The No Cry Sleep Solution

Test Mommy Rene and Baby Carlene – California USA

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

How old is your baby now?
Sixteen months.

When you first met Elizabeth, what was your sleep situation?
Carlene was waking so often I couldn’t even count. I was at my rope’s end. Elizabeth had me log Carly’s night wakings, and when I counted 13 (not a typo) times in a 12-hour period, I knew I needed some serious help

How is your baby sleeping now?
We have reduced her night-wakings significantly. She went from 13 to three. We have our periods where waking is more frequent due to teething or illness, but she goes right back to sleeping better afterward.

What solutions were most helpful to you?
The bedtime routine, coupled with an earlier bedtime. And I love her key words idea to help with sleep associations for the baby.

What setbacks or problems did you need to overcome?
Lack of commitment. When facing having to change sleep habits, I really needed to ask myself how badly I wanted to change them. Why was I needing to make these changes? Was it from outside pressures to have a baby “sleep through the night”? Or was it that I just needed sleep?

How did you overcome them?
I decided that I didn’t mind two or three night wakings as a still-nursing mother. But I knew that 13 wakings were starting to limit my abilities as a mother during the day because I was getting sleep deprived. I would start the program and not follow through. Once I made the commitment to change things, it worked!

Do you have any tips for parents just beginning The No-Cry Sleep Solution?
Patience. This is NOT an overnight fix. It takes time, commitment, and understanding of your child’s needs. Following Elizabeth’s steps of the doing the logs is so important to show you the improvements you’re making. You can compare logs and see that, even though you may still be up three times, at least you have cut them in half from the six it was last week.

What one most important piece of advice would you give parents of a night-waking baby?
Trust your instincts. Following your baby’s cues will build a wonderful trust between you and your child.
Also…parenting is a 24-hour job. A baby does not understand why, just because it’s 3 a.m., he can’t receive the love and attention that he gets from you at 3 p.m. A clock should not dictate when we give our all to our children. Show your child that he can trust that you are there for him, and that he can be helped to go to sleep in a warm, loving, safe environment, without being left to cry or wondering why he can’t be with you.

Looking back, what idea from the book most affected the way you approached your baby’s sleep?
To remember that “this too shall pass.” Each milestone brings on new sleep challenges. I tell myself that it’s normal and that we will get through it.

Did you ever try a cry-it-out method? What happened?
The only time I left her to cry was when she cried in my arms for a good half hour and I was so flustered I didn’t know what to do. It was midnight and I was tired. I put her in her crib (she was probably three months old) and I stood outside the door and cried myself. It hurt more than anything not to be able to comfort her. I lasted only a minute or so, but it seemed like an eternity. She just cried harder. I regained my composure and picked her up — and she finally latched on to nurse and fell asleep from exhaustion. So did I.

What surprised you most about Elizabeth’s program?
How much sense it made. Every other sleep book out there is about “sleep training.” How harsh is that?! It was refreshing to read something that went with my instincts rather than against them.

What makes Elizabeth’s ideas so unique?
She puts the baby’s needs first, instead of the parent’s need for “control” of the baby. She is so sensitive in her writing. You feel like you are sitting down with a good friend, and you feel her desire to help you.

After your baby was sleeping through the night, did you have any times when she/he suddenly started waking up again?
Of course! Babies never sleep well all the time. Each milestone brings on new challenges in sleep. I definitely would go through bouts of “oh, not this again!” but I would remember that it’s just a phase and we will get it through it just like all the other phases.

How did your husband or partner help throughout the process?
Being a stay-at-home, nursing mother, I have taken on nearly 100% of my program with Carlene.

Did your pediatrician know what you were up to? What kind of feedback did you get from him/her?
I did mention at Carlene’s six-month appointment that she was waking quite often and that I was a test mom for an author who was working on methods to get your baby to sleep without using CIO. And the pediatrician said to me, “Well, I guess I won’t give you any of our material on the subject since you are on a plan.” I could tell that she tells the parents of her patients to use CIO. I ended the conversation right there.

Did you have any friends or a support group during your sleep plan? How did they help?
Yes, luckily, I have a wonderful support system of moms, and a couple of them were doing the program as well. It was nice to bounce off each other on techniques and progress. Many other moms that I mentioned it to were intrigued and very excited.

How did Elizabeth help you?
She is a friend. She is amazing. I could email her at my wit’s end and she would so calmly give me support and advice and specific excerpts from the book for me to read and try out. They worked!

Do you help other parents with sleep problems now?
I try. Sleep is such a touchy subject with parents, especially new ones. So many are in fear of their child “controlling” them that they have it in their minds that they are going to have to let their children cry it out. I try to help them see it’s not only normal for babies to wake, but that there are other ways to create good sleep patterns.

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

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