Dudes. We let him cry.
Before you gasp in horror and clutch your pearls (or think to yourself, what’s the big deal? We’re super into sleep training at our crib, homeys), hear me out.
There was so. Much. Crying. Going. On. Anyway.
So much. At bedtime, in our arms, out of our arms. At 12:30 a.m., probably because we’d ended up rocking him down five hours earlier and there’s this little gem called Object Permanence to worry about (wait. I fell asleep in their arms, and now I’ve awoken in the crib, and I’m only a baby and what the f%^k is going on, here?!). Then maybe again at 2:00 a.m. And at five.
It all came to a head the night B and I were cowering in the living room holding each other, unsure what to do next. One or the other of us had just rocked Baby S back to sleep in our arms, placed him gently back in the crib, and tiptoed out—only to have him burst into wails two seconds later. It was hours before he should have wanted to nurse at this point. I think I nursed him anyway. More tears, as soon as his body hit the mattress. There we were in the living room, whispering to one another, wide awake, neither of us sure what to do. Click To TweetI probably nursed him again. B probably soothed him again. I dunno. I’ve repressed it. Eventually, some or all of us went back to sleep.
The next day, bleary-eyed, I did some reading online. I called a trusted friend. I realized I was officially at the end of my rope. With L, I had nearly a full year of sleep patience in me before something had to give. With S, I made it to 8.5 months. I didn’t want him to be miserable, but I also really suspected that maybe, just maybe, he wasn’t really loving all the crying either (if he desperately wanted to be soothed, then how come no amount of holding and rocking and nursing satisfied him?).
And we thought, sleep training? Cry it out? Maybe?
We realized, from doing a bunch of reading, that bedtimes really were the culprit. If he had a bad bedtime, or if he fell asleep in one of our arms, he wouldn’t be able to self-soothe in the middle of the night. Besides, the bedtimes were predictably the worst, just the worst, so much drama, 45 minutes of crying and rocking and soothing that wasn’t really working. So, we decided, we’d start there. We’d just…leave him to work it out.
I’ll spare you the gory details, except to say that there was one—only one—moment when I felt a little awful about the situation. I thought cry it out took months on end of heartache. Nope. It took a mere two nights before Baby S was crying just a tiny bit at bedtime, then not at all. He did not wake up emotionally scarred. I’ve told him so many times since then that I really love him. He appears to believe me. He appears happier, in fact. He had stopped being his ridiculously smiley self for a while there, you guys. (It goes without saying that so had I.) Now? He’s back to normal. Bedtimes, knock wood, are a breeze, a little cooing and wham, down. He is crying so much less now than he was before. Wow.
I know baby sleep is always a work in progress, so I won’t jinx anything, here, but suffice to say we’re all just delighted by this turn of events. Now to finish night weaning and figure out early wakings and naps (again, it’s a process, did I mention?).