We cried it out. It worked. And I wouldn't recommend it for a second.
I don't necessarily think that crying it out is bad for babies (older babies, that is) but it's pure torture for moms. At least it was for me.
Ava slept through the night starting at around two months old. And then she hit the eight month sleep regression and it was all down hill from there. She was waking up every couple of hours, screaming at the top of her lungs. While the first couple of times I just put her on my boob because it was easier, I didn't want that habit to start. So then for a couple of weeks I would just pick her up to hug her tight and within two seconds she would be sound asleep in my arms.
Unfortunately, there are a couple of key words in my last sentence.
"IN MY ARMS"
...and only in my arms.
It got to the point where she could be sound asleep in my arms with the tv on loud and Baxter barking and she wouldn't even stir.
But then the second we put her down she would be wide awake again, screaming and crying and just wanted to be held. Believe me, it makes you feel pretty good when your baby loves, wants and needs you that much.
But I am human and I need sleep.
Oh yeah and she would sleep like a charm in our bed but co-sleeping isn't an option in our house and that is a decision we made from day one. So we were back to square one.
But the big question was, would I be able to handle it?
Plain and simple -- no. I couldn't handle it.
So we did what I never wanted to do and I made sure I was as far away as can be. I would put her down and immediately would hop into the shower, leaving my poor husband to keep an eye on her and keep my ears far out of her crying reach. Every fifteen minutes he would go in, not pick her up, but console her, sing to her and rub her back. And then he would leave the room and she would start crying again.
I can only shower for so long so there was plenty of time that I could hear her crying in her crib, peeking over the edge and just wanting to be held by her mama and it broke my heart into a million pieces. Actually, more like a billion pieces.
After a couple of nights she was down to crying for around 15 minutes or so and it didn't get any easier on me, as I expected it would.
She's now 10 months old and is sleeping around 10 to 12 hours a night, with mini wake ups every single night where she puts herself back to sleep after a couple of minutes. So I honestly don't know if cry it out worked or if she just grew out of that phase that I hear a whole lot of babies go through right around that age.
But either way, it was the most heart wrenching experience of my life. And I am sure I will look back on it one day and think, "You know, that was a whole lot easier than what I am going through right now." You know, like the teenage years when she's out on a date and I'm just sitting there waiting for her to come home? But we have plenty of time to deal with that later.
And now we need to figure out napping...
One step at a time.