That is what I’m calling our new sleep training method.
The term cry-it-out does not bode well with me. It makes me think of people who just let their babies scream alone for hours on end (I do realize that this is not the case if you are actually following the Ferber method.) Which is why I never ever ever saw myself trying CIO, even if we did it the right way. I just couldn’t get away from the sound of the terminology.
And for a long long time we didn’t need to do anything to ensure that everyone in our house got a decent amount of sleep. We were blessed from Day One with Ariadne. The first few weeks for tough for me, but only because I had to wake her every 2 hours to eat because of her jaundice. After that she slept, and slept long and hard, only waking maybe once before 6am, if at all.
As with all things that seem to good to be true, this was so very temporary.
Somewhere between four and five months old, my sleeping baby turned into the magical non-sleeping baby.
Leaving me wondering at times “WTF was wrong with my child?!” Nothing except The Boob would get her back to sleep after her 10/11pm wakeup. And once she was back to sleep there was no luck getting her back into the crib. I cursed crib manufacturers for not making small doors for Boobs to stick through.
So after weeks of being so tired I could barely think, I finally told my little girl that she needed to “Work It Out.”
There was no pre-meditated plan that night. It started out just like every other night for weeks prior. I would nurse Ariadne at about 7pm, put her right in her crib and leave the room to go study for a few hours. And just on cue, when The Hubs and I climbed quietly into bed at 10:30pm, she woke up crying. The two of us laid there and sighed heavily.
But I was determined.
I told him to get up, that we were leaving the room. On my way out, I patted her a few times, told her it was bedtime and closed the door.
And for five minutes I thought “I’m the worst parent ever”
Then I went back into the room, patted, assured her it was okay, and that it was bedtime.
Walked back out.
We repeated this seven minutes later.
At the next interval (ten minutes) I got to the bedroom door and suddenly she went silent. I stood there for a moment, and when she didn’t make a peep I sat on the top stair and waited.
Twenty minutes later, we crawled back into bed and everyone slept.
That was a week ago, and ever since then, Ariadne has fallen asleep on her own, every night, without much more than a few peeps.
When asked if I used the cry-it-out method, I answer “No.” Because to me, the term CIO is so very tainted. It makes you think that the important part in the method is the CRY, when really, it’s not. As with any sleep training method, you’re teaching your child that they need sleep, that sleep is a good thing, and makes them feel refreshed and happy when they wake up. Letting them cry themselves to sleep doesn’t necessarily teach that.
We want Ariadne to know that she doesn’t need The Hubs or I (okay, The Boob) to fall asleep. That her body will tell her when to fall asleep.
So I’ve decided that our sleep method is called “Work It Out.” And sometimes, that may mean some fussing happens, heck, even some crying. A lot of the time though, it means that she may need to talk herself to sleep, suck on her hand, play with a few toys, or just reflect on her day. So when it’s naptime, or bedtime, I tell her that it’s time for some quiet time and I let her work it out.
And sometimes when I’m checking in on her, I find a less than happy baby, who becomes extremely happy to see me. Which means we bust out the camera.
Finally taking this route has allowed me to feel like we’re actually getting into a routine.
I don’t feel guilty, because at the end of the day, whatever we’re doing works (for us). Our girl falls asleep quickly, and wakes up happy.