The No Cry Sleep Solution

Test Mommy Becky and Baby Melissa Wisconsin USA

How old was your baby when you used The No-Cry Sleep Solution?
16 months

How old is your baby now?
Two years!

Do you have other children? Who are they, and how old?
Yes. Son age 12, daughters aged 10 and 4.

When you first met Elizabeth, what was your sleep situation?
Awful! Melissa was waking about seven times a night.

How is your baby sleeping now?
Beautifully! She goes down at 8 p.m. and wakes around 7 a.m. Some nights she wakes, but we think that is due to our new kitty crawling into bed with her.

What “solutions” were most helpful to you?
First, I would have to say the feeling of support — knowing that I was not the only one out there who didn’t want to admit we were not enjoying our lack of sleep. Then, just setting up a routine and keeping it simple enough to do it forever. Ideas to incorporate into our own routine just didn’t come naturally with Melissa. Things we tried just didn’t seem to work. Elizabeth’s suggestions of what to include really helped.

What setbacks or problems did you need to overcome?
We wanted to overcome waking to nurse for a few minutes and then going back to sleep. Melissa needed to learn to get herself back to sleep on her own…and I needed to learn how to help her accomplish this. I didn’t view nighttime nursing as a problem and would have been happy to continue IF it would have only been once or twice in the night, not the six or seven that it was some nights.

How did you overcome them?
Over a period of a few weeks, we gently night weaned. When Melissa would wake up, I would go to her immediately and just swaddled her up the best I could considering her age and size, and gently “danced” with her. I laid her back down while she was still awake, but settled.

Do you have any tips for parents just beginning The No-Cry Sleep Solution?
Don’t give up! It probably took your little one months — if not years — to develop these crazy sleep habits and they are most likely not going to change immediately. Find a plan that works for your family and stick to it…but be flexible enough to change it if it isn’t working.

What one most important piece of advice would you give parents of a night-waking baby?
You don’t have to do it all by yourselves. Ask for help if the lack of sleep is really affecting your lives. What I really found most helpful was remaining calm myself during our sleep plan, but it sure made a difference in Melissa’s reaction to it.

Looking back, what idea from the book most affected the way you approached your baby’s sleep?
That I didn’t need to let her “cry it out” in order for her to learn to sleep! I just thought there were only two choices: to continue getting up with her or to let her cry it out, and that was not a loving option for us.

What surprised you most about Elizabeth’s program?
That it wasn’t a strict, regimented program. It allowed for us to go at our own pace and also to choose what we thought would work for our family. We didn’t need to feel guilty that Melissa wasn’t sleeping 14 hours by day three or four of the program like some other books do.

What makes Elizabeth’s ideas so unique?
Her ideas let you follow your heart. Her ideas can be adapted to fit into any family situation. There are no strict schedules to follow. I think this alone gave me a lot of encouragement to start the program in the first place. I also liked that she acknowledges that it is OK to teach your child to sleep in a loving manner. Many sleep books make you feel inadequate as a parent if you even think about following your own heart and common sense.

After your baby was sleeping through the night, did you have any times when she/he suddenly started waking up again? What did you think? What did you do?
Yes. I thought it was teething and treated it as such…giving Tylenol. I also followed the plan that we did when we first started the program. It worked wonderfully. Even my husband got into the act.

How did your husband or partner help throughout the process?
My husband works almost 60 hours a week, and with three other children in the house, sleep is important! My husband took over the night care for the older three kids for the first few weeks while Melissa and I started our sleep plan. After she was night-weaned, he would get up with her if she woke and follow our plan. Now he is very comfortable putting her down for the night because she goes to sleep so easily!

Did your plan for sleeping through the night carry over into naps?
Yes. Melissa now regularly goes down for a nap at noon and sleeps two hours or more.

Did your pediatrician know what you were up to? What kind of feedback did you get from him/her?
She knew I wanted to get some sleep. I remember her telling me to offer water in the night instead of nursing. That way Melissa would learn that water wouldn’t be as filling or as tasty as breastmilk, and she would eventually learn to sleep. I personally felt substituting water would be more work and become a crutch, so we just kept waking and nursing until we started Elizabeth’s plan.

Did you have any friends or a support group during your sleep plan? How did they help?
Yes. My lactation consultants were very interested in how I got Melissa to sleep. They deal with this dilemma on a regular basis, and they were very encouraging about the plan so they could see its results firsthand.

How did Elizabeth help you?
Her book gave me a feeling of power that I could get my child out of a bad habit without it being cruel. I can’t really explain it better than that.

Do you help other parents with sleep problems now?
I try to. I tell them how old Melissa was and what worked for us. I also tell them we were a test team for the book, and it really worked for us…and quickly!

What did your friends think about your sleep plan?
I think some of them feel really guilty about how they got their kids to sleep through the night by using “cry it out. ” I get a lot of comments on how great a mommy I am for so lovingly and patiently helping her learn to sleep.

How has your child changed since sleeping through the night?
We thought she was happy before she started sleeping through, but afterwards we could see she was even happier. It became apparent to us just how sleep deprived she really was before we started the plan.

How does it feel to sleep all night?
Do you really have to ask? GREAT! What feels even better is knowing that now Melissa is in bed every night by 8 and I know I can stay up and relax if I want to have some time alone. I know I will not be up most of the night with a sleepless child!

Excerpted with permission by McGraw-Hill Publishing from The No-Cry Sleep Solution (McGraw-Hill, 2002).

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