Let your kid cry it outTuesday, March 23, 2010
Second City Baby
When the hazy days of newborn nirvana wear off and all you're left with are loads of laundry and constant cravings of beverages that end in -cino, -ato or -esso, you'll do just about anything to get some shut eye.
I tried the various ways to get my baby to sleep through the night, but nothing worked. No amounts of check and consoling, swinging or feeding would make him sleep longer than three hours at a time. At four months old, the only option left was to let him cry it out (CIO.)
I first consulted with my pediatrician on whether or not it was okay to let him start to self-soothe, and when I got the thumbs up, I started my research to figure out the best technique for sleep training. I read up on books about CIO and self-soothing, mainly from local sleep doctor extraordinaire, Dr. Marc Weissbluth. His book, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, was like a Bible to me with my first. Three-and-a-half years later I had to refresh my memory. The book offers up three ways to get your baby to sleep better: No Cry, Maybe Cry and Let Cry. Though it sounds cruel, Dr. Weissbluth says that Let Cry, or "Extinction," works the best and fastest. I knew it was true - I had done it before. But gearing up to let my baby cry his lungs out seemed daunting and primitive.
The first night was the worst. The guilt was immense. After two hours of crying I almost went into his crib, but something inside said "the doctors say no!!" and five minutes later he stopped. When I walked in his room in the morning, he was all smiles and ready for the day.
The second night was better - he only cried two times for about 30 minutes each. By the fourth (or fifth) night, (my then sleep-deprived brain just doesn't quite remember correctly), he was sleeping 12 hours. And I had survived my second round of sleep training.
People may think I'm crazy, evil or just plain mean. There are some of my friends who would never let their kid shed a tear for even a second. But for me, a few nights of wailing was worth a happy, restful baby. And worth all the money I'm now saving on coffee drinks.
But what about you? Would you let your baby cry it out?