We are blessed with a really easy baby. He sleeps great, eats well, and honestly there just aren't many complaints. It is great; we praise Jesus.
So when my easy baby stopped sleeping at night, I just knew he had to be sick. Why else would he go from sleeping 12 hours to waking up every hour?
Sickness. Yup, that was the answer.
So off to the doctor we went.
And after giving Bradley a thorough look over, our doctor concluded that he was indeed not sick.
My first thought: How do I make him go back to being easy??
However, this is what actually came out:
Me: So why isn't he sleeping??
Doctor: Well, typically during this time a baby's sleep patterns change. They sleep lighter and start to realize that if they cry, you come.
Me: So what do I do? I need sleep.
Doctor: I think it's time you make him cry it out.
Me: I what?
Doctor: Let him cry until he exhausts himself and falls to sleep on his own.
Me: How long does that take?
Doctor: Well, it depends. It may be an hour or it may be two.
Me: You mean, I have to let him cry for two hours... without going in there and making it stop.
Doctor: Yes. You have to let him get to the point where he does that hiccup cry and wears himself out to the point that he falls to sleep on his own. He needs to learn how to soothe himself.
Me: I can't.
Doctor: But you must.
Me: No, I don't think you understand. I really can't.
Doctor (laughs): If you want to sleep, you really have to. You have a couple of options. You can just let him fully cry it out. Or you can do the Ferber method, However, sometimes babies catch on that eventually you will come get them and so it may take longer to get them to go the whole night. Or you can put him in bed with you, but he may never leave your bed.
Me: So hold on. You mean, I have to just let him cry until he falls back to sleep.
Doctor: Yes. I recommend you get a sound machine for his room to help drown out other noise and then one for your room to drown out his sound machine and his crying. I also usually suggest you do this over a 3 day weekend like this past weekend.
Me: So this is going to take a few nights??
Doctor: Yes, it usually takes 3 nights. How do you soothe him now?
Me: Well, we try a pacifier first, then rocking, and then we've been putting him in our bed once we are too tired to get up anymore.
Doctor: I'd put as many pacifiers as you can in his bed. That way he can always grab one and soothe himself first.
Me: So let me get this straight, I have to let him cry until he falls asleep?
Doctor: Yes. You can do this.
Me: I don't know...
Doctor: You have to.
Me: I suppose...
And so I went home and talked with Jeremy. We decided to give it a try and let him cry it out that night. We put three pacifiers in his crib and I put my teddy bear, Ziggy, that I had when I was little. I figured Ziggy comforted me and he probably still smelled like me so why not.
Bradley went to bed at 7:30 p.m.
At 8:30 p.m. I hear a blood-curdling cry.
This cry was not a cry that said, "I need to cry it out." This cry said "I'm dying. I need my mommy now."
I ran upstairs as quickly as possible to find that Ziggy had fallen on top of Bradley. This caused Bradley to think that Ziggy was going to eat him. With Ziggy removed, I kissed Bradley convinced that in the morning he would no longer let me within 10 feet of him since I will be the mother that abandoned him.
And our official crying it out night began.
At 1 a.m., he started crying.
At 2 a.m., I started crying.
At 3 a.m., Bradley fell asleep.
At 4 a.m., I fell asleep.
At 7 a.m., Bradley woke up and smiled at me. Thankfully, he inherited his short-term memory from his father.
And you know what? That was the only night we had to make him cry it out. I'm telling you, we are so fortunate and very aware that we probably won't get this lucky twice...