I Don’t Let My Baby Cry

I Don’t Let My Baby Cry

We were at a family picnic recently. It was our first picnic as a family of three.
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Mesmerized by the baby pool at our 1st Family Picnic over the 4th of July weekend.
I like to prepared for anything so we arrived laden with baby gear: snacks, sippy cups, sun hat, sunscreen, organic bug repellent, picnic blanket. You name it and i had packed it. However, what I wasn’t prepared for (and never am, really) was a little one who quickly became over stimulated and too excited to nap! No naps leads to a very cranky A.
Late in the afternoon, after having so much fun splashing around in a baby pool with 2 older toddlers, my little A started to melt down. She whined and cried and looked to my husband for comfort when another parent nearby said, “Oh, just let her cry! It will make her stronger!” My husband I exchanged a quick glance, our eyes speaking for us, and my husband scooped up our daughter and cuddled her close to him.
We don’t let our daughter cry. 

This sounds crazy. Babies cry. Toddlers cry. What exactly do I mean? If she is screaming, inconsolable, or hysterical, if her face becomes red and she is so upset that she is gasping for air, I will go to her and do my very best to calm and comfort her. I will make silly faces, sing songs, try to distract her with a toy, play her favorite Taylor Swift song, hug, cuddle, rock, and give her a pacifier. I will not ignore her. Of course, there are times when she lets out one small cry or whine and then stops and that’s it. If it’s clear she is calming herself, those are the times I will let her be. It took one awful night for my husband and I to realize we were truly against crying it out.
As first time parents, there have been times when we have been given a lot of unsolicited advice. Have you ever seen this BuzzFeed video? It’s hilarious and so true.
For the first 8 months of A’s life, she was a terrible nighttime sleeper. We never had any problems getting her to nap during the day but the night’s were pure torture. I was breastfeeding at the time, and so, I was really the only one who could nurse her on demand and soothe her back to sleep. My husband would sleep soundly through her cries. Not mama.
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A was only 5 days old in this picture. I was supposed to be tired! After I posted this to Facebook, I got a lot of concerned phone calls though.
Everyone had suggestions on how to get A to sleep through the night:
Rice cereal at 6 weeks. Rice cereal mixed with formula in the bottle. A bottle of water before bed. Check her wonder weeks. Let her cry, you don’t want to spoil her. Maybe she’s teething, give her Tylenol. Back is best. Put her to sleep on her side. So-and-so always slept on his tummy. On and on.
After 4 months, I was desperate for a good night’s sleep. The pediatrician suggested sleep training so I bought and read, “Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems” by Richard Ferber. I thought if the pediatrician recommended it, it must work and it must be OK. The Ferber Method sounded amazing to my tired, sleep deprived self. In a nutshell, it allows the baby to cry for a set amount of time before a parent intervenes. The parent would decide on the intervals, say 5 or 10 minutes to start. After the 5 or 10 minutes of crying, the parent goes in to soothe the baby, then leaves. The idea is to gradually increase how long the baby cries before intervention until they soothe themselves and sleep through the night.
We tried it one Friday night. I decided I would put her to sleep, without her pacifier, and let her cry for 3 minute intervals. It took her over 3 hours to finally cry herself to sleep. 3 long hours! It was heartbreaking. I was crying and doubting myself.  My husband, who had initially agreed to try the method but hadn’t read the book, started googling and doing his own research on sleep training. After that night we agreed we would never let our sweet baby girl cry herself to sleep again. 

Our baby needs us for absolutely everything.  We feed her. We change her diapers. We play with her. We comfort her when she is hurt or tired or sad. We do these things, day after day and night after night, and she has learned to trust us. She knows that mama and dada will take care of her, no matter what. I do not want her to lose that trust in us by letting her cry. After all, crying was the only way our 4 month old baby could communicate her needs. We caused her so much unnecessary stress that night.
So, I don’t agree with “Let her cry. It will make her stronger.” I don’t think it will make her stronger. It will make her sad, hopeless, and defeated. While sleep training works for some families, it didn’t work for us. If you can listen to the crying and get your baby to sleep, then, good for you! I simply couldn’t do it.
Around the time A turned 8 months old, she had transitioned to formula and was no longer comfort nursing in the middle of the night. She started to sleep better, waking up only once or twice each night. Now, at 13 months old, when she does wake in the night it’s brief and she has learned to soothe herself back to sleep. I rarely have to get out of bed to check in on her anymore. It happened when she was good and ready.
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My big girl (11 months old in this picture) sleeps through the night now! Most of the time, at least.
If my daughter needs me, I will always be there for her. 

I am her mama.

Domesticated Momster

themumprojectThe Pramshed

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26 thoughts on “I Don’t Let My Baby Cry

  1. Aww, I love this post! Your daughter adorable, for one thing (!!) but also, it’s awesome that you are so responsive to your little one. I feel the same way and children certainly benefit and become well adjusted when their needs are met promptly. 🙂

  2. Well done for sticking to your guns! I generally brought mine to bed with me for a bit when they cried. I miss it now. When it’s happening it feels like forever – but it passes and I love the memories of having them in bed with me. Glad to hear yours is sleeping better now!

  3. You and I sound the same. These days I can tell the difference between his cries, whether he’s putting it on for attention or if he genuinely needs comfort. I pretty much can’t allow myslef to let him cry for longer than a couple of minutes without intervention. It’s too upsetting. I love that video too, so funny. Everyone always has such *amazing* advice! #stayclassymama

    1. I think knowing the difference between the cries is key! In the beginning, I had no clue about A’s cries. I just fed her all the time! After a year, the cries change and I learned to be more in tune with her. Now I know exactly what the attention cry sounds like and can ignore it when appropriate. I also know the cry of desperation and can intervene! Either way, I hate hearing her upset! Thanks for reading!

  4. I was never a believer in the “let them cry themselves to sleep” thing either. I feel that if they are crying, its because they need something. Maybe its just attention, but I want mine knowing that I am there if they need me, no matter what the reason #momsterlink

  5. We tried a technique one night that worked where we would put him down, leave the room, wait for him to cry, walk in, pick him up, quick hug and lay him down again and walk out. After 5 or 6 times in a row he settled down and has been generally a good sleeper ever since!
    I think with that technique he knew we were there for him but that it was time to sleep!!
    I think you just need to do whatever feels right for you and your little one and hope you stumble across something that works!! Clearly your approach worked well for your little one, so happy days!! #fortheloveofBLOG

    1. That sounds like the strategy we were told to try. A quick hug or pat on the back did nothing to soothe A. And I wasn’t strong enough to try it a second night! Parenting is a lot of trial and error until you figure out what works for your baby. This was just one example for us, I guess! Thanks for reading and commenting, James.

  6. My daughter was a TERRIBLE sleeper and people told us to just let her cry – we tried a few times, but it only made things worse, so we just kept doing whatever we needed to do to comfort her – breastfeeding, rocking, etc. Then, when she was around 12 months, all of our old tricks stopped working, so we had no choice but to let her cry herself to sleep (with regular checks, of course). After a few nights, she was putting herself to sleep and now only wakes once a night, or not at all. I’m so happy she has this skill now, but we couldn’t have rushed her – she slept when she was ready to sleep. Not everyone would be willing to wait for a year to do sleep training, but that’s what she needed. Every baby is different – well done for trusting your instincts and doing what was best for your child. #fortheloveofBLOG

    1. That’s it really. You have to trust your own instincts and do what it right for your baby and your family. That’s what parenting is all about! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your story.

  7. I think your view is absolutely fair. Just being available for them is not spoiling them. They want to be independent all too soon! For tinies, crying is the only way to say they are frightened, or lonely, or sad, or whatever. There’s no way of knowing for sure, but maybe, if we listen to them as babies, they will listen to us when they are older. Just maybe…

    (Just nipping over from PrettyinPlaydough linky.)

  8. I completely agree with you, I never let Little R cry and she is a perfectly happy, healthy baby who is much more independent than any of my friends’ children. And I know people who are letting their newborns ‘cry it out!’ How does that even happen, and why would you do it? I just can’t understand.

    Thank you for taking part in #prettyinplaydough, hope to see you next week!

  9. Firstly your daughter is beautiful and looks happy and secondly I think that parenting is such an awesome undertaking that whatever works for your own family should be respected by others. We all have our own ways and as long as everyone is happy then thats good enough:)

    mainy – myrealfairy

    #stayclassy

    1. Yes, I agree. This was simply a story of what worked and didn’t work for us. Every family is different and will decide what works for them. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  10. Ah this is really helpful! I’m currently at the 7 month mark and he is not sleeping through the night, I think as you’ve said he might still be comfort nursing. He automatically false asleep on the boob. I also tried he timed crying and it didn’t work and I hated it. We all have to do what feels right for us! I don’t like letting him cry either. Thanks for sharing with #StayClassyMama!

    1. It was so hard. Around 6-7 months I was so frustrated. Everyone told me A should be sleeping through the night, that she shouldn’t be nursing at night anymore. At the time, feeding her was the only way to get her to sleep so that’s what I did! I wanted to sleep too! She took her time but now we all sleep much better.

  11. All babies are different and all parents have different views on what is best. It sounds like you did exactly right for your family and daughter. Sleep deprivation is the worst and we often resort to anything to get baby to sleep. We had a terrible time at 4 months when the sleep regression kicked in. I was up every hour for 2 months and then awake between 2am and 4am every night. I installed sleep training to get her to settle. I stopped feeding to sleep and stayed with her until she settled. Now she’s nearly one and goes to sleep by herself. You have to do what’s right for you. Thanks so much for linking up at #fortheloveofBLOG. Claire x

  12. I believe it’s whatever works for you as a parent. With my first baby I coddled him all the time and would go to him if he was crying in the middle of the night…even well after I was done nursing. My husband would get upset because he believed in the letting them cry themselves to sleep method. Finally I agreed but it was torture for me at first. But after about a week he learned to soothe himself. He’s a happy, loving, affectionate 6 year old now who always sleeps in his own bed with no problems or needing mommy and daddy in the middle of the night. Same with my two younger girls. Except my 5 year old has night terrors sometimes and will come in to our room for comfort. In which case I’m thankful for our California king sized bed. Thanks for linking up with #momsterslink!

    1. Every baby is different. What works for one family may not work for another. I’m sure if I had been able to handle the crying, it would have worked eventually. Everyone said it would take 3-4 difficult nights…but I couldn’t make it for one!

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