After a long day, nothing feels so good as to lie back in bed and feel the softness of your pillow. However, if your nights are anything like mine, a cry that could wake the dead brings you back to the real world.
That’s right, your very cute baby just won’t let you sleep! Ugh. What’s a parent to do?
To let cry, or not to let cry?
On the one hand, some people think that we shouldn’t coddle our babies. If we spoil them as babies they may end up spoiled kids, and we don’t want spoiled kids! I’ve been in both camps, since I tried the “cry it out” method with one of my kids and different methods with my two other children.
It’s tempting to try sleep training using the “cry it out” method. A number of books speak about the method’s success. There are instructions on how to properly approach this type of sleep training, but the theories are not backed up with evidence. This method’s underlying theory is that babies need to learn how to sleep without help. And that if they don’t they will have problems sleeping in the future.
So is this what our baby needs? Let our baby to soothe themself to sleep while we listen to them wail from the other room? “Sleep trainers”, “night nurses”, and “sleep doulas” would have us think there is nothing more critical. That we are in fact harming our babies not to sleep train.
If you’re like most parents it can be heartbreaking to listen to constant crying at night. Especially if you’re trying to stay in the other room. Your baby needs to know that you care for them, and when they look to you for comfort it is natural and normal.
Think about it. If your baby was crying during the day you would try and figure out what they want as quickly as possible. The same way that our babies need us to provide food and fun, they need us to soothe them.
It’s even argued that babies, especially in early development, are affected by long periods of crying as trauma. The study I mentioned earlier even says that 63% of parents thought their baby was distressed while trying “cry it out”. Not to mention the 73% of parents who said THEY felt stressed! Babies, as much as we would sometimes hope, are not yet rationally-thinking humans. If they were then all we’d have to do is give them “the talk”⎯ sleep version.
“See, baby, there’s this thing you’ll find out about soon that everybody goes through. It’s called a full night’s sleep. I know you don’t do that very often, but I do, and I’d really like to get back to that. How about you try it yourself? I swear, you’ll love it!”
Yeah, probably not.
Babies are figuring out life and need the comfort of knowing that if they need help, we as parents will be there for them. When we show our children compassion and caring, we only help set them up for a long life where they can show compassion and caring. While a baby’s brain is forming, it helps to have loving night time rituals to lay a foundation for a restful future.
Alright, I know what you’re thinking. I haven’t offered a better suggestion. I’ve thought about this issue a tremendous amount lately (especially since I’m no stranger to a kid that won’t sleep!), i’ve consulted with some of the world’s leading paediatric sleep experts and I feel that I need to address this issue properly.
I’ve created a course for parents just like you (and me) to help with common issues like getting babies to sleep! The first course of the Breastfeeding Inc. Academy is Parenting 101! Click below to check it out.