Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tips To Handle Any Amount Of Letting Your Baby "Cry It Out"

As I have mentioned here, here, here, here, and here Cora did not win the Miss Universe of sleeping pageant.



When Cora turned 6 months old and was not sleeping through the night Cora's very loving pediatrician suggested that we let her cry it out ALL NIGHT LONG! At that point I would rather go without sleep for the rest of my life than let my baby cry all night long. I was OK with a little crying but I wasn't ready for The World Cup of Crying (pictured below) to happen to my baby.


You can't tell what is going on here? Doesn't matter... just pretend like it's normal. Pre-photoshopped version of the photo from here.

Scott and I knew we needed some structure to fix this problem. We stumbled upon the Ferber method. Ferber basically wants you to do periodic check-ins on the crying baby at certain intervals of time that get longer each night. I liked the sound of check-ins and Scott liked the sound of possibly having a baby that slept through the night. So, we decided to try a variation of the Ferber Method.



This post was really helpful for me when I was trying to figure out the ins and outs of the Ferber Method.
Well holla holla wooo hooo! It worked! And it worked after only a few days and some fairly short crying periods. The most I had to let her cry was 10-15 minutes. And that, my friends, was the start of me getting my sanity back. Ohhh boy! You have no idea what a difference it makes. I went from getting up 2-5 times a night trying to get her back to sleep to putting her down awake and being 100% confident that I wouldn't see her for 11-12 hours because she would be too busy sleeping sleeping soundly in bed. WOOOO WEEEEEEEEEEE!

Life is goood good good when it comes to Cora's night sleep these days but her naps are a different story. Recently, we had to get back on the cry it out train.

Cora switched from two naps to one. But the little stinker decided one nap a day was too much. She thought she might like to drop them all together. I tried everything in the world to try to get her to sleep. Finally, I had a mini meltdown and told Scott that I had to have his help. He suggested emailing Cora's pediatrician. So, I did.

I love Cora's peditrician. She always calms me down and makes me feel 1000 times better after each of Cora's check ups. I go in with one million questions. She is very patient with me and makes me feel like she has all the time in the world to answer them. She said that I didn't need to do anything except get her somewhat relaxed and calm for a while before the nap. I could do as much or as little rocking, singing, etc as I wanted to. Then put her in the crib, give her a kiss and close the door. She said I needed to leave her in there for an hour- crying, screaming, talking... just let her be. If she still wasn't asleep after an hour I could go get her and just put her down at her regular bedtime (maybe a little earlier). Ugh! I hated the idea of that. No one wants to listen to their baby cry. But babies need their sleep and I wanted to do what was best for her. 

So, I did it. I spent over an hour getting her super relaxed and calm. Then I tried to snuggle with her a bit (she's not a snuggler). I sang to her. I gave her her blanket and her favorite doll. I put her in the crib, kissed her and left. She stood up and walked and talked in her crib for 15-20 minutes. Then the crying started. At times it was much more than crying- it was rip your heart out agonizing screams. Then after a minute of that she would go back to talking and playing with her doll. I was watching the clock and the video monitor, counting down the seconds until I could run in there and be with her. At one hour, on the dot, she laid down and fell asleep. Just like that. She went from screaming to asleep in about 5 seconds. I could not believe it. I was at her door ready to rescue her and she was sound asleep.

The next day, I did the same thing... got her relaxed and put her down awake. She talked for 5-10 minutes and off to sleep she went. No crying at all! It was amazing!!!!!

I am not trying to suggest anyone else try the Ferber method or do any sort of crying it out. It is your decision. It is a hard one and I don't want to have any part of it. We decided that a little crying was the best thing to do in our situation. 

I am just here to give you some tips on how to get through it if you ever find yourself faced with the dreaded CIO.

Here are my tips:
  • Leave the house and let someone else deal with it. If you are reading this- you are probably the one who is most effected by it. It is really hard to be in the house knowing that your baby is upset and you can't do anything about it.
  • If you are doing any form of "cry it out" TURN YOUR MONITOR DOWN ALL THE WAY while you are waiting whatever amount of time you have set to let your baby cry. Every so often, you can look at it (if it is video) or turn it back up (if it is audio). But turn it down to mute if you cannot stop looking at it. Don't do this if it is the middle of the night and you think you might fall asleep with the sound off and wake up 6 hours later at which time you go hyperspeed racing to baby's room.
  • Give your baby lots and lots of extra cuddles while he or she is awake. It might not make any difference to your baby but at least you know that you gave some extra love in hopes of making up for the extra crying.
  • Now that you have cuddled your baby up sufficiently you might want to warn your spouse that you are going to need a few extra cuddles while you are going through the "cry it out."
  • Hold your ground. Whatever amount of time you have decided you are going to let your baby cry- STICK TO IT! The CIO methods really only seem to work if you are consistent.
  • Drink a glass of water and keep the junk food away. There is no need to tempt yourself with a bunch of chocolate in your face when you are upset. Drink a big glass of water- it will help with the cravings. Sometimes your body is thirsty but your brain reads it as, "give me 42 ice cream sandwiches and a pizza, please."
  • Stay busy or even better... stay busy doing something that makes you happy while you know your baby is upset. Have a "happy" play list que-ed up. Dance around. Do some exercise- jump on the floor and do some sit-ups. Call someone. This is a great time to do the laundry or update your blog! (That is the whole reason I am writing this post right now).


Get your dance on like these groovy gals. Image from here




















Listening to your baby cry is a terrible, awful, no good thing. It can make you feel like a bad parent. It will surely make you second guess your choice to listen to her cry. Just know that you have your baby's best interests at heart and you are doing the best you can.

This is one of the hardest things I have ever done. In the end, I think it was worth it. Babies need their sleep. Thankfully, I only had to listen to Cora cry longer than 15 minutes one time. 

When Cora woke up from her nap that terrible, awful, no good cry-it-out day I rushed in and cuddled her immediately. I told her how proud of her I was for being able to put herself to sleep. She didn't seem the least bit bothered by her tears a couple hours earlier. And, best of all, she was a super happy, fun, and sweet baby for the rest of the day! She wasn't a bit cranky!

Good luck! I hope this helps.


and now...
The Would You Rather (WYR) of the day!

WYR... have to eat one pound of sugar
or have to drink 8oz of olive oil?

This is another one of Scott's WYRs from our car trip the other day.

23 comments:

  1. You're such a good mom! I'm proud of you! And I love that you told Cora you were proud of her.

    I pick olive oil. This isn't every day for the rest of your life, right? It's just a one-time deal?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you!
      One-time deal. I chose olive oil too.

      Delete
  2. Good advise from a very good mom!

    1lb of sugar for me!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you!
      You would say sugar, you sugar machine.

      Delete
  3. I'll take olive oil but I need at least a week to consume it and if you tell me I have to do it all in one day then I'm dropping out.

    ReplyDelete
  4. p.s. it would be nice to see some real Cora photos!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I choose olive oil--but I'm with Uncle Ken. If I don't get at least a week, I quit!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Olive Oil is the answer here. You just throw it down the hatch and deal with how it exits your body in the next few minutes. I feel like all that sugar would make you sick for quite a few hours and would take a long time to eat.

    ReplyDelete
  7. You are such a good Mommy! If I had kids I would totally do the Ferber method..it just makes sense. Good job!!

    as for the WYR....that is a tough one...I would like to say sugar but it would make me choke trying to get it down and it would just make you feel awful I think...so reluctantly, I am going with the Olive Oil.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks!
      You cracked me up about the olive oil.

      Delete
  8. now how to put me to sleep at night....seriously great post! good advise i'll refer to it sometime in life again and i cracked up at this part "She went from intense screaming to asleep in about 5 seconds" WHAT how do babies do that? trick-sters! and my body always tells me i want 42 ice cream sandwiches and pizza.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I bet your doctor does not have children of her own.

    I find it ironic that you are posting "how to handle" doing cry it out. Does the fact that you need to "handle" it mean anything to you????? The fact that when your baby is crying you have every desire to go in and comfort them... does that mean nothing to you people?

    We have instincts. People should not ignore them.

    Letting children CIO is SELFISH. Very SELFISH and completely and utterly ignores instincts and basic biology. And I judge anyone that does it. Including you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank your comment. I think it is important for people to read lots of different beliefs before they make this decision with their partner.
      My doctor has 4 children of her own.
      You are right... it was very, very hard to "handle" the crying it out. Listening to my baby cry was the hardest thing I have ever done. In the end, I believe that the timed intervals was the best thing for her and me. Now, she can put herself to sleep. And, she gets all the sleep she needs which means she is happier and she is able to have all of the time her body needs for her to develop properly.
      I understand that you think CIO is selfish. I disagree with that point. For me, CIO was more about getting my baby the rest she needed. I trust my doctor and myself. But once again, I do agree that this decision is not for everyone.
      Thanks again for posting the other side.

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

      Delete
  10. You let your daughter cry and scream for an hour? Your daughter isn't learning to "self soothe", she learned to give up. She was conditioned to know that you won't respond to her cues and she gave up. You child's cries are not just a method to manipulate you. FFS, she was 6 months old! You weren't dealing with a petulant pre-teen. Her needs are basic. Her needs are simple. She needed her mother to comfort her and make her secure and you failed her. She gave up.

    For the record, as a mother of 4 children, ranging in age from newborn to preteen, you should cherish every minute of this time in her life. You may be tired but, to be fair, you were the one that chose to bring her into this world; she had no say in the matter. Just know, that this time in her life is a flash in the pan. You'll blink and she will be grown. You will never look back on her life and think, "I didn't let her cry enough".

    CIO, especially as you describe, is nothing short of neglect. I feel sorry for your daughter. I hope that you rethink the "Ferber method" which, by the way, even the author has stepped back from, and respond to your daughter's needs and her cues that she needs you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Thanks for the comment.
      No, I didn't let my daughter cry for an hour. She cried on and off during the hour she was in her crib. The most she cried was probably 5-10 minutes straight and it was excruciating!
      You are absolutely right about cherishing every moment. I certainly do! But it never hurts to be reminded.
      I'm sorry that you feel that I am neglecting my daughter. I truly feel that I did the best thing for her.
      Like I said to the commenter above you, I appreciate your input.

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

      Delete
  11. Man I hate judgey "high horse" riders... yeah you anons- I'm talking to you. Shut up and worry about your own kids- if you have any, that is considering you don't seem to accept TEN LOUSY MINUTES of crying. Good lord, if I never let my colicky son cry I would never eat, shower, brush my teeth or sleep.

    The only people I judge are judgemental a holes like you. You were so rude to Laura, even though she was polite to you. You can disagree with someone without resorting to insults and accusing someone of child abuse. I am being rude to you because I believe in you "get what you give" when relating to others. Please re visit the concept of "respectfully disagreeing", then try again.

    Lord.

    ReplyDelete
  12. It's important to teach your kids to be able to fall asleep on their own. If you don't then you are stuck laying in bed with them every night until they fall asleep and they expect that from you because you let it happen. My friend always went to her daughter when she cried and stayed with her or put her in bed when she was already asleep which is a mistake. She is 5 now and her mom still has to stay in bed with her every night or she throws a huge screaming fit. She regrets that she made that happen. My daughter is 14 months old and I sure as hell let her cry herself to sleep even if it takes an hour. She doesn't think mommy doesn't love her. She learns that she doesn't need mommy to fall asleep and does it all on her own. It's hard to listen to them cry but it's worth it. I love my daughter to the moon and back and letting her cry it out doesn't make me or any other mother a bad one. It's training for the future so they are solely dependent on you. I agree with this method 100%.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. *so they ARE NOT solely dependent on you. Correction.

      Delete
  13. It's important to teach your kids to be able to fall asleep on their own. If you don't then you are stuck laying in bed with them every night until they fall asleep and they expect that from you because you let it happen. My friend always went to her daughter when she cried and stayed with her or put her in bed when she was already asleep which is a mistake. She is 5 now and her mom still has to stay in bed with her every night or she throws a huge screaming fit. She regrets that she made that happen. My daughter is 14 months old and I sure as hell let her cry herself to sleep even if it takes an hour. She doesn't think mommy doesn't love her. She learns that she doesn't need mommy to fall asleep and does it all on her own. It's hard to listen to them cry but it's worth it. I love my daughter to the moon and back and letting her cry it out doesn't make me or any other mother a bad one. It's training for the future so they are solely dependent on you. I agree with this method 100%.

    ReplyDelete