When my son was about 9 months old we were struggling. Overwhelmed and exhausted didn’t even begin to describe our mental state.
Long story short, I was working and Connor was in daycare but refused to take bottles. To cope with this he had reversed his days and nights when it came to eating. This meant waking up every 1-2 hours every night to satisfy his hunger/needs.
When we had finally got him on a normal eating schedule (a story for another time) we were drained and we knew something had to be done about the sleep patterns that were happening in our house because we were barely functioning.
We had no idea what we were doing and grasping at straws to get rest. In our desperation we were inconsistent and just all over the place. The poor baby must have been so confused by our lack of parenting skills and lack of knowledge.
We were about two weeks in when we decided to give the dreaded cry it out a shot.
We both sat on the couch and cried for the 15 minutes we let him cry. This 15 minutes was filled with googling whether or not this would damage our child or not and what the benefits were, etc.
I read one article that stuck with me. It said that when babies finally stop crying it isn’t because they learn to soothe themselves, it’s because they have given up on you. Whether or not this is true was irrelevant at the time because it tugged the heart strings of my mommy heart that was already hurting so badly.
We couldn’t handle it and we went in.
He was so happy to see us when we went in that the simple act of extending my hand to him was all he needed to calm down. We sat down next to his crib and he fell asleep with his hand in mine while my husband and I both sang to him.
I gave his little hand a squeeze and told him that I would never let him cry like that again and I asked him to never give up on me. I promised that I would always come back.
He is going to be 3 years old in about a week and we have bedtime down to a science here. BUT…he still cries every single night. Sometimes it’s only for 10 seconds, others it’s for a minute or so.
We’ve discovered that it’s his way of expressing his displeasure and letting him do that is not letting him cry it out, but we always tell him that we will be back to check on him. And sometimes he calls out for us to check on him. And we always do. We always check on him because we promised we would.
And my daughter, she has had the benefit of never crying it out the way Connor did. We learned our lesson the first time and she has reaped the benefits.
I don’t ever want my children to give up on me. I would never leave them to hurt by themselves or knowingly let them be scared without my comfort.
It’s not who I am and it’s not what works for us….and we all get sleep around here despite it.
If you’re a new mom or a mom-to-be you might find my free postpartum kit helpful. In it you will find some great resources for postpartum and breastfeeding essentials as well as a restful sleep guide. You can download it here.