There are many famous books out there that insist on the “crying it out” (CIO) method. They swear by quick results within days to teach your baby to self settle and sleep through the night. I am ashamed to say that during a very desperate time, I have been gullible enough to follow suit, even though I am very against this method. I gave it a shot and ended up with a distressed baby that vomited and a very overwhelmed and tearful mother. I absolutely hate this method and no matter what the books say, I will never ever recommend this to anyone nor will I ever try it again.
Like many other first time mums, I am very conscious about understanding my baby’s needs. So when she cries, most of the time, I know exactly what she wants. Reading her cries is something I’ve learnt along the way. It is a mother’s instinct to attend to a crying baby, but the CIO method defies this and it makes me uncomfortable. The Ferber Method in particular suggests leaving the baby to cry for strictly timed intervals, increasing the intervals each time and ignoring all the baby’s protest and cries. This method supposedly teaches them how to self settle and forces them to quickly learn that by kicking up a fuss, it won’t get them anywhere. Doctor Richard Ferber’s book is well known and many people have sworn by it.
Well, it didn’t work on my daughter. We tried it for a week. By the end of that week, to say the least, we were all worn out, unhappy and miserable. Each time I went in after the timed interval was up, it became a ‘tease’ for her and made her scream even more. This resulted in her vomiting from protesting so much. I felt like a horrible mother as I’m not sure if it left lasting effects. I would take it back if I could. It just didn’t work for us.
Every baby is different. I had to step back, ignore what everybody else was saying and access my baby and our situation. Madeleine has always been a quick learner, so I had to teach her how to fall asleep without a breastfeed and for her to sleep in the cot. After a few nights of the ‘pick up and put down method’, she was no longer waking up every 2 hours wanting a breastfeed and on most nights, she’d sleep through.
The ‘pick up and put down method’, is a gentler technique of picking up the baby and comforting them when they became distraught. At first, it took me about 2 hours of picking her up and putting her down (about 20 times) before she understood what we wanted her to do. Babies are smart, they just need the right tools and time. Every baby is different and there are plenty of methods available that doesn’t have to be as stressful as the CIO method. Sooner or later, your baby will sleep. Don’t give up!