We didn’t follow a book or any particular method. As I said in my previous post, we sort of just fell into controlled crying one naptime. We did, however, have certain rules as to how we would proceed.
- Our big issue was getting Arlo to fall asleep in the cot, so the first rule was that, no matter what, he must fall asleep in the cot.
- Along the same lines, no matter what, I would not feed him to sleep
- The time between resettling intervals would increase by 5 minutes each time. We would spend no longer than 2 minutes resettling Arlo in the cot.
- Our limit was one hour. If he wasn’t asleep afer an hour, we would go out for a walk or use previous methods of getting Arlo to sleep (although Arlo has always been asleep within the hour so we’ve not had to do this).
- Arlo is still in the habit of having one or two night feeds. However, he doesn’t usually take a full feed until after 2.30am. We decided that if he woke after 2.30am I would feed him as usual, but if he woke before we would persevere with getting him back to sleep without lifting him out of the cot.
- We would give it six days. If there was no noticeable improvement during this time or we thought Arlo was suffering and still crying lots, we would stop altogether.
Day 1 went like this:
Morning nap: I waited until he was really tired and definitely ready for bed. I went in to him after 10 minutes and again after a further 15 minutes. By the 40 minute mark there was no more noise coming from his room. I checked on him and he was asleep.
I was so surprised that it had actually worked. Arlo never settled himself, he had no idea how to do it. And after an initial attempt when he was much too young (I was prompted by some advice that I shouldn’t have listened to), we had stupidly persevered with the same method for an hour and a half before realising that it just wasn’t going to work with our baby at this particular time. Had the same thing happened this time around, I would have given up there and then.
Afternoon nap: We went for a walk
Bedtime: I went into him after 10 minutes to find him standing at the foot of the cot, staring at the door. He was very distressed. I really lost my nerve here. I wasn’t expecting for him to be standing up (standing was very new at this point) and I don’t think he knew how to get back down so he was effectively stuck. I picked him up for a cuddle and within a minute he started his usual pushing and fighting against me to get down. This reminded me of why we had decided to give controlled crying a try, so back in the cot he went and I left the room. After another 15 minutes, Sam went in and he was standing at the foot of the cot again. He fell asleep within the 2 minutes resettling time (presumably from sheer exhaustion). All in all at took 40 minutes.
Overnight: He woke up at 12am (which is the same time he’d been waking and only settling with a feed), moaned for a minute and went back to sleep until 4am. I fed him, and he woke for the day at 7am.
Morning nap: Put him in the cot 20 minutes ahead of his usual naptime. Arlo played happily for the first 10 minutes, then he started moaning. I went in after 10 minutes, lay him down and stroked his back for two minutes then left (as I did on day 1). 15 minutes later, he was asleep. It took 35 mintues in total to get Arlo to sleep.
Afternoon nap: In the car.
Bedtime: Started half an hour ahead of his usual bedtime as he was really tired (all that extra crying, no doubt). Sam went in after 10 minutes. I went in afer another 15 minutes. He was asleep 2 minutes after I left the room. Around 30 minutes in total.
Overnight: He stirred at around 10.30pm and put himself back to sleep. We next heard him at 1.30am. Normally in this situation, one of us would go in and walk him around the room in the hope it would send him back to sleep. For the past few weeks it had rarely been working. He cried for about 15 minutes, Sam went in. Arlo cried when he left, but was aleep within 10 minutes. I couldn’t believe how quick this had been, and how easy compared to walking around a screaming baby for half an hour. He next woke at 5am and I fed him. He wasn’t happy about going back in the cot after his feed, but he fell asleep within minutes and slept until 7.15am.
Almost immediately after starting controlled crying, Arlo was sleeping a lot longer at night, and resettling himself. Those were the obvious improvements, but it was hard to tell what benefits (if any) this was having on Arlo, the longer sleep might just have been a result of him being exhausted from the controlled crying. I was not completely convinced by controlled crying, but wanted to see it through for the six days before coming to a final conclusion, otherwise we would have put Arlo through all this stress over the past few days for nothing.