We have really struggled with our son’s night time sleep routine. Recently he has been waking up in the middle of the night for hours at a time, refusing to go back to sleep.
Since he was born I have nursed and rocked him to sleep, which worked fine until he learned to sit and stand up on his own. If he wasn’t completely asleep when we put him down, he would automatically sit or stand up and then all drowsiness had vanished. That was so frustrating!!! Every time we put him down we would just pray that he would stay asleep.
I have been consistently opposed to the “cry it out” method. I just didn’t think that letting an infant scream himself into exhaustion was a good thing. I felt that we needed to respond to his communication efforts in order to cultivate the development of an independent child. I still firmly believe all of that, however, I also now believe that a child must learn to put himself to sleep at some point.
Last Monday we let him cry himself to sleep. I went grocery shopping so I didn’t have to suffer along with him and Dad did the dirty work. We used the Ferber method, which I felt more comfortable with. After my husband put him down, he went and checked on him periodically to reassure, comfort him, and let him know that he wasn’t being abandoned but that it was time to go to sleep and no amount of crying would result in being picked up.
The first night was pretty rough; our son cried for a good hour before falling asleep. He would stop while my husband was in the room but as soon as he left, the crying began again. But after the first night, things got way better! Since that first night it has only taken 10-15 minutes for him to fall asleep.
The one night of sadness really was worth our son gaining the independence to fall asleep on his own. Now he wakes up in the middle of the night but he doesn’t cry. He eventually puts himself back to sleep and my husband and I are getting much better rest.
[photo from babycenter.com]
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