CIO: What happened

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. Smile

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.

The time has come for…

…sleep training. Boo.

I hate sleep training!! Hate, hate, hate. And hate is a strong word, I know.

But, it is necessary and I know the benefits far outweigh the time it takes to sleep train, for both baby and mommy.

I sleep trained Little Bug at 3 months. I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep train Sweet Pea until she was over her tummy troubles because when I sleep train my babies I do it completely 100% confident that there are no other issues going on except…they just need to learn to put themselves to sleep and stay asleep.

The time is approaching fast. I knew I would just feel when it was time.

And it is time. Almost.

Sweet Pea is a good sleeper. She really is. She still sleeps completely swaddled in her rock and play sleeper with her paci plastered to her face by a receiving blanket that holds it in or within reach should she need it. This system has worked fabulous for months now, but I knew it wouldn’t last forever. I really disliked that I let her need the paci to fall asleep, but that is just the way it was with Sweet Pea because of all her tummy troubles at the beginning. The paci brought her comfort and I was willing to do whatever it took to bring her comfort, even though I knew getting hooked on the paci would make for some sleep problems later.

I knew when, by trial and error, I was able to confidently say that her interrupted sleep is due to needing the paci replaced in her mouth mid-sleep, that would be the sign that I needed to sleep train her – once tummy troubles were a thing of the past, of course.

Good news!! Tummy troubles are basically a thing of the past. Woo-hoo!! But now it is time to sleep train. Boo.

This is what is happening: Typically naps are fine and only short or interrupted when she is needing to extend her wake time or overtired (which I try to avoid at all costs). Easy fix there. Just extend wake time by 15ish minutes and make sure she doesn’t stay up too long and get overstimulated.

The problem has shown itself in the wee hours of the morning. Sweet Pea goes to sleep (with paci), it falls out eventually and she is okay with that. She even takes the dreamfeed and then goes right back to bed, with no paci in her mouth.

Then anywhere from around 5-6:30 (ish) in the morning, she wakes. Now, you might be thinking…Well, she is just ready to get up!! Babies just wake up early like that! Nope. Sorry. That isn’t it! Because as soon as I hear her in the monitor I jump out of bed and go give her the paci and she promptly falls back to sleep for about another hour. If she wakes again before 8am, I give her the paci again. The past week, like clockwork, she has woken at 6:30am for the paci and 7:30am and then gone back to sleep. (Sometimes at 7:30am I don’t think she ever really goes fully back to sleep. She just lays there, with the paci in her mouth, until I get her at 8am.)

Right now, I am in the middle of “Operation Figure Out Why Sweet Pea is Waking Early”. Which means I am, by trial and error, seeing if tweaking things will change anything in her sleep pattern to help her not wake early and sleep completely through the night 8pm to 8am.

So far, I have tried this:

  • An earlier bedtime. Contrary to popular belief, a baby that goes to bed too late will wake up too early. Put baby to bed early and they will end up sleeping later. I know. It doesn’t make sense. But these little human beings come out of the womb not making sense, right?! And it is our job as parents to help them “make sense” of their world. Which is why I love Babywise. It helps parents learn how to teach their baby to “make sense” of their world, starting with sleeping and eating. Because, you know, that is all babies basically do straight from the womb! But all that is besides the point I am making here!So, I moved her bedtime up half an hour from 8:30pm to 8pm. That didn’t do the trick. She was still waking early.
  • I shortened her 3rd nap from 1.5 hours to 1 hour 15 minutes, then to just 1 hour. That didn’t do the trick. She was still waking early.
  • We dropped the dreamfeed. Yes, we did!!! (Yay!!!) I know in her 6 month post I said that she wasn’t showing signs of being ready to drop this, but literally days later Dave said she wasn’t eating a full feed and it seemed like he was bothering her when he would get her to feed her. As if she just wanted to sleep and not eat! Also, she wasn’t eager for her daytime feeds, so we thought that maybe she just doesn’t need 30 oz. of formula in a day!We dropped the dreamfeed cold turkey on February 7th. I thought maybe this feed was interrupting her sleep pattern, but she continued to wake early after the dreamfeed was dropped.

These are the only other tricks I have up my sleeve:

  • Incase she is waking early because of hunger because she no longer is eating at 11:30pm, I added an ounce to two of her daytime feeds to give her extra calories during the day. February 9th was the first day she got two 7oz bottles and two 6oz bottles. I am pretty confident that she is not waking out of hunger, but before I can sleep train I have to rule out hunger as the issue.
  • The only other thing I have left to tweak is bedtime. Perhaps she needs to be awake a longer stretch between her 3rd nap and bedtime?? So I will try a 8:15pm and then an 8:30pm bedtime once I have ruled out hunger. I know that not all babies are 12 hour sleepers. Little Bug wasn’t as an infant and is not as a 2 year old. She is an 11 – 11.5 hour sleeper. Perhaps Sweet Pea is, too. I would actually prefer a later bedtime (8:30ish) because it is hard to get home for bedtime routine with 8pm bedtimes!
  • Change morning waketime to 7:30am. That’s called compromise! I’d like an 8am waketime, but she may just not be able to make it to 8am, and that is fine.

And here is what happened last night (which makes me believe even further that this is a bad habit that just needs to be broken): She woke at 5am two nights ago and last night it was 3am! It did occur to me that she might be hungry (although I really didn’t think so). I went in her bedroom, she was searching for her paci with her mouth (eyes closed) and as soon as I put it in, she settled back to sleep. I figured if she was hungry that paci wouldn’t suffice for long, but she slept until 7:30. That looks like a habit to me.

If none of these things are the answer, I am left with: Sweet Pea is waking in the wee hours of the morning out of habit, needing her paci. She has clearly shown me she still wants to sleep. And that will bring us to…sleep training.

I knew the time would come. I know the younger baby is, the easier it is for baby to sleep train. And I know that many times with parenting the hard option really is the best overall for everyone. I know sleep is so important for proper growth and development for babies. I know Sweet Pea’s sleep “problem” really isn’t that bad!! It could be much, much worse and I want to nip this in the bud before it escalates to become a huge problem of constant wake ups throughout naps and/or nighttime sleep due to needing the paci to stay asleep.

And, as a doctor friend of mine recently told me when I flat out asked her if letting a baby cry it out damages their brain and the attachment they feel to their parents, she said and I quote, Yeah, babies will choose the hard way (waking up a lot) unless we inform them that it behooves them to learn a different way…then they’re grateful! I’ve never seen any evidence of trauma to your brain. And it generally works so QUICKLY…and my theory is, if he [reference to her son] wakes up smiling and happy to see me the next morning, clearly he still loves me and is doing ok!

But, ugh!

I (still) hate sleep training!

But I did it once and I can do it again (probably soon, now that I have just about eliminated other reasons why she could be waking).

The Great CIO Debate

I am certainly not opening this post up for a debate, however, I did want to post a link from a blog that I read because to anyone who may read my blog and may find themselves in the place of sleep deprivation due to a baby (or babies!) who do not sleep through the night, I hope what this person wrote will bring you encouragement!

Meet Holly!

After a fertility treatment she found out she was expecting TRIPLET girls!

They just celebrated their first birthday on December 23rd.

The girls are doing FABULOUS, except that they were NOT sleeping through the night. Holly was getting up sometimes FIFTEEN times a night to go in and give bottles to the girls!

Talk about exhausting.

She was against CIO, at first. She had read the research about how CIO can “damage the parent/child relationship”.

But then she talked to a trusted friend who explained that giving your child the gift of sleep DOES NOT harm them!

Holly realized her girls were playing her. They didn’t need those bottles. It was habit. A bad habit that was making babies and mommy not get the sleep they needed every night!

Holly realized sometimes as moms we’ve got to do something that isn’t “pleasant”.

I LOVE her post about her experience with letting her girls CIO to learn to sleep through the night.

She explicitly explains her thought process:what she tried to get the girls to sleep that didn’t work, the issues in her own mind that were holding her back from teaching her girls to sleep, what motivated her to let her girls CIO, how she did it (she explains step by step) and the final results, which are astounding!!

These were her final words on her post:

I must say, I was completely and utterly in disbelief, totally against doing anything that might, by research accounts, "harm my baby" but let me tell you, I HAVE MY LIFE BACK and my children are NOT harmed the least bit! This is the most wonderful gift I have been given! I can’t tell you how lucky I feel and how IT PROVES that I was the one HOLDING THEM BACK. I swore I would never do that and I was the one making this happen, not them. I feel bad for that. They wanted to sleep through the night, and I wasn’t giving them the tools to be able to do so.

Here is the link to Holly’s CIO post.

As far as my blog, feel free to leave your positive experiences with CIO. Negativity on the CIO Debate is not welcome here. There are many other places for you to go and say your two cents on the matter. This is just not the place!

This post is simply meant to encourage anyone who may be on the fence about doing CIO. CIO is certainly not for every family. You have to do what is best for yours.

I hope Holly’s post will help you see that you will not “damage your child for life” if CIO is done simply to teach your baby/toddler to fall asleep and stay asleep.

CIO can be done responsibly and Holly’s story is a wonderful example!!

Sleep Issues: Advice please

Here is what is going on:

Sweet Pea had stopped (on her own) waking for a feed around 4am each night. Then, she started waking again. I assumed it was a growth spurt so, of course, I fed her. But then, she continued to wake up.

It became obvious that she was not really waking from hunger because she would not take the feed well. Or, she would eat well but then the next day she had a hard time eating all day long. As in, she would take almost her entire wake time to eat! (Wake time is a little less than a hour.) Even stretching her feeding intervals didn’t help her have more of an appetite to eat. That also was not due to tummy troubles because there was no spit up or discomfort.

This is what happened to make me know she did NOT need that feed. At 4am she woke and took 5 ounces. She has NEVER taken 5 ounces in her life. I am always fearful of giving her larger amounts of formula, afraid that it will hurt her tummy. But, she took the 5 ounces perfectly okay, without spitting up or being uncomfortable at all.

But then, the next day, she took FOREVER to eat most every feed. That told me that I need to help her metabolism realize that she needs to eat during the DAY and not the night.

So, two nights ago I decided I would not feed if she woke up. She woke at almost 6am the first time I decided not to give the 4am feed!! I just gave her the paci and she made it to wake up time.

Then, last night she woke up at 4:15. I gave her the paci. She woke again around 6 and then again at a little after 7. Every time she woke I jumped up and gave her the paci.

I am still at my parents’ house and my mom said she would come get Sweet Pea in the morning for her first feed so I could sleep in.

When I woke up this morning, I came downstairs and the first thing my mom said was that Sweet Pea seemed so tired this morning. She asked me if she had slept well and I said that she had not slept well (deep sleep) since 4am because she kept waking needing the paci.

Let me stop here and say that if I felt Sweet Pea needed that 4am feed, I would absolutely give it to her. The only reason this has become a “problem” is because Sweet Pea is showing signs of not needing that feed anymore, she is certainly in the age range to not need that feed (although that is not a determining factor for dropping it since every baby’s needs are different), and she is showing paci dependency during the 4am to 8am hours.

The fact that she wants to suck on the paci from 4 to 8am and wakes if it falls out does not tell me that is hungry. That tells me her brain is not trained to just sleep through that period of time (4-8am) and she needs help learning to sleep through that time. If she truly was hungry and needing food, I believe she would not be satisfied with that paci and wouldn’t go back to sleep with it, only to wake up again when it falls out.

If you’ve read my blog before, you know I am not opposed to doing CIO. I did that with Little Bug at 3 months old and have had relatively NO sleep issues with her her entire life.

I intend to do CIO with Sweet Pea too BUT several things must be in line for me to be able to do CIO responsibly and confidently.

When I sleep train Sweet Pea I want to be confident that she is no longer experiencing tummy troubles.

For the record, I am confident these restless hours of sleep for Sweet Pea (4-8am) are NOT from tummy troubles.

From my experience with CIO, I believe CIO is most effective when you can be 100% sure there is no other reason baby is crying except for the fact that they just need to learn to put themselves to sleep and stay asleep!

I am probably being ultra conservative on this, but that is the only way I can be 100% confident about doing CIO and expect awesome results.

At the same time, I have got to figure something out for the mean time.

Being awake/half asleep (for both of us) from 4-8am is going to get old fast. I can’t function on that kind of sleep and the fact that my mom noticed Sweet Pea seemed tired means my baby is not getting acceptable sleep. I know the value of uninterrupted sleep and I want to give that gift to Sweet Pea, too, as soon as possible.

I know there are other sleep training methods out there that do not involve crying and that is where you come in!!

What sleep training method could I use with Sweet Pea during the 4-8am hours that does NOT involve her crying??

The Great CIO Debate (on the heels of Kerri)

A post that a blogger friend of mine wrote about “The Great CIO Debate” got me thinking about some things.

As many of you know I did use the CIO (cry it out) method with Little Bug. When I think of my experience with the CIO method I think the words sleep training more accurately describe what I did with Little Bug.

I think the general public associates letting your baby cry it out with a baby screaming bloody murder in the crib for hours to the point of possibly vomiting from being so upset.

When I think of sleep training I think of a baby who is cat-napping all day long and who constantly wakes in the night needing to be soothed back to sleep. Here is a baby who just needs to be taught how to go to sleep and stay asleep. And one way to teach baby is to use the CIO Method.

And yes, good sleeping habits must be taught. Why wouldn’t they? We have to teach (train) our children in every other area of their life, why wouldn’t we need to train them to have good sleeping habits as well?

Think about this for a minute with me. A baby is not born saying “please and thank you” on their own. Just this morning Little Bug started whining for more toast at breakfast. It was an ornery whine, not polite at all and not the way I want my daughter to ask for more food at the table. Here was an opportunity to teach her some manners. So I said, “Little Bug, that is not how you ask Mommy for more toast. You say ‘More please.’” Little Bug stopped the whining and said, “Psss.” – her way of saying “Please”! Manners must be taught.

Babies aren’t born knowing how to use the potty. It must be taught! Babies aren’t born knowing how to read. It must be taught! Babies aren’t born knowing how to be responsible and honest. It must be taught! And the list could go on and on, but I will stop there.

Now enters the question, Why teach a baby to have good sleeping habits?

Right after Little Bug was born and I was on a book reading frenzy to read all about babies so I would know how to care for Little Bug (by the way, I stopped doing that pretty quickly because it was too overwhelming), I came across several books and articles on the internet that explained the sleep cycles of a baby and informed readers how important uninterrupted sleep is to the growth and development of infants. (Now looking back on my book reading frenzy, the information I got about a baby’s sleep cycle is probably the most helpful information I could have read at that time!)

It was so enlightening to read and learn about a baby’s sleep cycle. It helped me understand what Little Bug was doing so much. I learned that a baby goes through light sleep and then transitions to deep sleep every 40-45 minutes while sleeping. This is why it is not uncommon for a baby to wake after sleeping for only 40-45 minutes if they have not be taught how to transition themselves into the deep sleep cycle without needing assistance. Plus, just like adults wake several times in the night (but may not even be aware of doing so!), babies wake in the night too. Adults know how to roll over and go back to sleep. Babies can learn to do the same too.

Now lets go back to the “CIO Method” verses the “Sleep Training” word usage. Yes, I do realize they are virtually the same thing.

Babywise makes a profound statement. It goes something like this: Start as you mean to go. Many of the sleep issues parents encounter stem from starting something with baby that eventually grows into something more instead of starting sleep training.

Let me explain using my experiences with Little Bug.

I’m not saying don’t ever use any kind of sleep prop like the paci, swing, vibrating bouncy seat. Little Bug used all of these during those “survival mode” weeks. In my opinion those weeks don’t count. I know that Babywise suggests you start sleep training right away. I didn’t start sleep training my 2 week old infant, but I knew, even when she was 2 weeks old that I would sleep train her eventually.

So how did I know when??

Little Bug had been napping well. I would lay her down on her tummy on a blanket on the floor with her paci. I would, of course, stay right with her while she napped because she was on her tummy. For a couple weeks, that was our naptime routine and it worked well.

It wasn’t long and Little Bug started waking after only 40-45 minutes into the nap. I noticed that if I stuck the paci back in her mouth, she would go back to sleep and finish the nap.

Great!

Actually this was great on a short-term level. I got her to finish the nap, but she relied on that paci-insert mid-nap to finish the nap and she was not getting that valuable uninterrupted sleep.

Start as you mean to go. I knew if I started inserting the paci, I would be taking something invaluable away from Little Bug: The ability to put herself to sleep and stay asleep.

If I started paci-inserts for naps it would only be a matter of time before paci-inserts would be needed in the middle of night multiple times. Before I knew it, I’d have a baby on my hands that does not know how to get to sleep and stay asleep without paci-inserts mid-sleep cycles. Which would lead to much interrupted sleep of both baby and myself!

I knew it was time to sleep train Little Bug.

She was exactly 15 weeks old when I knew the time was right for both of us.

That is key. Timing is everything. YOU as mom have to be ready and baby needs to be ready too.

I knew if letting her cry it out was going to work I couldn’t pick her up in the middle of the crying or else it would take that much longer for her to learn.

Little Bug was already on a good eat/wake/sleep cycle. Before the next nap I fed her well, made sure she had a clean diaper and waited for those sleepy signs so that Little Bug would be at an optimal time for a nap.

It took Little Bug about 50 minutes of crying to go to sleep on day one of sleep training. With every nap after that, the crying was drastically less and less. Within a couple weeks Little Bug was going to sleep with no crying at all.

(Now, don’t go thinking Little Bug’s naps were perfect from then on out, because they were not.)

I am confident that we never had to reach the blood curdling cries and crying till you vomit because I started sleep training at precisely the right time for Little Bug and me.

If I had continued paci-inserts, saying, “I’ll sleep train her later, when she is older.” the problem would have just snowballed and gotten bigger and bigger and harder and harder to resolve.

I’ve never tried to sleep train a 1 year old, but based on my experience with sleep training a 3 month old, I would say it is WAY HARDER to sleep train the 1 year old.

Why?

Because the one year old has been trained (whether mom realizes it or not) to need her breast, bottle, paci (or whatever is being used to get baby back to sleep) to get back to sleep only for the cycle to repeat itself an hour or two or three later. You end up with a baby and mother who do not get that precious uninterrupted sleep at night and a baby who does not nap long (or at all) during the day.

Sleep training the one year old is possible (so I’ve heard), but sleep training before reaching the point of first training your baby to need something to sleep is so much easier on everyone.

Sleep training is HARD WORK, no matter the age!! But it is so worth it.

I attribute my pediatrician’s comments that Little Bug is “advanced” and all the comments I get from people about Little Bug being so “happy, curious and alert” to the fact that Little Bug gets the uninterrupted sleep she needs every day. (Not to say that all babies who aren’t sleep trained are dumb, just to clarify! My husband apparently didn’t sleep for the first 9 months of his life and he is one of the smartest people I know.)

Parenting is tough. It is hard work. To me, sleep training has taken away some of the stress of parenthood. My baby is well-rested and I am well-rested and, on those hard days, that in and of itself, is what has probably made all the difference in the world!

Think about yourself for a minute. Remember the last time you were sleep-deprived and exhausted to the point you felt you could just crash and sleep for days. Your mind isn’t as sharp, you can’t process things well and even the smallest things can make you emotional and upset. But if you are well-rested you are alert on the job and something may happen that if you were tired would make you go off the deep end, but if you are rested you are better able to process and deal with the issue at hand.

Why would it be any different for babies?? Babies need uninterrupted sleep! It is a skill they must be taught. When is entirely up to the parent to decide. How is entirely up to the parent to decide. CIO is not the only way to sleep train your child.

Bottom line is this: You have to do what is best for you and your baby. You can’t just do what I say I did with Little Bug and be fine because you are not me and Little Bug isn’t your baby! You can’t do what your mom or anyone else tells you to do. You HAVE to do what you feel is right and the best thing for you and your baby. If sleep training is the answer, start now! The older baby is the harder it is going to be to sleep train. If constant night waking is okay with you because you know it is only for a season and your 10 year old won’t be waking you up in the night, then … (man, I feel for you). 🙂 But seriously, one day you won’t have a baby waking you up in the night because they will be off at college and these sleep-deprived days will be a distant memory.

I feel my blogger friend’s pain as she is trying to figure out what to do about sleep training, CIO and everything else that comes along with it! Many hesitate to let baby CIO (even for that one 50 minute CIO session Little Bug had) because they are afraid they are going to harm the baby in some way.

I could write an entire post on that I’m sure, but since this post is already an eternity long I am going to sum it up in this way: Done responsibly, I don’t feel letting baby CIO for the purposes of sleep training is harmful to baby. Let me define responsibly.

I believe doing CIO responsibly means you lay baby down for a nap when you are 100% sure that baby is 1) showing sleepy signs and is ready for a nap, 2) has been fed and you are 100% sure that if baby cries when laid down he/she isn’t crying from hunger, pain, sickness, 3) baby has a clean diaper. If there was even a slight possibly that any of those factors could be playing into Little Bug’s crying 1) the CIO session would never begin or 2) Little Bug would be retrieved from the crib and her need would be met.

Following these rules/guidelines I always felt confident that the crying would not harm Little Bug because all other needs were met and she just needed to go to sleep. It was what was best for her. She was tired. Catnaps didn’t cut it for her. She would wake up grumpy after only a 45 minute nap. After sleep training and she learned to keep herself asleep for the duration of the nap, Little Bug would wake up so happy. Did I like hearing her cry? Absolutely not. Like I said, parenting isn’t easy. Sometimes we have to do things we don’t like because it is what is best for our child. (I am not saying CIO is what is best for your child! I am saying that I knew CIO was best for MY child, so I had to let her do it, even though it was hard to hear her cry.)

And really, the only way a baby has to communicate is to cry. If she could have talked to me about our sleep training process, our conversation might have gone something like this:

Little Bug: Mama, I really don’t want to be in this crib right now!!!

Me: I know, Little Bug. But you are sleepy and you need to take a nap. It is what is best for you. When you wake up Mama will hold you and rock you and love on you all you want! Go to sleep now and take your nap! See you when you wake up!

Little Bug: But I want you to hold me while I take a nap.

Me: Well, Little Bug, there are times for that. Like at church, when you are so sleepy and just want a nap, but there is no bed for you. Mama holds you then. We are home now and you get your best sleep and rest when you are in your crib! Plus, while you are sleeping Mama is going to go clean the bathrooms and start some laundry so that when you wake up we can eat some lunch and then go swing at the park!

Ok – I know. That “summary” turned into another post! I thought about making this 2 posts but decided to just keep it all together.

So, there you have it. My experiences and opinions about the great CIO debate! It’s just that – my experience and opinions. I do realize you may have entirely different experiences and opinions and that is okay!

Remember: DO WHAT IS BEST FOR YOU AND YOUR BABY!

So BIG!

Month three has been a BIG month of growth for Little Bug!

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We took Little Bug to Olive Garden (our favorite) for the first time last weekend. She sat with us at the table for a while and then when she got sleepy she fell asleep in her car seat.

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The shoes you see Little Bug wearing are the one I had for her to come home from the hospital in. They were entirely TOO BIG for her teeny tiny feet when she came home from the hospital weighing only 5lbs. 10 oz.! Last Sunday for church I put them on her feet and they finally fit!

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Little Bug is learning to grab and hold her toys!

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Little Bug is doing very well with tummy time!

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And Little Bug’s greatest accomplishment this month …

sleeping in her crib for naptimes!

She continues to do so well!! Today, I had a Baby Shower at my house for Angele. In the middle of the shower I was holding Little Bug and noticed she was getting sleepy and ready for another nap. I was hesitant to go lay her down in her crib, afraid she would cry. So I kept holding her. She would fall asleep in my arms but kept waking up. She started to fuss so I decided to be brave and lay her down in the crib.

Turns out that is exactly what Little Bug wanted me to do! I laid her down in her crib and she immediately went to sleep and took a good nap!

Little Bug’s a Champ!

I’m so proud of Little Bug (and myself)!

Nap #1: Cried for 10 minutes when laid down and then went to sleep. After an hour, woke but put herself back to sleep twice! She had a 3 hour nap!

Nap #2: Only a slight whimper when she laid down. Two hour nap!

Nap #3: Cried for 5 minutes and is now sleeping soundly.

It does my heart so good to know that I can help Little Bug learn to sleep well. She wakes up so happy and has been eating so well today. She is rested when it is time to eat and I think this attributes to her getting in a good feeding.

There is nothing like a well-rested, happy baby!

As an extra bonus, Little Bug took her second nap at my parents’ house today. I want to train her to be able to sleep wherever we are. That way, when we travel, Little Bug won’t have sleeping issues because she will be trained to sleep when she is sleepy and will not have to have her crib to sleep.

It is really cool how a baby who “needed” her passy to sleep two days ago is now taking 2 and 3 hour naps without a passy at all!

Thanks for all the encouragement!

Day 2 of CIO

Little Bug is napping now and only cried for 10 minutes when I laid her down!

I’ve loved Little Bug since the moment she was first placed in my arms in the hospital.

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However, over the weeks and months that have passed since that day, my love for her has only grown deeper and deeper.

Yesterday, our first day of “crying it out” at naptimes, made my love for her go even deeper.

I hated hearing her cry. It was so, so sad.

When she would wake up I couldn’t wait to get in her room and pick her up. She was all smiles and it just melted my heart to know this little creature is dependant on me for everything – including learning how to sleep.

Yesterday was a long, hard day for both of us. She really didn’t take very long to settle down to sleep after that first cry it out session that lasted almost an hour.

When she started crying when I laid her down for her nap this morning, I almost caved and let myself go get her. But I stopped myself because I know this is what is best for both of us.

When I read in a book that sleep is critical to proper growth and development of infants and children, I knew I had to do everything in my power to help Little Bug learn to be a good sleeper.

And I know there will come a day that she will look forward to naps, know when they are coming and will not cry when I lay her in her crib.

Until those days, I have to remain strong for both of us!

I pray every nap gets better and better and the crying ceases altogether very soon!