Up until she was 9 months old or so, Abigail did things by the book.
Before she was born I was adamant that I would not have a maternity nurse. Everyone manages with a newborn – I will, too, I said. After all, I am a Competent Person.
2 weeks in and what did I do? I called an amazing maternity nurse who a friend had recommended to me to help me out.
Hey, I’m not ashamed. On the contrary, I am proud. I am proud that I was able to admit I needed help, proud that I sought it, and most of all happy to say that it turned out to be the best decision ever.
Our maternity nurse taught us how to put Abigail in a routine, how to structure our days, how to identify her cries and better understand her, how to teach her to settle and re-settle herself. I really believe that Abigail thrived on the routine, she knew what to expect and when and she was just the happiest baby – everyone commented on it. What can I say, it just worked.
People would ask how I was sleeping and the answer would always be ‘great’. I couldn’t imagine it any other way.
That is, until a few weeks ago. A few unfortunate things happened pretty much all at once: Abigail got a fever, struggled with teething, was taken away with us on holiday, started nursery and seemed to develop a mild dose of separation anxiety. All of these things together conspired against us and she would wake up hysterically crying 5 plus times a night. We relied on the dummy too much, picked her up too much and it seems that all the good habits were quickly unlearned.
After three weeks of this we decided to contact our maternity nurse again to see what she would recommend. And you know what’s coming, don’t you: controlled crying. Or in this case, uncontrolled crying. She basically told us that if we could positively eliminate all the potential objective causes for crying (ear infection, teething etc) and could be sure that it was just her need for comfort (we were pretty sure of this as the moment we would pick her up she’d stop crying) then we should leave her to cry. For as long as it takes. Gulp.
My head tells me that that is probably right… and research has shown that babies are not adversely affected by controlled crying. But my heart feels differently. I hate hearing her cry and cry. A part of me thinks that she won’t need or want me forever – not for long at all – and I will miss the times when I could make things better for her with a cuddle. But I can’t go to her multiple times a night and function in the day. I just can’t. So I may have to give this controlled crying thing a go… if I can stomach it.
What do you think about controlled crying? Have any of you tried it? Hoping for some zzzzz’s soon.