Miss Rose is seven and a half months old. She has three meals a day plus snacks but still feeds regularly in the night. Good nights are three boobies. Bad nights are eight or nine. I am very tired, I’d say understandably.
I have been doing Controlled Crying. When I put her down to bed if she disturbs I go in and out soothing her leaving slightly longer between each return visit. She now goes down beautifully, occasionally has a little moan but basically just settles straight down to sleep. Occasionally we have to go back to the in/out routine if she’s having a bad night but it’s rare. In the night when she wakes I will leave her to cry for up to ten minutes. Sometimes she will put herself back to sleep other times she wants feeding and I feed her.
Because she is eating well and is over six months I’ve been told she no longer needs breastfeeding in the night. Indeed, the fewer breastfeeds she has in the night the more she will eat in the day thus meaning she needs fewer breastfeeds in the night. Makes sense!
Several of my friends are doing or have done Crying It Out with their little ones, starting at a variety of ages. I have been advised that if I can get through the first few rough nights where she will cry and scream and shout for a long time until she eventually puts herself to sleep it won’t take long before she is used to not waking in the night and will sleep through. Just grit your teeth and get through it, it will be the best thing you’ve ever done.
I tried. Oh how I tried.
My mother lives next door and hearing commotion got worried and came over to find my husband with his jaw clenched staring furiously at his Xbox game but not seeing it, me on the sofa wailing in misery and anguish, and the baby monitor lit up like Christmas as my poor Miss Rose screeched and screamed.
I couldn’t handle it. In the end under the advice of my mum and husband, I went to her. They said if it feels wrong then it is wrong. I went to her, scooped her up, fed her, and bam she was out like a light. She had just been hungry and I had been refusing to feed her. When I went up to bed later that evening I sat on the edge of my bed looking into her cot and felt such pain that I ended up taking her out, popping her into bed with me and snuggling into her, smelling her and holding her tight.
Miss Rose has never been ignored. She has always had her needs met. She has always had the security of knowing that no matter what, no matter where, her mum is there for her. If she is hungry her mum feeds her. If she is sad her mum cuddles her. To go from that to being completely ignored was traumatising for both she and me.
Everyone who meets Miss Rose comments on how confident and happy she is. “Does your baby ever cry?” is not an uncommon question. At baby groups the other mums can pick her up, cuddle her, walk off with her and play. I can leave her with them whilst I go and get a cup of coffee or use the loo, secure in the fact she won’t be scared. She has an amazingly happy temperament and whilst yes she does indeed cry and she does have crabby days, she’s generally an incredibly cheerful little person. Perhaps the reason she is so happy and confident is that she knows I’m there. She can be separated from me, I’m coming back. She can go into the arms of someone else, she’ll be back in mine soon. She can put herself back to sleep, I’m close by.
I’m not anti Crying It Out. I’m not anti No Cry Sleep Solution. I have been told in an online forum that how I let Miss Rose cry doing Controlled Crying is abusive, neglectful and cruel. I have been told that I’m weak for not leaving her longer. I don’t believe I’m abusive and I don’t believe I’m weak. I believe every baby and every mother is different. All we can do is what is best for us, and Crying It Out is not best for us.
Ultimately I believe in my mother’s adage that if it feels wrong, it is wrong. If it makes you uncomfortable, stop doing it. Feeding all through the night is exhausting, but stopping cold makes both her and me suffer intensely.
So for now I continue with Controlled Crying. I accept that I won’t get an unbroken night’s sleep, but slowly and surely it is getting better. She is needing less boob, she is sleeping for longer. For now I am happy to accept life on those terms. If that changes then I will change.
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Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!