As I mentioned in my previous blog post, “Where did my easy baby go? When babies get a mind of their own”, ever since Annabelle hit 9 months we’ve been going through some changes in mi casa. Namely, her sleep patterns have been totes cray cray and I’m starting to get anxiety as the bedtime hour looms. I used to nurse baby girl to sleep and practically toss her in the crib and slam the door shut — it didn’t freaking matter! She was just cool with it. Now, it’s like Annabelle has a GPS tracker on mama and the minute I lay her down and start to tiptoe backwards out of her room the crying game begins. This doesn’t happen every night, hence the anxiety. It’s like, is this going to be a good night or an annoying night standing over her crib rubbing her belly for an hour? If it happened nightly at least I could resign myself to the fact that my blog will die and my DVR is going to hit its space limit because I’m spending my evenings soothing a baby. I’m probably making her seem WAY worse than she is, because it’s not really that bad compared to some stories I hear. It’s so sporadic. But for two parents who have had a baby who enjoys sleeps and doesn’t fuss, this has been a big culture change for us. And it’s left me considering the cry it out (CIO) method.
I went to see the movie “What to Expect When Expecting” with a couple of my mommy friends and as we completely talked over the movie the entire time, we discussed letting our babies CIO and how that’s possible when the baby is standing up in her crib. Both my friends said the babies will eventually lie down and go to sleep. I couldn’t picture Annabelle voluntarily lying down after crying her face off and then going to sleep. The only other time I tried CIO was on the night of the Super Bowl and it was the worst experience ever and Annabelle won. I surrendered — white flag in hand. Thankfully, I never had to do it after that… until now.
Last night, Annabelle was fast asleep in her bed at 8:30. I went upstairs to go to bed just after 11pm and remembered I needed to throw the clothes in the wash machine into the dryer. Big mistake, BIG. The laundry is right across from her room and as soon as the dryer door shut and turned on, Little Miss starts crying. OHFORTHELOVEOFGOD!!!!
I rubbed her belly and she fell back asleep. I backed away and she awoke and cried again. Belly rub, sleep again… My dog rattles his damn collar and floppy ears all over the place as he shakes his shit out in front of my sleeping baby – AWAKE AGAIN! Belly rubs…sleep. I close door and get in bed — CRIES! I said; “Jeff, you’re up.” He tries the same and she cries even more — even when he picks her up! So he comes back and gets in bed saying, “Let her cry it out.” AHH! Fine, the girls said CIO will work even for a standing baby, so I just stayed in bed as Annabelle’s cries picked up in intensity. I’m lying there staring at the ceiling thinking; it’s not like I’m even sleeping anyway, I’m just listening to her hiccup cry standing up in her crib. Then, she drop kicked the baby monitor across the room and my window into her crying game is gone — unplugged! So I just listen to her cries through two closed doors as they continued and got worse. My initial frustration and resolve to let her CIO was weakening as I listened to my baby girl cry like she hadn’t since the newborn stage. My heart was breaking for her and so after about 20 minutes or so I got up and stood outside her room with my ear against the door. Suddenly, the cries got lighter and less frequent, clearly she was exhausted. Then, I heard what could only be her sleepy little body drop to the mattress and pass out instantly… silence.
I woke up feeling totally sad and guilty and I couldn’t wait to make it up to my baby girl when she woke up. I feared she’d resent me and bite my nipple off during our morning nursing session, but thankfully, she was as happy as ever to see me in the morning. I sat in bed and hugged and kissed her a little longer than normal this morning and I thought about this whole CIO all day today. I know it’s really the best thing for all of us because she needs to learn to self-soothe and that she can’t just cry and mommy and daddy will run to her in the middle of the night. She’s at the stage where she’s learning to manipulate us! That being said; it’s really difficult to stick to your guns when your baby is hiccup crying, standing in her crib pleading for you to come to her.
I hope this is not a new trend for us, but rather a short phase. I have anxiety just thinking about the days when I’m no longer nursing her to sleep, and how I’m going to put an awake baby to bed without her protesting every single night! AHH!!
Mamas, what do you think of the CIO method?