work both night and daytime together regardless to keep a routine schedule. There will be times when you may feel like you made the wrong decision regarding how long to let them cry, but i promise you it won't scar them for life. One time I really thought that Ashley was crying in the night for some unneccessary attention b/c I knew she wasn't hungry, etc., so I didn't go in. Turns out she had thrown up all over her crib and I had no idea until the next morning. Total guilt. But she woke up the next morning all smiles (with crusty hair and a smelly room)...and she was just FINE!

    As far as the wake up time, I think that +/- 30 minutes the
    "scheduled" time is fine. I think that is what Babywise recommends. And I would also recommend not to focus too hard on sropping feedings unless you think it is a total scam on her part. If she starts waking at the same time each night or morning it may be more of a habit than a need to eat, so you might challenge her there. Both of mine liked to wake between 5 and 5:30 am. I fought that one and it didn't take long for them to quit doing it.

    Another word of encouragement is with regards to the early bedtime. Don't be scared of a 6:oo or 6:30 bedtime. Mine both went to bed then. Ashley is almost 2 and goes to bed between 7:00 and 7:30 depending on the day. It cuts into your social life a bit but again, totally worth it. Before long they will be sleeping 12-13 hours straight and you will have your sanity back.

    Another things I remember from HSHHC and Babywise is that as far as naps, some are easier than others. The early morning (8 or 8:30) is the easiest and as the day goes on, they get a little more challenging. I defineltly found that to be true as we worked the process. Consistent eating patterns also help their sleep patterns. If one is messed up, the other will be also.

    Just keep it up. Take the small improvements as blessings and things will begin to fall in place (hopefully soon). Melissa

    1. Melissa - thank you SO much for taking the time to write out all your thoughts. That means a lot to me! I appreciate your support and encouragement. I'm not gonna lie I have been having major guilt over letting her cry so long (Sat night) and I am very thankful last night went MUCH better. Lots of prayers and celebrating the baby steps...

      I don't think her needing to eat once at night is a scam on her part and I don't have any intention of trying to wean her from this feeding now, especially since we are incorporating an earlier bedtime and so her last feeding is much earlier than before we started all this (when her last feeding was about 930pm and she was going to be at 10 or later - yikes!).

      I am also finding that the first nap has been the easiest to conquer and achieve on a daily basis. And I do think I am making the right decision to work both naps and bedtime at once. While it might be a lot for her to grasp right away (esp. since I just went cold turkey on her) I do think it would be too confusing for her if I did one thing at nap time and a totally different thing at bedtime. Seems like progress would be slower but what do I know! Ha!

      One huge benefit from all this - we are no longer having to pace the halls or bounce her, for who knows how long, in order for her to go to sleep. I/We were having to do this for both naps and bed and it was getting really old. Now we can lay her down and she is able to get there on her own. HUGE progress in my opinion.

      Thanks again for your input!!

  5. First off Britt you're an awesome mom. I know we've already discussed this night via text but wanted to add in that I totally agree with Melissa on her answers to your questions! I would do the same thing.

    Second, it may be hard to hear or read of other mom's experiences that didn't have a colicky baby. You have a unique situation and I definitely am in uncharted territory with colicky babies. I am sure there is a reason there is a special section in his book for this temperment. What works for common fussy babies might make things worse for the post colicky temperment (like check and console for instance). I agree with you she still needs at least one feeding at night. When my kids eat like a champ when I go in I assume they were hungry. When they play around and take an ounce or two I assume they aren't and either wanted some attention or had something else going on (fever, teeth, laying in spitup, wet/dirty, gas) whatever. If you go in there to feed and she's disinterested go through your checklist and make sure it's not something else. Once you've determined the issue (or lack there of) it's easier to go into the CIO that you did on this night and the next night. She showed VAST improvement from this night to the next. It's quite possible that she will continue to put up a middle of the night battle following her feed until she weans from that feed. Hunter was like Clara in that he napped like a champ and went down wihtout a fuss for night and nap but our issue was middle of the night wakeups...wackamole ALL NIGHT LONG. That didn't go away until I CIO at 5mo and just didn't respond in the night at all. One night of a lot of crying after his 11pm wakeup and he was done waking. BUT before we did this he had turned his feed into social hour and wasn't actually eating much so I went in with confidence that he could make it the full night without eating. Anyway, you have gotten great advice, you are very informed and you are doing great! Hang in there. You will look back at this tough week or 2 and think it was SO worth it. BUT i know that doesn't make it any easier :/

    1. I was kinda thinking the same thing about Clara continuing to put up a middle of night battle following her feed until that feed is gone. She has NEVER been one to eat in the night and then fall right back asleep. It has ALWAYS been a 1.5 -2 hour process for her to go back to sleep from the get go (and this is with us cuddling her, holding her, walking around with her etc). I was always in shock when parents would tell me they would feed their baby at 3am and he/she was fast asleep by 3:30am. Not my sweet Clara. That's just how it will be for a while. But, I am very impressed (and thankful!) that she made such improvement form Sat night to Sun night! 4 hrs down to 1 hour of crying!! I'll take it!

  6. I haven't read through your comments here and I will try to come back and give our experience on your questions, but I would say first of all not to worry about how the evening went this time. I can say almost positively that the reason the evening/night part was so rough was because she was awake too long between the end of her 2nd nap and her bedtime.

    Sometimes, they resist that third nap and there's not much you can do about it. My guess is that after waking at 3:30 from a good nap, 4:45 was too early for the next nap and she wasn't quite tired enough to fall asleep then. Generally, waketimes should increase as the day goes on, except the waketime between the 3rd nap and bed might be as short as 60-90 minutes.

    I will try to come back and answer the questions about sleep training in a bit!!

  7. 1. Ours sort of went simultaneously, but sometimes there were setbacks in either or both. Four months is well-known as one of the roughest sleep periods for many babies.

    2. We didn't ever really do CIO for night feedings for Kirsa. As her days and schedule regulated into a by-the-clock schedule that worked well for her (around 5mo), she naturally dropped to 1 feeding around 4-5am.

    3. I would say, if they have eaten less than 3.5 hours ago, it's likely too soon to go in. However, this can be very tough. Letting them CIO for long periods in the night if they're not ready will lead to an OT start to the day and then a rough day, and then it can really spiral. I'm not against CIO at all, but at this age, long periods in the night can be challenging for your days and next night.

    4. No, maybe 10-15 minutes is all. With how Clara naps, I'd just watch and maybe put her down a few minutes early for the nap if she needs it, then let her sleep a bit extra long for the nap to stay on schedule.

    I can't remember if I gave you this before, but our schedule at 5.5 months old that was working beautifully most days was this:

    7 wake
    8:30 nap
    10:15 wake
    12 nap
    2 wake
    3:30 or 4 nap
    6:15 bath, nurse, etc
    6:45-7 bed
    4am nurse, back to bed

    Sometimes, she woke up to 3 times in the night. I would just feed her and put her back down. Because it was usually only once a night, I didn't worry about the nights it was more. (Okay, I worried, but she always went back to once a night).

    As you can see, the waketimes increase as the day goes on. I would look at the sample schedules on the babywise mom blog too if you want to get some ideas, but in general, I'd make sure she's at least eating every 2.5-3.5 hours during the day right now, until you get the nights down.

    I think the CIO will be more and more effective as you figure out her waketime lengths. I wouldn't drop the night feedings (just feed and put her right back down - if you're sure it was a full feed, then let her CIO back to sleep at that point) until your days are well-established. But that's just what I personally would do - again, I think CIO is a great tool, but it's just how I'd use it at the point you're at with sleep training and her age (meaning, developmental level and as compared to other 4 month olds).

    Even if you and she were "perfect", this age would be rough. Hang in there and work on those waketimes, it will come!

  8. Sorry, I forgot to put in our schedule that the 3rd nap was only 45 minutes long. I would limit that one so they can still go to bed on time (ie, 7pm) but waking them after 1 hour or at least within 60-90 minutes before bedtime, depending how the day went.


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