I always try to stay middle of the road when it comes to parenting decisions. Children are all different and I have always felt that one size does not fit all.
For my children, I just didn’t believe in controlled crying. I have always felt that a cry is a call for help as they don’t know any words. You could have shown me all the ‘scientific’ proof in the world and it wouldn’t have made a difference.
After a year of breastfeeding and the baby waking up every 2 hours for cuddles, my husband announced that things just could not continue in this way. With Steven being our 3rd child we should have known what to do but here’s the thing, he is a completely different child and had his own little ideas.
With our other children we would place them to sleep in their cots with their bottles but with Steven, I would try and lay with him for nearly 2hrs sometimes to get him to go to sleep. He hadn’t learnt how to self soothe because I hadn’t let him. More often then not he would get up and want to play, jump around and scream if I attempted to put him down without me and I was so tired that I just felt it was easier to just carry on because I couldn’t face the alternative. Evenings where non-existent and I was beginning to struggle with everything.
One evening my husband said that he would take Steven up for bed. He made his bottle as normal and my husband laid him down in his cot and told him goodnight. I ran upstairs and hid in our room crying into my pillow. He kept going in and laying him back down but he kept crying. Everything in my body was telling me to go and pick him up. I felt physically sick thinking that he was calling me and I wasn’t responding. The idea that this could actually be a good thing, in the long run, went out the window and after 15 minutes I told my husband that I was going to get him and if he didn’t move out of my way I was going to divorce him.
Tiredness is exhausting and it’s hard to think straight and function because you can feel so overcome but looking back I wish I had been on the same page as my husband. He has been incredible since Steven was born. Super patient and never challenged me on anything but this. I think I felt so attached to him that it was just as hard for me as it was for him. What I should have also considered was that he also wanted what was best for him and knew that my way of laying down was not working.
I went away for three nights for work and my husband carried on with the controlled crying without my interference. Promising to go in every few minutes. First, it was 1 minute, then 3 minutes, then 5 and by 10 minutes he was asleep.
For two nights he did this and by night three he was sleeping through the night. If he did wake up randomly one night it would have to be my husband that went in and reassured him and laid him back down.
We are now 20 months on and I can honestly say that it was the best thing we did. Steven sleeps so well. He has an evening routine and lays down and goes to sleep. The only time he wakes is if he isn’t well. I now realise that everything he does is a result of what we are teaching him.
He loves coming into our bed in the morning for snuggles and kisses. I am glad we didn’t allow him to come into our bed at night and glad that for the sake of our marriage we have some time in the evening together that is child-free before we pass out and the day starts again.