I have to admit that I'm surprised at how much attention this thread has gotten. I changed ISPs and have been off-line for the past 2 weeks. I'm sorry that I don't have time to read through the entire thread right now, but I thought I should give an update on our situation. I'm probably going to be stripped of my MDC membership for what you're about to read......
We did let Zoe CIO.
Please at least read what led us to this decision before you decide I should be nominated for the crappiest mother of the year award.
Things had been getting progressively worse -- it was a RARE occasion when I could get Zoe to sleep anywhere other than in my arms. When I did, it was in the swing for 30 minutes at a time, or in the car after a 30 minute drive. When I had to be anywhere I made sure I left early enough to drive around and get her some sleep so she wouldn't be miserable. It was helpful for Zoe, but not so fun for Ean (my 2-year old). Her fussiness got worse, and people who spent any amount of time with her were starting to comment and get concerned that there might be something wrong with her. The *only* time she was happy was right after waking up from a nap -- even then her happiness was usually short-lived. Had she been able to sleep in the sling, I would have been more than happy to wear her around whenever she needed to nap, but she's a light sleeper and seems to require quiet in order to stay alseep. I could have chosen to hold her in a quiet room every time she needed to sleep, but I couldn't stand what that was doing to my son. He needs me too and his needs and Zoe's needs were becoming increasingly at odds.
The final straw was Saturday night when I was rocking Zoe --- Ean came in to say goodnight and I shooed him away to keep him from waking her up. "Ean, please don't wake your sister" had become my mantra --- but the look on his face at that moment was more than I could stand. He was crushed and I knew he needed me, and I went to him. Rich (DH) took Zoe, but she screamed in his arms for 45 minutes. I was at the end of my rope and I knew that *something* had to change. Please believe me when I tell you we tried everything short of CIO (swaddling, white noise, NCSS, binkys, etc.) and things only got worse. I felt like I was making Sophie's Choice -- which one of my kids was I going to ignore. It was the most terrible feeling, and the only thing I could to was follow my heart. I decided that my son was suffering so much from my constant attention to Zoe that it was worth the risk of CIO. So, we finally put Zoe down and left the room -- I went back in every 5 - 7 minutes, touched her, kissed her, told her I loved her. She fell asleep after 35 minutes, crying on and off. When she awoke later I nursed her and put her back in her crib. She woke up again shortly after that and came to bed with us. We tried again the next night, same thing, except after she woke I wound up sitting in the glider all night, holding her while she slept. Same thing last night, except I tried putting her down after she woke to nurse -- she woke 3 times after falling asleep initially and went back to sleep with only a few little noises (not even cries). Just to be clear -- I nursed her each time she woke up and cried. I didn't stop her from falling asleep nursing, but I didn't go to any extreme measures to make sure she was out cold before I put her down.
I don't know what to say other than I KNOW I didn't make the ideal choice. I KNOW it's so much better not to let a baby CIO. But I also know that my family was a mess. Ean missed his momma so much and I just had to put his needs first for the first time in a very long time. Zoe was miserable and so obviously sleep-deprived. And, I'm ashamed to admit this, but Rich and I were feeling less and less attached to her because our lives revolved around getting her to sleep, keeping her asleep, or soothing her through a sleep-deprived bad mood.
I don't know how much of a difference it really makes, but we didn't just shut the door and turn the music up -- we kept going in and letting her know we loved her. We listened carefully and her cries were not ones of saddness or fear -- they were her tired/frustrated cries (and we do know her well enough to know the difference). I did NOT resort to CIO becuase I thought I should be getting a good night's sleep, and I have no intention of nightweaning anytime in the near future. This was not about me or some distorted view of the way a 6.5 month old should be sleeping -- this decision was made becuase my entire family was suffering and we had already tried everything else we (and others) could think of. I just couldn't continue to attend to Zoe at the expense of Ean -- that felt MORE wrong than CIO.
I feel like a failure and I'm sad, but I appear to be the only one. Zoe has gotten more sleep these past few nights and the improvement in her mood is dramatic and obvious. Ean will be getting more time with me, which I know means a ton to him. Maybe you're reading this and thinking that I'm offering these rationalizations as excuses for making a poor choice -- and maybe I am a little. I suppose if I had no qualms about CIO I would be here at MDC.
Six months ago I would have told you that I would NEVER let Zoe CIO and gone on about how wrong CIO is. But I never imagined that I might have to make that decision at the expense of my other beloved child.
I'm not proud of our (clearly non-AP) decision and I recognize that it's far from the ideal we are striving for -- but I do feel like we made the best decision possible given the circumstances we were presented with. I just thought I should update you all. Hopefully I haven't lost *everyone's* respect.