It seems I have unleashed the wrath of concerned parents. Silly me. I forgot how controvercial this stuff is and didn’t read over my post to ensure I was clear.
There are scientists, pediatricians and experts on both sides of the debate but none of them advocate ignoring a screaming baby.
Some of them suggest, even argue, that a limited amount of crying is not harmful to a baby. There are different types of crying and different ways to respond.
To be clear…
– when we’ve let Elena cry its been for no more than ten minutes.
– She is not screaming her head off. Her crying is varied and usually stops and starts when she is settling down to sleep.
– If she screams we go to her. If she’s not calming down, we go to her. It’s not always easy to tell if she is calming down, but like all the other loving parents out there we are doing our best to respond appropriately to the situation, to meet our baby’s needs as best we can.
– We make sure she has a full tummy, clean bum, has done her burps, etc. before putting her down for a nap. We also check these things if she doesn’t settle. We’re not ignoring her needs. In fact, one of those needs is sleep and she’s doing well on that front most of the time. And yes, one of those needs is comfort, and we offer that every time we go to her. Sometimes she’ll nod off while I rub her tummy, other times I’ll cuddle her, rock her, etc.
Elena, like almost all babies, would rather not be left alone, would prefer to sleep in someone’s arms. But she needs to learn that this is not always possible. Her life will be less stressful if she is able to be happy on her own some of the time. Her bassinet is not a lot like my womb and this is a rough transition on her. Sometimes she sleeps in our arms, on our chests, in a sling… sometimes this is best. But not always.
I did consider publishing the comments I received. It would be great to foster discussion about these topics but perhaps online is not the place to do so. (Too much anonymity for people to be constructive as well as kind.)
The comments I received made some valid points, pointed me toward some interesting articles, and beyond that were just plain nasty. Perhaps I was careless in my last post, not painting the full picture, being a bit blunt… but I am not a neglectful or abusive parent.
Unfortunately I read the comments before trying to have a nap… so much for that.
Elena slept (after less than five minutes of fussing/crying) peacefully in her basket at the end of my bed while I played out conversations with my accusers in my head.