Saturday, August 29, 2009

cry-i-i-ing over you

Today has turned out to be day one of "Cry It Out" sleep training for North. He just spent the last hour crying and wailing from his crib. During the first twenty minutes or so, Dave and I took turns going to comfort him silently and without picking him up. He would settle down temporarily, but would start wailing as soon as we left the room again. Knowing he had just been fed and had a fresh diaper, we eventually stopped going in to comfort him. Listen to me justify that fact that we are NOT bad parents for letting him cry! I hated every moment of it, but he's FINALLY asleep.

He was quite a good sleeper in infancy as I've mentioned before. Argh! I knew talking about it would jinx it! Right around three and a half months, he was really putting up a fuss one night at bedtime. I opened the door to his room and he turned toward the light, saw me, and stopped crying. Of course, at the time, I thought how sweet that he stopped crying when he saw me.  I got all Sally Field and exclaimed in my head, "he likes me! He really likes me!" Hi, I'm stupid. Ever since that switch went off that told him crying = mom and dad come in, his sleeping has regressed and then regressed some more. What started off as him getting up every 2-3 hours has now become every 1-2 hours. I can tell you with certainty that when you get up at 5:00 AM and have been up 4-5 times throughout the night, the "Cry It Out" method starts to make a lot more sense.

There is a lot of controversy about "Cry It Out" though and some people would have you believe you are a bad parent for attempting it.  I can tell you that hearing North cry for the last hour was the hardest thing I've had to do thus far. I don't think parents take the decision to try this sleep method lightly, we didn't anyway. I've been thinking about using this sleep training method for weeks and attempted it, only to fail, pick him up and hold/feed/rock him until he finally fell asleep. It physically pains me to hear him cry, as I think it does any parent. Point is, "Cry It Out" is not for everyone. But we have to try to teach him how to soothe himself so we can start to get some sleep again. As much as I hate admitting it, sleep deprivation really does take a physical toll after awhile.  Damn you body limitations!

I've been beating myself up for the last week thinking we are to blame for his sleep issues (and you know, we are really). At first I thought our routine was not strict enough. Then I thought maybe I was not feeding him enough. And finally I realized that I needed to stop listening to every one's opinions about how they raised their baby and figure out what my son needs.  I need to stop comparing North to other babies and myself to other mothers.  Don't get me wrong, I appreciate any advice given to me from another mother.  I have learned a great deal through the insight of other moms.  But to blame myself when what worked for someone else doesn't have any impact on solving our sleep issues is silly.  I cannot cram our life and my baby into another family's situation and expect to get the same results they did every time.

I also need to kick this guilt habit to the curb once and for all. Thanks Catholicism!  So there you have it, I've admitted to using "Cry It Out" sleep training on my child and made fun of my Catholic upbringing all in the same post! Bring on the flames!

4 comments:

Michele said...

good luck Sonya. I agree, listening to your child cry is so difficult, even when you are trying to do the right thing for him (and for you). hope your sleep problems get better soon. and i jinxed myself too when Cullen was a perfect little sleeper....which is why i've stopped writing about his sleeping for now because i don't want to jinx myself again!!! and on that note, off to sleep up some poop :-)

Nate's Mama said...

Ferber really helped us a lot. I think that having a book that had a chart in it that told me when to go in and check on Nate really helped. It made me feel better to see it all spelled out in black and white and to go into each night with a plan.

I agree that it is painful to hear a baby cry and it should be. A person who doesn't want to respond to their child's cries shouldn't be a parent!

I hope the sleep training helps North! If you haven't read Ferber (Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems), I really recommend it.

Hezzer said...

He'll get it, lady! Just with everything else in his young life, he just has to learn to get the hang of it. Just keep telling yourself that he loves you and enjoys your company so much he's fighting himself to hang out with you guys. All the crying and angst is completely forgotten once he wakes up happy and refreshed. It doesn't happen overnight and just when you think he's got it (Watson) he might have a set back... But stay the course... and have a bottle of wine at the ready.

Miss you, Mama! You're doing great!

Jenflex said...

North will be fine. We did the same thing with Katie at about 5 months...it was terrible for us, but she did fine. No one ever tells you that parenting is harder on you than on the kiddo...