Crying it out.... Is there a "sane" way?

Stacie - posted on 01/14/2009 ( 17 moms have responded )

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I know this is a baby question, but I'm hoping that maybe some moms of toddlers might have better/more sound advice than those of babies.



Thanks!!



I think the title pretty much spells it out. This is our second. I totally refused on the first, but then I got more sleep then because I COULD sleep during the day like all the "experts" say. With two... that's just not possible. Our second has a more laid back personality, so I'm hoping that it goes okay, but I'm not "strong" when it comes to my babies crying. They grow up so fast, I hate to give up the few years of snuggling that I get just to get a few more winks at night. But I'm tired of fighting with my husband (who HATES having to get up in the night) over the issue.



He assumes that because I have reservations about doing this, that I'm automatically dooming it to fail. I'll admit, in the wee hours when I can barely think, I've thought about it SEVERAL times. I'm just so scared that I'll be a basketcase from the baby's cries that it won't be worth it.



Advice??? Also, any advice on how to help my toddler, who will essentially be going through this with me, deal with the fact that I'm letting his brother just scream? I'm worried that the toddler will start having trouble sleeping because he'll think that if he cries at night we won't come help him:(



I'm at my wits end.....

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Christina - posted on 01/20/2009

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It may be going worse and worse for you because you are giving in.  He knows that if he cries for long enough you will come in and make it better.  Please don't let him win.  He doesn't think you have left him and even if he does, he will learn otherwise.  Keep it up and be strong!

Tami - posted on 01/20/2009

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Quoting Jennie:



It's the hardest thing you will ever do, but its the best thing you can do.  Get the book Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth.  I did the cry it out method with my daughter at 41/2 months.  It was the hardest thing I ever did, but parenting isn't about doing the easy thing!  Its not about letting your kid scream.  Its about letting your child learn to soothe theirself to sleep.  The book has great insight.  It doesn't happen overnight either.  Eventually my daughter was taking to naps a day and sleeping well at night.  I also breastfed her for a year,






I also highly, HIGHLY recommend this book ("Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child," by Marc Weissbluth, M.D.).  Dr. Wiessbluth goes into pretty much anything you can think of regarding children & sleep - timing of sleep, drowsy signs, soothing to sleep, bedtime routines, breastfeeding and sleeping, numerous sleep problems and their solutions, etc.  The second part of the book has a chapter on each age of babies all the way up to preschool age and what most children their age are doing with sleep and how to prevent and solve sleep problems at these stages.   



 



I also was against the "cry it out" method.  So much so that for every nap & at bedtime, I held my son until he fell asleep and would CAREFULLY lay him down so as not to wake him up.  If he did, I would pick him up again and hold him til he fell asleep.  I did this until he was OVER a YEAR old!!!  It was completely ridiculous, and I knew it, but if I did a nap/bedtime routine with him and then laid him down, he would cry and get so worked up I couldn't take it. 



 



As you can imagine, after over a year of doing this, I was at my wit's end and I was FINALLY open to the "cry it out" method.  However, I want to point out that in this book, Dr. Wiessbluth doesn't talk about how everyone should use that method.  He talks about the benefits and challenges of the "no cry," "maybe cry" and "let cry" methods and that you should pick the one that's best for you.  But the key is CONSISTANCY, CONSISTANCY, CONSISTANCY!!! 



 



You said, "They grow up so fast, I hate to give up the few years of snuggling that I get just to get a few more winks at night."  One thing that's talked about at the very beginning of the book is the IMPORTANCE of a child's sleep.  They really need their sleep (we all do) to function properly and to grow and mature. 



 



Another point that really hit home to me, as an "anti-cry-it-outer" was that a sleeping brain is not the same as an awake brain - they are fundamentally different.  When we're awake, we worry about things, we're thinking about things we need to get done, etc.  But when we're in "sleep mode," we don't respond, think or feel as we do with we're awake.  And it's the same for babies.  When a baby cries after you put them to sleep or in the middle of the night, yes, they may be crying because they want to be held.  But most likely they're crying because that's just what babies do to try and calm themselves down to go to sleep.  And to not respond to them doesn't give them insecurities because, again, they're in their sleep mode.  It would be different if, during the day when they're wide awake you put the child in their room and left and let them cry.  But when they're tired, they WANT to sleep. 



 



I just want to quote a couple lines from this book that sums it up well:  "The process of falling asleep and staying asleep is a learned behavior, and that the learning will occur naturally, just like learning to walk, if parents do not interfere.... Difficulties in learning how to sleep occur when parents do not respect and protect the child's natural, periodic need to sleep.  With practice, all parents will clearly see that perfect timing produces no crying!" 



 



Sorry to go on and on.  As you can tell, I'm an avid fan of this book just because it worked so well for me with my son!  :O)



 



Best of luck to you!



 



 



 



 



 



 

Kelly - posted on 01/19/2009

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One little thing... the cry it out method means you can't go back in. Even after 15 minutes, or 30 or 45. I know it's so hard to do. I tried to do it all the other ways, of going in every 10 minutes to reassure him, rub his back, stay in the room with him till he slept... but every time you go in, you have to restart the clock. The baby is winning every time you go in. My first night, he cried for 48 minutes straight. I didn't go in. I couldn't sleep, but I didn't go in. The second night, he cried for less than 10 minutes. Starting the 3rd night, he slept through the night, and has done so since then (now going on 4 months of heaven).



The cry it out method is also important because it helps your baby to learn to self soothe. My baby always slept well on his side, with the pacifier and his blanky. When he woke up at night, I would go in, lay him back down, lay the blanky next to him and stick the pacifier in. The first night he cried it out, he was so mad, he threw his blanky over the side. (We saw it later that morning and felt horrible! That was probably the only reason he went all the way to 48 minutes.) But he learned he had to keep his blanky with him, find wherever he spit out his pacifier and to lay down himself. Learning to do it for himself helps him whenever he wakes up because of teething or his cold. We almost never go in at night time anymore, unless he's sick. It is so hard, but it was the only thing that helped us all. The hardest part for me was being on the other side of the door, wishing I could go in. But holding my guns for 2 nights was sooo worth it.

Kristie - posted on 01/19/2009

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I highly recommend the book Sleeping Through the Night by Jodi A. Mindell.  It helped me TONS.  I, too, didn't like the idea of letting him cry it out but am so glad I did.  My husband didn't understand why it was sooo hard for me, but as mothers, we hate to see our babies suffer.  I found this book used at Hastings and I'm so glad I did.  I seems like in your situation, there are a couple of minor things that you could change to help.  This book gives you all the info you need to make it happen.  I hope it helps you.  Blessings to you!

Stacie - posted on 01/19/2009

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Well, I've been doing this now for almost a week.  And it isn't getting any better, it's actually getting worse.  He'll be 8mos old on the 24th.  Last night he cried for at least 30mins.  I went in after 15mins to reassure him that we hadn't abondoned him.  This afternoon when I put him down was crying for over 30mins and I finally just gave up, picked him up and rocked him to sleep. 



We CIO with our oldest at 9mos and the whole "three days" thing was true with him.  Like I said before, my husband, at least, contends that it didn't stick because I wouldn't do it during the day during naps.  Who knows.  All I know is that I have been doing this everyday - alone - for nearly a week and it doesn't seem to be "sticking"  Two nights ago was basically awake all night fussing in his crib.  I was in the room sleeping in my older son's twin bed, while he slept with my husband.  So really neither of us got much sleep.  After the first hour, I got up and fed him then he went back to sleep... for I don't remember how long.  He woke up again and I let him fuss for at least another hour before I finally got up and fed him again, only he wasn't as interested in going back to sleep that time.  I made my husband get up and they were up for another 30-45mins or so before the baby and I (who was lying awake unable to sleep for the cries) finally got back to sleep for a couple hours.



I do have a routine.  I take him his room, straigten his blankets out, turn on the white noise machine and rock while I sing two songs.  Then I lay him down and turn on VERY quiet music and soft lights that shut off after 15mins.  I have done this every nap and every night.  Patience... ah well, I'm trying. 



I hate this.  I hate everything about it.  I do NOT believe in this method, yet after starting it I feel compelled to keep doing it.  I, unlike my husband, never thought that it would "fix" things immediately but I did think that the crying would lessen after several days, not worsen.  Like another mom said, to keep switching is confusing and only makes naps/nighttime harder.



Just not sure how to proceed from this point, but still at it...

Kristie - posted on 01/17/2009

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BTW, he cried for about an 45 min off and on the 1st night, 1 hr the second night, 20 min the third night and after that, he went to bed pretty easy.  Just get through the first couple of nights and you're home free.

Kristie - posted on 01/17/2009

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I did it when he was about 11 months old.  It was sooooooo HARD but it only lasted 3 nights.  It was so worth it.  I shampooed my carpets one night to avoid hearing it.  Another night, I took a long shower so I couldn't hear it.  I have a video monitor so I could see that he was ok.  He goes to sleep perfectly.  He sometimes actually tells me that he wants to go to bed.  Just make bed time a happy time.  Sing, read, play a game, cuddle...set a routine and then put them down and walk out.  Be kind, but firm.  Don't back down or you will confuse the child.  Once it's over, you'll be sooooo glad you did it :).

Kelly - posted on 01/17/2009

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I couldn't let my baby cry it out, so he stayed in his bedside crib until he was 7 months old. Then he was too tall for it, so we tried the bed. I couldn't handle it, so I brought him into the bed with me. He slept in my bed until he was about 10 months. Then I put him in a portacrib next to my bed until he almost a year. Then I realized he was waking up out of habit, and because I was awake (I have insomnia in general). It took him two nights to go from being awake to sleeping through the night because I had to let him cry it out for his good. I totally suffered listening to him cry the first night... 48 minutes! The second night he cried for less than 10. (Which still seemed like an hour.) The third night we both had our first night through, and since then, it's been heaven. It was much harder on me. My baby has a sweet happy personality. When he was sleeping with me he was barely getting 9 hours, and two naps a day. When I finally made him cry it out, he is sleeping 11 hours peacefull through thte night. I avoided the crying it out, but in the end, it was best for both of us. Good luck!



 

Barb - posted on 01/16/2009

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hire a sleep consultant! she will train you and therefore you will train your child on how to sleep better! we hired one when our son was 4 months old and in 3 nights he was sleeping from 7-7 then 2-3 1 1/2 hour naps a day! if you would like the name of the person we used let me know! she was so worth the money. he is such a happy guy and sleeps wonderfully! so we sleep wonderful too!

Eugenie - posted on 01/16/2009

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I've been through this stuff with both of my kids. The best advice I can give you is to pick a method and be consistant, and MOST IMPORTANT, be patient. No matter how frustrated and furious I got with my kids, I always walked into their room and talked to them nice and calmly. Even if that meant letting them cry for an extra 5 minutes while I gained my composure. Just remember, eventually this will pass and neither of you will remember the details of it all :-)

Christy - posted on 01/16/2009

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Well I completely understand where you are coming from.



My 17 month old still wakes up in the night. I have tried everything except CIO. He goes down with a bottle and does not cry, but he wakes up and wants more bottle several times. I got the Ferber book and decided to try CIO. The first time he woke up I let him cry. I could only take 15 minutes. He was shaking and trembling and looking at me with so much confusion then he started to hyper ventilate and I thought to myself this is doing more damage to his psyche than I want, he looked traumatized. He is my only child, yes, I am tired all the time. But I know I will look back at those times in the night where we have our special moments and those are the sleepy memories I will have. I have friends who love the Ferber method and I really feel like every child is different and every situation is different. Your gut will tell you if it's right for your son and your family. Trust yourself. People still tell me they can't believe that I get up in the night every night still. Yes, I am tired but I am not ready to put him through that. I feel like he will be 2 soon enough and by then maybe he will understand that I am not torturing him.



How old is he?

Amanda - posted on 01/16/2009

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The way I see it is that when you put them to bed you know they are fed, dry, not sick (no fever or cold and if they DO have these things you know by now how to make them comfortable) and they only reason they are crying is that they are not happy with the situation they are in (ie being pulled away from their toys and put to bed) Letting them cry it out isn't doing them harm - it is teaching them that bedtime is bedtime and no amount of crying is going to change that.

Stacie - posted on 01/16/2009

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Beth & Jennie.. or anyone else,



I'm on day three now and what I've noticed is that his eating pattern has switched, so that instead of eating when he gets up, now he eats right before he goes to sleep... i.e. he's "feeding to sleep".  So.. I'm not rocking him anymore, though I do take this opportunity to sing the lulabyes, but I'm not sure that I am really accomplishing what I set out to do.  He is clearly not sleeping through the night yet, but I didn't really expect that to end very quickly - if it ended at all.



Thoughts... opinions on this?  I try feeding him several times inbetween his naps/nighttime trying to get him to eat then instead of right as he's going to sleep, but so far that hasn't been successful.  It's only been a couple days so I could be judging myself too harshly.



Anyway... if anyone else has dealt wth this issue of "feeding to sleep" I would appreciate the help.



THANK YOU to those who have already commented.  Every little bit is something more than I had before.

Beth - posted on 01/16/2009

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I recently gave in to other's advise (doctors, family, husband) and decided I would try it for 2 weeks. It took 3 days... She now goes down without crying and sleeps all the way through the night and I've found that she is much happier now during the day, we get to spend more quality time together and she loves to come sit with me in our rocking chair so we still get the "snuggle" time together. Thought that may help

Stacie - posted on 01/15/2009

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Jennie,   did you go "cold turkey" and have her CIO for naps and nighttime or start with one and work towards the other.  We "tried" this before with our oldest, just doing it at night.  I just couldn't do it during the day.  It worked all right for awhile, and then he was okay with having his dad read him a story and lay him down, but eventually he just wanted to be rocked to sleep again.  My husband is sure that CIO failed that time because I wasn't doing it during the day too.  I don't like hearing it, but maybe he is right.



Anyway... I'm on day two now and baby cooed and talked for a little while, cried for less than a minute and is asleep.



Last night was the worst.  He went to sleep in less than ten minutes.  I had to go in one time to turn him over from his belly, but I didn't pick him up out of bed.  The problem last night was that he woke up after about an hour.  I fed him a bottle and then he went right back to sleep.  Bottles... that was another thing my husband said.  He thinks that maybe the baby has decided that eating is a way to comfort back to sleep so he doesn't eat much during the day so that he will be hungry at night.  I tried when he was about 4mos to start beefing up his intake during the day and weaning him at night.  I even got to the point where I just refused night feeding trying to get him to eat more during the day.  That went on for two months without success and me just fighting him several times a night for an hour or so to go back to sleep, so I finally just gave in and starting feeding him at night again.



He has some tummy trouble, which is, I think, why he doesn't really eat much at a time, but I can't seem to get him to eat more frequently either.  He's still gaining weight, so I'm not concerned about that.... it's just all this nighttime stuff.



Anyway, a few more pieces to the puzzle. 



I really hate doing this, but if it works.... then I guess I'll be glad?

Jennie - posted on 01/14/2009

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It's the hardest thing you will ever do, but its the best thing you can do.  Get the book Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth.  I did the cry it out method with my daughter at 41/2 months.  It was the hardest thing I ever did, but parenting isn't about doing the easy thing!  Its not about letting your kid scream.  Its about letting your child learn to soothe theirself to sleep.  The book has great insight.  It doesn't happen overnight either.  Eventually my daughter was taking to naps a day and sleeping well at night.  I also breastfed her for a year,

Julie - posted on 01/14/2009

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I didn't let my son just cry either... seemed too cruel to me. He wanted to be snuggled, so I snuggled him. I slept with him for about 1 1/2 yrs and we made the transition to his crib just fine. He's 3 now and he goes to sleep on his own, so I think it would have hurt him worse if I had let him scream all night. I worked during this time and couldn't sleep during the day either, but you find a way to make it. Coffee becomes your best friend...

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