Mar 22, 2012

Crying it Out

Tonight, while munching on an excellent BLT, on grilled sourdough with avocado mayonnaise (there is nothing in the world that will improve my mood like a homemade BLT), I mused about the various items and activities which have been pivotal to my survival of the last few weeks.

Said BLT and tater tots having fortified me immensely tonight.  Miss Priss is the light of my life.  However, she has decided that to go to sleep, the majority of the time she has to  cry herself to exhaustion.
Quite frankly, this sucks. For me mostly.  She will wail inconsolably for 10-15 minutes, then immediately shut her eyes and pass out.  Before children, I would not have considered this a big deal- fifteen minutes?  No time at all!

Fifteen minutes of your darling little baby screaming and bawling?  An absolute eternity.  An eternity which is the only way she will actually go to sleep.  So I dutifully set my kitchen timer for ten minutes, put on my headphones and ignore her (gasp!).  It's awful.  9 times to of 10, by the ding of the timer, my baby is asleep.  And she sleeps great!  She is a champ, especially for an exclusively breast-fed little baby.

So crying it out- also never knew that this was such a hot topic pre-baby.  If I didn't let Dell Harper cry, neither one of us would ever sleep for more than 25 minutes at a time.  I have no desire to sleep with a baby in my bed, as I would be paralyzed with fear that I would smother her in the night.  However, I would love enlightenment on what cry it out opponents would do in my situation, because I am never going to lose these seven pounds if I have to resort to tater tots and bacon daily due to the fussy afternoons and wailing bedtimes.  Help!

Or crying it out advocates, please let me know if this will stop!  She is 7.5 weeks old, and was a week early, so I think she is hitting that fussiness peak.

What do y'all think?  Cry or not?  I apparently don't have much choice in the matter with Miss Priss, unfortunately.

Updated to add-  I'm not sure if crying it out is the right term to use- basically when I can't get her to stop crying at nap time (usually because she is super-pooped, but wants to look around instead of sleeping), I take a 10 minutes break and let her cry in her rock and play sleeper.  After about 5-10 minutes of crying on her own, she abruptly passes out, then snoozes away for a great nap!


  1. It gets easier - I promise! We too had a phase where Blaire would only go to sleep at night after crying herself to sleep for 5-10 minutes. I'm not sure if she grew out of it or if she grew used to her schedule, but eventually she got to a place where she would fall asleep almost immediately after her last nighttime feeding - no crying. I'm sure the same will happen for Dell Harper. But I know how hard it is to hear her cry. I used to get in the shower and hope the whole time she'd be asleep when I got out.

    Do you do a bedtime routine? I think this helped us a lot. At the same time each night we give her a bath, then go into her room where it's quiet and dark and feed her. (We did a bottle of breastmilk instead of nursing to be sure she had a full tummy.) I think she got used to the schedule and came to recognize the routine as the start of bedtime. It wasn't too long after we implemented this that she started falling asleep as soon as the bottle was finished.

    Hope the fussiness passes quickly for you and little miss. Until then, thank goodness for headphones! :)

  2. I'm no expert as my daughter is only five months old, but I think you have good instincts for what is the right thing for your child. If it works when nothing else does, then do it. Is it harming her? DOesn't sound like it. I'm sure if he never settled down you'd go in to her and comfort her.

    I think that's the thing I've been the most surprised about- the amount of parenting you just figure out and trust your gut on. And, I keep telling soon to be moms to try and trust themselves.

  3. Um, I clearly mean to say if she never settled down. Eek!

  4. It gets easier! SG had to cry herself to sleep for what seemed like forever. She is almost 14 months old and sometimes she still has to but it gts easier to *hear* if that makes sense? She got a lot better at about 4 months and from that point on she really only cries herself to sleep if she gets overtired. She has never let me rock her to sleep she just wants to cry it out and then she sleeps like a bear!

    You're doing great! and now I am craving a BLT like!

  5. I think it's totally normal because that's what we did. But if it's "okay" or not is completely up to you. You know her cries and you know when she has reached the point of no return. H2 gets to the point of no return quickly and gets way too worked up to fall asleep. But we had to let H1 cry himself to sleep for 10-15 minutes and he always did and it worked great for him. Thankfully, H2 just knows that when he's in his bed it's time to sleep. (Second born! :) )

    You're doing a great job and you know what's right for her. And if someone tells you that you're wrong for letting her cry a little while to get to the point where she'll sleep a LONG time, just ignore them. I think when something works for you, there's just no point at all in explaining yourself to people.

    7.5 weeks is still young. 3 months (12 weeks) is my magic number. :)

  6. Hi there,
    I read your blog occasionally and wanted to say what a cute little girl you have. I am a big proponent of cry it out but all of the sleep experts Such as Weissbluth and Ferber say to wait to try it until your baby is between four and six months old. Newborns don't understand why you are suddenly leaving them alone and they don't "get it" until they are a little bit older. I would not recommend the cry it out method for two to three more months for your little one. I hope you do not take offense to this, but I am just a concerned mommy who thinks maybe you should wait a few months before you do cry it out.

  7. Hey Samma! Dell Harpers is adorable! Just wanted to let you know that my daughter, when completely exhausted, did the exact same thing. It was a phase she seemd to go through and I don't think it last longer than a few weeks. Hopefully she will get used to her night time routine/schedule and you won't have to listen to her sweet screams too much longer!

  8. Hey Samma! Just wanted to say when B was little little, we would hold her while she slept (usually on the couch or a chair where we couldn't roll over on her) in order to get more than an hour or so of sleep - and that worked for her and us. I am a huge wuss when it comes to baby crying. I do think, however, that if holding her doesn't work, or if you feel that the "cry" Dell Harper makes to get to sleep is more of a fuss to get out the energy before she sleeps, that is your instinct for a reason. I am ALL ABOUT following mommy instincts - which is why I could not let B scream cry herself to sleep, but could let her fuss it out quite a bit! Does that make any sense? I know mommy instinct doesn't read like a book, though, and that is what drives you crazy because you don't know the RIGHT thing to do, so a lot of the time you just have to make your best guess and know that is all you can do - which is exactly what it sounds like you are doing! I do believe it is a mama's job to make sure her baby learns to sleep, one way or the other. Sleep = happy(ier) baby who can learn things. Also means mama will not be miserable all the time. BOTH VERY IMPORTANT. Love you two!

  9. hi! i have a one month old, so we are not far behind you. we too have to "cry it out" for a few minutes before she goes to sleep, but she sleeps well once she does fall asleep. are you following any of the popular parenting books? i have found that the moms on call routine is really helpful and practical. it is written by two pediatric nurses, and they suggest letting little ones cry it out with specific guidelines for how long to let them cry and how to intervene. it has been working for us, but we also use their daily schedule, so that might be helping too. i agree with last poster- i think we just have to teach them how to sleep. if they don't sleep well, neither do you, and then you can't be your best for her. whatever you decide to do, you know what's best for your little one!

    btw- i have been reading for a while but never comment. i look forward to your updates about dell harper because it gives me an idea of what to expect! quick question- i noticed a while back that you had a picture of dell harper in a little cream swing. we had the same one but found that it had NO oomph, so i returned it. does yours work ok?

  10. It gets easier! I promise! I used to have to turn the monitor down so that I didn't have to listen to H cry, it just ripped my heart out! Hang in there!

  11. I was determined not to do any cry it out method at the begining. But after 3 months of having Margot in our bed nursing all night long and not sleeping for more than 1-2 hours I changed my mind. We used the Ferber method to get her to sleep in her own bed and it worked really well. The crying did subside dramatically within just one week. However we didn't start until she was 3 months old. Now she usually goes down fine with only occasionally fussing. In terms of fussiness we found it peaked at about 2 months. She had been fussing every afternoon evening non stop unless bounced but one day it just sort of stopped and it was wonderful. Now she is 4 months, easy and happy as a clam.

  12. It sounds like your baby is much like mine was at that age - love that fiery passion of theirs, but oh, can it be tough when it comes to times like this. Been there, put on the headphones and turned off the monitor for that :-)

    You'll get a thousand opinions from people on this subject; sounds like you're doing a great job figuring out what works for you. No one book had the "magic answer" for us, but the one that got the closest was Dr. Weissbluth (blanking on the title at the moment) - not that you have the time/energy right now to read, but it might be helpful eventually.

    For what it's worth, my boy has always needed to fuss some before falling asleep - and I made both of us plenty miserable for months before I figured that out, so good on you for discovering that early on. Around 6 months, we got it sorted, but it took a few weeks to get our system down (not the days as promised in some books, BTW). He's a great sleeper now at 21 months but still needs to fuss a bit most times - it's just his method.

    Something else that's really helpful for babies that don't self-soothe well is routine. What helped us in those early months was getting a lockstep diaper change-stories-songs-crib nap/bedtime routine down . . . after a few weeks of doing exactly the same routine (and I mean exactly - we sang the same songs, in the same order, etc.) , the method itself seemed to comfort him and put him in to sleep mode.

    Hang in there, lady! It gets easier, I promise.

  13. try to record when she starts screaming and then notice what was going on before that- the cues she sends you. You may have to move thing forward a bit.

    Her little nervous system hasn't laid down all of its pathways yet so she irritates more easily- kind of like being overdone, aka in the hot damn kitchen making dinner and the least bitty thing sets you off- if you were to open the door when you started coking and nipped it in the bud, it would not get so bad--hope this makes sense ;)

    sounds really crunchy but babywearing aka baby bjorn saved my nerves with my last babe--hang in there little mama!

  14. I'm three weeks behind you so I'm pretty sure I'm 100% unqualified to add anything of real import, but...


    Staying true to my crunchy Austin roots, crying it out methods aren't really for me at this particular age. Most of the literature I've read that coincides with my personal thoughts on the subject say that babies this young don't have the capacity to self-soothe. However, what you're describing doesn't really sound to me like true "crying it out." More like fussing it out... L definitely has her moments where NOTHING I do helps... she just needs to exercise those lungs and then pass out. The one thing I've found that is a sure-fire way to quiet her is putting her in the Moby and walking with her outside... the combo of the confined closeness + fresh air seems to do the trick. The only problem with this method is that half the time I manage to get her out of the Moby and put her down in her PnP w/o her waking up... the other 50% of the time, she'll only stay asleep in the Moby. So... not totally fail-safe if you're looking for a way put her down for a nap in her crib / RnP!

    It sounds like you know what she needs, though! Trust your instincts!

  15. I'm really late to the party (and I've never even commented before here), BUT, my baby did the same dang thing. Not to scare you, but this went on for months and months. Right at about Dell Harper's age, we realized that that was just "his thing." He grew out of it eventually, but several days of easier bedtimes, we both looked at each other and thought "hey he hasn't screamed himself to sleep lately." A switch was flipped and it went away. When I brought him to his two month appointment I mentioned it, and the doctor said that's just the way some kids are. I really wouldn't worry too much. Do what you need to do. That's just Dell Harper for ya!

  16. Oh girl...Georgia has been going through a phase where she cries when we put her to bed. It just started at 10 months, she never did it before. It's so hard when she's crying and yelling "Mammmmaaaaa!" and reaching toward the little monitor camera. Hope Dell Harper is going down better for you, I know how hard it is to listen to your baby cry!

  17. That is way to early to that. Even Weissbluth or Ferber, who are hardcore, does not advocate this.


I love to hear from y'all, so drop me a line!