Sweet, sweet sleep

I am incredibly happy to report that (after ten very long months) Ellis is sleeping through the night again! When she was 2 months old, she would sleep twelve solid hours at night. We didn’t do anything special. We were just lucky, very, very lucky. But over the last year, friends comments had gone from “I can’t believe she’s sleeping through the night!” to “She’s still not sleeping through the night?”. Where did we go wrong? Around 6 months Ellis went through some big developmental leaps, combined with her first cold and some teething. She started waking up during the night and I did what was easiest to get us all back to sleep: nurse. And I nursed and nursed and nursed at every waking. When it was once or twice during the night, I loved the extra time I was able to snuggle with her. When it was three, four or five times a night, I was just a total zombie the next day. I kept thinking that she would go back to sleeping through the night again, as she had done it before, but things were actually getting worse. And it always seemed like travel, colds and teething (she has 12 now!) kept us from making any real plans to help her. Friends had let their babies cry-it-out with great success but we were convinced Ellis would cry for hours, probably vomit or fall asleep while standing in her crib. It just sounded so cruel.

After a few rough weeks and a break in travel, we consulted this great book (thanks Simone!) learned all about positive and negative sleep associations and decided to start sleep training Ellis last Friday. We did a loving bedtime routine: bath, brush teeth, pajamas, nursing, books and songs, then put her in her crib for the night. Erik and I poured ourselves a drink and prepared for a rough time. He was checking on her every few minutes to comfort her, but we knew she had to fall asleep on her own in her crib if we wanted a change. To our surprise, after twenty minutes she was asleep! I was giddy with relief. She has cried longer in the car or when she’s having a little tantrum at home. Since that night, she’s been sleeping much longer stretches and when she does wake up and cry, she’ll almost always settle herself back to sleep in a few minutes. Tonight, I put her in her crib and she was asleep after less than two minutes of crying. Erik and I are shocked and we are all, finally, getting some decent rest. I really thought I would feel guilty for letting her cry, but I actually feel a guilty that we didn’t help her go to sleep on her own earlier.

Phew . . . more than I had planned to write. I guess the extra sleep has given me a little more energy to blog!

We are having a proper winter here in NY. Ellis has enjoyed her short walks to daycare in the snow. And her hair is almost long enough for a mini ponytail!

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