CIO: Crying It Out
Crying it out can be a controversial topic - Babycenter.com even has a debate board on the issue. I stumbled across it one day and read a thread that went like this:
- First post: a mother's plea for help to end her baby's night-waking
- Second post: an explanation of the options (crying it out, not crying it out, various modifications of crying it out)
- Third post: another question by the mother, lamenting her baby's wakefulness/crying
- Fourth post: a terse "Don't come here for support, this is a DEBATE board"
I was taken aback when I read the last post, but sure enough, the introduction to the board states that it is a debate board, intended for the expression of opinions on the topic. There's certainly a lot of information available. In addition to getting the advice of my wonderful friends, I've read several books on baby sleep (Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth, The No-Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley, Secrets of the Baby Whisperer and The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems by Tracy Hogg, The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp, and Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems by Richard Ferber). Each one made complete sense when I was reading it, but none are particularly helpful when Alex cries - I usually find myself paralyzed by all of the information and options.
In the end, I find myself listening to my instinct, which sometimes says, "He's crying too much, he needs me." This happened last night and I went in, soothed Alex and sang to him, and eventually he fell asleep. Later, he cried again, but this time my instinct said, "Wait five minutes, maybe he'll put himself back to sleep," and he actually did.
Most of the time, though, it doesn't go quite so well, and sometimes I am so full of doubts that I end up in tears. I have to keep reminding myself that as in all areas of parenting, I can only do my best and pray that it's good enough - in this case, good enough to teach Alex how to fall asleep on his own.