Now, before we get started, I want to make it clear that this is NOT a post in which I condemn those who have different beliefs than me, or those who parent differently than I do (and if you leave a comment, and it isn't civilized, I will delete it). I want you to do what you want to do, what works for your family. I don't live with you, I don't see how things go night after night. Just as you don't live with us.
So let's get started.
Before I had Henry, I assumed I'd be a "cry it out" parent. B and I were pretty well set on using this method to get our sweet angel of a baby on a sleep schedule early, because we both LOVE to sleep. Seriously, I wish there was a prize for best sleeper, because I'd totally win. (Or would have before I became a parent.) Then Henry showed up. And after dealing with his reflux issues, I found myself just wanting to comfort him however I could. And that has continued. That's why he falls asleep on me every night, and that's why I still get up with him in the middle of the night if he needs it. Luckily at some point he seemed to put himself on a schedule of his own and he began sleeping through the night without us having to do anything.
And now when he does wake in the middle of the night, it's because something is wrong. For the past month (MONTH!), he's been dealing with an ear infection that just won't go away. So he's been waking up a couple times a night and usually only finds total comfort if he is with one of us. (If he ends up in bed with one of us- the other goes to sleep in the guest room because we're too nervous to have all 3 of us in one bed.) As much as I wish he'd go back to sleeping through the night, and as sleep deprived as I am right now, I still won't consider using the cry it out method. And let me tell you why: It's because I LIKE being his comfort. I like when it's the still of the night and the only thing I can hear is his steady breathing as he falls back asleep. I like that he knows that he can come to me when he's hurting and that Mommy (or Daddy) can make it feel better. And I know that someday that won't be the case and I dread that day. So until then, I'll lay with him. I'll take one for the team and I'll be exhausted because he needs me. And when he's feeling better, I take comfort in the fact that he will go back to sleeping through the night, just as he's done in the past.
And now I want to reiterate that I do not think that letting your child cry it out is wrong. I don't think that it's causing psychological damage or something crazy like that. And who knows, if we have a second baby, maybe we'll let that baby cry it out because we're too exhausted from dealing with two children to get up in the middle of the night. But for right now, where we are in our lives as a threesome, we are doing things our way and we're doing what is right for our family (just as we did with breast vs. bottle feeding). And I hope that you're doing what is best for YOUR family, regardless of what others think about your choices.
I'd love to hear what worked for YOUR family. Let me know in the comments or on Facebook.UPDATE: He slept all night last night! In his crib! I think the ear infection is finally gone. Hallelujah!