Operation Bedtime Bootcamp – Night 4 – Mission Accomplished

Saturday Jan. 28

9:00 p.m. Tonight I did something I haven’t done in a long, long time. I sat down with a cup of tea and my eReader (Reading: The Help) and read in silence without a baby on my lap. Sophie went to bed an hour ago. The only sound she made as I kissed her goodnight and closed the door, was a few little babbles (probably saying goodnight to her new mobile — which, by the way, you should click the picture to see up close how cute those little bugs are!).

Her new wooden mobile hangs too low, so it's down at her feet where she can't reach. We'll have to move it once she is mobile herself.

Tonight is night four of Operation Bedtime Bootcamp (darn, I just realized Bootcamp should actually be Boot Camp, but it’s too late. These are my rules.) I was expecting horrible things. Sophie had a tough night last night. She did not want to go to sleep. Now here we are, exactly one hour from the time I placed her in her crib, AWAKE, and she went to sleep on her own.

I am in awe. Dominique warned me not to jinx this. But you know what? Whether she wakes in an hour or two, whether the middle of the night is rocky, there is success here. She has now gone to sleep for the night on her own. She’s done it at naps. She’s done it in the middle of the night. And now she’s done it during her first put-down of the night. I couldn’t be happier.

It went down like this:

Bedtime routine got a little flubbed up. It was bath night (we still only bathe her a couple of nights a week) so she had pjs before food this time. She then proceeded to get so excited about the book we were reading that she got the hiccups. Great. I’m sure she’ll settle now! Then, a giant rumble in her Pampers. Now we’re back on the changing table. Nothing. Just air. OK. Now, let’s just chill and listen to the music box and wind down a bit. Hiccups still a raggin’ so I wind it up twice, she snuggles in while we rock and listen. Cross my fingers and place Sophie in her crib.

She lays there, all quiet, just looking at me.

Sophie ready for bed

I zip up her sleeping bag (actually, this is the Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit), kiss her cheek and she turns her head to the side, the way she does when she sleeps. No whimpering. No fussing. No kicking of the feet in protest.

I close the door and hear a few “ahs” and “uh guhs.” Then … nothing. And there it is. My baby went to bed and fell asleep all by herself. Just like a big girl. I can’t believe it so I’m glued to the video monitor.

Here’s how the rest of the night went:

Went to bed around 10 and Dominique said, “See you in an hour,” because that’s when she has been waking. When I heard her waking, I looked at the clock and it was 12:45. Nice! That’s a long stretch for my girl. The experts say you should wait 5-10 minutes after night cries because babies cry in their sleep. If you go in too soon, you might actually wake them as they are putting themselves back to sleep. But after a few minutes she was definitely up and looking for food.

12:55 She is fed, 5 1/2 hours since she at last. We burp, cuddle a minute, then lay back down to bed. I hear her give a little whine and then she’s out. The next sound I hear from her is a cry at …

3:40 I wait a minute and she goes back to sleep.

5:18 and she is loudly asking for mom. This is nearly 4 1/2 hours after her last meal. The master plan is working. 🙂 She’s so tired, even her burp sounds sleepy. I lay her down and she passes out.

8:00 we’re up for the day. What a great night. This is where I hoped we would be.

Day 4

In celebration of a successful night of sleep, we decide it’s time for treat. Sophie usually sits in her chair on the table when we eat. (We never, ever leave her up there without us sitting right next to her.) We peel a banana and let her take a taste. This is her first foray into the world of solid foods.

It’s touch and go for a minute, then she grabs on with both hands and dives in.

After cleaning up a bit, we get ready for nap #1.


10:15 Put down, she babbled for a minute and drifted off to sleep. That’s my girl.

11:50 The little one’s awake, singing to the darkness. Another successful nap.

Nap #2

2:20 Sophie goes down easy, sings for a minute, then fusses for a minute and is asleep in eight minutes.

4:00 The little one protests and I should have waited a bit before responding. Her eyes were closed as I opened her blinds. Maybe she would have fallen back to sleep for a while.

Operation Bedtime Bootcamp is officially over — Mission Accomplished.
Please let me not regret uttering that phrase. 😉
bwaha ha ha ha

As we close out four nights and four days of sleep training, I have to say the pain was worth the progress. Sophie is already back to her old, alert self. She is going down with little to no fight. Mom and dad have some together time. And we’ll all soon be getting the sleep we so desperately need.

It’s not over yet. I’ll be watching the next few nights closely. New routines take a while to set in. And I’m sure there will be bad days and nights along with the good. C’est la vie.

I still have plenty of questions, as well, like how do I structure her feeding times around these new sleep routines? How do I still take her for walks and jogs when I know she’ll fall asleep, though for shorter periods than regular naps? When is she going to stop drooling all over me?

One thing I know for sure, I will need to find another excuse for putting off practicing German. 😉

Thanks for reading along with me on this crazy adventure. Stick around if you like. Follow me on the blog to receive e-mailed posts or just bookmark me here and remember to check in now and then.

About Tara McLaughlin

I'm a stay-at-home mom to two girls in my boyfriend's hometown of Bern, Switzerland. Life as a new mom in a foreign country has been, in so many ways, rewarding and challenging. I will document that journey here, on Another 52 Weeks.
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9 Responses to Operation Bedtime Bootcamp – Night 4 – Mission Accomplished

  1. Vanessa says:

    Thank you for sharing! We are starting sleep training in few days and I’ve been feeling somber about this whole process. This is an encouragement to me reading your blog!

    • Good luck! Please feel free to email me (taramc13@yahoo.com) with any questions or just need a sounding board from someone who has been there. It’s tough but if your little one is ready, it will be better in a few days. 🙂 Stay strong, mamma! 🙂

  2. Melanie says:

    Wow what a journey! Well I’m certainly glad you are making your way to a restful and rejuvenating place. I still wonder if I’m doing the right thing – Max usually gets a bottle and rocked to sleep every night. I think “what am I setting myself up for here?” But he’s generally a good sleeper – all through the night most nights. And “if” he does wake up – it’s 1/2 and 1/2 – sometimes he puts himself back to sleep, other times he’s STARVING and demands to be fed! lol
    Do I mess with a good thing? Plus I’ve got to say, I really don’t mind rocking my baby to sleep. 🙂

    • Not sure if that was a rhetorical question, but if not 😉 I say do what is working. You’ll know if and when it’s time for a change. People have said to me: “Oh, you will regret it if they do this or that later in life.” But honestly, we’re going to have to break habits now and then throughout their life and who is to say how easy or hard that will be when the time comes. Maybe Max will grow tired of the routine and change it himself one day. I used to enjoy nursing Sophie to sleep, even being her pacifier was nice to me. It’s natural and it made both of us happy. But what was nice turned not so nice as it grew progressively harder to give her good sleep. When I couldn’t put Sophie down AT ALL for hours and hours night after night, that was the point for me where I thought we might need something new. I was willing to suffer through for a while because she was happy during the day. But her personality started to suffer, too. She was tired and grumpy and I realized that her sleep was not restful. So here we are. A whole new way. We’re both still getting used to it. I really love our new bedtime routine of sitting in the rocker with a couple of books, then a snuggle while we listen to her music box. It just doesn’t take me 2 hours anymore! lol.

      • Melanie says:

        Well I gave it (*it* behing the Cry Method) a try last night because I put Max to bed and he’d wake up immediately and fuss (which he doesn’t ‘usually’ do). Well I’m not about to get into THAT routine. So I left him in his crib. Oh did he cry! Oh the sobs of abandonment! Oh the ANGER! It was heart wrenching. I shushed him and left, patted his belly, sang to him and left, kissed him and left, this went on for about 45 minutes. One time I even picked him up (I know..BAD MOMMA), but he was awake when I put him back down – he whimpered for as long as it took me to change into my pj’s and brush my teeth and then SILENCE. I apologized to him profusely this morning when he woke up. I “think” he forgave me.

  3. Jordan says:

    I am so glad that I found your page! I don’t know how old your Sophie is, but I have a 10 week old that is really starting to fuss at night. Last night it took us two hours for her to finally go to sleep. She sleeps in our room, in a co-sleeper. Any ideas? She usually sleep for about 3-4hours the first round, then 3 and 2-3 hours. We did have two fluke nights I guess– this week, she slept for 4:45mins the first round, Friday and Saturday! How should I start this?

    • Sophie is almost 6 months old. So a bit older than your little one. I’m not a sleep expert, just someone who tried to apply a few of the experts’ suggestions on our girl. One thing I’ve learned is that sleep depends on a lot of things, such as how and when the baby sleeps during the day, what the baby has come to rely on as necessary to get to sleep, etc.

      The first thing all the experts say is to make sure your little one is healthy. Growth spurts and ear infections can be cause for bumpy roads in sleep.
      If your little one is healthy and you want to look into some forms of sleep training, I would start by reading some basic philosophies of different pediatric sleep experts. I found information like that on BabyCenter. Then you decide which method fits your parenting philosophy. I read a couple of books (multiple times) and searched the Internet. From your research you can start to understand why your little one might be taking so long to go to sleep – Sophie only knew how to fall asleep while being nursed and after that maybe we could walk with her to get her to sleep. Then, once she woke in the night as all people do during sleep transitions, she didn’t know how to put herself back to sleep. There are special considerations to make for co-sleeping arrangements that I didn’t have to contend with. Once you have “diagnosed” the sleep issues you think you have on hand, you can then try age-appropriate methods to change those. Good luck! I wish you lots of zzz’s in your near future!

  4. becastig says:

    this blow by blow account has revitalized my drive for our own bedtime boot camp. we are on day 2 but last night was terrible. the first night was easy asleep by 10:00 and only 2 feeds up for the day at 9:00am but i think i messed my little boy up by letting him sleep too much during the day becausez\ he only slept for 3 hours total last night and they where sporadic. I’ve read many people find it can take up to 10 days to get into a routine that works and i was feeling really disheartened. but this has given me new hope for tonight. Im just gonna keep reminding myself short term pain for long term gain. Thank you

    • Good luck! It can take a while to change habits, that’s for sure. And they’ll only stick if the little ones are ready. But we have such a good sleeper now. I hope you can say the same soon!

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