This Article is About
babies
gentle reminder
sound sleep
precious bundle
time parents
self expression
crying baby
bundle of joy
little break
first moment
new mother
interruptions
Allow Babies To Cry
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Allow Babies To Cry

Since the very first moment we hold our child in our arms, most parents want them to be happy. We sacrifice ourselves for their contentedness in every way. It becomes our life mission to feed them on demand, change them when they’re wet, ensure they’re well rested and well cuddled. In fact, I know from personal experience that when a baby cries the world outside of that event stops. How can any parent allow their baby (or in my case babies) to cry?

I’m sure I’m not the only parent who has sat on the side of the road 5 km from home to breastfeed my crying baby who could obviously not last a moment longer.

And how many of us, night after night, have dragged ourselves from a sound sleep to stumble into the darkened night and retrieve a dummy (soother or pacifier) that our precious bundle of joy hadn’t missed for the last two hours.

And why? The baby cried!!

Now lest you think me heartless, be assured I’m all for responding to a crying baby. It’s the way nature intended that they let us know their basest of needs. What other way does an innocent tot have of letting us know that all is not right in their world?

I wonder, though, if some of us need a gentle reminder that we need to back off a little as a newborn babe becomes older. I think it’s good to give our children a chance of self-expression and perspective and our self a little break!

The first time I realized this was when my first little boy, Riley, was approximately four months old. Every night he would wake around 3am. He would cry and I would stumble out of bed on command to feed him. It never took long, but my all-important sleep (every new mother understands this!) was interrupted every night.

This routine can go on for many new (and second time) parents for months. On the night in question I think I must have reached the point of exhaustion. My baby was now four months old. I was definitely over nighttime interruptions. When Riley cried I remember thinking “Oh, you’ve got to be kidding….” and laying there feeling far from enthusiastic.

Riley cried.

I rolled over and groaned.

Riley stopped briefly and cried again.

Now I don’t know who gave in first (to sleep I mean) but the next thing I knew it was morning. That was a surprise!! The very next night we both slept through the night because the baby had been allowed to have it’s say and, as the problem wasn’t serious, our routine had been reset and re-established.

A wise man once told me that he remembered crying as a little boy and the comfort that it gave him. After all those years he remembered…. and I realized that I could remember those childhood moments too. The times I was so tired that it just felt good to be miserable. The moments when life had done me wrong and I needed to feel sorry for myself.

I still have them sometimes. I feel cranky and grumpy and just very, very tired. On occasion I pass a screaming baby in a shopping mall and think, “yes, I know just how you feel”.

My second child was children... I had twins. It's a great leveller. I didn't have a choice but to let one, or the other, of my babies cry on a regular basis. While at times it was distressing in retrospect I found the benefits to out weigh the detriment. They became surprisingly calm and well rounded little people who cried when their needs were real.

Maybe we are too hasty to pander to our children and hush their expressive cries. They don’t always need our intervention. They just need to be given the gift of expression.


Street Talk

Gracie  

I agree with this... not to just let them cry until they drop, but to let a little time pass before responding. They need to know that you are there for them, but at the same time not at their beck and call. It seemed to work for both of my kids for the most part. Twins! I can't even imagine :-)

Reply
  about 5 years ago

Some children seem to learn that crying is an effective way to get what you think you want and somehow they do that all their lives. There are adults who use cry to get others to behave. It is a way of expressing oneself and I hope most parents understand that. From birth children do have other ways than crying to express themselves and some of them almost never cry. My middle child was one of those. She was healthy, I was healthy and everything vent smoothly. She had all kinds of noises to get attention, but she seldom cried when she was a baby. That happened mostly when she hurt herself . And yes, you can't expect to get everything you want always.

Reply
  about 5 years ago

I'm aware that what my article doesn't take into account is the little personalities of each child. They're all so different! What works for one definitely won't work for the next one. This never changes!! And just when I think i have it all worked out one of my children throws me a curve ball!! :-)

Reply
  about 5 years ago

I really like this article. Thank you for writing this! My daughter is now almost 2 1/2 years old, and she still wakes up a couple of times during the night... I still am against crying out method (I'm just too weak to not respond...), but I wish I'd read something like this when she was still a baby. I'll keep your article in mind when the time comes for us to have a second one, which we are hoping soon :)

Reply
  about 5 years ago

Thank you for your lovely comment Charlotte! What a shame kids don't come with an instruction manual so we could get it all right some of the time! ;-) Your comment has got me thinking and I'm busy putting together a Squidoo lens on how we moved our children into a bed and lovingly kept them in it all night. It will link from an article I have ready to go here but haven't published yet. Check back if you're interested. Enjoyed you visiting. Thanks.

Reply
  about 5 years ago

I know, right?! Why don't they come with a manual! ;D I will definitely check back. Thanks, Heather!

  
  about 5 years ago
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