This is another topic that can cause controversy but let’s all be nice. Each parent has their own opinion and different things work for different people. Each baby is different and for some this may be a last resort and for others this will not work.
Controlled Crying is a form of sleep training. It is aimed to teach your child to self soothe without your help and fall asleep by themselves. This is an important skill for life. We can’t allow them to grow up only being able to sleep in a moving car or when they are being rocked now can we? Now I know realistically no university student has to be rocked to sleep still or has to get his roommate to drive him around to be able to fall asleep (or that I am aware of anyway) but you get my drift! There are a few years between now and then for the babies to master this skill (and I’m sure that by their teenage years they will have mastered it). However sometimes we as parents just can’t do this. We need our sleep as well! Especially if we are working or have other children to tend to or both! Controlled Crying has been said to be the quickest sleep training, I have read people claiming that they have got their little one sleeping through within 3 days. Now I fear it will take us longer but I can hope can’t I?
I am sat here writing this as a way to sort of distract myself by the horrible screaming, crying and shouting my little one is doing. If I had not been going back to work I may have chosen a different form of sleep training but the fact is I have one week left and I can’t be dealing with starting at 7:30am or doing a night shift if I haven’t slept at home. I have tried other techniques. I would have been happy if he went back to only waking once or twice and then I would be happy to rock him back to sleep, if he went back to sleep in his cot still that is, but he doesn’t. Little man wakes every hour or two (if lucky it’s two) and he will more often than not end up in our bed.
I’ve said this before, he used to be a good sleeper. At one point he would fall asleep in his crib and he would wake once in the night for a feed and go back to sleep in his crib afterwards. From 10pm until 7:30 am we had a decent sleep. But then I went into hospital and he stopped going back to sleep in his crib after waking for his feed. So we only got half a decent sleep. Then he got ill and he was in our bed because I was feeding him every hour. Then he got better but had lost a lot of weight to needed to be in our bed still to continue feeding and gaining weight. Then he gained the weight back and his teeth started bothering him. You may or may not have heard not to start any forms of sleep training while certain things are going on and that includes teething, illness and going back to work. He is pretty much constantly teething now and I do not have long left before I go back to work so this is my last desperate attempt to get him to sleep through, or at least mostly through, the night and in his own cot.
Now I have been able to distinguish the cry and am certain it is not one of fright. That is something you have to identify before you start Controlled Crying. There is no point doing it with a baby that has separation anxiety as it will just make things worse. But if baby has breaks in his cry and it doesn’t sound like his heart is breaking you are okay to carry on.
There are many variations of how long you should leave them crying before going in and I feel it should depend upon the parent and the child. But I have noted that basically everyone says don’t leave them crying for more than 20 minutes without checking on them. Some people start with 2 minutes and go up by 1 or two every time. Others start with 5 minutes and work in increments of 5. It’s very dependant on how you feel. Either way the point is to leave it a little longer each time.
It looked like it was all going to be smooth sailing at first. I bathed little man, read him a story, fed him and burped him. He was very drowsy but awake when I put him down and within seconds he was asleep. Great! Fast forward an hour and a half and I am sat with a cider in my hand trying not to cry along side him. I am three flights of stairs below him and I have the baby monitor on but not too loud. I can hear the faint song of the mobile he has attached to his bed, that he has learnt to switch on, in the background.
Many of you probably haven’t watched cougar town but it reminds me of the scene where Courtney Cox and her husband are outside the bedroom where her best friend’s child is screaming himself to sleep. It took them all night. When he had stopped it was morning and there was no point in them sleeping. I fear that is what it will be like for us tonight but at the same time I’m praying it won’t be like that as Big Man still has to work tomorrow morning and I doubt a baby screaming will make for a restful sleep.
He has now fallen asleep but for how long I do not know. Wish me luck for the rest of the night and the nights to follow. I will post an update in a few days. If I survive.