I Said I Never Would…

Posted on | May 8, 2010 | 22 Comments

I let my son cry last night.

I have sworn up, down and sideways that I would NEVER let him “cry it out” because I can’t stand the sound of him crying. I still feel that way… only I did it. For the past, oh three months or so, he’s been waking up on average four or five times a night. If you do the math, that means between 8 pm and 7 am, he is waking up every 2.5 hours. And that’s more feeding than he requires during the day.

Last night I was exhausted. He’s been waking up every two hours or less all week long and last night? Last night he went to bed at 7, woke up at 8, woke up again at 10:30, again at 12:00, and by 2am I was a disaster. I was so tired that I when he started crying at 2 I had to use my fingers to pry my eyes open.

I got up. I walked the floors with him. I let him use me as a jungle gym. I rocked. I bounced. I sang. By 3:00 it was apparent that NOTHING was going to work. I was in tears. For a break, I put him in his crib.

He began to scream. Not like crying… screaming. And it was apparent that he wasn’t hurt or sad… he was mad. He didn’t want to lie down in his crib, he wanted to play with Mommy. He didn’t cry continuously, he just would scream out in bursts every minute or so. So I decided I would lie there and let him fuss for seven minutes.

I watched the clock like a hawk. I was crying alongside of my son. After seven minutes, I walked over, patted his back and sang to him. He quieted down… for a second. Then started fussing again. I had to leave the room. Again, he wasn’t crying… he was fussing. Like angry “pick me up” fussing. So I walked into the living room, sat down at my computer with the monitor close by, and read some late night tweets. I gave him 8 minutes and checked again. Same angry fussing. There were no tears so it was a little easier on me.

I walked back out of the room and decided 9 more minutes. He didn’t make it that long. Six minutes in there was silence. I thought maybe he’d suffocated so I went to check on him. Nope. He was sprawled out on his back, exhausted.

OH MY GOD. My son fell asleep. Without cajoling. It was a Mother’s Day weekend miracle. I crawled back in bed around 3:30 and fell into a deep sleep that lasted until 7:00 am when he awoke again.

Cue this morning… he was happy. Really happy. As in, he sang all morning. And then at 9 when he started to get sleepy, I put him in his crib with a few toys. Guess what? It took him less than four minutes to go to sleep. I am so happy I feel like spiking my coffee.

I don’t know how long this will last and I certainly couldn’t have done it if he’d cried for more than a few minutes at a time last night, but I guess it’s true… I reached a breaking point, I let him cry, and he may have learned how to go to sleep on his own.

Judge away but I got over three hours of sleep in a row. In the words of Lydia… Suck it, Fancy!


22 Responses to “I Said I Never Would…”

  1. Celine
    May 8th, 2010 @ 2:04 pm

    I will never judge, i too reached a cracking point when my son was around 6 months old and did similiar and he went from ONLY napping on his momma in the day and waking 3 times a night to only once in the night (for a feed) and now naps in his cot in the day – halelujah!

  2. Raising Madison
    May 8th, 2010 @ 2:08 pm

    Being a good mother is being open to changing what you thought you would our wouldn't do!

    Crying it out is hard and I understand how it isn't for everyone, I really really do. But people always look at us like they are so jealous when they find out that M has slept through the night since about 6 weeks.

    In the beginning, it was pure luck. But at about 3.5 months things got bad. We'd rock her, put her down and she'd scream. We'd repeat this over and over again. We'd try patting her tummy, shhing, white noise, you name it… NOTHING worked.

    So I bought Ferber's book, read it, made Clint read it and we did it.

    She cried for a LONG time those first few nights. They were hard. I cried too. I wanted to go int here before my "set time." So we decided that Ferber wasn't the bible, we could modify it to what we needed. We found that we couldn't let her go more than 7 minutes without us. It was this magic number. She would get TOO worked up past that and never calm down.

    At first she'd get more pissed when we'd go in there and leave again, but about a minute later it would turn to just slight whimpers.

    It took us a good week for it to work, but it worked. It worked to the tune that we lay her down in her crib wide awake and she just goes to sleep, every single night. Sometimes she'll wake up once in the middle of the night but we walk back in there, kiss her, replace her paci and she's right back to sleep. Even that is rare.

    And I apologize that this is a freaking novel, but I want you to know that I've been there and I know it was a hard decision to make but my kid is SO happy and I attribute that a lot to her really fantastic sleep schedule.

  3. KLZ
    May 8th, 2010 @ 2:08 pm

    Congratulations!! That's wonderful news….hope you're feeling more rested and soon!

  4. Stacey
    May 8th, 2010 @ 2:11 pm

    I feel your pain. My son, who is now 16 months did the same thing to us around that age. Hubs and I took turns at first staying in his room having staring contests with him until he fell asleep. Finally we both decided we would let him cry it out. 5 minutes at a time. The first night he cried 5 minutes, one of us would go in and check, but not pick him up. Once he quieted we'd leave and he'd cry again. Each night the length got shorter until he'd fuss for a minute or so to not at all and sleep through the night.

    But now, I'm ready to tear my hair out, he is waking up now at 16 months. And it is exactly as you described your son, that angry screaming…with tears though. Had us up lastnight 3 times and finally I brought him into bed with me, although sitting up with him until he snuggled against my leg and started to doze. There is no sign of pain or discomfort…he is perfectly fine once out of his crib/room and sitting on my bed.

    Good luck with J. Sounds like you are on your way to more sleep at night!

  5. Nicci
    May 8th, 2010 @ 3:24 pm

    Thumbs up, momma! You did what you had to do for the good of BOTH of you! And clearly, he wasn't scarred for life if he was so cute and happy in the morning 🙂

  6. Not There Yet
    May 8th, 2010 @ 3:27 pm

    It seems that every parent has to figure out there own way to get their child to sleep through the night. You did it! Congrats and happy dreams!

  7. Kim
    May 8th, 2010 @ 3:28 pm

    I said I never would . . . give my kids water in a bottle to stave off night feedings. Uh huh. 7 years and 3 kids later: I did it with all 3. MIL's advice, talked w/ the ped who laughed and said 'it's old school, but it's how we did it w/ our 4! They're old enough to be sleeping at least 7 hourst w/o a bottle." Cue mommy guilt etc, but I, too was at my breaking point. So water into the bottle, and *gasp* after 2 nights, for each kid, they slept threw the night! Sometimes you have to pull the 'I never' card, because what works in that moment just works! Good for you and more sleep! And for J, too!!

  8. Eliza
    May 8th, 2010 @ 4:02 pm

    holy crapola! That's great! I'm so glad it worked for you and I am praying for continued success in this arena.
    I have been allowing Teva to cosleep with us just so I can get some sleep. I know I need to break the cycle but I am so afraid of crying it out. Your post had made me a little more confident…maybe I will have to give it a try. I know I need to teach her to put herself to sleep. Ugh. Because right now, I have to rock and nurse her to sleep.
    Wow, Momma! I mean this in a totally non-condescending way…I am soooo proud of you!

  9. LC
    May 8th, 2010 @ 4:05 pm

    I've enjoyed your blog for a long time, and this is my first comment. My son is six months old now, and he started the same patterns as yours at 5 months.

    There's a chapter in the Ferber book that's made for you. It's called "Trained Night Feeder." It gives a specific schedule to follow to give up unnecessary night feedings for babies who are old enough to sleep through the night. What made me feel even better is that it's better for the baby to sleep longer stretches as well–you're not being selfish.

    Within 4 nights or so of using the system, I am getting 8 hours break between feedings CONSISTENTLY. It may seem like 4 nights is too long, but it was totally worth it for the consistent results.

    Good luck–I've been in your shoes! I love your blog!

  10. Diana
    May 8th, 2010 @ 5:02 pm

    We finally had to do CIO as well. And it worked so much better. I know it's so hard to listen to them cry – but it was a little easier when she was just plain pissed off and not sad.
    I'm so glad it worked and you are getting some sleep!

  11. Mommy C
    May 8th, 2010 @ 6:06 pm

    Maybe this is just me, but I don't view what you did "crying it out". I think someone else mentioned Ferber and it seems to me that is what you did. I think crying it out is letting him cry, without going into check at him at all. You, on the other hand, let him know that you were still there for him by going in at intervals. I hope it sticks and you get some longer stretches of sleep!!

  12. MrsPatterson
    May 8th, 2010 @ 6:10 pm

    I remember feeling like a giddy child the first time L made sleep progress like that. It was ah-mazing! Congrats on your kid sleeping 3 hours!

  13. kidsandcrittersinwyoming
    May 8th, 2010 @ 7:05 pm

    I have been reading you for a bit but never commented but I had to comment on this.

    There's a huge difference between letting a child truly "CIO" and just letting them work off a mad. I think that's where the misconceptions come from. You're in tune enough with your baby to know when it's just a mad and when it's a need. Good for you! Don't let anyone rob you of your milestone because no matter what anyone says we ALL get there at some point!!

  14. CDG
    May 8th, 2010 @ 8:09 pm

    You made the right choice for yourself, and you did right by your son. Good for you! It's so tough, but so worth it when you both discover that he can go to sleep on his own.

    We did a modified Ferber with The Boy, and it was the best thing ever in the end.

    Happy sleep!

  15. The Slocum's
    May 8th, 2010 @ 11:49 pm

    Congrats! I had to do this too…it was so hard, but now she sleeps for 12 hours! Don't feel bad…you knew you're baby needed one thing, sleep! And you gave it to him :).

  16. liz
    May 9th, 2010 @ 12:49 am

    Good for you! And no one has any right to judge. Not only will you feel better with sleep, but he will, too. Him learning the skill to get to sleep on his own is so vital, and will completely change your lives!

  17. Anonymous
    May 9th, 2010 @ 2:39 am

    My son was the same way. He is almost a yr old and I also have a 3 1/2 yr old daughter. I reached a cracking point and ended up cosleeping just to get sleep. My husband didnt like this considering he goes into such a deep sleep he was afraid he would roll over on him. So at his 9 month visit I was worn out, dragged out and trying not to fall asleep in the waiting room and his ped suggested " crying it out" I was like "nope not happening." so she suggested I got in every 3 minutes to start out and then up to 5. I gave it a shot and within a week he was sleeping in his bed by hiself. Yes I have weeks where he wont sleep but for the most part he does which means i get sleep 😉 My daughter was completely different she slept all night from 3 months on. I never had to let her "cry it out".

  18. metta1313
    May 9th, 2010 @ 5:15 am

    I'm glad this ended on a happy note. And when you get that sleep tight workbook you won from my site, there will be all sorts of tips on working J through getting him to sleep better and longer. Happy mother's day momma!

  19. Cybil
    May 9th, 2010 @ 11:06 am

    Happy Mothers Day sweetie! You done good! It will only take one or two more times, and he will get the message, and his sleep durations will extend longer and longer (that's my theory anyway!) Luv ya dear!

  20. amy
    May 9th, 2010 @ 11:44 am

    That wasn't crying it out. That was knowing your son (and yourself) well enough to know that he was just fussing, and was actually fine. You were attentive, but not overly so……
    great job doodah!

  21. I'm Molly
    May 10th, 2010 @ 3:45 am

    I wasn't a big fan of this process either. But when my son started waking up every hour on the hour when he was 10 months old, something had to give. It works, girl. It really works.

  22. parentinginprogress
    May 10th, 2010 @ 4:22 pm

    So glad everyone is getting more sleep. There comes a point when the situation is not working for ANYONE and when that happens, all bets are off. You just have to do what you have to do to get everyone some freaking rest. Congrats!

Leave a Reply

  • Creative Commons License
    Spilled Milk (and Other Atrocities) by Law Momma is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
    Based on a work at http://www.law-momma.com.
  • Twitter

  • Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner


  • Grab my button for your blog!