Tuesday, January 22, 2013

When All You're Left With is CIO


The Baby Whisperer ie. the sleep consultant I paid lots of money to get my baby to sleep says that we're there, we're at THAT point. 

The point of desperation when there's no other option...it's time for CIO.

I really didn't want to be here.

I honestly thought that the sleep lady would magically be able to fix the situation for me without the crying.  I REALLY THOUGHT THAT.

I may have been envisioning her with a magic wand.

You know...like this!

It turns out she does not have a magic wand and that no amount of money thrown at this problem is going to make my baby sleep without crying.


But you see, we're at the point where baby cries no matter what.  Except for the magic boob technique, ie. nursing, Baby cries to be put to sleep, baby cannot be put to sleep for naps or at night without crying.  IT SUCKS.

Her CIO method is the nice version, the come back into the room to shush and pat and offer kind words (mommy and daddy are right here, but you need to learn how to sleep on your own now etc etc) for 1 minute after letting them cry for increasing intervals, starting with 5, then 10, then 15 and staying at 15 minutes and the whole thing has a cutoff of 2 hours.

I think it's called the Interval Method.

Her method also allows us to not necessarily end co-sleeping but to see where he sleeps best.  He gets thrown in the crib until he learns to sleep (3-7 nights apparently) and then we bring him back in the bed to see if he starts waking up all the time again.  If he doesn't we can keep co-sleeping if we so choose, if he starts waking up to nurse every 2 hours again...it's time for baby to move to the crib.

While I'm terribly displeased about the lack of magic wand, the Baby Whisperer did have some insights into how we got here and was finally able to answer Where Did We Go Wrong?  

The answer?

It can all be contributed to that whole colic/dairy fiasco of weeks 6-12.

I knew that wasn't over and was gonna come back and bite me in the ass.

If you've ever had a baby with colic you know that YOU WILL DO ANYTHING TO GET THEM TO SLEEP, that means LOTS AND LOTS of bouncing and rocking and LOTS AND LOTS of motion in general.  They don't get put down like ever because they'll scream and they get held to sleep a lot because you know...they'll scream.

So, basically, baby got really really used to motion putting him to sleep and even after we got over the colic...we kept bouncing.  We kept rocking.  We kept using motion to put him to sleep.


And because we didn't know any better.  FIRST KID ACCIDENTAL PARENTING.  

I knew, I KNEW, that we had to quit using motion to put him to sleep at some point and I was trying to gradually reduce the motion, but Baby Jett was putting up quite a fight and had resorted to screaming at us the moment we tried to start putting him to sleep and basically forced us to continue to bounce him...BECAUSE IT WAS THE ONLY WAY TO GET HIM TO SLEEP.

And now we're here.  Baby Jett has not learned how to put himself to sleep and he has not learned how to put himself BACK to sleep when he wakes up...so he nurses, he nurses himself back to sleep all night long.

And desperation for sleep both for him and for me has led us to CIO.

We start tonight.

I'm leaving the house.

To cry into a glass of wine while my husband tortures our son into sleeping.

Wish us luck.  I know he won't remember a moment of this but my heart is in knots.  

I'll update after the guilt has subsided.


  1. I am so sorry you have to resort to the one thing you didn't want to do... but it sounds like the sleep consultant at least gave some good insight as to why this is the thing that must be done. I also think its good you are having Dom do it... I don't think Dads get the gut-ache sick feeling Moms do when our babies cry, and Jett won't smell Mom and fuss more. I wish I could be there to take you out for that glass of wine! xoxo

  2. Ugh, best of luck hon.

    If you find you can't stick to it with CIO (even Weissbluth method), just FYI, we used the swing at night for motion for a LONG time and transitioned from there. She slept with movement all night...then we slowly decreased the swing speed from hi (5?) to low (1) over the course of a few weeks. Eventually she got used to not needing movement to sleep. Just another idea to throw into the mix.

    Good luck tonight. ((HUGS))

    1. I tried the swing, he screamed and screamed, it was just like CIO except in a swing, I figure there's no point to that as you just have to eventually phase the swing out too, might as well go straight for the crib.

  3. why is nursing him back down when he wakes not an option any longer? Just curious. I nursed my eldest (age 4) until he was 2.5 when it was a mutual weaning (no tears!). But until that point, he was nursed down for every nap and we coslept, so he nursed intermittently throughout the night. When we weaned...which seriously was just a conversation and extra cuddles, he slept without any problems...occasionally he'd wake for a hug if I wasn't in bed yet, but that was it. He now sleeps in his own bed/room with no problems. It gets much easier to adjust their sleep habits when they can communicate with you in words!

    I never found the nursing at night to be a problem because it was all side-lying and once he was able to latch on himself, I just got used to it and was able to sleep through it...or at the most wake for five min. before falling back asleep.

    Just curious why you're trying to get rid of that nursing to sleep if it works!

    1. Because no one is getting enough sleep. We've done a sleep log for the last week, the max time he went was 2 hrs and 40 minutes and he woke 5-7 times a night to nurse himself back to sleep. He also can't sleep longer than a half hour for naps, he needs more sleep than that. Total hrs of sleep over the week of sleep logging he was getting as few as 10.5 hrs in a 24 hour period and most 13.5...it's not enough and he's becoming chronically sleep deprived. If he was getting enough sleep with the way things are I wouldn't change them, but he's not. As his mother it's my responsibility to make sure he gets enough sleep...I've tried everything else, nothing has worked, so here we are. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

  4. Good luck! I think the end result Baby Jett and you getting more sleep will make this all worth it in the end. Plus, he totally won't remember this at all. Hang in there!!

  5. Gosh, what was the alternative method to put him to sleep during colic when motion was the only way he would sleep? Ugh, this is so complicated!

    I'm so sorry! I wish she had a fairy wand too.

    I think it's a good idea for you to be out of the house for this. First of all, Jett knows you've got boobs, and my little one quietes for her dad much more than for me, and I don't think the daddies have that heart wrenching reflex like we do when we hear our babies cry. They are just very objective about the crying.

    Good luck! Please update us tomorrow!

  6. My mommy heart is with you. Baby number one did great and got on a good schedule early. baby number two was plagued with ear infections and I have always said "I missed the window". It took a good two years for me to get her into a good pattern. But....I will say this....sleeping and soothing for infants is a learned skill....and as parents we need to gently nurture and teach new skills. Sometimes this is frustrating for both baby and parents...but we do it because we know in the long run...it is better for everyone in the family. You will do fine. it will not be fun. there will be tears....from everyone, but he will learn and you will will learn from teaching and feel more confident every day. I will be sending out empathetic support for you for the next several days. It is not always easy to do what is best for our kids and ourselves. But developing a good sleep routing is good for the whole family. I promise you, you will look back and be so happy you did this.

  7. Good luck tonight! Sleep (or lack of) can be so frustrating! I'm curious to hear what your plan is for naps. My son is incredibly difficult to get down for naps... Enjoy your wine. It will be worth it in the long run.

  8. Good luck :( :( CIO sounds soooo hard, but you are really at that point, he will learn how to sleep and everyone will be happier for it. <3

  9. Sleep baby, sleep. Enjoy your wine. You might want to pick up a bottle for tomorrow night. Each day will get easier.

  10. Hi! I've read your blog a few times and I thought I would just chime in here. We did CIO (the kind your consultant suggested) when my daughter was 4 months old. The first night was horrible! I cried right along with her for three hours straight. The next night, it only took an hour and a half. The third night, it took 30 minutes. By the fourth night, she was falling asleep on her own with two or three tiny fusses. She went from waking up every 2 hours to sleeping 10 hours straight every night!

    One other thing I did that helped this: I woke her up to feed her right before I went to bed. She would go down somewhere between 7 and 8pm. I would wake her up around 10 or 11pm to do a "dream feed" (she was half asleep but still eating a little). Then I would lay her back down and she would sleep until 6 or 7am. After a month of this, she weaned herself off of the dream feed.

    It was hard! It took everything I had not to run and pick her up when she would cry like that. But in the end, the sleep I get now is so worth it. My daughter and I are so much happier during the day! I hope it works for you too!

  11. I can imagine how hard that would be. I think it is definately harder for women to hear their babies cry and not be able to go to them. I can only last so long. We have started to be cautious of the motion method and other sleep props because of this reason. I would hate to have to go to CIO, but I know we would if we have to. We will both be back at work at some point and I will have to have my baby sleeping at night. We are starting Babywise at 6 weeks and hope it sets the stage. I just hope he doesn't get coliky. I'm sorry you are here, but I know you can do this. My sister had to resort to CIO and her son is a champion sleeper now. Just stay tough and know your baby won't hold a grudge. It will be much harder on you than him.

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  13. Uh oh! Man I have created the same situation! We are in same boat and our baby will only fall asleeep to bouncing or nursing! I am cursing myself right now! We have sleep workshop next Friday! Hoping we can curb this habit before too long! Good luck!

  14. Uh oh! Man I have created the same situation! We are in same boat and our baby will only fall asleeep to bouncing or nursing! I am cursing myself right now! We have sleep workshop next Friday! Hoping we can curb this habit before too long! Good luck!

  15. oh no Jes. I am so sorry, I really hoped there would be a magic answer for you too. Shit. I hope your night went ok and that you and Dom survived. I know without a doubt that had I dealt with colic I'd be in the exact same place - because what the hell else would you do? Of course you are going to bounce/move/nurse your baby if it gets him happy when he is so sad. I hope that it is just a few nights before baby Jett decides that he loves to fall asleep on his own.

  16. The CIO is hard on everyone, but it really does work very quickly. Took about 2 nights in our case. The first night is very hard, so probably best if you are out of the house. We did a similar method only my husband stayed in the room with her until she fell asleep. The first night the chair was right next to the crib, the next night a little further from the crib until the chair was right by the door and then you leave the room. By the time the chair was by the door, there was no crying and it was just waiting for her to fall asleep (maybe 10 minutes). Good luck! I totally agree that you all need to get more sleep. We waited even longer to the point that our daughter could pull herself to standing in the crib, which makes it even harder and usually makes for a longer first night!

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