Why I won’t let my baby cry herself to sleep…

I am tired. I am so tired that my bones ache. I am so tired that I nearly ran into a wall today, twice. I am so tired that I pumped 120mL of breast milk for my baby only to pour it down the drain. I am so tired that I end up forgetting what I’m talking about midway through a sentence.

Our little girl, who has just hit four months, has begun waking up during the night every 1-2 hours. So, we end up having to rock her back to sleep. Each episode can sometimes last an hour. By the time she’s back in her bed we’re wide awake and struggling to get back to sleep again.

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The other night after rocking her to sleep at 2am, I stumbled out into our lounge room, collapsed on the floor and cried into my arm so as not to wake the baby.

I felt defeated. I felt lost. I felt as though I was going to sink into the ground.

A few days ago my husband and I decided to try the ‘Save Our Sleep’ method by Tizzie Hall. Her method involves letting your baby cry, without touching or comforting them, for a specific amount of time before you’re allowed to ‘soothe’ them by either patting or rubbing their chest. No eye contact is allowed.

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Day One: Worked well enough. Despite having to listen to our daughter’s achingly sad cries without going to comfort her – she fell asleep after a torturous 22 minutes. Or rather, she cried herself to sleep. She continued to whimper as she slept for at least the next two hours.

Day Two: Tizzie also inflicts a very strict day routine on babies and their mothers. Now, here’s where things fell apart: My husband was at work when I had to let Georgia ‘self settle’ for a 1pm nap. I was over at my parents place at the time and told them not to go into the room as she cried etc.

One hour passed and she was still not settling…

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By this stage I was beginning to shake. I had followed the book exactly – what was I supposed to do now? Well, I cried. I sobbed and I shook.

I asked my mum to come and hold my hand and give me a hug because I was so upset, all the while my four-month-old was still crying hysterically in the bedroom, alone. It was at this point I realised the cruel irony of the situation: I needed someone to comfort me as I cried and I am a 30-year-old woman and yet I was supposed to allow my four-month-old to cry alone? No. No, no, no, no.

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I walked back into the room, scooped my little girl into my arms and hugged her. Her face was hot and wet with tears. She stopped crying and grabbed onto my neck. “It’s OK,” I shushed, “I won’t do that again”.

And we haven’t. We won’t. We can’t.

Perhaps we are ‘spoiling’ her – whatever that means – and so be it. The world is a cruel enough place and she will experience that as she grows up so why not shower her with love and care and compassion when she is little?

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Deep down I wish this had worked for us. I wish Georgia was a better sleeper and took to the program. But the reality is she didn’t and neither did I. Plus, if something like this leaves me emotionally shattered and anxious then it totally goes against all good advice for mothers to look after themselves so that they can be the best version of themselves for their baby.

Maybe something else will work. We’re looking into a sleep coach – a lovely lady who seems to understand where we’re coming from. Plus, there’s also Tresillian.

Now I’m just trying to re-tune myself so that I parent by instinct, not by a book.