Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Trying "Cry it out" sleeping method

Today we decided to try the "Cry It Out" method to regulate PP's sleeping time.

PP sleeping patterns have been quite predictable since she was 2 months old. She sleeps around 2AM as thats when i sleep and wakes up at around 7-8AM (sometimes earlier, sometimes later) . for her breakfast feeding.. Waking up at 4-5AM is actually quite rare although it does happen Totally fine with that.

But lately, these past few days she have been waking up constantly every day every 2 hours or so. Maybe it's teething. Maybe it's not. Maybe because she's mostly breastfeed until she falls asleep next to me before i move her, that she finally gotten used to wanting to automatically sucks when she wakes up in the middle of the night. This has got to stop as I get dead tired the next day.

At 3 days old.
Right we came back from hospital, its feed baby on bed till she sleeps then transfer to cot.

At 1 week old.
Till now, PP love this sleeping position. But she's getting too big to balance on tummy.

I've been reading Dr Benjamin Spock's book for ages now. I found it in my parent's library. Edition 1979! They must have bought it when my eldest brother was due. It's thick! but it's sure is informative and suprisingly his advises were unchanged and still relevant to what you can find in current books. and today i re-read the section about sleeping methods. Let me lift some from from the equally informative and updated website that i use check for updates (although not much changed from the 1979 edition!). (links below)

While on my 'mummy time-out' just early today, i read on "Resistance to going to bed"" and Sleep Refusal and Vomiting",

On the first topic, Dr Spock said,
"three or four months old...She almost glares when her mother sits down for a well-needed rest, as if to say, "Woman, get going!"...Her parents say her lids often close and her head droops while they're carrying her, but that as soon as they start to lay her down she wakes up with an indignant yell...

The cure is simple: Put the baby to bed at a reasonable hour, say good night affectionately but firmly, walk out of the room, and don't go back...

Most babies...will cry furiously for 20 or 30 minutes the first night, and then when nothing happens, they suddenly fall asleep! The second night the crying is apt to last only 10 minutes. The third night there usually isn't any at all...

It's important not to tiptoe in to be sure the baby is safe or to reassure her that you are nearby. This only enrages her and keeps her crying much longer."
Dr Spock also wrote "babies and young children vomits easily when enraged..."
"oh interesting, such extreme" i first thought.

As said, I usually breastfeed PP until she falls asleep and I would transfer her to her cot. Sometimes from 2 months onwards, she would be drowsy after feeding when I lay her in her cot and she would drift off to sleep herself. First time it happened she was just 3 weeks old! (1 November 2009). Sometimes she's okay with this. Most times not. And when I earlier tried the "cry it out" method to sleeping, I wimped out and carried her to my bed after 5 mins of her crying her hearts out. It the tears. I couldn't help myself.

At 2 months old: Playing with her mobile before drifting of to sleep. or maybe not.

Facebook status back when PP learn how to sleep by her own (for awhile)

Dayang Danya fell asleep in her cot! its a breakthrough!!! gah! ......and im such a mom. gah... (Sun, 01 Nov 2009 16:53:10 GMT) <--PP was 12 days old!

Dayang left PP to fall asleep by herself in her cot, found her asleep head tilted upwards hugging CowGiraffe to her face. ... tried adjusting her head couple of times, went back to head tilted upwards and hugging CowGiraffe (Thu, 11 Mar 2010 18:19:05 GMT)
<--at 4 months and 29 days old.

16 March 2010: 5 months and 4 days old:
Again, left her alone while she was drowsy and PP ended up like this. Hugging CowGiraffe again.

8 April 2010: 5 Months 22 days:
Failed attempted at leaving her in her cot.
She played. Rolled. And then cried for 3 mins before Mummylicious picked her up.

So we thought, well I though its time to toughen myself up and let's try this "cry it out" method to sleeping. She's 6 months old. She's learning to develop habits and control her softhearted parents by her cries, tears and big brown eyes. Although sometimes its the smiles that gets to us to pick her up. Anyway, tonight is the night.

The results?


I think my heart broke to a million pieces tonight. This has got to be the first and one of the most difficult parenting challenge one have to encounter!

First Daddylicious was out of the room. She had her feeding, was yawning but kept wanting to play. Other bedtime ritual done, so I left her in her cot alone, turned her musical mobile on and left the room as Dr Spock advised.

4 mins in, musical mobile was slowing, she started crying. Toughen up .toughen up let her cry .she'd be ok. My mantra.

10 mins in, still crying. Daddylicious went to check on her. SHE VOMITED ALL OVER HER FACE! OMG! OMG! OMG! Remembering Dr Spock's spot on article on what to do when this happens, we changed her and her cot, kept a matter-of-fact behaviour while my heart was feeling the guilt. Guilty guilty guilty. Thats all i was feeling. Anything could have happened. What if daddylicious didn't check on her? What if she choked on her own vomit. OMG! but i kept it inside so PP would not know it. i hope.

So i breastfeed her again, while sitting up while she sucked and sobbed. SOBBED!

Finally she fell asleep to which i quickly transfered her to her cot again. Dr Spock mentioned parents saying "as soon as they start to lay her down she wakes up with an indignant yell...". Yup, that happened. She woke up. Again.

So daddylicious insisted we try again. Leave her to cry while offering her favourite soft toy CowGiraffe and to toughen up toughen mantra kept playing at me again. but like heeelll if im ever gonna leave her alone again! We kept quiet and i kept giving daddylicious sad eyes and whimpering faces for reassurance of our decision to do this. Her cries were unbearably heartwrenching. This time I followed Dr. Penelope Leach's "Compasionate Crying It Out" although i didn't leave the room. Dr Leach wrote
"he can go to sleep on his own, don't abandon him outright. Instead, keep to your enjoyable bedtime rituals and when your baby cries go into his room, reassure him, and leave as often as you need to" Dr Leach, BabyCenter (link 1)
After heartwrenching cries, tears from PP and Mummylicious, PP turned 180 degrees, various times of patting and stroking PP without picking her up, slightly more than 3o minutes later (40 minutes maybe?) she stopped crying. Daddylicious said with a semi-suprised face and raised eyebrows "It worked!".

14 April 2010: 6 months and 2 days old: "Compasionate Cry It Out" Sleeping method results:
She slept but sobbing while she does. Honestly, when i questioned this method.
PP holding CowGiraffe tightly and would not let go at all. Managed to move it a bit to make sure she can breathe.

Tried to move CowGiraffe again. But as soon as it left her arms, she wanted to cry for it and i quickly gave it back to PP. She just grabbed CowGiraffe and held it tight again. *sob from Mummylicious

It worked but you can see her sleeping, clutching her CowGiraffe tightly, not wanting to let it go while still sobbing. Sobbing while sleeping. Cue more tears from Mummylicious.

It worked but daddylicious is off for a golf tournament in Langkawi tomorrow for FOUR days. I dont know if i have the heart to do this alone.

Useful links:
BabyCenter "How can i get my baby to sleep through the night?" 1
BabyCenter "How can i get my baby to sleep through the night?" 2
BabyCenter "Baby Sleep Training"
Dr Spock "Resistance to sleep"
Dr Spock "Sleep refusal and vomiting"
Dr Spock "Waking in the night"
The Ferber Method by Professor's House
BBC News "Cry babies 'learn to sleep better'"


::Ida:: said...

stumble upon your blog from parenthots directory. I've been having this problem with my boy since he was 2 months old. he's 6m n 1 week now. I did try the crying out method but it was so heart wrenching. i tot dia lapar bcoz he wakes up for every 2 hours! then we feed him fm + bm. still waking up at every 2 hrs. it is very xhausting and im still seeking for solutions for this. let me know if you have found it. :)

Mummylicious said...

Ida, i read somewhere that the earliest you can do this is 6 months. 2 months is too early kut. i just let my PP sleep beside me before i move her to her cot. earlier there were colics and all. i'll write another post about the ealier sleeping problems and what we did about them.
it is exhausting kan? CIO is the last method coz she just started waking up every 2-3 hours this past weeks. you can try again? give couple of weeks and be committed. its hard to hear babies cry but just think long run je lah. cranky sleep deprived mummy is not a fun mummy

Anonymous said...

Noooooooooooooo... pls ladies don't do this to your babies. i just read this and i know i am probably waaaaay too late but a lot of the info in here has been proven to be wrong. New research has shown that developmentally, they simply cannot 'control you' etc at this age, and cannot control their emotions enough for this to work. Al they are feeling is 'why is mummy not helping', and then it turn into 'mummy is not here for me'. I would suggest doing some research about the myth of self soothing and the effects of CIO on baby's brain development. I know every mummy is trying to do her best (and I even bought into the whole 'habit forming' and 'testing you' etc so don't get me wrong, I am not judging). But really, they are crying for a reason. u cannot expect them to control their emotions at this early age, they will just learn that they cannot trust you and when they fall asleep, its not because they are 'self soothing' (that skill comes even years down the track) they are simply collapsing from sheer exhaustion. And vomiting? poor babies. They really do become much calmer babies when you give them their biological needs, and helping them soothe to sleep is one of these fundamental needs. If you are interested, or want to educate yourself about this, google 'myth of self-soothing', or 'effects of cry it out' etc. there is a lot of information out there these days, and many studies have been done which show how harmful cry it out is.

I am sorry my cooment is probably all over the place and the timing is off, i just had to say something. The whole time I was reading this my heart was saying nooooooooooo. There was a reason your heart was shattering - it is wrong. And I promise i am not judging you as a parent. I have been reading your blog, and I must say I have been really enjoying it. You are doing a great job

Mummylicious said...

Thank you for not judging me for trying this method. It's hard enough when as a parent we judge ourselves more than anyone can imagine.

It's true, cry it out method is very very VERY controversial. The pros and cons were thought off well. But yes I used the method on my then 6 MO PP. And i won't dwell on it. I just like to report that PP is now a thriving happy 5 years old. Once she entered kindergarten, she goes to sleep by her own without much intervention. Before that....we made sure I put her to sleep after story time and we never leave her side until she does sleep. But she's not allowed to get out from the cot! times we joined her in the cot to help her sleep. So yes, I tried the cry it out method, it was successful but we made sure we were with her through out the process.

My Bambam (the 2nd child) is now 1.6 YO. Her pead also suggested cry it out method when she turned 6 months old. But....i didn't use it with her. Dont know why. I used the whatever-whenever-makes-you-sleep method. Ie: I ignore her as she rolls around the bed when it's bedtime. No crying. No fuss. Just can take hours. I think it's parenting for 2nd child syndrome. Hehehe