Cry it out, boy!

25 May

I wrote what I hope was a thoughtful response to a parent on a support group board, about sleeping and crying it out. It turns out that it was our ‘CIO story’, in the sense that people apparently like to share the nitty-gritty of these kinds of experiences. I thought I would reproduce and maybe expand here. Sharing is caring.

I mentioned that we were doing this a bit ago. It’s been about a month or so since we started the CIO razzamatazz. Here are more of the gory details. If you don’t care about our baby’s sleep habits, you should go read about Huguette Clark and her massive amount of money and weird obsession with dolls. Who gives you the best content, eh? I do.

Anyhoooo. Let’s go in three steps. First, how much and when sleeping is happening. Second, the crying. Third, the plan.

1. The sleeping.

Right now, baby gets his nighttime routine started around 6pm, a holdover from when we had to give him 23 hrs/day of shoes and brace time. As a result, ‘shoes go on’ time remains around 7pm, with the ‘shoes come off’ time has shifted back to 1pm. Which means that around 6:15 or 6:30 he gets a bath. So, 6pm playtime, 6:30 bath time, 6:45/7pm shoes go on, then baby mama feeds him the good good breastmilk, and then he goes to sleep around 7:15. At this point, he is pretty conked out, and he rarely puts up any fuss at all.

He sleeps until around 1am, well, 12:30am-3am. But there is definitely a nighttime wake-up and feeding. Baby mama historically fed him at this point, then put him back to sleep. He would then wake up around 5-6am, sometimes earlier, sometimes later. Historically, I would do this feeding with formula, give him his sweet sweet vitamin D dropper. And then if he seemed tired, I would try to put him back to bed. Usually I would play with him for another 30-45 minutes, then put him back to bed. And he would then sleep again until 7:30 or so.

Then a morning nap, around 9:30. He would sleep for sometimes as much as 2 1/2 hours. Then a spotty afternoon nap, if one at all. Then evening rolls around and we start over. Roughly, he’s been sleeping 12+ hours a day. Shazaam.

2. The crying.

Our policy for now is to let him cry it out. We ‘Ferbered’, so that we began by giving him 2 minutes, then 4, then 6, etc. We have settled on about a 17 minute maximum before we go in and verbally try to sooth the babe. For daytime naps, if he doesn’t sleep within about 30 minutes, we give up on the nap. The ‘crying’ timer starts when it rises above whimpering.

At night, if baby mama nurses him, he will go right to sleep. On occasion, she has something she’s doing, and I do the routine with bath and bottle. I can expect him to cry for 5-15 minutes before he settles, especially if I do something between bottle and bed (i.e., bath=>shoes=>bottle=>bed is ok, bath=>bottle=>shoes=> is not so ok, bottle=>bath=>shoes=>bed is almost a guaranteed cry).

If he wakes up before 1am and cries, we let him cry it out. This can last as much as 20-30 minutes. Then he’ll sleep until 2 or 3am for the ‘midnight’ feeding. Sometimes he sleeps all the way until 3am, gets a midnight feeding, and then still wakes up at 5:30 wanting to get started.

The immediate morning nap (6:30-7am) usually entails some crying, and it’s hit or miss whether or not he will sleep then. If he doesn’t within 30 minutes, we treat it like a nap and give up. 75% of the time he will nap.

3. The plan.

We are trying to eliminate the midnight feeding, which our pediatrician says is not strictly necessary at this point. We have done this in stages. The first stage is to switch who feeds him when, so I now do the midnight feeding, and baby mama does the 5:30am feeding. Seeing her up and about at 5:30am is, if you know my darling wife, awesome and shocking.

And now I’m starving him out. He gets about 5oz. of formula, but I’ve been reducing the amount of powder that mixes with the water. So he started at 2 1/2 scoops (1 scoop per 2 oz.). Then 2 scoops. Now 1 1/2. Soon it’ll be water. We’re hoping he just decides that water is not worth getting up for and just sleeps through. So far, it’s just pissing him off a little. We’ll see where it goes from here.


– Baby now rarely cries for more than 5-15 minutes before settling down (though sometimes does, especially for daytime naps).

– We never moved out of the room, though it is still tough to hear him cry, esp. for my spouse. I kind of want him to get used to the noise.

– He sleeps in a completely jack-knifed position, with his feet essentially next to his mouth. Seeing him do this with shoes and brace is disconcerting at first, but it seems to work for him so WTF.

– He’s still in that totally cute space where he will wake up, open his eyes, and be completely delighted with the world. If you look at him at this moment, he gives you his $10M smile. Clearly his father’s son in this respect.


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