Wednesday, April 2, 2008

No "Crying It Out" in this house!

Colin has crossed into a new stage and I am pretty sure that this is classic separation anxiety. I thought that he might skip through this because he is always so happy to meet people and be held by others, but I see it is much more than that. Over the past few days he has started to despise being out of my sight. Normally he plays on his mat while I am in the kitchen behind him cooking or cleaning. Now he must be right there beside me. If we are having a good time playing with his toys and I get up to get a drink, he starts to fuss as soon as he sees me standing. Suddenly he likes being rocked again and as soon as I lay him down, he wakes back up and gets upset. Going to bed used to be almost immediate, but now it takes about 20 minutes to get him happy and asleep. And as you all know, he is back to some tough overnight habits of waking up frequently. I know that this too shall pass and I am just making sure that I am there for him constantly. Especially at night. One thing that never crossed my mind before I had Colin is the great "Cry It Out" debate that rages through the motherhood community. I now find myself on the team that thinks crying it out is both not helpful and ultimately damaging. I have read many books on the subject of sleep and read both sides of the debate. The decision that I made for myself and Colin is to comfort him when he cries, even if that means that I suffer some sleepless nights. Strangely, I find this is not a popular viewpoint and even most pediatricians (mine included!) say to just let him cry even when he is teething and never feed him during the night. This does not jive with me...as Colin's mother, I know my son. I know what his cries mean and when he needs me. I know the difference in being fussy and really crying because he needs something from me. Since Colin cannot talk or get out of bed to come get me, I will always go to him when he is truly crying. There is not a chance in hell that I am letting Colin cry for an hour straight (there are several folks on my message board that have let babies cry for seriously an hour every night!). I am not trying to start a debate or belittle the choices of other moms. Again, this is the decision that works best for my family. I don't doubt this decision even during the weeks like I am in now...getting zero sleep. There will be a day when my sweet baby does not need me anymore. When he is a teenager, he will want to sleep literally all day. I can get through these days, even if it is a battle. He will get through this stage and I will know that I have been there to support him when he needed me. I really think that I am teaching him to trust that I will take care of him no matter what. Now if my second child won't sleep...well, we may have to re-visit the plan. HAHA! :-)

2 comments:

Shannon said...

I felt the same way as you on this topic even though I had two babies to juggle...until they hit a year old.

All along my pedi kept telling us to stop feeding them at night (only offer water), and to let them cry it out. I never could bring myself to do that. Then at their 12 month wellness appointment, we discussed it again with him. He said that we had the exact same bedtime routine at a year old that we had when they were newborns. So, we tried it out.

At 7:30 PM they go to bed. Even if they are wide awake. Never once have they fussed more than 4-5 minutes (and we time it every night). It was never full blown crying, but fussing. Now they don't even do that. We put them in their beds, they immediately get into their sleeping positions, cover them with the blanket, tell them night-night and walk out. They go straight to sleep.

It's the same with nap time -- 11:30 AM.

After 2 months of doing this, they are comfortable with the routine and everyone is happy. I kick myself in the ass for not doing it earlier. I didn't think they were ready, and they were.

With all of this teething hell, Kate (and sometimes Carson) will get up in the night and cry. If they cry for more than about 2 minutes, I go up to them and rock them. I don't offer them anything to drink. I no longer run up there at the first peep because some times I will hear them cry for 30 seconds and then put themselves back to sleep.

Colin needs to learn how to put himself back to sleep. It's a learned task -- just like eating solids, drinking from a sippy cup, etc. He may not be ready though. We waited a year, and several other moms did too. There is something about the 1-year mark, and things begin to change.

As for the separation enxiety, ugh. That sucks. I've had my share of it too. I think it's worse when you stay home with them and they are so used to having you around. It all goes in cycles. I was told that at 10 months and again at 2 years, the separation anxiety is awful.

Anyway, do what's best for little man. I think there is a huge difference between letting a tot cry for an hour and letting them fuss for 5 minutes. I am glad we re-evaluated at 12 months, but I was not ready before then. The same may be true for you.

Never say never though. :)

Good Lord this was a long, preachy comment, but I am way too lazy to re-do it. :)

Chalna said...

I am so glad you posted that comment! I am totally on board with what you do for Kate and Carson...I have no problem with letting Colin fuss for awhile at all. What plagues me is the middle of the night screaming. When he wakes up all during the night, I won't offer him a bottle until I just can't take it anymore, which is now once a night. At that point, it is the only way I can get some sleep. That is when the pedi thinks I should let him lay there and scream and I can't do it. I have moved into the guest bedroom after the first wakeup so that I can lay there and listen to him and judge when to go to him. I will wait no more than 15 minutes (I time it) and if he is still crying, I go to him. I just can't go longer than that! Last night was much better. He woke up at 2:45 for a bottle and then slept until 7:00. THAT is something I can handle. I don't know...I am sure that I am going about a lot of this the wrong way, but I just know in my heart that I should not let him cry for hours, you know? Being a mom is freaking hard. :-)

 
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