Re: Urgent sleep help needed!
posted at 1/2/2013 1:18 PM EST
In addition to the routine disruption issue (ah, 'tis the season!) and the teething, she might be hitting a developmental milestone too. My 6.5-month-old started having trouble a few weeks ago and she's been an absolute dream child when it comes to sleep up until now. We did CIO with my oldest because she really did need some sleep training. It was hard work and we had to be VERY consistent or she'd regress and lose weeks worth of progress after just a day or two of slip-ups. CIO worked for us with DD#1 and we had to do it for her sake and ours. DD#2 has slept like a drunken frat boy (soundly, without a care in the world, regardless of whatever she's leaked on herself) since an early age and we haven't had to do anything besides put her down, awake in her crib, and turn off the light.
Now, at about the same age as your little one, she's getting resistant to being put down as well as waking up in the middle of the night and fussing instead of going back to sleep. In the past she's self-soothed with her fingers and just gone back to sleep. Now she has been screaming bloody murder at 1AM and then giggling and wanting to play when I go in there. My hypothesis is it's linked to language development. She's starting to develop different cries and she's babbling a lot. I think she's experimenting with getting attention. Also, she's got a HUGE separation anxiety thing going on. I made dinner with her in the backpack last night because being more than 3 feet from me was apparently traumatic. So part of us for us is she's just mad I'm leaving her in her crib. She passes out after about 5 minutes when I put her down at bed time but in the middle of the night she's been more tenacious.
Anyway, it's understandable if you don't think you can completely CIO. You can try gradually increasing the amount of time in between when you go in to try to soothe her. I usually wait 5 minutes before going in at all, then wait 10 minutes between the 1st trip and the 2nd, then 15 after that. After 3 trips in I send DH. Usually she's unconscious by then and he doesn't have to go in, but when he goes in he paces with her until she's out, which usually doesn't take too long. This was what we did with DD#1 but it took a lot longer and she was much more resilient--she had incredible endurance. DD#2 just passes out. All kids are different. I, personally, found the times helped me be just as resilient. Some times a minute seems like an hour, so it's good to keep an eye on the clock and know that the kid is fine, she's only been alone for 3 minutes. Other times you doze off and then you realize she's really been in there for 40 minutes and you can afford to go in an check on her. But if the times stress you out, just do what feels right. Whatever you do, don't feed her, even though it is a miracle that gets her to pass out. She'll be waking up wanting to eat all the time when she used to not need a feeding until the morning.
For us, developing the habit of being able to go to sleep without rocking or nursing was very important. It really paid off now that DD#1 is older, especially with the baby making things more complicated.