Background: Up until last night Jessie had been sleeping with me in bed. It started off that she couldn't sleep unless I was holding her, and there she stayed because I wasn't sure what to do with the fact that she could only stay asleep on her tummy (though she did back sleep next to me). The school where she naps even told me it's not likely she will sleep on her back, they tried and failed. So, now that she is nearly 6 months, can roll back and forth (when she really wants to), and I have the mattress alarm that I purchased (it arrived yesterday), it was time for her to move to her crib.
The Technique: We went through this sleep situation before with Jamie and the technique that worked for us then, was from a book, the sleep solution. How it works... You set up a routine, you do that same routine every night. for example, pjs, milk, book, say night-night. They need to be put to bed sleepy but not asleep. The book warns against forming associations like music or noise, that they might always need that to fall asleep. The purpose is that they learn to soothe themselves to sleep so they can always fall asleep. When they start crying you can go in every 5 minutes or so, pat them, say night-night (or whatever) and then leave. Once they are asleep and wake up you can put them back to sleep however you normally would (rock, nurse, whatever). The theory is that since they are learning how to put themselves to sleep when you put them down, they will eventually put themselves back to sleep at night.
Past Experience: When we did this with Jamie, she cried the first night for an hour, the second night for 2 hours, third 45 minutes, fourth 20 minutes and then she wouldn't cry to go to sleep anymore. 3 weeks later she was sleeping through the night. It worked exactly how the book said it would go down.
Night One: I do the night ritual, set Jessie down on her tummy, turn on the alarm, go sit on the couch and brace myself. She cries for 7 minutes and falls asleep. I could not believe what a contrast. Jeff says let's go to sleep (at 9:15). I'm afraid to believe that I could actually be so lucky, but 15 minutes later I agree. I get ready for bed and I'm in bed for about 5 minutes when she starts crying. I went to her room to try and put her back to sleep. She falls asleep I try to set her down, she starts crying. I repeat this again and again. I see 10pm go by, then 10:30, I think no big deal since I'm usually awake at that time. By 11, 11:30 I'm starting to feel pretty tired. I go back and forth between her room and mine. From 1:00am to 4am we both are sleeping soundly. Strangely the way I achieved this was putting her on her back, face to the bumper like she sleeps with me (don't worry, plenty of air around her mouth and nose). I felt the sting of irony. Jessie wakes at 4am. I'm thinking, ok, I'll put her back to back to sleep and I can still sleep till 7. I do the dance like before, putting her down, she wakes up and cries, back and forth between our rooms. Jeff sleeps soundly this entire night. I watch 4:30 on the clock, 5, 5:30, 6. At this point Jessie and I are both crying. At 6:15 I decided to just start getting ready for work. I slept for 3 hours the whole night. I'm tired. I put her to sleep in my bed so that I could at least get ready for work. She slept soundly.
Stay tuned for day 2.