At Granuaile’s 4 month check up, the doctor said we should begin putting her to bed awake, thus teaching her how to fall asleep on her own. The problem with this method is that she usually falls asleep during a bottle, which, of course, we give her at bedtime. Up until now, the give her the bottle, let her fall asleep, and gently put her in her crib method has worked like a charm for us. She has gone down each night between 9 and 10 PM and slept through the night until at least 5 or 6 in the morning.
Then about a week ago, she decided to start waking up in the middle of the night. At first, it was not a big deal, a quick pop of the binkie in her mouth usually worked just fine. She would re-settle herself, fall back asleep, and I could continue my sleep. But after two nights, she began waking up for longer periods, crying more vigorously, and not being soothed by anything but me picking her up and laying with her until she fell asleep. This was not what the doctor prescribed.
Our oldest daughter, Brighid, slept with us in bed until she was 5. Even after that, we would still find her little self sneaking in during the wee hours of the morning some mornings until she was 7 or 8. Eilis, on the other hand, moved into the bed with us much earlier than Brighid did (she was 11 months old). Eilis began sleeping with us by about 6 months, but moved out much sooner, sleeping in her own bed at 2. I was determined not to bring Grace into bed with us, but last night, after a week of sleeplessness, I brought her over with me, laid with her until we both fell asleep, then woke up at 3 AM with her still snuggled in the crook of my arm. I snuck her into her crib, she whimpered a bit, but fell asleep.
Tonight, all baby hell broke loose. As soon as she left the comfort of someone’s arms, she was screaming her head off. At first, I picked her up and brought her over to the bed with me, but at 10:32, I decided to ride it out. I have NEVER let ANY of my kids “cry it out”, falling asleep only after exhausting themselves with hysterical tears. As the clock ticked, and Gracie cried, I started crying. I found myself rocking back and forth in bed, as if she was sitting with me, trying to comfort her from across the room. 10:42, 10 minutes in, we are both crying pretty good, me as silently as possible, her as loudly as possible. 10:52 – I am only giving it 10 more minutes, then I am getting her out. I can’t do this. 10:55 – she is taking breaks between the sobs. 10:57 – only whimpering now, not kicking her feet, the poor little thing is completely hoarse. 11:00 – if she cries now, do I have to start the timer all over again? I can’t do it. Please let her stay sleeping. 11:02 – my time is up – I promised myself I would get her out of the crib if she is still crying 30 minutes in. She’s not. She fell asleep.
I feel awful. I don’t know if I can do this every night, so I hope she is a quick study at this soothing herself to sleep business.