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.

Yes, I do love you.

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.

6 thoughts to “My bad!

  • Alicia

    Knowing you a little and knowing the way you care for your kids I read the previous article inferring all of the clarifications above without needing this extra post. Some people clearly have a need to interfere in the parenting of others for the sake of it.

    Keep up the great work (as both a mum and a writer) !

  • Marie-Rose

    Luuk alway used to cry for some minutes before going to sleep. The “rule” was not to let him cry for more than 10 minutes and he seldom did.
    Like you said, it can be a long 10 minutes, you just have to keep an eye on the clock.
    You are a good mum. Louis is a happy chappy most of the time. Just keep up the good work.

  • Me

    Interesting that you chose not to share the comments from your other blog post, I’m guessing this one won’t get shared either.

    I have three children, ages 5 yr, 3 yr and 11 months. None of them have ever had to cry themselves to sleep and I can think of no instance when it would be necessary, no reason why they would have to learn to sleep in such a harsh way. Who on earth wants to fall asleep crying?

    Those experts you talk about who are on your side have no research to back themselves up, many of them don’t even have their own kids. Maybe next time your baby is grizzling (I’m guessing that’s babywise speak for making crying sound better, much like people say they spank their kids instead of hitting them to make it sound more palatable) herself to sleep instead of cooking brownies you look up research on the damage you are doing leaving her to cry, hopefully it would be the last time you do it.

    • amy

      I chose not to share those comments because they were NASTY. I publish yours cause you aren’t. Thank you!

      Babywise call crying crying. They also cite loads of research. I don’t think they are the ultimate answer, and I disagree with them in some areas.

      You give me anecdotal evidence from your own experience. Most of the research out there is based on this. That’s all there is – and thank god, because the alternative is performing scientific experiments on babies.

      I have heard loads of anecdotes from friends, with children young and old, who have allowed some crying. Some of the happiest, most well-adjusted teens I’ve ever met were allowed to cry a little. All parents tell stories of what works in their experience. There is no hard and fast rule for all families and there is a long way between a small amount of crying and child abuse.

      I’m sure you’re a great mum to your kids. We can agree to disagree and still both be good parents, I think.

  • Hélène

    Worked with our two. Sometimes I think the person that is being comforted when picking up a crying baby is more the picker upper. The point was made very neatly for me last weekend. I helped settle a baby who needed to sleep while Mum fed his twin brother (twins must be ex-HAUST-ing). This baby had been crying a while although he was fed and changed but it looked like he had a bit of wind/colic. I successfully soothed him and while Mum was all grateful and apologetic about monopolising my arms (I was enjoying myself but had to reassure hubby that NO, I was not getting broody…), I thought, had the screaming come from my baby, it would have been tough to make him wait a while. But I did do that, repeatedly, with my own two babies (no longer babies!) and I certainly don’t feel they missed out on attention to their needs.

    It’s not tough love, it’s common sense, coping with the fact that instant gratification isn’t going to be the norm in life is something that needs to be tackled early.

  • Michelle Carshalton

    Can’t believe anyone accused you of being neglectful or abusive! Obviously don’t know you at all! You’re doing a wonderful job xx

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