Sleepless in Seattle

First of all, I’ve had this blog for over three years and this is the first time I’ve used this phrase, so points to me.

As I mentioned before, we never had many sleeping issues with Lila when she was an infant. She learned to sleep through the night on her own fairly early and even nursing her at night didn’t lead to constant night feedings. Lucy has been a different story. Different baby, different conditions, different issues. She doesn’t sleep through the night and had difficulty falling asleep without being nursed down. After we returned from our trip to CT last month, Lucy’s sleep schedule was completely off. She wasn’t going down well, getting up within hours of going down and getting up multiple times a night. On top of it all, she would only go back down if she was nursed, so that meant I handled all the wake ups. After a week of it, something had to give.

When you ask around for suggestions on infant sleep, 9 times out of 10 you are told that cry it out is the must use method. If that works for you, great. Parenting is all about survival and sleep is definitely necessary for survival. If cry it out gets you there, go for it. But I was never comfortable with that method and the thought that it was my only sleep training option prevented me from attempting anything other than hoping it would pass.

Then I decided that I had to do something and I sat down and listened to webinar after webinar on Isis Parenting. They recommended the “trade down” method of sleep training. It works with alternating a “high” soothing method with a “low” soothing method, with the goal of the baby falling asleep in the low soothing phase. So the first night Lucy’s “high” was nursing and her “low” was being in her crib while I patted her back. She went down fairly well that night.

When she woke up 3 hours later, I repeated the process. I used the recommended method for reducing night feedings, limiting how long she nursed and trying to “trade down” to just holding and rocking her. It took a bit, but it worked and she eventually went to sleep without being nursed down. She woke up again at 4am, but I’ve decided to not fight that feeding. Isis recommended that at her age she may still need an early morning feeding and if I can get to 4am, I’ll take it.

The next night I replaced the nursing “high” soothing with the previous night’s “low” of patting her back. Then for her low soothing I sat next to the crib shushing her. And she went down without a problem.  I didn’t have to use the “high” at all. And then she slept straight through to 4am. It worked.

You have to find what works for you and right now, crying it out didn’t work for me, but neither did not getting more than 3 hours of sleep in a row. So I found what did work – and I get some solid hours of sleep right now. It took some work, but I’m proud of the results and really thankful to no longer be (you guessed it) sleepless in Seattle.

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