Friday, December 7, 2007

Cry it out?

Yesterday my little one had to cry it out. My husband forced me to go on my little outing (which I happily obliged) and when I came home I found he became "super dad." Sort of made me feel a little inadequate (see earlier post). Anyway, we chatted this morning and he told me that he feels that J needs to cry sometimes to learn how to soothe himself. I am conflicted about this. Although I know that he needs to cry at times, especially when all of his needs are met, it pains me. I think I've read a bit too much about attachment parenting (Dr. Karp and Dr. Sears) and similar approaches. I worry about him not trusting me . . . deep inside, however, I know that letting him cry is OK.

He certainly seemed fine last night (my husband had let him cry for about 15-20 minutes in the swing just before he fell asleep). Just before bath he was laughing and smiling.

I get confused as to how much I should really be playing with him, holding him, carrying him, soothing him myself --some books tell you he can be active (not necessarily awake) for up to an hour at four months. I don't think there is a set time--I just look for the cues of over-stimulation. But still, I am not one of those moms who can read his every cue and every cry. And, once I do figure it out, it changes. Welcome to the world of babies!

I'm also not one for schedules, at least not rigid ones. I try to give him a nap and put him to bed around the same times each day and he usually eats a little before nap and bed, so in a way, he is on a schedule, but with no rigid time frame.

I would love to know what works/worked for other moms in terms of crying it out, soothing, scheduling and such.

Right now, I'm winging it . . .


wfg said...

I think it depends a lot on the child. My daughter would get overstimulated by being held to go to sleep. She was happier in her crib, fussing a little bit until she'd fallen asleep. It wasn't full out screaming, crying though, usually.

My son would, from a very young age, get hysterical if he was left alone in the crib. (The crib didn't last long.)

Now, my daughter is 9 and my son is 3. She went through a stage of wanting us to lay down by her when she went to sleep from age 2 til she was 6. And he still wants me to lay by him at bedtime.

For myself, I think that responding to their needs is important, whatever their age. For some babies, that means letting them work through the sleepy stages on their own. For others, that means snuggling up and being held.

Either way, they grow up and move on. Tis the nature of the children to change their routines and their minds often. :) The best we can do is try to meet their needs and ours in a mutually compatible way.

WritingAllNight said...

I have four kids and I always picked them up when they cried. It's impossible to spoil a child that is very young.

I don't belive in letting a baby cry. My husband and I argued about it quite a bit, but look at it like this: You are sad, lonely, or just need to be held. If no one is there for you, wouldn't you feel like crying?

I've cried without being comforted before and it's something I refuse to let happen to my own children, no matter their age.

Whining is different, a little snuffling on the way to sleep is as well. But I still remember trying to let my baby cry herself to sleep one, I couldn't stand it after a few minutes. Turned out she wasn't just being whiny, she had a scratch on her belly from a pin that had come undone from her diaper.

You never know why they're crying, letting them cry it out could make you regret it in the long run.

Rebecca Laffar-Smith said...

It never felt natural to let my kids just cry it out either. I think as mothers the best we can do is follow our instincts. You obviously love your child which, as far as I'm concerned, means you're doing a brilliant job.

Follow your heart and you really will do the best job as a mother. My kids are both wonderful and growing well and healthy but I have lax schedules, let them eat when they're hungry (they're both skinny as anything), play when they're active, sleep when they're tired (until school age). Cuddles and kisses when they cry.

These days a short cuddle and kiss is like a miracle cure for tears. My youngest is nearly four and whatever caused his tears will be forgotten within ten minutes of being snuggled in my arms.

Sometimes kids just need Mum and at this age it is perfectly ok to give them that. If it develops to a clingy dependancy as they reach school age you can deal with introducing separation then.

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