Aug 292011

Yeah, I rock my 6-month-old to sleep. Got a problem with that?!

At 6-months-old, our 20lb child still goes to sleep one of two ways: Either by being nursed to sleep or rocked to sleep. These days, sometimes it takes both. Either her father or I will rock her (after putting her snugly in our Ergo Sport carrier). We put on our white noise machine or even better some Chet Baker or John Coltrane ballads. We do, after all, have a Jazz Baby. It usually doesn’t take very long, especially if we tap her bum to the beat of the music.

On the rare occasion we manage to get the sleeping baby out of the carrier into bed without waking her. Most often though, she wakes up a little, so I get in bed beside her and nurse her off to Lala Land.

Maybe it’s not ideal and it might sound crazy to some people. But we haven’t come up with any other alternatives.

I am completely unwilling to let my baby Cry It Out in whatever form it  takes. I read this article and remembered why before Babe was born we decided we would never go that route.

So, that’s where we’re at. We still rock out 6-month-old to sleep. And to be honest, it’s not really that horrible.

  • Kate

    I’m in the same boat! Although I almost exclusively nurse my little sir to sleep. Ideal it’s not, but like you, I’m staunchly opposed to CIO.

    • Jenn

      Let’s stick together. We might need to form a support group for people who
      spend long periods of time rocking and nursing. It can be draining!

  • Candice

    We’re right there with you! My husband is rocking our little (5 days shy of 6 months!) man to sleep as I type. Ideal? Maybe not in some eyes, but it works for us.

    • Jenn

      So nice that Papa’s into it too!

  • Julie

    We still guide M to sleep – we have done some modified CIO, but find the guiding works best (sometimes rocking, sometimes feeding, sometimes shusshing, sometimes bouncing, etc etc etc)

    This is a subject that interests me very much mostly because I firmly believe that whatever works for your family is what’s best, however I am also very skeptical of articles that take such staunch views of one side or the other… I smell a rebuttal post….

    • Jenn

      Could be a rebuttal post… it would likely annoy me to read it, though. Obviously I have a staunch view on this one. It is a black and white issue as far as I’m concerned. And that’s okay, because this is a blog post, not a balanced news article.

      It physically affects me when I hear of people letting a baby cry herself to sleep. I am so completely against CIO that I would go as far to say that it’s abuse.

      I know some really sweet moms who do it, but it’s not something I can understand. And not something I will venture into. Ever. I understand desperation and frustration (trust me, I do) and the thought of “whatever works” for a family. But not CIO. I think it is a very dangerous thing.

      “Experts” are selling books and starting websites saying it’s okay. But it’s not. It’s cruel.

      What’s more, it doesn’t even “work.” People I know have had to do it again and again. “Re-training.” Do we really think there are no reprecussions? Is there no obvious, common-sense link between being left alone to cry and anxiety later in life?

      With all of this said, people thinking their 2 month old understands what’s going on alone in her crib left to cry is much different than an 11 month old.

      Bring on the rebuttal, but let’s try to remain friends…

      • Julie

        of course remain friends! And my rebuttal is less about which view is better/worse/valid/invalid, but on how much I hate when people cite scientific research as their proof that something absolutely works for every family, when the research says nothing of the fact when you actually read it…. this is my beef with a lot of stuff I read, on any baby topic.

        As I said, I’m a total advocate of doing what FEELS right for your family, on all fronts, not necessarily what we have read that convinces us what SHOULD feel right.

        Don’t worry, mama, we love you and A. Probably even more because you are so patient and kind :)

        • Jenn

          You’re sweeter than I deserve. When it comes to certain issues I don’t feel patient or kind or tolerant.

          However, when it comes to the little girl I gave birth to I am all of those things to the max, and that’s what counts, right?!

          “As I said, I’m a total advocate of doing what FEELS right for your family, on all fronts, not necessarily what we have read that convinces us what SHOULD feel right. ”

          I admire those words. I know you have followed your own gut from day one.

          I wish you two would trek to JM park today…

  • Enza

    Hi Jenn,

    Same here…our little angel loves to be in our arms and thank God for rocking chairs! I’ve heard it all…Your spoiling her, make her cry it’s good for her, she needs to cry to make her lungs stronger…I laugh and tell those same people that I don’t mind and I am not complaining so what is it to them…I say whatever works for you and your baby is the way to go but yes people always have comments

    Enza :)

    • Jenn

      Great to hear, Enza! And yes, I am so happy we bought a glider!

  • Inbal

    same here. and ideal or not, it’s bound to change like everything else, so as long as baby’s happy and as long as we are ok with it – let it be. for now :)

    • Jenn

      Yes, the EVER changing bed and nap time stuff. Oof!

  • katery

    we rocked louise to sleep until she decided it was time to stop! at one point, she just wouldn’t sit still while we rocked her anymore, that’s when we started putting her to bed on her own, she was about a year old i think.

    • Jenn

      Thanks, Kate. I find this inspiring. Well, not thrilled to know we might be doing this for at least another 6 months, but also not alone if we do. It really isn’t that bad, is it? :)

      • katery

        no, it’s not bad at all, and you’ll miss it when it’s done, it’s such nice snuggle time!

        • Jenn

          I love, love, love snuggling!

  • desirae

    I kind of double sided opinions on this. CIO before six months. Never. The baby is just not going to understand. After that it is really a matter of reasons and the child itself.

    With elisabeth, who by 7 months was very indepentant, full on crawling, cruzing and climbing the couch would not go to bed or nap and decided that from midnight until 4 am was a really good time to play. We discussed this with our childs nurse. She was extremely concerned that she was not getting enough sleep and said we have to do something. You just can’t rock to sleep a child that wants to be up and playing. Hence we turned to CIO. She cried 20 mintues, two days in a row for bed time and nap time. Since then we rarely have problems getting her to bed now. It is easy. Read, sleep. Sometimes she will fuss but it never long.

    Now Julius… completely different story. He is not independent at all. CIO is just not an option with him. We have tried letting him cry for a couple of minutes (5 minutes max) because sometimes he just cries and if we give him a minute he is okay and carries on. But when it comes to bedtime, he needs to be rocked or at the boob. If not he gets so worked up and it is painful to watch and I can see the hurt in him. I should mention that with Elisabeth, as soon as we came into the room she would stop crying. I don’t see us really ever doing CIO with Julius.

    Also there is some debate as to what CIO is. Some don’t consider it CIO unless you let the child cry until they fall asleep, no matter how long that takes. I find it horrible when I read stories of children crying for hours. We have never let Elisabeth go for more than 15-20 minutes. If she can’t calm herself down by then, she isn’t going to and needs our help.

    So Im kind of not for CIO, but not completely against it. Maybe modified CIO? I don’t know. They way I parent both my children are completely different becaues they are such opposites and have such different needs I find myself on both sides of the fence a lot….

    • Jenn

      Definitely a debate on what the definition is.

  • Jasmyn

    Both of my girls co-slept. I nursed it made sense, was easier and I felt like they were safe the whole night through. My oldest never had to cry it out, she was pretty good (once she was good and ready) to sleep in her own crib (now she`s god awful to put to bed, but that`s a different story all together).

    My youngest had colic and acid reflux and never slept. It finally took me reaching the edge. My kids are 13 months a part…please keep that in mind…we literally survived Ady`s first year. When my partner had his surgery, he needed help just to get to get up, help to get to the bathroom…you get it.

    At this point, Adyena was 10 months old, AvaSoleil was 23 months old and I had two daycare kids, plus my partner. Yeah, Ady cried it out. It lasted one hour for one night (please note, it was also 12 am and she still wasn`t asleep). I was right next to her humming a song she loves (A la claire Fontaine) and she was mad crying. Mad like Angry.

    It doesn’t seem to have damaged her and honestly, I got some rest and some empty arm time (after 23 months of holding someone, that`s kind of like heaven on earth…I hope that doesn’t make me sound mean, I`m being honest).

    It also helped me to be more patient and loving. As the nights wore on and my youngest was going to bed at a reasonable time for the first time in her life the world got calmer and she got the sleep she needed. Though my oldest didn’t need to cry it out, I needed my youngest to figure it out.

    I really think it depends on the child and the parent. Cry it out is cruel if a child is crying out of anger, pain or confusion, but it’s not cruel if they are just angry, it’s o.k. to be angry and it will happen throughout their lives.

    They do need to learn how to handle their needs as well as the needs of those around them. Granted ten months is young, empathy is a life long lesson. Also, I was completely against cry it out until Ady. She seems to learn everything the hard way, I mean, this kid uses her head as a break…she gives me mini heart attacks daily…

    • Jenn

      Jasmyn, You make a very good point about not knowing you would do something unless you’re faced with it. I am a big enough person to admit that has happened to me time and time again! ESPECIALLY where pregnancy, birth and parenting are concerned. I imagine you are the sweetest of sweet to your girls and couldn’t imagine what it would be like to have two so close together!

  • Billy

    I completley agree with you on the CIO. That is not a lesson any baby should “learn”. But unless you are comfortable with how you get your baby to sleep, there are other ways like Elizabth Pantely’s No Cry Sleep Solution. That being said, my baby is 14 months old and I still very much nurse her to sleep.. (and as far as I can nurse her, I do not intend to do otherwise)

    • Jenn

      Thanks, Billy. I think it’s key to remember that it only works as long as it works for everyone. While I am sometimes envious of the friends who can put their babes to bed with little fuss and they soothe themselves to sleep, I don’t actually mind the way we do it. I am not willing to “train” her by letting her cry herself to sleep, so for now, we’ll just keep on keeping on. In solidarity!!

  • TanyaL (@TanyaLalondie)

    We also rocked our two oldest to sleep. In fact, at 4 and 6 years of age, they are still sometimes cuddled and rocked to sleep. Our newborn is nursed to sleep. They are only little for so long. It’s not like they’ll want to be rocked to sleep at 12 years old! So we cherish it while we can. They are healthy, well adjusted, affectionate children who know just how much they are loved. Nothing wrong with that! :)

    • Jenn

      Very nice way to look at it! Go mama!