Like most women pregnant for the first time, I knew I'd never do certain things. Like most first time moms, I've given in. One of those things I'd never do that I ended up doing was sleep training or cry it out.
I like to refer to it as sleep training; maybe that's me trying to make myself feel better or it just seems like a better explanation. Either way, after research, thought and discussion, Nick and I decided to give it a try with a few rules. We set a 20 minute crying limit, decided to only try it for a week and get her if the screaming became too horrible.
Claire cried for just under 20 minutes the first night. I found that keeping busy really helped distract me from her crying. I finished washing the dishes and picked up the kitchen. By the time I was done, she was sleeping soundly. Over the next two nights sleep training went well, and Claire began to cry less. By night four, Claire was practically sleep trained.
Now, almost four months later, she's ready for bed by her bedtime and sleeps through the night. Starting at 8:00, I begin the countdown by telling Claire how many minutes she has until bedtime. Usually, right at 8:30 she walks up to me and puts her head down on my lap. When I ask her if she's ready to go to bed, she looks at me with the cutest, most earnest look and nods her head.
Sleep training worked for us, but it doesn't mean it will work for every kiddo, so do your research!