The No Cry Sleep Solution
Test Mommy Alice and Twins Thomas and Rebecca – Dublin Ireland
How old were your babies when you used The No-Cry Sleep Solution?
How old are your babies now?
Do you have other children? Who are they, and how old?
Patrick (five) and Carolyn (three).
When you first met Elizabeth, what was your sleep situation?
From around 10 p.m. on, one or both babies awoke every hour all night long for a breastfeed or a pacifier.
How are your babies sleeping now?
Rebecca normally sleeps through the whole night. Thomas usually wakes at around midnight and needs to be resettled with a pacifier, his lovey, and a quick cuddle. I can leave the room when he is still awake. He then sleeps until 6:00 a.m. or so when I join both babies in their bed for another one to two hours of sleep (they sleep on a mattress on the floor; I am a part-time co-sleeper with the babies).
What solutions were most helpful to you?
The “evening routine” techniques were the primary focus of the sleep program for my babies. I had never realized that my hectic household and my own frazzled evening behavior might have been interfering with my babies’ sleep patterns. I think the babies sensed that my stress level was high, and therefore they slept very restlessly.
Based on a number of Elizabeth’s ideas, I designed a wonderful evening routine for me and my babies: I bring the babies up to their room, turn on an “ocean waves” cd, give them a short massage, put on their pajamas, and read four or five books to them. Then I use the “key words” idea — I say, “It’s sleepy time” and they immediately look for their teddy bears and pacifiers, and they lie down on their bed. Next, I turn out the light, lie down in between them (they sleep on a mattress on the floor), recite their favorite poem, and relax while I wait for them to fall asleep. They are almost always asleep within 10 minutes. The added benefit of this is that when I’ve finished putting the babies to bed, I feel refreshed myself and ready to parent the older two children (ages three and five) at bedtime. And best of all, my babies sleep much better!
What setbacks or problems did you need to overcome?
Sickness was my primary setback — around the end of the first 10-day sleep program period, both babies developed low-grade fevers and green runny noses. Actually, the fact that they became sick made me very grateful that I was using The No-Cry Sleep Solution: If I had been using CIO to achieve sleeping success when the babies got sick and sent me back to square one, I would have been very depressed. All that crying (theirs and mine) would have been for nothing. With The No-Cry Sleep Solution methods, I didn’t “lose” anything — many of Elizabeth’s ideas are so lovely that I would want to implement them even if they didn’t help my babies sleep better!
Another “problem” is the fact that I have twins — it makes the sleeping situation substantially more complex. Not only did the babies have individual waking problems, they also woke each other up. Often I had not just one crying baby, but TWO crying babies to deal with in the middle of the night.
How did you overcome these setbacks?
I just waited out the sickness setback, doing whatever was necessary to comfort my babies when they weren’t feeling well. When they were better, I started afresh with Elizabeth’s ideas, and slowly but surely, I saw improvement in their sleeping patterns.
The “twin problem” was more complex for me because I didn’t have help at night; it was therefore difficult to fully implement “Pantley’s Gentle Removal Plan,” since I often had two babies awake at the same time. I decided that I didn’t need the babies to sleep through the whole night without waking — since I co-slept with them (part time), I still got a good night’s rest even with one or two (brief) night wakings. With this limited goal set, I used some of Elizabeth’s other methods to achieve what I wanted, and I have been happy with my sleep situation ever since! Now, almost a year later, my babies sleep so well that I only need to join them in their bed for early morning cuddles (my favorite part of the day!).
Do you have any tips for parents just beginning The No-Cry Sleep Solution?
This is not an overnight solution. I am an experienced mother of four children, and I know that sleep is a very complex issue for which there are no effective overnight solutions. Have patience, implement the program you have developed based on Elizabeth’s ideas as consistently as possible, and you will see gradual and steady improvement. Go back to the book when you feel the need to check your progress, but also trust your instincts as a parent. Elizabeth’s ideas should give you the wings, but you are the one who needs use them to fly!
What one most important piece of advice would you give parents of a night-waking baby?
Some babies are good sleepers and some are terrible, but every baby will have sleeping issues at some point. Relax, you are in good company! You are not doing anything wrong; it is just that babies are very needy — during the day AND at night. (There will come the day when you wish you could get them OUT of their beds!) That said, Elizabeth’s program is fabulous because it will help your baby be the best sleeper he/she can be. Some babies will respond very quickly to The No-Cry Sleep Solutionand will sleep through the night consistently within days of implementing the program. Other babies may not sleep through even after months of using Elizabeth’s ideas, but there WILL be a dramatic improvement in the number and length of the night-wakings!
Did you ever try a cry-it-out method? What happened?
Yes. With my first child, I used one of the better known sleep training programs involving cry-it-out. It did work in the short term, but I soon realized that there would be multiple relapses because of traveling, sickness, bad dreams, and new situations, and there was no way that I could stomach additional CIO sessions. Out of desperation, I also briefly flirted with CIO for my twins, but I quickly realized that it would not work with one of the babies — he just got increasingly hysterical, and when he did fall asleep out of exhaustion, he was awake within 30 minutes for another round of hysterical crying. Elizabeth Pantley’s gentle sleep methods are much more effective with a baby like him.
What surprised you most about Elizabeth’s program?
She is very accepting of a variety of different ways of night-time parenting — bottle or breast, co-sleep or crib, pacifier or lovey. Elizabeth accepts all the choices that parents and babies make, and offers suggestions for better sleeping no matter what your choices are.
What makes Elizabeth’s ideas so unique?
I have read many books on sleeping problems from every perspective you can think of, but most of the books I have read take a very prescriptive approach. I feel that these books have a regimental approach which says, “Do EVERYTHING my way or you will ruin your child’s sleeping patterns for life,” and after reading them, I felt very insecure about my bedtime parenting methods. The unique thing about The No-Cry Sleep Solution is that parents can design their own sleep program, based on their needs and their baby’s needs. Elizabeth trusts our instincts as parents. She realizes that no one knows a baby better than his/her parents, and the parents can best determine what works and what doesn’t work. With The No-Cry Sleep Solution, we can set our “sleeping goals” and then design our own sleep program to achieve that goal, picking and choosing from the wealth of ideas Elizabeth offers. This is an exceptionally empowering — and unique — concept.
How does it feel to sleep all night?
WONDERFUL! Last year at this time, one or both babies were awake every hour the whole night long; with Elizabeth’s help, we went to one or two night wakings per baby for a number of months; and now, a year later, I have two babies sleeping through the night. I love co-sleeping with my babies, but I also like sleeping in the same bed as my husband, so the situation as it is now — where I join the babies for early morning cuddles and an hour or two of sleep — is absolutely perfect.
Excerpted with permission by McGraw-Hill Publishing from The No-Cry Sleep Solution (McGraw-Hill, 2002).
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