Tuesday, March 30, 2010


When I was young, my dad rigged up an elaborate system to catch nightcrawlers. He inserted metal probes into the soil and ran a mild electrical current through them, jolting the nightcrawlers out of their homes and above ground. We collected the large worms for our next fishing expedition.

But this post is not about worms or fishing. It is about another breed of nightcrawler: my firstborn son.

Dio is a nightcrawler. Shortly after he mastered the art of crawling, his sleep went from poor to terrible. Every time he stirs, every time he wakes, no matter the hour, all he wants to do is crawl. He crawls. Crawling wakes him up more, and he cries. He crawls until he hits a barrier, then he pulls himself up to standing and cries. Or he sits up and cries. Nightcrawling wakes him up, and he becomes more and more agitated as he's simultaneously trying to crawl and needing to sleep. But when we lay him back down, he screams even more. He fights us and tries to turn over and start crawling again. Coupled with bouts of frequent waking, Dio's night crawling has turned nights into an absolute misery for Eric and me. Dio used to be able to settle himself down at night, provided he wasn't too hungry (not every single time, but fairly often). Not any more. In his half-awake state, he cannot figure out how to get back down, turn onto his back, and go back to sleep.

Of the three places he sleeps, our bed is now the worst. He will no longer settle down when we bring him into bed with us. In his crib next to our bed, he pulls himself up to standing over and over, destroying any chance of sleep. He does the best on a twin mattress on the floor in Zari's room. He can't pull himself up anywhere, since there's just walls and bed and floor. So he crawls and sits up, usually staying on the bed, but sometimes rolling off the bed (it's not a big drop, and I put pillows next to the bed to soften the landing). Last week Eric found him in the middle of the room, half awake, crying.
I am not a crier. I didn't cry when I got married. I didn't even cry when my children were born. But last night, I cried. I cried from exhaustion so profound it seemed like my bones were made of lead. I cried because I have never before experienced such intense and relentless sleep deprivation. I'll take a newborn's sleeping patterns any day. I cried because nothing I do seems to help Dio sleep. Co-sleeping is over; all Dio wants to do when he's in our bed is stand up against our headboard and jump, even if it's 3 am. I cried because when we cuddle him back to sleep (read: gently pin him down so he can't start crawling, until he relaxes his body enough to fall asleep), he fights and screams. I cried because if things do not improve soon, I will probably make him cry-it-out. I cried because I know that will be awful for me, but I don't know if there's any other way to deal with the night crawling and night waking. I cried because I love this little boy so much that I almost can't breathe. As I lay in bed with him at 4 am last night, feeling the terrible weight of fatigue, desperate for sleep, he started clapping his hands. Over and over, just so happy to have mastered this new skill. How can I feel such extremes of emotion, such joy coupled with such awful torment?
Now for some novel-esque details on Dio's sleep habits. I desperately need for something to change. But I have little hope for actually finding a solution. I've read many different sleep books, each one claiming to have the solution to your baby's sleep problems, each one giving different advice. How can a book purport to solve MY child's specific problems? MY baby will not necessarily respond predictably to the elaborate routines and practices touted to teach children healthy sleeping habits.

First, here is Dio's typical night schedule:
  • 6:30 or 7 pm: go to bed
  • He might wake several times between 7 and 11 pm. Other nights he might sleep straight through. Recently, we've had to go in and settle him down when he wakes--because of the crawling issues. 
  • 11 pm: wakes up, one of us settles him down (no nursing) 
  • Midnight: wakes up and nurses
  • 3 am: wakes up, one of us settles him down (no nursing). Sometimes he sleeps soundly until 5 am, but other times (increasingly so, it seems) he wakes up repeatedly until 5 am, or at times will not go back to sleep at all
  • 5 am: wakes up and nurses
  • 7 am: wakes up for the morning

The 3 am-5 am stretch is killing me. I usually go to bed around 10:30 or 11 pm, but with his waking right around then, it can sometimes be much later when I actually fall asleep. Quite often it's not until after his midnight nursing that I can finally go to sleep. Then just 3 hours later I'm up again. Eric often gets up at this time, but even when I can stay under the covers, I am awake for the whole thing. Then just 2 hours later (if we're lucky and he actually sleeps from 3-5 am), I'm up again to nurse him, and 2 hours after that he's awake for the morning. It's been particularly hard now that he's staying in his own room all night. I can no longer just roll over and comfort him. I have to get out of bed, walk to his room, get him back to sleep--all the while freezing cold, since we keep our house at 62 F at night and there's a fan blowing for white noise. And if he wakes up 5 minutes, or 15 minutes, or 1 hour later, I have to repeat the whole process. Thing is, he does sleep better in his room than in ours at this point, so it needs to stay that way. 

Dio's night wakings, especially the 11 am and 3 am ones, are definitely habitual, not from hunger or being cold or whatever. He doesn't need to nurse (and actually, when I've tried nursing him at 3 am on particularly restless nights, it doesn't seem to help much to settle him down). 

Bundling/swaddling have been very helpful for helping Dio settle down and for keeping him asleep longer, in part because they kept him from rolling over and hence from crawling. But he is so strong now that he can easily work his way out. And summer is coming. Once it gets hot, bundling will be out of the question.

Some good things relating to Dio and sleep:

1) He almost always falls asleep on his own, rather than nursing to sleep. This is true for both naptime and bedtime. Now, sometimes he's so wiped out at bedtime that he will fall asleep nursing, but it's more a chance thing. Zari, on the other hand, had to nurse to sleep every.single.time. until she was 20+ months old. This means that Eric can settle Dio down at night. I still am awake for it, but it is nice to be able to stay under the warm covers and let someone else do the nighttime parenting. But this also means that Eric, for the first time, is experiencing sleep deprivation. With Zari, I did all of the nighttime tasks--nursing every 2-3 hours until she was 18-19 months old, calming, diapering, pottying, bundling, etc. And Zari was never that restless or fussy, so he slept mostly undisturbed. Well, until Zari got  so wiggly at night that he'd get kicked in the head, at which point she spent more time in the crib next to our bed.

2) Naps are pretty good. I just switched him from 2 naps to 1, and he's adjusted just fine. He now takes a 2-3 hour long nap in the early afternoon. We went through a spell where he was only napping for 30-45 minutes at a time, but that is over, thankfully. 

Here are some of my goals for Dio's sleep habits:
  • Cut out his habitual 11 pm and 3 am wakings--which would mean sleep stretches of 5 hours, 5 hours, and then 2 hours (or maybe 4/5/3 hours, etc...).
  • I'm not trying to night-wean him, so I am fine getting up once or twice to nurse him. Once would be lovely, but I'm trying to be realistic here!
  • Help him learn how to settle himself down, including how to get back down from crawling, sitting, or standing positions and lie down again. He can do this when he's awake, but in his half-sleep he just can't figure it out
  • Keep him from pulling himself up and standing at night if possible, since it really agitates him and makes him wake up a lot more. 
  • Find something other than bundling, since that will not work with summer coming
  • Help him sleep deeply in between wakings, so he's not up every 20-30 minutes, or every hour (all things that happen quite often around here)
I really, really need advice. Something beyond the comfortless platitudes that "when you look back, this time will go by so quickly" or "it will get better eventually." I am even willing to consider a crying-it-out technique--if I can be convinced that it will actually work. At his age, with how much he cries already at night even when we're trying to help, and with his situation (not being comforted by our presence, for example), crying-it-out is definitely on the table for me. But here's the catch: for me to try this, I would have to be convinced that it would be the best/only solution to Dio's specific sleep issues.

I was talking with several women friends--all mothers of several children, all people whose input I respect--after a particularly terrible night. Two of them did a crying-it-out technique when their babies reached a certain age. It took about a week from start to finish, and their babies then slept all the way through the night, very soundly. They said it was really, really hard for them to listen to. But they knew that it would be over soon. (They both suggested having him checked for an ear infection, which I haven't done yet. He doesn't seem to be teething, either.) On the other hand, the third person I talked to had a very different experience: she tried CIO, and her daughter would cry so hard she would pass out. They'd find her lying prone in bed, her face purple.

How can I teach Dio--just 11 months old, too young to understand language--to sleep? Is there another way besides simply letting him cry until he collapses from sheer exhaustion? I cannot function with what we have now. Seriously. I feel this horrible, pressing weight on me from the lack of sleep and associated stress. I start to feel panicky and desperate at night, knowing what's coming. I feel foggy and dizzy during the day. Something needs to change. But how?


  1. Have you considered lowering your bed so there is no headboard and sleeping on mattresses on the floor?

    My oldest daughter went through a very active stage during nighttime both when she was learning to crawl and again when she was learning to walk.

    She'd wake up (in our bed - mattresses on the floor) and practice. I'd doze a bit and nurse her when she needed me.

    The room was absolutely child-proof and she couldn't harm herself with her nighttime explorations.

    These stages are so very brief and remember, mama, this too shall pass.

  2. (So, this is going to sound very advice-y, but, you asked for it? :P)

    When my middle daughter was 1 month old, the only place she wanted to sleep was on my chest, on her stomach. I put her down a couple times on her stomach (which she loved), but then I couldn't stand the SIDS danger. I vowed then to not have another kid 'til the advice on back-to-sleep switched back.

    (I also rejoice each time my kids learn to flip over on their own (usually around 4 months) bec. then I can leave them to sleep on their tummies, and they sleep so much better.)

    Anyway, with Susan, her pediatrician said, put her to sleep on her back and let her cry. When she's tired enough, she'll sleep. I decided to do it for three nights. The first night, I went in every three hours to nurse her (remember, she was a month old), and she screamed in between those feedings. I read a book -- obviously I couldn't sleep.

    The second night she screamed the first three hour stretch and then slept soundly the rest. The third night, she whimpered once or twice. And she has slept well in the five years since then.

    Every kid is different, of course, and this time around I would probably try some other form of co-sleeping (besides on my chest) for a 1 month old, but for an almost 1 year old? Crying it out works. And while it's hard at the time, the results are so rewarding (and lasting) -- for both you AND the baby.

    I think the key is to set a time limit you're comfortable with (a week, whatever) and within that time limit be absolutely consistent. The Ferberizing thing never made sense to me, bec. it is just training a baby to cry for 15 minutes (or whatever).

    I also don't think night-weaning is necessarily a bad thing (esp at 11 months). My oldest slept 8 hours a night at 6 weeks (w/o CIO), and 12 hours by 4 months, yet I had plenty of milk for her. My third daughter was similar and I nursed her until 17 months, she didn't start solids until about 8 months, even with a night-weaning around 3-4 months.

  3. Oh poor you..I have a night crawler as well. Its so horrible cos you think the sleep will improve once they master the new skill, but instead it gets worse.

    Your sleep logs read pretty much exactly like ours, but for some reason I'm not as desparate as you just yet. It could be that I go to bed at around 9am, so get more rest time (or that I only have one kid!).

    What we have done is put our king-sized mattress, as well as a full-size mattress, on the floor in our bedroom. So basically the whole bedroom is floor-bed. Mostly Daisy and I sleep on the king and hubby takes the full. So when D wakes and starts crawling I don't have to worry that she'll fall off the bed, or try and stand up on the headboard (cos we removed it when putting the beds on the floor). I usually manage to nurse her back to sleep when she wakes up and starts crawling.

    In a few months time we are looking at doing the Jay Gordon night weaning method, which is basically CIO but in Dads arms. You pick a period of time where there will be no nursing and Dad does all the comforting during that time. Apparently it takes 10days to work.

    Anyway, hope you find some answers..from one tired Mama to another xx

  4. I feel for you! Sleep deprivation is so painful.

    Here is my experience with CIO, hoping it may help.

    When my firstborn was 9 months, I could not take the sleep deprivation any more. So, reluctantly, I resorted to CIO. I was surprised how well it worked.

    It was a difficult process and my husband and I would have to gear ourselves up for it. "Okay, if he cries, we won't get up." But I would lay in bed listening to him, my heart beating fast, my blood pressure rising. You know the feeling. (And some nights, we just said, "we can't do it--let's get him." We were not as consistent as the books recommend, but it still worked.)

    The first time he cried for 90 minutes. I started to doubt myself, "Am I doing the wrong thing here?" I knew he was not hungry/cold/sick when he cried. So, I stuck it out.

    Each night he cried less and less and fairly quickly he learned to put himself back to sleep. Within a week or so, he slept through the night and he has been a marvelous sleeper ever since. He's 4 now and is well adjusted...I am convinced the CIO did him no harm and taught him how to sleep well. And I was a much better mother to him when I was rested.

    So no real advice, just my story.

    Keep us posted. I know how frustrating it is to read those books. I hope you can find something that works and that you feel good about.
    ~ Suzanne

  5. My daughter did something similar. It was hard. Sleep deprivation SUCKS!

    We are not CIO people ... I think that for my daughter it would be a very very damaging interaction.

    When they're half-asleep/half-awake and practicing skills, it's the worst. There's nothing you can do but be present with them and their screaming. I think I went through 1-2 weeks or so of my daughter being awake for several hours in the middle of the night before her sleeping got gradually better - this is when she was mastering crawling/pulling up/walking.

    Have you considered a homeopathic to help him settle, such as:


    I would respectfully say that if he is waking for a *reason* then CIO doesn't make sense. CIO is generally for habitual night-waking that doesn't have a "cause" (since most CIO proponents don't consider requiring comfort to be a need). My only suggestion would be to go to sleep earlier, lady!! LOL Is there any way you can get a nap during the day? If Dio reliably sleeps for 2-3 hours, that's a whole lot of sleep you could be getting. It sucks to not have alone-time or time with your daughter alone, but it's only for a short while and then things will settle down again. Maybe you could have an agreement with another mom to watch Zari for the afternoons for a few weeks so you can get your rest? I don't know ...

  6. Ok I'm not a mom, but I have some thoughts - I'm a dog trainer and the principles of reinforcement apply to all species after all. :)

    Whenever I have a tough problem I try to figure out 1. what triggers the behavior? 2. what is reinforcing the behavior? 3. What behavior do I want to replace the undesirable one?

    Once you answer the three questions above you often can see alternative treatments for the original problem.

    A couple of ideas to get you started (ymmv):

    - can you catch him before he starts the crying and reward the quiet behavior instead? If so, gradually move back the time at which you reward quiet - perhaps wake him up before he gets up around 11pm (say 10:55pm), quietly reward with calm attention, and settle him back to bed. After a few days of success, move the wake up time to 11pm, then after a few days of success, wake at 11:10, rinse and repeat, gradually extending the time before you come in to give positive attention.

    - Is there something waking him at 11 and 3? If so, can you rearrange his sleeping location/routine so that he isn't exposed to his triggers? Gradually reintroduce them after you catch up on sleep. ;)

    - Would he play with toys if they were available? I have a friend whose son started waking up waaay early all of a sudden - when she provided a bucket of safe toys for him in his crib he stopped crying and played for the hour or so before she came in to get him ready for the day. Perhaps this or something similar would provide a positive alternative behavior that could then be rewarded?

    - Is there any way to encourage the crawling *before* bedtime? Satiate his need for crawling so that he doesn't feel like it's the thing to do late at night?

    The "cry it out" idea is based off of the idea of extinction - without reinforcement the behavior will eventually disappear. Of course there are two things to remember: 1. the reinforcement for the behavior has to be completely removed (hard to do in many cases) and 2. you will often see the behavior get worse before it gets better (aka the extinction burst) and you *must* tough it out or you'll be reinforcing the "worse" behavior.

    Hope some of this helps. For more ideas, you might consider checking out "Don't Shoot the Dog" by Karen Pryor - it's not a dog training text I swear! It's a book all about solving and changing behaviors and I've found it very helpful when it comes to working with my clients and other humans (and yes, dogs too).

  7. Oh, Rixa, I have nothing practical or helpful to contribute. (But no platitudes, either!) I'm just so sorry that you're not getting sleep, and that your family is going through a the-tiny-sweet-child-you're-desperately-trying-to-help-seems-to-think-you're-being-cruel phase. Those are both ridiculously hard even separately, but together ... Ugh. Hope other readers have brilliant ideas for you to try; all I can offer at the moment is heartfelt sympathy.

  8. It sounds like Dio is "sleepwalking." My sister did that once and when she woke up from it, it was very traumatic for her-she was crying and very scared. I can imagine it being very scary for a baby too, if that is what it is. I am not very familiar with sleepwalking, but it might be helpful to check out research on how people deal with it. I did a quick search on the web (so who knows how valid the suggestions are). One page said you can't do anything about it but another gave a list of things they suggested for breaking the cycle of sleepwalking is to make sure meals are not eaten too close to bedtime, wake the person 15-20 before the sleepwalking episode to break the cycle, try not to go to bed exhausted, exercise, etc. They sound like good ideas, but I would be interested in what the formal research says on this matter.

  9. I think that electroshock thing your dad did with the worms needs some consideration.


    I don't have experience with much of what you're experiencing or CIO, but I do know that my son has an unusual tweak that I'll mention since I wouldn't have considered it myself if it hadn't been alluded to in something I read. The urge to pee wakes him up, it has since he was 4 months old, and probably before. He's now 2 1/2 and it hasn't changed. He couldn't settle until he peed (and for whatever reason, he resisted peeing in a diaper, so it needed to involve some adult assistance getting him to a potty and such.) Once he pees, he's easily asleep again. No idea if it's relevant. In any case, I wish you the best.

  10. The best way to teach an 11 month old how to sleep properly is to start promoting proper sleep habits when they are newborns. He's unfortunately gained these habits over the last few months. CIO 9 times out of 10 will probably do the trick.

  11. I hope this doesn't sound silly, but have you tried a sleep sacque instead of the swaddling (since that's not working anymore)? That's what worked for my son, who was a stander, although not a crawler. :) He pull up on the crib bars and stand and then cry till we came to lay him down. But the sacque kept him from being able to get to his knees and crawl to the bar. He get a little tangled and thunk back down into bed and back to sleep :)

    With my daughter we did use cio. After a prolonged struggle with sleep problems it took FOREVER (not really though, just seemed like it at the time) to get her back on a good schedule, but OH the difference in her mood! It was like she was a new child!

    With my son, the night-stander :), we were much quicker to address sleep issues and had MUCH less trouble. He never really did CRY it out. He fussed a bit each time we'd drop a waking time (he wasn't really nursing when he woke anyway), but never screamed or got really distressed.

    Good luck. I think sleeping issues are one of THE hardest things about those early years of parenting.

  12. Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry you are going through this. I'm pro CIO for the right age and circumstances, and of course I'm no expert but it does seem like a good option in your scenario. I'd cut the night nursing for sure. I like Weissbluth but I know some prefer Ferber. I like W b/c I liked the idea of sleep as a healthy skill we need to learn just like healthy eating. Sure, even adults wake up in the night, but we learn how to get back to sleep without torturing the whole household (hopefully). So, I'd say, yeah, if you go for it, really commit and make sure both of you are on board and are ready to go for it. I'm sure it will suck for a week or two but then hopefully everyone will be sleeping better. Good luck!

  13. It sounds like your gut is trying to tell you something.

    The thing that worked for us was a crib in our older son's room, sleep sack and 3 nights CIO a la Ferber (it really did get better each night and only took 3 nights). We did this at 12 mo. and I probably wouldn't do it very much earlier. Also, it probably wouldn't have worked had I not night weaned.

  14. I sooo get this... I was not a fan of CIO myself, but my son was waking up every hour to nurse!! It was terrible... So I modified it some to work for me. First, I made sure that he had a snack of some kind before bed, because I could not handle the idea of him being hungry. Then for a wk before, I played consistent music (cd) for him at naptimes and bed time, and played it the whole night, very soft but still there. My hope was, that he would hear that and it would remind him that when he hears it, it's time to sleep. Plus, I didn't want him to feel so alone. And then, I did stay in his room most all the first night. I could not handle him going from snuggling and nursing to nothing... (he had slept in our room, but in desperation we had moved him out.. I sooo get your problem!) So I stayed with him and talked him through it. I know, he probably didn't "get" what I was saying, but it really helped me. I lost a whole night of sleep just about, he cried for most of 8 hrs. Perhaps if I hadn't been there he wouldn't have? Hmmm. Anyways, the next night he slept 8 hrs straight, then after that, all night. It was AMAZING! I felt human again. I sooo know how that exhaustion feels.
    My second child I didn't really let cry it out though. I didn't have peace with it. (we found out later she had a kidney issue, and I'm so glad I listened to my heart) so I used the book "The No Cry Sleep Solution" By Elisabeth Pantly (sp?) It did help, it takes more self discipline from the parent though. My 3rd. Nothing helped. I tried everything. I have no idea... sounds lame. My 4th was amazing though!
    So... good luck. I totally feel for you.
    Oh, and the crawling thing, I do find that they will get tired of it after a month or so. But, the crib worked best for me with that, cause he seemed to feel safer with those boundaries. We would sometimes have to lay him back down, but he eventually learned to lay back down on his own. He would crawl in his sleep.... Anyways, good luck!

  15. Willem wasn't a nightcrawler, but ages 4-6 months he'd do nothing but scream all night. his pedi at the time said he was perfectly healthy and it was just a "parenting issue". i could have slapped her.

    i found that techniques from the no cry sleep solution book helped.
    i was completely exhausted. i felt like "is it CIO if he's in my arms screaming already??" I was to the point of hallucinating throwing him up against the wall. something had to change.

    just know that there are definitely other mothers out there with you going through the same thing.
    i hope you find something that works for you.

  16. We did a modified version of CIO. I too couldn't stand long periods of crying. We used this mainly in trying to put our kids to bed. Sometimes they would wake in the night but we never had quite the same problem with so much night waking.

    In our version, we would slowly increase the length of time we would let the baby cry. We would do the whole regular night routine and put them down. Once the baby cried we would look at the clock and start with 2 min. We would go in, lay the baby back down, but not much else. Then wait for crying and time for 3 min. Repeat again...4,5 min. Usually at this point if the baby was still crying I would actually hold him for a few minutes to calm him. Then start the cycle again with 2 min.

    This has worked for us on all 3 kids. A few of the first nights we had to repeat the cycle 3 times but then they fell asleep. It worked in just a few days. I felt like the baby still knew we were there. And the short periods made the crying bearable.

    I do think to do this you would need to move the crib out of your room. It wouldn't work if he could see you. And I am not sure if having a whole room to move around is beneficial if trying to help him relax. Sometimes with parenting you have to try something, evaluate, and keep trying...Good luck.

  17. I have used a version of CIO for a couple of kids. Once we layed our little boy down, we wouldn't pick him back up, but the first night I would go in every five minutes and runb his back and talk to him, comfort him as much as possible without picking him up. The next night I would stretch it to 8-10 minutes in between, and so on. It took about 4 nights for it to work for him and then he was a great sleeper. We tried the same thing with one of our other children and it took longer, a couple weeks, but he is a great sleeper now too. I can't stand to hear them crying all night and not comfort them, but I felt like not picking them up would re-affirm to them that it is time for sleep, not cuddles and waking.

    I hope something works for you. You will have to let us all know what you decide on and how it goes.

  18. I have not a word of advice, but all the sympathy in the world. I hope you find a solution that works for you and Dio soon so you can both be well-rested.

  19. I didn't read through all the comments, so sorry if others have already made these suggestions. When my DS started moving around too much at night, we actually began swaddling him! At least the arms. It seemed to help quite a bit. As for CIO, I don't know. I guess I think there is a certain age where sometimes you kind of have to let them figure it out for themselves. But I think it is the age when they really understand that you are not gone, have not abandoned them, and you can clearly communicate your expectation to them, i.e. "Sleep now. No play time."

    Would it be possible to move Zari into your bed and go into the kids room with Dio for a few days while you try to figure it out? (First get someone to take the kids for a couple hours so you can get a nap in the daytime, so you have some juice to get through the night.) Then maybe when he wakes up, you can do a version of the Supernanny technique where you just put him back into his bed over and over, and sit (lay) in the dark without engaging him, but he is not completely left alone. This might be a good compromise instead of full-on cry-it-out if you don't think he can understand the expectation or you fear he might be traumatized by being abandoned. This type of approach worked pretty well for us when we moved our DS from our bed into a bed on the floor in his own room. When there is really nothing for them to do in there and you are not engaging, they get the idea pretty quick that they need to stay in that bed and sleep.

  20. We used "The Baby Whisperer" with our kids. It's basically crying it out, but you are there with them. You just keep laying them back down, and put your hand on their back to help them settle down. You can talk to them if that helps calm them, or sing, or whatever works, you just don't ever pick them up. If your presence isn't comforting him, and is making him more angry and frustrated, than maybe that won't work, I'm not sure......

    Just choose what you feel comfortable with and able to do. The Baby Whisperer method requires more patience and can be quite frustrating at times. John had to do it most nights because I would get so impatient, but it worked in the end.

    Just remember your goals and work towards them step by step.

    Good luck with everything! I feel for you guys.

  21. Oh... nighttime parenting is so hard sometimes. I shiver while I do it too. Not.Fun.

    If I remember correctly, you are LDS? Have you had a blessing? Has Dio? Monkey had a period when he was just terrified of the dark - even dusk in the living room was too dark & he needed me to turn on all the lights. Nighttime was awful! My husband gave him a blessing and things were immediately some better, and have gradually improved quite a bit since then.

  22. I admit it. We pinned, and I'm not sure "gentle" would be the word to describe. Firm is likely more accurate. We have really struggled sometimes with getting Willem to sleep, and its heart wrenching to make the decision to pin the child or let him scream in another room by himself. Pinning worked better for us, but I can't see it working when taking another child's sleep into account. Depending on the size of house, any crying from a baby can be very disruptive to another child.

  23. My heart aches for you. We've all dealt with this on some level. Our school district has a series of speakers for the parents and the one in January was a doctor from a sleep research center in a large hospital in the area. They have a group that deals specifically with pediatrics. He said when it comes to issues like yours, they see the most success with crying it out with Dad in charge. He said many moms left the house for a night or two and slept at a family or friends house. He talked of working with many mothers who were against CIO and never thought they would do that or night wean but the lack of sleep was making them physically sick. What good are you as a mother like that?

  24. I don't have any good advice to offer since my son is only 6 months, he sleeps reasonably well at this point (4-6 hour stretches) for me to yet be where you are - my heart goes out to you tho! My only suggestion is I've heard many people use sleep sacks to stop the baby from being able to crawl or stand, I also really enjoyed the idea of putting your mattress on the floor.

    Wish I could offer more support!

  25. We did CIO with our 9 month old when he was waking several times a night like Dio. The first night he screamed for 15 minutes and then conked out for the whole night! By the 3rd night he was falling asleep in less than a minute. Amazing! He's almost 2 now and has been sttn ever sense. I wasn't into CIO either until it occured to me that he was going to be crying even when we attempted to comfort him! We followed Ferber.

    It also might help to cut out all nighttime feedings (although I know you said you're not ready to night wean yet). He doesn't need the feeding anymore than you need a midnight snack and he may be waking (and staying awake) with the hope of nursing. If that's no longer a part of his night he's likely to fall right back to sleep at the end of a sleep cycle. Just a thought.

    One last thought, is he warm enough at night? 62 degrees is pretty cold for a toddler who isn't likely to stay under cover. And everyone sleeps more sounding when toasty warm.

  26. I have lots of thoughts. And I have the AP group in Peoria brainstorming for you.

    I'm pretty sure you probably have all the research on the harm CIO can cause to a little brain and a little soul. If you don't, I can dig out the links. Increased cortisol levels aren't good for anyone. They don't help you sleep, they don't help you soothe yourself, they don't make you feel good.

    For those who suggested CIO with dad, this is not CIO. The definition of CIO is leaving a baby alone, to self soothe. There is a big difference in the brains response to crying when someone is available to comfort you and crying because you want someone to comfort you. Leaving a baby who doesn't need to breastfeed to be comforted by dad is much different than leaving a baby alone to cry for an hour. With dad, if the baby wants comfort he can get it, if he gets upset and is gagging on spit dad can make sure he's okay. Even though the baby might be frustrated because he's not getting exactly what he wants, he will still have the reassurance that someone cares for him no matter what. The baby left alone to cry does not get that reassurance and many people believe that cry it out teaches babies to give up on seeking comfort from caregivers.

    One thing that helps me through hard times is to remember that I didn't sign up to be a parent just during the daytime hours or when it was convenient to me (I particularly have to remind myself of this when I need to get of the internet b/c one of my boys needs me). It is my responsibility to parent even if I'm exhausted or hungry or sick. It sucks sometimes though.

    I think Erin's advice is excellent. I have been often known to sneak into wherever my boys are sleeping when I first hear them rustle so that I could pat him or nurse him through that transition period between sleep cycles. Sometimes that preemptive action can make such a huge difference.

    In that vein, I would consider the problem like this. He's learned how to crawl and he thinks it's the most awesome thing ever. He can get wherever he wants. How cool! But he's tired so he falls asleep. At a few points in the night he moves from one sleep cycle to the next. This light sleep phase is often when we wake up and get a drink of water or go to the bathroom. As adults we know that we need sleep b/c of our obligations, but as a baby, he is waking up and remember how COOL it is to be able to crawl so he gets excited and gives it a go. If you can provide him comfort and support from the earliest part of that transition period then you'll have the best luck teaching him how to fall back to sleep.

    If I were you I'd bite the bullet and go to be earlier, even though I didn't want to. Or, if I couldn't fall asleep early enough I'd just plan on having a little couch nap with a TV babysitter in the morning or napping with the Dio if someone else can watch Zari. And I'd do my best to catch those first rustling noises, or if I was too tired to hear them, I'd set an alarm for a few minutes before the normal wake up times so I was ready for them.

    Hopefully the AP group will have more suggestions soon.

  27. My 11 month old has also gone from a fairly sound (co-sleeping and night nursing) sleeper to waking up multiple times a night. Fortunately we've been able to keep him in our bed so I don't have the full waking you do from having to go to another room.
    Since I'm struggling with the same challenge on a smaller scale, I have no great advice to lend. But I do have a possible save on the swaddling / bundling question.
    I live in Mumbai, India, so needed to find something that would work with Sam (my son) even on hot days and that also helped him keep his arms down during that phase of being able to work off the swaddle but having startle reflex that would wake him. I devised something that worked fairly well. Am happy to send you photos. As long as you can sew a (relatively) straight seam, you don't need any crafting skills beyond that. Drop me a line at valerie.trip (at) gmail if you're interested.

  28. Oh I feel for you. My newborn is not sleeping well, naturally, and I am crying every other day from exhaustion.

    If there's one thing I can recommend, it's a sleep sac. I know you said you want to figure something out besides swaddling, but there's a good chance that by the time it gets too warm for one he'll be out of this stage. The sleep sacs have velcro that is really tough to wiggle out of. I use it for my newborn because she is so wiggly that she gets out of her receiving blanket swaddles easily.

    I pray that you find something that works soon, and I also think you might consider having a mama come over and watch Zari for just 3 hours so you can get a nap. You might feel like you have a zillion things to do and there's no way you could nap, but your sleep has to take priority right now.. laundry, dishes, and chores can build a bit while you save your sanity.

    Hugs, mama.

  29. I don't believe in CIO, so my advice won't include that.

    Here are my thoughts:
    1. Make the house warmer. 62 is pretty cold, and most people sleep better when it's a bit warmer.

    2. It sounds like he wakes, crawls, and THEN gets frustrated because he either is running into a stopping point OR can't get back down on his own. Since it's happening at the same time every night, I would wake 10 minutes before and go into his room. Try waiting for him to get up, and when he does, gently lay him back down. We do this with my son when he sits up in the middle of the night and cries. I gently lay him down and he's back out. If that's not working, go in a few minutes before and wake him gently without speaking to him (pick up, rub back, etc), and then lay him back down to sleep. Maybe the interruption in the routine he's developed will prevent his waking in the first place?

    3. Why did you switch him from 2 naps to 1, and did this issue happen when that switch was made? My son is a month older than yours (just turned 1) and does 2 naps a day still, so I'm wondering if there was a reason for that. Sleep begets sleep.

    4. Practice the getting to standing then back down, getting to sitting then back down, etc in his waking hours. I know you said he can do it when awake, but maybe he's not got it 'down' enough so as to be routine yet?

    5. Can you swaddle just his upper half so he cannot grab crib rails and stand?

    6. Have you tried adjusting his bedtime? You say he's in bed between 6:30 and 7, and then wakes usually several times between 7 and 11. Maybe an earlier or later bedtime would be better? And/or maybe he needs more activity to wear him out during waking hours?

    7. I would have a check up, especially his ears and his teeth. If he's in pain, that might be what wakes him and starts the problems in the first place. My son had an ear infection and was showing NO signs of it while awake, but having sleep issues...so you never know!
    Good luck! My son just turned one and fluctuates between being an excellent sleeper and waking 3 times a night. It's SO frustrating!

  30. We did CIO with our daughter when she was 9 months and waking 3 to 5 times at night to breastfeed. I still remember the exhaustion. We decided to tackle it one night and left her to cry 5 mins then settle her with a cuddle, leave her 10 mins, settle with a cuddle, leave 15 mins etc, always extending the time she was left by 5 mins. It was heartbreaking the first night. The first night we got about 3 hours sleep total. The second night we got about 5 hours, the 3rd night she slept the whole night and settled well. From that point she slept 10 hours overnight without fail.

    Worked for us, might be worth a try.

  31. I haven't had time to read the many comments to this post, which I'm sure will have better ideas than mine! But I wanted to contribute a few small things. First, I want to say that I sympathize with you. Yuck! What an awful, wearing, tiring situation you are in right now. I'm so sorry!

    I have 3 boys and all three went through a phase similar to this when they learned to crawl. It's like their body says, "Oh! We're sort of semi awake! Okay, PRACTICE CRAWLING!!!" And it wakes them up more. It sucks! Bigtime!

    It is a phase. With my first, I did CIO sleep train because I couldn't handle the thought of living like that for who knew how long? But in restrospect he probably would have outgrown it in a few weeks. With my second,. I bundled and tried to wait it out, but he is more persistent, so I resorted to using a (dare I say it?? I'm embarrassed!) Supernanny technique I saw on TV once. I put him in a crib (we cosleep too, much like you--sometimes, here, there, our room, siblings' room, whatever works) after nursing him, and sat on his floor while he cried it out. With me sitting in his room I felt like although he was crying, he was not alone. Supernanny says not to talk to them or look at them, but to sit so they can see your face. It sounds kind of cold and rejecting, and I guess it could be interpreted that way. But for me, it was less heinous than leaving the room for him to CIO. You know? Each night he would cry for 5 minutes or so, and it took about four or five days.
    With my third, we swaddled him and waited it out, and it went away after three weeks or so. I also tried to encourage lots of practice for getting up and down, so he didn't get 'stuck' as often, you know? I felt really bad that I had let my older two CIO in one form or another and vowed not to do it this time. I just didn't have the heart for it. Though, by eleven months I really think that it can be an appropriate tool for some parents. I just couldn't do it. I'm getting softer with age and experience :)
    THAT SAID: a functioning mom is a MUST--if you are at the end of your rope, you must protect your sanity and your kids' daytime hours by getting some sleep for yourself. Better a sane mom who used CIO than a crazy one who didn't.
    I don't know if that helps at ALL, but I thought I'd offer my experience in case you could draw something from it!
    At the very least, know you are not alone! And that this, too, shall pass...

  32. You have to do what your instinct tells you is the right thing. Kids' sleep is a continuum, not static. I have a 6 YO and 4 YO... neither "sleep through the night" all the time. There are growing pains, adjustment to changes, nightmares and more that keep them up at night. Always when I think I cannot possible do it anymore, they change and go back to sleeping.

    I encourage you to find a quiet space each day for a few days and do some searching of your intuition to think about what might be "really" going on with him. With my kids, I rarely find that the problem is what it seems.

    It is essential that you get more rest while you figure things out. Going to bed early and "tag teaming" with your partner are essential. You cannot go at this alone and need to make temporary routine changes so that you can get enough sleep until you help your little guy.

  33. Oh, such a hard, hard time! Elizabeth over at Motherhood is Not For Wimps just faced a similar conundrum and had two great posts (and lots of great comments) about it!



    Good, good luck! I'm sending peaceful, sleepy thoughts to you and Dio both!

  34. This may not be helpful at all (bec. I don't remember any of my kids wanting to be awake at night in order to practice new skills) -- not that that has stopped me before. :P

    But I wondered last night if maybe his nightcrawling is/or is related to night terrors -- bec. of the half-asleep, inconsolable/unresponsive part of it. (It's actually hard for me to imagine a baby who is unconsoled by the breast. That is, for me, the #1 best thing about breastfeeding.)

    Sally had night terrors after we moved to Egypt (18 mo) and again after we moved back to the states (3 1/2). When she'd "wake up" screaming like that, nothing worked to soothe her back to sleep. Instead, we turned on the lights, got her up and walking until she woke up completely, and then we were able to lie down with her and comfort her as she got back to sleep. This got easier as she became more verbal; she could tell us if she'd had a bad dream or something.

    Just a thought.

  35. Muffin Cake, I like your advice. I don't have much to add. Rixa, I think you should try going to bed earlier. I go to bed about 9 pm with my daughter every night. She doesn't have the issues Dio does, but she can take up to an hour to settle down because she wants to crawl and clap. At least I am resting during this time and that helps.

    I also think you should consider what kind of "crier" Dio is before trying CIO. Some babies release tension by crying, and CIO probably works best for them. But other babies escalate tension when they cry, and CIO doesn't work (maybe like the commenter who said a baby passed out from CIO).

    My daughter gets more upset if she is left to cry and I can see her building up to panic if I can't comfort her quickly, so I really don't believe CIO would work for her. Well, it might "work", but I think it would be very damaging.

    Lastly, (((((hugs))))) I hope things get better soon.

  36. Ah! I am in such a similar place. My daughter has NEVER slept well. I think twice in her life she has slept five or six hours in a row. In general, if she does at least one three or four hour stretch, we consider it a good night. I feel like we've tried EVERYTHING. But we won't do CIO. It's like once we get through one horrible stage of night waking, we move onto another: needing to nurse often because of age, reverse-cycling when I went back to work, teething, ear infections, night-crawling/standing (Seriously, what the heck is up with that? I'd say three-quarters of the times she wakes up, she's on her feet immediately). I don't want to wish away her infancy, but there's a part of me that is ready for her to be able to verbally tell me what wakes her up and to work through some sort of solution together. I am SO SLEEPY.

    Sadie turns 1 this coming Saturday, and I do think we are going to attempt night weaning shortly thereafter. She's already on her way there...she'll often let her dad settle her back to sleep. That said, I don't know what this will do for fixing what's waking her up. I like the idea of going back to a sleep sack. If you find anything that does work, I'm anxious to hear about it to see if it might work for us, too.

  37. We finally resorted to CIO with our girl. It took ONE NIGHT. Trying CIO as a last-ditch effort, rather than all the time, won't mess up your kid. I'm a strong believer in using CIO as only a last-ditch effort! It's hard to listen to, but you can't be a good mom when you're so sleep-deprived and possibly holding a grudge against your child. I'm not saying you're holding a grudge, but I started to and knew that was where the line had to be drawn.

  38. This comment has been removed by the author.

  39. Like Valerie in India, I live in South Texas where it's getting too hot to swaddle, but my 4-month-old won't sleep if she can get her hands in her mouth. So I sewed some cloth "handcuffs" that go around her wrists and are attached by a long cloth that goes behind her (keeping her hands at her sides) so she still has some movement but not enough to get her fists to her mouth. I'm hoping that as she gains more control over her limbs we'll be able to transition her away from it.

    I echo what a previous commenter said about getting a blessing. You can get inspiration about the way to handle this that will be best for your family--whether that's CIO or something else. No one can guarantee in advance that any certain method will work... parenthood is in large part trial and error, after all. (Fortunately most of our errors don't permanently mess our kids up!) I think sometimes we get so caught up in research and books and methods and other peoples' advice and experiences that we lose the confidence to listen to our mother's instinct.

    Best of luck...I hope you can get some rest soon. Please let us know how it goes!

  40. Rixa,
    Love your blog! I am an L&D nurse and your blog has really inspired some changes in my practice for the better. I know you that you have read many books on sleep, but the one I found that worked was "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child." I really liked this book, because it was science and evidence based. I also liked all the anecdotes. One final thing about the book that I found useful is that it addresses the different sleep problems that children can have at ages infancy through adolescence.

    My thought is that probably Dio is overtired himself and therefore is unable to sleep soundly and soothe himself back to sleep when he arouses. (I am sorry for the grammatical errors and run on sentences, but I am trying to write with a 1 yr old on my lap!) My 1 yr old when she was 10 months also began waking at 11 and 3 and wanting to nurse. I got out my trusty copy of HSHHC and decided to let her cry it out. (I work full time and 12 hour shifts on interrupted and 4-5 hrs of sleep are miserable). She cried for 2hrs and I finally got up and nursed her. She fell back to sleep instantly. I was very discouraged, but the next night she slept through the night. Since then with few exceptions she has slept through the night.

    I hope that you will find the right combination of advice and methods soon. Being sleep deprived is awful! I will keep my fingers crossed for you:)

  41. Wow, I don't have time to read ALL of the comments that have been left...but I can say that I am SHOCKED at how many are advocating CIO.

    Crying it out is basically telling the child 'I don't care, you can keep crying and cry yourself to sleep, I'm not coming to help you'.

    I strongly disagree with CIO, as a routine parenting practice.

    My daughter did a lot of night waking. For 14 months I never slept longer than 2 hours at night. I'm not a super mom. I cried, I got frustrated, I would even set her down in her crib and walk away for 5 minutes. In that 5 minutes if she was fussing I'd ask her father to comfort her because I couldn't do it right then. I spent months rocking and nursing her only to have her wake upon her head touching the mattress. After 14 months of co-sleeping like this we moved her into her room, and the cycle continued. Only now I'd get about 90 minutes of sleep at a time between 12 and 5 am. It was a nightmare.

    You don't have to CIO there are gentler ways to go about this. (and for those of you who are offended by my statement,and reply I probably won't see it...sorry)

    My suggestion/advice would be...when he's half awake, and half asleep, treat it like a bad dream. Take him to another room, somewhere he won't disturb your daughter and turn on a low light, walk and sing or whatever to attempt to "wake him up" enough to get him back to sleep.

    I finally started doing this when my daughter was 2, yes two years old. She would wake and not want to nurse, because she was still half asleep. which means my attempt to sooth her crying lead to more crying and eventually screaming.

    So I turn on the hallway light, it's enough to flood part of her room, pick her up from her bed, hold her close and tight (because sometimes she struggles like she's trying to run away) and I sing one of her favorite tunes. And because she's 4 it takes very little to get her back to sleep, so it would take more work with a baby to get him back to sleep. But after a while, it becomes more and more effective, and he gets to keep that trust and faith in you as his mother to comfort him, and not leave him crying in the dark.

    Best wishes Rixa! I hope you get some sleep soon!!

  42. This was the age we CIO'd with my first. He was already walking at that point, but sleep was just abominable. He'd begun co-sleeping with me when we moved and my husband left for a few months for a school (he's military) and after a few months it was just not working any more. I had to nurse him to sleep, and we had never mastered side-lying. He would stay asleep laying in the bed, but once I (or both my husband and I) hopped in he took up the whole thing, woke constantly, it was a total mess. Laying him in a crib meant an IMMEDIATE waking, no matter what I did.

    I had already tried numerous incremental CIO methods with him to no avail. Sitting beside the crib while he cried, back patting, going in and out every five minutes, but none of it was helpful in any way.

    Finally we just let him be, I went out for some late night walmart with a friend and let dad do the dirty work. He checked on him a few times, and finally had the idea to give him one of my used shirts to snuggle. That helped immensely and he slept very soon after. (All told the first night he cried about 1hr 45mins-2hrs) Second night was half the time, third night almost nothing. Naps were the same way. As long as he had that shirt, he was good. (To this day my four once-favorite shirts are designated as "the Nini", he's 2.5 now.) He has been a fantastic sleeper ever since, goes down without a fuss and sleeps solid. He even stopped waking to nurse at night at that point, which tells me that like Dio, he was not nursing for hunger at night.

    I'm not a CIO fan at all, I still feel a little bad that we did it, but we had literally tried it all. I would never do it with a young baby, but when they're hitting a year and they're just unable to sleep, something has to change. Good luck, and I hope you get good sleep soon!

  43. You will probably be able to make the best decision for you and your family when you've caught up on some sleep! As other have said, put other tasks and convention aside and go to bed at 7 for a few nights. Best wishes!

  44. Someone else may have suggested this, but have you considered taking him to a naturopath for food allergy testing? If something is bothering his system, he would be in what they call "fight or flight mode," and that could easily prevent him from settling and staying asleep. Just about anything could be the culprit, but common sensitivities are gluten, soy, dairy, corn... You would have to stop eating whatever bothers him yourself as well as stop feeding it to him, because allergens transfer through breastmilk. This is the only thing that worked for my daughter. Good luck!`

  45. I feel your pain and support you!

    I, like other posters, have never done CIO under any cicumstances, and do not agree with it at all. My first daughter had similar experiences with frequent night-waking, night terrors, inconsolable crying at times, etc. We eliminated gluten (I was already GF, so it wasn't difficult) and she does not have the night terrors/nightmares anymore.

    We also believe in instinctual sleep - you don't have to teach anyone to sleep. Everyone is born knowing how to sleep. What most parents try to do is to get their children to sleep when THE PARENTS want them to sleep, for as long as THE PARENTS want them to. I can understand that desire, but I don't believe its necessary, and I don't do it. My kids go to sleep when they're tired, and wake up when they're done sleeping, and after eliminating the allergies, my daughter who seemed to have no set routine for the first couple of years settled into an amazingly predictable routine of laying herself down and going to sleep at about 9pm, and waking up at about 8am. Now at 3.5 years old, she says "I'm tired" and goes to sleep. Her little sister is more predictable, and had her own routine earlier, but we didn't force a routine on either of them. They found their own rhythm. And its important to note that her father and I are both ok with her going to sleep when she's tired, whether that be at 7pm or 11pm. She also self-regulates her naps.

    Whether that helps you or not, it appears you have a conundrum - take the ebb and flow, along with the sleep deprivation, and adjust yourself to your son for a while, with as much help, support, naps, venting, daddy assistance as you can. Or you can force your child to adjust to your sleep expectations, which almost certainly will require CIO. People make those choices every day, and you will find support for whatever decision you make. I hope you are able to get some rest, and as hokey as it sounds, this too shall pass!

  46. I was always very anti CIO until I had my daughter. I think what someone said earlier about different kinds of criers is important. My daughter even now just needs to cry a little to get rid of excess energy and relax. My mom said I was the same way and just needed to cry for a minute to put myself to sleep. Some kids are this way. I never really did any hard-core CIO method, but I found that she really did just need to cry for a couple minutes in order to settle down to sleep. It is very minimal now, if ever. I never would have tried CIO or anything if it made her hysterical or sick or anything, but she would settle herself down after a moment. It may be worth a try to see if the crying does help him at all or if it just makes him worse.

  47. I wouldn't recommend CIO Rixa. I could put your question out to my community of "AP" Mamas and Papas to see what they think...there have been several other parents in our local "AP" group who have had similar sleep issues. All CIO will do is cause Dio more stress, and his stress hormones will rise and stay that way all his life (my parents did CIO with me and my brother and we both have severe emotional issues).

    Have you read "The Science of Parenting?" I love this book, it has helped me to understand so much about the brain chemistry of infants and young children, and exactly why it's not a good idea to subscribe to CIO.

  48. I am very passionately against CIO. DIO is still a baby and does not realize how or why he wakes up on all 4's halfway across the room! My daughter would also rock on all 4s and crawl around our bed like our bodies were the barriers on a race track. I would too hold her in my arms firmly yet gently and shush her until she fell back asleep. She did stop this about a month after she learned to crawl and pull to standing.
    I would HIGHLY recommend the Woombie. http://www.thewoombie.com/index.html I use it on all our foster babies since it gives them a sense of comfort. Dio would be able to wiggle around, but wouldn't be able to crawl or stand. it would give him the sense of comfort of being swaddled but is so lightweight it's the best baby product I've ever used. I live in Fl where the summers are almost unbearable and use them through and through.
    I hope you get some much needed sleep and DIO's brain and body slow down to let him sleep as well!

  49. I haven't read all the comments posted but I thought I would chime in. I hate the issues (which I would love for you to blog and ask other parents how they feel about) that have to do with explaining yourself b/c you choose to do somethings differently than the norm of AP.
    For example: Yes, I homebirth but no I don't cloth diaper. Yes my baby sleeps in our room but not in our bed. Yes I plan to homeschool but on the weekend and will still send my child to public school (if I feel it's up to par). Yes I love wearing my baby but I also love my stroller. etc.
    I have met so many AP Moms that want to exclude others b/c they don't check every box on the AP life style. Phew.. sorry. I wonder if I'm the only one that feels like this.

    Back to the sleeping - first of all I'm so sorry - there is nothing worse than sleep deprivation. I know many women who would never even consider letting their baby CIO because they prefer to be the martyr saying I will give everything to my child even if it means they are depressed, exhausted and can't function normally during the day. I don't consider that giving everything to your child when you can't give them yourself because your too tired. To that I say PLEASE find a solution. If CIO is your last resort - do everything else and if it doesn't work then CIO. That's what we did.
    My solution was CIO. The key is to be consistent. Pick whether you're going to do Feber's method or straight CIO and do it consistently. If you cave and go in - you have to start over and it gets harder. My baby had major surgery and to this day I swear listening to him cry for 3 nights was worse than handing him over for surgery. Get a video monitor so you never have to worry if he's okay or not.

    It took 3 nights of CIO and then my son was sleeping 12 hours at a time. I would put him in a crib, less area to cover while he's crawling. Maybe he'll clearly understand that this is bed time instead of just normal bed time. Good luck - please keep us updated.

  50. I haven't read the other comments. I don't know if this is coincidence with us or not, but when we bumped bedtime from 6:30 - 7 p.m. to 7:30-8 p.m., our guy (almost same age as Dio) started sleeping better at night. He now sleeps through the night, maybe waking once or twice some nights. He's night weaned, and has just about weaned himself completely, to my dismay. I did use the No-Cry Sleep Solutions soothing methods -- more hands-on at first, then cutting down soothing time during wakings, and now sometimes I don't even have to pick him up when we wakes, just gently pat his back. My kids are generally very crappy sleepers, so we're very happy with the current state of things. We're starting the second month of good sleep here now.

  51. Have you tested for food allergies, and/or tried an elimination diet?

    My son was conceived at a time I was particulary toxic, healing from a big mercury burdan on my body from having 6 fillings removed (unsafely) and from breaking a mercury thermometer. Even though I have not been able to actually chelate/detoxify from this yet since I am breastfeeding, I am taking a lot of supplements to support and control my chronic yeast and ulcerative colitis and when my second daughter was concieved, I was MUCH healthier. She is a much happier baby, has slept through the night since birth (wakes up once sometimes, but can often do 6-8 hour stretches, and yes she is gaining enough, doubled her birth weight by 5 months). Recently my son developed food allergies/eczema as well so I know his body is still trying to deal with no doubt what was my toxic overload that I passed onto him in the womb/while nursing. Since we have started the elimination diet, he is (at 2.5 years) for the first time able to sleep through the night. I would seek out a holistic allergist or a nutritionalist experienced with food allergies. His tantrums radically declined as well. He used to have terrible ones where he would thrush his body, curl his body backwards, throw his fists to the ground, and I have now been able to link that to specific foods that he is allergic to. A RAST blood test and IGg blood test is also a good idea, but won't tell the whole story, so it is a good idea to find someone who can help with an elimination diet. I would also check out these books: "Is This Your Child" by Doris Rapp and "Dealing with Food Allergies in Babies and Children" by Janice Vickerstaff Joneja PhD RD

    Ear infections, btw, are often a sign of a dairy allergy as well. Another good book is Baby Matters by Linda Palmer, chiropractic doctor. Food allergies and environmental allergies are often provoked by toxic overloads in the body and/or environment.

  52. Here is Dr. Rapp's blog:


  53. Oh and in case you are confused by my post - most MDs don't see the connection (naturopaths do), but my ulcerative colitis and chronic yeast developed only AFTER I developed a huge mercury overload in my body - I would get a hair test done, though if you are mercury toxic, it may not necessarily show up as most people who are able to excerete mercury are not burdened by it as much as those who are unable to excerete it and develop chronic health problems from it. I would look up chemists Boyd Haley (who is a chemist at U of Kentucky) and PhD chemist Andy Cutler. You could also have a lead overload, though - also quite common.

  54. Oh and in case you are confused by my post - most MDs don't see the connection (naturopaths do), but my ulcerative colitis and chronic yeast developed only AFTER I developed a huge mercury overload in my body - I would get a hair test done, though if you are mercury toxic, it may not necessarily show up as most people who are able to excerete mercury are not burdened by it as much as those who are unable to excerete it and develop chronic health problems from it. I would look up chemists Boyd Haley (who is a chemist at U of Kentucky) and PhD chemist Andy Cutler. You could also have a lead overload, though - also quite common.

  55. Here is her website: http://www.drrapp.com/

  56. Search on her website: http://www.drrapp.com/

    "Clues that you might have a food allergy"

    night waking is one of the (many) symptoms, as is aggression, uncontrollable tantrums, etc.

  57. Also her bio cites her scientific publications

  58. I forgot to add, also try to give your son A LOT of probiotics (at least the recommended dosage). I found Natren to be the best, and they have an infant's probiotic called Life Start. Personally, New Roots and Genestra has also helped me but I don't know if they have a probiotic especially for babies.

    My son woke up typically every 2-3 hours until he was about 18 months, and 2x per night up until we started the probiotics/elimination diet 2 weeks ago, and for the first time he is sleeping through the night!

    Just like Dio, he would either wake up crying or hyper and wanting to play.

    My daughter on the other hand, only cries when she wakes up if she is hungry or wet. Often she will wake up and be quite content on her own before we wake up (she is 6 months now). She rarely cries, and is overall a much happier baby. I have also been giving her the infant probiotic because she had thrush when she was born, and I think it is helping her immune system overall. She will take 2 naps during the day lasting from 2-4 hours and easily sleep an 8 hour stretch at night, she has been like this since birth, though when she had thrush for 2 weeks she did wake up much more often, crying and colicky.

    So I really do believe that something is bothering your son, it is not just that he has a different temperment, etc. He is likely overtired, but the root of the problem is likely that he is not feeling well.

  59. CIO does work. It is hard to listen to your child cry, but the reality is it is a lot less crying then if you do nothing and he crys every night. Babies need their sleep for their immune system, brain development, etc, so constantly reinforcing night waking is not healthy for them. Pick your three nights and have your husband help you through it. When its done you will be so glad, and so will Dio!

  60. I can't read all the comments.

    My solution: Go to bed earlier. Like, at 8. That's what I do. The total amount of time I spend in bed every night is 10 or more hours per night. That way, if Dio wakes you up a ton, you STILL get enough sleep. Make yourself do it. I've been doing it for many years now, since my 7 year old was a baby.

    CIO seems like it would go against all the lovely things you so support in term of birth. Don't do it. It's just plain wrong.

  61. I meant to comment last night, but only had time today. Though you know have lots of advice from Mommy's and such, I still thought I'd add a little something. First of all, I don't think that CIO is negletful in any way if you are still attentive to your child's needs! Kids cry, whine, and get frustrated. There are many times my son cries during the day, and he just has to "get over it" if he isn't getting what he wants. He has a very short attention span, so if I take the remote control away from him, or prevent him from pulling the cats tail and he cries, he gets over it quick. I don't coddle him for these behaviors, and neither do I let him cry if he has a genuine boo-boo or gets scared by a loud noise, etc.

    CIO at night isn't always the best option, but sometimes kids just cry. We somewhat tried CIO when my son was around 6 months, though there were many nights I just couldn't keep going into his room, and after about 5-10 minutes, he really would just go back to bed on his own. This didn't work everytime, but I did start to learn the differences in his cries. The cries when he just wasn't going to go back to sleep, and the tired whimper cry when I knew there wasn't anything wrong, he just was bored or wanted to be held. I would LOVE to hold my child every second of the day, but Mommy has many things to do, and my son has learned to entertain himself when I am folding laundry or making dinner. If he runs up and asks for a hug, or grips onto my leg while I am busy, I hug him back. Sometimes I just can't. I don't think in any way this is showing him I don't want to hug him.

    At night, I really don't see the CIO method to be much different to how you have to deal with kids during the day. My son is 18 months old, and still wakes seldomly in the night. Sometimes I go in to rock him, usually he falls back asleep. I just listen for the type of cry. I can tell if he has had a bad dream, or something has scared him awake.

    I suggestion I do have is maybe to shorten or change his nap time during the day. When my son went from two naps to one nap, he seemed to do better at night. I tried VERY hard some days to tire him out as much as I could. Running around with him, tickling him, etc. My son has always been active from the time he gets up to the time he goes down, so he is usually very tired at night. I find myself waking him up sometimes during the day because I don't want him to have too long of a nap and not relax at bedtime.

    Hope you get some sleep soon!

  62. Don't have time right now to read the other comments, so I apologize if I missed something.

    Sometimes he crawls in his sleep and then wakes up crying, and then other times he wakes up without crying and just wants to crawl around for a while?

    That describes MY oldest son when he was younger (5 now). His doctor said we were giving him unhealthy sleep habits but we KNEW something was wrong. We insisted on a sleep study. He was having sleep apnea causing night terrors, bad sleep patterns, and sleepwalking.

    An x-ray showed enlarged tonsils and adenoids. Long story short, we had his adenoids removed and left the tonsils alone. It really helped a lot. Had we done CIO, it would have done nothing to solve the true cause, the underlying medical problem.

    If you have insurance and can afford it, I would insist on a sleep study. Sleepcrawling/walking is a medical problem, not a bad sleep habit.

    As for the waking up and just wanting to crawl around, my son did that too. We took out everything that could possibly hurt him in our bedroom and then let him crawl around on the floor while we slept. When he was ready for bed he would come back and go to sleep.

    In your case since he uses the headboard to jump I would also remove the bed and put the mattress on the floor.

    The wanting to practice crawling at night phase will end. My son is 5 and sleeps all night like a log now.

    So if you want to try CIO that's something you will have to decide for yourself, but I strongly urge you to make sure there's no underlying medical problem first.

  63. I feel your pain. We just did CIO with our 11 month old son last week. He had habitual night waking which we perpetuated because we weren't sure if his acid reflux pain might be causing the wakings. It took us this long to feel like it was under control and we were all ready. We ended up doing three nights, and at the beginning of each crying spell we would go in and check on him to make sure it wasn't something else, like being wet or having a limb trapped, etc. It's worked pretty well, and now he sleeps from 7 to 5, and now I know that when he cries at night, he really is hungry and he really does need me - it's not just habit. In this way, CIO has let me be a better night-time mother, for what it's worth.

    We use a sleep sack for warmth and to impede mobility. I agree with your idea to get his ears checked, and with others to think very hard about whether there is some other underlying problem.

    I fell asleep last night thinking and praying about you and Dio and woke up with the following thoughts. Weissbluth's book and his blog would suggest that Dio is overtired and not getting enough total sleep, daytime and nighttime combined. I wonder if he is overtired because he isn't napping in the morning anymore, and it's starting to catch up with him and disrupt his night sleep rhythms. You might want to try re-instating his morning nap, or putting him to bed much earlier (5:30 - 6:00) for several days to see if he can catch up. You could do this by itself, or in tandem with CIO, but it seems like an easy thing to change.

    Good luck! It is very hard to make decisions when you are sooo tired. Hang in there and get some help so you can get some sleep!

  64. I haven't read all the comments so forgive me if this has already ben mentioned.

    It seems to me that he can't keep this up forever, so it isn't a matter of this being a habit that is harmful to HIS healthy, just very, very harmful to YOURS.

    So then the issue becomes how can YOU get the sleep YOU need?

    Is it possible for you to hire someone to care for Zari and Dio 2-3 hours in the middle of the day, or early evening, so that you can sleep?

    It might be easier to find a creative way for you to get some sleep rather than find a way to get him to sleep better.

  65. You have dozens of comments, so some of this was said before, I am sure. First of all, I know exactly how you feel. We have gone through very similar situations over and over again with our daughter. She is 30 months now. So I know your pain and I hope you guys get the much needed sleep you deserve soon. I read various books and I liked Sleep Sense. You can buy an electronic copy. Basically, the author suggests two ways you can help your child sleep. One of them is a modified cry-it-out version. The other one, the one we used, tells you to establish a routine so that the baby knows when bedtime is coming. The first three nights, stay next to the crib. Nights 4-6, move to the middle of the room. Nights 7-9, sit near the door. By night 10, in theory, baby won't need you in the room anymore. If he does, stay a few more nights. We tweeked it. We never left the room. One of us sits nearby until she goes to sleep. We are fine with that. It does mean that she needs us in the middle of the night. But if I get five to seven hours, I am ok with that. But, back to you, I would insist on a sleep study. Also, think about what you and him are eating. Think about what you are eating hours before bedtime. It will show up in your milk hours later. In my case, it's six hours. So I can't have a yummy, sugary dessert after dinner, for example! I wish you the very best.

  66. I recently went through a similar thing. I couldn't get Gemma to sleep anywhere. She wouldn't sleep in my bed, in her crib, in our arms, I even tried nursing her to sleep on the floor in her room. I am not a fan of CIO but I finally went cold turkey on putting her to sleep. We used to bounce her to sleep in our arms and if she didn't wake up when we put her dow, she would wake up 30 minutes later. We also were swaddling her at the time. When we went cold turkey, I started her bedtime routine with a bath, stories, singing and nursing. Then I would kiss her, tell her that I loved her, put her in her crib and leave the room. The first night she cried and fussed for about an hour, by night three she was down to 15 minutes. Now she will chirp to herself for a little bit before she goes to sleep, but I don't deal with her crying to sleep anymore. It also helped her to sleep longer stretches at night, now she wakes up between 10 and 12 and again between 3 and 5 before she is up for the day at 7:45. I put her to bed by 6:45 and she sleeps so much better than when I put her down at 7:30. I think it was just the right time for her and I wouldn't have been comfortable doing it any earlier. She was 9 months when we did it and now she is coming up on her first birthday. I also didn't night wean her because I really like the snuggle time at night and she settles back to sleep just fine most of the time. I didn't really ever let her cry for more than an hour or so because that is what I was comfortable with, and I also judged by what type of crying it was (sad, mad, hurrt, scared, etc...). Hope everything works out for you guys. Keep us updated.

  67. I have 5 children ranging from 12 to almost 1. My baby right now ( 11 months) is my first to sleep well at night. I have always had a hard time letting my babies cry. To me it was just easier to get up and nurse them for 5 or 10 minutes than to listen to them cry for much longer than that. Having said that, I have no problem with those who do let their babies cry; I just couldn't do it.

    The main thing that comes to mind is that I think Dio goes to bed REALLY early. My baby goes to sleep about 10pm. Do you think that if you kept him up a bit longer that his body would be tireder and naturally sleep for longer spurts? Just a thought...

    And know that there are so many of us out here that soooooo relate and sympathize with you! Hope things get better REALLY soon--like maybe tonight! :)

  68. Mell Fraze4/1/10, 1:56 AM

    I've read some but not all of the comments so I may be repeating what others have said.

    We never had a problem with the night wakings but ds hit a point where he had trouble falling asleep (around 1 year if I remember right) at night because he kept moving around & couldn't settle himself. After having done CIO with dd at 9 months to get her to go to sleep on her own, we had moved her to a crib next to our bed so that we would be able to co-sleep with ds when he arrived & she would not settle down on her own no matter what we tried. I was not willing to do it again after that experience because it was the beginning of many other challenges for us, she is very sensitive to feeling rejected when she is told "no" or if mom or dad are too busy to immediately take care of what she wants. We found that dh had more success getting ds to sleep than I did so it was usually his job. Basically we did what you have been doing, hold him in bed & let him cry until he settled enough to fall asleep. Because of our living situation we didn't have any option other than continuing to co-sleep. With our recent move & now having more space, dd(3 years) & ds(21 months) share a room. It took maybe 2 weeks to get him used to his own bed (its been about 3 months now)& going to sleep fairly easily on his own, sometimes he's asleep in 15 minutes & other times it takes an hour. When the kids go to bed we put a baby gate up in the doorway because as long as he can't get out of the room he will go to bed just fine but if he's free to wander then he'll be up until midnight, he will just keep going until he collapses.

    I have no idea what will work out for you but I have to say that even though CIO worked with dd in about 3 days, I wish now that we had never done it. I think it really can affect the bond between parent & child especially if you have only practiced gentle parenting with them. I would hate for you to choose that method only to regret it later.

    The suggestions to check for underlying medical problems are good. Hoping you find a solution soon & get the sleep you need.

  69. Sorry, I wasn't able to read the previous comments, but my son would wake up during the night just like that until we moved his bedtime later.
    We ended up putting him to bed at 10:30pm, he slept until 8am, and took a 2 hour nap during the day. Once he turned 2, he stopped the naps and still sleeps a total of 11.5 hours, just all at night, 8:30pm-8am.
    I've always been jealous to hear other children sleeping 14 hours a day, but once I got his magic number down (11.5) we've all been much happier.

  70. Maybe a gro-bag? I use one for my kids and it doesn't stop them from standing, but they can't walk or crawl in it and it keeps them warm when they are prone to moving around. Both my girls were very active sleepers, but gro-bags worked for them at keeping them relatively contained in bed. We put a firm bumper on the cot as well when they started crawling so that when they would wriggle around they were only pushing against something soft. Good luck, I hope it improves soon.

  71. Hm, glad to know I'm not alone. Haha, my 11 month old is also night crawling and walking. The first couple of times I found it quite funny because he had such a dazed and sort of surprised look on his face like "What am I doing here?!/How did I get here?!". I considered letting him tire himself out and see if he'd go back to sleep, but he started crying; he usually hates not being able to see us in the dark, and also gets startled and cries if someone suddenly grabs him at night, even if it's just to put him back down, lol! I guess I'd be scared too.

    I'm a very light sleeper so the next time I heard him trying to get up, I'd tell him: "No, sweetie, it's time to sleep.", and I'd gently but him on his back, we co-sleep so I also pulled him close and held him in a hug and asked: "Do you want to nurse?" Sometimes he'll accept and go back to sleep nursing, other times he'll roll back and forth mumbling, but in less than 5 minutes he'd go back to sleep.

    I kept doing that and after a week and a half, he has practically stopped doing it, YAY! I'm so happy because I too was exhausted, and I'm not pro CIO.

  72. This might sound like a weird suggestion, but it worked for me. After reading Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child I discovered that maybe I wasn't putting my son to sleep early enough. We moved his bedtime up an hour (from 8 to 7) and he slept better and longer stretches from the very first night. A friend of mine moved her sons bedtime from 7pm to 6pm and the same thing happened. He'd still get up at the same time in the morning, but he'd sleep an hour longer (total) and for longer stretches without waking to nurse. Just something you might try.

  73. I agree with some of the other comments here. If you do CIO and later find out there is an underlying medical problem, not only will your bond with your child suffer, but you will feel terrible for having let your child suffer through his hurt and pain. Seek out medical attention - from alternative as well as allopathic to get a holistic picture of what could be wrong.

  74. You have trained Dio to behave this way. By moving him from room to room, allowing him to sleep in many places with different people, he has become accustomed to moving around in his sleep. By 1 year, it is normal and healthy to be night-weaned and sleeping for 10 to even 12 hour stretches. Likely he is sleep-deprived as well and this triggers his restlessness.

    You may not want to, but really CIO is what is very likely needed.

    What is worse--a mother that can't function because she is so tired, or allowing a toddler to learn how to sleep by crying for a short time?

    As a nurse and mother once told me (when warning about shaken baby syndrome) "Crying never killed a baby."

  75. If you ever want a quick tab on how many people are reading your blog ... just ask for advice about sleep! :)

  76. So many comments! I haven't read them all. So this may be repetitive. I have a nightcrawler too. He cosleeps with us, so I spend all night grabbing him as he crawls out into thin air off the side of the bed (remember Wily Coyote and Roadrunner? it's like that). ROUGH. I feel your pain. We call it "baby wrestling." You know, like alligator wrestling, except harder.

    I swaddled my baby tightly for sleep until six months or so, and I still break out the swaddle when he gets really restless. I use two big swaddle cloths - one to bind his arms to his sides, and one to wrap around him. And then I hold him down until he calms down. Because we did this so much when he was a smaller baby, he usually settles down pretty fast. He doesn't love it, mind you, but it works. I also don't feel bad just holding him down until he settles and nurses. It seems kind of awful at the time, but the kid is tired! He wants to sleep!

    (We don't do CIO methods, and we don't even have a crib, so this is what works for us.)

    Good luck! I agree with others - I think (pray/hope) that this is just a phase.

  77. When children sleepwalk (or crawl) it's usually a result of fatigue and/or sleep loss. My opinion is that the moving from bed to bed is causing the sleep loss. He is old enough to be night weaned. When one of my children is having restless nights it's usually after a busy day with no or little nap. It's been my experience that when this happens all it takes is an early bedtime on a full tummy and let them fuss for a while. 15 minutes of fussing will usually be followed by a 11 hour stretch of sleep. I'm the mother of 9. I've had many, many sleepless nights and my heart goes out to you! I hope things improve!

  78. Okay, I can see you've received piles of advice, but I must say that I DO understand sleep issues. I resorted to the CIO method with my first 3, but it didn't work with my 4th. She'd just get REALLY, REALLY mad and keep screaming. I think one time she went for 3 hours on and off. It was AWFUL! I finally found a fantastic book called "Good Night, Sleep Tight." It's basically a modified CIO method, but the difference is that you are in the room with the child and he/she can see you. I'm not sure how this would work with a regular bed, but with a crib I sat in a chair just to the side of it. My daughter could see me, touch me (I put my hands between the bars so she could hold onto me if she needed), and knew that she hadn't been abandoned. I was just very calm, and I soothed her with a rhythmic shush that seemed to help her. It took a while (about 45 minutes) for her to finally conk out that first night. The next night it was shorter, and the next night was shorter than that. She finally started just sleeping through the night, but it did take a while. I'm so grateful we did it, though, because I was dropping from sleep deprivation, too. I HATE that part about having a new baby. I sincerely hope you find something that works soon. I DO know how you feel.

  79. Hey Rixa
    already lots of suggestions - but my current fav book is by Anni Gethin - Helping Baby Sleep. It is not a CIO book - but strongly advocates that responding to baby at night is just as important as responding during the day.

    I have never done CIO with four children and have gotten to the point of desperation from sleep deprivation - hang in there. I can't give CIO advice - never done it - don't really see how it's ever helpful to the baby

    I would agree with previous posters about going to bed at 7-8pm. Making this change right away will help put everything into perspective.

    Dio may be a difficult teether - he's only 11 months - 12 year molars are coming in. Consider using lots of homeopathic meds/and other pain relief for a few nights and see what they results are.

    Dio may be having night terrors - and CIO will not help with this.

    A sleep sack may help keep him immobile.

    I'm looking forward to seeing how you find your rhythm with his little spirit. Remember as difficult as it is for you and Eric - it is even more difficult for him - he is looking to you for love and caring and understanding while he also navigates this stage.

  80. Oh Rixa,
    I get what you are going through! My first baby had colic, and I was up every 1 to 2 hours for 6 straight months. Sleep deprivation is nothing to make light of. It can lead to severe depression, parental resentment, and difficulty in bonding. Here is my advice: Do what is best for your family. Do not feel guilty about whatever choice you make. You are a great mom. The choice you make to help Dio sleep (and he is non-verbally asking you for help and direction) will be the right choice. No guilt, no judgments.

  81. Oooh! Was thinking about this post and just had a thought - how about a grobag?


    maybe dio would have a hard time crawling in it??

  82. About white noise and the cold of the fan, have you tried the radio on non-station static? A friend of mine uses that for white noise... for the winter.

    May this period end soon!! Blessings.x

  83. Rixa, I completely feel your pain. Robin has always had trouble sleeping. It's been a constant struggle trying to make the right decisions for how to handle it -- the right balance of meeting her needs and getting us all sleep. Mostly we've failed ;)... I hope some other people here have given you advice and that it works. I don't have any brilliant insights; Robin and Holly both got me up twice last night and Robin is having trouble falling asleep (and she's the kind of kid who just gets more worked up if she cries).

  84. Okay, I just wanted to add that I think it is perfectly appropriate for a one year old (or eleven month old as in Dio's case) child to wake at night to nurse. Nursing is about more than filling a child's tummy, as you know! Sometimes they need contact! And often it bumps up their overall breastmilk intake over a 24 hour period, which helps them get the nutritional and immunological boost they need at that age.

    There is some great advice here, though! :) And some negative people...

    I also wanted to add (I'm not sure how you feel about ppl's advice to go to bed earlier so this might not apply to you), that I need a few hours after my kids go to bed. If I go to bed early and get more sleep, I'm still grouchy the next day because I have had no time to recharge (I'm an introvert so I need some non-touched solitary time to recharge--not everyone needs this but I do!). So if this is the case for you also, I feel for you!! Don't get me wrong, going to bed earlier is GREAT advice! I just know that it doesn't always pan out to be the greatest solution if you need those few hours of non kid time.


    I think you're doing a great job. Keep us posted!

  85. Abigail was my CIO baby and like you, we waited until she was MUCH older than the "norm" for this technique. She was 10mo old and can I just say that I can completely and utterly relate to what you've written here. Exhausted desperate (Mommy) crying, trying to figure out WHAT ON EARTH I'm doing wrong?! Yeah, I know all about that. For us, CIO was the only solution, we'd tried everything else. What shocked me was how well it worked from the first night on. For Abby, it turned out, she just did NOT like co-sleeping. We were disturbing and distracting her. She needed her own space and QUIET. She sleeps like a rock now (she's almost 3) but back then, just sleeping "too loud" next to her woke her halway up. And then it was kicking, crying, angry, frustrated baby for hours. Nursing didn't work, lol. I don't actually miss that time at all, no matter what the books say about those "quiet" moments. *snort*

    I was so afraid it would take hours for her to stop crying. On the first night she was completely asleep in fifteen minutes. She woke once, I let her cry and she did so off and on for about an hour (not desperate sobbing crying, either, half asleep, frustrated and confused fussing. No real crying otherwise I don't know if I could have let it go on). She'd fuss for five minutes, be quiet, fuss for ten, be quiet and eventually she just went back to sleep. After that she slept through the whole night almost every night and still does. Every now and then, even at 3yrs (well, in 3wks, anyway) she will occasionally wake up confused and frustrated but now she's old enough for me to go, tuck her in, see if she needs anything and creep back out without confusing her.

    I have no idea if this will work for you but I just wanted to say that I don't think CIO with a baby that's nearly a year old is anything like CIO with a 3mo baby. Your son is much older now, he's aware that you love him and that if he NEEDS something you will be there. CIO at this age isn't indifferent abandonment in my opinion. There is also something to be said about mother's caring for themselves. You need your rest. Some sleep deprivation is one thing but when it becomes sleep desperation, then there is a real problem and it affects the whole family.

  86. @ Rebekah:
    "I don't think CIO with a baby that's nearly a year old is anything like CIO with a 3mo baby."

    I agree--and I feel that age has been neglected in many of the discussions about CIO. Dio sounds a lot like Abigail, which is why we can't co-sleep with him anymore. He is so sensitive to any sound, light, movement, etc.

  87. Melissa:

    "I also wanted to add (I'm not sure how you feel about ppl's advice to go to bed earlier so this might not apply to you), that I need a few hours after my kids go to bed. If I go to bed early and get more sleep, I'm still grouchy the next day because I have had no time to recharge."

    I am the same as you. I need some time to myself, especially now that Zari isn't napping during the day (my decision--it means she goes to bed earlier and eliminated the stress of trying to get 2 kids to nap at the same time).

  88. @ Melissa...absolutely. I cannot function without some time to just...veg out or to do whatever *I* want or need to do. I can't even get good sleep without it, I'll just lay in bed awake!

  89. I don't think you can say that 15 min of CIO is really CIO.

    I think the true problems of CIO arise when parents allow their child to cry for hours, regardless of the age -that is abandonment.

    Or if they allow their child to vomit and not help them (which happens), or if they deny them drinks, cuddling, etc.

    Letting your child cry for 15 min in their crib, that is not CIO, in my opinion. True CIO is incredibly unethical and abandonment (how would you like it if your spouse just ignored you while you cried in another room for hours on end; now think how this feels to a helpless child who does rely on you for all their needs). I can see that you are exhuasted, but this is no picnic for Dio either. It never ceases to amaze me how parents can deny empathy to the one person who is so dear to them and relies on them for all their needs. Put yourself in Dio's shoes. If you would be fine left crying all night, then fine - but if not, can you really do that to your son?

  90. I don't think you can say that 15 min of CIO is really CIO.

    I think the true problems of CIO arise when parents allow their child to cry for hours, regardless of the age -that is abandonment.

    Or if they allow their child to vomit and not help them (which happens), or if they deny them drinks, cuddling, etc.

    Letting your child cry for 15 min in their crib, that is not CIO, in my opinion. True CIO is incredibly unethical and abandonment (how would you like it if your spouse just ignored you while you cried in another room for hours on end; now think how this feels to a helpless child who does rely on you for all their needs). I can see that you are exhuasted, but this is no picnic for Dio either. It never ceases to amaze me how parents can deny empathy to the one person who is so dear to them and relies on them for all their needs. Put yourself in Dio's shoes. If you would be fine left crying all night, then fine - but if not, can you really do that to your son?

  91. Whenever my children hit milestones like crawling, pulling up and walking, it always interrupted their sleep. Even after #3, we still have this issue. Anymore I just come in, nurse them back to sleep for a few minutes, and put them back to bed. It always passed after the novelty of their new skill wore off. :)

    As far as letting them cry, I have found that it worked for only one of my three. It was easier to nurse them back to sleep than let them cry, because I knew we would reach a point where it just wouldn't work. My oldest would cry for maybe 10 minutes, max, and then poop out and be asleep. He is, ironically, my best sleeper of all of them. My baby just turned a year old, and we are patiently waiting until he is a better sleeper before moving him into the bedroom with his older brother!


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