As a family we decided while we were pregnant with R2 that we would never use Cry-it-out (CIO). I know families that are happy to have used this method and it has worked well for them, but we knew it was not for us.
When my baby would make even the smallest squeak we would go running and give him love. We would hold him for hours on end talking to him, dancing with him, taking long walks with him in our arms anytime day or night. Drives with just me and my baby would take hours longer because we would pull over and try to take care of his cries.
My son had colic bad, like 12 hours a day bad. We had 4 hour shifts at night were we would switch off holding him, hoping that he would be satisfied with boob or a bottle of expressed milk. We tried pacifiers, but he wouldn’t take them. We tried swings, bouncers, laying him down by himself, co-sleep, nothing worked to stop the crying. It went on for months. It would have been easier to put him down and let him scream for hours. Eventually he would have learned to self-sooth; although I don’t think they learn to sooth, but to learn that crying has no point and to hide emotions. Our pediatrician was great and encouraged us to continue what we were doing. He told us “I could tell you to try formula, or spend the next several months having you come in every few weeks, always giving a different “solution,” until one “worked” and you called me a miracle worker, when it really went away on its own.” He gave us stories to read about different parents experiences with colic and told us to do our best to relax. Our Pediatrician even joked that when he was a baby he had colic so bad that his mother would run to the other end of the yard just to give her ears a break. He was right and eventually my son’s colic went away all on its own.
I hadn’t giving it much thought over the last 16 or so months. We still would take care of crying, but it never was very long or loud. In the month of November 2013, I sent a lot of time crying. I tried to do it as quietly as possible to avoid drawing attention to myself. My toddler could l tell I was crying, even silently, from a cross the house. He would come running and comfort me. It made me feel even worse that, my child was having to give me comfort. I feel he is too young to have to give comfort he should only have to worry if he had enough fun in the day. It took me a bit to realize we had taught him to give comfort, not ignore, or give ridicule, when someone was sad. Not to pat myself but I totally am going to, it was the first time I knew for sure I am doing something of this mom thing right.
Last night R2 was very unhappy. He was overtired and stressed out. He had big emotions he had to work out. He was crying so hard he was shaking. He just wanted to cry, until he worked through his stress. I held him, and he cuddled against me. Occasionally he would sit up, and have a moment for himself, then come back to cuddle. The whole time I had at least a hand touching him in comfort. As a mom it was hard to see my baby suffering so much, but I knew it was nothing like what he was going through. I was grateful as I held him, that he did not have to go through this alone. I can think of maybe 5 times in my life that I have cried that hard. Of those 5 times I can think of times when I had no one to hold me. Those times were the hardest. The times when I did have someone holding me I grew as a person and could put the troubles behind me. I would not want my child to have to feel what I felt being alone and having no one to take care of me.
My son is not verbal yet, so I can’t ask if there is anything else I can do to help him. All I can do is be there for him in the ways he needs me to be. I am already seeing the rewards for not using CIO, and am happy I can be the mommy I need to be.