When your husband is on the verge of tears you know something is wrong...
We have now made a pact that if Andy's cries are escalating after a couple minutes we will do all we can to help him.
Since Andy hasn't been sleeping through his sleep cycles I thought I would try holding him and not allowing him to nurse until 1:30AM. The first time he cried but I held him and it wasn't too bad. I had just talked with friends that let their kids 'cry it out' alone in their cribs and Andy cried for about 13 minutes and did a little bit of screaming.
The next time we let him cry it out I asked my husband to hold him since he didn't have boobs and I thought it would be easier for our son that way. Well, a half hour later they came back exhausted and my husband was mad at me too.
That was when our son was around 9 months old. He is now 17 months old and recovering from Croup and sleeping 10 hours straight and then usually after nursing he will go back to sleep for another hour or two. He had fases where he wouldn't make it past 1:30, then he would make it to 3, then he'd get sick or a new tooth coming and revert back to waking up early. Most of the time I would get him and nurse him in bed where he would stay until I got up. I would take him to the bathroom around 4 or 5.
We tried to let him cry it out again. The results:
1. our son exhibited more fear related behavior in assosiation with the environment (his pack 'n play)
2. quicker escalation of cries
3. more reserved when he woke up
4. guilty feelings becuase I believe that there has to be a better way
If solitary confinement is literally one of the worst forms punishments we use in society today then why would I want my innocent baby to experience it? Babies have a very skewed since of time where a minute is an eternity. There is a reason it is so hard for us parents to hear our babies cry.
Our solution? We are working on it...
As we work on it our son also grows, learns and is better able to understand what is going on around him. When we go to bed he knows that we will brush our teeth and then we nurse. Sometimes we will read a book if he is still bouncing off the walls. About half of the time he still falls asleep nursing as a 17 month old. The other half of the time he comes off and simply lays down. And flops, tosses and turns, moves the pillow and babbles. I recite a verse and sing a song. Sometimes he takes 15 minutes to go to sleep. Sometimes I get his dad to lay with him who will hold him if he is still in his flop mode. This will cause him to fuss, but it's not the gut wrenching cry. But I think about how he is growing so quickly, how beautiful he is, or I'll plan out what I want to do the rest of the night. I used to worry that he would only go to sleep if he was cuddling like it was a bad thing but honestly now that I know he will go go sleep on his own, I find myself snuggling up closer to him or resting my hand on his back just to enjoy myself.