Exhausted and Confused?   Yes! I need help and more sleep.
Exhausted and Confused?   Yes! I need help and more sleep.
Exhausted and Confused?   Yes! I need help and more sleep.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Celeste says

    I was shaking my head in disbelief at how similar your son is to our daughter: Very bright, spirited, curious, happy little 9 month old, already walking but completely opposed to SLEEPING. My husband and I were against CIO methods and have basically been working around her crazy sleeping habits since she was born. We tried co-sleeping for the first 4 months, then we split our nights in two shifts so we could both get a minimum of a few hours for 3 months, then just as a few nights got a bit better, at 8 months it suddenly went down the tubes again…

    We tried the Ferber method once before but gave up right away because it was so gut-wrenching to hear our wonderful, sweet little girl crying like that. But we’re taking the plunge again, with more determination, because after 9 months of nightly shifts, losing days from trying to catch on sleep, rocking/nursing for hours on end, we feel our health is on the line. We want to be the best for our girl, but we realized we simply can’t do it much longer while being desperately sleep-deprived. She’s an amazing, adorable little girl and an easy baby on all accounts, but her sleeping patterns can only be described as a monster that’s been eating at our lives.

    I’m just thankful to hear all the similar stories. It’s been so hard to have personally known no other parent with the same baffling sleep problems. Even our doctor didn’t seem to think it was a big issue (since she’s a perfectly healthy child) and couldn’t give us any advice or help. It’s also comforting to hear rational, level-headed arguments and testimonies and not just that we’re horrible, cruel people to try this last-resort technique. It’s excruciating enough to have to do this without harsh judgements and fear-mongering from people who don’t happen to have a radical non-sleeper.

    No success story yet: Although the technique is working great on naps, she cried for 1 1/2 hours on Night 1 but we’re decided to see it through. We all need better sleep. But thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for providing this information and support!

  2. Gwen says

    Hi Nicole,
    I was so glad to read all of your articles. My son is quite similar to Donovan. For a long time we were trying to figure out if he was colicky. He was difficult to soothe and wouldn’t take any pacifier (and doesn’t suck his thumb). He never fit any of the descriptions and different pediatricians had varied theories. He is now almost 10 months old and we are struggling to get him to sleep and stay asleep. He never got attached to any “lovey.” We tried everything from a stuffed animal to a $80 blanket! We tried leaving our clothes in the crib. Nothing worked. He just never cared. Like many moms, I read pretty all of the top sleep training books out there. We often tried to apply the “No Cry Sleep” techniques (Pantley) but they never worked. At the same time we never felt a strong need to use the crying or CIO methods during the first 6 months of his life because most of the time he would only wake up twice each night for feeding. I didn’t expect him to sleep through the night then. So we rocked/bounced him to bed day and night. Then things worsened after he turned 6 months. We first thought it was teething (and he was actually teething for 6 weeks before he got his 2 front teeth) but we soon realized that wasn’t it after we gave him teething pills, Oragel and Motrin. He would wake up every 1.5 to 2 hours and a few days each week he would stay awake for 2 hours from 2-4a. A month of sleep deprivation went by and he turned 7 months and got very sick and was hospitalized for respiratory problems. Then for 2 weeks he would wake up every 20 minutes and take 1 hour to get back to his “20 minute” naps days and nights!!!! Poor baby he was so sick. After he was discharged and we got the green light from his ped, we started to sleep train him because all of us were so sleep deprived and our arms nearly fell off. We used Ferber, first night he took 1.5 hours and woke up 6 times. I was so sick to my stomach that I got sick as I listened to his cries. On the second night he fell asleep in 30 minutes and woke up 4 times. After the 4th time, we took him to our bed and found out he was running 104F and had a relapse which turned into pneumonia. I never felt so horrible in my life. I blamed it on sleep training for the next several days! After he finally recovered from everything, we decided to try again (2.5 weeks ago). By that point, he (we) hadn’t really slept longer than 30 mns for nearly 2 months.

    Our second try, on his first night, he took 50 mns but subsequent nights he actually took no more than 15 mns. He would still wake up during his first week several times but would fall back asleep quickly (less than 10 mns) except 1 or 2 nights of 1.5-2 hours staying up spells. I should mention that we only did Ferber check in on the first night and found that every time we went in we made him cry worse than before. So we ended up using the “extinction” method by default. By the 2nd week, he was sleeping 8-10 hours. We were so happy with that and didn’t mind feeding him after 8-10 hour stretches. He was an early bird (still is) and would be up and ready to go between 5:30a-6a. We didn’t mind (7a-5:30a bedtime). This was a big improvement. He went from sleeping 9 hours a day (including naps!) to 11-12 hours. Well our “success” didn’t last long. The past few days he relapsed (our 3rd week). Now he wouldn’t go to sleep without screaming his head off for an hour, then passed out and would wake up again 2-3 hours later. He also started to stay awake for up to 2 hours again, screaming the entire time. We let him the first 2 nights but then we gave in because it felt so wrong. We fed him twice the last 2 nights and he ate everything. So now we’re wondering he that was why he woke up.

    We have difficulties with fixing his bedtime too because his naps are so inconsistent (ranging from 15 minutes to 2 hours) so his bedtime fluctuates from 5:30p-7:30p depending his naps. I don’t know what to do anymore and at my wit’s end. However, reading your articles and other people’s comments made me feel like I’m not alone. We’re gonna take a few days off and decide if we should go back to extinction again or do the “chair” technique.

    Thank you Nicole and everyone

    • Kimberly says

      Sounds like you all have had quite a few ups and downs especially with all the illness. Hopefully, he’s back to healthy now. I would highly recommend you consider purchasing a customized sleep consultation with Nicole. She has a two email package that could really set you on the right track. You can find out more out her customized services here:

      Hang in there. With his recent illnesses, you’ve have a rough go of it so far. Things will get better though!

  3. Theresa says

    I did read that beforehand; I just wasn’t sure if it was ok to begin sleep training at this time. I’ll talk to my husband about the consult. Thanks.

    • Kimberly says

      Hi Theresa,
      You can also consider posting any additional sleep questions in our Free forum at where you can post more details about your specific situation and other moms and myself can help you with suggestions or ideas. It’s a nice place to continue our discussion.

  4. Theresa says

    I just found your website and it is very helpful. Thank you! I read all the parts.
    We have an almost 8 month old who is used to being rocked to sleep every night. He is also still in a woombie. He is also teething right now, and is waking almost every hour. Should we wait until the teething is over until sleep training? When we do begin sleep training, should we take him out of the woombie so he’s able to self-soothe (suck his thumb, find the paci, etc)? or let him cry in the woombie? It seems he will rarely put himself to sleep anymore. He starts fussing and then it turns to crying. The other night we tried letting him cry and after 10 minutes went in there to check on him and he smiled at us. This tells me he is ready for sleep training, I just don’t know if it’s cruel to do while he’s teething. Orajel seems to help; I’m undecided if Tylenol is helping. Please help!

    • Kimberly says

      We’re glad to hear you find the website helpful. I would recommend you take a look a this post about how to handle teething and sleep training/wakings- Nicole’s general advice is not to stop or delay sleep training during teething. From what you’ve described here, it sounds like he might be ready and amendable to sleep training. If you’d like help with prioritizing your sleep training, I highly recommend you consider a sleep consultation with Nicole as she can help you formulate a plan of action in as little as two emails. Best wishes for reaching a good night’s sleep soon!