Saturday, June 05, 2010

"Cry it out" sleeping method, the final summary

I have been going out at nights nowadays. For hours. And all while Baby PP is fast asleep. 

Last night my little brother, PP's Pak Su asked Tiyah if watching Shrek at 11.30 pm would be okay. I was busy feeding Baby PP her dinner at around 8 pm and I immediately said "I want to follow!" 

The thing is, ever since I started Ferber's "Cry-it-out" sleeping method, I can go out after 10.30 or 11 pm without worrying Baby PP waking up for a feeding. Being a breastfeeding mummy, to go out on an impulse is a no-no unless you have a good stock of pumped breastmilk in the freezer. 

But since it was after 10 pm. I could. and this was not possible when Baby PP was less than 6 months old. And i dont think it would be possible if we never tried out "Cry-It-Out" method. Therefore, here is the much delayed summary of my experience with Ferber's "Cry-It-Out" method. It will be long post, bear with me.

It has been nearly 2 months since we tried the "Cry-it-out" sleeping method.

Short crying period. After less than 10 minutes. Baby PP is fast asleep
This was a week after we started "Cry-it-out"

Baby's sleeping pattern before:

Playing with Mummylicious before bedtime. Winding down period

Baby PP was around 6 months old and was sleeping at around 2 - 3 am. Yes. AM. and waking up at 8 am. Many elders blame us because Mummylicious and Daddylicious are natural night owls, staying awake until 2-3 am and the baby naturally follows the parent's sleeping pattern.

First 2 months, you can't do "cry-it-out" for newborns because they want milk every 2-3 hours. If you get 4 hours of sleep the first 2 months. You are lucky. 

But after 2 months, Baby PP started to sleep for more than 8 hours at one stretch. We could just pick her up from our bed to her cot easily. 

At around 4-5 months old she started to wake up again every 4 hours. Was it teething? was it a growth period and she needs feeding? Was it she just wanted Mummylicious comfort? Whatver it was, it was draining on me. And we concluded she just wanted comfort because she would immediately fall back asleep after sucking but then wakes up again when we move her back to her cot. 
Baby's sleeping pattern after "cry-it-out":

Baby PP have a set sleeping hour. After dinner, night wash-up, a little playtime that includes bedtime stories, I would give her the last feeding and  she would be sleepy by around 9-10 pm. the latest she would stay awake is 10.50pm. After that, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz till morning. Bliss! Sometimes she wakes up at 7. sometimes 9. sometimes even 10. But it's morning with the sun shining! and I would give her feeding considering she slept through the night. 

Even if she doesn't fall asleep while the last feeding, we would put her in her cot and however awake she was, she would soon fall asleep. On her own! hurrah!

Yes, there were crying. But if there were, it only last 5 minutes. And nothing like the howling and sobbing like the first time. 

Yes, she would occasionally wakes up in the middle of the night. Sometimes a minute of cries. Sometimes you can just hear her yawning. And her kicking her cot's mobile. But she would fall back asleep by herself. 

Why we finally decided:

1. I was not a happy mummy. An unhappy mummy = unhappy baby. that is not good at all. Honestly, how long was i supposed to feed her? I did 2 hours once!
2. we tried every other methods that experts have advised before trying "cry-it-out".

There were rocking, swaddling (worked til 4 months only), singing, humming, playing,  reading, total darkness, pretend sleep, straight 2 hours feeding, let other people rock her to sleep, bedtime massage, just about everything. 

3. Her sleeping hours from 12.30am dragged to 1.30am to finally 3 am. She just wanted to play after feeding. 

4. She wakes up and cries when we move her from our bed.

5. When G-Na was away and Mummylicious was ready to let her baby PP cry and cry and cry her little heart out.

My advise if you decide to try "cry-it-out" sleeping method. Stick to it. It will be hard the first few days but it is all worth it. 

When NOT to try it:

1. Baby is sick
2. Baby is teething
3. Baby is having an obvious growth spurt and require lots of feeding 
(this is obvious when after weeks of sleeping through the night suddenly she starts to wake up again around 4 am and cries non-stop for more than 5 minutes. Something is wrong. Feed, change or sickness)


By doing "Cry-it-out" sleeping method doesn't mean you leave the baby  crying alone for long stretches. You can comfort your baby while she or he is lying in her or his cot. Leave, come back after 5 minutes. Checking up at 5-10-15 minutes intervals are advised so your baby will know, she or he is not completely alone. The intervals can be stretch longer and longer after several days.

Never pick up baby unless there's vomit involved (yes, chances of vomiting is high when baby cries like there is no tomorrow. DO NOT PANIC. be calm. change the baby, clean up the mess, feed the baby and try again. If you make it into an issue, the baby can sense it). 

 Baby PP not crying while I hum and stroke her to sleep. 
See me hiding my face!Eye contacts were avoided

Comfort you crying baby with light strokes on her body.
Sing. Hum. Just don't make eye contact. (Sometimes only my singing would make her drift to sleep)

Sometimes, the mother can't be there cause baby will cry even more! so let the hubby do it. No eye contact! Sometimes only the mother can soothe the baby. Sometimes, even seeing the mother can start a new session of tears. There's no fool proof plan. Try everything. (i woud sometimes peek at Baby PP lying awake in her cot while Daddylicious soothe her, and when Baby PP looked at my way, i would DUCK!).
Set a good bedtime pattern. Wash-up, lullabies, dim the lights all helps. and when it is bedtime, put baby in her cot regardless if she still wants to play. So long she had her feeding and diaper change, she would be alright.

Living with extended family? in-laws or parents? 

Try it when they are away. Tell them what you, as the baby parents want to do. Ignore criticism when they come because it will come. trust me.  most important. LOCK THE DOOR! by that, lock yourself in with the baby lah. not lock the door and leave the baby by herself in the room. 

You must agree to do this with your other half. If not, it would only confuses the baby when the dad picks her up when she cries but the mom won't. or vice versa. 

Be strong and hug a pillow or your hubby when the baby cries and cries. If either of you can't stand it, get out of the room. and wait it out. First few nights, was long. You have to read my entries on that. But it gets shorter and shorter. Until only a whimper or two before sleeping.

Continue on days after days. Because if you stop one night and pick up the baby when she cries. It will only serve as a confusion and the method takes longer to work. It will work, but it takes time and lots of improvisions of the method. 

The rewards:

1. Baby is well rested with an established bedtime
2. Mummylicious and Daddylicious is well rested with more time for themselves.
3. Happy mummy = happy baby
4. Baby knows cot = sleep and hopefully helps to establish grown up bed = for grown up.
No co-sleeping required with us especially when she is bigger.

Want to try it?

Good luck and be strong!

Read my experience when trying "cry-it-out" sleeping method here

Useful links from experts (summary from all previous links)


::Ida:: said...

i've tried it and it works like wonder!!!!! seriously, im soo thankful to u because if i didn't stumble upon ur blog, i dont think hariz would be sleeping tru the night and i'll still be like a walking dead corps by now :) Thank you! *clap clap*

Mummylicious said...

im sure you would have done so eventually anyway. hehe you're welcome.

its not most Asian parents would do nor encouraged to do. I am so glad I did it even with all the tears from Mummy and PP!