Well, it's official. I was 'that Mom'. I was the Mom that I basically always complained about, but I was that Mom with good reason, if that makes any difference. I was that Mom with the 4,5,6, & 7 month old baby that didn't sleep through the night. I was a THIRD time Mom, this was not my first rodeo!
Why was this happening to me? That's what I constantly asked myself. Deep down I knew why. I'm running a very successful business, caring for an infant, tending to my 2 older children & their life happenstances, with 2 step-kids on the weekends, & trying to have some sort of a relationship with my SO. My other children needed their sleep & so did my significant other..... But where was mine?!
Though our house is of decent size, the walls are thin, and well, baby has a set of lungs. He roomed with us for the first few months of life and it was TRYING. First he roomed with us because he had a terrible reflux issue from the day he was born after swallowing some amniotic fluid. We were assured that would go away within a few days of being home. It did. Then he was rooming with us because we needed to sleep train him to prepare him to sharing a room with another sibling. All the excuses- we always had one. LOL. We had great intentions, however, we went about it ALL WRONG.
You see, each time he'd move in the night, I jumped up (and on occasion his Dad did too) & leapt out of bed to fetch his pacifier in fear that he'd wake himself up & the rest of the house in the process. We pacified him. Guilty as charged. We tried EVERYTHING under the sun except the Cry It Out method (which is so unlike me).
We were even giving him a bottle in the middle of the night which is actually one of the most ridiculous things you can do at these ages. There really is not a single reason for a baby to not sleep through the night at this age except for the parent holding the child back.
You see, as parent's - we are supposed to train our children. We are supposed to guide them. That starts AT BIRTH & never stops. It is not always going to be pretty. I actually realized we were doing him an injustice. It IS NOT mean to let him cry. The injustice was depriving him of his much deserved & needed sleep. THAT is what is wrong.
Parenting is not for the weak. It is not easy to listen to your baby cry, but when you know that nothing is wrong with them - it makes it a bit easier. You have to develop a thick skin because what is always right for your child isn't always going to be easy for you to do. So many people want an easy way out. Sure there may be easier methods in terms of you not having to hear your baby cry. I won't argue that. I will argue that they take longer to implement & CIO is not only a proven method, but is highly effective & effective much sooner. I hear parent's complaining that they 'just can't do it', they just can't listen to their baby cry. NEWSFLASH: It doesn't matter what you want. It isn't about you. What matters is what is best for your child. Getting your child used to crying things out once in a while isn't only a good thing, but it's necessary. We shouldn't get our children used to being at their beckon call. Besides, the crying strengthens their lungs. Bottom line? Let's not start our children out in life cushioning everything for them when it is not hurting them one iota.
I was also informed that by the lack of sleep that had built up, he was over-stimulated which will cause babies to sleep less and less over time.
I went on a trip to Alaska with my daughter when he was 7 months old. I thought this was surely a great time for my significant other to sleep train the baby and get him on a good schedule. It was just supposed to be him, the baby, & my 15 year old. It seemed like the perfect time.
After 4 days I came home & that night my guy says to me, "O.K., here's his schedule: He'll be up at 1 for a bottle & again at 4. That's just his personality. You're never going to get 8 hours out of him." I'm like, "Say whaaaattttt?"! I'm jetlagged as all get-out & totally screwed up from the time change to the point of feeling physically ill. Seriously, I thought I had the flu. I cried, I was so mad. Of course he was waking up at 4 a.m.! He was SOAKED from his 1 a.m. bottle! Duh! It was at this point I'd finally had it.
I told my SO, "I'm starting the Cry It Out method tonight so be ready." Around 9 p.m. I put him in his crib & had our other child sacrifice the bedroom that evening. Around 12:15 a.m.- he woke! After about 15 minutes of letting him cry I started feeling the tension from my SO, like he was mad at me over it or it was somehow my fault - which aside from our other kids, was a big reason I hadn't done this sooner. I attributed this to his sudden severe lack of patience that I did not witness with our other children. I did not give a crap at this point- I was doing this. I told him to go sleep in his truck as he was working my last nerve. He did & I went on to work my maternal magic!
I had every fear that a first time Mom usually has. A big thanks to our new day society that has instilled in us to be fearful of EVERYTHING. I worried about him getting his foot caught in a crib slat (since we should all fear bumpers now, even though I was raised with them and my older 2 as well), planting his face in his mattress & somehow suffocating himself (no blankets though, because you should be scared of those too), the whole 9 yards, but I knew that night was going to be sleepless for me & probably the next night too, but it was for the greater good & it would pass soon.
I went to check on him several times. I checked on him when he was crying to make sure he was o.k., but I NEVER took him out of his crib. You can't. You have to be firm (a quality you should get used to or develop quickly because you are going to have to implement it later in life in far bigger ways). After about a 1/2 hour of crying I did go pat his back. I went back in my room to lay down & he continued to cry. Around 2 a.m. I noticed he hadn't cried for a few minutes so I went to check on him again. He was out like a light. Guess what? He slept until 10 a.m. and the only reason I woke him was because I HAD to leave.
Turns out, it wasn't 'just his personality'. He needed to be trained. The next night he cried for about 30 minutes & went to sleep and slept until 8 a.m. It is currently 3 weeks later, he's teething & still sleeps until between 6:30-8 a.m.
BEST THING I EVER DID.
My other 2 kids had been so easy because when I was raising them as babies I didn't have so many other people in the house to worry about. I sacrificed myself and my sleep for 8 months when I should have done this around 2 1/2-3 months of age & saved myself so I could've been a better & more energetic person for the rest of my family. It is a win-win situation for everyone- YOU JUST HAVE TO GET THROUGH IT.
Babies aren't born knowing what to do. Just like kids shouldn't be making choices & decisions. That's why we are made their parent's- to guide them. To train them, to make decisions for them so they can see what good decisions are. They learn by what we do.
I am not a Doctor & will never claim to be. I am a Mother of 3 children & have been a Mother for a long time. I am not a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist, however I do study psychology & behaviors & have one of the best tools you can have: EXPERIENCE . My posts should be taken as advice only, based on my own experiences.
I hope you made it all the way through this article & that it HELPS you. If I've inspired you to give Cry It Out a go- let me know how it works out in the comments below :)
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