I decided to go ahead and publish the notes I took on what happened as I let Sweet Pea cry it out mainly because of the bad reputation CIO gets. I want anyone who reads this (and might be totally against CIO) to see that it can be done responsibly.
Night 1 (February 10th):
Sweet Pea was in bed at 8pm, with one arm not swaddled so that she could find her thumb/fingers during the night if she wanted to use those to self-soothe. I gave her the paci and as I expected, because her arm was out of the swaddle, she was able to knock her paci out and she started fussing. (This is the main reason she is still swaddled at 6 months old!) I went back in and adjusted things a little bit and she went right to sleep, paci in mouth.
Sweet Pea woke at 5:45am. I heard her on the monitor and was walking to her room because, instead of giving her the paci, I was going to walk in and make sure she had access to her thumb/fingers and tell her it was okay and she needed to go back to sleep.
Just as I got to her bedroom door I had second thoughts about going in right away. I decided to not go in right away and wait for her to be really crying before I went in.
By 6:15am (30 minutes after she woke up) she was still minimally fussing, off and on. By 6:45ish she had started to let out some “hard” cries, but there was no intense crying that persisted for any length of time. I still had not entered her room because she never got really worked up.
Then, around 7am, the monitor was quiet. I have a video monitor, but it wasn’t pointed at Sweet Pea so I could not see what she was doing at all. I didn’t want to go in there until she was really worked up, so I was never able to point it at her to see her. But after 7am, I never heard her again, so I assume she did fall back to sleep, although I can’t be 100% certain.
I went in her bedroom at 8am to get her up and she was laying there, eyes open, both arms out of her swaddle. (Guess that is what she was working on from 5:45 to 7am!) And she was happy as a lark and greeted me with her usual big Sweet Pea smile.
Because it was a Saturday, the plan was Dave would get up with the girls and I would go back to bed. I told him to keep her stimulation to a very minimum and to watch closely for signs of being tired.
She stayed up till her normal naptime of 9:30am and then took her normal 2-hour nap. I was so afraid of her being overtired from being up so long before this nap, but because she was able to sleep well for this nap, it makes me think even further that she was able to go back to sleep on her own around 7am. (For nap she was completely swaddled and given the paci. My motto is “don’t fix something that isn’t broken” and, so far, there have been no nap issues with the paci, so I left things as they are for naps.)
Compared to Little Bug’s first CIO session, Sweet Pea’s was a breeze. But, that is my daughters for you: Little Bug=drama and Sweet Pea=no drama.
Night 2 (February 11th):
As perfect timing would have it, I think Sweet Pea’s 6 month growth spurt is here or at least on the horizon because she woke from her 2nd nap early and crying, which has always been her sign that she is having a growth spurt. So, I got her and fed her and she was definitely hungry.
Then, I was thinking…Great! I can’t let her CIO if she is going through a growth spurt because if there is ever any doubt in my mind that my babies could be crying because of anything other than just needing to go to sleep and stay asleep, I don’t let them CIO.
I was stumped as to what to do because I also know consistency is KEY in doing CIO effectively.
And then I remembered that we could always do a dreamfeed! So, we gave her a dreamfeed at 11:30pm so that if she woke in the night I would still be able to let her CIO. However, I knew because of the growth spurt issue, I wouldn’t be able to let the crying go on for a long time because it could have been possible for her to need another feed before waketime because of the growth spurt. Not ideal circumstances for CIO, but because I had started, I wasn’t turning back and losing the progress she had already made.
Well, as it turns out, Sweet Pea didn’t make a peep until 7:30am! She woke up happy and talking.
11 hours of sleep. Night 2. Awesome.
Night 3 (February 12th):
Another uneventful night! She went to bed at 8pm. She woke up at 7am. It seems Sweet Pea might be an 11-hour sleeper, instead of 12.
We did give her another dreamfeed last night because it is apparent she is in a growth spurt.
Night 4 (February 13th):
Went to bed at 8:30pm and woke at 6:50am. Still gave the dreamfeed.
Night 5 (February 14th):
Went to bed at 8pm and woke at 7:15am, with an 11:30pm dreamfeed.
It is seriously amazing to me how CIO fixes things, just like that. And with Sweet Pea, I can hardly call what she did on that first night crying-it-out. It was more like fussing-it-out, but, it worked and my child did not get damaged in the process!!
All she got was sleep. Uninterrupted sleep, which is a priceless gift that I had the ability to give to my baby.
It’s the morning of February 17th and Sweet Pea woke at 5am. I let her CIO and she fussed-it-out and is asleep now. (And I am still awake, of course.) It’s not usual for babies to do this, apparently. They kinda spiral back and forth for a little bit after sleep training.
Also, Sweet Pea is needing some adjustments made to her daytime schedule, I think. I’m working to figure that out to hopefully help her sleep better through the night. Hopefully, by her 7 month update, we will have things worked out.