To cry it out or not to cry it out

30 Apr
Some days I’m blown away with how much I love being a stay-at-home mom.  And some days, I can’t believe how hard this parenting thing is.  I thought I’d find it hard because of fatigue from lack of sleep, but the worst thing for me is the second-guessing of the best course of action.
Today I’ve been functioning on four hours sleep.  (Jade didn’t go down until almost one in the morning and then she woke up at 5 a.m. and refused to go back to sleep until 6.)  I’m still upset because Michael snapped at me while we were in the car and I tried to talk to him when I didn’t realize he was listening to the radio.  (Oversensitive, I know.)  So of course, putting Jade to bed tonight was a huge trial.
We were doing well until I actually tried to put Jade in her crib; she woke up and started crying.  Now comes the debate I have with myself so many nights…
Do I pick her up and just rock and sing her to sleep, since that’s the easiest thing to do?  What happens as she gets heavier and harder to rock?  Will she ever develop self-soothing skills that way? 
Should I do what my mom, and Marian, and Granny all said they did and let her cry it out?  I may resort to that at some point, but is she still too young?  Should I wait until she’s six months, since all the literature seems to say that up to the age of six months you can’t spoil your child by picking her up to comfort her?  But then she’ll be heavier and possibly learning to crawl, so might it not be more difficult then?  On the other hand, if I do it now, will she be so traumatized that she’ll hate her crib?  Will she be so overexhausted when she finally falls asleep that she’ll stop sleeping through the night again?  (Not that she slept through the night last night.)
Should I do what Tracy Hogg (the "Baby Whisperer") suggests and put her down, then pick her up when she’s upset, but only long enough to soothe her, and then put her down again?  What do I do when she instantly starts to cry the moment I try to put her down?
Probably none of these answers is the wrong one, but I probably do the worst thing by being indecisive an not able to actually choose one.  I can’t even follow the advice to just trust myself and do what I feel is right because I am so over-informed, I have no clue what is the right thing to do.  The worst thing is feeling like I must be a bad parent because I can’t decide what is the right thing to do, and worse yet, comparing myself to others who seem to have it all figured out (although I’m not at their homes at bedtime, so I obviously don’t have the whole story).  So here I am at 1 a.m. trying to figure it all out.  Maybe I should just finally go to bed, hunh?
Well, it’s a good thing babies are such resilient creatures – I hope!

2 Responses to “To cry it out or not to cry it out”

  1. Marian April 30, 2006 at 7:57 am #

    Nothing works ALL the time! And when I say I let them cry it out – I didn\’t do that all the time either – only when I knew they were just over-tired or just wanting to see how far they could go! I definitely had many nights of indecision and second guessing. It just got easier with kids #2 and #3. The first is all guess work. You\’re going to have easy nights and difficult nights and there\’s no rhyme or reason to why or when. Just sleep when you can.
    I\’ve seen first hand that you\’re a great parent, so it must just be because you\’re tired you\’re thinking anything else!!!

  2. Jen May 1, 2006 at 10:37 am #

    Hi Fawn,
    I have a suggestion…  and you may already be doing this by now…  but what I did with Amber was put a tape player beside her crib and I put on classical music.  It really helped…  the ladies are right, better not to pick her up.  And, what you can do is tape your beautiful voice singing soft lullabies or even humming over the classical music.
    The best part is how she loves classical music to this day and it may have sparked her interest in the violin and all the other instruments she plays.  Right now the Bass is her big thing…  added to the violin, piano and classical guitar.
    Good luck!

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