Recently, Muffin's sleep went from predictable and good to unpredictable and bad. Suddenly my easy baby wouldn't go to sleep without Herculean effort, wanted to party at 1:45 am and felt that 4 am was really an ideal time to get up (and not go back to sleep until at least 8 am).
This was a disaster.
You see, after Muffin was born I was obsessed with his sleep and mine (or the lack thereof). I read every book, made his learning to sleep my full-time job while on maternity leave and basically blogged about it on Facebook. Luckily for me, I got a lot of good advice that way from my fellow Mommy Facebookers. The support was invaluable, and it turns out the advice was too. One simple piece of advice a Mommy Friend passed along was "Just put them down."
That advice was harder to follow when Muffin was tiny, though I thought of it often. But with him close to 11 months now, I heard that advice in my head one morning at 1:54 am while Muffin cooed and pointed. Exhausted, I figured "why not?" I put Muffin down in his crib, kissed him on the head, told him I loved him and would see him in the morning, closed the door and went back to bed. In truth, I lay in my bed watching Muffin on the monitor, but what I saw convinced me this advice was spot-on: He jumped, whined a little, crawled around, waved his arms and....fell asleep. Until 7 am (!!) when he awoke happy and ready for the day. Hallelujah!
Now, I've tried this technique since with naps and bedtime with about an 80% success rate. He doesn't "cry it out" because truthfully he's not crying. And if he is, I know something bigger is going on (like teeth or diaper issues). But for any of you facing a similar sleep challenge, after the usual soothing routine try to "just put them down" so they can learn to sleep. It works.