Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Giving up on crying it out...

For the past 3 or so weeks, we've been "sleep training" Emma Claire by doing something called "cry it out", where basically you let the baby cry herself to sleep and after a few days of doing this she (hopefully) will sleep through the night. I never could do CIO with Grayson, and subsequently, he didn't sleep through the night consistently until he was 18 months old (and I was 5 months pregnant with Emma Claire). It was an exhausting 18 months but we managed to survive. Emma Claire started off as a good sleeper but because of some bumps in the road, has been waking several times a night for the past few months. After talking with several friends who had success with the cry it out method, Ben and I decided to give it a go. Bad news---when you have a baby who is as hard-headed and stubborn as Emma Claire (wonder who she gets that from?!), crying it out just doesn't work. The first night we did it she cried for SIX (yes, six) hours and I finally went and got her and let her sleep with us the rest of the night. After that, we decided to go slowly---let her cry for 10 minutes before getting her, then 15, then 20, and so on. That also has not worked. She's now up to crying for 2 hours every night, and it makes me physically ill to think that I'm not supposed to go in and get her when she's crying like that. :( Ben and I finally decided (in the middle of the night last night, after 2 hours of crying) that crying it out just isn't going to work for our sweet girl. I'd rather get up and feed her 4 times during the night than listen to her scream for half the night---we all would get more sleep that way, anyways.

I've learned that there are all different kinds of parenting styles, and what works for some people might not necessarily work for others. There is no one right way or wrong way---just different ways of raising children. I guess I fall more into the category of "attachment parenting" than anything else--I'm a breastfeeding, baby wearing mother whose baby slept next to my bed for almost 6 months and I'm a total wimp when my baby cries. Nothing wrong with that--I don't think I'm any better than a mother who doesn't do those things. In fact, I'm insanely jealous of everybody whose baby starts sleeping after two days of crying it out!! Emma Claire might not sleep through the night until she's 3---who knows---but in the meantime I'll continue to be the best mommy I can be in the ways that work best for our family.

Okay, I'm off to take a NAP before these chilluns of mine wake up from theirs!!! :)

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6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Margaret,
Whatever you chose to do is right no matter what your friend's parenting styles are. You know your child best and you know what is best for her. Relax, you are doing a beautiful job!
Courtney

"The more people have studied different methods of bringing up children the more they have come to the conclusion that what good mothers and fathers instinctively feel like doing for their babies is the best after all. "
-Benjamin Spock

Fishy Busyness said...

You go, girl. Even more than a good night's sleep, those babies need a happy mommy who doesn't have to take a valium just to get through bedtime.

Michelle said...

Margaret,
I am so sorry that EC had to cry like that. It is never fun to hear your baby cry. We have finally had to help Truman go to sleep at night. He thankfully (most of the time) stays down til morning, but it sure is hard sometimes to get him down. I am also bad about nursing him to sleep. We can be "bad mommies" together.

Anonymous said...

Girl, you do what you gotta do! You are not a bad Mommy AT ALL- you do what is best for your child and I say you get an A+++. Hope y'all are doing well.
Meg

SHELLEY said...

Did you know that in many countries it is common to let your child sleep by your side for years and breast feed them for years as well. America puts to much pressure and to much stigma on things and people. All you need to worry about is YOUR life at home and YOUR family and what works for YOU. You are, after all, the one who has to deal with a cranky, sleep deprived child/husband and self. You are not a bad mom or person for doing what is right for you. If GOD didn't want us to bond as mammals, why do kangaroos have pouches to wear their babies in? I'm sure no one judges them in the jungle?
Girl, you do what you need to do, keep on keepin on. My main questions I learned to ask myself after Kaylee-Beth was born was: "Will this matter in ten year?" It really helped me put alot of things into perspective.
Best Wishes,
Shelley

Annie said...

Cry it out is not for us either. You are not a bad mom for deciding not to do it. In fact I think you are better for following your instincts. Here are my reasons for not doing CIO: http://phdinparenting.wordpress.com/2008/07/05/no-cry-it-out/