Ever since I was a young boy I was never comfortable with the idea of letting babies “cry it out.” It always made me uncomfortable.
Now that I’m a father, it still feels wrong. Whenever I hear a friend or a mother saying proudly how they’ve trained their baby to sleep by letting them cry it out I cringe. I bite my tongue, but I cringe. But this is my blog so let me tell you how I really feel.
It turns out it feels wrong, because it is wrong. The baby can’t speak, can’t communicate like you and I. Believe me if they could they would. But the next best thing is crying.
I’m not saying to react to every whimper when they are sleeping. Claire sometimes whimpers or cries for a few seconds but if I look closely I can tell she’s totally asleep and soon thereafter she quiets down. I know she was probably dreaming.
But if she cries longer than 30 seconds I am concerned.
And you should be too. You could be doing some real long term psychological damage to your baby if you let them “cry it out” for minutes and longer.
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If she is sitting up or standing up and crying then I know something is wrong unequivocally.
There are so many reasons a baby may be crying.
She may need a diaper change, she may need food, milk or water; she may be hot or cold or she may be afraid. She may just want to feel our presence, warmth or touch. As a parent, any of those things take precedence over anything else. Why? Because I am the parent and because she can’t fix those things herself.
She is telling me she needs my attention, now.
This is why you don’t let them cry it out. Because they’re calling you. If you don’t attend, you could be breaking the trust between you and the child.
You know that feeling in the pit of your stomach? The one you feel when they are wailing, yeah that’s your ear for their cries, don’t shut it out. And believe me, I know from experience those late night moments when they just want to stay close to your chest are some of the best moments you’ll live through.