Once I found out I was pregnant I read all of the baby books, baby blogs and baby everything out there so I would be prepared when the baby comes and I would be her super mom. Nothing could convince me that I would have trouble with the goals I set for myself. One of the goals was to teach my baby to self sooth and fall asleep on her own. Yeah, little did I know that it was not going to happen.
The first day I was out of the hospital I was just so happy and overwhelmed, that all I wanted to do is hold my baby and give it all my love. Days went by and I remember I was talking with my husband and said, “She is just so tiny, there’s no way she’ll remember I rocked her to sleep every night – I’ll stop rocking her to sleep when she’s at least three months old and then I’ll stick to my goals. Three months passed in a second. As much as I hated it, I had to carry out what I promised - so after her bath I breastfed her and put her in her crib thinking she'll fall asleep right away. After a few minutes she started crying hysterically - I was so not prepared for that. I waited for 10 minutes picked her up and rocked her to sleep once again. I remember thinking, she is just so little maybe she is afraid to be alone. Since then she’s gotten too big and heavy for me to handle, and I struggled every night when I put her to sleep. I danced, I sang I rocked her, I did everything and when she was 5 months old I decided to try the CIO - I just had to see if it would work with us so that I could stop the vicious circle I got myself into. The first night was horrible. She cried incessantly and after 1h of crying she fell asleep. I was so devastated and didn't know if that was the right decision. She woke up every hour that night with lots of crying. The second night was the same - she cried for 45 minutes and was waking up every hour all night long. Needless to say I was more tired than ever. The third night she cried for 15 minutes and woke up every hour during the night again. I was relieved that I made it through those nights, but still a week after we started the CIO method, she was so unhappy at bedtime and woke up a lot during the night. My husband and I just couldn't watch our baby so unhappy, so I stayed with her in the room the next night which made things even worse. The fact that she could see me resulted in an even longer and louder crying and I immediately realized that tweaking the method wasn’t such a good idea.
Rocking and singing was a part of our bedtime routine once again. As I was rocking her that first night after the CIO I was so depressed and felt like the worst mother in the world. I was awake that night and just couldn't go to sleep but my baby was sleeping like she used to, and would only wake up for her usual two feedings during the night.
Today she is 6 months and we still rock her to sleep which is horrible for my back but she seems to enjoy it. I read a lot on other methods to teach my baby to self sooth but at this point I am just too afraid to change the routine we have going. Definitely no more CIO - I just can't go through that again. As I am writing this I feel willing and brave enough to explore other no-cry methods and approaches and see how my baby will react. That’s my story so far - until the next sleep adventure.
What are your thoughts on the CIO method?
Have you tried it?
If you have any suggestions on other methods and techniques that worked for you, I would love to hear them.