baby sleep, motherhood, parenting

Aisha’s ‘sort-of-cry’ sleep solution [patent pending]

I’ve written about my child’s sleep issues [and by direct consequence- my sleep issues] at length and the difficulty of waking up multiple times and the resulting oatmeal brain I was sporting for weeks on end. I’m happy to share that we’ve gone from tearful up-down-pat-down to him passing out once his head hits the lambskin, and from 5-6 wakings to 1-2. [though there are certainly days that are exceptions to the new rule]. Awesome? doesn’t begin to describe it.

I thought once I got to the my baby sleeps! stage I would, in the vein of sleep experts everywhere, [or at least how I imagine them to be] write a long and fanciful post with glasses perched on the bridge of my nose, sipping tea and elucidating pearls of wisdom on how I, Aisha, successfully put her baby to sleep- and how you can too! Except the truth? I have no clue what happened. One day we were all in tears at bed time- and then one day- we weren’t. While I’m not sure what happened I’ll share the top six theories floating around our home in the hopes that maybe something here will click for you if you are likewise struggling and searching for advice as desperately as I once was. And, if you have your own tried and true method, please do share!

Theory #1: The Sorta Cry Sleep Solution. When the night wakings became six nightly, cry-it-out became a serious consideration. I read up on it, blogged about it, talked to parents who did it, [and batted off parents who accused me of not appreciating my child enough for even thinking about doing it] and then finally one night, did it. We put him down at 8pm and per his pediatrician’s suggestion, did five minute intervals of crying and pat-downs. It was awful. To those of you who’ve done this for weeks on end- you have incredible resolve because we learned that first night of heart-wrenching soul-crushing tears that we were not cry-it-out folks and after an hour of straight screams K went upstairs and patted him to sleep. . . and then. . . he slept until six am. [though I spent the entire night waiting for him to wake up anyminutenow]The next night, when he began wailing five minutes after going down for the night, while we agreed we wouldn’t do cry-it-out again, we decided to take Kate’s suggestion and let him cry for ten minutes- and ten minutes only- just enough to get him tired and then pat him/rock him whatever he needed. But then, at minute eight? He fell asleep. The day after, same drill and at minute three? Asleep. The next night? He lay down for the night, closed his eyes, and fell asleep- no. battle. at. all. Did this mean we did cry-it-out and it worked? We’re not sure since we were told cry-it-out took days, not. . . day. Still, there were other things that coincided that could have had a part to play such as. . .

Theory #2: More feeding. When we switched to more solids in his diet, his doctor said a solids meal replaced a breastfeeding session. This led to him eating solids all day except first thing in the morning and right before bedtime [and then every two hours all night long]. Getting some baby recipes from Superfoods I was struck by the suggested feeding schedule which incorporated nursing snacks in between solid meals and decided to give it a try. I believe this goes a long way to make sure he gets hisΒ  required milk daily and may be contributing to his curbed demands for feedings at night.Β 

Theory #3: His own room. I wanted him to go to his own room once he slept six hour stretches since I didn’t want to get up and trekk to another room every two hours all night long but his sleep stretches began lengthening once he went to his own room and while I expected him to fight and cry about the change in environment- he actually liked it. We’re not sure why though we suspect the window in our room by his crib was drafty leaving him chilly at night. Whoops. Big whoops.

Theory #4: Noisy Fan. Our heater went kaput this month and space heaters were sold out everywhere so in an effort to keep the kiddo warm we got a heating fan. It was noisy and we worried he wouldn’t sleep- but it seems like it soothes him- blocks out chatter and clatter downstairs and could have a lot to do with this whole sleep solution.

Theory #5: Routine. While we had a routine: diaper and PJ change, nursing and bed, I now include story time and lullabies and I can tell once he sees me pull out the book that he knows sleep is soon at hand. At first he would look at the book and begin squirming and crying, now he smiles with a look of resignation as though he’s accepting this nightly fate. Even if this has nothing to do with it, I do love reading with my baby.

Theory #6: None of the Above. While I can’t find it online, many have told me that something clicks around 8-9 months with sleep regulating not from the stomach but instead from the brain. So really, it could be as simple as, it was simply time.

The biggest thing I learned from the entire saga is to trust my instincts. I respect the sleep experts but I’m a Waleed-expert. Its important to read the books if they help you feel better but remember the buck stops with you and you know more than you realize. In any case, I hope something here helps someone reading- and if not- I hope this gives a bleary eyed parent reading this post some hope that maybe one day, their bundle of never sleeping joy will one day also find slumber.

20 thoughts on “Aisha’s ‘sort-of-cry’ sleep solution [patent pending]”

  1. I'm glad that he's sleeping!!!!! I've heard that fans and white noise will help. I have always had to have a fan in my room even when it's 20 below outside! Pixie


  2. My memory is hazy but I think my experience was similar to yours. But I couldn't get rid of the last one-two feedings until I weaned her (at one year and eight months).


    p.s. I always read; just don't always comment πŸ™‚


  3. Pixie- I strongly suggest you invest in one! Everyone I know swears by them- and I wish I had thought of this sooner!

    Anon, thanks! Yay indeed! πŸ™‚

    Rasha, what made you choose to wean then? I am so confused about when to start that process. I had always planned to do nurse for six months- then it became one year- now that one year is approaching I'm feeling ambivlanet about quitting- but the idea of sleeping full uninterrupted nights if I wean is alluring. [And thanks for letting me know you still read :)]


  4. I don't remember on when I planned to wean before I had my daughter (maybe I thought one year was good?). But after having her, at some point I realized that I enjoyed breastfeeding and that I had a good supply and my daugher had become attached to it by then too. So, I thought two years max. I pumped until she was 8 mo old but then I stayed home with her. By the time she was nearing two, I was interviewing for jobs and I thought I better wean her now before she starts daycare. I was visiting my family for a week so they encouraged me to do it then because they could help distract her (and they did). I have to admit I was sad at first (to loose that bond). But eventually I was glad because she started sleeping through the night. I do see myself breastfeeding again for that long with another child (when/if I am blessed to have one). Breastfeeding is like motherhood more generally: you don't know how great it is until you try it (even though it can be the hardest thing you've ever done in your life).



  5. Sigh, Aisha, I have tried EVERYTHING! D has no trouble falling asleep, but STILL wakes up twice at night. The best part? Danny is 17 months old! My guess is that he wakes p hungry because he is such a BAD eater. My dark circles have started to make me look 10 years older then I am. Now I am just biding my time. He cannot possibly be doing this when he is 5. Or can he?


  6. So glad he's sleeping for you!! =) And I completely agree with your philosophy – each parent is their own best expert and has to find what works for them and theirs. But it sure helps hearing what works for others! πŸ™‚


  7. Rasha- I once upon a time was counting down until the end of the nursing time- and now I am sad that its almost a year- who knew? Thanks for your advice on the matter, I appreciate it.

    C, I've heard from some friends tha ta full night rest often happens around 2 years of age 😦 Hang in there! And I will put up the blurb tonight or tomorro wmorning, thank you !! πŸ™‚

    Kate, Amen sistah!!! πŸ™‚

    Banshee- yes- I make sure to post “conclusion” posts like this because I remember the days of scouring the internet for anything to give me some advice on what to do, lol. Hope your little guy is doing better- your perspectives on your blog helped me a LOT.


  8. Kmina, chances- there in lies the rub- while the odds are in our favor- you can't help but realize they are simply odds, lol. Last night? While he slept from 8:30-4:30- then it was 5:30, 6:00, 6:45 etc etc lol SIGH


  9. Salaam and congrats!

    Our experience with both was similar to Theory #1. We have to repeat every three months with both boys due to growth spurts, teeth or illness, but we usually only have one night of crying. We check 3 min, 5 min, 7 min, 10 min after the first night of every 3 min. We couldn't stand 5!

    We did it at 6 months for #1 and 18 months for #2 (who, btw, is still very attached– I am his comfort object due to co-sleeping).:)


  10. Thanks Shawna- and EXCELLENT point about having to “repeat”, he got sick and we were back on the 2-3 hour schedule again- and last night same deal- its important for me to remember its an ongoing saga- not a one-time-done-deal. So sweet about the 18 month old being attached- its frustrating but then again- its sweet how close they can be to us.

    πŸ™‚ Mystic πŸ™‚


  11. We recently started sleep training with our 6 month old as well. We found we weren't much of the cry-it-out kind of folks either but found the routine thing to be our missing link to sleeping through, or at least almost sleeping through. Life really does begin to gain perspective with sleep again, doesn't it?


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