We're having a slight dilema in our household. Should we let Lea cry... or not? For the first four months or so of her life, we never let her cry. The first sign of distress and we were there to the rescue. Even at night, if she began to squirm or fuss, I would immediatley run to her and nurse her back to sleep. This actually worked great, believe it or not. She was always a great sleeper and would only wake once, around the same time, every night and sleep until well past 7 in the mornings.
Our pediatrician said there is no physical reason why Lea should still be nursing in the middle of the night. He also said she should be placed in her crib awake but drowsy at bed time.
So, we've tried putting her to bed awake. It works ok... some of the time. Sometimes she will play a little, then fuss, then fall asleep. Sometimes she will go right to sleep. And sometimes she will scream and cry. I've also tried to avoid nursing her in the middle of the night a couple times.... MUCH more difficult than putting her to bed awake. If I don't nurse her, she will scream and cry until we help her back to sleep. Then, an hour later, scream and cry again. And, an hour later, scream and cry again... the entire night. Needless to say, I have continued to nurse her at night. I am, however, only nursing her for about five minutes, hoping she will wean herself from midnight feedings.
Now that you know the background... here's my problem... While I have heard and read that a 6 or 7 month old should be able to put themselves to sleep and shouldn't be eating in the middle of the night, I have also heard and read that babies do just that because they are babies and it's ok for the caregiver to assist them in getting and staying asleep. Everything I've read says the most important thing is to be consistant. no matter what you decide to do, just be consistant. How can I be consistant, though, if she isn't being consistant?
Perhaps I am just trying to talk myself out of letting my baby girl scream and cry. I can't stand to hear her upset!!! When she cries, my heart aches. I hear her cries as if she's saying "MOMMY! MOMMY! PLEEEEASE HELP MEEEE!!!" Now, you tell me how I am supposed to ignore that?! It seems impossible! But, is it? And is it in her best interest to let her cry herself to sleep? Is there really such a thing as "sleep training"??? And, what's so wrong with me wanting to comfort my baby?
Please let me know your thoughts. I am seriously at a crossroads.