OK Moms, Need Your Help.

July 30, 2008

Here's the question: cry-it-out or no?

Here's my situation: Baby J (8 months) likes to be nursed to sleep. Like all babies, I presume. A little over a month ago, I decided to try the whole cry-it-out thing, going against my gut (Can. Not. Take. The. Crying. People.). But I was determined to try to get her to fall asleep in some other way (i.e. by having someone else put her down -- so I can maybe get a pedicure or something?). Things got a bit better, but she still cries every time. None of this "your baby will cry for 15 minutes three night in a row and then, ta-da, sleep training over for life." Also, when she cries herself to sleep, she will only sleep for about 30 minutes. She didn't always take long naps when I nursed her sleep, but once in awhile she would. I still always nurse her at night before she goes down because I want her belly full, although I realize in a perfect world, I should never nurse her before putting her down.

So, when is she supposed to get with the program? I am ready to give up and go back to nursing her to sleep, just so we don't have to go through the trauma and drama before every nap. Besides, I have been totally ruined by Dr. Sears. I basically subscribe to all of his parenting philosophies, and crying it out is a big no-no. The problem is, Baby J's sleep seems to be getting worse, not better, and I am becoming a very cranky and irritable mom. I need her to nap better, so I can get some things done and so she isn't tired and irritable. So, I guess what I'm saying is I don't have a good alternative to cry-it-out. Then again, what I really don't like about crying it out (besides the obvious) is the "NEVER" aspect of it. NEVER pick up your baby after she's in the crib. NEVER nurse or rock your baby down. NEVER take a nap with your baby. NEVER stray from your carefully mapped out bedtime ritual. If you are a mom, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

Can you see how confused I am?

Please help. B, my family and girlfriends are super, duper sick of me whining about this. I may just tally up your answers and go with the winner. Maybe not, but I just might.


  1. oh i so wish i could help you here...i hate to admit we have yet to find a magic bullet for my 19 MONTH OLD in the sleeping department. But from what i've heard (and obviously not done) the key to whatever you choose is consistency...so if you are going to "ferberize" you have to go all the way day and night and if you nurse and co-sleep, etc...(co-sleeping is our big issue) then i think you have to be ok with the concept that you'll sleep again in about 3 years. ;-)

    that didn't help did it.

  2. I TOTALLY understand. My ped. had me use a different method with little e than we used with big E, who got sleep trained at 9 months, which was grueling but worth it. He cried one time for 2 hours!!! It was horrible. But it did get better. With little e, I'd lay him down, even if he was crying and walk out, come back in 5 mins, pat him on the back, walk out, double the time so 10 mins, walk in pat, walk out, double the time 20, walk in, pat, walk out and on and on. His sleep got better within 2 days. Before that he'd nap for 30 mins max after 3 hours one day! Now he naps anywhere from 1-3 hours. Good luck it can be done, this is what our folks meant when they said, "it'll be harder on me, than it is on you".

  3. I'm kinda of a cry it out and kinda not. Your baby is 8 months old does she have a lovey or a pacifier/thumb? At about 8 months old I pretty much forced a lovey on both of my kids and I'm so thankful I did. Every time they cried I would give it to them and finally they would snuggle it to sleep (I totally recommend N. American Bear Co. Pancake animals, cute, washable and you can buy them in mulitples). For sleeping at night if they cry I would let them cry for a bit and if that didn't work I would try to rub their back and softly shush. Next up would be rocking or laying on the couch with them and as a last resort I would bring them in with me. My second was always up until he was 10 months old it was torture.

    I don't know if you are totally against pacis or loveys but for me they made a world of difference, my little would be in bed at night with pacis sprinkled all around him so he could find one in the middle of the night. I know they are not for everyone but for me it was a sanity saver.

  4. I do not believe you have to pick totally one way or the other (i.e. cry it out v. attachment parenting). we do sort of a combo with maia and it totally works (usually). for naps, i rock her with a paci for just a few minutes. when she is drowsy but awake, i lay her in the crib where she snuggles up to her blankie and gets herself op sleep. no nursing necessary but i don't know how i'd do it without the paci and the blanket...

  5. I'm a day late posting, but I feel your pain here. I nursed my little P to sleep for a long time... finally I opted for "cry it out" and she was fine thereafter. I have to confess though, she didn't cry for long, so it wasn't very torturous. Also, we moved her into her own room at the same time, and I think that helped a lot. Not sure that's helpful at all!

  6. I was definitely not in the norm, as I nursed both of my children to sleep and we also co-slept at night until both stopped nursing (17mos & 25 mos. respectively.)

    We tried the cry-it-out method and it just didn't work for us. It went against my instincts with my daughter and then when I tried again with my son- it went against his instincts and he literally NEVER quit crying. I tried the back patting, sitting in the room, coming in and out, lovey's- nothing worked. It just wasn't worth the stress and agitation it caused for everyone- so I kept with what was working.

    I figured that it was a short time in our lives and now that they are both weaned and sleeping in their beds it was worth the sacrifice.

    Whatever you end up doing, just know that before long, you'll be past this stage and even (gasp) possibly be missing it.

  7. I wish had some great advice on this topic. Lord knows I feel your pain! Little P just barely sleeps through the night now (20 months), granted I think part of his drama is food allergies that we are working on. Nevertheless, I am not a big cry it out person but we do let him cry for five minutes so he knows it's bedtime. Otherwise he wants to hang out and hold Mama. It's a been a long haul and I'm not even done. It's been said before but my advice, go with your gut. She may need to cry a bit. (Eek)
    When I saw Dr. Sears he assured me it gets better after you ween. And it did. So, there is light...in the distance....

  8. I have been having sleep issues with 9 mo old, too. I don't nurse him to sleep anymore (although sometimes he falls asleep on me if he's super tired) but our challenge has been that he wakes up sometimes after only 30 minutes; he's still tired and I've gotten absolutely nothing done. It wears me out, too, because mentally, I need that break. When I first started putting him down without nursing him to sleep, I gave him a lovey -- my oversized t-shirt that I had slept in the night before. Probably sounds gross but it smelled like me and worked like a charm. It doesn't necessarily stop him from crying but when I check on him now, he's curled up with it. Good luck! I'm right there with you!


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