Tuesday, November 8, 2011

CIO? Not in this house!!

For 15 1/2 months now, that is what I've been saying.  I feel very strongly about it, and so does K.  I've had to explain my position umpteen times to people who think it's the only answer.  I've explained over and over again about no cry sleep training methods, and how, at one point in time, they worked.

Those of you that have read my last couple of posts know that I'm seriously sleep deprived right now.  Since K left (5 weeks ago today) she has been up anywhere from 4 - 8 times a night, every night at least one of those times we are up for 1 - 2 hours (on a few occasions 3 or more hours) at a time, with Bug screaming her little head off.  It's exhausting, I'm exhausted.  When I pick her up it doesn't soothe her.  The only way I can soothe her is by nursing.  My nips were hurting.  Then, half the time, as soon as I popped the boob out of her mouth the screaming would start again.  She was banging her head on the crib.  Arching her back when held, but throwing herself around and reaching for me when not held.

I've tried everything, teething tabs, tylenol, ibuprofen, gas drops, gripe water, nasonex, two rounds of antibiotics, D'Allergy, some oragel (only once - it's a big no no, but I was desperate!!).  I've made it hotter, and colder, in her room.  We've tried an earlier, and a later bed time.  We changed her daytime nap around.  I've slept next to her crib with my hand in it.  I've even brought her into bed with me.  NOTHING has worked.  She's exhausted.  Wake up for the day has been around 4:00.  Then she screams for the first couple of hours that she's awake.  Then when I pick her up at daycare, she screams until I get her ready for bed.  During this awake time, she wants to be held, but doesn't want to be held.  She doesn't want to play.  The best thing I can do is carry her around the house, because if I sit it makes it worse. If I stand and walk it's a LITTLE better.  It's been an ordeal. 

During these 5 weeks there have been a few times where out of sheer desperation I called and woke up K in the middle of the night, hoping his voice would soothe her.  Typically this has been after 2 hours of screaming, so we're all exhausted.  I can't really say if it's worked or if it's just been that she's that exhausted after that long.  I'm not sure.  But I really honestly believe that a large part of this problem right now is separation anxiety from K. 

So, two nights ago, in my sleep deprived delusions I heard her crying.  I laid there in bed while the tears started to roll down my face.  I didn't know what to do anymore.  I KNEW that as soon as I walked in there the crying would turn to screams and the nightly cycle would start again.  So I laid there.  Crying.  Listening to my baby cry.  I couldn't drag my exhausted body out of bed, I didn't have the physical or emotional energy.  My head pounded, the tears kept coming.  Then, I realized, she wasn't crying anymore.  I listened.  Silence.  Pure, blissful silence.  I passed out. 

A couple hours later she woke again, and I nursed her.  She went back to sleep and I was just on the verge of falling back to sleep myself when she woke up again, crying.  I laid there, frozen.  This wasn't screaming, but it was a little more than fussing.  I didn't know what to do.  It was like I couldn't make a decision anymore.

She went back to sleep on her own.

Now, I haven't set an alarm in a few weeks because of these insanely early mornings.

I woke up yesterday morning at about 6:20 and went and checked on her.  She was blissfully snoozing away.  I showered, got dressed, got all ready and woke HER up at 6:50.  When I woke her up she was a happy baby.

Then the mommy guilt hit.  I just did something that I am AGAINST for a variety of reasons.  My sleep deprived brain let me make that choice.  And I hated it.  It made me so mad.  How could I let her cry?

So I picked her up yesterday from daycare, and like always she cried on the way home.  Got home and ate dinner, and she was HAPPY BABY for the rest of the night.  Giggling (oh how I've missed those glorious giggles, those life saving, soul saving, heart warming giggles that I have been deprived of).  We sat on the floor together and played.  I chased her around the house as she laughed and smiled, and DIDN'T CRY.

I told K what I did, and he was great about it.  As he pointed out if she was going to be crying anyways, sometimes you just have to let it happen.

Last night, she woke up at 3:00 the first time, I couldn't believe that she made it that long.  I got up and nursed her.  She woke up at 5:00, and guilty mom let her cry for a few, and she was back out.  She woke up a Happy Baby at about 6:30.

I still hate CIO.  I would never do it with a young baby, and if these circumstances weren't what they are I wouldn't have allowed it to happen the last two nights.  I hate the feeling of guilt, but my baby girl is HAPPY again.  How is it that something that seems so wrong to me is the only thing that seems to have helped?  Is it a fluke? Coincidence? Do I allow it to happen for a couple more nights and see if her sleeping habits continue to get better? 

I don't know where to go from here............


  1. Oh honey! This does not at all sound like CIO it out to me!!! I think there is a HUGE difference between allowing an older baby to self soothe when s/he is just fussing, and letting a little (or any!) baby for real cry it out. If what happened was you allowed her a few minutes to figure it out on her own - and she did!!!! - I think that was an awesome move. Now, if you'd let her scream til she vomited on herself for an hour, that would be completely different.
    Also, give yourself some grace, momma! You are doing the absolute best that you can and that baby girls loves and adores you. Most of all, she KNOWS that you love and adore her. You are such a good momma, and you may have just found the right formula for making a happier baby and momma! I think that actually makes you a genius!

  2. Uh, and wow that was a lot of "!!!". Probably because I am super jealous that you got YOUR baby to sleep, lol!

  3. oh sweetie, what a hard time you are having. I can just imagine how heartbreaking it must feel to have your precious babe being so unhappy. It sounds like you are loving your little girl in all of the perfect ways that a mama should. I wish I knew what would make it all easier, but really have nothing to offer in the ways of being a parent, not yet at least.

    Are there any parent groups that you can connect with in your community? Maybe it would help for YOU to get some support from other mama's. I can't imagine trying to handle everything on your own. Or maybe is hiring a doula to come over for a night or two an option - so that they can help with things and you can get some rest?

    good luck. Your babe is a lucky girl to have such a loving mom.

  4. well, i know how you feel, we didn't do cio either, but at one point we did allow her to fuss and cry a bit before going in to pick her up. i don't believe in letting them scream and cry for long periods of time, but i don't think a little here and there hurts, it allows them to learn self-soothing. i know it's really hard, but in the long runs it's probably good, that way mama and baby are both well rested. good luck.

  5. I agree with the PP. You weren't neglecting your baby and she clearly is ready to be able to put herself to sleep! No one is going to fault you for doing something you said you'd never do. Everyone has had that moment (parent or not!)

  6. I also agree with the PP's. I don't think you were really letting her CIO--especially at her age. It sounds like she was ready to find a way to self-soothe. Right after I had LM, one of my dear mom friends told me (and of course, I didn't listen because, hey! new mommy-haze makes you believe you are know all) that motherhood will make you do things you don't think you ever will...things you are totally against...it just happens. I think your body was just letting your brain do what it needed to survive. Good luck and enjoy your sleep!

  7. There's this funny thing about being a parent versus how non-parents or pre-parents/new parents think things should (or better yet, will!) be done... it's the introductory part of what comes later, also known as Your Kid Will Make You Out to Be a Liar. It's why you don't ever utter the phrase, "My child would never..."

    I'm sorry you're beating yourself up about this. I don't advocate CIO for everyone. When it was recommended (by someone we thoroughly respected) that we use the Ferber method to sleep train Madelyn, I completely rejected it. I'm sure I had many of the same thoughts and feelings about it as you did and do. We didn't end up needing it with Mad. Little Miss Rules and Routines seemed grateful that we stopped interfering with her sleep. Fynnie, on the other hand... I have had to let her cry it out three times. That came after over eight months of trying something else. It was a hard decision each and every time, but she is so much happier when she sleeps. And so am I.

    Hugs, Mama.

  8. Thank you all so much for the support!!! I felt so much better and realized just how right everyone was. Its amazing how much things can change in the way you think about things. Thank you again!