I'm not gonna write up a big review praising it until I get a decent night's sleep. At least a five hour stretch, preferably seven.
But I will say... I had a good weekend, by myself, with Jo. Marc skipped town and I was scared to death of bedtime. Actually I was scared of daytime too, I invited my parents down so I wasn't alone. But they can't help her get to sleep at night, that had to be all me.
The problem is that Marc wraps her up so tight she's gotten used to being swaddled in just that way to go to sleep, and if she's not swaddled, she wakes up when you try to lay her in the crib. Having an 11-month-old who needs swaddled has made me feel NOT COOL. It's just this mode we sunk into. So on nights by myself when he works, it's been bad sometimes... I'd wait until later, when she's really tired, transfer her as best I could, sometimes she'd wake up and I'd just take her in bed with me and nurse her there and she'd fall asleep and I'd just make that my bedtime too.
I felt like I had two options. I could cosleep and roll over to feed her every hour. Or I could let her cry alone in her crib until she learned that no one would come for her, like the quiet babies in eastern block orphanages with attachment issues.
So I read this book and it's hard to explain, but it breaks things down into little steps you can do to gradually teach your baby to self-settle. And what I tried this weekend seems totally obvious, but it wasn't, don't ask why. Here's what I did:
1. I nursed Josie at her normal bedtime, and she usually drifted off.
2. I laid her in her crib.
3. She'd wake up and wimper. I'd try rubbing her back.
4. She'd cry.
5. I picked her up and rocked her back to sleep.
6. Repeat from step 2 (so no more nursing, but rocking back to sleep each time)
The strategy I'd decided on from book tips was to repeat that sequence five times. After five times, I'd just cosleep, or leave her to cry for 15 minutes, or have a little more dark playtime maybe?
But oddly enough we never made it to five times! The worst we had in the three nights of trying this was four tries... on attempt 4, she woke up, wimpered, blinked, I rubbed her back and she fell asleep!
I still got her and put her in bed with me when she woke up each night around 1 am. It's a crazy week, she had that ear infection last weekend and I want to make sure she gets plenty of milk. But bedtime made me feel so much better and more confident! And gradual... I didn't know that I can pick her up a few times when she's crying and eventually she'll just settle. I was afraid it'd be an endless cycle, that's why I'd never tried it before. But there are two truths:
1. Every time you lay the baby down and pick her back up, she's a going to be a little sleepier.
2. Every time the baby cries and you pick her up, she learns that she's not being abandoned in her crib, she feels a little safer.
I'd heard before that you should lay your baby down when she's drowsy, but never understood how the hell that was supposed to work, because Jo just snaps awake screaming. Now I'm getting how we could work towards that. Right now I'm rocking her to sleep, but in a few days we might just rock her until she's settled and drowsy. Then later on when she wakes up at night, we can just go in and rub her back and she'll go back to sleep. Then she'll just sleep on her own. Maybe. I'm cautiously optimistic.