I need your brains - Why I choose to not let my babies cry!

[deleted account] ( 8 moms have responded )

My grandfather has just passed away and I have to travel 15 hours by car and then stay at my MIL's. This way I can be around to help out and of course attend the funeral. The problem is she really disagrees (and other family members too) with the way we parent especially with the way we teach our children to sleep. My husband and I are very grounded in gentle and compassionate forms of helping our children learn to sleep. (A two year old who mostly sleeps through the night and a 4 month old who can wake anywhere from 3 times to 10+ times a night) We also don't let our children cry when they are awake. We help my 2 year old through her tantrums and never let her get all worked up.

I know my MIL will be watching us like a hawk and she'll hear us at night. I am quite confident in telling her how I feel about our parenting style, in a caring and respectful manner, but I was just wanting some intelligent simple sentences I can 'parrot' to her when she (and others) make their comments. I am sure if I read through this community I would find lots of lovely ways to say what I want but I am lazy – no that’s not true - I actually pressed for time. Thanks in advance :)


Mandy - posted on 01/23/2010




Thought I'd pass along this brief news article [first published in 2006] because for a number of years even Ferber himself (the 'father' of sleep training, controlled crying and leaving a baby to 'cry it out') stated he would NOT repeat this with his own babies given what we now know to be true about the physiological, psychological, and emotional damage that CIO has on infants, children, and human development. Unfortunately, the 'controlled crying' bandwagon that Ferber started many years ago (maybe even with good intentions?) has continued to roll out of control and parents are regularly given this very detrimental advice to ignore their baby's only means of communication - her cry. We know there are cultures where babies' needs are met 'round the clock, and as a result, they rarely ever cry. Why shouldn't this be the case for our little ones as well? Let's not do them any more harm. I would have to agree with the author's final statement -- there likely will come a day when we understand just how much damage we do to our babies, their neuro development and social attachment (and future children, adults, damage to even society in general) -- that we will come to see crying-it-out as another horrifying form of child abuse.

Research suggests that allowing a baby to "cry it out" causes brain damage.

by Dr. Stephen Juan

Experts warn that allowing a baby to "cry it out" causes extreme distress to the baby. And such extreme distress in a newborn has been found to block the full development of certain areas of the brain and causes the brain to produce extra amounts of cortisol, which can be harmful.

According to a University of Pittsburgh study by Dr. DeBellis and seven colleagues, published in Biological Psychiatry in 2004, children who suffer early trauma generally develop smaller brains.

A Harvard University study by Dr. Teicher and five colleagues, also published in Biological Psychiatry, claims that the brain areas affected by severe distress are the limbic system, the left hemisphere, and the corpus callosum. Additional areas that may be involved are the hippocampus and the orbitofrontal cortex.

The Science of Parenting (2006) by Dr. Margot Sunderland points out some of the brain damaging effects that can occur if parents fail to properly nurture a baby -- and that includes forcing them to "cry it out." Dr. Sunderland, who is the director of education and training at the Centre for Child Mental Health in London, draws upon work in neuroscience to come to her conclusions and recommendations about parenting practice.

In the first parenting book to link parent behavior with infant brain development, Dr. Sunderland describes how the infant brain is still being "sculpted" after birth. Parents have a major role in this brain "sculpting" process.

Dr. Sunderland argues that it is crucial that parents meet the reasonable emotional needs of the infant. This is helped along by providing a continuously emotionally nurturant environment for the infant.

Allowing a baby to “cry it out” when they are upset will probably be regarded as child abuse by future generations.


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[deleted account]

My reasoning for not letting my son cry is the same as for any decisions I make about parenting: if it doesn't feel right and breaks my heart, it can't be natural and must be the wrong approach.

April - posted on 01/19/2010




Positive: lower incidence of SIDS in cosleeping children (often because they hear their mother's breathing if they, themselves "forget" to breathe)
Positive: Cosleepers raise children who are more secure human beings because they haven't felt abandoned
Positive: Cosleeping allows kids AND parents to get more sound, peaceful sleep

There are more . . . but your question caught me off guard!

Kylie - posted on 01/14/2010




just say we all sleep really well together..it works well for my family..people have been co-sleeping for centuries. You shouldn't have to explain yourself to her..its your family and your children. She will see you are all doing well and are rested and that should be enough.

Jackie - posted on 01/13/2010




I am sorry for your loss and I hope your trip goes well. Unfortunately I am not very much help with the whole being polite about unsolicited advice on sleeping; I would end up just telling her that she isn't the one putting my child to sleep so she shouldnt worry about how I do things. I guess you could just tell her that your family is more comfortable and gets along better with using this form of sleep tecnique.

Brenda - posted on 01/04/2010




I've used these:

Well, I'll glad that you want to give us advice, but we are doing just fine the way we are.

I have researched and chosen this method of parenting, but I appreciate your desire to help.

I guess we just do not see eye to eye on this. I'd rather not discuss it any further, since I won't change your mind and you won't change mine.


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