Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Don’t let them influence you to let your baby cry out

I wrote an article previously about not letting people influence you against breastfeeding. Another out dated and worthless piece of advice is to let your baby cry out.
Being a new mother you may have heard these at some time or the other...“When your baby is waking up in the middle of the night interrupting your sleep and if you have reasons to believe she isn’t hungry, just let her cry out to sleep. (A two month old baby is smart enough to manipulate you?!) or "Don’t carry her around too much or she will get used to it. Put her down and if she protests just ignore her. She will figure out soon enough that no one is picking her up and will shut up.”
And listening to these words, many mothers bite their tongue and in tears ignore their helpless baby’s whimpers. And unfortunately when you have decided to do it there can be only two outcomes. The baby cries louder, gets angrier and grows up into a difficult child and a difficult adult. Else the baby sleeps alright and grows thinking the world is an indifferent place that will not listen to her or him. She doesn’t understand you are letting her learn to sleep on her own. She feels abandonment. He becomes apathetic and withdrawn. I don’t think any mother if she wasn’t misguided would have the heart to let her child cry out. Its just too heart breaking to see your little helpless and vulnerable bundle cry pitifully either in hunger or just to feel the warmth of her mother's touch. The cruelest thing you can do to your baby is to let him cry out. And if you do get inured to let your baby cry, you become insensitive to her needs. Thrust out into this world completely helpless she is entirely dependent on others to keep her well fed, warm and safe. Imagine sleeping under a warm blanket and suddenly pulled out of it and thrust naked in the cold, receive no comfort and be ignored. Is there anything crueler? Whenever you feel that your baby is manipulating you, think about it from her point of view. She needs something. She is hungry or in discomfort or just craves for your warmth and touch. Researchers have been advising the importance of attachment parenting not only to ensure a happy baby but also a happy child and a confident adult.
Attachment parenting in simple words means, breast feeding your baby, carrying your baby around if she wants it and never let him cry out.
Indulge your baby for a year and then slowly start disciplining with gentle ways of correction. Focus on good behaviour rather than the undesirable. Research shows that a baby brought up with attachment parenting out grows the dependence on her mother much faster than a baby that isn’t and what is more, these babies are easier to discipline as well.
I can vouch for that thru’ my personal experiences. My baby is a classic "high need" baby. She cried a lot as an infant and wanted to feed continuously and preferred sleeping in your arms and would cry and wake up when put down. She wouldn’t go to anyone else. Listening to popular advice I did everything to ensure she slept on her own but luckily I never listened to the advice to let her cry out. I attended to her and indulged her needs. I couldn’t bring myself to let her cry out. Today she still sleeps poorly but getting her to sleep is an easier affair. And what is more, she is no longer overly attached to me and is happy to spend time with her father and grand parents. So much that she needs me only when she is hungry or sleepy. And yes when she hasn’t seen me in a while, she comes running or should I say “crawling”to me with such a happy face that it makes my days worthwhile. I only wish I had carried her more as an infant. Perhaps today her sleeping would have been better too. With all the facilities today like baby carriers you can have the baby close to you and still be free to perform your chores.
One of the trickiest things to teach your child is to sleep on her own. Many adults find it difficult. And its called insomnia! While some baby do master the skill early on and are generally good sleepers through out, other babies are wired differently and find sleeping a terrifying thing. These babies have to be parented to sleep. But no matter how long it takes, eventually every baby learns to sleep on her own.
. And if your baby is a difficult sleeper and you are on the verge of letting your baby cry out, then buy "The no cry sleeping solution" by Elizabeth Pantley. I found it extremely useful and things have been indeed better since I started referring the book. Dr. William Sears has written a series of books on attachment parenting and against the crying out method. Prominently, The Baby Book and The Discipline Book. It will be highly beneficial to refer to them as well.
Letting your baby cry out is cruel and inhuman. What ever you do, don’t indulge in it. Follow your heart.

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