December 14, 2012

Why not just Cry-It-Out?

Crib training, for lack of a better phrase, is going about as well as to be expected. Which is to say, not particularly well. For the past couple nights, Nicki has been up just about every 90 minutes (the length of a typical baby sleep cycle.). I turned to Facebook to vent/commiserate with fellow parents, but most of the suggestions were to try cry-it-out, and specifically to let her cry. It’s not that I have a problem with cry-it-out; I expect to be employing that technique in the next month or so. I just don’t think it will work for us now, at this point in time.

The point of cry-it-out is to give babies the chance to develop a new skill, that of falling asleep on their own. That way, when baby inevitably stirs or starts to wakes up in the night he or she can put him or herself back to sleep. That may seem like our problem, but it’s actually not.

Nicki knows how to go back to sleep in her rock-n-play. Both Domingo and I have seen her do this on the video baby monitor many times.

Diagram of Rock n’ Play Sleep Position

The problem is the rock-n-play is very different from the crib and she hasn’t been able to transfer that skill to the crib yet. When she starts to stir in the crib she tries to get back in a position that she’s familiar sleeping in, the pike position from the rock-n-play. When she starts to wake up, she sticks her feet up in the air.

Rock n’ play sleep position does not work in the crib!

Of course this method, despite being very cute, doesn’t work. Nicki wakes up and becomes very frustrated and upset. She wakes up fully and breaks down.

The second, and much larger issue is that Nicki has never slept we’ll in the crib, even despite our nap time efforts. In terms of nighttime, it’s a different room, different way of sleeping and she’s alone for the first time ever. That’s a lot of change for a baby! If she doesn’t yet associate the crib with sleep, I don’t feel we can put her down “drowsy but awake” and hope she can figure it out.

So our first goal is to teach her that she can sleep in the crib. Then we’ll work on falling asleep on her own.

Our bed time routine is the same, right down to rocking her to sleep. When she wakes up we let her fuss. Unless the light turns red on the baby monitor for a sustained period of time, we let her be. Once she starts crying, however, we go get her, regardless of how long (or short) she’s been up.

There is a silver lining. Nicki tends to wake up more when she’s on her back than when she’s on her side. (I always put her down on her back per AAP’s recommendation.) I’ve noticed Nicki sleeping on her side from time to time. Last night she did go back to sleep once on her own. Maybe she’s learning after all?

Aside: there are lots of different cry-it-out strategies. The phrase uses the term ‘cry’ because crying is often inevitable, but that is obviously not the goal. Our wait-and-see approach is similar, but not a standard cry-it-out approach that I’ve seen.

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  1. […] you to the crib and away from my side was tough on both of us. You were doing much better in the crib, sleeping up to five hours straight! Alas, we hit a snag at […]

  2. […] three months of glorious, unheard of, newborn sleeping through the night. Then colds, travel, and transitioning to the crib hit. Crying-it-out was working, but this week was about as miserable as it could be. Last night, […]

  3. […] naps are only 15-30 minutes. Way short of what she needs. On the one hand, I feel validated in my assertion that moving her to the crib and simultaneously crying it out at bed time would not have wo…. On the other hand, I feel terrible that nap time has become so difficult. I feel a bit helpless […]

  4. […] wait and see approach was going well, but slowly. Nicki was up to 5 hours (longer than a sleep cycle!) […]

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