I never want my posts to be too heavy, or too serious, but one sort of serious thing we’ve had going on is a little thing called “cry it out,” or CIO. As I mentioned in a few earlier posts, May hasn’t been particularly fond of napping in the crib ever since we stopped swaddling her.
For her naps, we had this amazing swing that we put her in and it was straight up baby magic (a million thank yous Mamu!). When that thing came in to our lives, an amazing thing happened…Daniel and I started to sleep, because she started to sleep.
Since May is an unusually large child, she is steadily approaching the weight limit for the swing. Because of this, and other factors, we decided that she needed to make the transition to napping in the crib. After all, that’s where a baby is supposed to sleep. A few weeks back we tried putting her in the crib and she lodged mental warfare on us. She screamed and screamed and screamed and screamed. It was emotionally draining for all involved. So, we retreated back to the swing for the naps, until this week.
In another earlier post, I mentioned that Kathryn McGuire coached me on how to go about doing CIO in an effective, and loving way that was going to yield positive results. For this, I cannot thank her enough. Week one is almost over and I already see a major improvement in May’s napping.
This is not to say that CIO was easy. The first two days were terrible. May’s first naps always went down without a hitch. Naps two and three were disasters. The first day on nap #2 she cried for 50 minutes. As per Kathryn, I retrieved her and we played for an hour and made a second attempt at a nap. She cried for 40 minutes, and then fell asleep. That night, she slept all the way through the night, something she hasn’t done since we moved back to California. Whether she was learning or that she was just totally exhausted, I don’t know, but it was a welcomed change for all parties involved…especially Tybee. Tybee must supervise when any member of the house is awake. It says so in her contract.
Day two went a little better. May’s first nap was fine, but naps two and three involved a fair amount of crying, but not nearly as much as the first day. This was really hard to hear. I had to just sit there and tell myself it was for her own good. Again, the second night, she slept all the way through the night.
Wednesday and Thursday saw improvements. She seems to have somewhat accepted that the crib is for sleeping, Hopefully the trend will continue.
The only reason that I’m sharing this is because I know there are young moms, like me, who at one point or another have felt like they are at the end of their rope when it comes to baby sleeping. CIO is not for the faint of heart, and it’s gotten a fair amount of bad street cred. Some people say it will scar the child for life. Let the record show that there has been absolutely no scientific evidence supporting that theory. I can only attest to my experience with it and I must say she seems to be learning how to sleep better. End of story. Do I wish I didn’t have to do CIO? Of course! No mother wants to listen to their child cry. While going through this though, I knew she wasn’t hungry, hurt, wet or anything else that would otherwise make a child uncomfortable. She just didn’t want to be in the crib. That made it a little easier.
Another thought I had while going through this is what do moms do when they have two or three more children? Certainly they cannot cater to an infant’s every whim. I imagine that moms with multiple kids probably have to do a little bit of CIO. That made me feel better too.
On the whole, I think this has helped May become a little bit better adjusted. She’s sleeping better, which is a victory in itself. All babies are different. I believe May is at the extreme end of the spectrum, so I’d like to think I’ve seen the worst of what babies are capable of in this context. However, I also think babies have the memory of a goldfish. Once May wakes up from her nap, she’s all smiles and giggles. It’s just like with the peas. Just a few moments of unpleasantness, and all is forgiven.