We tried making our own rules as a combination of what we’d read about. My husband would go in to try to soothe her when she woke instead of me, but that would only turn into escalated cries and screams until I finally went in. We also tried just letting her cry for a few minutes, going in, resting a hand on her back, saying “shhhh” and telling her, “It’s ok, it’s time to sleep” and leaving, but that would also just make her even more upset. We tried these ideas in multiple different ways over a few desperate weeks, increasing the time between comforts, singing and talking to her, picking her up for a hug and a kiss and then putting her back down, sitting next to her crib with a hand on her, without a hand on her, etc, and all of those things seems to make her cries more incessant and louder instead of giving her some sense of comfort. It actually seemed like the more my husband or I went in, the worse she would get and I’d always end up having to nurse her to calm her down enough to settle in. The cycle was getting worse instead of better and I was not seeing any light at the end of the tunnel.
She just kept getting increasingly tired and depressed, with literal bags under her eyes and constant crabbiness. Seeing a 9 month old with swollen eyes every day was killing my spirit and making me question myself every day. What were we doing wrong? I was already past my own breaking point, rapidly heading down the very real path of my own sleep deprivation and postpartum depression.
Very suddenly, I changed my mind.
I felt that I had truly exhausted my options and felt more hopeless than ever. I
came to the conclusion that it couldn’t possibly get any worse, and that we really had nothing left to lose. My husband was completely on board with what I felt we needed to do and we made the decision to officially start sleep training that night. We decided that as cruel as it sounded, we just needed to let her figure it out.
She went to sleep at her regular 6:30 pm time and woke at 9 pm. She cried that
first night for 46 gut-wrenching minutes. Those 46 minutes of crying were probably more than she had cried in total in her entire first 8.5 months of life and it just felt so fundamentally devastating to me. I cried right along with her, watching her on the monitor until she fell asleep, questioning everything I thought I knew about myself as a parent the whole time. I had to leave my husband to listen to her a few times because I worried that she would hear my sobbing and that would make it even worse for her. I felt physically sickened by it, and second guessed myself about a hundred times. How could something so against my instincts be the right thing to do? I really didn’t know that it was, and I struggled against my own cognitive and emotional protests. She woke up at 3 am and I went in right away to nurse her, kiss her, hug her, and tell her, through my
own tears, how sorry I was. She slept until 7 am.
The second night, we put her down at 6:30 pm and baby Q woke at midnight. She cried and fussed quietly for 18 minutes, and then slept straight through the rest of the night until 6:30 am.
The third night, she went to sleep at 6:30 pm, woke at 2 am, cried for 11 minutes and slept until 6:30 am.
MOMMY'S TIME OUT