Operation Cry It Out

A few months ago {probably around Zoe’s 4th month} I started adding to our Saturday morning ritual. Zoe would wake up at 7am, I would go get her, bring her back in bed, nurse her laying down, and then we would all fall back asleep OR Zoe would play with our faces. When she lays in bed with us she typically cuddles with me and stretches out an arm so that she’s touching Brad. If, for whatever reason, she’s cuddling with Brad…well then, she stretches out an arm to touch me. Even if she’s sleeping. It’s priceless.

Well, at about 5 1/2 months, Zoe started waking up in the wee hours of the morning. Like 6:30. AM. This is unacceptable. I understand that for most moms out there…they would give ANYTHING to make it to 6:30 am…but my kid sleeps. She always has. I experienced maybe 1 1/2 months of nightly feedings…and that’s it. At 4 weeks she was sleeping 6 straight hours. Then by 6 weeks she was sleeping 8 hours. Every 2 weeks we would add another 30 minutes or an hour to her night just to see how it worked….and it worked! By 2 1/2 months she was sleeping from 8pm to 7am. And mommy was very very very happy. And very very very grateful. I don’t know how I would have survived becoming a mom if Zoe didn’t sleep though the night. I can tell you this much, I wouldn’t have been pleasant to be around. That’s for sure.

Back to the present. The past 1 1/2 months…Zoe has woken up, almost every single morning, before 7. Sometimes it’s 6:30, sometimes 5am, occasionally 3am.  Brad and I have played the guessing game of “what could possibly have changed that she’s waking up like this???????????”

It happened right about the time that I put her on a schedule. And it also happened right about the time that she went to 1-3 solid meals a day. Hmmmm.

But, if you think about it, that means that she’s getting less sleep during the day and more food {I didn’t cut out any breastfeeding}. So, technically, she shouldn’t be waking up. Well, then I noticed that when I would bring her into our bed {because I ran out of every other option the 5 times I was up between 3 and 6} she would fall instantly asleep.

Thursday morning {during the wee hours…4-6am} Brad and I tagged teamed getting up when she cried. Our first option is always the pacifier…that used to work every time, if that doesn’t work then I feed her, then Brad goes in and changes her diaper, then I go in for the pacifier again, then Brad goes in, then I go in…it’s exhausting. I finally brought her back to bed…and what do you know, she fell instantly asleep. PUNK!

Part of me thinks, “If only I’d thought of that at 4am I could have saved myself 2 hours of sleep!!!”. Brad went to work exhausted, I spent the day exhausted, and Zoe acted like nothing happened. Brad and I talked during his first break and we agreed…if she was waking up simply to get in bed with us…well then, she’s going to have to cry it out…cause that’s not happening.

I have very strong opinions about this. I understand that every family is different, and different things work for every family. And I know several families where there is a need for the child to be in bed with the parents. If you are a family that has {for lack of a better phrase} an “open bedroom door” policy…well then, whatever floats your boat. I am not. I do not believe it’s good for the child or for the marriage. Especially for the marriage. I understand that it can work…and that parents can just be creative about spending “time” together, if you know what I mean, but for me…for my family, that’s my marriage bed, and my marriage comes first. Besides, so much more than sex happens bed.  So, Zoe has slept in her room, in her crib, since Day 1. Well, Morning 1, but that’s another story for another time.  When she’s older, and when she can knock, absolutely she can come snuggle with us on a Saturday morning…but she can not sleep with us. Period.

So…last night we begun Operation Cry It Out. You can deduce that we believe in the “cry it out” method of raising babies. If she is safe, has a clean diaper, and is fed…well then, it’s bedtime…and there’s nothing else I can do for you. It sounds harsh, I know…but it’s true. If she’s waking up because she needs something from me, well that’s different, but this is a want…and those are two very different things.  The truth is, that we very rarely have to use this method..especially with sleeping at night. But, we’re finding ourselves needing to use it, again.

Zoe must have known we were up to something because she woke up SCREAMING at 1 am and that never happens. It was enough to send me into a tailspin. I nursed her just because it was so abnormal. But then 3 am was when the real fun started. About every 30 minutes or so from 3 until 7…6:50 to be exact, our poor little baby woke up crying. She would cry for 10-15 minutes and then fall back asleep. Brad and I took turns putting the pacifier in her mouth. At 6:50 am we were exhausted, traumatized, and so ready for the night to be over. Brad brought her to me and as I nursed her I apologized over and over and told her I loved her. She didn’t seem to care…she was over it already. I hate letting her cry it out. I hate it with every fiber of my being. I assure you that I was awake much more than she was last night.

So we’ve spent the day recovering….we have another long night ahead of us. Wish us luck!

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7 responses to “Operation Cry It Out

  1. I fully support your Operation Cry it out AND no babies in the bed at bed time. I believe you are doing the right thing.

    Good luck and don’t give up. You are the parent!!

    • I totally agree with Melisa. You guys are AWESOME parents!! 🙂

    • thanks! that’s a mantra I repeat to myself often “I’m the parent, you’re the child”…when I was a camp counselor I would say, “I’m the counselor you’re the kid” (not to the kid..to myself). I believe in staying a step ahead of the kid…it’s exhausting! And constantly changing!

  2. rachael sonnborn

    That is what we do… no kids sleeping in the bed with us. Shortly after we moved to Germany and everything was soooooooo different, Josua started coming to our bed in the night and we let him thinking he needed something extra because of all the changes. It turned into a habit that was hard to break – but break we did. When we realized it was simply a habit, we spent almost 2 months breaking this habit of our 3 year old climbing into our bed at 1 am. It was not easy, much easier to just let him be but I agree that is my marriage bed! It was tough and exhausting. Lesson: never let them start a bad habit you will eventually have to break. It is so much more difficult!

    • right! that’s what Brad and I talked about when he called that morning. I was like “are we looking at a 2 year old who doesn’t finish the night in her bed if we let this go”. And we knew we were. It is incredibly hard though! I think, as a mom, “crying it out” is one of the worst things I’ve encountered. That cry is hearbreaking. At 6 this morning, after over an hour of listening to her cry, I just crawled back into bed, put a pillow over my head, and cried myself. =)

  3. Pingback: Recovery « Confessions of a Reluctant Housewife

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