Get Baby To Sleep At Night
Karen and Phil tried the checking approach with David for three and a half months of disturbed nights before they realized that they had been doing it wrong:
We used to go in to David three or four times a night, using the controlled crying technique each time. But it just didn’t seem to work – he kept on waking up. We were just so tired. I’d got to the point where I really hated him. I thought, “I’ve made a big mistake having children at all.”
It was only after we’d been battling with it for three and a half months that I read somewhere that we shouldn’t be giving him a bottle whenever he woke, because he would wake up just to get it. I’d been giving him one because I just hadn’t realized that there comes a time when babies don’t need something at night. So we stopped the bottle, it was only water, and within two nights he slept through. Only for six hours, but it was wonderful. It really works, you just have to do it properly.’
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If he calms down significantly while you are out of the room, do not go back in to him. A visit from you at this point may make him start all over again. Check on him once he is finally asleep, if you want to, but leave it at least half an hour so that you can be sure he is deeply asleep.
Be prepared for a test time on the third, fourth or fifth night. Your baby has understood that this is the new routine and is making one last-ditch attempt to get things back to where they were and his cries may be longer and more bitter than before. Once this long night is over you should be almost there, although for some people the process is longer.
I did the five-minute routine suggested by the counsellor. She said it would solve the problem in six weeks. It actually took three months to do. We got it down to one night waking – I could live with that. It is painful. They can cry for a long time if you keep going back. I wrote down everything that happened – how I felt, what I did. It allowed me to see how things had changed. I did some sewing or the ironing so that I didn’t feel so resentful when she kept going for two hours. ’