Sunday, May 18, 2008

Mommy Guilt

I have been feeling a little guilty lately.

As I have mentioned approximately 923 times, my children have trouble sleeping. Porgie was a horrible sleeper until we let her cry it out. I was hopeful that my little Izzy would be a champion sleeper, but he has proven to be an even worse sleeper.

Although the rational part of my brain understands that some children just aren't good sleepers, the crazy part of my brain thinks that his restlessness is my fault. Obviously I am an inadequate mother - right? I know this sounds insane. And it is insane. But at 3 am, the only part of my brain that works, is the crazy part.

Since we unswaddled Izzy, he seems to be sleeping better. In fact, he has only woken up one or twice for the past few nights. I am very excited about this new trend, but I also want to take things a step further. I really want Izzy to learn how to put himself to sleep.

Although I am not ready to let my baby cry-it-out all night long, I have been enforcing a few new rules. Here they are...

1. Bedtime occurs around 7 pm every night.
2. When Izzy wakes up during the night, I respond to him promptly (even if he wakes up every hour or two).
3. If Izzy does not return to sleep after nursing or rocking, I put him in his crib - regardless of whether he is asleep or awake (this means I might have to endure some crying).

We had to endure some crying a few night again. 30 MINUTES OF SCREAMS. The longest thirty minutes of my life. I second guessed myself during the entire episode. Should I let him cry? Does he feel like we abandoned him? He is sick? What if he is teething? Maybe his ears sill hurt? I was able to refrain from going into his bedroom, and he eventually fell back asleep.

Although I know that teaching my baby how to put himself to sleep is an important life skill, I am still feeling a little guilty.


amanda said...

as i type this i too am feeling the mommy guilt - she has been in there 45 min trying to take a nap. no true screaming. more whimpering and pleading.

but we too have our fair share of cry fests around here. and i have the same conversation with myself every time.

i know she should learn to soothe herself, but it's so much easier if i just do it. we all get to sleep so much faster! but then sometimes she surprises me and does it herself?

so the struggle continues and the only way i justify it to myself...well i guess i don't. i just feel the guilt and hope to you know who she still isn't doing this when she's two!!

wish i had advice. instead i just can say i totally 100 times over get it.

Rachel said...

Christy-I am not the person to help at all. I have struggled with Max and letting him cry and I just can't do it. I did try it when Max was 9 months and it did help but I failed to do it then. I think it is tough for you since your babies are so close in age and you are constantly on the go with them. But do what feels right. Either way if Izzy knows that you love him and he feels that you know you are making the right decision then it will be ok. I wish I had something better to say but Max sleeps with us half of the night.

Eva said...

That really sucks. Hopefully he will learn to get back to sleep on his own (most of the time) soon.

Amanda said...

I did the same routine with all of my 4 boys, but with Callum, my youngest, he got to about 8-9 months and started to wake up up to 6 times a night! We let him cry it out, 'controlled crying' and now he's a great sleeper. It only took a few hard nights to sort out his sleeping problem. Now he goes down at 7:30pm , awake and sleeps all night. You can do it Christy. Stick in there.

Love Amanda x

Amanda said...

If you want to know more about 'controlled crying' let me know!

Lainey-Paney said...

it's just hard being a mommy.

Greg said...

Kris and you are just alike!! She always feels guilty when we let Ellie cry herself back to sleep.

I on the other hand, tend to wait it out a little longer. I think it is just a mom thing to feel bad.

You are a good mom and it is ok to let your babies cry it out:)

Mojavi said...

i don't think it is a mom thing to feel bad it is your instinct... we didn't have nurseries in the olden days the young slept with the parents. They cry to be soothed... crying it out only teaches them to not rely on you.. it dosen't teach them how to self sooth it teaches them to give up.

Sorry christy I am hard core on this... cry it out creates attachment disorder.. Science proves it.

Marni Tiani Self said...

Don't ever kick yourself in the butt for parenting. First off, have you heard the phrase "Confidence is what makes a woman sexy". It's the same for parents. Confidence and knowing you are a good mother, will make you a good mother. Really, try it. Don't let anyone else let you believe otherwise. Above all yourself!

On another note, one great trick I've learned is the SAME routine EVERY night before bed creates a comfort to children.

AND consistency is key in whatever you choose to do. So think it through and then don't let anyone voice their opinions and double guess yourself. No one on blogger is there in your world to do what you need to do or say what can work for your family.

Good luck!

Christy said...

I understand where you are coming from, but I disagree with you. I tried co-sleeping with Izzy, but he was waking up every hour all night long. Every day he was a little fussier than the day before because he was so sleep deprived. When I put him in his own bed he started sleeping better.

Teaching your child how to self sooth is an important life skill. I am not going to let my children have candy for dinner, just because they cry for it. And I am not going to allow them to become so sleep deprived that they are chronically fussy. He needs to sleep, and if he has to fuss for a few minutes, then so be it.

We did the crying-it-out thing with Porgie, and she is a happy, healthy, and well rested child.

I do agree with one thing - it does go against your instinct to let your baby cry. But I seriously doubt that it creates "attachment disorders."

Danielle said...

You are a stronger woman than I! I just can't let Eliza CIO. I tried once and my dad broke down and picked her up. She just cries and cries. Maybe when she gets a little older- but I hope it does not get to that point.

Chas said...

I felt the same way when Lila was little. I just couldn't do it. Good luck!!!

Dana said...

i wouldn't be able to let my child cry it out either - if I had one!

Nellie said...

I totally feel ya. We had a rough couple weeks with Ellie not to long ago. It was SO hard. The guilt killed me. KILLED me! I tried to let her cry it out and that just plain sucks. I'm sorry and I hope things start getting better soon!

Anonymous said...

I want to help you.... please reach to me for help with sleep. As I look to the left I see Amanda needs me to. I am friends with amanda on our mommy forum. Please, reach to me... I will help with sleep.