Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Taking the bull by the horns

DH is traveling this week so I decided it was the perfect time to start the cry it out process with Cameron. Yes, I thought it would be best if DH isn't around for the initial painfulness. What prompted this apparent show of altruism? DH is a complete wimp when it comes to Cameron crying. I knew it would require firm resolve to be successful. But my husband is a wet noodle when it comes to his baby crying. So really we were all better off with me starting the process on my own.

For the past couple of weeks Cameron has woken anywhere from 3-4 times a night and required one of us to get up and do a pacifier insertion. That's our technical term for it. Pacifier insertion almost sounds a little dirty, doesn't it? At six months old, it was time to un-swaddle Cameron and give her the tools to sooth herself. That little bit of wisdom actually came from A. So thanks, A!

Last night the great experiment went pretty well. I put Cameron down per usual and went downstairs to pour myself a honking big glass of wine and watch some TV. Those are MY coping mechanisms. I kept the monitor down to the lowest setting. I didn't want to turn it off completely because I told myself that if she cried for more than 30 minutes I would go up and give her a pacifier. I couldn't bring myself to commit to a complete extinction process. For those who aren't as familiar with Weissbluth that basically means you don't go in for any reason and let your child be alone for the entire night without comforting. Cameron has never been more riled up by us going in and re-swaddling or pacify-ing her so I ruled out a complete extinction.

About 30 minutes after she went down Cameron started crying. It's interesting because when she was swaddled she wouldn't start fussing until after midnight at the earliest. But not having her limbs contained appears to to have woken her up. And so the crying began. I followed Weissbluth's advice and actually looked at the clock and made a note of the time. Twelve minutes or so of crying and she was quite. 30 minutes later she started again. This time it only lasted for 10 minutes. I clung to this little bit of progress as a sign that CIO would work.

I went to bed around 10 PM. I left the monitor off and kept my door cracked. I knew that if she cried my mommy ears would pick up on it, even through her closed door. Probably 5-6 times during the night I heard her cry. It was usually for less than a minute and more of a whimper than a cry. I resolutely put the pillow over my head and went back to sleep. And so did Cameron. The hardest part was when I went in to wake her up at 6:30 AM. She was snoring away on her stomach (never done that before!) and her face was covered in dried snot. Poor thing. I think Cameron has a bit of a cold coupled with more crying than she's ever done before. I woke her up and she started crying a little bit. Now that was depressing. Normally Cameron greets us with lots of smiles. But I cleaned off her face and she sucked down her morning bottle and she was back to normal.

Night One was pretty successful but I hear Night Two is worse. We'll see. In the meantime I would love to hear about others' experiences with CIO. Did it work for you? How long did it take? How about naps? Part of the reason I am not doing CIO over a weekend is because I'm not sure I can deal with naps yet.


A. said...

We had a good experience with it, as you know. It only took us about 2 nights. I still fed Finn in the middle of the night for another month after that, but he had to wait until at least 2 am for the feeding. We did it with naps, too - if Finn woke up after 30 or 45 minutes, we let him cry until he fell back asleep. It helped him get to a schedule of 2 naps per day, each at least an hour and a half long - something we were struggling with before.

Once you do CIO, I wouldn't recommend doing it all the time (in other words, do it then stop). When your child has established that they can fall asleep/stay asleep on their own, night-time wakings can then be a sign that something is wrong (teething, ear ache, sick, etc). That's when they need Mommy or Daddy to comfort them (and maybe give them medicine). Once Finn was a good sleeper, I knew that any time he woke up, he had an ear infection. It was actually very helpful.

confused homemaker said...

I used the sleep techniques outlined in Elizabeth Pantley's No Cry Sleep Solution, which was a better fit for us.

Nicole S. said...

CIO was a Godsend for us. We did it at almost 6 months (almost 5 montsh adjusted) and we had 3 nights of not-too-bad crying and quiet on the 4th night. I did use the extinction method because the night before we did CIO, I had to do a paci insertion nearly every hour the whole night. For us, extinction was the only way. But even then, the longest cry period was 50 minutes - sounds long but I have heard much worse.

Good luck with it - not getting up in the middle of the night is life changing!

LauraC said...

We only needed 3 nights with Alex. The second night was worse for us as he cried for longer periods. We did Ferber's attended crying. Alex is textbook though so illnesses and sleep regressions (and milestones) impacted his night sleep quite a bit.

Like right now he has been waking in the middle of the night needing to pee but he is so disoriented that one of us needs to get up with him so he doesn't pee on the carpet. Molar and canine teething were tough too. But the beauty of sleep training is that if someone cries, we get up bc it means something is wrong.

It took Nate about three weeks... the kid is stubborn. He would only cry for 10 minutes but it was every night for 3 weeks. After that, he has slept for almost THREE YEARS with only getting up for fevers.

Btw 3 years ago when we did sleep training, if you wrote publicly about it you would get creamed! So much has changed since I started blogging.

Mommy, Esq. said...

Yeah, CIO! Be strong. Penny became a total tummy sleeper once she learned to roll over (at 11 months old mind you). I'm a fan of total extinction like Nicole - no point trying to reassure my kids, it just riles them up. I agree that once you are done in a week or so you can be more attentive but we do find that every few months we have to do some modified CIO - sometmies it is when they first go to sleep and sometimes it is at 5 am. It is never boring with kids.

Amanda said...

I've been thinking about doing the same thing this weekend since Jeremy is out of town.

jerseygirl77 said...

We did CIO with Josh at about 10 months. He wasn't night waking, but he would not go to bed. He wanted to be rocked and rocked and rocked... And then we had to OH SO GENTLY lay him in the crib because if he woke, we had to rock and rock and rock some more. This could go on for over an hour. And did I mention he weighed like 22 pounds?! Anyway, I did the total extinction because yes, he got riled up if we went in there. I had spent 2 months trying all the other "no-cry" solutions to no avail. After 3 nights he was falling asleep on his own.

We didn't do CIO with Alex. More like fuss it out. He was not bad with bedtimes or night wakings. (A blessing, since he was such a fusspot the rest of the time... um, still is!) Becca so far has not needed it either, just a little FIO. (knock wood!)

Anonymous said...

In case you read this (because it is several days after you posted), remember that we did not have monitors with you guys, had to listen thru doors and you all survived. SURPRISINGLY Mom