I Write This As He Screams.

Emory has been sick. He got a cold the day before we left for Florida, kicked it the day before we headed back north, and then got another one from one of the 4 billion kids we saw while we were away. He’s been cranky.

Wiping his nose has become one of the most impossible tasks. It’s become such an ordeal, we basically don’t do it, which explains why we have a bunch of vacation pictures that show Emory’s face covered in dried snot.

Here’s a video of one of his smaller hissy-fits. Believe me, this is nothing compared to what it’s like when he’s really cranky.

It’s been a rough couple of days for this mother and son team. He’s been unbearably fussy and impossible to amuse for more than a minute at a time. Yesterday, after listening to him scream and fight sleep for almost an hour straight, I sat on the couch and cried into my egg salad sandwich. (Which was nice because I forgot to add salt and I was too lazy to get up and grab some.)

Wooden spoons seem to amuse him long enough for me to pee or brush my teeth. The picture below gave me mental chatter, a problem I have whenever I’m dead tired. I repeat phrases or words until I exhaust every syllable, sound, and approach every cadence. Yesterday, I must have said, “MY SPOON’S TOO BIG!” 4,000 times.

I think it’s time for some sleep training because I’m losing my mind. But I don’t know when or how to begin or if I have the stamina for it. Plus, every time I let him cry for a bit, the cats circle and howl because the shrill sound hurts their ears. Tucker has gone as far as to climb close to my face and touch my nose with his paw as if to say, “Please make the lambs stop screaming. Please?”

I read last night that you’re supposed to take away a baby’s pacifier at 4 months. Well, we missed that window of opportunity. (We read that they help with SIDs, so we left it in. Conflicting reports, as usual.) I’m having trouble deciding what to focus on first. Do I let him cry it out for sleep with the pacifier, which will be easier to deal with. Do I take the pacifier away and then let him cry it out later whenever he’s over the pacifier? Or do I do it all at once? If it’s the last option, I am going to need either a whole lot of booze or a whole lot of antidepressants.

The more I read about how to nurture (or train) a baby, the more I think that sometimes this educated woman/mother thing causes more of a headache than it helps. I am convinced that’s how mothers who are cruel to other mothers get to be that way. (i.e. When career-oriented women become mothers, they tend to educate themselves to the point of judgment. Suddenly, there are no longer raises or bonuses, bosses or coworkers telling them what a great job they’re doing, so they have to convince everyone and themselves how awesome they are on their own usually at someone else’s expense. This can take the form of a three-way call where one mother calls another mother while a third remains silent on the line and the called mother tells the instigator how horrible a mother the silent mother is.)

But I digress.

I realize that I will have to let him cry it out (and soon) because he needs to learn how to sooth himself but when I combine it with all the other things I’m supposed to do (or have done), I start to feel a little overwhelmed.


  1. What worked for us was the 5-7-9 plan. Put the baby in bed, let him cry for 5 minutes—then go in an comfort him (don’t pick him up) by saying I love you, pat one the back and then leave. Then let him cry for 7, then 9. I never let my boy’s cry longer than 9. So the first night of “training” it went 5-7-9-9-9-9. And then by the 4th night, they down to just the first 5. By the end of the week no crying, they would just fall asleep cooing and playing.
    Re: pacifiers. My boys sort of just stopped being interested in them around 4 months. But my opinion would be to wait on that…for the most part he won’t keep it in his mouth as he is learning to sleep on his own and so it may just happen naturally that he weans off it. If not, that is something you can deal with during the day AFTER he is sleeping well and you are starting to feel sane again.
    Of course, I imagine there will be some follow-up on how cruel it is to leave a baby to cry. But I like you, had reached the end and so this is what I chose and in retrospect I don’t regret it at all. You would be surprised how much better life feels when you aren’t consistently in a depressed sleepless fog. AND, it worked for us…both boys ages 1 and nearly 4 sleep through the night and and have sinced we went through that plan.


  2. I’ve thought about the pacifier dilemma myself. Our E is finally getting to the point of teething and none of the teething products are working. Seems that chilled pacifiers are the only thing that soothes the savage beast. So we are probably reinforcing the pacifier dependence and our E will likely be 8 by the time she gives it up. But it is the only way to make her stop shreiking! Oh pacifier, why do you taunt me so?

    Re: sleep – we aren’t getting it either. Let me rephrase that. I’m not getting it! The hubbie goes to work each day, so I take night duty, but it is wearing me down something fierce. I’ve actually started getting migraines from lack of sleep. You can imagine the fun of a throbbing headache, nausea and a screaming little one. On migraine days I am reduced to crying along with the baby and pleading for her to sleep. So our household is in dire need of sleep training as well. I’ll be tuning in to see how it works for you! But in the mean time, just know you’ve got a sister in solidarity out here.


  3. I just read my last post…sorry for all the type-o’s! bla!
    egirl—teething idea that worked for us. Take a baby sock and get it wet, put it in the freezer. Give the baby that to suck on. Less like a pacifier/ring. And it gives you something to do with all of the little socks that don’t fit them anymore.


  4. Oof. I feel for you, Michele.
    Clara has been relatively good at sleeping and soothing, that was until the mega-cold of december 07.
    Then it was sleepless nights and a shift-work of increasingly stressed parents to soothe her.
    I see Emory chewing that spoon and wonder of his teeth aren’t moving around ready to emerge.

    The thing that finally calmed for Clara more than any distractions of toys and parents was playing one cheesy Bossa Nova song on repeat.

    Hang in there Michele. It gets a whole lot better ;)


  5. When I worked at a daycare (which is nothing like actually having a baby, I know) we did the 5-7-9 plan. I worked by myself in a separate building with 4 infants so it could get trying. Nothing close to what you go through everyday seeing as I could go home after work and sleep the whole night if I felt like it but I do understand how frustrating it is and how hard it is to let them cry. I hope you find something that works for you and lets you and Emory get some good sleep.

    As for the snot, we had a baby boy at the daycare that had really really long hair. He hated having his nose wiped and his mom refused to let us put his hair up out of his face. You think just dried snot is bad? Imagine hair dried into the snot and having to peel it out every 10 minutes. Sometimes near the end of the day I was tempted to let him play with scissors and “accidentally” cut his hair.

    I know this probably didn’t help but hopefully it gave you a laugh!


  6. Max is sick right now too (as am I). He never liked tissues and would scream and cry (same with the horrible nose suckers)…so I started wiping with the same alcohol free/fragrance free ultra sensitive baby wipes I found – the only kind that didn’t give him a rash. I tell him I am washing his face. He seems to tollerate that much better.


  7. Oh dear. I believe this situation calls for a pirate joke.

    What did the pirate pay for his peg leg and hook hand?

    An arm and a leg.


  8. We let our son keep his paci till about 20 months.
    He was really sick early on (milk protein allergies) and got really attached to it. I would wait to take it away until you alter some of the sleep issues. Both would be tough.

    We started working on the sleep thing at about 6 to 7 months and did something similiar to the first poster, 5,10,15 or whatever you are comfortable with. Let cry for 5, go in comfort with a pat or “nite, nite” but don’t pick up. Wait 10, repeat, etc. etc. For the first few nights it was tough, but it got exponentially better as the week went on. At about a year old my son had to have some surgery and he regressed on his sleeping habits. We waited till he was all better and then started this all over and it worked like a charm the second time as well. My son has NEVER been a good sleeper. He is three and still wakes up some at night, but this gave us so much improvement.
    A lot of parents hate “The Ferber Method” but I have found his cry a little, comfort, cry a little more, comfort, etc. worked for us. His book is worth reading, just do it with a grain of salt and alter the timing to what you are comfortable with. May not work for everyone, but it is definitely worth a try. Also, only works for older babies. He has some good advice on cutting back eating at night also. Again only for babies old enough to not need to eat at night anymore.

    When we finally got rid of the paci, we let him have it only during nap/night. Then we just went cold turkey one weekend. All gone at one time, no cutting holes, etc. We just told him the garbage man took them. The first few nights were not easy, but he got over it much faster than I ever thought, considering how attached he was to it.

    Hope this helps. I feel your pain sister.


  9. I would have paid good money to have either of my 2 babies take a pacifier…if Emory takes it and it comforts him and it means the easier way to sleep – by all means…you have my support!! I’ve never heard of the 4 month thing, but then again, I never got the opportunity to take one away. Baby D used ME as his pacifier and that was horrible…let him keep it – I don’t think it’ll harm anything.


  10. Lurker here…..
    My dad tells the story of how he broke my sister and I of pacifiers.
    He poked a little hole in them so they lost suction, and apparently we eventually lost interest in them. Just a suggestion


  11. See, that second picture is why I should never have children. The moment one of them looked at me like he’s looking at you I would be so blown. I would give him anything! he wanted. Including but not limited to endless cupcakes, amen.


  12. ha! It’s a good thing Dyson doesn’t make pacifiers!

    I’m not even sure what that means. Tired.

    I read that one mother told her daughter that Elmo was short on pacifiers and he needed some so she donated her daughter’s pacifiers to Elmo. Her daughter was totally tickled pink and never asked for another pacifier.

    I guess we’ll deal with one “habit” at a time. First, we must get this sleep thing under control. There’s something I am not admitting to on here but… (ugh, ready for your jaw to drop?) we sort of get Emory in the habit of sleeping with us the last two weeks. It started whenever he got sick. I had to prop him up so he could breath better and therefore sleep longer. Then, we headed to DC and were too lazy to take the Baby Mobile (pack n play) out of the car since we were only there for a night. Then, we had a sleeper car in the train, too small for the Baby Mobile so he slept with me. Then we just got carried away. He slept with us a lot on vacation. BAD! BAD PARENTS!

    So, we have to break him of this too now.

    We suck. :[


  13. Sorry the bit about Dyson was in response to Stephanie’s post.

    Kerri anne, you’re messing with fire bringing up cupcakes over here when I’m on a diet! Man, I freaking love cupcakes. I might even steal them from a baby at this point.


  14. The spoon, runny nose & lack of sleep remind me of my kids when they were teething. I wonder if that’s what Emory is going thru. My kids would become so hard to deal with I would think, “I can’t do this anymore. I need a nanny, a babysitter, daycare, anything.” Then one day one tooth(or 4, which happened with both kids) would pop out and the sun would shine again. I’m not sure what the ‘official’ pediatrician line is on pain relief these days, but if you can feel a tooth under the gum you may want to give the doctor a call to see if you can use give Emory something for the pain. I also agree, anything frozen seems to help. My sister in law used to give her kids frozen bagels to chew on. Mine liked the a soft teether out of the refrigerator or a frozen washcloth.

    My daughter used a pacifier for awhile and she eventually lost interest in it. The problem is she found her thumb. While this made her an amazing self soother and really good sleeper she is now 3 1/2 and is still sucking her thumb. I wish she would have stuck with the pacifier. At least we could have controlled the weaning process.

    Good luck and trust your instincts.


  15. We had a hard time getting T to sleep on her own, I think at around 7 months we did the Let Her Cry thing and it was the most horrible minutes of our lives sitting in another room, just listening to her cry BUT! It totally worked. After 3 nights she was able to fall asleep on her own and the best part is that when she’d wake in the night (not needing to eat) she could self-soothe and just go back to sleep. So far L has been amazing, I can put him down awake but sleepy and he’ll just doze off -most of the time. He has gassy periods where it’s a trial but I try to put him down awake as much as I can so he’s used to it.

    Also, L seems to have narrow nostrils and gets stuffy easily so I prop him to sleep on a nursing pillow. The curve supports him on the sides so he can’t roll off and the elevation of his head helps keep the airways clear -might help with the snot?

    T was totally hooked on the binky at sleep time till she was 2. At one point she was chewing it and I think the holes in it were bugging her so she’d throw it out of her crib, then cry to have it back so I finally told her if she tossed it down one more time it was going in the garbage. She did and I did and she essentially shrugged and went to sleep, never seeming to miss it.

    L has been co-sleeping with us since birth but I’m in the process of switching to the crib and I think using the nursing pillow helped with the transfer to the crib since he could take it with him and so it’s still comfy to him.

    (I feel like I’m writing like a robot. Maybe I just need more coffee?)

    Oh! One more & I’ll stfu, maybe his nose is raw & sore from the snot? T’s gets like that very easily when she has a cold & cries with each blow so I’d started rubbing skin lotion on her nose after each blow and it helped immensely.

    Dunno if any of that is useful. :)


  16. Co-sleeping is a norm in some asian countries. If it’s left up to me, I would have loved to sleep with my kid every night. But my husband is a light sleeper.


  17. One thing I know for sure it that let him have his binky for as long as he wants, until he goes to kindergarten. I have seen many a kind with pacifiers for long periods of time with no problem. One is a PhD in Marine Biology, the other a Master Chef, and another is a successful Interior Designer. Don’t stress with the binky.

    Have you read, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child? http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0449004023 It saved my ass. I read it over and over. Different approaches for different babies.

    And I know it is so hard. You have my love and sympathy and whatever support I could ever give.



  18. p.s. YOU DON’T SUCK and every baby/kid is different. Which is a good/bad thing. What works for Emory might not be a result of all our well intended advice. :-)


  19. It took 3 days to sleep train my baby at 7 months and it’s the most important thing i did i think. She’s now 2 and the ramifications are still there today as the lessons i learnt then i still have to bring in now and again.

    Night 1) She started crying at 2.30am – 2 hours and 10 mins later she stopped.

    Night 2) Same again but 40 mins later she stopped.

    Night 3) same again but 10 mins later she stopped.

    No going in at all to comfort which seems tough but it teaches them to comfort themself = more confidence in themselves + more sleep which they need = happier baby all round. This only works if not night feeding any more.


  20. nicola: are you available, say, next week for a three nights? I’m impressed with your stamina, lady! 2 hours and 10 minutes? I’d have checked myself into an institution.

    OK, so, I keep the binky for now and deal with the sleep situation. Assuming this works, I am going to miss him. Emory is really nice to sleep next to, although, being able to snuggle with my husband again (anytime I want) will be VERY nice.


  21. Oh, and JenB: You bought me that book! I dug it out finally last night. Will read it for sure.


  22. I think how i did it was i saw a child psychologist, (I was going mad with no sleep) and she said ’ what do you think will happen if you go in after, say, an hour?’ and what will happen is they learn they have to cry for an hour but they will get your attention eventually, that’s why it’s important is you to be in agreement with your partner and go for it, you both have to be v strong, and hey, forgot to tell you about Night 4 – no waking up at all and never ever again apart from being ill and stuff. I’m in London so no good for you i’m afraid! You’ll get there, it’s all common sense really. Nic


  23. FYI, in the name of cheering up, I got an email saying the Mayor of Randolph rescinded his bounty-hunter anti cat crusade. Hooray!


  24. Ugh Grace still uses a pacifier only in bed. I wanted to “give them away” but now that #2 is coming any minute, I am going to wait for her birthday in June. That should be enough transition time. It is like playing with fire because she sleeps 12 hours. I am an ass. I should have gotten rid of them a long time ago.

    Teething miracle worker: Humphrey’s #3. Northside Pharmacy carries it. Really, it changed our lives. Have toby stop on his way home and pick some up.


  25. Gillain! That’s FANTASTIC! I sent my letter in today. Ah well!


  26. I wouldn’t worry about co-sleeping. A lot of people do it and a lot of nasty parents will go nuts and tell you it is terrible. I totally disagree. My only problem with co-sleeping was that all these books and people tell you great things about it, but what no one tells you is how to ween them out of the bed!

    At some point, we started working with a behaviorist and one of the biggest things we tackled was sleep. It was great working with him because he was full of really practical advice and never made us feel like losers if we didn’t do things by the book. Every kid is different. His best advice was to be consistent, take small steps and make adjustments if things aren’t working. He also said that any new thing with a kid will get worse before it starts getting better and you have to be able to work through those “worse” days to get to the the better days. He said that depending on what you’re trying to train your kid to do, anticipate 1-2 weeks at least to start seeing real results. He also suggested not trying to do big training when there are other things going on—teething, for example, may interfere with success in the sleep department.


  27. Evan kept his pacifier for almost a year. He only had it for sleeping time and he spit it out just before he fell asleep for the night. I think every baby is different and it is definitely hard to find what works for them! You’re doing fine! Don’t feel too guilty (a little guilt is inevitable, I think)!


  28. i have a baby just a few weeks younger than emory. we did the 5-7-9 cry-it-out sleep training starting the night before she turned 4 months old. she had been an absolute crappy sleeper before then. initially she only slept in her swing (while in motion) then she and i co-slept, then she slept in a pack n’ play beside my bed. she never napped. at 4 months i was going crazy. within a week of starting the training she was sleeping pretty reliably. within a few weeks we were able to move her to her crib in her nursery. now she is just shy of 7 months and she sleeps like a champ (can you hear me knocking on wood, ‘cuz i’m pounding it now that i’ve typed that). she goes down without a fuss (most nights) and typically only wakes once to eat, sleeping a total of 12 hours a night. it is awesome. she never took a pacifier so we don’t have that battle. good luck to you.


  29. First of all, anytime you change your baby’s routine – going on vacation – he is going to have a problem sleeping when he gets back home. There’s nothing you can do about it, it just happens. We’ve traveled frequently with our daughter since she was 3 months and without fail it takes up to 2 weeks to get her back on schedule.

    Also, we tend to relax the “rules” when we go on vacation. Because you can’t replicate the home situation completely, and you just have to be flexible.

    The problem with sleep training is there is no way to sleep train a baby. There are 1001 methods and following them might help but won’t get you anywhere. We’ve gone through various phases with my daughter and in these various phases different things have worked. Lullabies, music boxes, music, fancy mobiles, etc. etc. You will eventually figure out what works for your son but don’t expect the 5-7-9 thing to work.

    I think you need to be flexible in general. A baby is changing and developing at an insane rate during his first few years, and you can’t expect him to be “trained” like an animal. Our daughter is 18 months now and generally sleeps well – but there are still days when she wakes up at 2am, refuses to go back to sleep in her crib, and we just bring her into her bed. Because at some point you have to make a choice: do you want to get some sleep so you can interact with her the next day or stay up for 2 hours listening to her cry just to “train” her? I choose sleep!

    And I really don’t think the sleep thing reflects on their future characters…our daughter is very independent, plays well on her own, and does not throw tantrums. This without a rigorous sleep training and with co-sleeping occasionally.


  30. Another lurker here, felt compelled to respond and add a bit to the discussion. Know that this is just my two cents peppered with wisdom gleaned from an interest infant-parent mental health:

    First, I’m sorry that you aren’t getting the sleep that you need! Cosleeping is not right for every family, but it can be great for bonding with your little one AND, believe it or not, getting more rest for the whole family. You are not a bad mom for allowing Emory to sleep in bed with you!! It is completely safe (you can also use Arm’s reach co-sleeper to have him near you but not in your bed).

    The formation of healthy sleep habits can be a contentious issues amongst parents. If you go with CIO, please be gentle (with yourself and Emory). Children have different temperaments, and allowing CIO may adversely affect child development. Of course, not getting enough sleep is also going to affect your ability. For what it’s worth, however, allowing a child to CIO (esp for long periods of time) does not teach a child to self-sooth; it teaches them that adults will not respond to them when they cry for help. If a parent shows up for them most of the time (i.e. is not consistently not responsive to their cries) this may not adversely affect their long-term development. But IMHO, it can often lead to issues of trust and difficulty with interactive regulation between children and caregivers—i.e. it becomes easier for the child to self-regulate when they are alone, and more difficult for them to deal with anger/sadness/unmet needs in the presence of other people. I could write a lot more, but the post already long!

    When all is said and done, you have to figure out what works best for you and your family. Best of luck with it all! From all I’ve seen here, you have a ton of love for little Emory and are an amazing mama to him.


  31. Well, we just gave it a shot and failed miserably. I ended up rocking him to sleep while singing Beth Orton (poorly, of course). He fell asleep and is now in his crib.

    We’ll see. Maybe next time I’ll do better when I’m hopped up on valium.


  32. that’s what happens when we try to wipe toby’s nose at work too… your boys are too much!


  33. Shepard is still screwed up from the trip (not that he was a good sleeper before Disney). The last few nights I’ve ended up in the guest room with him by 11pm at the latest. His big boy bed is supposed to be delivered this week. We are hoping a little more room and a better mattress will help him but who knows.

    Simone was a great sleeper but that was quite accidental. She had her little flat kitties that were made of a soft fabric to soothe her. We found out later that there is some woman who is called the baby whisperer or something like that out of Austrailia who recommends this. For us, it was pure luck. Unfortunately, Shepard never took to something to soothe him besides his mama.

    As for the paci, we took Shep for his first dental visit a few weeks ago (with a pediatric dentist). When the dentist asked if he used a paci, we sheepishly admitted our almost two year old still used one. He said one of his kids had one until she was three. He said do what works that it wouldn’t cause any permanent damage and most kids’ teeth shift to where they would have been (if there is any displacement at all) within six months of giving up the paci. He said it is definitely much better to allow a paci and ween than develop a thumb sucker:)


  34. Remember me? I’m the person with the big baby girl and the trouble finding a good baby carrier. Well, I haven’t as yet tried my friend’s carrier out and our little girl is crawling and pulling up on things now. I seem to be carrying her less during the day, BUT…

    …oh my the sleep issues we are having. I was just thinking yesterday that I should e-mail you to find out how much Emory naps. Our little girl, who will be 9 months next week, has taken to napping just 30-60 minutes (usually on the shorter end of that) at a time, and lately we have been struggling to get two naps out of her. Today, she napped in the morning and not at all in the afternoon…she was one incredibly crabby baby.

    She sleeps pretty well at night (usually 10-12 hours, but with a 2-3 night wakings thrown in). Getting her to sleep is another matter though. She still needs a bottle to calm down enough to sleep(which I know is bad for her teeth), and usually I end up walking around her room with her on my shoulder till she is asleep. Since we visited in-laws last weekend, she has been waking up 20-40 minutes into her night sleep crying, sometimes 3-4 times within the first two hours. Each time I am lumbering in there with my incredibly sore lower back to carry her some more. She won’t let my husband console her anymore, just screams.

    Granted, she has a lot of teeth that have come in in the past two months. She is working on her eighth tooth. But she has pretty much been a crappy sleeper since birth, none of this is new. We keep coming up with new crutches. First it was a fan, for a while it was one of the womb-sounds bears, now it is music (and me carrying her, apparently, oh and don’t forget the bottle). I have the Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child book, and it is pretty good. I just need a little more time to read it. We have been thinking of some form of CIO…we are both very afraid. I think my heart might break.

    Thanks for being brave enough to write about this.

    Also, our little munchkin also extremely dislikes the face wiping thing, she usually has dried carrots on her face in the afternoon. And I sing to her too. There is one song that is like magic for her whether I sing it or she hears the actualy song: Ingrid Michaelson’s “The Way I Am.”

    I keep having to remind myself that this is all short-lived. She will grow out of most of this, and I need to not focus and fixate on things so much. Definitely not as easy to do when we are both jittery, overtired messes though.


  35. Stop beating yourself up self deprecating. What you are going through is normal and hard and frustrating. It will pass with time but you are not doing anything wrong. You are just finding out what works and what doesn’t.


  36. delurking to say hi!
    And you don’t suck. We co-sleep out of need for me to sleep and not have to get out of bed every 2 hours-or less these days since he just got over being sick last week and just got his first two teeth this week…ouch. I’m going to say do what is right for you and your family-whatever makes all of you the most content. And don’t feel bad for whatever that is.


  37. oops. I forgot that this would strike that out. I blame the infamous Momnesia.


  38. I feel for you. I’m still trying to train my boy to sleep. The last thing I wanted to do was leave him to cry so I tried loads of other things instead. I tried the pick up put down method. It’s supposed to be a more gentle way of getting them to sleep without them possibly losing trust. Two problems: (1) it’s mega hard on the back; (2) the father is supposed to step in because mom is usually associated with food and comfort.

    Nothing was working and I needed sleep BAD. He was waking up three to five times a night and crying his fool head off. I decided to bite the bullet and let him cry. I won’t tell you it was easy, cuz it most definitely wasn’t. It was and still is the hardest thing to do. Mother’s aren’t wired to let their children cry.

    Because he was under six months I didn’t want to do the extreme crying at first…or maybe it was for myself. I’m not sure now. So I started off with two minutes, comforted him and then increased another minute. By five minutes I could see he was wearing himself out and all it took was a bit of shushing and he was asleep. Slept through the night as well. The following night I increased the first lot of crying by a minute.

    It’s taken me several weeks of routine and consistency (and a bit of stubbornness) to get him down with no crying at night.

    I must note that daytime naps are another matter entirely. Some days he sleeps, other days he wont. But since he sleeps through the night I’m not as bothered. I asked the health visitor and she said that he probably doesn’t settle well during the day because he’s so active.

    Also, he is teething now and still sleeps at night.

    You need to do what is best for you and your family. If you decide to do it the cry it out way remember it’s a long process and can take a couple days or a couple weeks. Some nights the only way I got through his crying was to repeat “It’s only been (x) minutes. He’s fine. He needs to learn how to fall asleep on his own. He’s fine.” I would think of the benefits and end it with “He’s fine”. May sound corny but it got me through without losing my sanity. Well, what’s left of it anyhow.

    Oh, another thing that works sometimes is to put something that smells like you in bed with him. I was totally shocked when that worked. It was like I suddenly found an off button one day!

    Good luck with whatever way you decide is best.


  39. A few months ago, we had Adeline on a GREAT schedule, and had no sleep problems at all. She would wake around 7, have a bottle, fall back asleep around 9, and wake up at 10:30. Then, no matter what we were doing, at 1:00 I would rock her a few minutes and put her in her crib, whether she was asleep or not. She never cried, and would always fall asleep, even if she babbled to herself for awhile. And she always slept through the night.


    Then we started daycare, I started school again, and our “perfect schedule” went to hell. The first 2 weeks of daycare she didn’t nap AT ALL during the day because she wasn’t used to so much noise. She pretty much screamed from the time we picked her up until her bedtime. She’s gotten better now, and she can take naps at daycare, albeit shorter ones, and she has also started waking up again to eat in the middle of the night.

    I know she’s not waking up just to cuddle or play. She will drink 6-8 ounces in the middle of the night. And that’s after she’s already had dinner and a 6 oz bottle right before bed. Luckily, she goes back to sleep right after her bottle, but I don’t know why she’s suddenly not sleeping through the night anymore.

    Does anyone have any suggestions?

    And to Michelle, have you ever tried the “booger sucker” on Emory? Adeline screams bloody murder when we do. That kid is a booger making machine. We usually have to use some baby saline drops in her nose first to make it easier, and it takes two people to do it because she thrashes and screams, then we still have to get them out. She cries real tears as we’re doing it, which breaks my heart, but as soon as we’re done, I pick her up and she smiles at me and acts as if she wasn’t just screaming at me to go away and leave her alone.


  40. Michelle, I just wanted to say that one of my favorite things about your site is how non-judgmental all the comments are. It’s just a bunch of moms giving their best advice—as if they were offering it over a cup of coffee (or a stiff drink). You’re one lucky girl.


  41. Hello Michelle,
    totally feel for you, have been through what you’re going through and sympathise hugely.
    what is wrong with co-sleeping? euh, except maybe for the fact that its hard to get the warm little bundle out of your bed for the next however many years? we did exactly the same as you with our first and I procrastinated on the sleep training but eventually caved in at 13 months when I was on the edge of a nervous breakdown, I don’t regret it at all, I regret only that I didn’t do it sooner. BB1 is now nearly 6 and ends up in our bed most nights still…
    BB2 is 15 months and was sleep trained from the day I brought her home, very painlessly, little by little and she now asks to be put in her cot and sleeps 12-13 hour nights…(knocking on wood too as I speak)

    In europe we are taught that its all about sleep associations and I would encourage you to put in place a bedtime routine, here we say “goodnight” to all the pictures in her room, place her in her sleeping bag and then I rock her and sing a short lullaby before putting her in her cot awake, naptimes have a different, shorter routine.

    You just have to think of this period as something that you’re helping your son to learn, he needs to know how to soothe himself, how to fall asleep alone and you can help him and support him whilst he is learning, you’re not punishing him and you’re not a bad mother for making him go through this. You need to be convinced that what you’re doing is the right thing otherwise he will feel your lack your of confidence…

    Last but by far the most important, you could try washing his nose whilst he has a cold, use saline solution (here it comes in spray form), turn his head to the side (you’ll need four arms for this to begin with because he won’t like it), turn the nozzle of the spray so that it is facing down and give a good firm, long spray, the objective is to see the liquid come out the other nostril…our ear/nose/throat specialists swear by this and so do I, from experience. It helps avoid ear infections, chest infections…the whole lot as the snot is no longer slipping down his throat at night. For the teething pains and general fussiness you can try chamomilla homeopathy, available here in little liquid doses that our baby loves…

    Good luck, stay strong!


  42. Jess, you are so very write about that. I am not sure how I got to be so lucky. For every negative comment or email I get, I always think about how cool and kind everyone here is most of the time. So, yeah. i am so lucky. I really mean that.

    Yesterday, when we met my parents in Maplewood for lunch and house hunting fun, I said that out loud actually. I told them how awesome I think the people who comment on my Web site are. I was so unbelievably grateful for this thread. Even my mother and father were retelling and laughing about the stories we’ve read here.

    I want to thank each and every one of you. If we buy the house we were looking at yesterday, you are all invited to join us for dinner and drinks one night. :] Promise.


  43. I can’t help at all, I just thought that I would share our paci story. I gave her a soothie pacifier in the hospital, then we came home. And then one of the cats stole it, and I couldn’t find another newborn soothie ANYWHERE, or the one the cat stole. So it went away when she was tiny. She’s a 14 months now, and last week we got new dressers and also found the pacifiers, 3 of them, and a baby bottle nipple (which the cat also stole) and they promptly became cat toys again until they disappeared.


  44. It does sound like he is teething. My daughter was a mess when she was teething and sick at the same time! Horrible! But it will pass and now at 17 months she is a three hour napper. I still give her a small bottle of milk and rock her before sleeping so she knows that is her signal to sleep. Plus I love to rock her and she is often still awake when I put her down. I’ve also similarly done 5-7-9. The key really is to let them know that you are there and will comfort them but do not make eye contact or talk to them.

    A couple of recommendations for you. Hyland’s Teething tabs are great and try baby Ibuprofen every once and a while. Tyelynol really doesn’t touch tooth pain. And this is a life saver or a nose saver and thank Kristen Chase at Motherhood Uncensored for this one. http://www.nosefrida.com.


  45. Kimberly, you did see this post right? Heh. cats.

    Tami: Thanks!


  46. Oh my goodness – this is my life right now. Anthony (7 mos.) was going to bed at 7:30 waking up once for a bottle at 1:30 and then sleeping again until 6:45. He got a horrible cold and has totally regressed. It is like having a newborn again. And, I know it is no consolation to you, but it sure is nice to know I’m not the only one who hasn’t figured out the sleep thing.

    A 5 month old at his daycare goes to bed at 6:30 and sleeps though until 6am. I don’t know if I want to hurt her mother because I’m jealous or have ehr live at my house for a week.


  47. Hi Michelle. I’ve been a lurker for about 2 months. I think I may have commented once before. I love your website because I think my son is right around Emory’s age, and I love your writing. Don’t beat yourself up. We still struggle with the sleep issue. I read somewhere that between birth and 6 years of age kids go through several MAJOR changes each year. It’s tough on them and tough on parents. So if you need to let him sleep with you, go ahead. Sometimes we put our son in bed with us in the morning so we can get more sleep. What’s important is that you’re happy and healthy so you can be a good mom and enjoy this time. I have found that a lot of the rules don’t work for me and my son. We rock our son to sleep. We give him bottles at night even though the doc says we don’t need to. We don’t force a strict bedtime or nap time. And, I wouldn’t take away his pacifier. My son hates pacifiers but loves his thumb, and I’m not going to try to break that habit. He won’t need it when he’s 6 or 10 or 16 so don’t worry about it. And just another thought. Sometimes my son will fall asleep in the car. Do you think maybe Emory would sleep in the stroller if you have one? Maybe the motion and fresh air would tire him out. I think sometimes my son will let his guard down and fall asleep because he’s not in his crib and he doesn’t feel like he’s going to miss something. And if he won’t sleep in the stroller or something maybe just the time outside would tire him out. Good luck. Someone once told me that kids seem to push us to the absolute edge where we don’t think we can take it anymore before they back off. I think that’s true.


  48. Hi Michele,
    Delurking to second Jen’s “Healthy Sleep Habits” book suggestion. Saved my life. But I also wanted to say that you really do have to be gentle on yourself and totally ready to take the CIO plunge. I really respect the information that Alyson Schafer teaches with regards to various parenting challenges (www.alyson.ca). She has a great blog post on getting a 7mth old to sleep through the night. One thing she emphasizes is: “When a parent has decided THAT’S IT—ENOUGH, their children usually know it with out anything being said, and change happens quickly. Conversely, if you are still waffling, the child senses your unassuredness and works hard to keep the status quo.” read the full post here: http://www.alyson.ca/2007/12/getting-your-7.html

    Good luck. It’s the hardest thing to do. I used to cry on the landing outside my son’s room. But he’s been sleeping wonderfully since he was 8mths old (we started with the Healthy Sleep Habits at 7.5 mths when I was catatonic from lack of sleep). He’s now 3.5 and a fantastic sleeper. This too shall pass. Really, it does get so much easier!


  49. The baby, Michele, he’s freaking CUTE! I’m sure you already know that.

    Not all babies are cute, but yours is. :-)


  50. Hi Michelle,

    I don’t know you, but I enjoy reading your blog. I feel like there is so much pressure on new moms to do everything ‘perfectly’, but that’s just not now life works. Having a child is an incredibly humbling experience for most of us. The good news…I’m now a mom of a 2 yo with a second boy on the way and I am much more confident in my ability to do what seems best for my family. And that doesn’t mean it’s best for everyone else either.

    I can tell you what worked for us (and it did work, but it wasn’t easy). We let our little boy have the pacifier until he gave it up on his own (around 6 months). I considered it a form of self-soothing similar to thumb sucking. If he can manipulate the pacifier and use it to calm himself down, then how is that different from sucking a thumb or rubbing one’s head rythmically, etc.?

    Also, we loved co-sleeping with our little guy too, but we weren’t too thrilled with the idea of having a toddler kicking us in the head later on. So, also at about 6 months, we decided that if he absolutely refused to sleep on his own in his crib (usually due to illness or teething), then one of us would sleep on the couch with him. The limit we set was ‘not in our bed’…that was it. We felt that if the baby was sick, all bets were off…he got cuddled and we’d just have to deal with getting him back on schedule after he got better.

    Eventually, after lots of sleepless nights, he was able to not only soothe himself to sleep, but he would consistently sleep through the night.

    I don’t know if that helps, but it’s what worked for us.

    Hang in there…he’s a real cutie and you have so much fun in store for you let me tell you.


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