Friday, March 06, 2009

Controlled crying

It looks like I have no choice but to employ controlled crying to get my boy to fall asleep on his own. He has not slept through the night since he was born. It will be difficult and might take a few days or a week according to what I have read. Heartbreaking as it will be, my wife and I have no choice but to do it. We were expecting him to gradually fall asleep by himself and sleep through the night by now but that is just not going to happen.

Waking up frequently and not going to sleep easily is already second nature to him. He has had great difficulty with colic, reflux and teething. It has been one thing after another since he was born. All these things break the sleep cycle. Now that he can crawl and stand it's like he doesn't want to miss out on the fun by sleeping at all no matter how tired he is.

Sleep begets sleep and lack of sleep equals a wired and demanding child who just doesn't want to settle down. That's what we've been dealing with for the past 11 months. Unless you have been in the same position as us you will not understand the toll that it takes after a while. My wife can't remember the last time she slept more than 4 hours a night.

Now that our boy can crawl and stand it is even more difficult for us because he will get up and want to crawl out of the room the minute he wakes up in the middle of the night. And when you try to put him back down he will fight and wrestle with you. He wants to be free to move without being put back down.

I am all for my child being free to move and explore his surroundings, but not at the ungodly hour of 4am. Sometimes he will cry for two hours resisting sleep while my wife tries to put him back down. She is the only one who can get him to sleep at night. If I pick him up he wants me to carry him out of the room to play.

There are hundreds of articles on babies with sleeping problems online. I have probably read all of them. There is no easy solution than to let them cry it out everynight until they learn to settle down on their own. We have already tried it a few times only to abort it because we don't have the heart to listen to our baby cry uncontrollably for more than half and hour. Just five minutes feels like hell. It's excruciating in case you don't know.

Even our paediatrician says it doesn't hurt babies to cry it out. That is the only way they can learn sometimes. In fact, if they cry it out and fall asleep on their own they will wake up happier because they learn to sleep longer eventually. A well rested baby is a happy baby. If you give in to their cries it will become a self-perpetuating cycle that will continue until the child grows older. They will only become spoiled and cranky all the time expecting you to give in to their tantrums.

It'll be tough but I am going to have to bite the bullet and do the controlled crying, starting tonight. I will probably get opposition from my in-laws and wife after a while because like I said, who can bear a baby crying inconsolably for any length of time. I myself will probably give in. But we need to sleep so it's better to suffer now and get some sleep later. All of us need to sleep or else someone is bound to go crazy one day.

1 comment:

David said...

I feel your pain, Tabh; we are going through something similar here. Just moved Ms Leahy into her new room tonight, and bracing ourselves for the pain!