Monday, September 12, 2011

"To sleep is to dream..." A mother's thoughts on the CIO method.

Guest Post by Elizabeth

I had my preconceived notions before I became a mother that I would have absolutely no problem with letting my children cry themselves to sleep or as we say now in this texting world "CIO". I just assumed that naturally I would be okay with this. That I would instinctively know that it was what was best for them. That, however, was not the case. It went against EVERY fiber of my being to sit and listen to Buggie cry (okay it was screaming in protest not the sad cry) when he was a baby.

I had created a monster during the long months of Tax Season (Ben, my hubby, is an accountant). Buggie was getting up about every three hours just like he was a newborn but he was four months old. I knew he didn't need to eat. It was just easier for me while Ben was gone to pop into his room, pick him up, and nurse him until he was calm. Then I'd place him back in his crib awake and he'd go back to sleep. I have to admit, I enjoyed the cuddle time we were having in the glider in his room with me holding him close in my arms. Needless to say once Tax Season was over Ben put the kybosh on that one.

Ben had to watch me and make me stay out of Buggie's room while he was crying. "The book [Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child] says that you need to let him sleep, Bert. You aren't helping him," Ben would say. It took about a night or two of listening to him cry but after that Buggie went back to sleeping nine hours straight. (I still got up to feed him at around 4:30am which our pediatrician said was completely fine and normal.)

Sure enough once we had the nighttime figured out the next week our struggles became naps. Geesh! I had a routine for him and it worked. It went like this (yes, it was very long… now at two years and ten months we still do some of the routine!): He'd get swaddled in his Swaddle Me, I'd put his favorite blanket (Taggie is what we call it) over his chest so he could suck on one of the tags and then I'd turn on his little Fisher Price aquarium and off to dreamland my boy went. If he woke up crabby, I'd just have to go in, rock his belly back and forth and sing, "Jesus Loves Me"; he'd be back to sleep again. Then it changed.

It's so true that once you figure out a system and it works with a child, that same child goes and changes it on you. When Buggie was seven months old he still needed to be swaddled, however, he was also rolling over onto his tummy during his sleep. One day I decided I'd do the Swaddle Me loosely so that at least he can get his arms out if need be. He was also having a very difficult time going to sleep that afternoon so I went in to do my rocking of the belly and singing routine. NOPE! Did not work at all! Before that day he never looked at me when I did that.

Three days prior to the described afternoon that became a thing of the past. I had to do what I HATED doing the most...let him cry it out. Weissbluth (author of Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child - very excellent book about sleep and believe me we had to learn a lot about sleep with this boy) says to let a baby who is between five and 12 months of age cry for up to one hour for naps. ONE WHOLE HOUR. After I realized that I walked out of Buggie's room (after having tried for 20 minutes to get him to sleep) and as Ben was walking out to the garage I threw my hands up in the air and said to him, "Well, I can't get him to go back to sleep any more. He's going to have to cry it out. It's 2:36 and we'll let him do this until 3:36." Praise the Lord he eventually went to sleep!

I hated listening to my boy cry but the need to sleep became more important than my hatred for having to listen to it. I knew he wasn't hurting, he was just tired. Thankfully Lady Bug has been an excellent sleeper from the start. I think it’s part of her nature and probably also because Ben and I know how important it is for her to sleep. We follow her drowsy cues and lay her down when she’s drowsy but awake. Hopefully there won’t be as much crying with her as there was with Buggie but if there is I know I can handle it.

Remember, “To sleep is to dream…”

Elizabeth (aka Bert) Anderson married her college sweetheart in 2005, became a "mom" to a beagle named, Chula, that same year and started her journey into motherhood in 2008 with the birth of her son.  She started blogging in 2009 as a way to keep track of her thoughts on being a first time mom, especially her struggle with postpartum depression, and as a way of reaching out to other moms who are struggling with the same things.  This July, Bert had another first in her motherhood travels - a little girl!  Even though she's newly a mother of two, Bert maintains that no matter how many children you have you will always be a "first time mom" because there's a first time for everything!  Visit her blog, at FTM.  Bert is a contributor for She Thinks Media.


T√łybleiemamma? said...

Thats just one of the things I can't do. 5 minutes of crying is the most i can tolerate, and my oldest kid is a year and a half.

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