I had my preconceived notions that I would have absolutely no problem with letting my children cry themselves to sleep or as we say now “CIO”. I just assumed that I would naturally be okay with this. I would instinctively know that it was what was best for them. Not the case.
It goes against EVERY fiber of my being to sit and listen to Brennan cry. I created a monster during the long months of Tax Season. Brennan was getting up about every three hours just like he was a newborn. I knew he didn’t need to eat. It was just easier for me while Ben was gone to pop into his room, pick him up, and nurse him until he was calm. Then I’d place him back in his crib awake and he’d go back to sleep. I have to admit, I enjoyed the cuddle time we were having in the glider in his room with me holding him close in my arms.
Needless to say once Tax Season was over Ben put the kabosh on that one. Ben had to watch me and make me stay out of Brennan’s room while he was crying. “The book [Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child] says that you need to let him sleep, Bert. You aren’t helping him,” Ben would say. It took about a night or two of listening to him cry but after that Brennan went back to sleeping nine hours straight. (I still get up to feed him at around 4:30am which our pediatrician says is completely fine and normal.)
This week our struggles are the naps. Geesh! I had naps nailed down for the boy. He’d get swaddled in his Swaddle Me, I’d put his favorite blanket (Taggie is what we call it) over his chest so he can suck on one of the tags and then I’d turn on his little Fisher Price aquarium and off to dreamland my boy went. If he woke up crabby, I’d just have to go in, rock his belly back and forth and sing, “Jesus Loves Me”; he’d be back to sleep again. That isn’t the case any more! It’s true that once you figure out a system and it works with a child, the child goes and changes on you.
Brennan still needs to be swaddled but he’s rolling over onto his stomach now. Today I decided I’d do the Swaddle Me loosely so at least he can get his arms out if need be. He was having a very difficult time going to sleep this afternoon so I went in to do my rocking of the belly and singing routine. NOPE! Wasn’t working at all! He used to never look at me when I did that. About three days ago that became a thing of the past.
I had to do what I HATE doing…let him cry it out. Weissbluth (Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child – very excellent book about sleep and believe me we’ve had to learn a lot about sleep with this boy) says to let a baby of Brennan’s age cry for up to one hour for naps. ONE WHOLE HOUR. I walked out of Brennan’s room after trying for 20 minutes, as Ben was walking out to the garage I threw my hands up in the air and said to him, “Well, I can’t get him to go back to sleep any more. He’s going to have to cry it out. It’s 2:36 and we’ll let him do this until 3:36.”
Praise the Lord he eventually went to sleep. I hate listening to my boy cry but the need to sleep is more important than my hatred for having to listen to it. I know he isn’t hurting, he’s just tired. Nighty, night. Sleep Tight.
As the creator of the lifestyle blog Me Before Mom, Bert supports millennial moms facing the challenges and changes of motherhood. Me Before Mom is an online community that offers support through real life stories, encouraging advice, and answers to questions about how a woman maintains herself during this self-sacrificial time of parenthood. Stories from Bert Anderson have helped women across the globe through the Huffington Post, Today’s Parent, and on the Harry show. Whether weathering the first year of motherhood or walking through the later stages of motherhood, Bert has helped many continue to find herself while still in the throes of motherhood.