My husband was getting a ride from a couple who had older children the other night, when they shared an interesting story. When their daughter was around our toddler’s age, she would wake up every twenty-minutes at night because she had asthma. Her best friend, whose child was a sound sleeper through the night, would constantly tell her to let her cry it out. Every conversation, she would insist that this woman let her daughter cry so she would finally sleep through the night.
But this woman refused and spoke back, “I’m not letting my kid cry it out. It’s a shitty feeling for a kid to feel alone in a dark room, with no one to help them. I’m not doing it!”
Keep in mind this woman is also a therapist for teens. After a while, she stopped taking her friend’s calls and they no longer spoke or remained friends. This was twenty years ago, but times have not changed.
I’ve been resisting cry it out for two years. For those of you who haven’t heard, cry it out is a method and form of sleep training where you let your child cry till they figure out how to fall asleep on their own. They can cry anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour, depending on your child.
Lately, we hit a bad two-year-old sleep regression that seemed like it would never end and I started thinking that letting my boy cry at night was the only way we could cope. But this story made me feel better. The woman in the car asked my husband how long our boy sleeps. My husband said that on some nights now he can sleep for nine hours, but he wakes up early at 5am. “Nice hours straight?! That’s amazing! Our kid woke up every 20 minutes and we still wouldn’t let her cry.” She said.
Well my husband exaggerated a bit. Every night is different, but usually I get up a few times at night before it’s a hard wake call at 4:45am/5:00am. But either way, this family’s story was reassuring and reminded me that I don’t have to listen to other moms and I need to do what’s right for me — even if I’m the odd mom out!
I write this as I sit outside my boy’s open door, waiting for him to fall asleep. If he hears me move, he’ll cry and make sure I’m still here. He actually thinks I sleep on this rug outside his door all night! Let’s just pray he doesn’t wake up all night looking for me, as he has done in the past. Either way, I’m going to be there for him.
Maybe I’m messing up his ability to “self-soothe” or sleep on his own. Maybe I’m giving him too much attention, but I don’t think so. One day, he won’t need me anymore and one day and I’ll miss these moments. Not sure I’ll miss my 4:45am wake-ups though! But I will miss this time. Good night everyone and sweet dreams.