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Did anyone ever regret doing Controlled Crying?

(25 Posts)
funwithfondue Wed 14-Oct-09 17:07:48

I've been doing it for two nights with my 8 mo dd. It's working, slowly. I'm finding it very hard.

Some background: I'm living overseas, so no family or friends for support, only dh. Obviously I'm making friends slowly, but we've only been here 3 months, so that's a work in progress. My mum has been to visit once, and will probably be able to come out a out 3 times a year.

DD has been exc. breastfed; and blw since 6 months. I'm a SAHM for the forseeable future (might go back to work part-time next year). We've co-slept, and I've fed her to sleep and throughout the night, since 2 months old: until a week ago. For the past three months she's been comfort feeding almost hourly through the night. She's also in the 98th percentile for weight.

For as long as I remember I've been so shattered and teary. I don't feel safe driving, I don't feel like a happy and active mum, I feel like my darling baby's first year is passing in a blur. I've awful backache from co-sleeping. And more...

My dd can be tired and grouchy, and is clearly not getting enough sleep. She has big bags under her eyes.

I don't post much, but lurk on this and other mumsnet boards daily. I've tried all the suggestions, and cc was a last resort dh and I agreed to try (after our paediatrician advised it, and lots of research online too) this weekend.

Now we're doing it. We don't leave her for longer than 10 minutes: 2, 3, 5, 7 then 10 minute intervals. Mostly punctuated with angry shouts and crying from dd. The first night took 1 hour 20 mins for her to fall asleep, the second night 1 hour. She then slept all night until 8am.

I feel so torn. Comments on mumsnet make me feel like I'm doing a terrible thing to my dd. I feel judged and a failure (by reading other's people's comments on cc from the past). My rational side thinks it's for the best, and it won't damage dd in the longterm. I've followed an AP style up till now, and still want to continue. I feel like I've done so much 'right' by my baby, been so ultra careful with everything for her, and that I've now maybe undone all the good.

Is cc really so terrible? In the grand scheme of things? In the day to day minutia of parenting? Ok. I've had two nights sleep but I feel sick with worry.

skinsl Wed 14-Oct-09 19:14:29

It's really awful isn't it?
And it's worse when people say " i couldn't let my child cry"
And all the advice is so confusing
We did it when he was about 15months old. It took 7 nights, and the last night was the worst, almost like a standoff!
But it worked! and the week later he was asking to get in his cot!
I had to tell myself that I was doing it for him, because he was not sleeping properly, he was tossing and turning next to me
It's really hard listening to them cry, but he is so much happier now, and I knew what I was doing would ultimately the best for him. Imagine how you would feel if you were up a couple of times in the night and didn't know how to get yourself back to sleep!! It's just a case of helping them to unlearn their bad habits. and they learn quite quickly.

MarthaFarquhar Wed 14-Oct-09 19:18:53

I didn't regret it. It is a very hard thing to do. But I needed to do it. DD was tired and irritable. I was tired and irritable, getting ill, and making mistakes at work. Our lives improved immeasurably afterwards, after a little upset for 3 nights.

I admire those who can soldier on through the crappy broken nights. But I reached my breaking point, and that's really not a good place to be.

kneedeepinthedirtylaundry Wed 14-Oct-09 19:20:11

I'm very seriously not a fan of controlled crying, but if I felt unsafe driving and my baby had eye bags, I can understand. Don't feel bad. As long as your dd seems happy to you, follow your instincts. You sound like a damn good mum to me.

funwithfondue Wed 14-Oct-09 19:21:33

Thank you Skinsl, that really helps. I just put her down 20 minutes ago, so in the process now... I love her so much and never wanted to let her cry - never did until now - but I know it's for the best. She's been so, so, much happier for a full-night's sleep these past two days.

ten10 Wed 14-Oct-09 19:27:18

I didn't regret it, and am planning to do it with my second child too (if it is needed)

we did it during the day at first, for his daytime naps, and then when we did it at night he got the idea even quicker than it had taken during the day.

also I had already got him used to the fact that he didn't get milk during the night, so he only had to get used to settling himself during the night rather than also having to deal with not being fed.

the only problem can be finding a window where they are not ill and not teething seeing as my DS seemed to be one or the other most of the time.

as for if it damages them in the long term, i don't think that this is a problem, seeing as he was too young to remember it, and is a very cuddly loving boy now

funwithfondue Wed 14-Oct-09 20:21:46

Thank you again all for your messages of support: it's really helped me feel less alone. DH is sure we're doing the right thing (although he too finds it very hard to hear dd crying), whereas I'm not. Or I wasn't.

Anyway, it took 25 minutes tonight, with us going to her every 5 minutes, and she's now deeply asleep. Hopefully the tired little thing will sleep all night again.

Time for a glass of wine I think.

Thanks again everyone who's replied; I think it's easy for me to lose perspective while reading mumsnet sometimes.

Meglet Wed 14-Oct-09 20:24:13

I don't regret it. I would have regretted it more if I hadn't done cc and had lost the plot, crashed the car etc.

bling1 Wed 14-Oct-09 20:27:21

We did cc from an early stage, and it's hard but well worth it - you have to sleep yourself too, and our DD has no problems sleeping and self-soothes. We'll also do the same with no 2 who's on the way shortly if needed. It's amazing how better you function when you sleep properly and that goes for both you and your DD so persevere and good for you for taking control.

chocolateismymiddlename Wed 14-Oct-09 20:30:47

We did cc with our dd. We were absolutely at the end of our rope with broken sleep. so we had to do cc or me or dh would have gone insane with exhaustion. It was very hard to listen to her cry, but she sleeps well now, and cc doesn't appear to have had any lasting effects.

bibbitybobbityCAT Wed 14-Oct-09 20:32:10

Absolutely no regrets at all and I really didn't find it all that hard.

francaghostohollywood Wed 14-Oct-09 20:34:02

I did cc with ds when he was around 9 months old. Of course I don't regret it!

I've been there, having a baby abroad, with no friends and family to support me or just sharing some time together for a much needed chat. I really feel for you smile

M78 Wed 14-Oct-09 20:37:27

My DD1 (she is now 7yr) did not sleep through the night until she was nearly 2. She used to wake up 5/6 times per night and will only go back to sleep if I was sitting next to her cot. I felt awful all the time and my DD was also very tired during the day. I was so desperate that I decided to do CC, it worked within 3 days, she started sleeping 12 hrs through the night and she has done since. I never regretted doing it, I actually regretted waiting nearly 2 yrs, I would do it again with my DD2 if I needed to.Listening to your child crying is very hard, but I think that it is even harder going for months without a decent sleep. My daughter is a lovely affectionate little girl and I am sure the CC did not damage her, it actually taught her how to sleep better.

hugmeandcatchthelurgi Wed 14-Oct-09 20:38:08

I did itfor both of mine, DD1 was more of a challenge took aweek but it was so worth it

I was at the end of my patience, neither of us slept and i was 6months pregnant with DD2 so i went for it, had a few half hearted attempts before.. but i was consistant and stuck with it (was really hard) but she now sleeps!! (well most of the time..)

Good luck!

melpomene Wed 14-Oct-09 20:50:26

To answer the question in your thread title, personally I greatly regret doing cc with my dd1. It didn't work at all and she carried on crying for hours every night. I only kept going because I was exhausted and couldn't cope with her waking every hour when I needed to go back to work. Our stupid HV had sworn that cc "always works", and then refused to return our calls asking for help when it didn't work. After a couple of weeks there was no progress at all and we had to give up It took another year before she was able to sleep through.

However, your case does sound different and it sounds as if your dd is already getting better at settling herself and sleeping through. Hopefully the hardest bit is now over and you will both be happier and better rested. Best of luck.

Besom Wed 14-Oct-09 20:51:49

funwithfondue - I could have written your post 12 months ago when I was going through exactly the same thing, same worries, same ap values and awful dilemma.

I don't regret it because there was an immediate improvement to my health and wellbeing (had been diagnosed with pnd), and the knock on benefits of this improvement to dd are obvious.

Enjoy your wine.

tellnoone Wed 14-Oct-09 21:21:34

To answer your question OP, yes I do regret doing CC with my DS when he was 7mo. And therefore I did not do it with my DD 4 years later.

At the time it worked quite easily and DS slept 7pm to 7am. If he woke then I knew it was because he was ill or teething etc. My mum and everybody were amazed, my mum even still says gosh I remember what a good sleeper DS was! I did it because I was going back to work.

But, I worry that it has broken my DS's spirit. And to be honest I only realised this a couple of years down the line. He isn't particularly confident and secure. Of course there may be many reasons for this but I think CC is one of them.

I agree with the messages of support on this thread that if you are at breaking point you need to try something. I wonder how helpful your DH is in the middle of the night - can he take your DD to another room and walk her and soothe her to sleep instead of her constantly co-sleeping and BFing all night with you? Can he do this even in the late evenings to let you get a few hours sleep? Even if he can't get your DD to sleep he can let you get some sleep? Even if he has work the next day I'm afraid he needs to help out a bit. I know how tiring BFing all night every night for months can be so I do sympathise but I also wanted to answer your question.

eggshapedbanana Wed 14-Oct-09 21:30:33

I chose to do this with my dd as I was pregnant again when she was 9 months old and just couldn't cope with the extreme tiredness. Myself and dh spent the night with one of us with one foot on the floor about to give in, but we supported each other through it and within a week she was sleeping through. I also did it with ds but it was kind of an accident as he would get really tired when it was dd's bath time and would scream, but I couldnt look after him as I was dealing with dd so I put him in his cot, by the time I could get to him he had nodded off and therefore set his own routine that way. DD is now 13 and ds 12, they are happy, healthy, loving kids and don't remember a thing about it.

funwithfondue Thu 15-Oct-09 21:34:29


Thanks again for your messages of support and reassurance.

I thought I'd update about the third and fourth nights: last night, it took 30 minutes of shouting and crying (with us going to reassure her every 5 - 10 minutes), then she slept for 12 hours, until 8am. Tonight, it also took 30 minutes for her to fall asleep, but she was less crying, and more grumbling/shouting.

I hope it won't take much longer now. She's more spirited than ever in the daytime, more smiley, active, has developed two new noises and the ability to blow kisses since we started. And she still cuddles/falls asleep in my arms during nursing in the day just as much.

I put that all down to her getting more sleep. I still feel doubtful about the whole thing; but hopefully time will tell.

NotQuiteSoBigBird Thu 15-Oct-09 21:44:05

I do a lot of lurking on here and often feel guilty reading the threads from all the AP mums who seem to give themselves up completely to their babies, but I did CC half-heartedly with DD1 then more determinedly with my DTs, now 10 months. All my DCs are good sleepers (so much so that friends comment on it), and it's made me much more able to cope. And I certainly would not say my DD1 is in any way insecure, from what I can see. Nor in fact are my DTs despite being at the 'separation anxiety' stage. I worry that I may have done something wrong, and do feel guilty about it, but in the end I felt I had to go with what felt right for my family, and what kept me sane. My DTS are surprisingly easy babies as it seems that they know when it's time to sleep and behave better for getting enough sleep both day and night. I don't think any mum should do something if it makes them feel bad, but if you feel something is right for you, don't not do it because of what other people might think.

hellish Thu 15-Oct-09 21:46:13

I did it - and yes I regret it - sorry.

Heated Thu 15-Oct-09 21:50:41

That's really good newssmile. We did cc with dc1 when he was about 8m with some trepidation and, having done it once, had no qualms about using with dd2.

Left them for 1 min, 1 min, then 2,3,4,up to about 8-10. Took 3-5 days in total, each night taking less and less time. These days it's a bedtime story and night-night.

HumphreyCobbler Thu 15-Oct-09 21:54:59

Although I have not done cc my dd has just started sleeping much better and for the first time in a year I am getting a reasonable amount of sleep. I had no idea how depressed I was, how much the lack of sleep had affected my personality, how damaged my relationship with my ds had become, until I started to feel more normal.

Lack of sleep is awful, it affects everything.

Personally I feel strongly about people who leave newborns or very young babies to cry it out, NOT about those who do controlled crying (which is totally different) because they reach the end of their tether. It sounds as if it is working well for your dd, try not to feel bad.

I might not have done cc, but I have done plenty of other things I feel horribly guilty about.

StealthPolarBear Thu 15-Oct-09 21:56:08

I've tried it now and again and I wouldn't say I regret it as such but I regret how we did it - half heartedly which I think was just confusing for DS. We've only tried it a few times and then given up (and he's not always a bad sleeper, just seems to get himself into bad habits which eventually resolve themselves).
Hope you continue to make progress.

BeehiveBaby Thu 15-Oct-09 21:57:22

Bitterly, horribly, heart computer blew up half way through the second night which I took gratefully as a sign. DDs sleep beautifully now at 4 and 2.

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