To ask what exactly defines 'controlled crying' and what the alternative actually is?

(167 Posts)
goldiehorn Thu 17-Jan-13 13:58:55

I always assumed 'controlled crying' was when you leave the baby to cry for a few minutes, then go in and see them, then go out again and leave them for a little while again and then go in again and so on.

Whenever I see controlled crying threads, there is always someone who comes on and says its cruel and they would never do it. Does this means that people really go into their child as soon as they start crying and soothe them?

Also, people often say, 'dont do controlled crying, do the baby whisperer/no cry sleep solution.' From talking to people I have picked up that these are when you go in and shhhhh/pat etc. But dont you still have to leave them to cry for a little bit before you go in and soothe them?

It seems to me that surely you either you go straight to them at the first cry, or you are doing some form of controlled crying. What are the middle solutions?

(Just interested as with DS, we have always let him cry for a few minutes to see if he will self settle, and then gone in to him. We have not had to do any sleep training as such as he is a very good sleeper, but have been talking to friends about the whole sleep thing, and am basically just curious).

thebody Thu 17-Jan-13 18:03:39

Yep totally agree polkadot.

pinkyponk67 Thu 17-Jan-13 18:05:12

SirBoobalot can you please link to the numerous studies you cite ref controlled crying (not CIO)? Thanks

chandellina Thu 17-Jan-13 18:05:12

Yes, when people say a crying baby always has a need that must be met, I always wonder if they think it's the same deal for older toddlers and children.

thebody Thu 17-Jan-13 18:08:16

Agree, toddlers especially need to understand that be they always precious and loved they are also part of a family in which all members have needs.

Parents have a need to sleep and have grown up time and not totally be at the crying whim of a child.

pinkyponk67 Thu 17-Jan-13 18:13:22

Depends what u mean by a need. If child old enough to tantrum on the day then isn't it the same at night?

Mutley77 Thu 17-Jan-13 18:14:39

No I haven't ever purposefully left either of my children to cry as babies. I don't agree that it is necessary.

Again I've never had to "sleep train" them but I would rather help them to self-settle in a more positive way, e.g. use of "cuddly" or dummy rather than having to cry themselves to sleep - which as s.o. above said produces high levels of cortisol.

zeeboo Thu 17-Jan-13 18:15:26

A tantrum represents a need to be heard and to have their feelings validated. I agree with Sirboob in general, though I don't think cc is cruel I think it's pretty lazy parenting. I did it with my eldest and still feel guilty.

PolkadotCircus Thu 17-Jan-13 18:17:21

Hmmmm I think giving into tantrums is lazy parenting and as a teacher I've seen the fallout in kids by the time they start school so there you go.Horses for courses I guess.smile

While I'm hesitant to get into a cc debate as it evokes such strong feelings, I do want to point out that there are alternatives to cc, and that lots of parents (myself included) respond to their children when they start to cry rather than leaving them to cry alone for a period. It is not impossible, and it hasn't stopped my dd from sleeping through the night, night weaning, stopping co-sleeping and moving into her own room and bed.

I didn't do cc because I was worried about the research regarding cortisol levels damaging my child. I also didn't feel leaving dd to cry alone was the best way to raise a confident, happy and secure child. But I recognise these are personal choices and other parents have the right to make the choice that seems right to them.

thebody Thu 17-Jan-13 18:24:11

Really it's laughable the amount of 'scientific studies' spouted on mumsnet to suit certain theories.

Personally my children producing apparently 'high levels of cortisol'!!!! by crying was nothing compared to me turning into a non functioning sleep deprived zombie incapable of working or driving a car safely.

Oh and tantrums are a toddlers way of trying to get their own way, and on no account should these 'feelings be validated'.

That way lies more tantrums.

PolkadotCircus Thu 17-Jan-13 18:27:32

Hmmmm see any cortisol studies I've seen we're in reference to extreme cases with children in orphanages.

Having said that I figured 2or 3 nights of very limited crying would produce waaaaay less cortisol than months of babies waking in the night and crying,babies picking up on mummies stressed faced,smell and misery etc,etc.

Considering that after day 3 mine were out for the count 7until7 it was a sensible assumption IMHO.

Also the studies I've seen re the impact of lack of sleep on children and their education were quite concerning.I've again seen the educational impact in class.

HearMyRoar Thu 17-Jan-13 18:29:04

chandellina surely there is a huge difference between an older toddler or child who you can talk to and explain why you didn't respond when they through a tantrum and a baby who cant possibly understand why they are not being comforted when they are upset.

I have always comforted dd as soon as she cries. It never crossed my mind that anyone might find this so strange and difficult to believe. It has always seemed the right thing to do and no matter how awful her sleep has been I have never been able to bring myself to even consider leaving her to cry even for a few minutes. I guess in the end you can only do what you are comfortable with doing.

HearMyRoar Thu 17-Jan-13 18:30:04

..sorry, that should clearly be 'threw a tantrum'

amillionyears Thu 17-Jan-13 18:30:39

from 5 weeks old my ds screamed to go to sleep. i didnt know why he kept screaming at me and why he wouldnt sleep. I tried rocking, bfing, cuddling, sling etc... it all enraged him more. at 8 weeks my dm stepped in, put him in a room on his own and walked out. he was aleep in minutes shock turns out he hates any human presence when hes tired and wants to sleep. all my attempts to not do cc/cio actually upset him more. (i do cc and go and cuddle him on the rare occassions he doesn't settle. i have on 2 occassions had to do full on cio which broke my heart sad ).
ds is 21 months now, still hates company when hes sleeping. feck knows what we will do if/when we have dc2 as we only have 2 bedrooms grin
(apologies for crap typing - on my phone)

BertieBotts Thu 17-Jan-13 18:35:55

No, tantrums (at least at first) are an overwhelming level of a feeling that they don't know how to control. Which doesn't mean that you always give them what they want just because they're upset, just that you should take into account that they're upset rather than putting it down to manipulativeness. hmm

And Lady you can deal with all of those things without ignoring the child.

Chandellina the needs change as they get older, of course. As I said before if they're able to understand why they're being left (or whatever) then that's okay even if they do get upset about it, because at least they can rationalise it. A one year old doesn't understand why you're leaving them and so in my opinion if they're not happy to be left, you don't leave them (unless it's a situation like being left with a babysitter where they cry initially but are then fine, as that would indicate to me that they're upset about you leaving but they are also happy at being with Granny or whoever).

thebody Thu 17-Jan-13 18:47:20

Polkadot agree again. Have had some friends who spent bloody hours reasoning, cajoling their toddlers over tantrums.

These are now moody unpleasant entitled teens and young adults who still feel mummy should sort out their emotions for them as they can't control themselves..

Load of old bollocks, its a display of temper that must be addressed not ignored.

An out of control toddler grows into an out of control teen.

Simple fact.

thebody Thu 17-Jan-13 18:51:17

Btw cc is not ignoring a child. It's sensible management to a positive outcome for the WHOLE FAMILY including siblings.

If you don't understand this then that's fine, say so, but don't criticise those if us who do.

PolkadotCircus Thu 17-Jan-13 18:52:35

I agree and Bertie 1 year olds don't melt.

I had 3 under 18 months and wasn't physically able to go to every baby's whim every single time.I was with my babies 24/7 they knew I'd be back,it's not like I was out the room and gone for hours. Given what lovely well balanced 9 year olds they are now leaving them for 5 mins to deal with another baby,load the w/m etc clearly didn't harm them.

It's called life.

LadyIsabellaWrotham Thu 17-Jan-13 18:55:32

I wouldn't ignore completely, but I wouldn't give constant attention either. I think that CC works best at its very gentlest, with very frequent reassurance that the carer is there, and everything is OK and we will still be there in the morning.

I'm a huge fan of Ferber's book in general but I think he goes too hardcore and too young in his chapter on CC.
(In particular I agree with him that cuddling a baby to sleep and then putting them down in a cot on their own is akin to stealing an adult's pillow once they go to sleep - it's a recipe for paranoia. If you're cosleeping then cuddling to sleep is fine, but if you expect the child to sleep on their own then in general they'll be happier if they stay in the same place - but I digress)

Floweryhat Thu 17-Jan-13 19:22:38

Does this means that people really go into their child as soon as they start crying and soothe them?

^^ yes, this. Or in fact baby didn't sleepalone day or night and after that was put down asleep. When they woke we went immediately.

thebody Thu 17-Jan-13 19:23:39

3 under 18 months.. Polkadot go girl..

Floweryhat Thu 17-Jan-13 19:26:09
DialMforMummy Thu 17-Jan-13 19:32:52

I totally agree with Polkadot and thebody.

catgirl1976 Thu 17-Jan-13 19:35:48

The cortisol issue is a bit of a red herring.

Breast feeding produces the same levels of cortisol as being left to cry for short periods of time

I have never heard anyone suggest you shouldn't breast feed due to the increase in cortisol

Long term, high levels of cortisol production (like the ones found in the studies around Romania orphanges) are damaging

Short term, small increases in cortisol (like the ones experienced in being left to cry for short periods or being breast fed) are not

Which is lucky or we would never be able to do anything other than sit very still in darkened rooms, given nearly everything we do produces cortisol at some level.

That said, I would not advocate controlled crying for young babies. Nor do I think it is the right approach for every baby or every mother.

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