Saturday, August 05, 2006

Controlled Crying Day 1

We took JOOB in for his regular checkup with the Child Health Care Nurse yesterday and she suggested that now would be a good time to get JOOB to go to sleep by himself. I asked her if that meant controlled crying and she said yes. There's a lot of conflicting advice around about controlled crying - some are for it, some against - but the CHCN made a very poignant point. Once he begins teething his teeth have to be cleaned before he sleeps so he definitately needs to be able to go to sleep by himself before then. TP began teething at 4months so there's a good chance that JOOB will too. So now is the right time.

Tonight we began. JOOB has occasionally just dropped off by himself but the usual result of us putting him into his cot before he is asleep is screaming and crying. And JOOB didn't disappoint us. He was sleepy but still alert and awake when we put him in the cot. I caressed and spoke with him gently for 10-15 minutes and then said our goodnights. He took a full couple of minutes before the howling began. JOOB doesn't have a 'I want my mummy' sort of cry, he has a 'where the hell are ya' angry cry. If I wasn't his dad I'd be amused. Heck, I'm amused anyway. I like his spirit.

Anyway, we let him cry for five minutes - TP had to hide herself in the kitchen - before I returned to comfort him. It took another five or so minutes of holding and gentle shushing, but he settled down. Then I put him back in bed, wished him goodnight and departed. Nothing. Not a sound. I checked five minutes later and he was sound asleep. That was an hour ago.

So day one has gone well. Lets hope day two and beyond are equally successful. He's a smart kid. He'll work it out.


Kathryn Greenhill said...

I was on a mothers' board where we almost disintegrated over controlled crying. People generalise from their kid's behaviour and think that the other mob are just making too much fuss.

Kid 1 would never have handled controlled crying, couldn't handle daycare and when he started kindy, we realised that he had developmental disabilities..but we didn't know that at four months, just went with what was right for that kid and us and night feeding.

Kid 2 preferred to sleep alone. The last feed of the night, I fed him on the couch so that he had to wake before we put him to bed, and had to settle himself. Worked for him. We even had a couple of nights where we delayed going in to him to see if he could work it out. We also used a grobag that possibly made a difference. Totally different kettle of kid.

I'm not sure about the CHN's logic. Are you planning to brush JOOB's teeth after every time he eats anything? Last thing at night is important, but I wouldn't base my entire settling routine around it...and certainly wouldn't correlate getting teeth with a need for a kid to settle themselves, especially if they are not ready.(This is from a mum who lets her kids bath every second day if they wish, so you may not want to take hygiene tips from here!!).

It sounds like what you are doing is working best for all of you. Sounds like JOOB has it all sorted, so now is the right time for you, and it is the right way.

BTW...the same people who say "pregnancy lasts nine months" (it doesn't, it's 10 !) also say most kids can sleep through the night by one year old. Yes, but the clinical definition of "sleeping through the night" is a 5 hour stretch some time in the night ..even if that is 7pm to midnight!

Good luck.

skribe said...

As chance would have it we've only just finished our second trial - the midday nap. It worked but it took a little longer, but only a little. He's currently sleeping soundly and he slept really well last night. Of course he still woke us at 5am to tell us all about his dreams =).

We actually co-sleep from about 5am. It was the only thing we could find that would settle him and get him to sleep for longer than a few minutes once it gets too cold. I expect he'll sleep longer once it gets warmer.

The teeth cleaning was only just one of the points she raised. I suppose it had the most resonance with me because it had been something I had been wondering about. But if I hadn't thought JOOB was ready to settle himself I wouldn't have done it. I actually think he's been ready for a few weeks now and was just waiting for his dumb parents to catch up =).

JOOB only has a bath 2-3 times a week, although we sponge him down every day. We're also washing his hair every day at the moment because of cradle cap.

Yep, heard the sleep-through-the-night = 5 hours equation. Obviously started by Maggie '4 hours sleep' Thatcher.