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Cry Baby Cry

June 18, 2008

The IT Household has been held hostage by a tiny terror in footie pajamas. For a couple of MONTHS now, IT Boy has been having some issues in the slumber department. When we put him down in the crib at bedtime, he would stand up and scream, and sometimes throw up (“See what you made me do, parental units! I spewe on you!”) He would also frequently wake during the night and refuse to go back to sleep, unless we took him into our bed.

Yes, we turned Swedish. We were co-sleeping.

Mind you, if this is your parental choice, I applaud you for it. If it works for you and your kid(s), more power to you.

IT DOES NOT WORK FOR ME. It’s not in my parenting philosophy to have a kid in the bed with me. It goes against what I believe my role as a parent is. And I was causing me to miss much sleep. I don’t think IT Boy was sleeping that well himself, to tell the truth. It wasn’t working for us, it wasn’t working for him, so it really wasn’t working, period.

So last night, we embarked on Operation “Cry It Out”. I put the man down in the crib at 8:30, following a bath, massage, cup of milk, and a bottle. The screams were heartbreaking, but I was strong. I was going to see it out. A good time for my stubborn streak to reign supreme. Little IT was beside herself – she can’t handle hearing the brother cry. Mr. IT was not happy on two fronts – one, with the boy being upset, and two with the girl being in our room almost crying herself, about the crying. I stood firm, and around 11pm, the cries stopped. I quietly checked the room for breathing, and heard snoring, so I knew all was good. Guess what? He slept through the night. First time in ages. It was nice.

We’re doing it again tonight, and the next night, and the next night till this sticks. I’d love for other parents who have embarked on this mission to comment in with some best practices. IT Boy is too young to read Baby and Toddler Sleep Solutions For Dummies, but I will be leaving a copy of it by his crib, just in case he wants to read a little before bedtime.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. June 18, 2008 8:29 am

    Hear hear! I am also not one for whom the co-sleeping thing works. Any minor respiratory aberrance and I am immediately at Code Red, completely awake. We did the HorrorThatIsCryingItOut with my now-4-year-old, and it worked wonders for us. Tough on the rest of the “Its”, yes, but it gets better. Hang in there! It’s worth it.

  2. June 18, 2008 8:32 am

    Thanks, evenshine. It’s not easy, but I KNOW I am doing the right thing for the kid. As a co-worker put it this morning, you don’t want him having this problem in later life, and having to have his girlfriend rock him back to sleep. Gotta plan for the future!

  3. June 18, 2008 10:46 am

    Went through exactly the same thing with “Musician Boy” (of course that would have been, say, 11 or 12 years ago, yikes!). It sucks. Actually, he got so worked up one time that he actually flung himself over the side of the crib. We still can’t figure out how he did it, but picture the following sounds emenating from his room:

    – Thump!
    – Silence (for 5 whole seconds)
    – Then WAHHAAWHAHAAHWHAHAAA, but at a slightly higher apparent pitch becuase the doppler effect kicked in as he accelerated toward our bedroom door.

    Just wanted to add some perspective…as a 14 year old, he now sleeps through the night with no problems. Actually, through the night and into the afternoon — if we let him. 😉

  4. June 18, 2008 12:28 pm

    Steve, thanks for the encouragement. Little IT was practically a teenager when it came to sleep from the beginning. The first one spoiled us, for sure.

  5. June 19, 2008 6:26 am

    Good for you. This is so important. Our twins were “Ferberized” (spelling?) at several months, It was a painful process but paid off in no time at all.

    a. out of necessity for parents to remain alive (sleep deprivation is torture)
    b. for children to remain alive! ( crying does wear thin on parental nerves )
    c. getting a good nights sleep.
    d. all of the above

    d. yes, all of the above

    Try adding cereal, oats, bran and bananas, raisins to the diet. All helps to keep things regular and also help with sleep.

  6. Krys permalink
    June 19, 2008 7:39 am

    I SO disagree with the whole co-sleeping thing. Perhaps it’s just tradition and old-fashioned-ness; I haven’t birthed no babies from my loins, but I have many nieces and nephews and babies-once-removed…
    My friend spoke with her doctor when her first was only a month old – she was so messed up with her schedule that she was up all night and sleeping all day, so when they put her down at night, she just cried and screamed and upset herself so much she was throwing up… The doctor asked if my friend knew the difference between her daughter’s “I’m hungry” cry, the “I’m sick” cry, the “I’m tired” cry, etc. Yes, my friend assured him. “Well, then let her cry herself to sleep.”
    Even at one month old this doctor believed a baby can be trained to put herself back to sleep. It took three hours the first night, two hours the second night, 1-1/2 hours, etc., but within the week, her baby was waking up, testing the waters with a couple of weepy cries, then settling back down and cooing and talking to herself and eventually falling back asleep.
    Of course, there were those nights she was sick and they were up with her, but she learned early that she didn’t run the house! She got herself on a great schedule and it worked with their second child, too!
    I know a lot of people will disagree with me, but I really have a problem with bringing the baby into your bed all the time – I can’t see it benefiting the baby at all – and I’m not talking about when they need to be there, of course… if they’re sick or you’re cuddling as a family…

  7. June 19, 2008 8:05 am

    Good call, PVE. And kudos for doing that with twins! I think a bowl of oatmeal at dinner could help the boy’s stomach have more holding power, I’ll try that.

    Krys, I have to say, to each his own, but co-sleeping was never going to be for me. I agree that you have to train kids to fall back asleep on their own. Do we wonder why as adults we’re all sleepless wrecks begging for Ambien? Plus, the examples that I have in my life of parents who have done it are not inspiring. One is a clingy 9 year old who STILL goes into her parents’ bed, and the other couple I know who co slept bickered all the time and eventually got divorced. No, they are not the only examples in the world and a lot of people do this successfully, but it is so not for me and Mr. IT!

    And, last night, the screaming was 45 minutes, then over and out for the night! Not bad at all!

  8. June 25, 2008 6:35 pm

    Hope it’s going well a week later! (We had a one whole night of crying followed by 2 years of blissful sleep so far ….)


  9. Sue Velasquez permalink
    July 15, 2008 7:16 pm

    I can understand if co-sleeping is not for the author or some of the correspondents, but to read about some babies being ‘sleep trained’ really early is disturbing. Letting a one month old cry it out?? If you want a full night’s sleep from week one, don’t become a parent! It’s one of the hazards. And there are plenty of children who got spoilt and clingy because their parents cut that link early and ‘trained’ them. So please don’t make out that it doesn’t work both ways.

  10. July 15, 2008 9:43 pm

    Hi Sue, thanks for posting. I was surprised I didn’t get more advocates of attachment parenting posting on this entry. Personally, I didn’t let either of my kids cry it out before 6 months, mostly because I couldn’t bring myself to, but also because that’s what seems to be recommended (your mileage may vary). It’s certainly true that having kids does guarantee a lack of sleeping, but hopefully every parent can find ways to get more productive sleep, both for them and for their kids. If you can do that and co-sleep, more power to you. It didn’t work for me, but I know plenty of people who swear by it. Glad it’s working for you.

  11. Lauren permalink
    July 20, 2008 2:17 pm

    Hi, How long should we let our child cry before going into his room? Are you saying that first night your child cried for 2 1/2 hours? I want him to sleep on his own….but I don’t know if I can let him cry for that long and not go in to see him. He gets really hysterical. He is 13 months. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

  12. July 20, 2008 6:30 pm

    Hi Lauren – I can only speak for my experience, but when we went for it with my 21 month old, the first night he cried for 2.5 hours, the second night was an hour, the third night was slightly less and after that, he just started going to sleep. Your mileage may vary. I encourage you to read a few books on the topic – my teeny tiny library even had some. Check out all approaches, from Ferberizing to seeing what attachment parenting advocates say, then think about what you think will work for you and your son, and give it a shot. Be consistent, give it a few days, and see what happens.

    Yes, listening to my son scream at the top of his lungs for almost 3 hours was horrible, but in the end, he’s now a guy who can go to sleep on his own, and it’s much better for all of us.

  13. MommyOf3 permalink
    July 24, 2008 10:14 pm

    We are going through this with my 6m daughter right now. She suddenly decided that her crib was not the place to be. I couldn’t do the CIO thing, so I just stayed in her room and rubbed her tummy while she screamed — 1hr. 40 minutes the first night. I was planning to do that for a few nights, then just sit by her and shush for a few, then leave and come back every 5 or so minutes for a few nights. You know – a kind of baby steps approach. I figured at least this way she would know that I was there.

    But, after two nights (and days for naptime) of patting, she started just going to sleep. I just put her down a few minutes ago, and she looked at me and let out a huge sigh as she turned her head and closed her eyes. You never know how long a baby will try to outlast. This time it turned out to be easier than I thought!

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