Posts Tagged 'Cry it out method'

Cry-it-Out Method vs. (in)Sanity

My favorite time of the day is when I get to have quality time with my 16-month old.  My second favorite time of the day is when I get her to sleep at the end of it.

As I write this, I can hear her sobbing in her room.  I’ve left her there to allow her to put herself to bed.  After 16 months of not sleeping, I’m tired. My hubby’s tired. And it’s not helping the Monkey either.  She’s been waking up more and more lately, probably due to teething, and still getting over the stuffiness of last week’s cold.  The last few nights it seems we’ve got a newborn again, though now our newborn walks into our room in the middle of the night on her own and climbs into bed with us.

I’m not going to leave her there crying for too long.  I’ve got the timer going on my phone.  It’s been 7 minutes and 26 seconds… 27 seconds… 28…  At 10 minutes, I may poke my head in to tell her I love her and give her a kiss, but then I’ll tear myself from the room once again.

So why is a mother who has been so adamantly non-cry-it-out-method for 16 months suddenly sitting alone in the living room while her child sobs upstairs? Because this is how a typical day has been going for us lately:

6:00am – Wake up

8:30am – Either push her around in the stroller, or drive her around in the car for 10-50 minutes, trying to get her to take a nap (which she hasn’t been lately)

2:00pm – Either push her around in the stroller, or drive her around in the car for 10-50 minutes, trying to get her to take her second nap (which she may or may not do, or may do and then wake up as soon as we remove her from said stroller or carseat, only to cry out of unfulfilled exhaustion).

7:30pm – Either push her around in the stroller, or drive her around in the car for 10-60 minutes (or hopefully nurse her to sleep in 15 minutes flat) trying to get her to go to bed for the night.

So again, why am I still sitting here, 13 minutes into the crying?  Because something’s got to change.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still pro-non-cry-it-out.  I don’t regret any of my choices in her sleeping habits.  I’ve always been perfectly in favor of cry-it-out for other people, if that’s what they choose to do.  But for me and my little lady, I’ve never liked it.  (Note: This is one hot topic, if you didn’t know already.  If you want to see a bunch of mommies being opinionated a-holes with each other, Google a forum on the cry-it-out method. The mommies on the “pro” side tell the the “anti’s” that their kids are going to be sleeping with them when they’re forty, while the ones on the “anti” all but accuse the “pro’s” for teaching their child that no one loves them.) But I digress.  

All I care about is that it’s 16 months later… and I’m tired.  [How tired are you?] I’m so tired that yesterday, after the first full night’s sleep I’ve had pretty much since she was born (thanks to my hubby letting me sleep in) I felt like I could take over the world.  Hell, I considered going for a jog.  I felt fresh and new and revived. And all I had done was had almost the same amount of sleep “normal” people have every night. 

At 13 minutes and 26 seconds, the crying stopped.  I went back upstairs and slowly opened her door.  I did this for two reasons: (1) If she was asleep, I wanted to know, so I could feel at ease about her being comfortable and safe, and (2) If she was awake, I wanted to show her she wasn’t alone, but that I don’t open the door to crying, only quiet.  Well, I opened the door and there she sat, peacefully, at the back of the bed on a pillow, looking at her book.  She looked up at me, gently.  She didn’t have any disdain in her eyes, or pain or resentment.  She was tired.  

I lay down in her bed next to her. Without a peep, she climbed on top of me. Within seconds, she fell asleep, lying on my chest.  After lying there with the most still, sleeping baby ever, my eyes started to tear up. Maybe it was from total exhaustion. Maybe it was from sadness for letting her cry for 13 minutes and 18 seconds. Maybe it was from the happiness of having my favorite little person just give up when she’s in the comfort of my arms.

So the cry-it-out method was not fully utilized tonight, nor was the whole experiment a tremendous success.  But I’m okay with how it all came to an end.

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Sleep is for Pussy Cats

Monkey is 9 1/2 months old.  Monkey doesn’t sleep through the night.  Other people think Monkey should be sleeping through the night because “9 1/2 month old babies should be sleeping through the night”, but Monkey doesn’t want to. Mama is tired. Mama has bags under her eyes. Mama is greying much faster now than ever before. Mama’s ready for other peoples to shut the hells up, but most importantly, Mama is ready for a good night sleep.

The Monkey sleeps

Hubby is in Florida shooting weddings, while I’m in NYC visiting my parents.  And though I came here partially so my parents could help me out with Monkey, they’re busy people, and no I’m not about to ask them to lend a hand at 4 am.  As I’ve stated before, I’m not one for letting her “cry it out”.  Not my thing.  Perfectly fine for others to do it, but it doesn’t work for me.  This, however, could possibly be the culprit in my lack of sleep.  So I’ve found a sort of middle ground since arriving in NY four days ago.  Here’s the new plan, while in my parents’ house, and with no help from Hubby:

  1. Nurse baby to sleep (yeah, yeah, yeah, I know it’s a bad idea)
  2. Put her in crib (careful, careful, or you gotta do the whole thing over again)
  3. Go to bed (maybe try to watch The Daily Show with the volume just high enough to hear Jon’s chuckles)
  4. When Monkey wakes 2-3 hours later, let her cry for 5 minutes (she was actually able to calm herself back to sleep a couple of times, YES!)
  5. If crying persists, taking Monkey into bed and feed her.  (STAY AWAKE.)  When Monkey falls back to sleep, return her to crib.  DO NOT LET HER STAY IN THE BED THE REST OF THE NIGHT.
  6. Do the same thing over again next time she wakes up.

But let’s throw a new variable into the mix: Monkey has a cold.

Sick and crying Halloween baby

Her yucky cold that she’s had since we arrived here on Halloween has not done wonders for her sleeping, as she coughs and sneezes herself awake frequently. But last night, though still desperately wanting to follow my 6-step plan, I had to give into the cold…

Steps 1-3 worked wonderfully.  I even got to talk to Hubby on the phone for a few minutes.  But at 2:30 am, the magic ended.  I allowed her to cry for five minutes, and every minute, or so, she’d wind down and it seemed as though she had drifted back to sleep.  But after an encouragingly long moment of silence came the bellowing: the howling sobs of a truly unhappy baby.  I went to her, knowing the plan was crumbling beneath my wobbling feet.

I picked her up and found that she had not only spat up all over her jammies, but her face was covered in snot.  It was the most pathetic sight I hadn’t imagined.

I carefully pulled off the jammies (trying oh so hard not to spread the white goo anywhere else!) and took a number of tissues to her face.  Once dried off, and now wearing only a diaper, I rolled up in the bed covers with her and waited patiently for her to fall back to sleep.  It took an hour and a half.  And it was wonderful.

Whatever plans I have for sleep-training, or whatever all the opinionated judgies have to say about how much a 9 1/2 month old should be sleeping, last night was when my Monkey was allowed to call the shots.

I held my little girl all night, and we kept each other warm.  That is, until I accidentally spilled cold water all over when I fell asleep with my glass on my stomach, but that’s for one of her therapy sessions in the future.

Sleep Training (aka No Monkey in the Middle)

My husband is tired and cranky.  I am tired and cranky.  Monkey is tired and cranky.  Time for SLEEP TRAINING!

Yes, that’s right, folks.  It’s time to train a human being to do something human beings have been doing for thousands of years.  It can make one nostalgic for birthing class, when we learned how to breathe.  Or perhaps it’s more like therapy, when we learned how to feel.  Or, dare I say it, like potty training, when we learned how to do the pee pee dance, so we wouldn’t have to go allllll the way to the toilet when we had much better things to do.

Though I love my nighttime private moments with Monkey, I’m getting really nonfunctional during the day.  In fact, I love those moments so much, I’m hesitant to change our routine!  However, my husband is fed up, and about ready to send the Monkey to someone else’s house, so she can cry there.

So sleep training.  What is it, you might ask.  Depends on your definition.  Baby Center defines it as “the process of helping a baby learn to get to sleep and stay asleep through the night.”  This is quite a feat, considering (from what I’ve read) the majority of babies wake 1-2 times per night until they are a year old (and that this is actually the “norm.”)  Up until three nights ago, I believed there was one form of sleep training – the “cry it out” method.  This method is exactly what you would think it is.  To summarize, it’s the method of teaching your child to “self soothe” by allowing them to put themselves back to sleep, instead of responding to their late night cries by picking them up and giving them what they want (pacifier, boob, physical attention, etc.)  My husband and I had spoken to a (very) small handful of people, who said “give it a few nights of utter pain of listening to them cry, and you’ll have them sleeping through the night in no time.”  My husband, needless to say, loves this idea.  But being the mother (and female) that I am, this plan went against pretty much everything my body was telling me to do.  On a few occasions, we allowed Monkey to cry herself to sleep at the beginning of the night.  Though it was truly painful to hear, she was able to succeed in usually 15-20 minutes.  But it was listening to her endless crying in the middle of the night that pushed me over the edge.

The other night, upset about spending another night listening to my darling baby cry herself crazy, I surfed the Internet on my (amazing) iPhone.  I put in the search for “Cry it out method bad.”  Within seconds (again, amazing iPhone) I found a number of links that told terrible stories of mothers and babies suffering through that (archaic) method.  I found that I wasn’t alone.  Sure, no parent likes to hear their baby cry, but I truly believed in my heart that what I was doing to my baby wasn’t the right choice for either of us.  I was thrilled to see all these articles and women in agreement with me.  Moments later, I found a book online called “The No-Cry Sleep Solution” by Elizabeth Pantley (she even has a fun little video.)  Using my gift card to Barnes & Noble, I went to the store and bought her book.  Granted, this chick is biased.  Is she ever!  She and her husband talk about how torturous it is to let your baby cry it out.  I know, I know that if I allow Monkey to cry it out, that it won’t be the cause of her going to therapy in twenty-odd years (that’ll be something else I’ll do) but the slightest emotional damage to her, even in the short term, is not an option for me.

So the book!  I’m only half way through, but I’ve already done the first two assignments: I kept a log of her naps (when she took them, where she took them, what she was doing when she took them) and a log of our bedtime routine.

Until tonight, we didn’t have a bedtime routine.  But now we do!  Here what happened:

  • 6:30pm – Supper (something hearty, like cereal and prunes with breast milk)
  • 6:40pm – Bath time, followed by a massage with baby oil
  • 7:00pm – Read 2-3 books together (she spends most of the time squirming and trying to eat the book, but whatever)
  • 7:15pm – Nurse to sleep
  • 7:45pm – She falls asleep
  • 7:55pm – She wakes up!
  • 8:10pm – Back to sleep

As we continue with the book, and I learn more about Pantley’s method, I will have to change some of the events of the routine.  Up until this week, we have had little to no “sleep training”, and I have simply done what was “easiest” and made Monkey the happiest.  This means that whenever she wakes up at night, she cries, I take her and bring her to bed with us.  She then spends the rest of the night lying between us, facing me, and being allowed to nurse whenever she gives the slightest stir.  Again, I absolutely love lying in bed in the deep dark of night, stroking her hair and rubbing her back as she nurses herself back to sleep.  I am in heaven.  However, the other day I almost forgot how to tie my sneakers.  I need more sleep.

So that leads me to the last part of the book I read this afternoon.  Pantley asked if we actually want to change the way things are with our nighttime wakings.  In a way, I don’t.  But I’m tired, and my hubby’s tired, and most importantly, Monkey’s tired.

And if I’m not careful, I may trip on my shoelaces.


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