In hopes of helping my nine-month old to sleep without crying it out, I’m working my way through The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the NightYou can read Operation: Mama Needs Sleep {Part 1} here. 

So I’ll get right to it. How is the No-Cry Sleep Solution working for us so far? Keep in mind that this plan is all about patience, and it is expected to take 20-30 days to see significant improvements. Here’s our sleep log after two weeks of the plan. 

Our Sleep Log: Age 9 1/2 months

Number of Naps243-1
Total Length of Naps2 1/2- 4 hr2 3/4 hours2 3/4 hours+1/4 hr
Bedtime (Asleep time)6:30-7 pm 7:55 pm7:42 pm-1/4 hr
Total Length Nightime Sleep11-12 hr 10 hours10 1/4 hours+1/4hr
Awake Time5:30-7 am6:06 am6:00 am0
Number of Awakenings6+5+-1
Longest Sleep Span2 hr1 3/4 hr-1/4 hr
Total Hours of Sleep1412 3/4 hr13 hr+1/4 hr

This table is based on the original from page 177 of The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the NightThe “should” column is also based on the average sleep times provided in the book for a 9 month old.

Baby Sleep Strategies

The No-Cry book offers a ton of great suggestions on how to gently get babies to sleep. Some are tailored to specific situations like co-sleeping or crib, breastfeeding or bottle, newborns or toddlers.  There is something in there for everyone! I did my best to implement as many as possible, but there’s only so much an exhausted mama can remember to do.  There were several more simple strategies that I intended to use but lost track of in the haze. I plan to add those in for Part 3.  In addition, in the midst of all this life happens. We travel or make a special outing, and all the naps and routines go out the window pretty quickly. 

Of course it happened that I did the second log on a night of terrible teething, so the average sleep we’ve been getting may actually be better than shown. I don’t usually make a habit of looking at the clock, so I don’t know for sure.  I’m really happy that we have cut out at least one night waking.  Before we started the plan, the shortest sleep span was a miserable 15 minutes; in the second log it was 1 1/4 hour.  That’s a big improvement.  I can tell you that I am now happier, more engaged, and functioning. 

The sleep strategies that we (mostly) implemented in this phase included: 
  • Watch for signs of tiredness and get baby down for nap immediately
  • Distinguish between night and day by letting baby nap with window shades open
  • Make sure baby gets good naps during the day to reduce night wakings
  • Watch baby closely when you expect him to wake up from a typically short nap and help him stay asleep longer
  • Follow a consistent daytime routine
  • Follow a detailed & consistent bedtime routine
  • Make sure baby is actually awake before helping them get back to sleep
  • Ditch the nursing nightgown and dress to make the “milkies” less accessible
  • Gently break the latch after sucking slows. Repeat. (assuming I can stay awake to do so)
  • We moved the co-sleeper mattress to the floor next to our bed. I nurse Baby to sleep there at the beginning of the night. Then we don’t disturb him when we come to bed later. After his first waking, he spends the rest of the night in our bed snuggled next to me.

A Note on Naps

Previously BabyE’s napped anywhere from 1-4 naps per day for around 40 minutes each time.   He averaged a total of 2 hours per day.  He now naps fairly consistently 3 times for a total of 3 hours per day. He now gets at least one nap that lasts longer than an hour each day which is what the book says is a minimum nap length. Though it’s not necessarily reflected in this log, I feel we have seen significant improvements. (DH came home early. The dog barked. The nap was over.)  In fact, this post would not have been possible without one of those glorious “long” naps! 

What gentle sleep solutions have worked for your baby?

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