Last night was our first try....but we had a little hick-up in our plans. Everything was on schedule, our baby had an early nap, good dinner, and a bath. I nursed her and put her in her crib. Normally she would be almost asleep by this point, but would start stirring when I opened the door. I would then come back and pat her for a few minutes to help her fall back asleep. So, as I opened the door, right on cue she started to stir and cry. I shut the door and walked into the living room with the baby monitor. She got up, immediately crawled to the side of the crib facing the door, pulled herself to a standing position, and started screaming. I waited 5 minutes, went back into the room, laid her back down, and walked back out. If you've read my previous post "To Cry or Not To Cry" you'll have noticed that I broke one of our rules ALREADY. My hubby was supposed to go in there instead of me. Sigh, I just couldn't help myself. I then waited 7 minutes (because 10 was just too long....yes, breaking yet ANOTHER rule), walked in, and stepped in a pile of....yeesh....spit up. It was just a small pile - it looked like she may have choked while crying - and so I yelled for hubby to come help while I scoop her up into my arms, feeling like the worst mother in the world. Sigh. Big Sigh. On go the lights, out come the wet rags for cleanup, and there goes our plan.
I hold her for awhile and (yes, seriously) hubby and I discuss if we should just let her sleep in our bed. I'm annoying myself with our indecision as I type this. Anyway, I say no, the older she is when she sleeps in our bed the harder it'll be for us to transition her back to her crib. I hold her for a while to calm her down, but I'm still thinking if we should just let her in bed with us. I tell hubby to hold her while I take a shower just in case we switch tactics. Hubby says he'll hold her while watching some tv until she gets drowsy, then try Ferber again. I come out from my shower and hear her screaming in her crib. He says she got drowsy so he put her in the crib and has been crying for about 3 minutes. At 5 minutes he goes in, lays her down, and comes back out saying she's just pushing him away when he tries to comfort her. I go in there, hug her while she's standing which calms her down a bit, then lay her back down. I then tell him I'm going into the bedroom and he'll have to continue this, which he agrees to. She screams for what seems like eternity, but in reality it's only for another 8 minutes, at which point there's silence. Sweet silence. My main concern with our plan was how she could possibly go from standing and screaming to lying down and sleeping without any help. We had tried Ferber before, but only when she was too young to get up. I really didn't think it would work for a baby that's standing up. But you know what? She did it. She screamed, then laid down, then fell asleep. Hubby couldn't believe it either because he came into the room and asked if I had gone in there. I said no, and we both looked at each other in shock. 8 minutes......13 in total.....well not counting the whole previous spit up episode :(.
She slept soundly until 4AM. This was typical, since she didn't fall asleep until 10PM last night and usually wakes after 6 hours. Again indecisiveness hit us. Hubby asked if we should master the bedtime thing first before trying to cut out nursing, but I told him we really couldn't do one without the other. When she goes to bed at 8PM, she normally gets up somewhere between midnight and 2. I nurse her at that point to get her back to sleep. If I continued to nurse her to sleep in the middle of the night, we'd be backtracking. So we tried the 5 minute thing again, but this time I didn't go into her room at all. She screamed for a total of 23 minutes, then laid back down and fell asleep. It was truly one of the strangest things I've ever seen. It was as if she thought, "well, I guess they're not going to come pick me up" and then decided to go back to sleep. She didn't wake up until 8AM in the morning.
She has also napped less today. At around 8.5 months, she weaned herself down from 3 naps to 2. In the past week, she has been taking later and later morning naps, which has led to later afternoon naps, and thus a later bedtime (which has added to our sleep problems as well). It looks like she'll be taking just one nap today from 1:30-3:00. I think taking only one nap will help her sleep more tonight without making her feel overly tired at any point. Also, I didn't have to nurse or rock her to sleep for her nap. I just noticed when she started looking tired, held her for about 5 minutes until she laid her head on my shoulder, then laid her in bed. She whined a little, turned herself over onto her belly, and fell asleep.
Am I hopeful? Yes. But we'll see what happens.