Things started out really well on the sleep front. Well, not started out. Nothing starts out well – those first 3 weeks are hell on wheels. But very quickly our daughter started sleeping for longer stretches – 8,10,12 hours and even letting us sleep in. We kept joking that it would all come back to haunt us one day. But we figured one day was years from now – like when she was a teenager. We didn’t guess that one day would start during infancy.
I mentioned we’d had some issues at 4 months, but had sort of managed to correct (well, plus or minus…). Well, since the move, things are getting a bit out of hand. I know it’s our “fault” as her schedule and routine got really messed up in the move / the new place, but I’m having such a hard time correcting. The fact of the matter is, it’s clear that she no longer seems to be able to fall asleep on her own. I’ve tried moving her bedtime up, as she gets VERY over tired and can’t seem to settle, but nothing seems to work. Even if I try to nurse her to sleep – unless I hit it exactly right, she wakes up when I put her in the crib and it’s all over…
So we’ve discussed our options and I began my online research. Do I let her cry it out? Do I try Ferber? Do I sit with her while she cries it out (so she’s not nursing, but not alone)? Do I cradle and rock her and possibly nurse her till she moves out of the house? And I discovered what every mother discovers – no one knows! Some people say let them cry it out, as it’s really important for their development. There’s the Ferber method of periodically checking on her – which would be great (I’m not neglecting you. I’m here. I’m just not being manipulated.) except that seeing us come in, but do nothing for her, just freaking pisses her off! Others say that our biological imperative is NOT to let our children cry it out because going back to caveman days, a crying baby would have attracted predators – it would have been neglect and/or harmful to the clan as a whole.
Now I know that EVERYONE has an opinion on this. And most people think their opinion is the only way to do anything. The fact is – I can’t seem to get myself to a final opinion. We’ve tried Ferber the last few nights and last night… well, had odd results. She cried for a long time. After awhile in checking on her, I noticed all the drool and remembered she seemed a little fussy so thought – well maybe she’s teething. I decided to give her some Tylenol. She cried again when I put her down for a little bit, but then she stopped, so I assumed she’d gone to sleep. I waited a little while to make sure she was really asleep and went in – and she wasn’t asleep. Her eyes were open and she just looked at me, but didn’t cry. I rushed back out (trying not to be seen, which I assumed would induce crying – but I think she saw me). Her Dad checked on her when he got home about an hour later – she was awake (or was not deeply asleep and woke up) and saw him too – but no cry.
Have we broken her spirit?