We let DS CIO and we are devastated. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 20 Old 09-18-2012, 08:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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If this is anything, it's a confession. And perhaps a plea for suggestions as to how to repair what damage we may have caused.

 

I know that the Mothering community is against CIO and I respect that and actually I love that. I just don't know where else to talk about this. Family and friends suggested CIO and after waking up with 9 month old DS sometimes up to 7 times a night and trying everything . . . you know I could go on and on with rationalizations. I tried so many things. I could have tried co-sleeping again, and didn't. For some reason, I succumbed to our sick society's imperative to make our children sleep independently and I defined that as the one and only convenience to strive for.

 

We did CIO with the Ferber method last night and did so all throughout the night. It was awful. Once we started we reluctantly convinced each other to continue. And so we did. Our poor little babe was exhausted in the morning. And not just physically, from a lack of sleep. He acted spaced out and withdrawn, even depressed. He cracked one smile all day, for dad (the one who didn't betray him), and mostly seemed emotionless, occasionally crying in the most heart-rending, weak, high-pitched way, filled with anguish and resignation. All day he avoided making eye contact with me. When I held him, he would cry, unless his dad was in view. We had one moment of connection today, but it was such a fraction of what we usually share.

 

I am devastated and I feel like a horrible parent. I know that no one will tell me I did the right thing. I didn't do the right thing. The best thing we did was spend all day trying to reconnect as a family and processwhat happened. We moved a twin mattress next to our bed and committed to bringing DS in with us at his first night-waking after I go to sleep. We decided we would never do that again.

 

If you want to know whether some moms feel guilty about doing CIO . . . YES, THEY DO. I felt literally ill all day long, and a heavy sadness that we put him through such a thing. I am angry and disappointed that it is so hard to be a new parent in our society and not listen to and feel guilty for not following backward, unnatural suggestions about how to raise a human being. I am angry and disappointed that I, even I who was committed to attachment parenting, let myself and my child be a victim to this nonsense.

 

This experience has strengthened my resolve to follow my own gut, even if it means "turning back" from the "training" we started. What is most important is the love and strength we share as a family.

 

I am not asking that anyone absolve me, but if you have any wisdom to share, I would love to hear it.

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#2 of 20 Old 09-18-2012, 09:54 PM
 
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Parenting is hard and we all make mistakes. Even if you never did CIO you will eventually find something to beat yourself up about, promise.  :)   We all want to be the best parents we can be and blame ourselves when we don't meet our expectations. But guilt is unconstructive. It sounds like you are doing your best to move on and reconnect, and things will be fine, don't worry. I know we read a lot about how CIO stress affects the brain and all that, but be aware that children who experience *chronic* stressors are the ones who are at risk.   One night of CIO is not going to make or break your relationship. 

 

That said, up 7 times a night might drive anybody to try to break the cycle (and is disruptive for baby's sleep too). Sleep deprivation really messes with you, more than you even might realize at the time.  Take a break, reconnect, maybe get your husband to cosleep with him part of the night while you sleep elsewhere for a few hours and get some reasonable shuteye. 

 

On another practical note, I have noticed with both my kids that when they are overtired they are much harder to settle initially at night and more likely to wake often.  Like they have trouble turning off their brains. I'm sure others have recommended this, but maybe pay close attention to physical activity during the day and to the timing of naps and bedtime. A natural rhythm at this age seems to be a nap around 9:30 am and at 12:30 also, with bedtime at 7ish (although different for different families of course.) Maybe try dinners that include "sleepy" foods like bananas, oatmeal, turkey...? (http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/family-nutrition/foods-sleep/foods-help-you-sleep)

 

And also, I assume from your description that your LO was really upset and crying for a long time each time, but I have noticed that my kids both are/were very vocal in their sleep sometimes and it doesn't always mean they need attention. For instance, my baby boy has been trying to figure out crawling lately and he will literally crawl in his sleep, shrieking, for 3 to 5 minutes at a time, before conking out and going solidly back to sleep. I have witnessed it.  It feels like eternity but disturbing him just makes it last longer. 

 

Hope you feel better soon. It will be ok!

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#3 of 20 Old 09-18-2012, 10:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you, tangledblue, for your kind words and good ideas. You really helped give me some perspective and feel more confident moving forward in a gentler way.

 

Oh, and . . . I just nursed DS back to sleep, and let me tell you, I never thought I would enjoy it as much as I did. sleepytime.gif

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#4 of 20 Old 09-18-2012, 10:25 PM
 
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hug2.gif

 

Please don't beat yourself about this.  9 months is such a hard age, because sometimes they just.don't.sleep.  And you feel like you're going crazy, and sometimes CIO seems like the only option.  I think a lot of us have only been separated from thinking about CIO and actually trying CIO by a few minutes of rational thought - which is hard to come by on no sleep!

 

Hang in there, mama.  I promise it DOES pass.  The days are long, but the years are short.


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#5 of 20 Old 09-19-2012, 06:14 AM
 
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Has he been waking up this often for a long time, or is it recent? If it's a new thing, it could be a growth spurt or teething or something like that. If it's long term, could there be a food senstivity or reflux or something? I had one who woke up that often and it turned out she had reflux. I wish I had looked into physical causes of frequent waking more.

We all make mistakes, and you can get past one night of CIO with your ds, so don't beat yourself up. But I encourage you to keep looking for possible solutions. You must both be exhausted. I know it's hard to talk to a pediatrican about this because they just suggest CIO. But you could try some other things. I don't have as much experience with food issues and homeopathy as a lot of moms here but maybe if you give more information collectively we can give you some ideas. How long has the frequent waking been going on? How many solids does he eat? Is he nursing, and if so how often?

I hate to see you and your little one suffer, so let's see if the wise folks here can give you some ideas of some gentle ways to get more sleep!
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#6 of 20 Old 09-19-2012, 07:07 AM
 
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Don't beat yourself up. I did sort of CIO with my son (I stayed in the room with him until he fell asleep in his crib, but didn't make eye contact or touch - kind of like Supernanny) - and I felt each day I had to repair my relationship with him. Give him a little space, all the daddy time he wants, alone time he needs, and eventually he will make his way back to you - don't try to force it. My son - now almost 3 - is now very, very attached to me (and there are days I wish he wasn't!) One of us still lays in bed with him until he's asleep. One day he won't need that, but for now, I love that time of day where snuggle down and talk about the day and plans for tomorrow. It's a great time to reconnect.

 

I did the supernanny method - if that's what you want to call it - on and off for a couple months, then gave up and went back to cuddling or nursing to sleep, then transfering to the crib. Worked better and far less stress on both of us.

 

Highly recommend the No Cry Sleep Solution. Great book with lots of helpful tips whether you co-sleep or not, nurse to sleep or not, etc.


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#7 of 20 Old 09-19-2012, 09:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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@mamazee - It's been like this for a while now, up at least 4 times on a good night and up to 7 on the bad ones. He seems to go through phases of hourly wake-ups and I often can't make heads or tails of it. I thought it was teething for a while, but I wonder if it his temperament. Like tangledblue's baby, DS also is a very active sleeper and I jump up to help him go back down. He doesn't seem like a reflux baby, from what I understand of reflux. I'm not sure about food sensitivities. He doesn't seem to have any other symptoms.

 

Last night was nice. After I went to bed, he woke up. I didn't look at the clock. I just brought him into my room and we slept. I feel very rested. We woke up early, but that's OK. I am almost 100% sure he woke up less when in bed with me. He definitely moves around more at night when he is on his own.

 

I had a good talk with DH yesterday and we are both on board about co-sleeping being a fine solution. It's amazing how letting go of my expectation that he would be an independent sleeper by X time has really improved my mood.

 

Thank you, everyone, for your replies. I feel a lot better.

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#8 of 20 Old 09-19-2012, 12:00 PM
 
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I tried it with my second child at my Peds urging.  I only lasted for about 3 hours before I said "screw this" and got my baby.  She didnt look at me, yet was clingy for 3 days afterward, jumped at small sounds, was just a sad wreck.  CIO may work for some babies/kids without emotional impact but it doesnt work for mine.  After a few more months of co-sleeping, she voluntarily decided to sleep in her own bed.  Dont beat yourself up momma.  Love on him, reassure him, and he'll be ok. 

Hoping you both sleep well!
 

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#9 of 20 Old 09-19-2012, 09:34 PM
 
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Your post brought tears to my eyes both for your heartbroken babe and also for his desperate loving parents. Parenting is the HARDEST job in the world! You have so much more at stake and invested, these are little people who have separate emotions, desires and needs then ours yet they are like a piece of us living off of our bodies, we are in twined and learning about each other everyday. Will you need to do some damage repair, yes you will (sounds like you already are). Will one night of poor judgment permanently do emotional damage to your babe/relationship, no it will not. Children are very forgiving of our mistakes (thank fully) and very resilient and with love and respect they will develop strong self esteem and healthy attachment to others. 

 

You and your partner made a mistake and the most important thing you can do for your babe is showing him that yes even the best people in the world (his parents) make mistakes but that they learn from their mistakes and try to do better and that they can say sorry to the one they hurt and they can forgive themselves. We all have and do make mistakes and let our emotions/others get the best of us. Last night I was just in tears to my DH about how I feel as if i am angry at my 4 year old DS too often and that I am worried I am chipping away at his self worth :( Today I really kept my anger in check and my frustration at a minimum, I was also more aware of my language with him (We had a good day)

 

Listen to your instincts mama and take heart that our children's needs are forever changing and there are times they are very demanding emotionally and physically and their are times they they are not. Keep up the growing mama hug2.gif


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#10 of 20 Old 09-19-2012, 09:48 PM
 
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yk, you could apologize out loud to him. he will get it! be earnest and look him in the eyes. maybe while you are nursing him. tell him that you love him and that you realize you made a really bad mistake the other night. say, "you remember when i did not come to get you and left you alone to cry and cry and cry?" tell him that was a really bad decision and that you regret it, and that you will never ever do it again. 

 

nine months old, he understands your language! and he understands your emotions. (that's why he was holding it against you the day after, that you did this on purpose to him... he knew it and remembered it and connected it with you.)

 

so, make him feel better, reassure him and validate his experience of having been abandoned, and make yourself feel relieved of the burden. and put to words your conviction that this will never ever happen again. :)

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#11 of 20 Old 09-20-2012, 10:57 AM
 
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Thank you so much for posting your experience.  My LO is also having a hard time sleeping - we cosleep but until I get into bed with her she wakes often and naps are sometimes fine, sometimes terrible. :-(  She is also 9 months old.  I hate hate hate the idea of CIO, but it's so tempting when it's touted as this three night thing that would solve all your problems. There is so much pressure, especially on ftms, to get babies to learn to self soothe and blah blah blah.   And It's so tempting when I'm tired and frustrated to consider it.  In fact, I just spent an hour and 45 mins getting my LO down for  a crappy 30 minute nap and the whole time I was thinking "would CIO fix this?"  And then I read your post.  Thank you for reminding me that there are consequences to our parenting choices,  especially for these little people we are given to raise.  Hugs to you and your DS. hug.gif
 

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#12 of 20 Old 09-20-2012, 11:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, it is day 3 of the aftermath and we are starting to feel good again. He has spent more time playing and is much more animated. He lets me hold him without crying. I definitely apologized the first day after, but I think he was too withdrawn to hear it. Yesterday DH and I both talked with him about it. He cried and threw himself on us, over and over, while we comforted him and told him we were sorry. It was so sad to see how much it had affected him and how much he held in that first day. We have been spending extra cuddle time, when he wants it, and he's getting all the daddy time he can when daddy is home. Life is feeling better and I feel more confident that his little spirit is still intact. He may always remember this, on some level, but at least he will know, with time, that we feel sorry and that from now on we will respond with loving attention to him at night.

 

Thank to you all for sharing your stories with me and supporting me through this. DH and I are both so grateful.

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#13 of 20 Old 09-20-2012, 11:05 AM
 
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Originally Posted by KKsMomma View Post

Well, it is day 3 of the aftermath and we are starting to feel good again. He has spent more time playing and is much more animated. He lets me hold him without crying. I definitely apologized the first day after, but I think he was too withdrawn to hear it. Yesterday DH and I both talked with him about it. He cried and threw himself on us, over and over, while we comforted him and told him we were sorry. It was so sad to see how much it had affected him and how much he held in that first day. We have been spending extra cuddle time, when he wants it, and he's getting all the daddy time he can when daddy is home. Life is feeling better and I feel more confident that his little spirit is still intact. He may always remember this, on some level, but at least he will know, with time, that we feel sorry and that from now on we will respond with loving attention to him at night.

 

Thank to you all for sharing your stories with me and supporting me through this. DH and I are both so grateful.

good for you! thank you for posting this experience. it does make me feel sooooo sorry for ALL of the babies who are subjected to CIO on a regular basis across America. 

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#14 of 20 Old 09-20-2012, 11:22 AM
 
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I'm going to strongly suggest that you not beat yourself up.  And that you consider the impacts of sleep deprivation on your own psyche.

 

Which is not to say that I'm screaming for you to CIO.  It's not a method that works for everyone.  Not for all children, not for all parents (although, for the record, I do not think it's evil).

 

You cannot expect yourself to make good, loving, rational, informed, and otherwise perfect decisions at all times while also expecting yourself to run on empty.  In other words, if you are going to be your best self, you need to find a way to get enough rest to keep thinking straight.  Sleep deprivation can absolutely screw with you.  It can cause or contribute to depression and other mental illness.  It can make you physically sick.  It can cause hallucinations.  It's a form of torture.  And it's not a particularly safe thing if you have to drive in the morning. 

 

Can you and your husband take shifts, so he sleeps one part of the night and you the other, uninterrupted?  Can a friend or other family member come help out on weekends so you can nap?  Basically, can you get a bit of a break, so that you can be the parent you want to be?

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#15 of 20 Old 09-20-2012, 09:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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@ MeepyCat

 

DH works nights often, so no, we can't do shifts. But I'm finding from the last 2 nights that co-sleeping earlier in the night (after the first night-waking once I turn in), as opposed to walking back and forth from his room to ours several times a night, is really helping me sleep better. He seems to wake less when next to me or maybe I just don't remember the nursing. Waking up several times a night may have been a phase, or maybe he just does this when he is learning a bunch or teething. Who knows? Honestly, I feel so much better after letting go of the idea of sleep training and how and where he "should" be sleeping. I'm no longer conflicted about whether to let him CIO or not (the answer is not!), and therefore I spend less energy fighting with myself.

 

By the way, he seems so much happier today, so happy! He even kissed me this afternoon, a toothy kiss several times in a row. This is a good sign.
 

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#16 of 20 Old 09-25-2012, 09:20 PM
 
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good call to just let go of the idea of any kind of training right now. just do whatever works for the time being! it might be a phase, like someone suggested, and maybe soon he'll just start sleeping better with no "help" from you. I will say though, if he doesn't, and the night wakings continue...please consider a different way of helping everyone in your family get more sleep. i just totally know how you feel - been there!!! and sleep deprivation is the worst thing. ever. (IMO).

 

for us, moving the babe to a crib and having my husband stay with him until he fell asleep made a HUGE difference. yes, there was some crying, but he wasn't alone - DH would sing and rub his back (but we put him in his crib drowsy as opposed to out cold after an hour of rocking). we even started slow and brought him back into bed after his first waking. after a week or so, once he was going to bed really well, we put him back into his crib after the first waking, and brought him into bed after the second waking. that's where we are now, and our babe has gone from waking almost hourly (alllll night looooong) to sleeping 4 hour stretches on a regular basis. heaven!

 

anyways, enough about our story - just thought i'd offer you a non-CIO solution that is still very effective when you're at the end of your rope and neeeeeeed to make some changes.

 

i'm so sorry you're feeling awful about what happened. in was going to suggest talking to him about it, but it sounds like you already have and i'm so glad you're all starting to feel better. you are a wonderful, loving mama and your little guy knows it i'm sure!

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#17 of 20 Old 09-25-2012, 09:50 PM
 
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I didn't *start* cosleeping with my firstborn until he was about 10 months old, for exactly the reason you describe - I always went to him, but was so burnt out from getting up 6+ times a night when he was that age, and my husband said, "Why don't you just bring him in with us?" and I said in my sleep deprived haze, 'You can DO that?"  duh.gif lol.gif   (note that is exactly when I started lurking here off a google search about sleeping with your kids in your bed, and finding out more about NFL/AP - and it was an avalanche of crunch from that point forward for us! )  SO we started as you are now, putting him down in his crib, bringing him in around midnight or whenever he'd wake around then...and we've been through every possible permutation of part time and full time cosleeping with him and his sister; they are now 6 and 8 and were fully parented to sleep until they were about 4, and go down on their own and stay in their rooms all night.  It feels like forever when you're in the thick of it,but it's all a distant memory to me now.  But what wonderful memories they are, all snuggly together!  Occasionally one or the other will sneak in with us still once or twice a month, but we don't mind.  

 

Anyway, one night of CIO is NOT going to wreck him, or your relationship...not that I would advocate it ever, but please don't keep focusing on one night of a sleep-deprived lousy decision...cause he will sense that, too and that's no good for your relationship, either.  As a PP said, we promise you're going to find lots of other things to feel guilty about, it's just beginning - welcome to thoughtful parenthood.  tiphat.gif

 

Hope you continue to get more restful sleep, and throw those "shoulds" out the window!

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#18 of 20 Old 10-06-2012, 07:51 PM
 
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Thank you for sharing your confession! I waa just about to give up and try the ferber method (though my dh opposes it) with my 5th baby. I am reconsidering now because of your post. My son is very attached and nurses 7-10x a night and needs to be worn or latched for all naps too! I am right there with you!

My thoughts are to spend a lot of time weaeing him over the next few days. Also the fact tht he didn't sleep might have a lot to do with his affect. Don't worry! No permanent harm done. Just go back to what you were doing with him before.

Ps- I just moved a twin mattress to the floor next to our bed in hopes that he will sleep better (after 11pm) if we are not waking each other up with all our moving around in bed!

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#19 of 20 Old 10-06-2012, 07:55 PM
 
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Originally Posted by tropicana View Post

yk, you could apologize out loud to him. he will get it! be earnest and look him in the eyes. maybe while you are nursing him. tell him that you love him and that you realize you made a really bad mistake the other night. say, "you remember when i did not come to get you and left you alone to cry and cry and cry?" tell him that was a really bad decision and that you regret it, and that you will never ever do it again. 

nine months old, he understands your language! and he understands your emotions. (that's why he was holding it against you the day after, that you did this on purpose to him... he knew it and remembered it and connected it with you.)

so, make him feel better, reassure him and validate his experience of having been abandoned, and make yourself feel relieved of the burden. and put to words your conviction that this will never ever happen again. smile.gif

I agree! Babiesunderstand us....energetically-speaking.
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#20 of 20 Old 10-08-2012, 08:15 AM
 
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Before becoming parents, we all hear how challenging the first week is, the first month is and how it gets a little easier after certain mile stones. I think we are taken off guard at the 9 month sleep challenge. I know I was. It was the one time I tried CIO with my DD. It felt really wrong so I tried many different relaxing techniques. I finally found what worked for her. If she is standing up crying I will hug her and rub her back speaking softly. She will relax enough to lay down and I will continue rubbing her back lighter and lighter till she is just about to sleep. Then I will slip out of the room. If she gets upset again, which happens sometimes when she is over tired I will repeat what I just did. There is allot of info out there telling us to stay away or don't touch them if you go in the room. I like my way because it's the best way to tell if something is really wrong a poop or a fever.  

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