Ah yes, the old crying it out conundrum - is it cruel? does it damage your relationship with your baby? is it selfish? There is copious amounts of information, both negative and positive on crying it out (CIO) online. You could tie yourself in knots reading all the conflicting opinions (and in fact, I have). Before I had a baby, and in the first few months of J's life I was firmly in the "I will never do such a thing camp". How could I bear the idea of my precious baby crying out for me like that? Little did I know!
Now J is 9 months old and still a terrible, terrible sleeper. I keep looking for ways that it is my fault but I've come to the conclusion that it is just his personality and the way he is. I don't remember what it felt like to not be tired and 9 months of disturbed sleep is really catching up on me. J is a wonderful baby, (although he is very active so wears me out during the day as well), he is a fantastic eater and a day napper and loves people (he has yet to reach the "making strange" stage) and being out in new places. The only thing that causes us problems is his sleep. Everyone keeps telling me that it will get better, when he goes on formula, when he is on solids, when is eats 3 meals of solids a day, but it still remains a huge problem for us.
We did a modified version of CIO about 6 weeks ago and after that he was sleeping from 8pm until 4.30/5am when he would come into bed with us. I didnt't know myself. Then his first tooth cut and we went on holidays and it's just got worse and worse since then. At the moment, he will go to bed easily at 7.30/8pm. He goes asleep with no problems, it actually seems that he wants to go to bed, he goes down in his cot and turns over and goes to sleep. Our problem is the constant waking during the night and the complete inability he has to self-soothe. Recently he has been waking up as early as 9.30pm and there is nothing you can do to get him back to sleep in his cot. If you hold/soothe him until he falls back asleep he wakes up the minute he is put back in his cot. The only thing we can do to get sleep at the moment is to have him in the bed with us. I miss having our bed to ourselves and not waking up every hour to soothe a squirming, crying baby.
As I said, I was against the idea of CIO but we just can't go on like this and I know it gets results. When we did a modified version before (modified being that we didn't leave the room but we also did not pick him up when he cried) we saw results very quickly. This time we're getting so frustrated that we're happy to whatever to get him to sleep.
Mr HNW was out last night and he's the one that finds it tougher to hear J cry so I decided it was time to start the CIO. When J was very tired I put him in his cot, kissed him goodnight and walked away. It took him a minute or two to realise what was going on and then the crying started. I went in every two minutes three times and then every four minutes three times. At 18 minutes, I was about to go in and soothe him and then wait 6 minutes until going in next when he abruptly stopped crying and went asleep. I was so relieved because the crying was horrible and from what I've read on the first night in can take over an hour for the baby to go to sleep.
He slept soundly until 4.30am. I went in then to give him a bottle which he wouldn't take, he then cried for 5 minutes and went back asleep again. This morning he woke up at 8am in his own cot as happy as can be. It's nothing short of miraculous.
So, the CIO is getting a big thumbs up from us. I'm out tonight so Mr HNW will be on duty. He's sworn he'll tough it out so fingers crossed it continues to go well. Wish us luck!