When I first heard the term “cry it out” as a new mother I was stunned; how can I let my sweet, new little baby just cry and cry? He apparently needs/wants me or something. Yet, that is the response I received from his pediatrician when I took him in around 8 weeks and explained that he was still getting up a lot during the night and I was feeling depleted, energy level and milk supply.
I immediately turned to my husband for some backup, hoping he would argue with the pediatrician, but no…he just nodded and agreed with him! Doc told me that Baby J was getting up still because he KNEW that I would come in there and feed him and that he really wasn’t hungry. He told me that I needed to let him cry for every minute of his age. So, Baby J was 8 weeks, so he could cry it out for 8 minutes. If he was still crying at that time, then I could go in and try to soothe him. He reassured me that putting him to bed would be the hardest, but once we got it down, the night time feedings/cry fests would stop.
I left that appointment mad. Anxiety rising mad. Speechless mad. I could not fathom how I was going to do this whole “cry it out” thing. At the time I was very upset that my husband agreed with the doctor and could not believe he was on board with the whole idea!
That night we put Baby J to bed at around 10 pm and as soon as I left the room he started crying. I had just nursed him, burped him, and changed him, so I knew he was fine, but the crying was deafening. I sat on the couch and my “supportive” husband pulled out his stop watch! He told me I could not go in that room until the 8 minutes were up.
I sat on the couch criss-cross applesauce and bawled my eyes out. Every minute or so I would tell my husband that I needed to go in there, but he would not let me. He kept reminding me of what the doctor said and how this was all going to be worth it. After the 8 minutes were up, I ran in there so quick and reassured my precious boy. He calmed down and I stood in there patting his back until he fell asleep. He of course woke up during the night, but I would just go in there and pat his back and reassure him. My boobs didn’t like that considering his cry made me ache!
That first night was tough, not going to lie, but it did get better. The next night, I still sat on the couch and cried, but after 7 minutes, the cries stopped and he fell asleep on his own. That night he only woke up once. The night after that he cried, but only for a few minutes, and still only woke up once during the night. This routine went on for about a week. I was feeling confident that I would be getting a full night’s sleep soon!!
Then at about 10 weeks he went down for the night without crying and did not wake up during the night! I actually jumped up in the middle of the night because I had not heard him! I ran into his room and he was sleeping peacefully.
My husband gloats now and loves to tell how he and the doctor convinced me to do this whole “cry it out”thing. When I had baby #2 and baby #3, letting them “cry it out” wasn’t as hard. I knew they were going to be ok and I knew for a fact what the end result would be. I have mommy friends of mine who would complain about their babies crying all night, or not sleeping through the night. When I give them the advice of letting their sweet baby just cry it out, they think I’m this crazy mean mom!
I know it’s not a likable tactic and most moms don’t want to do this, but from personal experience it was one of the best decisions I made as a new mom. My oldest was sleeping through the night at 10 weeks, my middle at 3 weeks and my youngest at 6 weeks. It helped with their routine and my sanity, and I am so glad that I made that decision for them and for myself.