Crying it out

summersusuApril 20, 2006

I have an 11 week old. He sleeps at around 7:00 and then I wake him and feed him at 9:30 and put him in his crib. He goes down just fine and sleeps most nights until 5. I feed him and put him back down until he wakes around 6 or so. He usually grunts and stirs awhile when I put him back down. My first question is how long should I expect him to sleep after feeding him at five, and at what point should I not feed him at five anymore?

ALSO, He is dependent on taking a nap in the swing. He won't allow you to rock him to sleep or lay him in his crib without a fight. What is the earliest age you would recommend putting him in his crib and crying it out (Ferber)and how many naps should he be taking in his crib??

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I would never recommend crying it out - but that's my opinion. I recommend the book The No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley. It is full of some great ideas, none of which include abandoning your crying baby to be left alone in fear and confusion in the dark, not understanding why he's crying for you and you're not coming to him.

My son is still not a napper at 8 months. And he also still gets up at least once every night to nurse. This is normal. "Sleeping through the night" for an infant is considered a five hour stretch. So your 11 week old is basically sleeping through the night. Congrats on that! :-)

    Bookmark   April 21, 2006 at 10:43AM
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Never let a baby "cry it out"....why? What is accomplished but a feeling of hopelessness.
As for naps, he will eventually go into his crib....just don't let him go in the swing until he falls asleep.
Put him in his bed and start the mobile.....of get one of those bed rocker things. that runs on batteries.
Linda C

    Bookmark   April 21, 2006 at 5:57PM
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In response to putting him in the swing after he falls asleep, he will not go to sleep unless he is in the swing. If I am holding him he starts kicking his legs and gets really upset, the same with anywhere he is except his carseat or swing. About Crying it out, are you telling me that you infant does not cry at all when you lay them down to take a nap. Doesn't a child need to learn to soothe themselves at some point?

    Bookmark   April 24, 2006 at 10:56AM
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A child does need to learn to soothe themselves, but it is my contention that they do not learn this by crying themselves to sleep over and over.

Get a used copy of the No Cry Sleep Solution - there is a whole section in there about the negative effects of letting a baby "cry it out."

And no, I don't let my infant cry in his crib. I nurse him and rock him until he's sleepy but not asleep and then I put him in his crib. It's a work in progress - he doesn't always go right to sleep, but I don't leave him in there to cry. I pick him up and try again.

The book offers lots of ideas including introducing a "lovey" which he learns to associate with you and that will start to soothe him. The book has great ideas - again, I highly recommend it.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2006 at 4:04PM
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My little guy (now a year old) slept in our room for the first two months (DH's idea as he couldn't stand to be apart from him) and every peep he made, DH would go get him and bring him into our bed. The problem was that he learned that a fuss would get him immediate snuggles and he got so that he wouldn't go to sleep unless he was being rocked on top of Daddy's chest, or was firmly attached to Mommy's breast. After a month and a half of not sleeping and with DH facing being sent back to work (and not being around to rock him to sleep) I decided it was time for a change. I would feed/change/comfort Brayden, then lay him down in his crib and let him fuss. I would leave him for ten minutes (for him this was the perfect number), if at the end of the ten minutes he was still at it full force, I would go back in and feed/change/comfort and then try again. Most of the time at the end of the 10 minutes he was fast asleep, or very close to. When he would wake up and start fussing I would immediately go in. This may sound cruel to some of you...but the fact is, I was getting so fatigued that I was losing my ability to cope, so rather than getting frusterated I simply laid him down where he was safe (after making sure his needs were met) and let him figure it out that it was time to sleep. It took less than a week and he was going down at bed time without a fight.
Like you, my little guy wouldn't be rocked to sleep by me (I was 'momma milk bags'). And I tried laying him down and rubbing/patting his back and singing to him, but he'd just get more worked up. (Maybe my singing wasn't that good ;-)
Anyway, I'm a firm believer that there isn't any 1 right way to do it. My mom couldn't stand listening to him when they came to visit...she tought it was just aweful that I would leave him to cry like that...but when I asked her what she did with us three kids when we were little she said she couldn't remember, that that whole period was like a blur...probably from lack of sleep. ;-)

Brayden is now a year old. He got up 2-3 times a night for feeds until he was 10 months old and decided to start waking up every 45 minutes. I stopped that quickly by leaving him for the first 10-15 minutes when he woke up in the night, letting him 'cry it out'. I was able to quite quickly get him down to 1 feed at 3:00am and now he sleeps through the night and goes down without any problems. He's a happy little boy. He has lots of smiles in the morning when he wakes up, and he doesn't have any separation problems as of yet. (Though I hear most children go through that at some point.)

Every baby is different so do what works for you. Personally I think it's better to let baby cry a little bit, than to loose your mind trying to keep him happy all the time.

Enjoy your little guy...they get big really fast!!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2006 at 4:14PM
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I was taught that waiting until baby cries makes them distrustful of you. I fed when she started "rooting", or that kind of "chewing on fist" action that babies do, which is baby's instinctual cue that they are hungry.

I also am not sure I would wake baby up to feed. Let sleeping dogs 'er babies lie :-)

    Bookmark   April 24, 2006 at 7:09PM
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Thank you verenap. There are a lot of opinions out there and every baby is different. My LO can not be soothed by anything but a rocking chair, or a car seat. He too gets too worked up if you lay him down and try to pat his back. I always burp him well and give him gas drops. He is just a cranky baby when he gets tired. For now I am going to leave him in the swing, but I will be out for the summer (teacher) and he will be 4 months old by then. I think for naps, I am going to make sure he is clean, feed, burped, and safe and put him down (he may cry). Yeah there are some books that say that is not good, but there are just as many that say babies have to learn to settle themselves. Don't fret, it breaks my heart to hear him cry too, I won't be leaving him to cry long without comforting him, and then trying again. But with my tempermental child, this seems to be the only way. My ped said it was fine to do that, that she had to do that with her little ones. If my baby would only allow me to rock him, I could soothe him in other ways, but rocking only makes him mad and he fights me and anyone else who tries with tears and red face.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2006 at 9:29AM
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Seems to me there are more differences in moms (dads, peds, booksellers, etc) than in babies.

Before engaging book practices I think it helps to take a critical look at the writer, & the research (if any is cited). If you're nursing, you might want to think twice about a book written by someone who is not IBCLC. Sleep books are ofen completely at odds with research in infant physiology (think breastfeeding and sleep cycles).

Some questions to consider:
Do I want to train my baby to fit my needs?
Is there someone I'm trying to please? (myself, my hubby, my neighbor, my baby etc)
What about normal physiology, my own & my baby's?

Every mom has different needs. It's hard to be honest about our individual needs and goals, try one action plan (and then maybe another...), all while sleepless and under a barrage of scrutiny! How do any of us survive?!

summersusu, I wish you luck and grace on your journey. As for your question about "normalcy," your little guy sounds rather easygoing! If you have to ask if he needs to nurse, he probably needs to nurse! When he's no longer interested he'll purse his lower lip in & you'll have no more questions! If he's self-rousing and nursing happily at 5am, there's your answer.

One reason he may prefer the swing to rocking is that the motion of the swing is head to toe while rocking in the "cradle" position swings him side to side. Babies prefer head to toe. He may love to be held over your shoulder while walking, especially on the left shoulder over your heart.

There is no magic answer about how many naps, how long, where. And babies don't come up with ideas like "napping in swings" by themselves! Here's a longterm idea to consider: offer choices that make you feel wonderful -- this way he is "choosing" things that work for you. I'm always thinking longterm since I do think the patterns, the relationship, the trust we build with infants sets a tone and a pattern for a lifetime. There are patterns to sleep, meals, comfort, communication, decisionmaking that families begin and continue in the very first weeks and months and years. Mothering and decisionmaking are huge challenges, and well-worth considering and re-considering.

And yes there are cultures where infants do not cry. (unless hurt etc)

If he doesn't like to be held but does like the swing and car seat, it's worth exploring how he's being held, why this is so. Maybe a mother support group or other help one on one & live could help. Sometimes there are simple answers we can't see when we're too close.

All babies are different, but if you feel your baby fusses a lot or in ways you don't understand, by all means get more help until you feel satisfied. And if this is your first baby, don't let anyone make you feel your concerns aren't important because he's your first!!! It's important to pay attention to every mom, every baby, every question.

And what does it mean for a child to learn to soothe? Learn to receive comfort? Learn to trust? Learn a cry won't be answered?

    Bookmark   April 28, 2006 at 3:15PM
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Summersusu, I have 4 kids, and my first and my last sound like your baby. They both had/have a hard time falling asleep by themselves. I am a big believer in kids learning how to put themselves to sleep. I follow Ferber loosly, but I never let my kids fuss or cry themselves to sleep until they are at least 6 months old (as Ferber recomends. It is not as horrible as it sounds to those who are not familiar with the practice. After a couple of nights, your baby will learn to put himself to sleep and sleep the whole night with out waking. Heaven! Everyone involved will wake up in a better mood. All of my older children are great sleepers as a result. They almost never wake up (or rather the do wake up, they just know how to put themselves back to sleep) unless they are not feeling well.

I know some people don't mind their kids waking through out the night, and that's fine. This method works well for our family. You need to do what's best for your's. Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 12, 2006 at 6:07PM
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Check out this book by Dr. Marc Weissbluth: Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. This book is awesome, I bought it because many moms swear by it. Even if you don't believe in his philosophy (crying it out), there are a lot of good pointers- for example, babies have a maximum 2 hour window wake time. He also guides you on how many naps a baby needs at what month and so on...try it!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2006 at 10:29PM
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