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Cry Baby Cry

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I remember back when Ellie had her major fussy time in the evenings – we tried everything to keep her from crying. She would still cry a ton, but we felt like we were doing a favor by attempting to keep her calm.

I used to nurse Ellie to sleep at bedtime – she just always went down so easily and it was a breeze. 45 minutes later though, she would wake up. The pattern was that I would generally go feed her some more when she woke up or if we felt she had eaten great all day, Zach would just rock her back to sleep. Then it was like defusing a bomb to lay her back down without her waking up and crying some more. We knew these were probably bad habits, but at the time having her cry it out was not yet an option for our family.

We’ve been working on getting Ellie to go to bed without fussing so much – and then staying asleep for the past week. The plan: lay her down while still awake, but drowsy and then check on her and soothe her (without picking her up) every 5 to 10 minutes. The first week of doing this was brutal! She cried for and hour to an hour and a half before finally falling asleep. It was killing both Zach and me to sit there and listen to her awful cries.

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….But we know it’s what we need to do. It’s for her own good. She needs to learn to soothe herself – so she can fall back asleep in the middle of the night without needing us. This is for our own good too…

In the middle of this week, we tried to do some more searching with the “cry it out” method. She just hadn’t learned and I didn’t understand why. Everything we read had always been a story like “the first night she cried an hour, the next night 10 minutes, the third night a minute… it’s been heaven ever since”. Stories like that made me sick because that was NOT how it was going for us. What were we doing wrong?

So Thursday night, we implemented a new plan: a bedtime routine that looks something like this… bath/massage, feeding, reading a book, rocking/snuggling/singing, lay her down drowsy but awake, tell her “goodnight”, kiss her head and leave. The past few nights her crying time has decreased, so I think she’s learning. For four nights in a row now, she has NOT woken up at 45 minutes. I think we’re making progress!

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The middle of the night is still a struggle too. We spent the past few nights trying to get her to wake for only one feeing. I would dream feed her around 10pm before we go to bed. If she wakes before 2am, we try to rock her back to sleep and then feed her between 2 and 3am. If she wakes before 6 or 7am, we try to rock her back to sleep again, then feed her between 6 or 7am. We were hopeful that eventually she’d just wake the one time around 2 or 3 and there wouldn’t be a fight anymore. It’s really hard to rock her in the middle of the night when she’s upset and thinks she is starving… knowing that if I would just feed her, she would go right back to sleep. After attempting this for a few nights, we’ve given up on this plan – for now. It’s too painful to have her cry so much in the middle of the night… instead I’d rather feed her for a few minutes a few times a night – and we can all go back to sleep pretty quickly!

All this talk about bedtime and crying is wearing me out…. let’s talk about Ellie’s roll over status. Monday morning she rolled over in her crib again – without me seeing it, again! I guess I just need to pull her sleep-sack off and stand where she can’t see me to see if she’ll roll over! Wednesday afternoon she was on her belly for tummy time and she wasn’t too happy. She QUICKLY rolled over from her belly to back without much effort at all! I cheered and rolled her back to her belly – then she rolled over to her back again! We did this two more times before she got very tired of my little game. I can’t believe how easy it was for her to roll from her belly to back! Saturday during tummy time she did it again!

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Ellie is getting so much better at sitting up as well! Her back and stomach are getting so strong – she actually tries to sit up more often than not when she’s sitting on our laps. If she’s relaxing in the Boppy, we’ll see her really working to be in a more upright position! If we prop her against some pillows or the couch, she’ll start to lean forward to sit up – then she starts to topple forward – it’s so cute!

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I have a feeling that we’re going to be seeing a lot of changes in her capabilities in the next month!

Check out this week’s pictures in the April 2011 album.