Here are a few hints: No, I don’t want to traumatize her. Yes, I love her dearly. Yes, I have a heart. No, I’m not trying to detach from her.
I want good sleep. And good awake time. For all of us.
When Dot was a baby she slept with me. She slept on me. She slept nowhere else. I would try to slide her off and sneak away and she’d wake. If not immediately, then in 10 minutes. At seven months old I began trying to get her to sleep by herself. I’d lay with her on a bed in her room and just lay there until she fell asleep. No interaction. No nursing. No coddling. She just played and played and then cried. I don’t think she ever went to sleep.
I tried putting her in her crib and sitting next to it. Four hours. We tried Daddy putting her to bed. We tried for months. Eventually only “Crying it Out” was successful. At that point she was around a year old. Her mobility absolutely made it harder, as she would stand up in her crib screaming until her head began to nod. Once she began falling asleep on her own it was just a couple months until she slept through the night. But that’s another story and likely a lot on us. Our lives were very inconsistent when Dot was little.
I felt like I’d ruined Dot for a long time. Spoiled her. I let her sleep on me for hours on end when she was a newborn and didn’t much protest when she refused to sleep anywhere else at night. As she grew older and I grew more tired I wasn’t sure how to get out of my pickle. When your baby so vehemently shows disapproval of a situation (in this case, being left alone in their crib when sleepy) it’s hard to imagine that they can come to find comfort in it. But it is amazing how adaptable these little beings are.
M&M is now five months. In the few weeks she’s began to nap for longer stretches. I’ve been very protective of her napping time; to be quite honest we rarely leave the house anymore. But the getting her down was tiresome. (And yes, I know baby’s in general are tiresome) Sometimes it could take forty-five minutes of walking, rocking, and shushing that could all fly out the window if poor Dot entered to see if we would ever be done at the wrong time.
And then she got sick. Poor little M&M. It was just a day or two, but that’s how easily a little one’s schedule can be blown. I decided to go all in. Instead of establishing and schedule around a routine that wasn’t meeting our needs we were going to try crying it out. They say 4-6 months is a good window, Definitely going to be easier before she’s mobile. And we didn’t want to be left feeling we should have done it earlier…again.
I’d been reading about it for weeks and what’s out there is horrifying. I highly recommend just implementing the tactics (if you are so inclined) rather than reading the opinions of those against it.
My decision on this issue is a lot like my decision about motherhood is general right now. I love my kids. They are paramount in my life; the way I structure my days, the order of my activities, the flow of our energy and resources. But they can’t always be first. Moms have to, have to, put themselves first because a happier Ashley is a happier Mommy. If spending, literally, a couple hours a day fighting with my child to go to sleep is driving me nuts then something needs to change.
A friend posted this Happiness Flow Chart on Facebook the other day and I think it really sums up the whole idea. If you aren’t happy, change it, or quit complaining. So that’s what we’ve done.
An update on our progress to come!