• http://www.thesigs.com karyn

    Oh, yeah, I can see the land mines from a mile away. You give your child gummy bears?! You awful mother! They’re full of SUGAR and uh, GUM and, well, I’m sure you’ll rot in hell for that!!!! OF FRANCE!!!!

    But since I’ll be burning along next to you, I’m just wondering: Have you heard of Gummy Vites? I got a huge jar of them at Costco for about $10. But then you have to figure out how to not let your kid OD.

  • http://kristismess.blogspot.com/ KfK

    Baby Wise. I used it for my last two kids. Highly recommend it.

  • http://vindauga.typepad.com Lisa V

    White noise. You need white noise and a dark room. We use a Mariah Carey or Norah Jones CD. But you could use a fan. Actually the fan we use is huge and makes his room sound like an airplane hanger. After a child is over the age of one, I only enter their room if it sounds like they have been stabbed. I’ve got four kids. I hate getting up all night, so for the most part we don’t. During nap time my older children are as quiet as mimes- they know if they wake the kid up they either have to throw themselves on a sword as ritual sacrifice or take care of the kid. They really aren’t wild about either.

  • http://www.clutteredlife.com/main.html hilary

    With my first daughter, we let her sleep in our bed for the first two weeks, and then in a mini crib of her own in our room for about two months. At three months, she was happy to sleep in her own big crib in her own bedroom. We were lucky, I guess.
    With my second daughter, we had a little more money. Gone was the 40 year old loaned mini-crib and in its place was a brand new Co-Sleeper. I blame that for her inability to sleep without me until the age of 6 months.

    What worked? I don’t know. I guess we didn’t really try anything. I just stayed sleepy for six months until she could sit up by herself and we were forced to abandon the co-sleeper and stick her in her own crib. It took a few nights, but she got used to it.

    September 11th happened when she was not yet 2 months old, and sometimes I wonder if that’s one reason I let her stay next to me for so long.

    The funny (strange, not ha ha) thing is that my first daughter – the one who never had a problem sleeping as a baby – just turned 6 and for the past year or two she simply cannot get herself to go to sleep at all. We take away her books and her toys; she has nothing but a pillow and blanket to entertain her. Still, she can lie there staring at the ceiling for hours before drifting to sleep.
    Her doctor suggested occasional doses of Benadryl for the really bad nights, though I’m really not too keen on relying on drugs to help her sleep.

  • http://www.astro.umd.edu/~kayhan/weblog/ Kayhan

    With our first child, our son, we ended up doing a good job after three months of constant waking up. He was quite a screamer at night. We made a good decision early on for not using the pacifier very frequently and almost never at night. This helped a lot. Then, one day, we decided to let him scream in his crib while we ate dinner. He made his first mistake: he cried himself to sleep. We knew that we had him then. We knew that he was physically capable of crying himself to sleep, and all we had to do was just get him to learn to do it at night. Luckily, he learned to do this the week before my wife went back to work.

    As for my daughter, we got lucky. She has been a fantastic sleeper all along. It’s so great that we had the relatively poor sleeper before the good one or we would have been blind-sided. Our daughter is ten weeks old, and she sleeps for seven hours at night usually. We’re currently trying to extend that.

    PS. Heather, is the Armstrong Media, LLC verbiage at the bottom the reason you had a pow-wow with the lawyer, or has it always been there and I’m not observant enough?

  • megan

    As much as I love me some Dooce, and as much as I can understand the appeal of CIO, it’s simply not something I agree with or could ever do myself. I think it dismisses the most basic of human needs (to feel secure and comforted) at a time in a baby’s life when they are unable to cope in any other way than to shut down and just give up on trying to be heard, because they learn that no one is coming anyway. I know several people who have done CIO and I know it “works” for them, but I can’t help but feel sad for their babies. I feel sad at the thought of them being left alone for such long periods of time (what if something was really wrong?). I feel sad that the first basic self-soothing technique they are taught is, “give up”. That is not a lesson I wanted to teach my child. I prefer to teach my child that mama and daddy will always respond to their needs, even if it’s inconvenient and even if we are tired in the morning. I brought her into this world – it’s the least I can do.

    I also don’t like how CIO interferes with the nursing relationship. Breastfeeding is incredibly important and whenever a mother can BF, I feel she should. Breastmilk is not meant to sustain a child through 12 hours of sleep (it is digested too quickly for that) and forcing sleep for such lengths of time can cause a mother’s milk supply to drop. BF’ing is too important to me for that to be something I would even consider risking.

    That said, I DO understand that every family is different and that sometimes the needs of the paretns outweigh the needs of the baby and in some cases, the parents need to attend to their own needs in order to be the best functioning parent they can be. Sleep is a tricky, tricky thing and lack of it can really mess a person up, especially if they are trying to cope with other challenges.

    How did we handle sleep? We used The No Cry Sleep Solution with some success, but mostly we handled it by being patient and attending to her needs and trusting that with gentle guidance, she would sleep through the night when she was ready. She is almost 2 now and has been sleeping through the night, in her crib, by herself for several months. My husband tried to talk me into letting her CIO and I refused. He now has reversed his stance and totally agrees with me. The swaying factor? Our daughter. She is confident and secure and compassionate. Would she have been that way even if we let her CIO? I don’t know… maybe. But maybe not. We’ll never know, because it’s not an experiment I was willing to participate in.

  • Heather

    Both of our boys stopped taking naps at 18 months. Yuck. On the flip side however, they both go down at 6:30 pm and don’t wake up for 12 quiet, solid hours. I’m not sure how we did it, other than take them to the park to wear them down, but I am counting my lucky stars and holding my breath for big challenges coming up. Probably facial tatoos and nipple peircings at age ten :) .

  • kit

    When we had our first child, I would lay down with her at night to get her to sleep. Needless to say, when she woke up in the night she wanted me to lay down with her. Eventually I started pullling her into my bed in the middle of the night so I wouldn’t have to get up so much. I didn’t get her out of my bed until she was 6, and rarely had a full nights sleep. When we had our son, I decided not to lay with him or rock him or anything to get him to sleep so that he would learn to fall asleep on his own, and it worked for him. I just put him in the crib and he hung out until he fell asleep, sometimes crying and sometimes just talking to himself. Now he’s 4 and still a great sleeper.

  • jb

    I forgot to add. Our son is now 5 and just this past week quit taking 2-hour naps and sleeps at least ten hours at night. It’s glorious.

    Let’s hope it works out that well with #2 (due in May).

  • http://mylifetransformed.com Mary Jo

    I’m glad you decided to share that story. So many parents feel bad and feel like they did the wrong thing by choosing to let the child cry it out. My sister refused to try that with her daughters and she ended up awake for HOURS every single night. I lived with her at that time, and we would be up with the baby from 12am-5am many many nights. Good for you for finding the solution that works best for your child.

  • http://www.zahlaway.com Jon Z.

    *correction for #19

    “Twelve hours of consecutive sleep … ” should be “Twelve consecutive hours of sleep … ”

    Sleep deprivation apparently hampers one’s grammar, among other things.

  • http://cerebralpalsybaby.blogspot.com shannon

    Once upon a time I was one of those mothers who thought sleep training was evil. Now I’m JEALOUS! I have an 18-month old who still wakes up usually about once a night and then will not go back into her crib. I’ve spent most of her life sleeping in the recliner with her. I think I might give this ferber stuff a looksee because I’m tired..literally.

  • Z

    My first child? I was a stay at home mom and he was a great sleeper – NATURALLY. But, the few times it was an issue? I let him cry – and I didn’t go soothe him either b/c it made it worse on both of us.

    My current baby? I’m a working mom and the guilt from letting her cry eats at my soul so I’m raising her spoiled-rotten and she’s sleeping in our bed. And waking up every two ours (at the LONGEST). *sigh* I’m currently reading The No Cry Sleep Solution – we’ll see if I use any of those methods and if they work.

    But I agree – whatever makes you FEEL BETTER.

  • http://edtechie.typepad.com Lisa

    I did things differently. I had a different child and it worked for us.

    I’ve just found that as a parent, you do what works for your own family and have to block out the rest of the assvice.

  • http://biodtl.diaryland.com biodtl

    I was lucky enough that mine started sleeping either through the night, or close to it, at a very young age. however, as toddlers, they both decided that actually going to sleep was a bad, bad thing. We still struggle with the 2 year old at times.

  • http://truthsandhalftruths.typepad.com Nils Ling

    Eight billion serious comments, so I’ll just go for the smartass …

    We used to rock our kids to sleep every night. You take a four pound rock …

    As for the land mines: anybody would would criticize another parent’s (non-abusive) efforts to cope with the challenges a kid throws up (literally and figuratively) on a daily basis is either a) not a parent and never been one; 2) so woefully lacking in compassion and empathy that the person is no longer worthy of your time and attention; or c) the mother of the person being criticized. The first and second can be ignored and the last … well, if you’re not used to it by now, maybe you shouldn’t have left home, let alone had kids.

    So, dance among the land mines, Dooce. Dancing, at its very best, is all about danger.

  • http://www.electricboogaloo.net electricboogaloo

    Hey Heather! Remember that time when you posted on the internet that you let your baby cry and then the internet freaked out and called you a hating rotten hateful baby-hater until you finally shut down comments and went back to feeding Leta broken glass?

    No? Shit. Well, we’re only 15 or 20 comments in. Give it a few minutes.

    I waited until my kid was almost two to really sleep train him. If you think hearing a baby scream is a nightmare, wait until your baby can BEG YOU WITH WORDS to stop killing them. It was unreal.

    I was determined that baby #2 would never be allowed to get to that point – but baby #2? SLEEPS. He was born knowing instinctively that sleep is wonderful and magical. He sleeps far more than his older brother, no thanks to anything I’ve done differently. From what I can tell, he’s just a nicer person.

  • http://www.heidichronicles.com heidi


    We had to do the EXACTLY the same thing with Liam and I was in a similar mental state as well. It didn’t help that my mother-in-law was giving me the “sad eyes” and making “poor baby” comments left and right. I thought I was going to have to take her out back and shoot her.

    People who’ve never had a kid like we do simply have no idea what it’s like – and I hope they never have to find out.

    Thank god I had my mom, who happened to know exactly what it was like – I was also “that kid.”

  • http://lil-tri-girl.blogspot.com lil-tri-girl

    I am expecting my first child in a few weeks and have heard a lot from the ferberizers and the attachment parents… such a huge amount of information from both sides. I’m not really sure what will work with us, but it is nice to hear so many positives from both angles!

  • MindeHankins

    My (only) daughter took my husband’s space in our bed, on the day she came home from the hospital. She stayed until she was 9 years old. As an infant, I barely woke when she needed to be nursed…she was like a pup that practically found the teat by herself and I was only semi-awake. We both slept great.
    In a horrifying reversal of roles, she helped me survive a very serious depression. During those years, it was I who woke screaming, and she who comforted ME! I can still remember waking to her little hand rubbing MY back, saying “Mommy, Mommy, it’s okay. I’m right HERE.” And she’d rub MY back, til I fell asleep again.
    For the record, she’s nearly 17 now and we are BOTH fine :) (She’s perfect, I’m pretty darned good)
    Heather, yours is the only blog I read. Thank you so much for your beautiful and honest posts!

  • Ramona Concepcion

    My husband and I are about to have our first child in a few weeks and I’m terrified about the upcoming sleepless nights.

    Thanks for the honesty.

  • http://www.glamorouse.blogspot.com the kim half of glamorouse

    Hey there – you are so very right – what works for you. Because here’s the thing – this kid? is yours. In your world. Not in the world of child psychologists writing books.
    Oscar was prem and has his dodgy chromosome issues to deal with, but has always been a good sleeper (they say prems are because they are straight into a strict 3 hourly routine etc from birth) but with major hiccups along the way. Primarily the getting of 8 teeth in 8 weeks that saw my sleep-through-the-nighter not do so for another 10 months. Secondly, a grandmother her started a rocking/patting/singing to sleep routine. He STILL loves a patting to sleep. He was 8 in February. But all in all – always a good sleeper. Although a very.early.riser.
    Felix – sounds like Leta – and we tried exactly what you tried, for four long hard months. And failed. What made him sleep through the night? No day sleeps from 18 months, and preschool – a private prep school in a uniform and all. At 4 1/2. That brain of his is very hard to turn off.
    Jasper – at 5 1/2 months – has been sleeping through the night for two months. We’ve had two little patches of waking for a night feed. The first – because he was getting cold. The second – because he was getting hungry. So this time around – Jasper goes to bed like a rational human being. And puts himself to sleep in under a minute to sometimes taking about ten.
    And I am in absolute heaven.

  • jb

    Our doctor gave us a little pamphlet when our eldest was born full of advice for new parents and STRONGLY suggested that we read it before we call them. Ever.

    One of the things noted was that after 4 months, children have no need for nighttime nutrition. He recommended offering a bottle of water after 30 minutes of crying and no picking up or taking them out of the crib. Pretty soon the kids decide it’s simply not worth it to wake up and sleep through the night.

  • http://www.fitnessgoddess.blogspot.com Wayward Goddess

    Myoldest, who is now 11, slept WITH ME, until he was 2. I was a single mom for a while and it wasn’t a huge deal….until I would have to stop my entire day for two hours so I could lay down with him so he would nap. he slept, but it didn’t work for me.
    i honestly can’t remember how I got through those first few mths with the other two (who are 9 and 6).

  • http://pickleness.blogspot.com Stepha1202

    My son Hugo just hit 6 months old. Until last month he had been sleeping through the night, 11+ hours since he was 2 1/2 months. I wish I could take credit for that, but it was all him. He was just that good of a sleeper.

    Then, about a month ago we all got sick plus he started teething. He now wakes up for comfort 5/7 nights per week. Some nights he wakes once, other nights he wakes 3 times. I feel like it is the Flowers for Algernon phenomenon- sleep sucked, became heavenly, and then, before my eyes, I could see it going back to suck and it was out of my control. Bye bye rest, hello naps in the bathroom at work.

    Right now we’re trying to only feed him once and then if he wakes up again we go into his room to comfort him- without picking him up. It is hard, though because here we thought, all along, we had it made in the sleep department. But it is good to know that it gets better and that there’s hope that Hugo will go back to his regular routine. Thanks for that.

  • cswilba

    i too have a list for our 2nd currently being grown child. night nursing to end at 1 year instead of 2 1/2 years. bottles will be used. nightime routine will be participated in by all parties…including the actual putting the child to sleep. naps will be longer than 1/2-hour. naps will not nessarily include another party (mom!).

    i am not a fan of the ferber method. but i also didn’t get any real sleep for almost 3 years. some of my friends have used the ferber method & some, like myself, have used every non-screaming method on the planet & to be honest, all of our kids are fine. our son tends to be a TAD sensitive and we just couldn’t put him (and us) through screaming it out.

  • http://www.sohosally.com/blog sherships

    I have no children, just a cat, and I live in Brooklyn. It’s challenging enough to get myself to sleep, living on a traffic circle in New York, without throwing kids into the mix. When my cat isn’t batting aspirin bottles at my boyfriend’s head I wear ear plugs to drown out his snoring (boyfriend’s not cat’s). That, as long as there isn’t a shooting like two days ago, plus a fan to drown out the hangers out on the corner, usually does the trick for me.

  • http://www.billygean.co.uk Billygean.co.uk

    I am starting to realise how lucky my parents are. I slept for 12 hours the first night I was born, and ever since (well, I am 21 now, so slightly less ;)


  • http://anthonyjoseph2005.blogspot.com joanne

    Oh, this makes me want to cry and cry. We are STILL going through the sleep training that I started when my boy was about seven months old, he’s almost ten months now. We have only one time had two “good” nights in a row, and that was just this week. I read and follow Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child and I follow it completely. At first I put him down for naps unswaddled, five minutes at a time, then I would go in and pick him up. Then I went in every five minutes but wouldn’t pick him up, then ten minutes, then fifteen, then an hour, for naps. At night we did the same thing but then we stopped going in. I have wept and wept and wept over this – I hate it so much that the way that I let him know that I love him and that he needs to go back to sleep is to leave him alone, but it is all that has worked for us. I do love him so, but my GOD has this child screamed enough in the past ten months for a lifetime! He was very colicky for his first, oh ten years or so. No really about 14 weeks were horrible. I have never been so miserable or so tired in my life and we are just now getting back to normal, even though my husband and I still go to bed sometimes at 8:00, right after the baby. With my next baby, if I have one, God help me, I will start much earlier putting them down and letting them fuss a little bit and not freaking out and running to them every time they make a peep, which is what I did with the first one. He still uses the pacifier, and I am hoping to start weaning him from it when he turns one, but God knows if I’ll make it. He might go to school with one.

  • Lorien

    I co-slept with all my babies. It wasn’t because I was super into the attatchment parenting philosophy…it was simply the path of least resistance for me. I’ll admit, I’m a little lazy and a big fan of instant gratification. Either they didn’t wake up or they made their way to my boob in the night when they were hungry because all three of them started sleeping through the night very early.

    Now getting them out of my bed and into their own was a nightmare and it involved a lot of screaming and me pulling my hair out. I had to let them cry it out, and now they all love their big girl beds. Of course when they wake up they all climb into bed with me in the morning as long as the hubby is gone for work. I don’t mind that at all…I take all the snuggle time I can get. It doesn’t last forever.

  • http://rarelyhomemom.blogspot.com Julie (rarely-home mom)

    We used the Healthy…, Happy…blah blah blah, too. It was hell. Love the book even more now that my 20 month old is a model sleeper. Worth the tears. Worth the Prozac to get through the tears.

  • Cris

    I lived with my mother when I had my child. Mom also adopted a similar policy. From about 4 months old on, mom taught me to keep myself from checking baby too often. When I did check her, she informed me I was not to talk, not to entertain my child, but merely see to her needs (such as ensuring a clean diaper, and her music CD playing,) and step away from the crib. Within about the same time frame (2 weeks or so,) my daughter learned that while her needs might be tended to, I was of no worth as entertainment or a food source once she was in her crib. She then adopted the 12 hour sleep pattern.

  • http://mccathy.blogspot.com/ Cathy

    We also used the Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child and like you I defend my son’s crabbiness as NOT being because he’s tired (unless for some reason, people are over and he really is tired/ready for bed). I LOVE this method. I HATED it when we were doing it, but I knew it would work. I tried some other techniques, but anytime I entered his room to “soothe” him his crying would get worse. It took us about 3 nights to get him to sleep from 7-7. (He was just over 4 months old.) Now he’s 16 months and sleeps 7pm-6am and naps for almost 3 hours. I’d like to get him to sleep ’til 7am, but we’ve got to get out and get going in the morning. It’s funny, because with the time change coming up I was reminded that we’ve been discussing when he sleeps/how he sleeps for a year now. (We recently went through a “re-train” with him waking up at 5am…but then thanks to you we put some tin foil on his window and that keeps him down until he hears Maggie, our dog, chomp down her food at 6am.)
    Most of my family (and some co-workers) thinks I’m crazy for having such a rigid schedule…but what they don’t know is how much he loves it. At 6:30 every night he’ll start to pick up his books/toys and walk to his room singing “pajama time”. He can SENSE when it’s time for bed and is HAPPY to get ready for the event. PLUS, I know exactly when to schedule pictures/doctors appointments because I know when his happy/awake times are.

  • Cris

    I lived with my mother when I had my child. Mom also adopted the ‘scream it out’ policy with myself and my daughter. From about 4 months old on, mom taught me to keep myself from checking baby too often. When I did check her, she informed me I was not to talk, not to entertain my child, but merely see to her needs (such as ensuring a clean diaper, and her music CD playing,) and step away from the crib. Within about the same time frame (2 weeks or so,) my daughter learned that while her needs might be tended to, I was of no worth as entertainment or a food source once she was in her crib and she then adopted the 12 hour sleep pattern as well.

  • libby

    Uh sorry didn’t mean to repeat post!

  • http://hasg.blogspot.com/ Heather G.

    WOW. 2 weeks is a LONG time to listen to screaming. Kudos to you. I think the longest I ever lasted was 5 days and that was AFTER the anti-depressants kicked in.

    The first year was hell. Thus I have an only child. Seriously. I could not fathom signing up for that or gambling on the chance of having “a good sleeper”.

    My son’s almost 9 yrs old and I could write a 600 page book on all the stuff I’ve tried for sleep issues. I’ve read every book and tried most of the methods.

    Getting to sleep is still an issue but once he’s asleep, he’s out for 9-10 hours (and that’s been the case for too many years to remember).
    I’ve always been a night owl so I have a huge appreciation for one’s own body schedule. So although I have empathy for my son, most nights I just wanna’ tie him down in bed at 9pm and put duct tape over his mouth.

    I tell every expectant and new mother I meet, “do whatever works”. Seriously.

  • American Wife

    My daughter is 22 months old, and sleeping has been one of the toughest issues. I have been driven to such extremes of emotion from sleep deprivation that finding a solution to the problem was my daily focus. Nothing worked for us, NOTHING. I could not let her “cry it out” (which initialy seemed barbaric to me, but after more than a year of scarcely sleeping I was willing to adopt any technique that might make me a nicer mommy) because crying for more than 5 minutes would cause Violet to start vomiting. Yes, every time. So not only would I not be sleeping, I’d also be cleaning up vomit and changing bed sheets at 3 am. I have just had to struggle through it and hold her for up to an hour several times a night before she’d fall asleep. Thank heavens we invested in a comfortable chair for her room! This week my life has changed. Just this very week, I can put her into her bed after singing a few songs and enjoying a chat about our day and plans for the next without toddler screams of terror ripping through our home. She might fuss a little, i just call out to her to find “bunny” and go back to sleep. Dear god, I am a happier woman this week.

  • http://surrenderdorothy.typepad.com Rita Arens

    I was one of the mothers who wrote to you about sleep problems. I think it was when the little angel was about eighteen months old and Leta was a little older than that. I don’t remember. Leta is two months older than the little angel.

    I wrote to you, I wrote to Eden, I wrote to Jenny. You all had different solutions, though I didn’t know at the time that you had Ferberized. I assumed it was all the magic tinfoil.

    We successfully Ferberized the little angel when she was a wee one, but then at sixteen months we took away her paci. Thus began another seven months of SHEER AND UTTER PARENTING HELL. She didn’t sleep more than three nights in a row from 8:30 until 4:30 a.m. for SEVEN MONTHS. Around month three of this, I started taking Zoloft because I was spending a good portion of the day crying (and I have a full-time job – this is not super professional, but thank God at the time I worked from home).

    Here’s the thing: I had done Ferber before. I tried to do it again, but this time, she did the cry-until-you-vomit thing over and over. By the time we got her and the bed cleaned up, she would be wide awake and at the verge of hysterics that I would get to about 10 a.m. the next day, trying to make deadlines on a newborn’s sleep schedule.

    I was upset, because I thought this problem was only for parents of newborns, and my daughter was a year and a half old. I started keeping a spreadsheet. I recorded what she ate, whether she was teething, whether she’d pooped that day, the length of her naps, the color of my underwear and the amount of times I’d heard something George Bush said that day. I blamed myself, because as everyone knows, if your child doesn’t sleep through the night, you are a bad mother.

    I finally came to the conclusion after the Zoloft began and at least I wasn’t crying as much anymore that you don’t get to pick your poison with kids. Some of them sleep well but won’t sit still through dinner, or won’t eat, or won’t use the toilet or won’t take a bath. Some of them are well-behaved normally but won’t sleep. Some of them refuse to eat any type of food but are very smart. But really, every kid does SOMETHING that drives his or her parents crazy, and we don’t get to choose what that something will be, because they are actually people with their own personalities and thoughts on the world and Christmas stockings and everything.

    Around Christmas, I begged my beloved to let us start co-sleeping. I was so exhausted I couldn’t think straight. I would become enraged when my childless friends or friends with good sleepers told me just to let her cry. I couldn’t, and not because I couldn’t stand to hear it, but because I couldn’t go through listening to it (four hours was her maximum), then listen to her throw up, clean her up and spend the next two hours trying to get her back to sleep,then get up and go to work all day.

    After a long night on Christmas vacation, we decided to get her a toddler bed. What the hell? I thought. She’s not sleeping anyway. The first night she had the toddler bed, she slept through. She was on and off for a while. We started a sticker chart and let her wear her blinky shoes every time she slept through. We told her how sleepy and grumpy we were when we didn’t get our sleep, and how we very much wanted her to sleep so we could all be happy.

    We also started laying down next to her toddler bed at night. If she made it through until at least five in the morning, she could come downstairs and sleep on the couch with one of us and get some milk. We traded off so that at least one of us was sleeping most of every night. At this point, the crying stopped. She seemed content that we be in the room until she fell asleep, and she loved her bed. We also got her an Elmo even bigger than her, and he sleeps at the foot of the bed. We never did get around to putting up the tinfoil.

    Hey everyone, we had a white-noise machine. We went through four different types of nightlights until we settled on a greenish, glowing one that emits the smallest amount of light possible – too much and too yellow simulates the sun and can be too stimulating. We took away her paci. We didn’t feed her in the middle of the night, though we do let her take a soft Nuby cup of water to bed with her, and she is using it as a comfort object now. We did everything. I read every book. I tried every method.

    She did sleep through the night last night. I have no reason to believe it will happen again tonight. Sometimes she does, sometimes she doesn’t. The only thing that has changed is that I no longer feel personally connected to whether or not she sleeps, or eats, or poops. She’ll be two next week, and I think after being an overanalytical and neurotic new mom, this sleeping thing has taught me how little control I have over her as her mother. I think now in retrospect that I have probably learned a very valuable lesson in humility, similar to the lesson I learned in my graduate writing program. In some ways you have to be broken before you can make peace with your own shortcomings and move on.

    We don’t co-sleep. I would, but my beloved was adament that he have his own room, since he was the seventh of eight children and never did growing up. She’s a really fun kid to be around most of the time. My new year’s resolution this year was to stop bitching about how little sleep I got, because I was becoming obsessed with it.

    For all of you who are out there still not sleeping, take heart. Do not feel bad. It’s not your fault. You didn’t ruin your child, just as you won’t have ruined your child if he or she ends up being a C student, or unathletic or just not cute. We can only do so much, and we have to stop beating each other up over it. I found a lot of support on the Internet through the blogging community, but I found a lot of weirdness and pride on the parenting message boards and in the parenting literature. It’s time to stop the madness. If you’re tired, take care of yourself. Sleep when you can. Do know that it can’t last forever. I think when we got that toddler bed and I started just laying down beside her instead of trying to bend her to my will, it was a turning point. I’m not saying that “cured” her, just that I stopped caring as much about it. Maybe it was the medication, maybe it was just time for me to stop caring because it was undermining my confidence as a mother. But for anyone reading these comments who has not slept through the night in more than three days, here’s a big hug from Kansas City. It will get better.

    Thanks, Heather, for talking about this. You’ve talked about all the troubles you’ve had with Leta, and I applaud you for your honesty in that. I also applaud you for taking pride in her sleep. We have to find the parts of parenting that are good so that we can forget the parts that are bad, but kids are like spouses – it’s not fair to either one of them to assume they will never change, and it’s hard to love them when they change if you’ve done it.

  • MommyofOne


    I appreciate your honesty so much. Thank you for being so real.

    My dd is 3 1/2. We never had sleep issues like you described, so I can’t sympathize with you on that level.

    You have to do what works for you, as you’ve already realized. To hell with the experts and the books that tell you not to do this, or to do that. I went back to work at 6 weeks and our dd slept in our bed. We were breastfeeding so it just made the most sense for us. We were able to sleep well together, and she made the transition to her crib smoothly. I never felt like a zombie. Many people will regale moms with the horrors of having kids sleep in beds. We said “screw them all” and did our own thing. And it worked for us.

    It seems raising Leta has been a bit of a challenge. I know people who had challenging first children, then the most easy, laid back second babies. One friend’s second (breastfed) son was sleeping 12 hours per night at 2 months. If you and Jon have another baby, I’ll hope that’s what happens for you!


  • Krisco

    I’m so glad you mentioned Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. That is a great book and it is the only that worked for us, and I recommend it to everybody. (At one point a good portion of the Santa Fe Mom’s Club was using that book and raving about it.)

    Sadly – it was harder to implement with our second child. When I finally got serious about it – at 18 months – when it was sorely needed and I was sleep-deprived beyond recognition – it again worked great.

    For each child we had to do something different. For the first, we just told her what was going on – she understood what we were saying – and sat quietly reading with a booklight in her room, not getting her out of the crib. It took a couple weeks – a few nights to stop each night feeding.

    With the second – that didn’t work. So we let her cry ten or fifteen minutes, then calmed her down and put her back in the crib asleep. When she woke up again – repeat. Again, it took a couple really sleepless weeks for us, but it was so worth it. Now both sleep great, including for naps.

  • http://www.sparkliesunshine.net Angela

    Wonderful information, Dooce. I am printing this out and I am going to save it for when I have children.

    I hope you and Jon have a fantastic weekend. :o )

  • christina

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for posting this. I’m having the nightly binkie battles with my almost 11 month old, and reading this post has finally given me the courage to let my daughter cry-it-out.

    I’m so tired. We have two under two (my eldest is 24 months now) and though we broke the binkie habit with #1 at 4 months, I went lax and let #2 keep it for too long. But, enough is enough. We start tonight.

    Thank you again.

  • Kathy B.

    Kudos to your for sharing this story! I hope it gives others the courage to do the same (if necessary.) I did pretty much the same thing when my daughter was 6 months. Like you, my ped told me that at this age she no longer needed to eat at night — she was just waking due to habit.

  • susies

    Loved this post. Brought back some gut-wrenching memories, but I believe so strongly in the cry-it-out method that I’m really glad you wrote about it. My daughter was tough because she was our first and we’d gone through years of infertility, so the thought of her crying or suffering in any teensy tiny way was unbearable to us. We were well on our way to raising a dictator. Then we got reallllllly tired. She cried for about a week with us clenching our hands and me sobbing along with her. Ever since, she has been a champion sleeper (she’s 12 now). You’d think the second kid would be easier, but not even close. This time we let him go on the road to dictator-ship even longer because we’d just ripped him from the arms of the only people he’d ever known (he’d been living with his foster family for 7 months until we could adopt him) and were terrified of deep abiding psychological problems developing in that little dictator brain. So by the time we got reallllllly tired again, it was way worse than my daughter. He was older, we were more tired, and he is about 1.756 million times more stubborn than anyone I have ever met. Took a good 3-4 weeks of complete and utter hell. But! He’s now a champion sleeper who begs for bed when he’s tired. He’s 8 now. It sucks beyond all you can imagine to get through the hell of teaching them that the world will not end if they go through the night without seeing another human. But oh is it worth it. There is nothing better than a well-rested family.

  • http://www.amandaisblogging.blogspot.com Amanda Paige

    You are a brave, brave woman for telling your tale. I’m going to be releasing my first spawn in three months and am scared that I am going to have NO CLUE. Thanks for the candid insight. :)

  • nicole

    First time round, we coslept for ages. Even when he had his own cute little toddler bed, he toddled right out of it after six hours or so, and snuggled with us for the remainder of the night. Really, I didn’t mind. We all slept better that way, and I am a firm believer in taking the easy road.
    Second time round, I assumed we’d cosleep again. This kid had other ideas. Even after we resolved the food sensitivity issues (I was eating a ton of dairy and it was ripping his little guts apart), he had no idea how to fall asleep or stay asleep. And unlike my first, who slept better with a warm body next to him, kid #2 needed his own space to sleep soundly. After months of chronic exhaustion, on his part and mine, and an awful bout of postpartum depression on top of it all, I let him cry it out. It wasn’t what I wanted, and I felt so horrible about it, but it really was what he needed to break the non-sleeping habits he’d formed (he’d been sleeping for maybe 45 minutes at a time, max, for his entire life. That meant I also slept for maybe 45 minutes at a time, max). It was what it took for him to get the sleep he needed to stay healthy, and it was what our family needed to function better.
    At 19 months, he still wakes sometimes, and that’s okay with me. Sometimes he needs a little help, and I can handle that. For now, anyway–just a few more weeks until #3 arrives, and then the bigger kids’ nighttime needs will be attended to by Daddy.

    Different families have different ways to meet their different needs. Different children within the same family have different needs. Our job as parents is to meet the needs of the children AND the needs of the family, and there are so many ways to do that. Landmines be damned, we all do what we need to do. Thanks for putting this out there, and for letting us put our stories out there too.

  • http://rdhdprincess.diaryland.com rdhdprincess

    Oh the screaming! I almost couldn’t stand the screaming. But it is so much worth it now to have a child that sleeps so well so that I can sleep so well. I am a much better mother when I have sleep. My question is, do you have to go back to step one with Leta (the screaming!) every time something out of the ordinary screws things up like a fever or thunder storm? Or does she *know* that things go back to normal the next night? I seem to have to go thru the screaming stage and start over again at least every couple of months. My ears hurt as much as my heart.

  • http://nonpromqueen.com Stacey

    Oh! I forgot, she HATED sleeping on her back. Plus, all the flat headed children I see lately scare the shit out of me.

    So I put her on her tummy, and that’s when she started sleeping through the night :)

  • http://frecsandspecs.com Hindowashi

    I don’t have children but I used to nanny and I have tons of nieces and nephews. I believe the parent has to take control by not thinking they need to attend to every cry of their baby. My sister had a hard time with her son, she had to go to bed at 8:00 or 9:00 pm at night just to get her son to go to bed too. I told her that was “utterly ridiculous”. I had to watch him for a week while she was on a vacation and I had him going to bed on his own in two days by letting him cry. It was painful to not go in and comfort him, but it worked and now my sister can go to bed a a normal adult time.

    Let em’ cry I say.

  • http://nonpromqueen.com Stacey

    I’m one of those mothers that every other mother hates.

    My kid was a great sleeper from 3 months on. Never had to cry it out, zip. The only time she couldn’t sleep was when she was sick, and well, I didn’t mind then.

    However, the cutting out the boob before bed was hard.

    She still occassionally gets it (she’s 19 months old and still nursing) but usually she’ll say “night night” and get her blanket and want to be carried to bed.

    Obviously I’m not having other children, the next one could ruin the routine ;)