Sleep has pretty much been a sore spot for us since Isla was born. Isla was the newborn who never napped, the baby who woke up half a dozen times a night, and often would wake up bright eyed and bushy tailed at 2 in the morning, ready to play and not at all interested in sleeping anywhere–her cosleeper, her crib, her swing, even in the bed with us. The last time I wrote, when Isla was 10 months old, we were still waking up with her multiple times a night.
Everyone in my house was cranky all the time. 10 solid months of sleep deprivation will do that to you.
Shortly after writing that last post, Kellen and I decided it was time to call it quits on multiple night wake-ups. I know people look unfavorably on cry-it-out, but Kellen and I decided we’d do our own modified version. Let her cry for 10 minutes, and if she kept going, then we’d go to her.
As it turned out…she didn’t keep going. In fact, most of the time, she’d cry for a few minutes, then rearrange her blanket, find a comfy position, and go right back to sleep. It wasn’t even an insistent or an upset cry. It was just a little annoyed.
It sort of dawned on us after the third night, when she wasn’t waking up at all, that maybe we’d been getting the way of her sleeping through the night–all the way through, 12 solid hours–all along. Well, maybe not all along, but certainly for the last few months.
She goes to bed pretty routinely at 7 o’clock every night now. Her bedtime routine is so set in stone, that after she finishes dinner, she toddles off to the bath tub all by herself, and then after we get her into her jammies, she picks up her bottle and stands by the rocker, waiting for one of us to sit down and rock her almost to sleep. Then she sleeps until 7 AM and occasionally wakes up once a night. We give her another bottle, and she’s out cold.
The only real issue at this point is that we’re still relying heavily on the bottle as a sleep crutch, but at this point, we’re too drunk on routinely getting 8 hours of sleep a night to care. She can go to sleep sucking on a bottle until she goes off to college for all I care. WE’RE SLEEPING.
The truth is, I don’t feel like there’s anything in particular we did or didn’t do to get her to sleep through the night. We’ve been using the same bedtime routine with slight modifications here and there since she was 6 weeks old. We tried CIO once before, when Isla was around 4 months old, and it didn’t work out at all. I feel like the main thing is that Isla finally hit some big developmental milestone where being able to get to sleep on her own was possible. Part of it definitely has to do with her being more mobile and being able to get comfortable without needing help, but part of it, I think, is that her brain is finally at a place where 12 straight hours of sleep at night can happen. I think a consistent sleep routine is very helpful, so that when she was ready, she already had that framework in place, but…I don’t think there’s anything you can do to make a baby who isn’t ready to go to sleep on their own and sleep all night actually sleep through the night.
I’m just happy Isla figured it out when she did. It’s such a relief to get some sleep!