Deciphering cries at 3 am…

As a strong dis-believer in the cry-it-out method of sleep training, there have been a few things that I’ve learned.

1. The journey in getting to a “normal” sleep pattern for your little one may be a longer road, but you will eventually get there
2. There are plenty of other methods out there that you can use or adapt to meet the needs of your own family
3. No matter what method you use, you’ll still struggle with the guilt or doubt over if what you are doing is best for your kiddo
4. You will try and try again no matter what method you use, until it all finally falls into place
5. Nothing will stop a little one from waking randomly in the middle of the night sometimes.

When I say that I don’t believe in the cry-it-out method this is my stance:  I want my children to always feel that their needs are being met.  I want my children to know that if they need comforting, that we will be there for them.  I never want my children to be forced to fall asleep after crying with no comfort – this perhaps is my biggest no-no, as an adult I’ve had my share of crying-myself-to-sleep and I’d never wish that on anyone in the world, least of all my children.  While I do believe that it is important to understand when it is time for sleep, I do not support the theory that allowing a little one (who doesn’t know any better) to cry into the darkness with no answer will eventually teach them a positive skill. For my family, there are other ways to build this skill.

I’m not saying that parents who do choose to use the CIO method are wrong in their choice.  I believe every parent makes the best decisions for their own family.  In this case, the CIO method does not fit my family or my mentality as a parent.

Once we were able to maintain a consistent napping and bedtime schedule, J’s sleeping patterns improved.  As first time parents, you are bound to make some mistakes along the way – in our case we made plenty of them with J’s sleep from the beginning.  But after 14 months J finally started sleeping through the night.  That doesn’t mean he always sleeps a solid 11 hours from 7pm to 6(ish)am, BUT we know that he is actually capable of doing so and he does quite regularly.  There are still random nights – maybe 2 out of every week – that he will wake enough in the middle of the night where he fusses enough that I will do in and help him settle back into sleep.  Being that I am still nursing him, I will nurse him for comfort (I know that’s mainly what he nurses for now) until he calms enough to either fall asleep again or I know he can self-sooth himself back to sleep from that point.  J has been known to randomly screech in the middle of the night though, and we’ve learned the differences between his “sleep” cries, his “waking” cries, and his “something’s wrong, I’m up” cries.

J recently got his 15 month shots (varicella and mmr) and he’s also sprouting 5 new teeth.  4 molars and a bottom tooth all at the same time…poor kiddo!  Needless to say, he’s had a mild temperature and been extra fussy and needy for the past week.  No wonder he’s been waking more than usual at night.  I suppose another reason when the CIO thing doesn’t sit right with me.  This week I’ve answered J’s midnight cries a little quicker than other times – if I was in pain or had a temp. and needed a little extra love, I’d want someone to come help me out – why wouldn’t I do the same for my little one?

That all being said, it doesn’t mean that when J cries at 3 am that I don’t groan and wish that he’d put himself back to sleep.  At 3 am no one is happy about being awake involuntarily!  But since when does being a parent mean you’ll get your full 10 hours of sleep? Ha…


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