When broaching the subject of “cry it out” I have received reactions that range all over the board. I want to start out stating I am NOT a professional on the subject. I am simply discussing what worked for us, and how we got through those first months of sleepless nights.
With your first child, you are told of the pains of pregnancy, you are briefed on the sleepless nights you will endure, you are warned of the ways your life will change, all leaving you pretty darn petrified of this pending blessing. However, no matter how much information I was given, or how many books I read, I still was nowhere near prepared for the actual life changes that were about to take place.
For me, I think all of the change, and stress was magnified by the amount of sleep I was now getting. Which was roughly 2 hours a night for an extended amount of time. For me this time was 8 months. The pro “Cry It Outter’s” are now probably thinking how INSANE. I just wasn’t informed! After one especially stressful, tiring, morning Jax and I were headed to our 8 month pediatrician appointment. My Dr., (who must have thought I looked even more haggard than normal) told me how on-board she is with this thing called “Cry it out.” She gave me some information, and told me to go home and do my research. And research I did, along with my husband. It took us about 15 minutes to decide THIS WAS FOR US!
Most pediatricians or similar professionals recommend not attempting the CIO method until your child no longer requires nighttime feedings, is 4 months old, and/or is weighing over 15lbs. Therefore, by the time Jaxton was 8 months, and weighing roughly 21lbs we knew it was high time everyone got some independent sleep. In our opinion, this was our job as parents, to instill independence and the ability to put himself to sleep.
Austin and I were both fully on board, and prepared for a long night. I knew this would be a bit more difficult for me, as the mommy guilt can get pretty real with me. Knowing this, Austin was ready to take on the first night of back pats. We laid Jaxton down (awake) around 930pm, following his bath, reading a couple of books, and singing a quick “I love you, you love me.” (I know, our creativity was lacking), making sure he was still alert. About an hour of crying ensued, with Austin going in every 5 minutes to do back pats. Not going to lie, some wine drinking also ensued downstairs, as this was very tough to listen to…. All of a sudden the crying stopped. After checking in on our Canary monitor to see our soundly sleeping babe, we made our way upstairs to try and squeeze in as much sleep as we could until the next wake up. Much to our surprise we woke up with the sun, and not our crying baby… As a mom, you know the first time this happens it’s hard to not panic, run in, and make sure everything is OK. Which is exactly what I couldn’t avoid doing… All was fine, and we simply had a child that slept all night long. All I kept telling myself was this was WAY TOO GOOD to be true. This took two more nights of similar results, plus a fourth night of one additional crying spell at 3am, which lasted roughly 30 minutes. At this point we were up to back pats every 20 minutes, which meant we only needed to go in once. I am not even exaggerating when I say after we completed the few days of Cry it Out, our son has slept 9-12 hours a night since, (with the exception of fever, random nightmares, and teething episodes.)
Cry it out saved our sanity. It is something we, as mothers need to share with one another, and support each other through, no matter how we decide to sleep train! I think it is something you must embark upon at your own desire, as it can certainly be a stressful endeavour. This can take more or less time than our experience, but no matter the amount of time, the outcomes seem to be consistent, resulting in sleep for all! Definitely speak with your Doctor if you are in the same boat as us, and are desperate for a bit more sleep, your child is ready to wean off of the night feeding, is over 15 lbs and over 4mos. of age!
**The “back pat schedule” we utilized is HERE. Again, do your own research and speak with your Dr. as there are many different schedules available on the internet.
**The props we used to make this experience more comfortable:
- Halo Sleep Sack: These sleep sacks are a life saver, with not being allowed to put blankets in the crib (according to our pediatrician.)
- White Noise Machine
- Wombie: This is of course our special name for our small elephant blanket (which resembles more of a wombat.). We began using this after our cry it out method experience, but I believe it would be very comforting to your babe to have a “lovey” of some kind.