Thursday, August 06, 2009

Sleep, Baby

It’s so interesting how different ways of putting a baby to sleep are, well, so, different.

I’ve been trying an in-between take of the two extremes: let baby cry it out or respond to each cry from baby.

Nick and I have been trying to ease off the running to every single whimper. We’ve been having success with putting Cole to bed without nursing him into a coma. I’ve been nursing him and putting him in his crib while he’s still awake. He cries, but I don’t leave the room. I soothe him with songs and back rubs until he’s out. It takes about thirty minutes.

I figure this is a good step to helping him learn to fall asleep all by himself.

Today at Playland Village (an indoor play space in Monroe) I was speaking to another mother about Cole waking up four to five times a night. I told her I nurse him back to sleep each time.

“You’re going to have to let him cry it out,” she said.

“Well, I don’t know if I like that method. I don’t want to mess him up psychologically.”

“You won’t,” she said. “I’m a psychologist.”

So she explained it’s the way to teach Cole to go back to sleep in the middle of the night on his own: let him cry for a half-an-hour the first night, then an hour the next night.

“Turn off the monitor,” she said.

I just don’t know. Yes, I want to sleep for more than two hours, but I don’t want to make Cole cry.

What have all the mothers out there found to work?


  1. Go with your instincts. Letting a baby cry just doesn't work for me. And I have heard many a psychologist come to the opposite conclusion than the one you spoke to. Prolonged crying releases stress hormones (cortisol), which can be damaging to a brain that is still in the process of forming. But aside from that, it's just obvious to me that babies need to learn that you're there for them. And the fact is that it's actually very normal for a baby that age to wake 4-5 times a night. Exhausting, but true. Check out a book like The No Cry Sleep Solution for gentle tips on how to get Cole to sleep longer stretches -- it may or may not work :) But the bottom line is it's normal and how human babies are supposed to be and just do whatever you can to get the most out of the sleep you get.

  2. I am not a mother, but I have heard both theories. I love to watch "Nanny 911" because these situations come up a lot. I don't remember what the nanny said, but it was something to the effect of you have to let them cry, but not for long because some children can not calm themselves down after a certain point. And it probably has something to do with Wendy's point - prolonged crying releases stress hormones.

    I think also you have to do what you feel is right. I mean, if you can't stand to hear the crying, then part of what you're doing is to help you too, not just Cole. Mommy's health is important too!

    Hang in there! You're doing a great job as a mom! I hope you get more moms to comment here.

  3. Meredith7:53 AM

    Crying it out worked for us. Ryan LOVES our bedtime routine, and has been putting himself to sleep since he was like 6 months old.