Friday, February 19, 2010

The Shattuck Revolution: Crying it Out

Oliver's upstairs, crying his eyes out, and I'm down here, blogging.

This is the accumulation of the sleepless week from hell. Scratch that. Weeks from hell.

For a couple of weeks, I've been trying to wean Oliver from swaddling. Nothing I've tried has worked. I have tried putting him in a sleep sack with the arms knotted shut. I have tried loosely swaddling him. I've tried putting him to bed completely asleep, unswaddled. Nothing worked.

It's not that I have a problem with him being swaddled, exactly. It's simply a safety and sleep issue. He's getting close to rolling over from back to front. If he rolls over swaddled, I'm afraid he'll get stuck face down. Second, he's getting bigger and keeps unswaddling himself throughout the night. This means I've been getting up most nights every hour-and-a-half to reswaddle him.

Andrew and I decided to put it off and not worry about it until after Texas. However, while in Texas, we met the Klassens (see previous post). They had a similar problem with their daughter, Murphy, only Murphy needed to be swaddled and sucking a pacifier to go to sleep. Finally, after nothing else would work, they decided to deal with the issue by having Murphy give up her sleep vices cold turkey and letting her cry it out.

It worked.

When we got home from Texas, I thought it would be the perfect time for Oliver to learn to sleep unswaddled. I couldn't deal with the prospect of letting Oliver cry it out completely, though. So, instead, we let him cry for one minute. I settled him down, put him back in the crib, and I let him cry for two minutes. Then three. I was close to having a break down. I decided to give him four minutes, and then I'd get him. He sobbed and sobbed, and I gave up and swaddled him and put him down. He fell right asleep.

The thing is, swaddled, Oliver can fall asleep on his own. Unswaddled, he can't fall asleep, stay asleep, nothing.

I decided I'd just let him sleep swaddled. He wouldn't sleep more than a minute unswaddled, so what other choice did I have?


Ever since that traumatic night, Oliver has refused to nap anymore outside of my arms. Anyone who has been following my blog knows how it took me months to teach Oliver to nap outside of my arms.

These few days have been awful. He falls asleep, I put him down, he cries. I pick him up, he falls asleep, I put him down, he cries. I finally give up and let him sleep in my arms.

Well, this morning, I decided I wouldn't back down. I decided it wasn't good for Oliver or me for him to always get his way. At some point, he'd have to learn. At 8:45am this morning, after trying to get him to nap for 45 minutes, I decided to let him cry it out.

Mind you, he was exhausted. He fell asleep the moment I picked him up, but he'd wake up crying as soon as I set him down. I set him down at 8:45am, and I went outside to scrape the car. Ten minutes later, I came back, and he was still crying.

I went upstairs, and called Andrew in tears. He supported me. I sat on the phone with him for ten minutes as Oliver continued to cry. Then I read for 15 minutes. Still, he cried. I made the bed and dusted everything upstairs. Oliver continued to cry. I called Andrew for more moral support, and Oliver continued to cry. I scraped off some of the caulk in our shower while Oliver continued to cry.

This, my friends, went on for two hours and fifteen minutes (the last half hour of which, I was upstairs sobbing as well). Finally (finally), my will broke. I went downstairs and picked up Oliver who was covered in his spit up. He shushed immediately. I took him upstairs, changed him, played with him, fed him, played with him some more.

Now, it is 3:30pm. Oliver needs to nap. He is so very, very tired. He kept falling asleep in my arms. I'd put him down, he'd cry, I'd pick him up again. I decided to keep him awake. This way, I wasn't giving up, but I wasn't making him cry it out, either.

Poor guy couldn't stay awake any more. I set him in his crib, unswaddled, and came down here. It's been fifteen minutes, and Oliver is still sobbing.

I don't know what to do. I don't know how to teach him to sleep unswaddled.

Swaddling seemed like such a great idea in the beginning. In The Happiest Baby on the Block, Dr. Karp suggested it. So did the hospital. It worked. Oliver slept like a champ. However, a few weeks ago, when I started to worry about him rolling over, I didn't know how to teach him to sleep unswaddled. I consulted the Happiest Baby. All Dr. Karp said was that, at 3-4 months of age, babies will simply allow you to put them to bed unswaddled. I consulted the internet; that is not the case. Most parents have a really, really hard time. Some mothers put them in sleep sacks that have the arms knotted or sewn shut. That didn't work for Ollie; he cried instantly. Some mothers put their babies in looser and looser swaddles. Oliver broke out instantly and started sobbing. There don't seem to be any more suggestions out there.

And so it comes to this, a parent's last-ditch effort: crying it out. It's 3:35pm. Oliver has been screaming for twenty minutes after screaming for more than two hours this morning. It's not working. It is not working.

I'm going crazy. I'm so tired and stressed. Oliver must be so tired, stressed and confused.

I just want this to be over with.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So what happened with the unswaddling/crying it out? My 7 month old has been swaddled until two days ago. Horrible horrible nights...he can fall asleep, but wakes up every so frequently now. Strangely his first nap of the day goes FINE and he sleeps two hours. But at night...awful.