PARENTING

Crying it out. When is enough, enough?

marlow in her cot

Earlier this week, while camped at a beautiful beach on the Coromandel Peninsula here in New Zealand, we encountered a situation that has whirled around in my head ever since. We arrived to the campsite in the early evening with enough time to set up camp and prepare dinner. Marlow had just fallen asleep in her car seat on the drive (she had a poor night’s sleep the night before, and we knew she was probably down for the night), so we transferred her from her car seat to her bed and started to make dinner. Meanwhile, the family in the site next to us was busy clearing up their dinner and settling their kids for the night. We noticed they had two kids — around the ages of one and three. Before long, we could hear their youngest crying from inside their tent. At this point, I didn’t really take any notice–I’m secretly relieved when other kids are noisier than my own boisterous bunch! But the crying continued and soon escalated to a loud wail.

Being so close, we could hear the baby’s cries like they were inside our own van, and Marlow began to stir from the noise. I took a nosy little peek at our neighbours and realised the parents were sitting contentedly at a table outside their tent, conversing with friends. Not one of them seemed disturbed by the crying so I figured they must be letting their baby cry himself to sleep—or practicing ‘controlled crying’ as it is sometimes called. Fair enough, every parent has their own way of dealing with a baby’s transition through this phase. Surely it wouldn’t be much longer before they settled him down if he hadn’t fallen asleep, right?

Unfortunately not. The wailing from inside the tent went on for more than an hour and only increased in intensity and volume. It went on for so long that people from all corners of the campsite wandered over to see if everything was okay. Meanwhile, the parents ignored the concerned looks from passers-by and continued to behave as if nothing out of the ordinary was happening. It seemed this was part of their nightly routine and they weren’t going to break it, even if it meant disturbing dozens of others’ enjoyment of the peaceful evening.

As their neighbours (our van being only a meter or so from their tent), Michael and I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the screaming baby and a bit annoyed with the parents. The crying was waking up Marlow and was clearly bothering almost everyone else in the campsite too. Should we say something? What would we say? How long were they going to let it go on? It brought up a discussion about controlled crying, something Michael and I have differing opinions on.

Michael, being much more of a softie than I am, has never wanted to let our babies ‘cry it out’. I think he would prefer to rock his children to sleep until they were twenty years old than to make them cry it out in any sort of ‘sleep-training’ regime (I could see that he even found it difficult to ignore a stranger’s baby’s cries!). I’m also quite relaxed about sleeping arrangements — always letting my babies sleep in my bed and feeding on demand — but with each of our kids, there came a time (usually around one year) where I had to transition them to fall asleep on their own and in their own bed. I found that once my babies learned this skill, they slept more soundly during the night. BUT, it required a few days of letting them cry a bit at bedtime. (Michael had to plug his ears.)

My approach was to cuddle and comfort them, give them a kiss and lie them down in their bed. I’d then walk out of the room, closing the door behind me. The first day was usually the worst, with maybe 10 or 15 minutes of crying, plus a couple of return visits to console them and lie them back down. By the third or fourth day, they would go to sleep without much of a fuss, and usually by the end of the week, they were sleeping much more soundly and happily in their own bed.

So, I’m not opposed to letting a baby cry for a bit, and I’m not one to tell other parents how they should handle this tricky transition. But I don’t think I could ever let my baby cry for over an hour, for any reason, without attempting to settle them. I certainly could never let them do so in a public place. I would prefer to bend my parenting routines or techniques for the benefit of others. How about you? Please share your thoughts.

Courtney x

p.s. The photo above is of a little Marlow in her cot in our old home. She was laughing, not crying! 


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Comments (41)

JulieB
February 11, 2016

With my first child I was probably more like your husband Michael. Whenever my daughter cried I would pick her up and comfort her. However I never had a problem getting her to settle to sleep. I created a sleep routine with her from an early age and we still do it every night at nearly 5 and it is very rare she protests that she doesn’t want to go to sleep. HOwever, I have recently had twins and I have had to be different with them as when I am on my own with them it is only physically possible to comfort one at a time so sometimes I do have to just let one cry. I do worry about what my neighbours must think. At first I hated it but I must admit I have got used to it and they (fingers crossed) are sleeping very well. Having experienced both I’m not sure what the answer is but I know that if I had another single pregnancy I would probably pick them up every time they cried as I think I’m too much of a softie.


Esther in Amsterdam
February 11, 2016

Wow, keeping a campsite awake like that, to me has more to do with good or bad manners than with good or bad parenting!! (Having said that, we sleep trained all of our children. They have to be able to fall asleep by themselves, and sooth themselves back to sleep when they wake up in the middle of the night. I think that a well-sleeping baby makes a more content baby and happier parents!)


Betty
February 13, 2016

I agree with you Courtney and Esther. We sleep trained both of our kids using a routine very night. I did the same thing you did Courtney. They cried for maybe 15 minutes max and fall asleep on their own. Yes the first four days or so was hard, but then one night no crying. Nowadays if they wake up, I go in and console them and they always go back to sleep.


Chloe
February 11, 2016

I’d always ask myself – would you let your friend or Mum or anyone that you cared about cry to sleep? Nope, so why your baby, especially as they are less able to understand why they have been left to “self sooth”. They are babies for such a short time – offer them unconditional love so they grow up feeling secure. I’d want my girls (4 and 9 months) to trust I’ll always be there when needed. I’ve never resorted to CIO, for lots of reasons (Sarah Ockwell Smith’s books on sleep really resonated with me), and my 4yr old is a very contented and happy sleeper (has been since she was 2), and jumps into our bed for cuddles between 5-6am which we are all enjoying as soon enough this will be a cherished memory. Let them be little and be there for them, it’s not asking for much. 👶🏼👧🏼💗😊


Sara Rocha
February 11, 2016

I am like a softy one and I would never let my child cry for more than 5 minutes. What if the baby was feeling unwell?! They didn’t check on him/her?!! That for me is cruel to the baby and disrespectful towards other people. However, it is quite tricky to handle a situation like that, because you don’t want to be lecturing other parents! I would certainly say something like: ‘After so long, are you sure that your baby is right?’.
I am not in favour of letting the children cry to exhaustion, I believe that is sending the wrong message: ‘ I am not here for you now, so sleep!’.


Nicola
February 11, 2016

I have to say I agree with Michael. I can’t bear to let my child cry, it literally rips my heart out to think that she is alone and scared and crying out for comfort when I am just sitting there listening. I suppose to me it is just like if an adult, maybe your partner or friend is alone and crying out for help would you just leave them to cry it out because they need to learn to deal with things on their own or would you go and comfort them and try to help them through whatever they are going through?


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Maria
February 11, 2016

I am so happy to read this from you. Yesterday I read an article in Spanish that made me feel so bad critizing parents that “do not have enough patience” and let their children cry to fall asleep. With my first baby the only way to make her sleep was carrying her in my arms and walk through my flats’ corridor…until I had pain in my back and I decided to let her in her bed until she felt asleep. She cried for two nights (and me too behind the door) but after that she learned to sleep on her own. My husband was against it but he wasn’t at home for a business travel. With my second baby he slept alone in his bed from one month and a half. My husband travels for work and I have to take care of my home and I work so I can’t be every night carrying two babies through the corridor 😉 Now they are two years and a half and 8 months old and they both sleep alone all through the night. If they cry of course I go to see if everything is okay and if they do no stop crying I take them in my arms for a while. Of course letting a baby cry for one hour is too much and a public place is not the best place…but I think that each parents should decide how to teach their babies to sleep (provided that there is love and respect towards their children and people around).
Enjoy your travel!! Maria


Estelle
February 11, 2016

I think there are 2 separate issues here. We all have our own opinions of sleep training in it’s various forms. However, if you are sensitive to your child and people around you, you don’t choose to do it on holiday in a crowded camp site! I take issue with what this family did (or didn’t do in this case), because it had a negative impact on those around them. If you go camping you have to accept a degree of noise, but you also have to be mindful of those around you. When we go camping we have to relax the bedtime rules (at home our children have a strict 7pm bedtime) and let the children run with the pack until dusk. Enforcing bedtime when other children are up and playing in near impossible in my experience, even with little ones.


Tess
February 11, 2016

I agree with much of the above!
I also have twins, and therefore getting them to learn how to self soothe from an early age was imperative for the whole family, there was some controlled crying but inevitably I was rarely able to soothe both at the same time. Equally, if one was crying and the other sleeping, I always had to make the call as to whether I’d go in and comfort one at the risk of waking the other… There is also a clear difference between the “I’m annoyed you’ve left me in bed and I’m going to let you know about it” cry and the “I’m scared / unwell / I really need you” cry. Of course if it was the latter I’d always try to soothe them.
But the controlled crying worked a treat for us and we have happy babies and happy parents who both get plenty of sleep!

Having said that, if it were in a public situation as you’ve described Courtney, I would definitely go and soothe them. It’s indeed just plain bad manners and inconsiderate of everyone else on the campsite.
There’s a time and place to stick to your guns and a creating a disturbance in a campsite is not it!


February 11, 2016

I feel for you Courtney. It is very hard to hear your own baby cry much less a stranger’s baby whom you can not comfort. That being said, I employed the cry it out method when my son was a little less than a year old and sometimes he did cry for an hour before he fell asleep. The only thing that made me persevere in my determination not to go in and comfort him was that we had tried everything else and it hadn’t worked. I did feel badly for our neighbors but other friends assured me that they wouldn’t mind, they had probably done the same with their own children (I live in Spain though so perhaps parenting traditions are different).
I do have to commend you on not going over and saying anything to the parents. This is my biggest pet peeve. You may have all the best intentions in the world but it is never your place to tell someone else what they should be doing with their child. I see a lot of parenting behavior I don’t personally agree with but I keep my opinions to myself. You never know what someone else is going through and you have to keep in mind that you only ever see a snippet of a parent’s life. That is no basis on which to judge them.


Anna
February 23, 2016

Interesting…but getting back to simple consideration/manners and taking the loaded ‘good parent/bad parent’ element out of it…may I ask, if the neighbors camping next to you had teenagers that were making excessive noise for an excessive period of time – would you feel it was appropriate to say something? I’m a big proponent of ‘live and let live’, but MY big pet peeve is people being inconsiderate to others and simple respect for others space and time, and to me – these people crossed that line. If their baby was sick or they we’re trying to deal with the situation, even unsuccessfully, then I’d have empathy and suck it up — but their behavior was not just about their parenting choice, it affected others enjoyment of their vacation (and their children’s ability to sleep quietly) and at the very least they should have been aware of that. I would have said something.


Jess Clayden
February 11, 2016

An interesting topic, yikes leaving a child to cry that long would make me feel very uneasy, I couldn’t do it personally and would find it difficult hearing it at a campsite, especially my husband who doesn’t like hearing long periods of crying. I am currently having sleep issues with my second child, he will be 2 this weekend and still doesn’t sleep through the night. It’s my own fault as I am too much of a softie to let him cry it out, so instead I sit by his cot until he drifts to sleep uh oh! So now he needs comforting before going to bed, the problem is I work 3 evenings a week so my husbands routine is slightly different, he will soothe him over his shoulder on the sofa while reading a book to our oldest son. So now I think it is time to just let him cry it out for a bit, that being said I think I could only leave him for 10 mins at a time. My oldest slept through no problem so I’m not used to sleep being an issue. Question is, how long to leave him before going up and how long will it last? Jess x


Pippa
February 11, 2016

I find it absolutely heartbreaking, and feel tearful just reading your account. Surely this is child abuse? These little people are so vulnerable and completely at the mercy of us adults. I tried sleep training with my first child (it came highly recommended by just about everyone), but just could not do it. It literally tore open my heart to hear the desperate crying of my own child at such a young age, and to know that I was just ignoring it??? I am so thankful I did not persist for many reasons, including that it turned out my daughter had severe food intolerances and slept beautifully once we made adjustments to her diet. Also, it meant we then got to co-sleep, which is now one of my warmest and dearest memories of parenting. Whilst I think there may very well be situations where leaving a child to cry for a bit may just be what is necessary, leaving a child to cry like that for over an hour breaks my heart. And to then do it where other families have to endure the experience is truly astounding and deeply inconsiderate. I would have been sobbing into my tent pegs if I had been there…..I think there are certain situations where one can comment about how other people are parenting: 1) if the child is being abused, and 2) if the child’s behaviour is impacting your experience. There is a brilliant book about leaving babies to cry called The Continuum Concept, it makes for chilling reading xxxx.


Jessica
February 11, 2016

Up until pre-teens my mother would read to me every night and I would fall asleep to the sounds of the words. There is no better way to fall asleep as a child. It makes me feel sad that children have to lie there at night without the comfort of a parent. Of course children get used to it but why should they? Watching your child drift off is a wonderful experience.

I’ve never let my daughter cry and she can co-sleep as long as she wants (she’s four now). On the odd occasion that she wakes up in the middle of the night, I comfort her back to sleep (it never takes more than a minute). If you look at the animal kingdom, the young animals stay close to their parents. If you look at history, children stayed close to their parents. This whole idea of children having their own room and being separated from parents is from the Victorian era – they didn’t have a clue what they were doing and ultimately did a lot of damage to their children and future generations of children whose parents followed the same advice. I don’t see the rush to get children to sleep by themselves and soothe themselves to sleep. In fact they aren’t soothing themselves as this is not possible at a very young age. They are just learning that no one comes why they cry. Self soothing doesn’t happening in babyhood, it happens as the child matures.

The whole cry-it-out and controlled crying is detrimental to children. Their cortisol levels rise and that’s not good. If you read to your children as they fall asleep, you’ll be calming their nervous system. If you go to them at night, you’ll be calming their nervous system as well as helping them feel secure. I honestly can’t see why intelligent parents think it’s a good idea that a child falls asleep by themselves. My mother read to me and we co-slept – eventually I slept by myself and there was never an issue. I have a great relationship with sleep now. I fall asleep easily, sleep well and never have nightmares. My husband was left to cry and he suffers with insomnia plus he has lots of nightmares. You might get the full night’s sleep you want by sleep training but it’s possible that it may come at a cost to your children.

Sleep training has spread like wildfire. I really hope people see the light and society can go back to parenting through the night rather than clocking off at 7pm.


Sophie
February 12, 2016

Jessica, your comment sounds very sweet, but “parenting through the night” is kind of unfeasible at least in the long run when parents work fulltime the next day.


Stephanie
February 11, 2016

How did the story end that night and how did the baby do the next days?
With my own enough was enough at 2,5 years. We were at our wit’s end. Bit the bullet and did crying out. It was a tough week but then he completely slept through the night and we haven’t looked back since. Should have done it so much sooner.
That said there is a time and place for everything… Maybe they really had no choice. It’s a lot harder if you stop and retry again.


Louise
February 11, 2016

I agree with Esther and think that it’s more to do with good manners. I sleep trained my son and (with the help of a dummy) he sleeps through the night and has done since he was a few weeks old. That said, like every other toddler, he has his moments and would prefer to sit with his mama and dada at night rather than go to sleep. However, we need some alone time so to bed he must go! I generally allow him to cry in the privacy of our own home for around 10-15 max and then I go into his room and sit very quietly next to his cot, not speaking or touching him but just being near, still and quiet. He always falls asleep when he knows i’m there. This is advice that was given to my friend (whose child wasn’t a great sleeper) by an organisation called Sleep Scotland and I’ve found it to be really helpful.
How did the evening end, Courtney? Did you or Michael approach the other campers?
Very difficult to listen to a child crying uncontrollably and I’m surprised the parents could continue their evening whilst listening to that!


Hayley
February 11, 2016

This topic has come just at the right time for me so thank you Courtney. My daughter is 8 months and I have been following your guidance on sleeping, despite a few frowns from others, since day one, like you co-sleeping just seems the natural way for me. We are still a long way from sleeping through the night and was wondering exactly how you did the big transition into their own room. I now feel a bit more ready and thankfully won’t feel so guilty shutting that nursery door behind me!


Stacey
February 11, 2016

I have no problem with a child crying it out to learn healthy sleep habits. My children are happy and we are better parents when we are rested. I also am not a fan of co-sleeping because I’m more concerned for their safety than having to put up with some crying (which is heartbreaking). I think the bigger issue is that this family is obviously one that moves from place to place or is on a vacation. I wouldn’t let a child cry to sleep if they weren’t in their regular routine where things feel safe and predictable. I think that’s very selfish. A 1 year old doesn’t care to go camping/traveling so if you’re going to bring them along for your satisfaction, at least give them the kindness to help them feel comfortable and secure.


February 11, 2016

I know that this is a contentious issue and I’m totally not here to tell other parents what to do / think. My personal feeling on the controlled crying subject is that leaving a child to cry, is tantamount to child abuse. It is absolutely not acceptable to let a baby cry him / herself to sleep. Where in nature would we ever have done such a cruel thing? Babies cry because this is their only form of communication. My sense was always that if my babies cried, they required comforting and nurturing. Not neglect. Pretty soon after being comforted and held, they would settle, sleep and be content. The Western world has got it all wrong, thinking that its ok to leave a newborn baby in its own bed, in its own room, and then a few months later, to ‘teach’ a baby to cry themselves to sleep. What you teach the child is that they cannot trust or depend on you Later, the lack of confidence that this child will feel is sure to become become evident.
The fact that the entire camp site was alarmed and upset about the child crying would suggest that generally – generally – it is not an accepted norm to leave a baby to cry. Just my feelings on the matter xxx


Stacey
February 11, 2016

Also, some babies are better tempered than others. I think many people with multiple children can attest to differences in the nature of their babies. My first was much more high maintenance and still is than my second. Both are confident children now. I’m home with them every day and have been since they were born. If crying it out to sleep is child abuse what about leaving a child with a stranger at daycare? That’s absurd. I think as long as what we do what we believe in our hearts is the best for our child and family and it comes from a place of love, they’ll be just fine! I’ve noticed a lot of strong parenting judgement from
some of these blog posts and comments. There is no 1 right way that works for every child and family. If you believe you have it all figured out, I think that’s a tell-tale sign that you do not.


India Bennett
February 11, 2016

I am actually shocked with the attitude of the parents
of that poor baby! Their lack of manners as well towards everyone! Their behaviour is unacceptable and in US it certainly would be considered child abuse. I have a child and I do not let him cry for more than a few minutes, always comforting him if he is upset at bedtime, reading and cuddle him until he sleeps. It is not always easy if you work and, yes takes away your ‘me time’.

India


Jaclyn
February 11, 2016

Courtney – I did not agree with the toothbrush post but I do agree with you here. That poor baby and poor fellow campers! Not to compare a baby with a dog, but you would let a dog bark none stop like that, why would you let a human cry like that if were disturbing others.

I baby crying like that for over an hour is too much and I am in favor of the Ferber, crying it out method. 60 minutes is enough to make that child pass out. It just tugs on your heartstrings.


Whitney Kaye
February 11, 2016

I couldnt bare to hear a baby screaming/crying for that long. If my baby is wailing, there is something wrong that I need to take care of. Both of our children (third on the way) we “sleep trained” between 6-10 weeks and by the end of 10 weeks they were sleeping 8-10 hours a night and moved on to 12 hours soon after (1 year old and 3 year old now . We followed their natural cycle of sleeping, feeding, playing and then back down to sleep, when they showed they were getting tired. By that time they had their mornings and nights worked out because I would wake them up after a few hours of sleep during their day naps to nurse and then let them sleep as long as they liked at night (anywhere from 3-5 hours those first few weeks). Our babies never needed to cry it out. They were familiar with knowing if we laid them down in their crib it was their place to sleep and we also made sure our baby was tired and ready for sleep. I know some children just have a harder time with certain things. I also know my two older sisters (both with 6 children) all did the same thing as I do and every one of their children was and is a great sleeper.


Christina
February 11, 2016

Courtney, this is such a difficult area and I really enjoyed this post as it was very considered and non-judgmental. I have a 17 month old who still wakes up loads at night and in fact I have to bring her into our bed at around 11pm as it will take ages to settle her otherwise. Both myself and my husband definitely suffer because of this as we both work full time and are not able to have a proper nights rest but at the same time I also can’t take any more than a couple minutes of crying… To be honest I feel like I am too tired to even try a form of sleep training!! I definitely couldn’t do it in public – I am rightly or wrongly far too concerned what people will think of my parenting skills !!


Anais
February 11, 2016

Awful. Shocking. I felt awful for the baby reading this. I would have intervened. I know I know, it wouldn’t have been helpful really…. or maybe it would have…. BUT, the scientific evidence shows that BABIES who have prolonged periods of stress, anxiety, or shock develop neurologically in a different way. The persistent absence of responsive care from an adult creates higher levels of cortisol, and creates toxic stress, which inhibits the development of healthy links (synapses) from forming, leading to developmental delays and lifelong problems. The question that researchers don’t yet fully know the answer to (because you can’t test children in a controlled environment) is HOW MUCH crying it out is ok. So the controlled crying it out method appeared, to relieve parents of difficult nights and soothe anxiety about the negative effects. But there is no scientific evidence that will back up what extent of crying is ok. Your camping neighbor’s hour of crying at age 1, however, falls under serious neglect (neurologically, emotionally). If they are doing it in public, they are doing repeatedly at home, too. Scientists will agree that is irresponsible parenting. For more reading, you can go here (validated by the early childhood development field): http://developingchild.harvard.edu/science/key-concepts/toxic-stress/ or here https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/moral-landscapes/201112/dangers-crying-it-out.


Victoria
February 12, 2016

I agree with people who have mentioned that it was bad manners, not to mention unfair on the little one. I am a bit embarrassed as a fellow Kiwi, too. I hope you are enjoying the Coromandel, I live nearby, if you need any sightseeing tips ,(and know Emilie, so promise I am not a nutter)!

Vic


mum
February 12, 2016

haha we don’t know if it was a fellow Kiwi Victoria…


February 12, 2016

I have to say that I’m a bit disappointed in the tone of some of these comments. Can we please refrain from using the term child abuse for parenting decisions we don’t agree with? It’s like when anti-abortion groups call their opponents baby murderers. It’s offensive, disrespectful and ultimately does nothing to further our discussion or understanding of one another’s points of view and varying experiences. There is a culture nowadays in the West to overprotect children and admonish (and sometimes persecute) parents for things as innocuous as letting their children walk alone to school or giving their children junk food on a regular basis. I know the intentions of the people who express concern for these children come from a good place but attacking other parents for their choices and lifestyle and portraying it in such callous terms is something that contributes to the division of community.

I’m not saying I agree with the method of the parents that Courtney describes above, I’m just trying to ensure that at least here, parents are respectful of one another no matter how anonymous a forum the internet may seem.


Margaret
February 12, 2016

I have done the same with my 5 kids as you have with your 4, Courtney. If they have not already been transitioned into their own bed by a year, then it happens, pronto! I’ve found, through trial and error, that if my child is ready to be transitioned to their own bed, it just takes a few days of 20 minutes of fussing and protesting and after that, bam! It’s like magic and they are in their own space. And everyone is sleeping so much better! I am amazed you were able to refrain from saying anything to your camping neighbors. It’s one thing how you put a child to sleep in the privacy of your own home, but a whole different ball game when you are in a communal space like a campsite. I would have been so infuriated by the sheer rudeness of their behavior and total irregard for everyone else’s peace and quiet.


February 12, 2016

With my first I was absolutely opposed to letting my baby cry, even for a little bit. I was lucky with her that she eventually, around 11 months, began to sleep straight through the night. With my second baby I tried the same method, and he woke up every hour or two until he was beyond a year. We had a difficult year when he was a baby, having lost several family members in close succession and he had a terrible time with ear infections, so our schedule and his pain were definitely contributing factors. When I finally reached my limit I tried sleep training him and it was a DISASTER. He was so much worse after the fact, and we went back to snuggling to sleep and he eventually learned to sleep through on his own. My sister sleep trained her baby and he slept straight through from four months on, and still requests to go to bed at 6:30 every evening. I think the point is that every child will respond differently, and every situation is unique, so controlled crying or not is acceptable to me, as long as it is done responsibly.

Letting your baby cry for over an hour in an unusual environment, however, does not feel responsible to me. Traveling has always been unsettling for my children at bedtime, even though we do it often. Also, as others have mentioned, disturbing your campsite neighbors is just plain bad manners.


Lisa
February 12, 2016

Totally Agree with you in every respect. I would have been horrified at their rudeness. Horrified. And also heartbroken as that child is going to grow up with the same amount of empathy and concern for others as his or her parents. I have never let my children cry for more than maybe 2-5 minutes. Sleeping isn’t ideal with all of us in the same bed often but I remind myself these years are short and I will one day look back fondly. I also know that I’d much rather be concerned with them sleeping in my bed than when they’re teenagers and wondering whose bed they want to be sleeping in (!!!!) xxxx


February 13, 2016

I’m the FTM of a 5 month old, and it’s been so hard to navigate all the information about sleep out there. My daughter has been sleeping reasonably well at night for a long time (with a bit of a hiccup at around 4 months), but naps were another story. My husband is a doctor so I basically do all the childcare, housework, money-management, etc myself and I was desperate for a little peace during the day, so around 3 months I started nap training her by doing a short routine, putting her down, letting her cry for 5 minutes, soothing, and repeating until she fell asleep. It worked. Now that she’s older, I’ve moved her to her crib at night as well (she was in a bassinet beside our bed), and after doing a lot of reading and consulting with the her doctor I now let her cry if she wakes up in night significantly before her typical feeding time. Usually it’s fifteen minutes tops before she settles back to sleep.

I’m with other readers; what amazes me the most about this is that the parents are not bothered in the slightest by their child’s crying or the degree to which they’re disturbing others. I still wake at my daughter’s cry and even if it’s a time she shouldn’t be up, I lie awake praying she’ll finish because it’s so instinctively upsetting to me and it’s hard not to jump up and respond.

It’s parents like the ones you mention who give CIO a bad rep and damage their children for years to come.


gabriela
February 15, 2016

what a deal..!!!! i always think that god gives what you can support , and so it is. all of my babies sleep all the night. But i think that i colaborated with that.
i dont feel bad if the babys cry. Not long time, but i think its good to teach that is good for them to sleep and rest in the night. they need it !!!!
my husband dont like them to cry too, as michel but he agree with me and plug his ear too jaajajjaja.

its difficult, but i dont agree that educated your kids allow to bother others. also , if the baby is crying in such way for so longo , for sure he o she would never sleep finally.( a little bit).

I think that you can be stricked and make the routine at home o with family but the things in that camping, is that those parents didnt care of the “crying baby” and also dont care of both of the others neighbours.
That really make me angry, so i think we can say samething. You are not teaching how to educated their kids, but its something about respect !!!!! respect for the others how are stranger.

For sure , if you see that those parents have a good and nice intention. Try to calm his baby or appologise for bother , for sure, you dont think o feel the same.

kisses !!!!!
and continue enjoying.
gaby


Christine
February 16, 2016

This whole discussion makes me so sad. Mostly sad for that poor child who was neglected in such a cruel cruel way. There is no right in this and to be honest, given how much credible evidence there is now as to the very considerable long term negative effects of leaving children to cry I cannot believe it is even put up here for discussion.

Also yes, it was inconsiderate for you and other campers to have to listen to that, but really you do not matter in this instance. The only person who mattered was the one who was most vulnerable, the one who cried and no one came.

http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/health-concerns/fussy-baby/science-says-excessive-crying-could-be-harmful


kim
February 17, 2016

I think it is bad manners to keep a whole campsite awake and if I were you, I would have walked over after a while and asked politely if they could maybe try to get the child to stop waking up your children.
You cannot guess, by one evening what goes on within a family and I think too many people judge each other, especially with social media involved and all of us thinking we do and know best for all.
What might work for one family might not for another, BUT in this case the issue should have been do you let your fellow campers suffer while you let your child cry themselves to sleep, which in my view is bad manners!
Kim


February 19, 2016

This lengthy “cry it out” is beyond parenting technique.
A quick read on current evidence says that allowing such states of prolonged stressed is neurologically and psychologically damaging.
An Evidence based approach surpasses judgement or parenting style and can aid in defense of human beings.


February 19, 2016

Perhaps the next Thursday Thoughts could be How to Civilly and effectively Intervene in defense of the child.


Fiona
February 19, 2016

If you were going to sleep train a child, why on earth would you choose a time when you were going camping? That is the height of inconsiderate behaviour and shows a distinct lack of respect for others sharing the campsite. I agree with others that leaving a baby to cry for that long without even checking on him / her is almost unbelievable and I could never do it. Saying that, just tonight we have had to leave our 3 year old to cry it out! By now we can tell when she is just looking for attention and is perfectly fine. We’ve maybe had to do this twice in her lifetime! Our 11 month old sleeps well in his own room, we have done sleep training in the past with him but 5 mins max before going to settle and leaving again. It’s difficult when both parents work, and I can see that you wouldn’t want to break training (like potty training for example) but 1 hour plus on a campsite? totally unacceptable in my book.


melissa
February 23, 2016

When I was so sleep deprived, after her first birthday, I attempted to train our second child much in the way you did yours and I did my first. But she would not have it! I always ended up comforting her after 20-30 minutes because that just seemed too long, but after a while I figured she would never learn if I kept it up so I let her go…after over an hour I gave up and went to get her. She shared a room with her 3 year old brother, too, and kept him up. My husband and I both knew we wouldn’t let that happen again! The thing that finally worked for her was to put her in a tiny, very very dark area (our laundry room!) alone. And she was fine! But she reverted every time we attempted to move her back into her “normal” room. We did not camp at all that year, for that very reason!! So I understand rough sleeping kids, but as for campsite etiquette…well…I guess we all have differing opinions on that as well. 🙂


Margaret
February 25, 2016

For me it’s a belief in what is developmentally appropriate and what fosters healthy development. I would never suddenly say “You should be crawling at 8 months so now I’m not going to carry you. You’ll learn to crawl in a few days.” My extended family and I do not feel crying to sleep supports healthy development. Of 9 children all have learned to fall asleep on their own without crying by 2 years, several by 12-18 months. My daughter is currently 9 months old and in 24 month clothing. At 6 months she wore 18 month clothing. She has always been over the 98th percentile(her father is a large football player). Some nights have been very painful. She just started rocking to sleep at 8 months and she’s been getting herself back to sleep on her own since 6 months. My back has finally stopped hurting.


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