Yesterday I was done. After hours of cuddling and nursing and attempting to soothe a fussy 8-month-old, I found myself placing her gently in her crib, telling her I loved her, and leaving the room. She fussed. Then cried. Then wailed. I felt horrible. But nothing I had tried had made her feel any better. More than anything she needed to sleep. More than anything, I needed a few minutes to breathe. But everyone from Harvard to Dr. Sears have told me that letting a baby cry is akin to inflicting brain damage! Or at least being a generally neglectful parent and bad person. Right?
Listening to her cries broke my heart. But she really needed to sleep and holding her seemed to make it worse, rather than better. So I decided I should do more research on how bad it really is to let a baby cry in a crib for 10 minutes (which is what it took for her to fall asleep). Well, I still felt bad for making her cry herself to sleep for the first time in her life... but on the bright side, I stumbled across a great resource: AskMoxie.org. Most reassuring was this entry: Ask Moxie: Babies and CIO. Make sure you also read her post about sleep regressions.
Knowing what I'm dealing with won't help her sleep any better, but hopefully it will make it more tolerable when I remember that this is truly a phase and I will get through it. That my almost-nine-month-old will not sleep is probably not a sign of my own personal incompetence.