The last few months, something weird has happened. My once-well-sleeping baby stopped sleeping. Cooper goes down around 6:30-7 and used to sleep til midnight, then woke to eat. After a while, she even dropped the midnight feeding and would want to eat sometime in the middle of the night. I thought I had it pretty good. And I did!
Until she started teething/rolling over/standing up. Then it became a waking-up-every-two-hours-all-night-long kind of thing. A driving-mommy-crazy kind of thing. A dark-circles-under-the-eyes kind of thing. I kept trying to analyze it: grown spurt? Teething? Ear infection? Poop? I didn’t find any answers…or any sleep.
This week I had a few derby events, which meant that I was gone after bedtime. And on those few nights, Rob did something that got Cooper sleeping through the night: he let her cry.
Now, I don’t know where you stand in terms of the baby-raising camps. There are two main parties at play: the baby-training and the attachment parenting. A lot of space in-between of course, but more often than not, people are drawn toward one position or the other. Before I had kids, I was all “Stop babying those babies! They just need to cry.” When I was pregnant, I started reading about babies, since I knew virtually nothing about them and hadn’t held an actual baby in, like, years. All of the sudden, attachment parenting really started to click with me. (I’ve written about it here and here and here in case you want a bit more.)
But like all things parenting, we tend to take what works or clicks with us and then toss out what doesn’t. I met for coffee with an old high school friend this weekend and she said that before having her first baby (who is Cooper’s age), she and her husband decided on this parenting principle: no absolutes. I love that! You can read all you want and may find that actual parenting smacks you in the face with how it differs. Or each child you have may require something new and different. Giving yourself the freedom to adapt is a great thing.
So adapting we are. Just a bit. I still am not comfortable with crying it out as a general rule. For me, it goes against those natural mother urges I have. I think those urges are important. Though many people do it and argue for it (which is fine), it’s also a very western and fairly new idea. Until there were homes with separate rooms and the idea that babies needed to be on our schedules, there WAS no crying it out. But in this current mode of life, there is no reason for Cooper to be waking so much. And I’m beginning to sort of get to the end of my rope between my current baby and the one growing.
The night Rob let her cry was the first night she slept all night. Let me say that again: SHE SLEPT ALL NIGHT.
I woke up at 6:45 without a baby beside me and (of course) sat bolt upright and thought, “She must be dead.” (I’m not the only one who does that, right?) The next night I was gone again and she cried again and Rob let her cry for a bit and she went back to sleep. She woke a bit in the night and cried for like five minutes, then fell back asleep. Another full night for me. I am a new woman. Or, just a woman, not a beast.
We are still figuring out what this looks like. Of course as I’m finishing this post, Cooper started crying. I am literally itching to run in there. But then I remember how she’s been waking 3-4 times between 7pm and midnight and I remind myself: we need to get over this hump. But it is. so. hard.
Where are you on the parenting spectrum? Are you a die-hard baby trainer? Or a hard-core attachment parenting? Or did you decide no absolutes for your family? What things surprised you as you dove into this whole adventure? No judgment, even if we differ!
Oh, and just so you and I can both feel better: Cooper stopped crying. My skin can stop tingling and itching now.