We are in the midst of a sleep experiment.
This is our cutie a week ago, after he had his first shots. Three shots, in the thighs, and he slept for 7 hours in the afternoon, like a log. He continued to sleep through the night, much more than usual the next day, and then everything started to fall apart.
Thursday night, he slept poorly, Friday night and Saturday nights not at all, but slept like log Saturday during the day. Very frustrating. By Sunday morning we were at our wits' end, and decided it was time to try Crying It Out.
Much controversy surrounds crying it out, and the younger you do it, the more controversy is involved. But none of us was sleeping (though our cutie slept Saturday day, he did not sleep Sunday during the day: one day of sleep out of five days and nights does not a healthy sleep habit make), so we had to take some action.
All the sleep books direct you to put the baby to bed drowsy, but awake. We had not been doing this: we would rock the baby to sleep, then put him in the crib. So the first step was to stop doing this.
After putting the baby down drowsy but awake, sleep books diverge, based on their philosophy towards Crying It Out. Some books tell you that letting your baby cry it out will teach him that he can't trust you, that there's no point in crying if he's hungry or hurt, because no one will answer. They tell you that he'll be needy and anxious his whole life because he won't be sure of his parents' love.
Other books tell you that babies need to learn to soothe themselves, and that will involve some crying. If they don't learn how to do it, they will be lousy sleepers their whole lives. My sweetie's cousin, at 25, is still a lousy sleeper, and she blames her mother for always rocking her to sleep. Her two younger siblings were allowed to cry, and they can sleep through a tornado.
(As a side note--do you detect a theme? Anything you do will affect your child for the rest of his life. No pressure.)
Anyway, we chose to let him cry, going in after a certain amount of time to reassure him that we were still there, and he was not alone. The first night, after some struggle (boy, is it hard to listen to him cry!), he fell asleep and slept--no joke--for eight hours. Last night he did it again. And, since good night sleep promotes daytime naps and vice versa (yes, sleep begets sleep--don't ask me why), he has been starting to take longer naps during the day.
Well. I hate to think he thinks I can't be trusted and that I don't love him, but I sure am glad that he (and we) are getting real sleep at last. Fingers crossed that the trend continues!