Today we went to the Noah’s Ark Exhibit and we had a blast. BUT both of us were over stimulated. So this evening when it was time to go to sleep and my sweet little son decided to bite me while I was breastfeeding (on both nipples), I decided tonight was the night to try and let him fall asleep on his own.
Most people refer to this method as cry it out. I on the other hand really do look at it as learning to fall asleep on his own.
A little bit of background about me, my son and sleeping. I really believe in attachment parenting. I’ve worn my son nearly every day of his life and on the days that I didn’t wear him (due to back issues), my husband did. We have been doing a mix of co-sleeping and letting our son sleep in his crib pretty much since the first day we brought him home.
Our son is not what one would consider to be a good sleeper. If its too loud he wakes up. He wakes up sometimes when trucks drive by. If its too bright he can’t go to sleep. If there is music on, he won’t go to sleep.
We’ve had a sleep routine for him for the last 4 months: bath, pajamas, book, nursing, lullabies then hold him until he falls asleep. Within that routine was many moments of screaming and crying. I can probably count on my hand the nights that our son went to sleep without any tears.
We’ve also tried to let him cry it out. Prior to tonight, it always felt like we were just letting him cry. He always seemed to be scared not just upset. His screams would always escalate. One night we tried on and off for over an hour and a half. We hadn’t tried since.
So back to tonight.
As I was singing to him and he was squirming and crying, I had enough. I figure, if he’s going to cry while I’m holding him, maybe he can just cry in his crib and then possibly calm himself down. He really is old enough now. He should know that we’re here and we come back. We always come when he cries when he wakes up (and yes, he usually cries when he wakes – not always but usually). Its time for my little baby to take another step in his journey. Learning how to fall asleep is a good skill to have.
So I kissed my tearful baby on his forehead, told him “Nighty-night. Don’t worry, I’ll be here when you wake up,” put his flailing body down in his crib, turned around, shut the door and then set the timer for 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes, I went in (he of course was still crying). I picked him up, told him it was okay repeated the words “Nighty-night” and laid him back down.
5 minutes later, my husband went in (he of course was still crying). He did the same thing as I had done, but didn’t pick him up. The difference was, our son wasn’t standing up in his crib, he was just sitting there crying.
Another 5 minutes went by (10 minutes total). I went in, this time he was laying down in his crib. I patted his belly, told him “Nighty-night” and left.
After the next 5 minutes he wasn’t crying (15 minutes). He was still awake and kind of wimpering, so we didn’t go in.
By the next 5 minutes (20 minutes) he wasn’t crying and he was asleep!