Saturday, October 31, 2009

Boys Don't Cry

Or do they?

Oh how I hate this conversation I'm about to have with the virtual you, the person out there, over there, my friend, my new friend and yet a stranger. It's just so hard and stupid and annoying and we'll never agree and we'll go in uncomfortable testy circles until one of us will get mad and stomp off.

Boy that just sucked you right in, didn't it? Deep breath, here goes.

Did you do it?
Did you let your baby cry?
Are you one of thoooose parents?

Or did you sleep with, cradle and rock, let him nurse himself to sleep until he was 3? Did it solve itself magically at 16 months? Then you stood victorious and gazed down upon all the fallen ones shaking your head and wondering how they could be so dangerously mean and awful and those poor dear children who are scarred for life wondering if their parents love them. Knowing they don't.

Did you regret letting him cry?

Are you so glad you did?
Are you the one who can say my kid sleeps 12 hours a night it's non-negotiable he's an amazing sleeper and is so well adjusted and I'm a better parent and we're all happier and it's a beautiful gift and what is wrong with teaching your child an important skill that they need for life?

Or are you like me. Living somewhere in the middle of this dangerous battlefield. Working for the little man. Then when there's nothing more that can be physically done, sucked dry of milk, unable to hold the squirming body that threatens to jump out of your hands. (god forbid) Unable to sing the way the Dad does. You let him cry for 11.5 minutes.

Did you regret caving and going in there and being the one, the only one that can make that horrible sound stop? The one that is greeted with a giant tear soaked smile and a little elvis hip-shaking dance? Getting to pick up the sweet smelling person and having him go heavy in your arms with relief? Knowing that tomorrow night is another night of hours and hours of trying, rocking, dancing, singing, nursing, wondering, what-am-I-doing-here-and which side will I run to?

When the cute hubs gets home I recall the tears, his and mine. I ask him. Where will we end up? Will we regret it?

I send up the white flag. Please tell me what you did. In the meantime check out the gorgeous pumpkin.


  1. Gorgeous pumpkin! I didn't have it in me to let my child CIO. We co-slept. It worked for us. We got plenty of sleep. My husband went along with it, because he wasn't doing the b-feeding. The down side for us came much later. Now the child is four years old. He starts the night in his own bed, but at some time in the night, he joins us in our bed. And it is crowded.

  2. We started with our son in a co-sleeper between our pillows. We then transferred him to a bassinet beside our bed. At around 11 weeks he went into his room where he began sleeping around 11 hours at a stretch. This was pure luck. At around 5 months he began having trouble getting to sleep and after trying everything else we went with our (collective) gut and let him cry it out. The first night was a horrible 45 minutes of sobbing, after which he fell asleep and stayed asleep for 12 hours without waking. The second night he cried for 15 minutes and then slept for another 12 hours. The third night we didn't hear a peep. Occasionally we have to "re-train" after he's had an illness or his sleep patterns have shifted yet again, but all-in-all he's turned out to be a terrific sleeper and we simply plop him in bed (awake) and he sleeps for long stretches at night (11-12 hours) and at naps (2.5-3.5 hours). He's now 22 months and this is largely still true.
    All that is to say that we are one of those families for whom CIO worked very well. Was it fun? No. Was it easy? Again, no. But for this particular kid this worked very well. We tried going in at every peep to calm and soothe and again, for this particular kid, that didn't work well. It all depends on the child and the family situation and whatever works best for you is what you should do. Don't let people make you feel guilty for going one way or like a softy/sucker for going the other. Each child is different. Each family is different. Each solution to this (almost universal) problem is slightly different. Just listen to your gut and all will be well.
    (And if your gut's saying "Help, I don't know what to do!" give reading "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" a shot, it was very helpful for us and does a great job of looking at different ways to approach this problem.)
    Here's hoping for 12 hours of uninterrupted sleep for you very soon!

  3. I let boy #1 cry it out at 3 months. It took one night. He's always been a great sleeper. He's 11 (as of this week) and guess what....he doesn't even remember me letting him cry. He's makes straight A's. Straight E's in conduct. He's a leader among his peers, boy scouts, baseball and says yes sir! He's not screwed up in the slightest bit b/c of me making him cry it out.

    Kid #2 slept through the night on day one. Sickening I know. I don't really like to tell people about that one.

    I let kid #3 cry it out very early only b/c I was so busy getting the other two to bed, I didn't have time to hold him and pick him up when he fussed. He slept through the night by 2 months. He's not scewed up either and doesn't remember a thing;)

    All kids are different. All moms are different. Do what you feel in your gut is the right thing for you.

    Best of luck!


  4. Jane-
    I think our babies are the same age, and we dealt with this too.. we let our precious little bean CIO at about 5 months... we knew she was big and healthy and didn't need to eat over night, so we picked a day, planned it out and got our headphones out. I read "healthy sleep habit, happy child" and it has alot of good advice, I recommend it. I tried EVERYTHING else to avoid this...I tried patting her until she fell asleep, rocking her, holding her, but ultimately she began to get more upset when I would go in, she was just plain tired. It's just so painful to hear your baby cry, but I tried to remember that there will be many hard things to teach my child, and this will only get harder as she gets older.... best of luck!!

  5. Man, I also have to frickin' idea. Bea still kinda co-sleeps. She goes down in her crib at night (usually without too much horror) and when she wakes up we move her in. However, I recently realized that WE wake HER up when she cosleeps so we're trying to put her back in the crib after she wakes up. We're the problem, not her. We want her to cosleep, but she seems much happier on her own. I'm not quite down with letting her cry it out, but I think that's just because she hasn't been too much of a problem at night yet. If things got much tougher we'd give it a go. I have that Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child book just in case. Cuz at the end of the day, mama needs to get some sleep.

  6. I wish I could remember how old my son was when I let him CIO (five or six months, maybe), and I distinctly remember having my mother on the phone talking me down. It worked. I remember having some time limit that if he was crying after so many minutes, I would go to him, but I did not have to do that. My daughter has never exhitibed such behavior...she is 2. She takes after me.

  7. Jane, if you can CIO! Boy #1 did it at 6 months; #2 was colicky and refluxey so I waited a bit longer. It is a gift to get your children to sleep by themselves; and listening to a good 45 minutes of straight hysterical crying will rip your heart out through your chest. The first night. At the end of the day (literally) a well-rested sane parent is going to go further to make your BHB feel secure and loved. If you cave in now by going back in after a long stretch what you *are* teaching him is that mom is inconsistent and plyable. Trust me, now that mine are 8 and 6 what I value most is that I've been consistent and firm. I may not have been right all the time but I am consistent... One of my proudest moments recently was chaperoning a field trip of 3rd graders and when they were goofin' I gave an ultimatum. My son piped up "Guys, she actually means NO when she says it". There are a lot who don't. Either co-sleep and cuddle or let him CIO, tonight. Otherwise you're confusing him.
    I had a girlfriend spend the night my house when her 8 month old was left to CIO. She had a remarkable hubs too.

  8. Hey Everyone - thank you for your thoughts, this is super helpful. Really. Since my mom is in town to help with the outside-the-chest heart feeling I think we're going to do the sleepy planet v of cio. Heavy sigh. Just going to check the gut somemore. Thanks again for your lovensupport.

  9. I'll be so curious to hear how your experience turns out!

    Our 7 mo old still wakes up every 1-3 hours at night. And realistically, it's usually closer to the "1" than the "3." I've read every sleep training book on the market, and both friends and Internet friends have told me CIO works.

    Intuitively I just can't handle the method -- it feels too much like withholding our support in her time of need. Then again, I'm reading *another* sleep training book this week (Weissbluth), so I clearly haven't given up entirely on the idea. I'll probably keep waffling till she's 3 or 4 and finally fixes things on her own. Sigh.

  10. Jane I'm so proud of you for putting it out there and I've gotten so much out of the answers! Love, your friend who someday may have a BHB of her own :)

  11. My baby is just a little older than yours. We've just recently begun CIO - the waking every 2 hours was getting to be overwhelming. So far, pretty good. The sleep is coming in much longer stretches.

  12. I was just plain lucky with my first. She read the baby manual and obeyed. She started sleeping through the night at about 8 weeks old. Was just a real peach to have around because she did all the good baby things. (Except for napping! I entertained that kid from sun up to sun down. It was tiring. We did however, have a stint of crying it out at 10 months old. That's when she got her first fever. I was up every 2 hours with her giving her more fluids. About a month after the virus, she was STILL wanting to be up every TWO hours. I had to let her cry it out so she could do what she had been doing all along.

    Before you all decide to hate my guts and wish bad things upon me because I had a perfect baby that slept through the night all on her own by about 8 weeks old.....Let me introduce you to my second child. I held him 24/7 for the first three months. He also cried about 24/7 for the first three months......if I put him down you'd think someone was skinning a dozen cats, he went completely hysterical.

    At three months (after dozens of tests) we figured out what was making him scream and cry all the time, he had surgery where he spent about a week in the hospital and slept in that crib just fine. So, when we got home, I let him cry (more of a fussy whimper) for about 15 minutes (he'd cry himself to sleep). This lasted for about a week. Then we were good.

    Both are now 2 1/2 and 4 1/2 and I'm amazed that they both pretty much put themselves to bed for nap and bed time.

    Whatever you do, it's your decision. If you can't take the crying and crying for several minutes/hours (sometimes), then so be it. Be a co-sleeping mamma and be proud of it.

    Just make sure to tell your story because someone out there can relate and needs to hear it.