Oct 1, 2005

CIO: Crying It Out

At Alex's four-month well-baby check-up, his pediatrician suggested we let him cry it out so he would learn to sleep through the night. At his six-month check-up, the doctor strongly recommended that we let him cry it out. I just can't bring myself to do it, though - at least not the full-blown method.

Crying it out can be a controversial topic - Babycenter.com even has a debate board on the issue. I stumbled across it one day and read a thread that went like this:
  • First post: a mother's plea for help to end her baby's night-waking
  • Second post: an explanation of the options (crying it out, not crying it out, various modifications of crying it out)
  • Third post: another question by the mother, lamenting her baby's wakefulness/crying
  • Fourth post: a terse "Don't come here for support, this is a DEBATE board"

I was taken aback when I read the last post, but sure enough, the introduction to the board states that it is a debate board, intended for the expression of opinions on the topic. There's certainly a lot of information available. In addition to getting the advice of my wonderful friends, I've read several books on baby sleep (Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth, The No-Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley, Secrets of the Baby Whisperer and The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems by Tracy Hogg, The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp, and Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems by Richard Ferber). Each one made complete sense when I was reading it, but none are particularly helpful when Alex cries - I usually find myself paralyzed by all of the information and options.

In the end, I find myself listening to my instinct, which sometimes says, "He's crying too much, he needs me." This happened last night and I went in, soothed Alex and sang to him, and eventually he fell asleep. Later, he cried again, but this time my instinct said, "Wait five minutes, maybe he'll put himself back to sleep," and he actually did.

Most of the time, though, it doesn't go quite so well, and sometimes I am so full of doubts that I end up in tears. I have to keep reminding myself that as in all areas of parenting, I can only do my best and pray that it's good enough - in this case, good enough to teach Alex how to fall asleep on his own.


Alice H said...

I remember standing outside Boo's door crying because he was having a hard time falling asleep.

You might gasp in horror at how we finally got Boo to sleep - he was very much an ostrich, so my husband would put a blanket over his head so he couldn't see whether we were there, and within minutes he would be asleep with no crying. Obviously this flies in the face of the no bedding rule, and we didn't leave the blanket over his face the whole night, but I am sure that if his doctor knew we would have gotten some grief.

ChiefFamilyOfficer said...

You know, I think I would have been more horrified before having Alex. Now that I'm a mom myself, I realize we all do crazy and extreme things when it comes to our kids, and it sounds to me that you used common sense in doing what worked best for all of you :)