Well, Shit. Sleeping Like Shit that is

Last week I was excited to write a post about Zoe's sleep adventures and how well they'd been going - but that went to shit, so this post is not about sleeping well. It's about sleeping like shit. Sigh.

We had a hard time for the first 6 weeks getting Zoe on a good sleep schedule. But once we got it, the next 2-3 months were great. But, really, ever since month 3 or so, sleep has not gone well. People say, "Oh it's just a phase," but it's been going bad longer than it's been going well, with only select days that are an improvement, so I think we just have a poor sleeper (and apparently poor parent helpers).

Going down for bed at night is just about the only thing we do well. We have a nice routine starting at 6:30 that takes us to her bedtime at 7:30 that works great: eat and nurse, go on a walk or take a bath, read a story and then go to bed. We used to have SOBBING at night after we put her down and more often than not we would repeatedly need to go to her to calm her down until she finally went to sleep. Now she goes down calmly, we can hear her play for a little bit, and then she's usually actually asleep by about 7:45 or so. Once a week she has trouble and takes some tending to, but generally speaking, she's great going to bed at night.

That's where the sleep greatness ends

Everything else is pretty much a mess. And things we've tried so far haven't worked.

There are two big problems: she wakes up ALL THE TIME at night and she only sleeps for 30 minutes during the day. There are select times she sleeps for longer, but seriously, 90% of her naps are for 25-35 minutes. And usually just about the second the clock hits 30 minutes - she bounces up. Sometimes she still seems tired and cranky and I try to let her cry it out or figure it out on her own in hopes that she'll fall back asleep, but that has never worked. Sometimes I'll go in and try to coach her back to sleep, but that works MAYBE once a week. As a result she takes 3 naps a day. Usually by this time most babies are on two naps a day, but both of those naps are supposed tp last 1-2hrs and there has pretty much NEVER been a day that that has happened for Zoe. Despite our trying.

Chris and I have started to be more strict about nap time: one at 10 and one at 3. Our hope is that we can help her figure out how to condense them and that maybe she will sleep for longer each time. She usually has a catnap somewhere around 12, but we're trying to really stick to that.

Then there's the disaster of actually GETTING her to sleep for her nap because she fucking hates them. She is great at falling asleep while holding her, while in her carrier or in the car - but I will not be held a slave to her and only let her sleep those 3 ways. She needs to learn how to sleep on her own. But she hates the crib. Oy vey. THE SECOND we would hold her over it to set her down she would start wailing. A friend of mine's son hated his crib too, so she took it apart, put a mattress on the floor and he loved it. He would crawl around and play and then crawl up on his bed when he got tired. When he woke up, he'd crawl off and play again. (This was also suggested to me by a childhood friend). So far we've had the mattress on the floor for a couple of days and it hasn't worked great :( She'll crawl around and play on her own for about 5 minutes, and then she figures out that she's on her own and she just starts bawling and literally sits right in front of the door waiting for someone to get her while she sobs

Then there's the question: do you let them cry it out?

Well, we're 8 months into her life and I feel like at this point she knows we love her and that we're here for her, so maybe we should let her cry it out. We've tried that for several weeks and that does NOTHING. A couple times she's fallen asleep after 10 minutes, but usually it's more like 30 and sometimes even an hour. Yes, an hour of crying after 2 weeks. It's miserable. And I just feel awful.

The only way she falls asleep during the day is if we're laying right next to her letting her hold our hands. So I thought getting a lovey might work. We bought one that had a bajillion awesome reviews on Amazon. I held it between us while we nursed for 2 weeks. She loves to hold my hand while I nurse her, so I would put it over my hand so that she could hold it and my hand at the same time to get used to it. Well, the little stinker hunted around till she could feel my hand without the lovey, and then hold my bare hand. She has no interest one bit in the lovey. Or anything soft and fluffy. Any stuffed animal like item that people have gotten her she could care less about.

Or the smell of lavender. As that was another suggestion

So everyday I end up going in there and coaching her to sleep. She's so fucking exhausted from sobbing by the time that I get in there that she falls asleep in about 1 minute with some hand holding (literally holding my hand), but it's hard that she can't get herself to sleep on her own better and that she hates it so much (yet she's fine with it at night). What's harder is that she just wakes up so soon afterwards when she still seems tired and can NEVER go back to sleep.

It's just so confusing to me that she doesn't seem to have the problem at night, but during the day she just absolutely does not seem to want to sleep on her own at all. If I'm out running errands with her she'll fall right asleep in the car (she takes longer in the carrier because she likes to look at everything), but again, there's no way I'm doing that for every nap, every day

Then there's the night time sleeping adventures of waking up all the time and still nursing twice a night. Sigh.

I was trying to wean her from night feeding about 2 weeks ago by dropping one minute from each nighttime feeding every couple of days. But that went out the window when I was falling asleep while feeding her at night because I was fucking exhausted.

But she wakes up alllll the time. We used to track it in a spreadsheet we made (to see if the amount of time we were holding her, how much activity she had in a day or how much she ate made a difference in her sleep pattern - it didn't), but sometimes she would wake up 6-9 times a night. No exaggeration. Now she's down to about 3-4 on average, but it's still miserable. Especially when she wakes up and won't go back to bed for 60-90 minutes which is guaranteed to happen at least once a week. Those nights are awful. And we've had 2 in a row - Wednesday she was up for 85 minutes around the 2 o'clock hour and last night she was up literally every 20-40 minutes from 11:30-3 (we were in bed by 10:30), then she sobbed or wanted to play from 3-4 even after I fed her to go to sleep. Chris literally had to hold her down because she was sobbing and flailing around so much. I hate feeding her to get her to go back to sleep because I know at this age she doesn't need to eat every 3 hours at night like she wants to and I don't want to set up an awful habit of her needing to nurse to go back to bed. But eventually when Chris and I have been up for 75 minutes with her at 2 in the morning, that's usually what happens

If it wasn't for my mom who is babysitting her a lot this month and the babysitter we have who comes on Wednesdays (who we LOVE), I seriously don't know what I would do with myself because my exhaustion level is reaching manic proportions. (And napping during the day has always been really hard for me - it takes me a while to fall asleep and I'm sure by the time I actually fell asleep, Zoe would just be waking up, resulting in an even crankier mama).

There is good news though: Zoe is a VERY happy baby

Really, besides the awful sleep I have no complaints. Sure, she is very active and wants to go out and about all the time and has more energy than I do - but that's actually pretty fun. If I was getting more sleep I could keep up with her better. She loves to hang around me and Chris and play, play, play. I love her more than anything and she just brightens my day every single day. But I would also be lying if sometimes she didn't get on my last nerve with the difficulty she has going to sleep, and the apparent difficulty I have helping her do so.

Here's her rough schedule: she wakes up usually between 7-7:30. She gets naturally tired around 9:30-10:30 (we're trying the strict nap at 10). Then she usually wants a catnap around 12:30. Her next natural tired point is 3-4 (we're trying the strict nap at 3). And then it's starting her nighttime routine at 6:30 and bedtime at 7:30.

These are all the things we've tried for nap time:

  • Letting her sleep when she's tired - which she seems to do anyways, but this was a lose idea of her nap schedule to see if it would help if we just let her sleep whenever.
  • Carrying her to get to bed, then transferring - never works. The SECOND she can feel that you're not holding her, she wakes up and goes back to sleep
  • 2-3-4 napping schedule - this wouldn't work for her because she naps for so little it would literally put her bedtime at 5:30, and there's no way she'll sleep for the night then
  • A lovey - not interested at all when it smells like momma (first try) or lavender (second try)
  • Nap time in the crib - OMG hated the crib
  • Nap time with the mattress on the ground - still working on that one, but not looking good
  • Nap time on our bed where she sleeps at night - this one might give her a longer nap every once in a while, but not anything near consistently, and I want her to be able to move to her own room eventually, so I don't want to do that all the time
  • White noise - we do this for her at night, and I know it helps getting her to sleep because she can't hear us, but I honestly think it makes no difference after, and certainly makes no difference at nap time
  • Dark room - shades up, shades down - no difference
  • Crying it out - disaster
  • Nursing to sleep - it gets her to sleep most times, but has no influence on how long she sleeps, and it's a habit I really don't want to start
  • Strict nap schedule - we're on this now, but it doesn't seem to work
  • Tiring her out with playing - letting her crawl all around all day long and explore certainly makes her tired, but it doesn't have an influence on how well she sleeps consistently
  • Tiring her out going out and about - we thought all the stimulus might help to tire her out, nope. Nada
  • Wearing her a lot - this seemed to help when she was very little, but it doesn't work anymore
  • Taking it easy - not doing much during the seems to work in the opposite direction and she has a cabin fever freak out anywhere from 3pm on
  • Making sure she's got a full belly before - we do this with sleeping at night too, but it doesn't work. Letting her graze for 2 hours before, nursing her before, giving her a full meal before - nothing has an influence
  • Us nap with her - that will get her to sleep longer, but a lot of times I just can't do it because I can't nap well during the day (rest assured today I'll be doing it though because I'm a fucking walking zombie)
  • Tylenol or Orajel when she's teething (also used at night) - that seems to help sometimes, but I also can't tell if she's just sobbing because she doesn't want to nap, or she's actually in teething pain
Alright, I think that's it, so if any of you have more suggestions, please, I'm all ears.


Michelle said...

I feel for you! The no sleep thing is the WORST and nothing will make you loose your sh$t faster than sleep deprivation.

I wish I had some words of wisdom (I have four kids, ages 7-17), but man, you have tried it all! We had our younger two sleep with us in bed and by about 6 months, they did much, much better in the crib, where they had their own space. But, you said she hates the crib, so that might not work well for you.

All I can say is hang in there! One day it will be over and within about 7 days you will not even be able to remember how the heck you made it through :-)

Kelly said...

I have 3 boys and I swear I didn't get a good night sleep for years and years!! Some nights I would pray that they would just take a pacifier (which none of them did) because I was so tired of nursing. My boys used nursing in the middle of the night as a pacifier. I'm like you not a good sleeper and have never been a nap taker. We didn't allow them in our bed - no way could I have slept with kids in the bed, lol! I wish I had words of advice - do you have a guest bed? Maybe take turns with Chris sleeping with her in a different bed so that at least one of you can get a good nights sleep. Sending you good thoughts - it's SOO hard - and then they turn into teenagers and you can't get them out of bed, lol! I was always so jealous of friends who had kids that slept well!

Laurie said...

Since you're willing to let her cry it out - my suggestion is to tough that one out. If she is eventually going to be "rescued" while she's still crying, she knows she just has to stick with it and eventually you'll pick her up. So you have to plan on an evening or two where you will go in and soothe her, let her know you're still around, but not pick her up. She can still cry but you go in and reassure her with your voice, pat her, and then leave. It will take a long time the first night, a lot less the second, and that should be about it. You know she's OK, just crying, but she's figured out that if she sticks with it, you'll get her up eventually. it might take 3 or 4 hours, but the fact that she falls asleep so fast after you do go in and pick her up means she's tired, so you just have to outlast her. Psyche yourself up for a couple of days of this and you'll survive. If she wakes up in the middle of the night, same thing, reassure her with your voice, pat her, and then let her fuss and she will figure out it's time to sleep.

It sounds like you're mentally ready to do this, and going in to check on her will reassure you she's OK. If it takes 6 hours the first night (!), oh well, you weren't sleeping anyway, right? The next night it will be a lot less, and probably she'll go right to sleep the next night.

RT_Boyce said...

Oh yeah, I am flashing back about 17 years right now, to the crying it out thing - which I just could not manage to do. I think the sheer personal fatigue made it impossible for me to be resolute. I can’t believe I recall it so vividly.
Anyway! Our general sleeptime solution was nursing to sleep at night. Maybe this was “giving in”, but it worked well - I could nurse without fully waking up after a certain point. And I was a bit strict - it was nursing or I’d go back to sleep - I would not talk, read, or play. We also eliminated naps longer than an hour, because those were effectively subtracting from nighttime sleep hours. But I never tried any nap enforcement/scheduling other than that - the nap thing was changing too rapidly month to month to set nap times. Some months there were no naps, some short naps, and some I was waking her after an hour.
However, there are many ideas for promoting a deep sleep. I know people who took a drive every afternoon to put the tot to sleep, then parked in the driveway and kept an ear out - obviously with the car door open and not going too far away! Then there was a teacher who could only get his son to sleep by leaving the vacuum cleaner running. Once you hear a few of these stories, you realize that there are a lot of desperate, sleep-deprived parents trying all sorts of wacky things. And kids respond to really unpredictable ideas.
I encourage you to keep trying, eventually some compromise will work for your family. And maybe next month will be better!

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with the previous commenter. My son was not a good sleeper for the first 6 months of his life. He never slept more than 3 hours at a time. He was bottle-fed and my husband and I alternated nights sleeping in his room on a twin bed so at least one of us got a good night of sleep. At our six-month appointment, our pediatrician told us that he should be able to sleep through the night. He told us to let him cry it out and to cut out the nighttime feedings cold turkey. The first night, he cried for about a half hour. We followed the Ferber method, went in at intervals, just soothing but never picking him up. The same thing happened at about 2am that night. By the second night, he cried for about 20 minutes but slept through the night. By the third night, he went down with only 5 minutes of crying and amazingly even slept through 4th of July fireworks. At 14 months, he still occasionally cries when he first put him to bed and briefly cries at night when he is sick or teething but we almost never go into his room.

Every kid is different but crying it out really worked for us. And remember, it is better for Zoe to sleep through the night too. We also found that our son did better with naps and ate better during the day once we cut out the nighttime feedings. Good luck!

Melanie said...

I'm not much of a commenter, but I felt like I needed to today because you are describing my little one!! I have 2 boys and both are bad sleepers; but my oldest (who is 2.5 now) could give Zoe a run for her money. He didn't sleep through the night until 18 months and alternated between being up a lot (6-9 times was a norm at our house too) and being up for extended periods of time (which I agree is the worst).

Our second is 7 months now and from 3 months onward he became a terrible sleeper with an average of 4-8 wake ups upon which I would nurse him to sleep.

I realized I couldn't do it again. So we let him cry it out; following the "sleep easy solution". The key was consistency and NEVER giving in. (I sucked so much with this that it's actually my husband that does all the wake ups while I put in ear plugs and rock myself back and forth in a corner. Not exaggerating!)

In a week he went from 4-8 wake ups to only 1 or 2 and they only lasted 5-10 minutes. After a few weeks he sleeps through the night (I still do a dream feed at 1 a.m.) but is a crazy early riser (5:30). But I'll take it compared to the sleep I was getting a few months ago.

Naps still suck - both my boys did the 30 minute nap thing. My eldest did start napping for 2 hours out of the blue at like 15 months which is AMAZING. Safe to say that our 2.5 year old naps more per day than our 7 month old.

GOOD LUCK. I feel your pain and have been in your shoes.

Laura said...

I'm a mom of four boys and first of all, let me tell you how wonderfully you are doing with her. It's clear from your posts and your photos that this baby girl has wonderful parents.

I raised my babies before co-sleeping was popular. What I'm going to say next is going to sound judgey, but it is SO NOT, just an observation. That is this: I notice baby parents of this generation complaining so much more about sleep issues than us older moms who put our babies to sleep in cribs all the time. The problem is, even though you've done everything you can to be predictable and consistent, the one factor you don't have between bedtime and naptime is you. You don't sleep with her at naptime. That is probably bothering her more than anything. You're not just trying to teach her to sleep, you're trying to teach her to sleep without you. That's going to be tough.

That said, I support the idea that Laurie has mentioned, even though it's a rough go for parents. I would also add this piece of advice: you can't "make" your baby fall asleep. That's her job. It's a skill they have to learn, so for that reason it's better if they go to the crib or bed or wherever sleepy, fed, bathed, and bedtime routined, but still awake. I know that sounds counterintuitive, but it's part of them learning that they have self-control over their own bodies, something that gives them confidence as they grow as their own independent little person. She shouldn't need nursing, and you should keep night-time as boring as possible: no lights, no toys, no music, no games.

You should also consider the possibility that she is one of those rare kids that needs a lot less sleep than the average. They do exist. She might sleep better during the night if you eliminate the morning nap entirely and put her down for an afternoon nap right after lunch. Most babies start giving up their morning nap at around 14-18 months. So it would be early for her, but not beyond the realm of possibility.

I know when you're going through the middle of this, it seems endless. You can't see beyond the exhaustion. I remember it like it was yesterday (my youngest, my twins, are now 10). But we got through it. You will too. I promise. And don't beat yourself up about this; you're doing great!

paint it yellow said...

Let's see, what can I remember? Because it's all a nice foggy blur at this point.

Have you tried stroller naps? My daughter, who slept fine in her crib at night, also did not like to nap there. Just before nap time, (I totally agree, come up with a nap time that seems natural to her and stick to it like glue) we would head out for a walk in the stroller. Usually around the block would do and she'd pass out. Then we'd roll her into the house and let her nap there. Does your stroller recline?

Have you heard of the 30-minute monster? Something about the transition to REM startles them awake. Does she take a pacifier? I used to sneak into my daughter's room just before the 30 minute mark, and wait until she started to startle, plop that paci back in, hold it until it passes, then sneak back out to your own blissful sleep. If she doesn't take a paci, maybe sneak in and let her hold your hand for a minute?

Also, have you tried Hyland's teething tablets? We found those more effective than Tylenol and Advil.

Also, good luck!!!

LifeBegins@Thirty said...

As someone who had a bad sleeper AND a miserable kid (same kid jeesh) - I agree with Laura's technique above. And also (this isn't for everyone either) - if you are all going to suffer through CIO sleep training, I'd also go cold turkey on night feeds. If sometimes she wakes up and you let her cry, and then sometimes you feed her, it will be too hard. Zoe will hope that if she just cries longer you will either feed her or hold her hand or pick her up or whatever.

Listen - if you want, send me an email and I can let you know in more detail what we did. It worked though - Luca is now a champion sleeper and once he started sleeping, he became a much happier kid. Totally worth it!

Jessica said...

Here's the thing: cry it out seems like this magic thing, where if you just suffer long enough you'll get this great reward at the end. But that's not always how it works. Some kids just don't take to cry it out and they will sit and cry until they make themselves sick, and if they do fall asleep they wake up twenty minutes later just as pissed off, if not more, as they were when you put them down. I had two kids that did pretty well with cry it out and were sleeping through the night at six months. With my daughter, I thought I'd do the same thing. I learned that she was not the same as her brothers pretty fast. It wasn't until she was 18 months old that we really figured things out--she had stopped nursing and figured out how to sleep through the night.

We coslept with all three kids, but with our daughter the longest. I think one thing that helped transition to the crib was that she has a computer in her room with an aquarium screensaver. She LOVES fish, so she'll just sit there and talk to the fish. She also had one of those aquarium crib toys. I also seem to remember that just sitting in the room while she was in her crib helped a little, until I was sure she was really asleep. If Zoe wakes up every twenty minutes, I'd try sitting in there to see if she wakes up and goes back to sleep when she realizes you're still there.

Anonymous said...

I cannot tell you how much empathy I have for you. This is so fresh in my mind as we JUST came out the other side of this with DD. 8 months was a really, really low point. I was just so.damn.tired. She would be screaming for help and I'd think to myself, "I just really don't care about your problems." Not a proud mom moment.

I really see a lot going on in this post - so much frustration from you (which I know first hand is caused by the absolute mind fuck that is sleep deprivation), and so much inconsistency which is so confusing for Zoe.

With ever fiber of my heart and soul I believe that Zoe's problem is over tiredness. Every single word you've written describes my life until two months ago. The first step is to get a handle on her over tiredness. Sleep begets sleep. Listen to Zoe and get over what you think she "should" be doing. If she's tired and that means she goes to bed at 5:30 then put her to bed at 5:30. It will surprise the hell out of you, but she will sleep better and longer - even with such an early bed time. Promise. Trying to keep her up to overtire her in the hopes she'll sleep longer has clearly not worked for you. Sleep begets sleep.

Why do you think she should be able to nap on command at 10 and 3? If she's tired at 9:30 and you make her stay up until 10 and she only naps for 30 minutes, what have you accomplished? Sleep begets sleep. Trust.

Once I fully accepted that sleep begets sleep, life got so much better. Seriously there were days that all I did was put that baby to sleep because we were trying to climb out of a dark hole of over tiredness. It works.

Pay attention to Zoe's tiredness cues. I have seriously picked up my DD from a nap, changed a diaper and noticed she was still tired and put her back to sleep. And she sleeps better when I do that.

As far as WHERE she sleeps, even Ferber says do what works for naps. Do whatever works for naps until you can overcome the over tiredness. THEN you can address where she sleeps. You say you refuse to be a slave to the 3 places she will nap now. Let it go. It's not about you. She needs to sleep right now more than you need to be in control. Teach her where to sleep in a loving way after you both are more rested and remember this is temporary. It won't be every nap, every time for very long.

It might be time to stop co-sleeping. Middle of the night isn't a boring place to be when mom and dad are right there next to you. We did this gradually, because just tossing her in a room by herself and telling an 8 month old to figure it out when her entire life we had been there before seemed really cruel. We eased into it with having her in the crib in a side car configuration, then we put the side up on the crib and it was just next to the bed, then we moved it to the foot of the bed, then we slept down the hall so she was alone in our room. Once she was used to sleeping by herself in the crib in the familiar room, we moved the crib to her room. It took about 2-3 weeks.

The white noise machine is a lifesaver in our house. We even take it on vacation with us. If she uses it at night to sleep, then you need to absolutely use it at nap time. It's something that triggers her brain that now it's time to sleep.

As far as her crying when you hold her over the crib to set her down. I had lots of success with the pick up put down method and the heavy hands technique is working now.

My grandma, who has raised more babies than anyone I know, told me matter of factly, "when my babies woke up I fed them." I'm pretty sure no one judged her for it either or had any preconceived notions about what her babies "should" be doing or eating at what age. If you're okay with night nursing then carry on, if not maybe address weaning after the other sleep problems.

It is possible to come out of this without cry it out, but it takes a lot of work on your part.

Many, many virtual hugs.

Deb said...

Everything Laura said. And I agree that it does sound judgey - but it's not. Honestly, at this point you are exhausted, Chris is exhausted - and Zoe is exhausted. I think I'd put her back in her crib (where she can't get out) and just let her cry it out. It takes forever, you'll feel like a complete shit doing it but in the end you all need rest and she has to learn how to put herself to sleep and get herself back to sleep when she wakes up. It's so hard - I feel for you! You are NOT alone in this - millions of us have had the same issue so you are in good company :) Hang in there!

Anonymous said...

I thought cry it out (whatever "it" is supposed to be) for nap training was generally regarded as hit or miss. And I don't see how you can do cry it out for night time training when you're co-sleeping. So really, I'm super confused by the cry it out suggestions. Especially when you said you've tried it and 1 hour of crying for 10 minutes of sleep sure seems like a poor return on investment.

meryl rose said...

Thank you everyone for alllll of your advice. Chris and I talked a lot this weekend about what hte game plan should be going forward, and last night was the first night we put her to bed in her own bed. Hopefully that helps nap time sleeping as well. Honestly, having a place like this to get so many great opinions is invaluable, thank you!

Kelly said...

We had major problems with sleep also. From what you're describing, it sounds like she has not learned to soothe herself to sleep. The wakeup at 30 minutes is a sleep transition; she doesn't know how to make the transition alone. My son was like that too up til 10 months. I had read three different sleep training books (all different methods: CIO, non-CIO, and a mix) and tried some things and nothing worked. We didn't want to do CIO though so had only half-heartedly tried it before giving up. I was nursing him to sleep all the time. I didn't know what to do and even trying different sleep training methods was daunting because some things we tried only made it worse. Finally I found the Baby Sleep Site. They sell personalized sleep plans. You fill out a detailed form (which basically you've already done in this blog entry) and answer some questions about your baby's temperament and your parenting style/preferences, and they send you a step-by-step plan of exactly what to do. Then you get to email with them a few times if the plan isn't working or if you have questions. OMG our lives changed for the better after just a few days. Best money I ever spent in my life. He finally learned how to go to sleep by himself. Without even working on naps, his naps improved so much. Once he learned to go to sleep at night without a crutch and go through sleep transitions by himself, the naps improved automatically. Before that, all his naps were 35 minutes max. At 21 months, my son is not one of those kids your friends have who go to sleep at 7:30 pm and don't make a peep until 7:30 am. But he does sleep for 3-4 hour chunks alone, and takes a one hour and forty minute nap every day at daycare (at his age it's just one nap per day), with minimal work from the teachers. Google "baby sleep site" and you'll find it. Best of luck to you.

Kelly said...

Also, just wanted to add that a lot of the comments are right on. But children are all different, so the same thing doesn't work for everyone. However, it is SO TRUE that sleep begets sleep, and overtiredness counterintuitively makes it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. Look for those pre-sleepy signs and get ready for a nap or bedtime; if she's already yawning and rubbing her eyes, it's borderline too late and she needs to be put down right away. You probably can get on a schedule later, but for now you just gotta get her rested so she is ready to learn to sleep better.

Again, good luck. I sympathize so much. I have been just where you are. There's a ton of good advice out there. One of the most important things I learned is that you have to commit 100% to whatever plan you choose. If you occasionally "give in" and do something that's not in the plan, it can set you back so far. It seems worth it when you're tired in the moment, but it's not.

Erin said...

(Ugh I wrote this on Saturday but it didn't post! Good to hear she had a night on her own...)

Wow, you have amazingly smart friends. I especially love the last anonymous post. Unfortunately, I don't think the cosleeping is helping her. She's used to sleeping with you and that could be why naps are so tough.

Our 2 year old used to have to be nursed to sleep and I did that all the way up to 15 months even though that wasn't teaching her how to sleep (as moms have said, sometimes you'll do anything for sleep! That was working and no way was I going to change it.). Well of course that stopped working eventually and she didn't know how to fall asleep on her own... There were a couple of weeks where I had to lay on the floor next to her crib until she fell asleep. That sucked. I had to try CIO. As previous posters have said, consistency is key. Follow those minute guidelines exactly. Put on headphones to drown out the crying, knowing you are doing what's best for her.

A few random comments:

* my eldest loved one of those aquarium things attached to the crib with the slow moving fish and soft sounds. Life changer. The youngest could care less about it.

* both of my kids were swaddled until 6-8 months and then slept in a sleep sack until 18 months or so to keep down on the flopping around and standing up.

* my eldest was attached to the pacifier from 3 weeks until 3 years. I thanked god every day for the blessing of the pacifier and I don't even believe in god! Lol. With my youngest, strangely, she only started to like the pacifier around 6 months or so. I knew how wonderful it was, so I kept offering it to her. I'd say that it *may* not be too late to try.

* with both kids, we let them sleep with a bottle in their beds (yeah yeah, but we valued their sleep, and our sleep, over possible teeth problems!!). If she likes to nurse in the night, this could help. Eventually we changed from milk to water in the bottle and then they would be less inspired to wake up for it. ;)

* a previous poster had an interesting thought that she's overtired. If that's true, you could try using all those sleep aids (sleep in car, sleep in arms, sleep in stroller) in hopes that she'll "catch up" on her sleep and therefore will be more ready and willing to sleep longer in general.

* agree on the hylands tablets - we liked those better for teething.

* for many months with both kids, my husband slept on the couch. We learned quickly that I function much better without sleep than he does!!

You are both doing great. All parents have gone through versions of this. You will survive and it DOES get better!!

P.S. I'm writing this in the car as my 2 year old is sleeping in her carseat for a nap that she normally starts at 1pm that started at 10:30am. I'll do anything for sleep. :)