Monday, October 27, 2014

My Experience with CIO: A Week-Long Journal

Go ahead and get your coffee and have a seat. This post is a looooong one.

Cry it Out is a very controversial sleep training method that I was TOTALLY against doing in the beginning. It didn't feel natural to me, and plus Ava was still so small that I felt she truly still needed me and her brain hadn't matured enough to have the skills to do it. I kept pushing it out of my mind, even though it would make things easier.

I have read that CIO should not be used because babies need you to help them fall asleep, and making them do it on their own creates a break of trust, a feeling of abandonment, and can "scar them for life". I read a study that claimed to have discovered that just because a baby stops crying does not mean the child is not still in distress, just that they have learned to be silent about it after CIO training.

I have also read that when used properly and at the right time, CIO is teaching your child a necessary skill, just like any other life lesson they will need to be taught in life. If you and your child are suffering from lack of sleep, it is necessary that you teach your child how to self-soothe and settle themselves to sleep. It is no different than teaching your child to feed themselves, use a (sippy) cup, or stop using a pacifier, or how to use a toilet.

I believe that there are definitely times when CIO is NOT appropriate. Try to do it not when you want your life to be easier, but when you really feel like baby needs additional help. But I also believe that for some babies, it is necessary, like Ava. You wouldn't not teach them any other "growing up" skill simply because it was hard, would you? CIO is not abandoning your child. There are several ways in which CIO can be done. There is the "cold turkey" method in which you let your baby cry alone in their crib, the Ferber method in which you let your baby cry for short times and then pick them up to settle them and put them back down, and there is the graduated method in which you let them cry in the crib and stay by the crib and after awhile gradually remove yourself from the room until they can go to sleep without you there.

I also read that any type of sleep training can be very successful, as long as you are 100% consistent with it. Makes sense to me. Then baby knows what to expect.

*****

Let me give you a little back story on Ava and her sleeping habits.

IN THE BEGINNING, there was day, and there was night (hahaha I'm so funny). Ava didn't really have any day/night confusion as a newborn, so I didn't really have to work to get her to figure it out. She slept swaddled in a Rock and Play next to my side of the bed at night, and was swaddled and held for most of her naps. Because this girl liked to kick her legs around from the very beginning, she would eventually "settle" in the Rock and Play, and her swaddle blankets would creep up, sometimes so high it would cover her nose. This made me very uneasy, and I was having to fix her blankets multiple times in the night. I was not sleeping well because I was so worried about her airways getting blocked. So because of this, I transitioned her to her crib in her room between 2 and 3 weeks old. I was happy to do it - I wanted my baby to be a crib sleeper as soon as possible. I gradually added more naps in the crib as well. The transition was seamless, although once she was asleep I had to be careful not to wake her when I put her in the crib. AND I TRIED laying her down "drowsy but awake"...FAIL EVERY TIME. Whoever preaches that should be punched in the throat. Just kidding. It probably works for some babies! Just not most!!!!

Ava has never really been that "milk drunk" baby. She wakes up while being transferred from the car to the shopping cart/house (while still in the carseat), and WON'T go back down. Ava was that newborn who wasn't passed out far enough to be posed during her newborn photo shoot. It took so long, in fact, that the photographer asked me to come back for a THIRD day to get the rest of the shots. I decided it wasn't necessary because I was doubtful Ava would cooperate.

So Ava was a happy, swaddled, crib-sleeping baby 100% of the time from about 4 weeks on. BUT, she only napped for about 20-45 minutes. 30 is the average. 45 is a treat! She would sleep longer if she was held, so sometimes I did. She has only fallen asleep in her swing twice, and those were complete flukes. Often times she would wake in her crib just a few minutes after putting her down. During bad naps, I had to put her back down up to 4 times. Sometimes I couldn't get her back to sleep. There were times when she would only sleep 20 minutes.

She eventually lengthened the time she would sleep at night. I could get her to go 5 hour stretches, but she'd spend the first 3 in her crib, then wake up, and I would hold her to get the extra 2 out of her. Lots of nights sleeping semi-upright in the recliner in her room (after we bought the recliner, we realized it was the kind that the back doesn't stay reclined - you have to keep it pushed back with your body). My body ached in all sorts of weird places from my c-section and this type of sleeping. I hated it. But it was temporary, and soon she could get to 4-5 hours on her own. She had a couple of random nights where she would sleep 7-8 consecutive hours.

Things were going well with her sleep habits, except for her last nap of the day, which was happening around 6:00-7:00. Bedtime was around 9:00-9:30 on most nights. After several nights of struggle, I decided to try moving up her bedtime to 7:30 to absorb that last nap. The first night, she woke up like an hour later. The next night, she slept until 5!!!! And then after that she would usually wake up between 3-4 and then again around 6. Sometimes she'd throw in a 1:00 just to keep me on my toes. So I sacrificed sleeping through the night, but with an earlier bedtime, there was no more fussy last nap and I had some baby-free time in the evenings!

I had messed with her awake time a bit. All these things I was reading had me terrified of an overtired baby. It took me many weeks to realize that Ava's slight fussiness at 50 minutes of awake time is NOT her sleepy sign. The girl can almost always make it a full 2 hours before I see yawning AND glazed over eyes AND slightly red eyelids AND withdrawn, quiet behavior. It goes with her personality - she doesn't want to miss anything and wants to be awake. Whatever happens at 50 minutes is just her transition to the last part of her awake time, I guess.

Then little girl decided that she wanted to start trying to roll over. And her little toesies were at the end of her velcro swaddle blanket. And her arms would wiggle out of her swaddle by the end of her nap.

So I knew it was time to get rid of the swaddle!

I started by taking both arms out of the swaddle at nap time. Everything else stayed the same - she was rocked to sleep in the recliner in her room. Things went well for the first day and a half or so, until something came unhinged. She was now having crying fits when being put to sleep. I'm still not sure exactly what happened. Usually a change makes things worse in the beginning and then they get better - in this case, the opposite was happening! I was beside myself. Was she in the 4-month sleep regression already? Nighttime was unaffected. Did she have reflux? Got her checked out (I had been wondering if she had it for awhile); the doctor said she was too happy for reflux, and I agreed.

After a few days, she was out of the swaddle completely, and we now use a sleep sack. Once she was asleep she was fine. Her sleeping patterns were still normal for her. But she would scream and work herself into a fit when it was time to nap, and even a few times at bedtime! I tried rocking her, jiggling her, bouncing on a yoga ball with her, standing and swaying with her, standing and bouncing with her, even nursing her to sleep. I nailed blackout curtains to the wall and even resorted to bouncing her to sleep in our walk-in closet where it was pitch black. Nothing worked with consistency. What worked one time was not a guarantee that it would work the next. My back was starting to ache from all the bouncing, and deep down I knew this could not continue. I told myself I would only use the CIO method once both Ava and I were truly ready.

I realized that this was that time.

I wasn't able to comfort her in my arms, so what harm could there be in trying?

*****

So that's my Ava's sleep story. It kinda turned into a small novel. Sorry!

So at 3 months and 2 weeks, I began graduated CIO with little Ava Mack.

I also want to make a note that I am NOT going to ignore her cries in the middle of the night for feedings. Even though she has slept through the night before, she still needs to eat in the night. I won't be doing any kind of sleep training to remove her night feedings until she is older, until her doctor says its okay. My primary goal was to help my baby fall asleep at nap time.


DAY 1:


9:00 nap
First nap of the day - this is what finally made me ready to try CIO. Ava fought this nap like the dickens. She had gone down for naps pretty easily the day before, and I finally thought, there's no way I can continue like this. She is not comforted by any thing I do, it's her first nap of the day...why not try it.
So I laid her down in the crib. Of course, she'd already been crying pretty good for about 5-10 minutes, so she was already upset. I stayed right by the side of the crib where she could easily see me. I told myself that if I heard that hysterical, breathless cry that I would pick her up and comfort her and then lay her down again. Other than that, I was ready to let her cry.
It was bad. Although, not as bad as I thought it would be.
I had previously let her CIO many weeks back, swaddled next to me on our bed. I was curious to see how she would react. She had a "medium" cry and fell asleep after 30 minutes. I decided not to try it again.
She never did reach the hysterical cry, and I was SO relieved when I finally saw signs of sleepiness - her head tossing. She's done that ever since I've had her in the crib when she's about to fall asleep. Or working on putting herself to sleep. I felt the tears well up in my eyes a few times, but I reminded myself that holding her and trying to get her to sleep does nothing for her. She still screams. I knew it had to be done. So I was able to keep the tears from falling because I had exhausted every other idea.
She finally began to settle, and she went from constant crying to crying for a bit, bringing her hand to her mouth, taking a few breaths, and then back to crying.
Then the crying turned into just fussing. More head tossing. Her eyes were shut.
Less fussing. Her arms would wiggle around. She'd toss her head.
A total of 25 minutes...and she was asleep.
She did it. I did it!
She only slept for 30 minutes (which is normal for her) and I was sooooooo excited to get her up! Lots of kisses, a quick diaper change, quick tummy time, (in which she played a tune for me on her musical caterpillar and then rolled over!!! Just what mommy needed to feel better!) and then some quality nursing time.
12:00 nap
I was dreading this nap. I thought, ok, here we go...I was sad. I determined what the new nap time routine would be: put her in the sleep sack, carry her around the room with me as I closed the blinds, pulled the curtain, turned on the sound machine, closed the door,  swayed with her real quick up on my shoulder while I told her I loved her and gave her kisses, and then I laid her down in her crib and stood next to it.
This time, the crying was less intense. Of course, she wasn't already worked up like she was last time, but it never got to the level of last time. I made an effort to look at the clock, but apparently it didn't register because I don't remember what it said. I know I took her upstairs around 10 til, so I'm thinking it was about 11:55 when I laid her down. Her sleepy signs came on a lot quicker this time.
Head tossing. Arms flopping.
Her eyes weren't closed, though, until she was pretty much all the way asleep.
15 minutes later...she was asleep!
She slept for 40 minutes.
Now I know that it takes 3 points on a graph to show a directional trend (I remember this from college) so I can't say that the next nap will be even better, because it could still get worse. I've learned not to get my hopes up - that's how ALL of last week was with her - I'd find a way to get her to sleep and the next time it failed!
But I'm still hopeful!
3:00 nap
Ava was very tired about 30 minutes before her nap. To keep her happy I was holding her a lot and I had her in the swing for a bit. I went up to her room to start her nap time routine a few minutes before 3:00. I did the nap time routine and laid her down.
She was tossing her head within 5 minutes and didn't fuss very much. She'd get close to drifting off, and then she'd fuss herself awake.
She brought her hand to her mouth a few times. More head tossing.
11 minutes later...she was asleep.
I watched her on the monitor and she tossed her head around for a few more minutes before settling her body.
She slept for 35 minutes.
5:00 nap
Soooo....complete failure on my part.
But not in the way you'd think!
Time got away from me and Ava and I were outside playing with the dog. I came inside and realized it was already 5:05! I hurried to get her upstairs. I did her nap time routine and laid her in the crib. She was quiet for the first few minutes, but my eyes hadn't adjusted to the dark and I couldn't tell what she was doing.
Then the crying began. As I was standing there, I realized I skipped winding her down before her nap. I was so concerned with being "late" for her nap that I didn't really do it. She was sitting in my lap outside, but for her I don't think that was sufficient. And then, as she continued to cry, I was thinking about the timing of this nap, and even though she had been awake for about 2 hours, this nap was scheduled an hour sooner than all of her other naps had been. She had been really hit or miss with this nap in the last week or so, but she could never make the stretch all the way to bedtime.
I should have thought ahead about this and planned a little better. Poor Ava cried and cried and cried. And it was too late - my hands were tied. If I picked her up, I would undo ALL my hard work from the day. I had to let her cry until she fell asleep.
She cried for an hour. She'd calm herself down, toss her head and get quiet, and then it would start up again, so at least it wasn't constant crying, but she was pretty upset. She managed to wriggle her way to the far left side of her crib, even with the sleep sack on, to the point where her head was going to hit the rails. I knew it was coming...I had to drag her back to the middle of the crib. I did it with minimal touching. She cried more. I could not stop my tears. I felt like such a bad mom. By the time she fell asleep, it was 6:11. My shirt sleeves were soaked with my silent tears and from wiping my nose that would not quit running.
I silently crumpled to the floor and laid there with the smell of stinky diapers in her trash can, which happened to be right next to my face. I was too afraid I would wake her up if I tried to creep out of the room. Obviously, this nap is too early. I will have to move it to 6:00 and then bump her bedtime to 8 and see how that goes.
And then something else occurred to me...I have to decide if I still want nursing to be the last part of her bedtime routine. CIO websites say to nurse 20 minutes before sleep time to avoid "falling asleep while nursing". So I probably need to adjust her bedtime routine to nurse first, then bath/lotion/jammies/story. That way my husband can put her to bed too, instead of it always having to be me. Am I ready for that?!
She slept for...well, she thought it was bedtime and didn't wake.
Right when I was getting in bed I saw her stirring on the monitor and her eyes popped open. I decided to go in and quickly change her into jammies and nurse her. She hadn't eaten in 5 hours. I laid her in her crib and she went right back to sleep.
I was worried about what time she would wake. I was prepared for a rough night!
She woke again at just before 1:00, 2:15, 4:45, and was up for the day at 6:00.
I chose to basically nurse her to sleep for all of those times. The waking in the 2:00 hour was tricky, though, because she was acting wide awake. So I stayed crib side for a bit while she jabbered and played with her hands in the dark. I was about to fall over from being so tired, so I sat in her recliner, dreading when the crying would start. I was already begging for it to be dawn so we could be up for the day, despite me feeling so tired already. I just wanted to try things again, but this time WAKE her from her last nap and keep her on schedule.
And amidst all those thoughts, I suddenly realized there were no noises coming from the crib. I stared hard across the room in the darkness, trying to see what she was doing. And she was asleep. It had been 20 minutes. Thank goodness! I crept back to bed, but I barely slept until her next waking. My mind was racing. What if I can't get her back to sleep the next time?!
I fell asleep while nursing her at the 4:00 waking, so she slept in my arms until 6. And even though her schedule is based on a 7:00 waking, reaching 6 was good enough for me. Let's get this day going!

Day 2

8:00 nap
Ava was pretty tired by about 7:30, so I ended up laying her down at about 7:40. I stood about a foot away from the crib, but where I was still in her line of vision. She cried/fussed for 6 minutes and settled down. I thought she was asleep so I left to go lay in bed. I watched her on the monitor and she was still awake, just tossing her head and babbling a bit. She was finally still by just before 8. 
She slept for 30 minutes. And so did I.
11:00 nap
Since Ava woke at 8:30, I knew making it to 11 would be a stretch. So I had her in her crib by 10:40. Again, I was a foot away from the crib. She mostly just fussed and at one point it built up to a cry. But 6 minutes later, she was quiet, and 5 minutes after that, she was asleep. So 11 minutes total.
She slept for 40 minutes.
2:00 nap
I'd been having such luck with putting Ava down at 20 minutes til the hour that I thought I'd continue with it, despite not seeing many sleepy signs from her. She was actually playing quite nicely by herself, allowing me to go clean the half bath! But I knew not to push her. 
She mildly fussed (no crying at all this time!) for a few minutes off and on, and she was out in 10 minutes flat.
She slept for 30 minutes.
5:00 nap
Ava only made it to a hair before 4:30. Her signs were making it very clear - she was even a bit fussy. I tried to push her just a little by laying her down on my bed with me while I sang to her. And guess what? She started tossing her head. A clear sign! Poor girl was too sleepy! 
She made some loud, random vocalizations resembling crying and fussing for about 5 minutes after laying her down. And again...out in 10!
She slept for 30 minutes.
7:30 Bedtime
Her bedtime routine starts a half hour before her official bed "time", although this really can vary depending on if we give her a full bath or not (I wash her hair nightly to combat mild cradle cap; it's hard to see under all her hair, but it's there!) and also how long she nurses.
First, she gets her vitamin D in the kitchen (I'll be honest...some nights I forget! I probably just need to start doing it in her bathroom). Then she either gets a full bath or just a quick shampoo (full bath is on Wednesdays and Saturdays or Sundays). Next is lotion and jammies, followed by a few moments at the hair salon (her hair is OUT OF CONTROL if it is not brushed down when wet!). Then she is put in her sleep sack and then reads a story in the recliner with mom or dad. Then the sound machine goes on and she is nursed until full or she is sleepy and starts tossing her head back and forth. I have always just laid her down in her crib after just a few minutes of rocking. It was never very hard to get her to sleep at bedtime.
I kinda feel like I don't want to change the routine. If I put nursing at the beginning of the routine, then it's too close to her last feeding. And since she is breastfed, she'll stay asleep longer if it's the last thing before she's asleep. I'm kinda not ready to give that up yet. If I discover it is interfering with sleep training, then I guess I will do it. But for now, I'm going to leave it how it is. Maybe once she drops her 4th nap it will make more sense to feed her first.
She was really tired tonite, so I sat her in her bumbo seat and put coconut oil on her flaky scalp at about 6:30 to let it sit for 10 minutes or so. I started her bedtime routine at 6:45.
By 7:15 she was at the end of nursing and was whipping her head back and forth. I usually have to decide when she is done because she can't decide when to stop nursing, and she will just latch and unlatch repeatedly. I carried her upright to her crib, told her I loved her and gave her kisses and laid her down. She was definitely drowsy, but still awake.
She silently threw her head around for 10 minutes and then was asleep.
Ahhhh.
I am so encouraged by what a great day she had! And I'm surprised I was able to survive quite well with just one half-hour nap!

Day 3

9:00 nap
Ava woke just before midnight, 4:30, 6, and was up for the day just after 7. I debated on whether or not she was up for the day at 6. And that might just be something she is working towards. I decided to nurse her and put her back down. She did go down pretty quick. She used to only wake around 4 to nurse and then went back to sleep and then would wake at 6 or 7. I usually nursed her and let her snooze in my arms until 7 or 8, but I'm going to have to quit that now that I'm sleep training. So if she can just drop that midnight/1:00 waking, then we are golden! But I also realize she is adjusting to her new schedule and her feedings spaced at 3 hour intervals. During the 10 days of fussy naps, she was nursing more often but not for very long. Now she does full sessions on each side. So I figure it's normal for her to have an extra night waking or two until she adjusts.
Ava was acting fussy and tired at around 8:30. I had her laying in the crib at 8:45. I backed farther away from the crib this time, but still in her line of vision. I'm not really sure if she even knows I'm there or looks for me, but the goal is to stay consistent. She did more crying than fussing this time, for about 20 minutes. She was kind of restless for the first 10 minutes she was asleep, so it was a bit hard to determine when she was fully asleep.
She slept for 35 minutes.
I tried to nap too, but I could hear the dog getting into stuff downstairs, so I had to get up. I sometimes forget I have 3 other "children" with four legs that I have to keep track of, too!
12:00 nap
Again, Ava was showing pretty clear tired signs 30 minutes prior to nap time. I had her in her crib by 11:45. She spent 8 minutes fussing (there was one cry) and 2 minutes later, she was asleep.
She slept for 30 minutes.
3:00 nap
I had Ava in her crib by 2:30. She's acting pretty tired today. She mildly fussed for 8 minutes and was asleep 2 minutes later.
She slept for 20 minutes.
Upon waking, she began to fuss a bit. I was watching her on the monitor and as she was coming out of her sleep, she was tossing her head around. She was trying so hard to make that transition to deeper sleep. My poor girl just can't do it yet. So I left her in her crib for awhile to see if she'd go back to sleep. Because I put her down early, there was still a full hour before her scheduled feeding time.
She quietly sucked on her fingers with an occasional fuss thrown in. I watched for head tossing.
Then she started crying, but there was some really intense head tossing going on. She got really worked up, but there was still so much head tossing. When she would turn her head toward the camera, I could see that her eyes were getting droopy in the moments between her loud cries.
Lots of head tossing, lots of crying. This is the first time she has had to try to go back to sleep on her own after waking early from a nap. And she was pretty pissed about it.
But I knew I couldn't go to her. She was so tired today; there was no way 20 minutes of sleep was enough.
She would settle herself down, have her eyes almost shut, and then cry herself awake again.
After 30 minutes, she was quiet. Add in 10 more minutes of head tossing, and she was back asleep. 
But only for like a minute. She couldn't seem to keep her eyes closed.
She then brought her hands to her mouth, eyes wide open. I quickly went to her as she started to fuss. I knew she wouldn't go back to sleep.
Poor girl. Longer naps will just have to wait, I guess. 
6:00 nap
I really had to watch for tired signs for this last nap of the day since her last nap technically ended at just after 3:00.
Right as I was thinking of laying her down, she had a big blowout on daddy. So we had to strip her and give her a baby wipe bath. So I spent about 5 minutes holding her and quietly singing to her to get her back to a more calm state. I laid her down just after 5:15 and it took 8 minutes of fussing and 10 minutes total until she was asleep.
She slept 30 minutes.
7:30 Bedtime
The bedtime routine started right at 7. She was in her crib, awake, just before 7:30. She quietly talked to herself a time or two and kicked her legs around and was asleep in 10 minutes.

Day 4

8:00 nap
Ava woke at 11, 2:30, and just before 6. She took both sides at her 2:30 feeding, so she is clearly hungry and not just looking for comfort or a quick snack to get back to sleep. I am feeling very tired. These night wakings are wiping me out. According to the Wonder Weeks app, 3.5 to 4.5 months is just one giant developmental leap, so I'm not too concerned about these wakings. Hopefully it will improve as the weeks go by. 
I had Ava in her crib by 7:45. I decided to sit in the recliner. I really don't think she can see me, and she doesn't know to look for me yet, but I thought that maybe she could still smell me. Tomorrow I will leave the room completely. She barely made any noises at all and was asleep in about 8 minutes. It was kind of hard to see from across the room what she was doing, but I verified that she was asleep on the monitor once I left the room.
She slept for 30 minutes.
11:00 nap
I decided I was feeling brave and wanted to experiment a bit for this nap. Ava would hit the 2 hour awake mark at about 10:15. She wasn't showing a whole lot of tiredness, but I thought I should put her down instead of trying to push her for the sake of a schedule.
So at just after 10:15, she was in her crib, and I sat in the recliner. Unbelievably, she was quiet, and 4 minutes later, I found myself thinking, "is she asleep already?!"
She falls asleep with her head turned to her left, towards the wall and camera. So I crept out of the room to check on the monitor.
She. Was. Asleep.
She slept for 25 minutes.
I am beginning to lose hope that anything I do will affect how long she sleeps. I just keep hoping that one of these times she can make that transition into deeper sleep.
2:00 12:45 nap
So obviously the schedule is way off now. 2 hours of awake time puts nap time at 12:45 for her. I had her in her crib by 12:30. She was very fussy and wanted to be held for most of her awake time. She was asleep in 5 minutes with a little fussing.
I'm thinking I'm going to have to go back to a rolling schedule with her, instead of the 3 hour set schedule. If I'm doing the math right, she's going to end up with an extra nap and an extra feeding today, which maybe is exactly what she needs to get a better night's sleep.
She slept for 30 minutes.
I've been tracking the length of her naps on a little chart, and while she slept at this nap, I decided to fill in the times she fell asleep at as well.

Fancy, ain't it?!
I guess I didn't realize that she has technically been awake for 2 1/2 hours this whole time. In the beginning it was due to the time she spent getting to sleep, but I never really fixed it. It's interesting to me that now that I am back on a rolling schedule for her that she can fall asleep much quicker. We'll see how she does for the rest of the day.
...3:00 nap
She will for sure get an extra nap and feeding tonight.
She was fussy and ready for her nap. I had her in her crib at 2:45. She was asleep 5 minutes later.
She slept for 35 minutes.
5:30 nap
I had her in bed by 5:20. Little one wasn't as sleepy this time - it took just about 30 minutes for her to fall asleep. There was fussing and lots of kicking and head tossing. I guess I didn't stimulate her enough for this awake period.
She continued to sleep for 40 minutes when I had to go in and wake her up.
7:30 8:00 bedtime
I bumped bedtime back a half hour. She was still nursing at 7:00! She wasn't really interested in nursing as a part of her bedtime routine, probably because she had literally just eaten. I had her in bed just before 8 and she spent about 10-15 minutes kicking and talking to herself a bit before she fell asleep.

Day 5

8:30 nap
Ava only woke at 2:00 in the night, and she woke for the day at 6:30. Today is the day I begin laying her in her crib and then immediately leaving the room.
It took her 10 minutes to fall asleep, and she slept for 35 minutes.
11:00 nap
It's looking like Ava will be on a 2 1/2 hour schedule instead of a 3 hour one. It was just too much awake time for her since she only sleeps for half an hour.
It took her 20 minutes to fall asleep, and she slept for 30 minutes.
1:45 nap
It took her 5 minutes to fall asleep, and she slept for 90 minutes.
Yes, you read that correctly...I had to wake her at 1.5 hours to keep her on schedule!!
5:30 nap
It took her 10 minutes to fall asleep, and she slept for 40 minutes.
7:30 bedtime
It took her 10 minutes to fall asleep.

Day 6

8:30 nap
It took Ava 15 minutes to fall asleep and she slept 35 minutes.
11:00 nap
It took Ava 5 minutes to fall asleep and she slept 40 minutes.
1:45 nap
It took Ava 5 minutes to fall asleep and she slept 40 minutes.
4:30 nap
It took Ava 25 minutes to fall asleep and she slept 10 minutes.
Well, that was surprising.
What was even more surprising was her MASSIVE blowout she had 10 minutes after being out of her crib! Her belly was probably preventing her from sleeping well! I chose to keep her up and move up bedtime.
7:00 bedtime
Ava fell asleep while nursing and didn't wake for the transfer to the crib.

Day 7

8:00 nap
It took her 15 minutes to fall asleep. She was babbling the whole time...it was so cute to listen to over the monitor! She slept for 30 minutes.
10:30 nap
It took her 5 minutes to fall asleep and she slept for 35 minutes.
1:00 nap
It took her 10 minutes to fall asleep and she slept for 45 minutes.
3:45 nap
It took her 10 minutes to fall asleep and she slept for 55 minutes.
7:30 bedtime
Asleep at 7:30 on the dot. She talked herself to sleep.

...One Week Later:

Ok, so I was going to continue to log her sleeping, but this post is already out of control in length. I will update in later posts! 

*****
Ava responded so well to CIO. And I do not feel like Ava feels "abandoned" or "scarred for life". Was is hard? Of course. Am I glad I did it? YES!! No regrets...I'm not sure what I would have done without this training! Ava is now more well-rested (her overall daytime sleep increased by an average of 35 minutes each day, and she is having the occasional long nap!) and has a much less stressed out mommy who is better able to meet her needs and make her awake time that much more fun!

Ava has always had a very eager, "me do it" personality. She has surprised us with her early milestones: smiles, stable head control, laughs, bearing weight on her legs, rolling over, and attempts at "crawling". She can do so much for a 3 month old! So it is fitting that one day Ava just decided that she wants to put herself to sleep. I only wish I could have figured it out instead of going insane for 10 days!

I have probably made a lot of drastic changes for Ava - removing the swaddle AND doing sleep training within about a week of each other. Most of the time I'm pretty sure that's not recommended. But, it has worked pretty well for us and it is so worth the exhausting weeks that it took to be swaddle free, and now we have an independent sleeper!

Here's how to be the most successful at using a CIO method:


-Make sure your baby is at least 3 months old AND developmentally "ready" to be trained to put themselves to sleep. If it goes horribly after a week, make sure you are being consistent at every sleep. Or it could be that your child simply isn't ready. These are my opinions. 

-Make sure you know your child's sleep schedule and you can identify their sleep signs.

-Pick a week when you don't have much going on so you don't have to leave the house unneccesarily and you have the ability to forget about the chores so you can mentally, emotionally, and physically make it through your day.

-Make sure you have chocolate/wine/junk food to get you through these though days!

-If it doesn't feel right to you, then don't do it!! It will be hard no matter what, but only YOU can decide what is right for your child. Don't let anyone, any site, or any book dictate how you raise your baby. Always start with the guidance of your child's pediatrician.

**Remember, the goal of CIO is NOT for your baby to not cry or fuss at sleep times, but to be able to self-soothe! Just remember, no two babies are alike, and they all have their own preferences!

GOOD LUCK!!

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