Thursday, November 1, 2007

To Cry or Not To Cry

Updated to add- Yes, I am still nursing Hailey. She does nurse on and off all night. Most nights I couldn't even tell you how often it happens. She starts poking me and doing the sign for "milk" and since I want sleep- I nurse her.

To cry or not to cry... THAT is the question!

Okay, I need your help and advice. Hailey is still not sleeping all night. When she was first born I kept telling myself, "You just have to make it through these first 6 months. Then she'll start sleeping all night. That is what everyone says."

At 6 months I started telling myself, "Surely by the time she turns one she'll be sleeping better. Just hang on for 6 more months."

Well, now it's officially been a year since I have slept more than a couple of hours in a row. And, really it's been much longer than that because I didn't sleep well during my pregnancy either.

When I bring this topic up with other moms, they look at me with pity filled eyes and say, "Oh, wow. My baby has been sleeping all night for a while now."

To which I say, "LIAR." But of course, I say that inside my head, not right out loud because I do not like confrontation. But really, if they are telling me the truth then why oh why are there so many books on the subject of helping your child sleep all night.

Now the reason I am needing your help is that Hailey's sleep actually seems to be getting worse. Around 4-5 months Hailey was sleeping from about 11pm-5am- for 6 straight hours. (Of course, I wasn't sleeping because I had to keep checking on her.) But, around 5 months she started waking up once or twice during the night. Since I was desperate for sleep I would nurse her back to sleep.

Doing this a couple of times each night was really wearing me out. At 6 months we tried the Ferber method of letting Hailey cry it out. For one day. I could not do it and neither could Rich.

One night around 7 months I let Hailey fall asleep in bed with us while nursing her. Then again the next night and the night after. Finally I was getting some sleep because I didn't have to get out of bed to get her and both of us went back to sleep so much faster.

I really don't mind having Hailey sleep with us. The problem is that she goes to bed around 8pm in her own bed. She used to sleep until about 2am before joining us in bed. Soon the time had moved back to midnight, then 11pm. Lately she's been getting up about an hour and a half after she goes to bed, meaning that if she goes to bed at 8pm, she is up at 9:30pm. She will not go back to sleep until I bring her into my bed. I am not ready to go to bed at 9:30pm.

I can rock her until she is sound asleep, but as soon as I lay her in her bed her eyes pop right open. If I bring her into my bed, she stays asleep. If I wait until she is sound asleep and try to move her back to her bed- she wakes up.

So, have any of you ever had this kind of problem? Does anyone have any suggestions or advice? What did you do to get your kids to sleep all night? Did you let them cry it out? Any help would be much appreciated!


ValleyGirl said...

Are you still nursing her? Does she get a snack before bed? Maybe her little tummy's just not full enough. Other than that, I got nothin', sorry. To me, it sort of sounds like it's maybe just a bad habit that she's developed. We just let our girls cry when we knew they didn't need to be awake, but we're a little callous that way! Yeah, we lost a bit of sleep (well, I lost a bit of sleep -- hubby generally slept right through it all!), but both my girls were sleeping through the night quite early.

It kind of depends on the kids themselves, too. Some are simply better sleepers than others. I think God knew I'd lose my marbles if I never got more than a few hours of sleep at a time!!

I don't know. This is probably all stuff you've heard of or thought of before. I hope you'll find some helpful advice.

Andrea said... is tough trying to get your kids to sleep through the night! What I did with Tate (although I started when he was younger...about 5 months old) was I would put him in the crib and sit with him until he fell asleep, and then he only cried for about 10 minutes max the first few times and it got better until around 10 months when he would cry longer again. Finally at 1 yr. I decided it was time to just put him in the crib and leave the room and I'd go back in every 5 minutes and lie him down again until he fell asleep. The first 2-3 days are the worst...honestly...they are smart and catch on very quickly! So I did let him cry it out then. I also let him cry it out just before 1 yr. old when I stopped nursing him in the middle of the night. Oh my goodness...although those first 2-3 days are SOOOO tough, it is so worth it! He has been sleeping through the night ever since (of course when he's teething really bad he might wake up once or twice, but he almost always goes back to sleep by himself now), I actually would recommend letting her cry it out. I think that the sooner you do it the easier it the fact that the less they'll cry, even if it still seems like a LOOOOONG time. It really is hard though...I know, but I also think it is worth it. It's SO nice now to have just be able to put him in the crib and he just goes right to sleep...and mostly to be able to sleep right through the night!! Good luck!

Ashley said...

I let my three children cry and it was a hard thing for me to do -- but it usually took only a few nights and they were sleeping all night. They have all grown up and are well adjusted adults.

Ashley said...

I let my three children cry and it was a hard thing for me to do -- but it usually took only a few nights and they were sleeping all night. They have all grown up and are well adjusted adults.

JenLo said...

I second Valley Girl's question. Are you still nursing? My kids got worse and worse at sleeping through the night until they were weaned. At the end, they were each trying to nurse pretty much all night long. After we weaned them, they ended up sleeping through. I think you have to find something that works for you--the only problem with letting them sleep with you (which I did a lot by the way) is that the older they get, the more crowded the bed gets, but then they really don't want to sleep alone.

Andrea said...

I'd vote for letting her cry it out. Yes, it's H-A-R-D (an underestatement) -- but it shouldn't take more than a few nights. And, if you actually look at the clock you might be surprised. It may seem like she's crying for a LONG time, when it really probably is only 15-20 minutes.

But you need to decide what YOU feel comfortable with. That is just my suggestion.

Pam said...

I feel your pain! I finally let Riley cry at night and now he is sleeping and not waking me (of course, Ashlyn is waking me instead, but that is another story). Since she is waking so soon after bedtime, it sounds to me like she now has developed a bad habit. I know crying it out is will probably take 3- 5 nights, but then you should be able to get some sleep. You can do it in varying degrees- you don't have to do the cold turkey could let her cry a bit each night and increase the length of time before you go in. I wish I had a magic solution for you....I had to let Ashlyn cry it out when she was younger also. Being as Hailey is one, she doesn't need to eat at night. You can nurse her or give her a snack before bed and that should hold her until morning. There are lots of methods as you said to how to do just have to pick what works best for you and your family. If you do let her cry...start with a Friday night when you and Rich don't have to be up for work and can nap/rest over the weekend. I wish I was there so I could send you to a motel and I could stay at your place and let hailey cry and then you wouldn't have to go through it (okay, I meant that in a nice way and it doesn't sound nice as I read it now!). Good luck with your decision!

JennaG said...

I agree with the one who said that it sounds like she has gotten into a bad habit. I know it is very hard to let your child cry, but I assure you that it works. Sometimes love has to be tough.

Sharon said...

Well I think it is unanimous. Sometimes you just have to let them cry. Just think of the sleep you will get when it is over. I will be worth it!

Regina said...

Hey there,
I'm sorry you are not sleeping (hhummm, parenthood, you gotta love it!). You probably know my take on it... my kids had to cry it out! I did all of the parent things first; trying to keep them upas late as possible, giving them warm baths feeding them changing them, burping them. After all of that stuff was done, yea thay had to cry it out. It was hard with some of my kids and not so hard with others.
all kids are different, and do things in their own time and their own way.
But ultimately after all of the advice, what if's, I tried, and I do's, you have to do what works for you!
Sorry I couldn't be more help, but This To Shall Pass...eventually!

ComfyDenim said...

Letting them cry it out is a way to shift control back to you. right now, sweet thing is boss of the night.

Now MY problem lies because if Mini-e doesn't sleep and cries, she's loud and wakes up EVERYBODY. Then the next day we're ALL zombies and snapping at each other.

With Mini-Me, she cried it out. G I would pat his bottom until he fell asleep - but he'd be in his own bed. Eventually it all stops and, lo, they're asleep on their own.

It's really a matter of re-training her sleep patterns. Good luck! Let us know how it goes!!

ZAM said...

This is tough. But to me -or for my boy, letting him cry it out just didn't work. Maybe Hailey love being with you and that maybe it's easier for both of you if she joins you in bed. I've always co-sleep with Matt so I cannot see the difference of not having him in bed with me. Even until now when he's almost 2 and it has worked just fine with me. About sleep, we have established a sleeping pattern for him early on -even if he's not yet sleepy, we go to bed at 7PM (well, I wake up after he sleeps). There are nights that it's difficult for him to go to sleep- he usually sleeps at 7PM - 8PM period, and there are times when I get cranky when he does that because most of the times I don't know what's wrong. I just make guesses and put Chamomile in his tummy (for fear that it's gas that making him not sleep). Sometimes, it works, sometimes it doesn't. Haaaay.

I'm just lucky though that when Matt sleeps and cries, a bottle of milk (I'm not nursing him now)or some rocking can make him go back to sleep. But that was not the case when he was below 7month old!

BTW, it's good that you're nursing him. I would have liked to do that til Matt is 2, but I had to shift to formula when he was about 8month s old, because I was not producing enough (work and business trips did that).

Shaunda said...

It's very hard but I think sometimes you just have to let them cry.

KC said...

I have not read any of the other comments yet.. but I wanted to type out some stuff for you.. 1st off you are not alone, your baby isn't the only one who didn't/doesn't sleep thought the night. My mom told me I NEVER slept though the night.. and I think she is right even to this day I wake up around 2am(that is if I have gone to bed before that LOL)even if I"m not being awaken by the kids. but As a mother of 4.. NONE Of mine ever slept though the night until they were close to 3 years old. It wasn't like they were getting up and staying up for hours and hours in the middle of the night(well I guess both the boys did do that also from time to time) but on a regular night they were doing what you just typed out here.
Now here is where I become very popular LOL.. I WILL NOT LET my kids cry it out.. I have a ton of reasons for it but normally that ends up in a big debate over CIO or attached parenting.. and I don't claim to be either but I lean more towards AP. My view is they are only little once and there will come a day where they won't want to be cuddled up next to mommy to fall asleep(and trust me I'm on #4 there is a day when they will go to bed with out your arms around them and then you will miss the days of hugging them to sleep) I would try putting her to bed an hour later.. and when she falls asleep just let her sleep where she fell asleep at and don't move her until your ready to go to bed if you move her at all. AND yes I was also a cosleeping parent with the last two LOL.. came about that because with the 1st two I kept trying to get them to sleep in there crib and I wasn't getting much sleep at all, plus I bottled feed the 1st two and nursed the 2nd two and got MUCH more sleep nurseing in bed and just letting them sleep in bed with me the whole night.
Little Man will be 2 1/2 years old this month and He just started sleeping in his own bed for most all of the night.. up until 2 months ago he was still falling asleep and sleeping in my bed, Now he goes to sleep in his bed and he still wakes up and walks into my room sometime around 5am but we both are getting much more sleep..

IF letting her sleep in your bed until she is older isn't something you really want to do.. there is a wonderful book out there called The No Cry Sleep Solution written by Elizabeth Pantly.. it was the only book on getting kids to sleep that I could agree with.. the rest was all about letting them cry and not checking on them and that is just not the way God made me.. I need to be there for my children and I need to comfort them.. It hurts my heart to hear them cry for me and me not go to them.. When I was trying to get Sweet Pea to stop nurseing though the middle of the night when she was 18 months old and wanted to start moving her into her own bed.. I got this book and it really did help..
Best of luck with which ever you do to help you both get good sleep.

KC said...

OH I just read the comments.. I'm glad Zam posted or I would have been the only one saying CIO didn't work for us.. I did try a time or two. with my oldest.. but Really it felt like it was going agaist every motherly feeling in my body.. and I thought that just couldn't be right. PLUS my kids were hard headed little things.. and they could scream for hours LOL.. Little Man once screamed for 2 hours non stop because he didn't want to sit in his carseat.. we got there he stopped crying when we left he cried another 2 hours non stop the whole way home.. so CIO didn't work for us either.. besides the fact that I hated it.. my kids would not give up crying after 10 min, 15 mins 30 mins or 2 hours..

Here is the link to the book I mentioned The No Cry Sleep Solution said...

I had to lay down by Carrie (She is 50 years old now) until she was 2 years old!! She had a twin size bed, so I could.... I made sure she was really full before bed time!! I had Bill when she was 2 and 1/2 and by then she was better and I didn't have to lay down by her!

Now when she comes to visit me she lays down on the bed with me and we talk and talk about stuff!! I love that!!

One thing to remember your little girl will get older berfore you know it!!

But you need help now!! I will pray that you can figure this one out!! Love and Hugs, Grams

my4kids said...

I'm with KC on this one. I tried the crying it out thing with Izzak and it broke my heart to hear him. We went for a week once and he would cry for over and hour and I would end up getting him out. There was no way I could just let him cry like that. We coslept with him till he was ready for his own bed and he did that on his own once we got him a big boy bed and started having him start off in his own bed when he was old enough to explain that we were in the next room then he was always able to crawl in bed with us as long as he tried to sleep in his own bed to start. Joshua slept in a bassinet till he was to big for it and with him he just went right to sleep in his crib no problems. The girls co slept with us from day one basically. It was easier for me and them and with the kids that slept with us we both got more sleep that way and no crying in the middle of the night. We did the same with the girls as Izzak when they were old enough,around 2 1/2, to tell them they needed to lay down in their own beds to start the night but could come in with us when they woke up. Honestly I couldn't bear to let them cry like that. When they are that age they aren't always able to understand you are in the next room so they think they are alone and to some kids that is a scary thought. You have to do what is best for you though. All of my kids managed to make it to sleeping in their own beds though now and we only have the little guests (the girls) when one has a nightmare anymore.

Oldqueen44 said...

One of my daughters has those music fish tank toys that attaches to the side of the crib. Her babies have learned to turn it on so they sooth themselves back to sleep. Now when they cry and won't stop she knows it is because they are having a problem.
A little tough love is in your future, Here's the deal... You are doing your baby a dis-service by not letting her learn how to work through the desire for you to be with her to sooth her to sleep. You have to look at the big picture of her life. This may seem like a simple little thing that you can do for her but from the day she was born you began your training for her to be a successful adult. Tiny little steps like learning to sleep through the night is part of the process. It is going to be really hard on you for those 3 days that everyone has warned you about but it will not only be a blessing to you it will be a blessing to the baby. Remember she is waking up as often as you are. She needs to learn to sleep through the night for her health also. If she is eating a good dinner and she has a snack and is nursed before going to bed, it is highly unlikely she is hungry through the night. She is just enjoying the accessability of mommy.
Go for it... You can do it.

Tiff said...

I'm in the same boat hun!! my 11 month old slept fine all night up until two months ago when he got a bad cold. Now he's up every few hours. At first I was giving him bottles of just formula (had to stop nursing because of the biting) but then he would just wake up a few hours later. I am now trying a scoop of formula, two scoops of rice cereal and a small spoonful of baby fruit.I fill the bottle with warm water and I cut the nipple just a tiny bit to let the thick cereal out. His tummy gets full and he sleeps the rest of the night. That and he has gained some weight (he's only 16 lbs at 11 months old). It's working so far. I know it might not be the best idea but it works for us!

JennieBoo said...

No advice here, but I'll pray for you both.

We were all bottle fed, so I only know about those....sorry.