When I had my daughter, I discussed with my husband some of the things we would never ever do, for me, it was : I will never let my little princess "cry it out". For 19 months, we stuck to that decision, if she cried one of us would go in and comfort her, but this weeks we had to let her "cry it out". At 19 months, toddlers have already started testing the rules and limitations that we set, that is what Katelyn was doing, she started waking up in the middle of the night, she started refusing to go to sleep at bedtime, for two weeks we tried everything, we took her from the crib b/c we thought she started hating her crib, we let her sleep with us, b/c we wanted her to get her rest, but when she had a tantrum at 4am and nothing would soothe her, we realized she was overtired and none of the solutions we were trying worked... we discussed, should we let her cry? We decided we would, the first night we gave up after five minutes, we felt too guilty about it, the following day Katelyn was so over tired she was having tantrums about everything, she wouldn't eat properly, she was a completely different child from the one we knew... that night we decided we had to stick to the plan of letting her cry for a bit and then going to sleep... she cried for about 10 minutes (it wasn't a "I'm hurt or I'm in pain cry") it was her I'm really tired cry, I started going up the stairs about five minutes into her crying and when she heard me coming up she stopped crying, so I started back down again and she started crying again, at one point she stopped crying to listen if we were still there and then started crying again - it was at that point that I realized she was just crying so that we would come in and get her.
Our choice was, do we try to make her feel better at this moment, but she will still not sleep and still be overtired tomorrow or do we let her cry for a bit, go to sleep and then be rested tomorrow. We decided it was better for her health if she went to sleep and got a good night rest and it worked.
The first night she cried for 30 minutes (which was heart breaking for us, mostly b/c we felt bad about it, will this affect her emotionally, (From what I've been told by her doctor and York Region Public Health - it will not affect her b/c we are not neglecting her - we followed the guide in the "Secrets of the baby whisperer". She slept 12 hours, which is her usual amount of sleep before the change in schedule.
The second night she cried for 10 minutes ( we already saw the huge improvement in her mood, her eating and her ability to enjoy her toys again from just one night of rest, we didn't feel guilty anymore), she slept 12 hours
The third night she cried less than two minutes
Last night she didn't cry at all.
So now, I saying "never say never"... For us, we could see that our daughter was over tired, we could see that she needed to sleep and even though it broke our hearts to do it, we had to think about what is best for her in the long run and we had do something we didn't feel good about, but that is a part of parenting, sometimes we have to make the right decision, even if it doesn't fit into our picture of what we would or wouldn't do. If you are having issues regarding sleep, and you would like more information on a variety of solutions, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will forward you some resources.
What have you said you would never do and then decided to do afterwards, share your stories whether it be letting them watch TV, letting them cry it out, putting them in daycare, using a pacifier, letting them suck their finger, co-sleeping, etc.