Since day one, I have been a firm believer in Dr. Sears’ version of parenting, commonly called attachment parenting. I wear C a lot when we’re out in public versus keeping him in his seat, I breastfeed on demand, and I welcomed him into S’s and my bed. I firmly believe that you cannot spoil an infant, and that their needs should be met. My bond with my baby is exceptionally important to me.
You know what else is important to me though? Sleep. And I wasn’t getting any of it. Last week at work, I was bleary-eyed and not thinking clearly. At home, I was short with S. I began to dread going to sleep at night because I knew it would be fraught with interruptions and night wakings. In short, I was doing a crappy job at work, a crappy job at being a wife, and a crappy job of being a mom. I was at my wit’s end.
I have several friends who recommended the cry-it-out method of sleep training, and I was certain it was not for me. I tried every non-crying method I could think of or read about. I couldn’t imagine listening to my baby cry, and I certainly couldn’t envision going in to sooth him without picking him up and having him look at me like, “why aren’t you helping me, mom?” Until last Thursday night. C woke at nine, after two blissful hours of sleep and began to shriek. The handle of his bedroom door clicks when you open it (and unfortunate thing when you’re trying to sneak out after you’ve gotten him to sleep). Anyway, when I clicked the door open, C literally stopped crying on a dime. It was unbelievable. This child knew what he wanted, and he knew when he got it.
That was when I decided I might give the cry it out method a try. C was fed and dry, and he was simply in the habit of wanting to be near his mama. I picked up Dr. Weissbluth’s book, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, and I devoured it whole.
We started on Sunday night. I did C’s bedtime routine as I’ve always done, and I put him to bed awake but drowsy. He cried. I left the room feeling like a horrible mother. He cried. I felt horrible. He cried more. I felt horrible. This continued for about a 1/2 hour, and he eventually fell asleep. I still felt horrible.
That night, C slept for nine hours straight. He woke around 4, and I fed him and put him back into his crib. He cried for about ten minutes and fell asleep. When I went to him in the morning, he was smiling and trying to cram both feet into his mouth. It did not appear that I’d psychologically damaged my child. In fact, he seemed pretty well-rested. And I felt amazing after my first 6-hour sleep in very long time.
I was not looking forward to repeating the crying again the next night, but I told myself I’d give this plan a week before I pulled the plug and moved onto the next plan. To my surprise, for the last two nights, there have been no tears at bed time. C lies in his crib, looking at his hands, and he just falls asleep. Then when he wakes at 4 to eat, and I put him in his crib again, same thing. Sleep. No tears. It is an amazing thing.
I write this post mostly for people who are struggling with trying to get their baby to sleep. This plan isn’t for everyone, but for this full-time working mom, it was nothing short of a miracle. I am happy. My baby is happy. And I feel like I can do a better job at lawyering, wife-ing, and mom-ing.