You've made the decision to use the cry it out (CIO) method to sleep train, but what happens when the sound of your baby crying has you feeling like the worst mother in the world? Before you even begin the process, it's helpful to consider how to cope when you're crying out, so you can stay strong and be successful with your sleep training plan. Approaching this goal with a holistic plan that included your needs as well as your child's will have you prepared to handle the most difficult part: the sound of your baby crying.
It's hard to listen to your baby cry and not run to soothe him. After all, it's instinctual for a mother to protect her young. But if you've decided that crying it out is the right sleep training method for your family, you're going to need to be ready for those tears (and the feelings they bring out in you) when they start rolling. It's easy to be caught up in the moment and forget that the crying is only a temporary step in meeting a long term goal. And depending on which version of CIO you're using, you will have intermitted opportunities to connect with and comfort your baby through the process. But in the meantime, take solace in these seven ways to cope when your little one is crying.
1. Stop Feeling Guilty
Mom guilt is a powerful thing, and it can undo all your efforts if you allow it to take over. When you're baby is crying it out, remember that it doesn't make you a bad parent/person when you let them cry, as What To Expect's website pointed out. Remind yourself that the baby is safe and loved whether they are crying or not.
2. Just Breathe
Deep breaths in and out can help get you from one moment to the next. According to Mind Body Green, deep breathing helps you relax and brings you mental clarity — two things you'll need in tip top shape to stay strong when using cry it out.
3. Stay Focused
A crying baby can easily derail your plans for CIO, but staying focused on your long game can get you through the rough patches. When you feel yourself start to question your plans, go back to why you made the decision in the first place and remind yourself that the goal is to help your baby sleep better and longer.
4. Ease In
Just like cutting bangs, cry it out is something you should ease into with great consideration. As Baby Sleep Site pointed out, it's wise to prepare for CIO at least a week before you plan to begin. Make sure to create a solid sleep environment and record your baby's sleep times before starting sleep training.
5. Accept That Tears Happen
It's important to remember, with most things in life, that you cannot control everything. This rings true for crying babies as well. Sometimes, a baby's crying spell just has to run its course, as Mayo Clinic pointed out. Remember that even in those times when you do you comfort your baby, they may still continue to cry. So when using CIO, there may be times when your little one just needs to get those tears out.
6. Use A Support System
If you are parenting with a partner, make sure you discuss how you will support one another through this process before you begin the cry it out method. Agree to stay strong for one another no matter how stressful the situation becomes.
Single parents can find support to by asking a friend or family member to be available during the process. Being able to call or text someone when you're feeling vulnerable can be the support you need to get you through.
7. Practice Self Care
In order to emotionally support your baby through CIO, you need to make sure you aren't neglecting yourself. According to the website for La Leche League International, in order to cope in a loving way, it is crucial that you get enough rest and eat well. Prepare for those potentially long nights by finding opportunities to rest and nourish yourself throughout the day.