Saturday, June 26, 2010

Cry It Out – Why it’s not as evil as I thought…

Ok, so “cry it out” seems cruel especially if you are letting your child do it.  Your mama instincts scream “she needs you!”  When Evelyn turned 6 months, Doc and I had a talk.

Bedtime.  It has gotten increasingly worse.  Evelyn hits a tired point where she just whines at everything.  We have tried singing to her, reading her a book, rocking her, playing with her, her swing, carrying her in the tummy carrier, etc.  Everything just seemed to make it worse.  I would have to hold her tight for 20 minutes to get her to calm down and go to sleep, and the screaming was hard on me, hard on Doc, and hard on Evelyn. 

We had noticed that in her car seat, when Evelyn got tired and cried, if we left her alone, she calmed down and went to sleep pretty quickly.  If you tried to comfort her, distract her, or even pacify her, she got more upset.  So we thought maybe this would apply to bedtime.  If we put her in her crib, gave her a blanket and turned on her sound machine, maybe she would go to sleep on her own better than when we try to help her.

So on June 15th, I took Evelyn into her room.  Laid her down.  Said, “Night, Night Evelyn.  Mommy loves you,” and left the room.  She screamed bloody murder for ten minutes.  Then off and on for a little while.  The she went to sleep and slept most of the night.

So we’ve kept it up.  She cried until I left the room last night and then went right to sleep at 8 and didn’t wake up until 4. 

It still is hard sometimes, but when I talked to the pediatrician about it, she put it into perspective for me.  Evelyn needs to be okay without me.  She needs to be able to go to sleep on her own, because I’m going back to work soon, and I won’t be at day care with her.  So when I think of it as training wheels for child care, it’s much easier to do. 

Children are supposed to be able to self sooth starting as young as 4 months* so I feel like at 6, Evelyn is golden.  And it’s working way better than any of the things we tried at getting her to bed. 

So there ya have it – I, the hippie, think crying it out is okay for Evelyn now.   I still maintain that it should be a child by child thing, but if it works for you, it works.


  1. don't feel bad, you're doing great. i bet it's tough, but i agree with you, it seems like from what you've told me, that it's working. evelyn's just stubborn ;) she gets it from her momma. she'll figure out that screaming bloody murder is not going to get her out of going to bed, and she'll fall asleep faste and faster just like she's starting to.

    don't stress supermomma, you're doing awesome.

  2. Sounds familiar! We still have a crutch with Bella, the bottle. She eats, she goes to sleep. But I had the same talk with my ped recently. When we get serious about putting her to bed sans the food, we'll be doing something similar to what you're doing. Cause they may cry for a little while, but chance are the kids will grow past it. And if there are times when she's just inconsoleable by herself, you'll know and then you'll be there to comfort her, most of the time. If not, those taking care of her will, and I bet it won't take her long to see them as friends, not foes :).

    I'm hoping it all works out like that, because like you said, whether its going back to work or something else, they will eventually need to learn that mommy can't be there 24/7. I'm glad you're already seeing an improvement!