I promised to update you folks on how teaching Evelyn to fall asleep on her own was going, and it's taken me so long because honestly, it was so quick and painless that I basically forgot about it a week later. Don't get me wrong, there are times when she struggles and frequent trips back into her room are made at night, but I swear by "Good Night, Sleep Tight: The Sleep Lady's Gentle Guide to Helping Your Child Go To Sleep, Stay Asleep, and Wake Up Happy." (Quite the title.)
Just now, I was reading to Evelyn on the couch and realized it was just about as late as naptime should be, so I put her in her crib with her lovey blanket, turned on her ocean sounds, and walked away. Five minutes later, she was asleep. I almost can't believe it myself: no nursing, no rocking, no car ride, no walking her up and down the hallway as she cries until she finally falls asleep (Hi us, a month ago! I don't miss you!). Granted, we were having quiet time, and she's used to having a nap at around this time, but SERIOUSLY. Her sleeping could hardly be better, and it truly only took about a week.
The thing I loved about this book, and why I found it/used it even though there are much more popular methods out there is the gentle bit, right there in the title. There is no crying it out, no listening in agony as your angel baby screams herself to sleep. This, like the Ferber and Weissbluth methods, emphasizes that babies absolutely do need to learn to soothe themselves to sleep, but allows you to stay right next to their crib reassuring them as they learn to do it. And, like Ferber and Weissbluth, this doctor stresses the importance of being consistent, but while still allowing you to pick up a truly screaming baby if the transition is too difficult.
I don't want to make this post too long, so I won't go into much more detail, but here are the basics: you foster attachment to a lovey, stop nursing the baby to sleep, and at first, sit next to the crib soothing and patting to get the baby used to falling asleep on her own. Then, you move a few feet away. A few days later, to the door. Then, to the hall, soothing from the doorway as often as baby needs.
We never got beyond the next to the crib thing. The first three days were a bit rough, because Evelyn was understandably upset and furious with us. She was doing her damnest to tell us that HEY, I'm tired, rock me to sleep, morons!, and we were ignoring her and just leaving her in the crib. But then, three days later, she caught on that this was the newest, coolest thing, and hello, it was like soooo last week to have to fall asleep in Daddy's arms or snuggled up to Mama. She would rub her face on her lovey, and be out within minutes. About a week after we started the whole thing, when she got too sleepy, she'd squirm when she was in our arms; she wanted to be in her crib so she could sleep.
Now that we've taught Evelyn to sleep on her own, I can't believe we waited so long. There was some crying, but it was absolutely worth it. I'd trade those four nights of difficulty for these two months of peaceful bedtimes ten times over.