Crying It Out {Spoiler Alert: It's working!}

Meet Ian. He's now 9-months-old and a big baby. Not just that he was 11 pounds at birth and has been huggably big ever since, but he's my little momma's boy. He cries when his feelings get hurt and he follows me around the house whimpering like a little puppy just to get held.

He's also picky about how he's put to sleep. Standing. Rocking. Holding him until he falls alseep. It's been an exhausting process, but it works. Or rather, it worked.

More recently he's added hitting, biting and yelling to the routine, making "fighting sleep" a more literal term.

Today, I hit a breaking point. I've thought I've been to that breaking point before, but today was obvious. Maybe it had something to do with my husband traveling for work the last couple weeks leaving me and Ian to duke it out ourselves 3 times a day (morning nap, afternoon nap, and nighttime). Or maybe it was the thought that he'd soon be a toddler and the ridiculous image of little me standing and rocking a near-child to sleep.

Yes, that was it. My husband traveling contributed, but the realization that I had the potential of becoming "that" mom was a real motivator. You know, the mom that is rocking (and thus unnecessarily babying) her three-year-old to sleep. The one that sacrifices her well-being for the detriment, rather than the good, of her child.

Not me. Not anymore. I know that at 9-months my baby is still a baby and it's okay for me to treat him that way. But I also know that I would be able to take better care of both my children if I wasn't putting so much effort into this thing he could learn to do on his own. I also believe that by conserving my energy in this one thing he could do himself, I would have more drive to continue breastfeeding him for the next 3 months like I intended and not be so tempted to wean early.

And those are the truths that led me to {finally} let my 9-month-old "cry it out."

Is crying it out the only option? No, of course not. But for a baby that puts up that much of a fight for sleep even with cuddling and babying, crying it out seemed to be the necessary route for us.


9:30 a.m. I started rocking him for his morning nap. He laid his head on my shoulder, then popped up with a yell followed by biting my shoulder. Twenty minutes of this is when the above rationalization happened.

9:50 a.m. I laid him in the play yard in our room, he cried louder, and I said soothing things he probably couldn't hear as I left.

9:55 a.m. The first few minutes were a relief rather than the stress I thought they'd be. Of course he cried, but I was exhausted and taking a couple minutes away from him for a few deep breaths was healing. I went back into the room and he cried even louder trying to reach for me. I laid on the ground beside him and sang, he sat down and listened with occasional smaller cries. I did this for a minute or two, then left him again and he cried louder.

10:00 a.m. I went back into his room and found the Lullabye Channel on Pandora for his listening and soothing pleasure. He was still sobbing and fighting it, so I also put some water in his sippy cup for him. (He doesn't/won't suck on a pacifier.) He laid down and liked the sippy, unit I left and he cried louder.

10:10 a.m. I didn't go right back in, because checking on him seemed to make him worse. At this point he calmed down on his own and when I peaked in he was standing against the edge of the play yard and calmly listening to the music.

10:25 a.m. I checked on him again and he was sitting and playing with his blanket.

10:30 a.m. I heard him crying a bit, but it was less intense, so I peaked in but didn't go in to reassure him (because that would work him up again).

10:40 a.m. I realized he'd been silent again for a few minutes so I looked in and he was sound asleep.


This really wasn't the knock-down drag-out war I feared it would be. He's a fighter, and he definitely fought it, but I found leaving him alone was actually a better solution for us. I've read various things that talk about going in and rubbing their backs and helping sooth them in the beginning, but each time he actually saw me, he'd stand up, scream and cry louder, and struggle to get to me. So, checking in is essential, but soothing was his job.

That was attempt {# 1}.

Now finally posting and updating this a week later, it's only gotten better. He cries when I first lay him down, but he's settled down within 5 minutes and asleep within 15. My back feels amazing! Okay, so it still hurts and probably has some kinks to be worked out with the masseuse and some yoga, but what a difference it's made to forfeit those daily battles!

I'll also add that it's a process. He's still learning. I don't expect my baby to instantly be independent in this or anything else, but this was a necessary first step for us in helping that. We're also ready for set backs. Today, he settled down quickly and may have even slept for 15 minutes or less, but woke up screaming and was not calming down. Maybe at that point I was "supposed to" comfort him but leave him to self-sooth again.

I didn't.

I picked up my baby, consoled and comforted him, even took him to the living room, wrapped a blanket around him and let him lay his head on my chest while he fell asleep. Was it a weak moment? Maybe. But that's the process toward independence that I'm talking about. He's a baby, and if occasionally he "needs" a little babying, then I am okay with giving him that. I'm the mom and I get to decide when that's a necessary or good decision to make.

Next up: night weaning.