If you asked me how I was doing over the last several months, there’s a good chance my answer was something along the lines of “The lack of sleep is killing me!”
Lo was never a good sleeper (not even in the womb, hence the midnight kick-fests), and there were times when I wondered if I’d ever get more than two hours of sleep at a time.
When other moms would tell me how their little one was already sleeping through the night I wanted to punch them in the face- not really, but I did want to curl up in a ball and have a good cry.
Around the four-month marker (when babies can allegedly begin to self soothe), I tried the cry it out (CIO) method. I followed all the rules in the book, but Lo outlasted me every time. Partially because we live in a 1,100 square foot condo, and there was nowhere to escape the sound of crying. And partially because 60 minutes of straight crying was simply unbearable.
We attempted CIO a few more times but could never surpass the three day sweet spot that all books talk about (apparently after three-to-five days your baby gets the memo and magically sleeps through the night).
It wasn’t until a hot spell hit that we were finally able to succeed at CIO. The key to success? A fan in our room that blocked out the sound of Lo’s pouts next door. It wasn’t even on purpose. One night I decided to turn off the volume on the baby monitor assuming I would hear Lo through our bedroom wall like I always did, but instead the fan blurred out the sound just enough to allow me to sleep through the night.
I woke up in a near panic and had to rush in to make sure Lo was still alive. Indeed she was, waking up as happy as ever (maybe even happier). That sweet little smile gave me all the assurance I needed to know that letting her cry wasn’t doing any harm.
That’s not to say that CIO will work for everyone. I’ve heard horror stories of infants who would get so worked up that they vomit or bang their head on the crib railing. And there are plenty of mothers who simply aren’t comfortable with the concept. I can totally respect that.
It’s really a matter of letting your motherly instincts guide you to the best decision for your family. In my case, the lack of sleep was sucking the life out of me to the point where I felt like it was shortchanging my husband and my baby so I did what it took to change the path I was on.
If this blog can encourage, validate, or empathize with even just one mama out there going through something similar, it has served its purpose. Weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section!