Sunday, February 04, 2007

Make the Crying Stop!

Babies crying in the middle of the night, a topic we parents know all too well. A topic that creates much debate. Should we console them or let them cry it out? Should we go to them right away, check on them every five minutes, or let them be? Should we sit in the room until they fall asleep, bring them into our room or even our bed, or again, just let them be? Should we play soft music, give them a lovey, change their diapers, nurse them or give them a bottle, pat their backs, take them for a car ride, etc., etc., etc. So many options, no wonder there's a lot of debate on the subject.

Laurel was (notice the use of a past tense verb) a good sleeper. She would usually sleep through the night from about 8 p.m. until 6 a.m., when she would let me know she was ready for a drink. Once done nursing (she takes all of five minutes to nurse!), she would go back to sleep until about 7:30. A good night's sleep in my opinion. She would wake up rested, cooing and babbling.

That all changed a couple weeks ago. While sick, we obviously went and checked on Laurel every time she cried. Heck, taking it one step further, I slept in her room that first night of sickness. There was really no choice, she was vomiting almost every hour. Subsequent nights, Laurel wasn't vomiting as often, but I needed to nurse her every chance I got to prevent dehydration. Again, no decision to make there.

Here we are, a full week of good health, but Laurel continues to cry throughout the night. It's time to do something about it. For all of our little family's health, we cannot permit her to continue this bad habit. Yes, it's a bad habit! She acquired this behavior while sick, and now it's become involuntary. It's time to reprogram our little lass to sleep through the night again.

So now the question is, what do I do to get Laurel to stop crying in the middle of the night? How do I convince her that she really doesn't need to depend upon my breasts to fall back asleep? Of all the choices out there, which ones should I try to remedy this situation? To whom do I look to for guidance? Sears? Ferber? Weissbluth? Mom? Friends?

In all honesty, I don't believe there is one absolute answer that fits every parenting style. Parents have to decide how to tackle this subject in a manner that suites their individual needs and strengths. Anyone out there telling us there is only one way to do it, is ignorant. What I do appreciate, are the people out there saying that there are choices, try something and if it doesn't work, try something else.

We are lucky to live in a time where information is just a click away. Whether it be by computer or a phone call to our own moms and dads, friends, or a professional organization, advice is just minutes away. Yes, the road to getting our sweet babies to sleep through the night may bumpy, but with some determination and inquiry, we will eventually find a smooth highway to Slumberland.

So what approach will I use on Laurel? Hmmm, thinking, thinking, thinking...

Any guesses as to the approach I will try?


Elizabeth said...

Oh Boy. I don't envy you. Good luck and I hope that the road to Slumberland is smooth and fast for you.

Kellie said...

You're more experienced at this Mommy gig than I am and you know more :) But, I'll give my two cents regardless..when Morgan was sick a while back, she, too, would cry a lot during the night. We'd go right in and hold her or rock her or whatever until she fell back asleep. When she was better, the crying would last another few nights. The first night, I would pick her up, hold her for a few minutes and then lay her back down with her lovey and her sucker. IF she cried again, as hard as it was, I wouldn't pick her up. I knew she was over the sick part, I knew she wasn't hungry or wet. I'd hug her (with her still in the crib), lay her back down and quickly leave her room. After a few nights, she was back on track. Worked for me. May not work for you.

I DO know it's hard on all in the house. You get use to the sleeping all night and want it back do desperately. I wish I could help.

Sending happy thoughts and a big hug and fairy dust for a quick return to Slumberland.

MaryP said...

I have no idea which way you'll go, but I wish you the best in your choice!

Sweet dreams, Laurel!

Her Bad Mother said...

Follow your heart and your instincts. WonderBaby went through this a few weeks ago, for a few weeks, and then returned to her good sleep habits. We didn't really do much - a little CIO when we could manage it, a lot of bringing her into bed, a lot of worrying. Then she just went back to her routine on her own. It must have been a spurt or whatever - she worked through it.

Whatever you do, it'll work out. Hang in there.

Mama's Moon said...

Hmmm, I'll take a stab and guess that you just might do a little bit of everything. Who says there's only one absolute way to use each of the hundred and one methods? Tweak it 'til you find the right approach. Every good mommy knows which way to tweak...

Good luck!

Lady M said...

It's so tough to encourage them back into good habits. We've been trying to lessen the pacifier usage, but since Q is sick, we're letting him have it more again. No fun when that comes to an end.

Good luck with the sleeping!

Mrs Big Dubya said...

Would she take a pacifier to bed? Often the sucking is enough to get them to drift back to sleep.

Good Luck, we are in the process of re-training our 20-month old right now and it is heart-breaking.

Kelly M said...

Sorry, I'm of absolutely no help in this situation..but wish you the best of luck!

Rachel said...

Was Laurel always a good sleeper? Did you have to teach her as an infant how to comfort herself during the middle of the night? If so, maybe you should try that approach again. Of couse, Laurel is older and more independent and what worked as an infant may not work again.

I wish I had more advice for you, even when my kids are sick, it has always been easy to get them back in their habits.

Maybe try just going into her room if she wakes up crying, but, don't nurse her. Try just maybe picking her up and rocking her or something like that. Sometimes, Alyssa just needs me to calm her down and then she's fine.

You know your baby better than anyone, so, just do what you think will be best for her.

Good luck!

carrie said...

This is how my daughter's sleep "problems" began also!!! She WAS a good sleeper and then she got sick. And we're still dealing with the aftermath a year later! Please don't make the mistake that I did (I was afraid of her waking her brothers up, they had to be rested for school), I cuddled, held and *gasp* let her in our bed!!!

I think if you just stick to your guns, it will be worth the few nights of crying to have a baby who can fall asleep alone.

Wishing all of you sweet dreams!


Kurt said...

Great crying pic!

Mamacita Tina said...