Mar 4, 2013

There's No Crying In Baseball

Name that movie!

Somewhere along the line I started telling this to Addie when she would start crying. Apparently she didn't care about baseball and just went right on crying.

Overall, I have a happy baby. She really gets crying when she is hungry. But nothing tops the crying when she is resisting bed time. I had previously talked about her going through the 4-month wakeful period (read about it here). I don't doubt that we went through this. She didn't want to nap. She wanted to play. She wanted to interact. She just wanted to be awake and didn't care how tired she got. I would easily spend over an hour trying to get her to sleep and the best I would get was 30-40 minutes. It was frustrating and exhausting. And don't even get me started on her night screaming.

We would start getting her down to bed and spend the next two hours or so with her screaming at us. No matter what we did, she screamed. The only time she didn't scream was when we picked her up and held her so she could look over our shoulders or when we put her in her changing table and unswaddled her. Pretty soon we figured out a pattern. She knew if she screamed she would be picked up or unswaddled. We were giving in to exactly what she wanted. Yes, it took two hours to put her to bed at night, but I couldn't complain too much since she was sleeping through the night, with just one wake up at between 5:00-7:00 then she went right back down. How could I complain about getting a full night's sleep?

We first thought the problem was because we had moved her to her own room. We moved her just before she turned 4 months, and so right in the middle of the wakeful period. But there were the occasional nights when we could put her down and that was the last we heard from her. So we weren't completely sure of what was causing the non-stop screaming (I'm not using the word crying because it is not strong enough - it was definitely screaming).

Then a couple weeks later, I decided to do something crazy and start putting her down in her crib for naps instead of in her swing. I was tired of listening to her swing all day long. I needed a bit more separation. Not to mention that I didn't feel comfortable putting her in the swing and walking away for a length of time, so that pretty much kept her chained to one room. That was not an easy transition. That was probably my own fault for suddenly changing up her sleeping situation on her. But I figured she would sleep in her crib at night, why couldn't she sleep in her crib for naps? It was a battle for every single nap time and mostly I was losing.

After one particularly rough bed time, I said that was it. Something had to change. We were fighting this sleep battle every day. She was getting overly tired and that was making this whole situation worse. So I told Rob I wanted to try sleep training. We needed to try something! So we decided we would try cry-it-out.

Now, when I say cry-it-out, I don't mean that we put her in her room and walked away and didn't go back at all. That's definitely not what we did. We looked up a couple different methods online, and decided on the 3-2-5-2-10 method. So basically, we would go through a bed time routine (more on that on a different post) then we leave. We don't stick around. And if she starts crying or fussing right away then we set a timer for 3 minutes. We wait until the full 3 minutes before we go back. Then we stay for 2 minutes or less in her room. The key is not to pick her up. We just reassure her. Draw attention to her mobile. Kiss her. Sometimes we do sit her up in her crib to make sure she doesn't have any burps that is causing problems. But when that two minutes is up, even if she is still crying, we leave. At this point we set the timer for 5 minutes and repeat. The longest amount of time we are gone is 10 minutes at a time. I will say that we have only made it to the 10 minute chunk of time only a couple times.

We have been doing this for a couple weeks now and the first time was hard. I had to find anything I could to distract myself. It's hard to listen to her crying and not go in to try and comfort her. But what we figured out is that she knew she could get us to pick her up, and we also figured out that our presence in the room actually made it worse.

I'm not saying it is easy to listen to your baby cry. It is most definitely not. It is hard and sometimes heartbreaking. But this particular method worked great for Addie. If it hadn't then we would have tried something else. We wouldn't have forced something on her that she wasn't ready for.

Since we started this, she goes down sometimes without even the slightest peep at night. Nap times are manageable. Instead of being so exhausted by bed time and overly tired so she fights sleep, she has gotten plenty of sleep during the day which results in good sleep. She doesn't fight naps as much anymore. Life in our house is definitely so much happier and better.

My baby girl is getting enough sleep, which means that every time I walk into her room to pick her up from a nap or in the morning, I get a happy, smiling girl, and I couldn't ask for more than that (and oh yeah, she sleeps through the night)!

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