We have decided to try the dreaded cry it out method (CIO) with baby Max. I knew at some point we would have to start sleep training him, and the CIO method was our last option. Just the mere thought of making my sweet baby cry himself to sleep all alone in the dark causes me severe anxiety.
Over the past 5 and a half sleepless months, there have been many times when Dan and I have declared, "Enough! Tonight is the night we are going to start making him cry it out." But it was never very long before one of us caved in at 3 am to our little boys sobs.
After several family discussions, reading all the popular sleep help books, and seeking advice from different pediatricians about the issue, I was really confused on what was the right thing to do. I was getting conflicting messages. Some pediatricians, and articles I read would argue that making a baby cry it out may cause emotional damage. Others would say that it was the only way to get some babies to sleep through the night, and it's harder on the parents than on the baby.
Dan shared Max's sleep challenges with a few pediatric sleep experts at his medical school and they all agreed that it was perfectly fine and healthy for us to let baby Max cry it out. They said that he was in a habit of waking up every 2 to 3 hours and we were only perpetuating the bad behavior. It made complete sense that we were reinforcing his need for night time feedings by giving in to him so often.
We concluded once again that we HAD to make him cry it out for the sake of our marriage, our sanity, and our health. This may sound dramatic, but that's how we feel. Neither of us were functioning very well off of such little sleep, and we were beginning to see the effects on our life. Most nights one of us would sleep on the couch with the baby, while the other slept in the bed, not such a great idea for strengthening a marriage relationship.
Last night was the first night we followed through with the CIO method. Poor little guy cried for 2 straight hours. I was in my bed, crying right along with him. I did go in to check on him every 15 to 20 minutes to pat his belly, and make sure he was okay. It was heartbreaking, and I had a few major panic attacks throughout the night. This was the longest night of my life.
Morning finally came, and we all survived. Life goes on. When I went into Max's room after hearing his morning calls, I was greeted with the biggest smile and happy kicks. I guess he still loves us after all!!
I am trusting my motherly instincts, and I know this is the right choice for our family. But it's still not easy. Our goal is to teach him to sleep from midnight to 6 a.m. without waking up, (which he has never done before), and then hopefully improve from there. It's time to kiss the dark circles under my eyes goodbye.
This is where I need your help and strength mommies. I need to stick this out. Give me your feedback, advice, success stories, and your experience with making your baby cry it out. How long did it take before they adjusted? Is two hours too long, or did your babies cry this long as well? Thanks for the encouragement!
This is the smile I get when Max wakes up. Makes me so happy to be his mama!