Thursday, April 12, 2007

a note on crying babies

Honestly, if I had a dollar or each time I heard the phrase "sometimes babies just need to cry" since the birth of my daughter, I'd be a rich woman today. In response to all those people who feel the need to offer that unwanted and unsolicited advice here are my thoughts on the issue.

Yes, sometimes babies do need to cry, like when their diapers are dirty or they are hungry or they have hurt themselves. The rest of the time, there is no need. Putting a baby down for bed should *not* necessitate crying.

I do not believe in allowing my daughter to "cry it out" for multiple reasons. Firstly, if there are babies out there who release stress by crying, my MJ is not one of them. When she starts crying it is because she is genuinely upset and ignoring that fact is not going to make her stop and all of a sudden realize she is over reacting. Instead she will escalate and be upset for hours. Not pleasant for her or anyone else, so why do it? If she does stop crying because she has exhausted herself, how horrible is that! I have never voluntarily chosen to cry myself to sleep, why on earth would I think that she should have to? Secondly, why on earth would I want to teach a brand new human being that the world is so awful that when you are upset no one cares? Now, that may be true and it may be something that she will have to learn at a later date, but my belief is that not quite 5 months old is way to young to become so jaded. Thirdly, I'm sure it is true that when she cries she knows I will come in there for her. At least, I hope that's what she thinks. How awful to think that my little girl does not have faith that I will come to try to comfort her. No, she is *not* trying to manipulate me. No, she is not "spoiled". She is a baby and sometimes crying is her only means of communication. Lastly, how can anyone who has ever heard the heart wrenching sound of your own flesh and blood, a spawn of your own self, crying inconsolably possibly stand by and do nothing about it? These people must have no feeling.

So, in short, while it is impossible to have my little one go through life never being upset and never feeling sad, I scoff at people who tell me that I should just let her cry it out and get over it. There is time for that later in life. There is no need for it now. So I will happily (ok, maybe not happily) suffer through nights of sleeplessness so that she can feel comforted and secure. I WILL pick her up when she cries and I will NOT let my poor little munchkin think that Mamma is not coming for her.


Stacie said...

People are telling you to CIO? How annoying.

James is a "tension reliever"; he'll cry for 30 seconds whenever he goes into the crib, then zonk. Fiona just works herself up. As a mother you can tell the difference.

Rebecca said...

And that just goes to show you that you should do exactly what you know is right for your baby. No matter what you read or what people tell you - you know your baby and you're right in how you raise him/her.

Zach grunts and babbles when I put him down, but it's how he puts himself to sleep. If I go in and bug him, he gets mad. It's when I hear *that* cry, the one where I know he's upset and not just being noisy that I come running.