Thursday, July 7, 2011

Our "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" Experience, Part 2 - The First Day

I bought the Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child book around lunchtime, but coincidentally, Atticus' morning nap had followed the schedule the book recommends, so I just went with it.  I have been making notes on a legal pad by the minute, so I'll type those out here verbatim and put my current thoughts at the bottom of the post.

July 6, 2011
9:10a - Down for morning nap after nursing
10:55a - Awake from morning nap
1:35p - Nursed Atticus and put him down for the afternoon nap
2:35p - Atticus has cried for a full hour (the daytime limit the book suggests), so I go get him out of his crib
6:50p - Start bedtime routine: bath, lotion, book, nurse
7:17p - Put Atticus in bed.  He's drowsy but awake.  I'm nervous.
7:20p - Crying starts.
7:35p - Still crying.  I haven't checked on him.  I'm surprisingly okay with sitting here listening to it.
7:41p - Yep, still crying.  Damn.  This is sucky.  Go to sleep!
7:42p - Silence.  Is he dead?  Did he go to sleep?  I'm scared to go check.
7:44p - Crap.  More crying, but it's very sporadic and quiet.
7:46p - Silence.
7:49p - Wow, that scream was loud.  His poor voice is so hoarse!
8:09p - I think he's asleep.
8:29p - Yep.  He's asleep.  He's not dead.  I went to check on him.
9:02p - He's awake.  Screaming.  I will not go in there.  I will not go in there  OMG.  He sounds terrible.  I don't even recognize his cry.  I keep telling myself that I am not doing this TO him.  I'm doing it FOR him.
1:31a - He's awake.  It's been 6.5 hours since his last meal, so I'm getting up to feed him.  I feel almost normal after 3.5 hours of sleep.  I kind of miss him. :)
1:46a - He ate both boobs.  He never does that.  I'm going back to bed.
1:51a - Is that a cricket outside?  Or is that my baby's poor voice, and it's so hoarse that I don't recognize it?
4:17a - He's crying. It hasn't been four hours since he last ate, so I'm not supposed to go in there.  What the crap am I supposed to do?  I hope Michael doesn't wake up.  I'm going to play 10 minutes of white noise on my phone and hope that we both go back to sleep.  Fingers crossed.
5:32a - I guess he went back to sleep, but he's crying now.  It's been exactly 4 hours since his last meal, so I'm going to feed him.
5:51a - I'm on my way back to bed.
7:23a - Atticus woke up for the day.  He wasn't crying like normal for me to pick him up.  He was playing in his bed and jabbering.  He doesn't act like he doesn't trust me anymore, and he's very happy to see me.


Was last night hard?  Well, no.  Not really.  Michael and I decided that this was what we were going to do.  I expected him to cry, and I expected to go a lot worse, actually.  He's used to sleeping on his belly, and I put him down on his back each time.  When I went to check on him or get him out of bed, he was on his back or side.  He used to fidget but not wake when I would walk in the room to check on him.  When I checked on him last night, he was sleeping so soundly that he didn't move.  His temperament this morning was more playful and less fussy than normal.

Dr. Weissbluth talks about two methods for crying.  One involves going to check on him, and the other doesn't.  One is kinder, but the other is quicker and more effective.  We chose quicker and more effective, so while we are training Atticus to sleep, we won't be checking on him if he cries after we put him down in his crib.  If he cries for one hour after being put down for a nap, we are supposed to go get him and try naptime tomorrow. At bedtime, however, there is no time limit.  If he wants to cry for 2 hours, we're not going in there.  Atticus is safe in his crib.  He is alone with no toys or blankets.  He sleeps in a sleeper and a Halo sleep sack.  He can't sit up, much less stand up or crawl/fall out of the crib.  That was part of the reason we felt like it was necessary to sleep train sooner rather than later.

I'd give the first night a B.  It was significantly improved over headbanging and waking up 11 times in one night.

HSHHC - Part 1 - Why We Are Doing This FOR Atticus

**I know that not everyone is kosher with crying it out.  That's totally your prerogative.  This is mine, and I believe that this is not something I'm doing TO my son.  I'm doing it FOR him.  End of discussion. You have another method?  Write about it on your blog.  This one is mine. **


  1. We never had any sleep problems when M was a baby, however, when she was about 20 months old, we had a terrible time! When I started "work" (student teaching = full time job without pay) it was the first time I had been gone from her all day, everyday. We had to eventually let her cry it out. She would not go to bed at night, would scream, get out of her toddler bed (she jumped out of her crib one night so we had to make the switch), and kick and hit her door. It was awful. It took us a month of hardly any sleep but eventually she got over it. I felt horrible letting her scream/cry so much (she would get so hoarse) but it had to be done. So, hang in there and try not to feel too bad! When I was going in there every time to console her it just made it worse, so letting her cry it out worked for us.

  2. @andria Thanks for sharing your experience. I know that CIO is not easy on either the kid or the parent, but I do believe that it's worth it. :)

  3. Hi! I am on the WTE board and I also have read the book and I appreciate you sharing your experiences. We havent go it down so great yet... I chicken out in the CIO area... I am no good at it =( Right now our issues are naps... What do you do when the LO wants to take many naps for only 30mins to a few hours sometimes. I have been keeping a chart and he has about two morning naps and two afternoon naps and one evening nap and then he goes to bed at 8pm and gets up at 4am (for a feeding) and then he sleeps until 6 to 7 am. He is FF. Do you keep them up until the naps the book suggests? What do you do if the fall asleep before that or in the car like your LO did. I love the book and the fact that he suggest that you dont have to do the CIO and understands real world life situations. Sadly I have read only various chapters...

    I look forward to your response. Love your blog and pics btw! Oh do you mind sharing what kind of camera you have because the quality of pictures you have are fantastic!



  4. @Johanna

    Hey Johanna!

    I'm following the book pretty strictly, and it says to ONLY let baby nap during "nap periods" (roughly 9-11, 1-3, and sometimes 4-5ish) and to keep them awake during wakeful periods. If they protest for an hour during their nap or will not go to sleep, the book says to skip that nap for the day and try again the next day. We have skipped a nap so far, and although he was tired, he got the picture the next time! I guess Dr. Weissbluth was right about that. :)
    Maybe your LO is napping too many times and not getting restorative sleep in the shorter naps?
    When Atticus fell asleep in the car, I tried so hard to keep him awake. I kept saying his name loudly and tossing a toy around back there hoping that he'd wake up. Sadly, it didn't work, but at least it was around the time he was supposed to nap anyway.

    Thank you for the compliment on my blog and pictures. I have a Nikon d60 with the regular kit lens and zoom lens. I don't think they sell the camera anymore, but it was one of the lower level DSLRs. I always try to take pictures with lots of natural light (no indoor lights on) and with no flash. HTH. :)

    Good luck with getting your LO to nap better.

  5. Thanks for replying back. You are the first and only person that I know that is trying to follow the book and is sharing the experiences. I am thankful to have come across you post on the WTE board and now find your blog =)

    I hope you dont mind me asking you some questions.

    I am trying to be more strict so its helpful to talk to someone going through it!

    So of course I have another question...
    The book gives the suggested times as you stated for naps and I was wondering how long you let your LO nap? What if they nap at 1030am for example? Do you only let them nap for 30mins? And lastly, what do you do if your not home (for example a friend or familys home) for a nap time? Do you put them to nap at the persons home or place that you are at.

    Thanks a million

  6. Hi Ashley,

    I know about your blog through WTE message board and it motivated me to try this method with my 4-month old daughter. This is the first night for me, she cried 50 mins and finally fell asleep with her hand in her mouth. I was surprisingly not as nervous as I imagined .. well, I was talking to my brother on the phone, a good way to distract me. But my husband was on edge, he ran in to check on her the moment she stopped crying (yeah, I know we're not supposed to do that, but we were just so scared) and found her calmly sucking her hand. She cried a little bit after, but not as much. Now, she's been sleeping for about half an hour, and based on your recap, I'm expecting a long night. Well, I'm willing to have this sleepless night (to make sure she's alright) to train her. We've had it enough with her sleeping only in our arms (naps or night) and woke up crying 10 mins after we lay her down. I hope she'll be doing as good as your son tomorrow. You give me hope.

    Thanks again .. I was intending to try CIO for quite some time, but kept putting it off because I wanted to read more about the process. Your post helped tremendously.

  7. @JohannaJohanna, I really hope I'm not the first to be sharing my experience, but I googled for DAYS and found things like, "It works. Buy the book." I was really frustrated with that because, like you, I wanted to know how it worked.

    Per the book's instructions, the only time it's okay to wake a sleeping baby is when you're sleep training. So, during the initial period, I've been waking him if he's slept too long or it has started to affect what's supposed to be the next wakeful period. After you have more of a routine established, I think the assumption is that if LO sleeps 3 hours instead of the normal 1.5 at morning naptime, he was tired and needed it.

    As for the other question about not being home - back to the book. :) It said that if you follow a routine of naptimes and wakeful periods most days, the days where your schedule is a little off or LO skips a nap or whatnot, it will not be that big of a deal. I'm not that far yet. Except from Costco yesterday, I haven't had the courage to mess with naptimes yet. We did, however, spend the night on the boat last night instead of at home, and it didn't seem to affect Atticus at all. HTH :)

  8. @ Hazel, I'm glad you found my posts helpful and are trying the HSHHC method! If the process is followed, I don't see how it can go wrong! :) Good luck!

  9. Hey im from the WTE board. Trying HSHHC too...
    the first night he fell asleep at 8 and didnt cry but woke up at 1030 and cried for 30 min. and again at 1 for 7 min. woke up at 6 to eat and was very happy.
    however last night fell asleep ok but cried for 40 min at 11, 50 min at 3, ate at 5, and then cried 10 min and slept til 8.
    i dont see how thats progressing? his cries werent as torturous screaming as the first night but the time was longer... why!! i thought its supposed to get better.
    his currently screaming bc i put him down to nap (basically asleep in my arms and when i put him down he woke up... hes screaming for 20 min now and i dont this ending anytime soon)
    what do u think?

  10. @Bblanco
    Hmmmm.. I'm not sure why it's not getting better.
    On the second day, did he get enough naps? I believe the book said something about overtiredness contributing to night wakings.
    Are you nursing? The book also said at this age (4-6 months), it is reasonable to expect that a BF baby should want to nurse 1-2 times at night. If they don't wake up, that's okay, but if they wake after 4 hours, see if they are hungry. That might have contributed to the long crying at 3. I don't know what's up with 11 pm?
    Are you reading the book? It is so helpful. It might have some more clues as to what's going on and what to do about it. Sorry I'm not more help. Good luck! Let me know how it goes!

  11. actually i found something really interesting in the book after i posted to you! On pg. 261 he writes that they may actually cry more the second night. i was relieved when i read that.
    I am EBF and as to the night feedings, my Eddie hasn't been eating from 7-6 for about a month now. However last night he last good meal was 5:30pm and i fed him at 7 before he went to sleep but he prob only ate an ounce so i knew that didnt count. I wasnt going to feed him at 11 because i know he could go 11 hours w/o eating. But yes, i should have definitely fed him at 3. My mother in law is here helping out for these few CIO days and she was on call last night. Me and DH were sleeping in our room with the fan on so we could actually get some sleep. I intructed her to wake me but that was a fail.
    Today i see a difference in his naps though. Yesterday was a fail, we had to try again because he cried an hour. At his morning nap today, he cried 30 min, and his afternoon nap he cried 15 min! Hoping for a better night.
    Thanks for all your help. You've been a big inspiration!
    Thanks for all your help.

  12. @Bblanco I forgot about him saying that the second night might be worse. I remember telling my husband that as we prepared for night two, but it went so well that I forgot about that part. :)

    Good luck tonight. Keep me posted!

  13. Night 3 was AMAZING!!! Put Eddie down for bed at 7:15, he whimpered for like a second. Whimpered for a min around 8, 12 and 5... and i fed him at 2 when he started his recognizably hungry cry. He slept til 6:30, ate at 7 and went back to sleep til 8. His nap will probably be around 9:30. We're on schedule!
    I hope the worst of it is over. We're actually supposed to visit my parents this weekend (1hr drive and we'd sleep there Fri and Sat night) but I'm on the fence. I don't want to mess anything up!

  14. So, I know I am waaaay late with my post, as you did this long ago. I hope you got my post about finding your blog while starting sleep training with my son and laughing while I was reading your blog. It was exactly the motivation I needed to get me through the first hour long cry!
    I just need some advice here- I decided to sleep train because though my son sleeps well at night (most of the time from 5:30pm-7:00, sometimes waking up to nurse around 5:30), he is napping poorly. We had been doing method b (rocking him to sleep every nap time), which was time consuming, frustrating, and he started waking up when we put him in his crib. Then, he would only sleep for half hour-45 minutes but be tired still when he woke up. I don't really know if sleep training using the HSHHC method will help with this, but I imagine it will, and am hopeful. Anyways, my question is this: when I put my son Elliot in his crib drowsy but awake for naps, he is quiet at first for a few minutes, but then starts cooing, talking, and laughing in his crib. He has a grand old time. He will do this for an entire hour, then still be tired when I pick him up out of the crib. I am sure he is tired when I put him in the crib for his nap. Is it appropriate to continue with putting him in his crib drowsy but awake? I don't want him to just never sleep and then be a mess at the end of the day! Any advice is much appreciated. Thank you!