Sleep seems to be the theme in blog land these past few weeks. I’m going to share our sleep training method that takes the cake for inducing the guilty mom complex.
Like most folks without kids who eventually plan to have kids, I had a laundry list of parenting goals -cloth diapering, extended breastfeeding, baby wearing, and absolutely no crying it out (to name a few).
When Henry was born, he was an okay sleeper in his bassinet, but things started going downhill when he grew out of the bassinet at around five months. He refused to sleep in his crib, so we brought him into bed with us. He would wake up every two hours or so, and even when he was sleeping it was so fitful that Erin and I couldn’t sleep. At his six month check up, we asked his pediatrician for advice (or rather, pleaded desperately for help). She was really blunt with us and told us that we probably wouldn’t like what she had to say, but she recommended crying it out. And not the kind of crying it out where you go in and check on your baby in gradually increasing intervals, but the kind where you let them cry for up to two hours before going in to comfort them (and if they stop crying for more than 10 seconds, the clock restarts).
We weren’t ready for something so drastic at that point, so we gave the kinder, gentler CIO method a try for a few weeks. But, our boy was stubborn, and continued to refuse to sleep. Finally, we decided to give the two-hour cry fest a try.
It was the worst one and a half weeks ever. Henry cried for just about an hour every night; one night he cried for exactly one hour and 57 minutes. I kept expecting to find him in a catatonic state each morning, but he was still our sweet Henry, just a more well-rested version. And then, just like flipping a switch, Henry was going to sleep calmly in his crib and staying asleep.
Occassionally, I wonder whether we did the right thing, and whether we’ve caused irreparable emotional trauma (for some reason, I love to torture myself and read articles about the damage caused by CIO). But, for the most part, I feel like those one and a half weeks of hell were worth it.
So, if you’re at your wits’ end and choose to let your kid cry it out, you’re not alone, and you’re not a bad parent.