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I honestly never thought I would be the mommy to make my baby cry herself to sleep.
That being said, Jeff and I decided to try the 'Cry It Out' approach to Lilah's bedtime routine.
Earlier this month we decided to make a change in our daycare situation. Heather was a great babysitter, but her location wasn't ideal. I left the house 40 minutes before work and got home closer to 6:00p.m. Couple that with frequent nighttime feedings, and I was exhausted.
Our good friend Sonja recommended her daycare provider. Her name is Sally. She's English and has been doing daycare all her working life. We went to check out her home, and it looks more like a preschool than a residence. At most she has 14 children, and two helpers. She lives in town and will be relocating to a block away from our work next month. That will cut my commute time by 35 minutes, and we'll only have to gas up the Rav once every two weeks instead of once or twice a week.
We liked everything about the daycare we chose, except that Lilah wasn't taking naps. At first I figured it was because she was in a new place and was trying to adjust. Since she wasn't napping, she was coming home overtired and cranky. She was waking in the night at least 3 or 4 times just wanting to comfort nurse. Of course all of this was happening while Jeff was away in training, so there was no chance for us to take shifts.
I asked Jeff to stop by the bookstore on his way out of Reno and pick up anything he could find on an easy way to get this kid to sleep. The books he came home with were great, but they seemed to be geared more toward the mothers who were able to stay at home and implement these practices 24 hours a day.
That night, Lilah was awake 3 times. She and I had matching rings under our eyes when we woke up the next morning. I just hit a wall. The last month or so has been challenging with Lilah not sleeping, my back not being quite healed yet, my boss anxious for me to be the Assistant she had before I became a mother...I had just had enough. I knew if I wanted to be a good wife and mommy, then I needed to get some real rest.
That morning for naptime I nursed Lilah, cuddled with her and then placed her in her crib awake. She cried....she screamed....she got that awful jagged hiccup that just rips a persons heart out.
We checked on her at 5 minutes, then at 10, and again at 15....until 80 minutes later there was nothing but blessed silence.
The afternoon nap was the same, except she only cried for 40 minutes.
That evening, it only took 15 minutes and she slept for a 6 hour stretch. She hasn't done that she she got her first set of vaccinations.
It's been 5 days since we started this technique, and she fusses for 5 minutes and then she's off in dreamland. The night before last I didn't hear a peep out of her until 5:00a.m.
I'm sure a lot of mommies out there are wondering how I could just let my baby scream like that. My answer is - it wasn't easy, but it wasn't heartbreaking either. Lilah is of an age that she knows her mommy and daddy are only a room away. She had been fed, cuddled and had a clean diaper. She was just spitting mad and had no other way to express herself.
I now know that I have given her a valuable tool. She will no longer have to rely on me to nurse herself to sleep. She will eventually be able to take naps at daycare and come home well rested and ready to spend her evening playing with her parents.
There were many times in that first hour that I thought I was doing the wrong thing. I almost gave up and went and picked her up several times. I am so glad that Jeff and I stuck to our guns. It's hard to teach our kids a lesson, but Lilah is proving to be a quick study and I'm already feeling more energetic. More energy means more time playing on the floor with my girl, or cleaning the bathroom that's been neglected for far too long.
I never thought I would be the type of mommy to use this kind of sleep training. But, I'm glad I did and I'm sure we'll use it on the next baby when we fill that he or she is ready for it.
I'm glad it worked out for you and you're all getting better rest. Kudos to you for sticking it out. I tried with DD and I couldn't take it. She cried so hard she'd stop breathing and start to turn blue. I ended up having to sleep with her until she was 4 because her sleep habits were so bad.
I'm glad it worked out for you. I kinda know how hard it is because we did it once. Luckily, Major wasn't hysterical and he didn't last nearly as long as Lilah, but it was still hard. After that one time, we haven't needed to ever do it again I'm glad you girls are finally able to get some sleep!
Me too. She's a different baby now. She's actually willing to play with us in the evening instead of just wanting bath, boob and bed. I'm sorta hoping to get back to being the wife I used to be too. I've neglected my hubby for far too long. lol
So glad it worked for your guys and good job keeping up with it! I know how hard it is because we tried it too and were also successful. Just remember not to give in and to keep following a routine so she gets used to it.