7:30pm: Put in crib after nursing to sleep
10pm: Wake up, nurse back to sleep.
12am: Wake up, nurse back to sleep.
1am: Wake up, nurse back to sleep.
2:30am: Wake up, nurse back to sleep.
4am: Wake up, nurse back to sleep.
4:30am, 5am, 6am: Wake up, nurse back to sleep.
Finally, after a few weeks of this, John just put a twin bed in Johnny's room and I would go in there around 1am (when Johnny woke up) and I'd try to sleep on my side while Johnny nursed the rest of the night. Now, this sounds like it shouldn't be a big deal, right? I mean, I could just bring Johnny to bed with me and then he could feed while I slept. Not as great as it sounds. I am not a particularly "well-endowed" woman, so sleeping on my side with Johnny latched on and sleeping like that is about as easy as sleeping on a 3-inch wide balance beam--there isn't a lot of wiggle room. I also couldn't handle having Johnny sleep in bed with me and John because I like having time alone with John (even if we're asleep). So, I was sleeping in Johnny's room half the night.
Finally, after getting back from Lake Powell, I decided I was done with this nonsense. He's eight months old, he should be able to go at least six hours without a feeding. I decided I wanted to try crying it out. My friend Jill had a lot of success with it for her little boy so I thought I'd give it a whirl.
It was hard. I'm not going to lie. Waking up in the middle of the night and not going to him was really difficult. However after the first night, which was full of awakenings, the second night he only woke up a couple of times. Then the third, only once. And now a month later, hardly ever. If he does wake up these days he will whimper a little, readjust, and fall back asleep, BY HIMSELF! Magic, I tell you.
We also tried the whole cry it out thing for naps, but that didn't work out so hot. He's not one to conform to any kind of schedule. While the CIO strategy didn't help with establishing a nap schedule, it did help him learn to fall asleep during the day by himself. So now we have a little routine that we do when he's showing signs of being tired. After fifteen minutes of soothing he goes in his crib and he will either fall right to sleep or cry for a little while and fall asleep... and STAY asleep. As in, for more than 45 minutes.
Have I damaged my child for life? I doubt it. Being with him all day every day, I notice small improvements in his demeanor and behavior. No one notices these things but me and you may say that I'm cruel for making him cry so much for such little things, but you know what? Johnny's quality of life is better because my quality of life is better. Hell, ask John, I'm sure he'll tell you that being in the same room is me is a heck of a lot easier. Having fewer than 6 nights of decent sleep in 8.5 months will made me a wee bit snippy... and the people close to me got the brunt of it. Plus, now I know if he cries out the middle of the night and doesn't stop within a few minutes, there is something wrong.
All around crying it out was tough, but it worked for us. Hopefully the next child will be a little better at this sleep thing... or he'll just be more ignored than Johnny and will learn to be by himself sooner...