This month has been absolute torture for John and me, especially me. Kayleigh was beginning to sleep through most of the night, and then all of a sudden she stopped.
She started to wake up constantly throughout the night. She would fall asleep in my arms, and then the second I laid her down in her bed, she would start screaming. She would do this all night long, and only sleep if I held her in my arms.
I was exhausted. John was exhausted. I was fed up and angry for days. Pair an overtired Mom with a baby who won’t stop screaming, and who wants to be held all the time, and it’s a recipe for disaster.
I knew I had to do something to change this situation, but I didn’t know what. A lot of people had told me in the past that I should just let her cry it out, but I had strong feelings against that. How could I leave my poor, helpless baby just laying there crying? It was just too heartbreaking for me.
Kayleigh gets so worked up during these fits. She screams as loud as she can, reaches her arms out for me to pick her up, and anxiously opens and closes her hands over and over again. I have such a hard time not giving into that pitiful cry.
I was recently reading through some comments in my Pregnancy and New Moms Group in Facebook, and the discussion of the “Cry It Out” method came up. It had come up several times in the past, and I just ignored it. I wasn’t ready to listen. But now, I was. A handful of Moms in the group had tried the “Cry It Out” method with great success. Others had tried and failed. Others had no interest in trying at all.
Being at the end of my rope, I decided to give it a shot. I didn’t feel like I had any other option. So, when Kayleigh was starting to fall asleep on me in the evening, I brought her upstairs to her bed and laid her down. She immediately woke up and started screaming like she usually does. Instead of picking her right up, however, I brushed her hair back with my hand for a minute and talked to her, telling her that it was ok. While she was still screaming, I left. It was hard. I did it though.
I left her for 3 minutes, and she continued to cry the entire time. She was still crying when I re-entered the room. I went over to her, and brushed her hair with my hand again, reassuring her that it was ok. Then I left again.
This time I left for 5 minutes. Then I returned to her room and comforted her while she was still in bed, and still crying.
I continued to do this over and over again, increasing the amount of time I left for each time. After about an hour, her cries were starting to quiet. I just stood at the door and listened. I didn’t want to upset her more by entering the room again, so I waited to see if she was going to fall asleep. And, she finally did. I breathed a huge sigh of relief. The crying was over, and she was asleep.
It was a rough hour, that’s for sure. But after we got through it, I felt so much better, and she slept great.
She did wake up once more that night, at about 2:30am, so I picked her up, changed her diaper, and fed her. With a true “Cry It Out” method, you are not supposed to do that. You are supposed to repeat the method again, so that they will sleep through the night, but I am gradually working my way towards that. I don’t want to shock her too much all at once. I think one feeding a night for now is a fine compromise for us.
I will say, though, that normally when she gets up for a middle of the night feeding, she will have a hard time falling back to sleep when I put her back down. This time, she didn’t. She let me lay her back down in her bed, and fell right to sleep instead of screaming for me to pick her up.
The next day, Kayleigh was falling asleep on me during her usual nap time. I brought her upstairs to her bed, and she immediately woke up screaming when I laid her down. Normally, I would have picked her up and cradled her until she fell asleep again, and then she would start screaming again when I laid her down. I would finally give up and either bring her downstairs to nap on me, or on the floor beside me.
This time, I didn’t. This time, I left her there, in her bed, to cry it out. I stood outside the door, planning to go back in after 3 minutes to comfort her, and then leave again, but I didn’t have to. Before 3 minutes even came, she was out like a light.
She then proceeded to take a 2 hour nap, and I got a much needed Mommy break.
The “Cry It Out” method is not for everyone. I was hesitant to try it for a long time, and finally only did so because I was desperate for sleep. We have been using the “Cry It Out” method for a few days now, and it seems to be working great for us. Everyone is getting more sleep, feeling more rested and in a better mood. I’ll consider this a “win”!
Have you ever tried the “Cry It Out” method? What was your experience with it?