*disclaimer: Do what works for your family. Whatever that may be. We are all just doing our best, right? And these are just my thoughts. Since Tyler and I are a team, we come to decisions together.
If I've said it once, I've said it 1,000 times. At 17 months, Henry is a frequent night-waker.
I've been exclaiming, "I'm at the end of my rope!" for a year. Clearly that rope is a lot longer than I thought because here I am, somehow making it, caffeine-less and with a mostly-positive attitude.
Seriously, about that rope. I feel like I really had reached it with the nursing at night. For 16.5 months I had been waking up and nursing my boy anywhere from 1-6 times at night. Even as the most "he probably is hungry and needs to eat at night" person around, I had to admit that Henry could go more than two hours without nursing, so one night I just said, "You can have milk when there is sunshine outside."
Cue the tears and cuddling. His cries of "Hoooooooold joooooooo!" while I was...in fact...holding him were pretty intense, but only for a while. After the first night when he would ask, I would say we could do it in the morning, and he was satisfied with cuddles, a tucking in, and pats on the back while he fell asleep. He would of course keep waking up and would eventually end up in bed with Mama.
Yay! Night weaned with ease, now we get some sleep.
Except that first night back home we didn't. About six times I had to go in and pat his back for a few minutes while Henry fell back asleep.
In the shower Sunday morning I decided that I could handle a couple of days of letting him
cry-it-out and learning to fall asleep on his own. Frustratingly enough, he had been falling asleep on his own until recently when he decided that Mama must stay and rock/pat/nurse/sing.
So, I was unsure but psyched up to leave the room and give him space to fall aslepp. He was so overtired at naptime that day. He cried and cried for 30 minutes until he fell asleep.
The relief that I normally feel knowing he is sound asleep at naptime was replaced by feelings of guilt and sadness. I couldn't do anything but lay in bed and stare at a computer screen, trying to take my mind off the stress of his tearfull falling asleep.
If naptime was bad then bedtime was worse.
He cried for an hour. An hour. With no signs of even trying to fall asleep. My heart was breaking and soon I decided that I would rather get up with him for the next 365 nights than listen to him crying out for me for another minute.
I went in to his dark room, picked up that boy, snuggled him, and he was asleep within minutes.
And then guess what...he slept through the night.
Even though I had "failed" CIO, even though I gave in to my "spoiled" baby, even though he had cried, hard, for an hour. He slept through the night. Something that has only ever happened one other time.
So this is my farewell to letting my son cry that hard without going in and meeting his needs or even his wants. It's just too hard, I'm just too weak. It's just not right for our kid.
Our stubborn, wonderful, exhausting, exhilirating, wouldn't-trade-him-for-all-the-sleep-in-the-world kid.