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Gita Upreti
Works at University of Texas at El Paso
Attended University of Arizona
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Gita Upreti

Cry it Out  - 
Hi Sleep VIPeeps! We've got what I hope is a situation which we can impact in some way by doing things differently, but I'd like to hear from those with experience and expertise on what we could be doing wrong.

Four weeks ago today we began sleep-training our then 7-month old daughter. She had previously co-slept with us in our room in a Rock n Play. At 6 months we tried Pick-Up/Put-Down. It was a disaster. She got super fearful and then refused to sleep anywhere but on top of me. We let this go on for a month until we could commit to a total change. (She was a colicky baby, and only liked tummy sleep, hated the swaddle, couldn't breast-feed, probably never slept well, and we never followed a sleep schedule.)

After consulting (let's be honest, I read EVERY sleep-related post) Troublesome Tots and a number of other sites and reading the Weissbluth book, we decided on extinction - we were simply to wrecked to try anything else.

The first week was pretty typical - We introduced a solid bedtime routine with dinner, bath, stories, songs, and then kissing and bed - there was lots of crying the first night, less the second, but still quite a bit until the end of the week (we had to go in a few times to check the sensor under her mattress, which held things up a bit). 

Right off the bat she slept through each night with sometimes only one waking, and usually returning to sleep right after being fed/changed. She now typically gets up at 5, one of us gets up with her, feeds her, and then within 1.5 hours, takes her in the glider and puts her to sleep for her first morning nap. The rest of the naps all start with soothing in the glider. Sometimes we put her in her crib but often I'll fall asleep with her during the early-morning nap.

Things got better during weeks two and three, and by the end of week three she was falling asleep on average with as little as 3-5 minutes of crying. We were feeling so relieved!

Then last week,  my husband had to work late so I put her down by myself. She had missed her 3rd afternoon nap so I put her down early (around 6 - she was already in melt-down mode and wouldn't take her bottle, wasn't eating dinner, was just grabbing stuff and flailing, etc). He got home right after she went down - and she heard him coming in while she was crying (she'd been crying for 20 minutes) - so I said (I regret this so much now) he should just see if she wanted a bottle. He went in and fed her, and she fell asleep on him, and he put her in the crib. For the rest of the night, she woke up every two hours screaming.

The nights since then have been ridiculous. We haven't gone in again after we put her down, but the crying got to 50 minutes last night (even though it was as little as 15 minutes the night before). Her night wakings are still only once at night, but I'm back to being a wreck.

I'm not sure she knows how to "self-soothe," although this could look different to different people. She doesn't have a favorite blanket, and the toy she likes the most may not be safe for babies so we're gonna have to remove that soon.

We try to get her down between 5:30-7:00 at night depending on her nap situation and her exhibited tiredness.

She's been teething FOREVER (not a single tooth, yet!).

She has alternating constipation and diarrhea.

We have a nightlight in her room which stays on all night.

The bottom line is, we CANNOT go back to soothing her to sleep - we need our nights and I'm beginning to unravel from the constant crying at night. She'll be 8 months old tomorrow.

Not sure what else we can share - Any tips, or anyone want to share a similar situation? Questions appreciated, too. 
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I'm sorry - I would have responded sooner but yesterday devolved into a nightmare - she had her last nap end at 12:00noon and ended up going to bed at 5:30 in hopes that would help (she wouldn't nap after that) - I had a death in the family so husband put her down and said she went down after 15 minutes but woke up an hour later, so he went and got her. From then on, the entire night was a disaster - 5 wake-ups (unusual, but he didn't give her Tylenol, which I always do) and a bottle each time - she was ravenous - she's "gone off" solids so is hitting the bottle hard. This morning she was up at 4:30, after being up just an hour earlier (which we slept through) and I went in and fed her and fell asleep with her in the rocker. She was up for the day at 7:30 and had another nap at 10am, until 12:30, but then wouldn't nap until late, late afternoon, (3:45) so she didn't go to bed until 7 - she just cried for 45 minutes. I know these two examples are extreme - we had been sticking to the 6:00-6:30 bedtime since I first heard back from you all but the crazy not napping/late naps are messing us up. 

Her "typical" schedule is:
Up at 6am, get changed, bottle, and go downstairs for breakfast, but go right back to napping with mom in glider between 7-8 am (depending on sleepy "signs")
9-10am - get up, play, go outside with babysitter, bottle
10-12/1 - Eat, play crawl, stand up, babble, etc
12-1pm - Second nap (ideally - sometimes it gets stretched to 2pm, I try to discourage making naps happen after 3, though)
2-5, play, etc - dinner (with avocado, her favorite)
5-6 Bedtime routine, bath, story, songs, kisses
6-6:30 - put in crib (she usually starts crying before this and clinging to me, pulls my robe when we put her in the crib, etc).
After this - cry it out as long as she can
She'll frequently fall asleep right after one or two cries and then wake up and scream for up to an hour. She'll keep falling asleep and waking herself up.
Other factors - she's been "teething" for 6 months. We have never seen a tooth but when it's bad she puts her fingers in her mouth and cries, and tugs on her ear. She's having serious separation anxiety. I also wonder if I should even be putting her down - my husband might have better luck without me. And she's never been a good sleeper, but CIO was working initially! 
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Gita Upreti

Discussion  - 
What a great opportunity for discussion and learning - Thanks, David!
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I could be anyone, but I'm not.
  • University of Arizona
    Special Education, 2002 - 2009
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison
    Anthropology, 1990 - 1995
  • University of Delaware
    Anthropology, 1987 - 1988
Other profiles
  • University of Texas at El Paso
    Asst. Professor of Special Education, 2010 - present
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reviewed 11 months ago
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