Never Let A Baby/Child Cry
Well, I'll be blunt, this is total crap. Babies and kids cry for all kinds of reasons. My 4-year old cries when we wash her hair. She cries if we close the door at ballet even though she can still see me through the window.
Dump this concept in the bin with the poopy diapers. Within reason, let your baby cry. Let your kid cry. Yes, it's frustrating as heck but sometimes they need to get their emotions out just like we do.
(Note: do not harm your baby or child due to crying. When you feel that urge--and you will-- it's time to set them in a safe place and move into another room until you calm down. I find screaming in the bathroom helps.)
I co-slept with my oldest from newborn to about 4.5 months. During that time I never took medicine (or drugs or alcohol) that would lessen my ability to sense her presence beside me. I also slept with her in the crook of my arm. That kept my arm position so awkward that rolling to my side would've been painful.
At 4.5 months she became too squirmy for me to get any sleep. She also wanted to use me as her personal nighttime pacifier. So she got moved to a crib in our room where she remained until 14 months old. We all slept crappy.
I tried co-sleeping with my youngest but gave it up by 2 months. Actually, I'm not sure I even made it that long. Neither of us slept well co-sleeping. She moved into a bassinet until she grew big enough to go into a crib.
We kept her in our room until around 7 months then moved her to her own room.
Do I recommend co-sleeping? Not really. Get a good monitor that baby can sleep on and get a better nights rest.
I loved this book for use with my eldest. The pointers to establish a daily and nightly sleep routine and schedule were extremely helpful. We went from a 1 year old who was up 4 times a night to one who slept through the night. This change took about two weeks. Over the years we’ve simply tweaked the routine and, excluding an illness, she sleeps through the night.
I should note that even today, if she gets up to go to the bathroom, she doesn’t fully awaken. This has resulted in her ending up in our room disoriented and upset. Once we get her on the toilet, business gets taken care of and she goes back to full sleep within minutes. Its rare for her to not sleep a good 10 plus hours.
But this method has not worked so well with my youngest. A huge part of the problem is an inability to establish a schedule that works around her versus her having to work around the various activities we do daily. Things like preschool drop-off and pickup are not our friends. Invariably she’ll get all of 20-30 minutes sleep and have to be woken for some reason. As much as is possible I try to let her needs dictate our schedule so that she does get a good nap, but there are times when I simply can not. Those days suck.
Please don’t take my meaning wrong. When I can’t work the schedule around her, I end up getting awoken 1-5 times at night by a crying baby. So that night is a disaster. Then I’m exhausted the next day. If it just happens to be multiple days in a row where baby isn’t napping when she wants (10-noon), then I’m a complete grouch and life is pretty much bad.
Then it comes time to break the cycle. Break it. Seriously. I’ve learned when my youngest starts waking up multiple times a night, she doesn’t resume sleeping better even once naps improve. Nope, she keeps waking those 1-5 times a night.
Now I can handle one waking a night. Even two occasionally. But past the second time and this Momma gets mad.
I did not do this with my first born as there was never a need. I do it with our second child all the time. Letting her cry herself to sleep at bedtime is the only thing I’ve found will break her “bad naps now I wanna nurse to sleep” pattern.
I hate doing it. I hate hearing her cry. It’s all I can do to not cry along with her. I do the “extinction” version which is where I let her cry herself to sleep. Once cry it out is started, I don’t go back in. This isn’t due to meanness. I realized the first time I tried to go back in and comfort her during a cry it out that it really ticked her off.
These days a cry it out session can take as long as 30 minutes but usually less. The first night she’ll still wake up a lot but will put herself back to sleep without me. I will need to go in once, maybe twice for a short nurse. By the third night there is one wake up period.
While this is much better, it’s not ideal. With one wake session she’s up at 6 in the morning and will not go back to bed. Her sister sleeps until closer to 8. I make the best of it by getting in exercise and breakfast while there’s just one kid to deal with.
I hopeful that an even better, fuller night of sleep is in my future (and her’s). Until then, this is the best we’ve been able to get.
Your babies are as unique as you. Don't stress about what works.
I hope each person who reads this feels a little less frustrated with their kids and the wide range of sleeping issues they seem to invoke in us, their parents. Feel free to share your experiences in the comments. None of us are alone even if we feel like we are.
Smith & Guy University series