We Don’t Cry It Out In This House. Until We Do.

13 01 2012

You see how her eyes are just a little open? She sleeps this way so she can see if I try to sneak away to do something really fun. Like wash her diapers.

Crying it out.  The time-tested method for getting baby to sleep.  On her own.  In a crib.

Let me be upfront here: I never intended to bring Hazel into the “family bed”.  Co-sleeping – having our daughter in our room with us – yes, I am all for that.  But not our bed.  And four months later… our bed is the only place she has spent the night.

It began with a heat wave.  We had her little bed all ready for her when she came home from the hospital, a little nest attached to my side of our own bed.  But it was too hot in our upstairs bedroom, so Jason, Hazel and I ended up downstairs in the guest bed.  She was new and exciting, so she napped in our arms all day and we slept together at night.

After a few weeks, I began thinking I would move her into her crib.  But I was so tired.  And moving her into a crib meant staying awake while I was nursing her, getting us both out of bed, and then being woken up in an hour or two and having to get out of bed again.  Whereas if I just left her in the bed, I wouldn’t have to actually stand up.

Then there was some traveling, and that meant the three of us in bed while we were on the road.

And then…  And then…

Well, she’s four months old now.  And she is thoroughly addicted to sleeping with me.  Actually, she is addicted to sleeping while attached to me.  And that’s a bit of a problem.  Because I can nurse while sort of sleeping, but only sort of sleeping.  And little Miss Hazel likes to nurse, like, every time she is in the not-quite-awake-lightly-sleeping stage.  Which is like, every twenty to sixty minutes.  Unless her reflux is acting up, or she has a cold, or any number of other reasons, in which case she wants to nurse CONSTANTLY.

Basically, I spend twelve to fifteen hours in bed each day but I NEVER REALLY GET TO SLEEP.

At some point each night, I begin to foam at the mouth from exhaustion and the smell of sour milk, and I silently swear that I WILL MAKE A CHANGE.

Here’s the thing: I really, really, really hate the idea of letting our sweet baby “cry it out.”  So I found this great resource, a book called The No-Cry Sleep Solution.  It is a fabulous book with lots of good ideas in it.  Ideas that I tried briefly, with the result of my child screaming.  For an hour.  In the middle of the night.

The middle of the night when I could be, you know, sort of sleeping.  Let me tell you, at 3am, half-sleep seems better than no sleep at all.

I knew I should persist, but things came up: Christmas, a cold, more reflux symptoms, a full moon, whatever.

So here’s the baby, still in our bed, still nursing all night long, and me spending days alternating between grumpiness and weepiness.  And instead of doing all those little things people do while their baby is sleeping (shower, chores, time with spouse), I do them when Hazel wakes because I am with her when she sleeps.  Oh, and time with spouse?  I spend that time yelling at Jason for having the nerve to get some sleep AND some time to himself.  In other words?  It’s not working.

Our pediatrician told us today that we need to let her cry it out.

The mere thought of it makes me want to cry.  Of course, after four months of inadequate sleep, a wood chip can make me feel rather emotional.  But the thought of Hazel, wanting only the comfort of her mother, alone in a crib, screaming for help, and NOBODY HELPING HER?  It makes me sick.  Absolutely ill.

Jason is of the opinion that A) if I ask for help from a professional and choose to ignore it, I am making my own bed (with a baby in it) and need to lie in it; and B) crying it out will not scar the baby.

Sooooooo… After some discussion, we came to the agreement that I will try the No Cry Sleep Solution Method until the end of the month.  If we aren’t making progress, we will Cry It Out for two weeks.  I am still devastated by the thought of letting Hazel cry it out, so Jason has given me this ultimatum: if the no-cry method fails and I refuse to let the baby cry it out and I haven’t come up with another solution, I am by default choosing to let the baby stay in bed with me and I will therefore forfeit my right to bitch about lack of sleep.

And that seems reasonable.  I guess.

I still really, really, really hate the idea of cry-it-out, but now I’m using that as motivation to really stick with the no-cry method for two weeks.

Or I have for the last two and a half hours.  We’ll see what happens at 3am.

***I would love to insert another sweet photo of the sleeping baby here.  But that would mean she would have to sleep, soundly enough to sleep through the click of the camera, and WITHOUT being attached to me.  And if I could manage THAT, well, then this post would not be all about sleep.***

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