This is what 13 hours of sleep looks like:
I returned to work two weeks ago and decided that waking up 5-6 times a night to alternately feed, binky and place Frank in crib, swing, bed, swing, etc- was not going to be very conducive to my sanity once I was actually expected to shower and pretend that my brain was operating at full capacity. I returned with a sleepless Frank in tow from a very last-minute trip to LA because Tia was undergoing a pretty serious surgery (What's Tia Doing, btw? Recovering- and doing super awesome :). The stress from months of severe lack of sleep, traveling alone with baby, stressing about Tia and my impending return to work, suddenly became more than I could handle. I literally walked in the door, put down the infant seat and my bags, and in a ridiculously melodramatic, but completely authentic way, fell to the floor and burst into hysterical tears. It was time.
The following night, I fed Frank at 6:30, calmly placed in his crib, walked-out, shut the door behind me, turned the monitor volume all the way down, poured myself a heaping glass of wine, rented a movie, and pretended that I did not hear him crying for the next 45 minutes. There were intermittent cries throughout the night- but I held my ground until around 4 in the morning. The following night, I repeated the previous night's bedtime routine. Only this time- he woke up only once- at 4 am, cried for ten minutes and slept until 8AM. It was glorious. I felt as if I had just returned from a week at a wellness spa.
There may be some of you who disagree with the whole cry it out thing, but for me- there was just no other way. I was exhausted- and what was worse- my little man was even more exhausted. He was irritable- he hated the car and the stroller, and he couldn't spend more than 5 minutes entertaining himself.
The changes in him were almost immediate. After just two nights on his new regimen, he was literally, like a different baby. Max calls him our new and improved baby (he even asked me what we did with the old one and I'm still not sure if he was trying to be funny). Frankie now happily goes for walks and lazily drifts off in his infant seat for naps while we stroll the aisles of Target. He plays contentedly in his saucer while I deal with his out-of-control brothers for considerable chunks of time and he smiles ten times as often as he did two weeks ago.
While he still has an occasional rough night and cries before naps- I'm doing my best to stick with the program.
This is my motivation:
If you are looking for more info on sleep training your infant or toddler- I highly recommend Dr. Marc Weissbluth's book- Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. It's the best. I'm off to get some sleep ;)