"It's 3am and my lovely non-sleeping girl is not sleeping again. We have been up for an hour or two - who's counting any more? She shows no sign of tiredness or any intention of sleeping in her cot, in our bed, anywhere, anytime soon.
She is six months old and we have yet to have anything like a night of good sleep, i.e. longer than 2 hour stretches. I am beside myself and feeling insane, so we (I) decide to do controlled crying. This is it: no more Mrs Nice Mummy, she has to learn. It's for her own good. My parents did it to me and I slept through ever after. Thingy down the road did at three weeks and her baby slept through on day one.
So, without planning or discussion, I inform my exhausted and addled husband that we are going to leave her. This is the first time ever I have left my daughter to cry more than a few moments. To date, every squeak and whimper has been met with my full, total and complete attention. She has been held and comforted through colic, teething, colds, bumps, bad temper, frustration, being left alone for a minute, not being left alone, dogs barking, doors slamming, frights, strangers, getting stuck under the sofa, not getting stuck under the sofa, anything.
But now, in the early hours of a spring morning I am going to let her cry. Really. So we do do. We lie there and lie there and lie there. She cries and cries and cries. Then she howls - loud raging squawks of fury and indignation. I look at the clock; 3 minutes have passed. She keeps going on and on - basically yelling "where the hell are you, what's going on?"
I am shaking, but determined. My husband reaches for my hand and we lie still in the dark. She stops, hicupping from her efforts. Triumph briefly rises in my breast... My husband shifts his position, the duvet rustles, she gives a little questioning cry and - oh God - is off again. "Shut up" I hiss at him (and her), but I am crying too now. She sounds sad, truly sad; she's sobbing her little heart out.
Seven minutes have passed. She starts coughing and spluttering and now I can't leave her. I leap over to her cot and reach for her; she chokes and gags and is sick all over me. What have I done? I begin to wail and retch too.
The lights go on, my husband looks at me, his face wet with tears, "I'm not sure controlled crying is for us" he says. "Really. I don't know if we can do this."
But we did. There was no alternative. Of course she was fine, if a little hoarse the next day. Our relationship was not irreparably damaged and she did, eventually, sleep through the night. Eventually." (Janey, London)