... to have an argument with SIL over her post about controlled crying?

(352 Posts)
katykuns Fri 12-Jul-13 11:45:18

Post: 'Dear mommy,

I am confused.
I am used to falling asleep in your soft, warm arms. Each night I lay snuggled close to you; close enough to hear your heartbeat, close enough to smell your sweet fragrance. I gaze at your beautiful face as I gently drift off to sleep, safe and secure in your loving embrace. When I awaken with a growling stomach, cold feet or because I need a cuddle, you attend to me quickly and before long I am sound asleep once again.
But this last week has been different.

Gentle, Tear-Free Sleep Solution
Each night this week has gone like this. You tucked me up into my cot and kissed me goodnight, turned out the light and left. At first I was confused, wondering where you’d gone. Soon I became scared, and called for you. I called and called for you mummy, but you wouldn’t come! I was so sad, mummy. I wanted you so badly. I’ve never felt feelings that strong before. Where did you go?
Eventually you came back! Oh, how happy and relieved I was that you came back! I thought you had left me forever! I reached up to you but you wouldn’t pick me up. You wouldn’t even look me in the eye. You lay me back down with those soft warm arms, said “shh, it’s night time now” and left again.
This happened again, over and over. I screamed for you and after a while, longer each time, you would return but you wouldn’t hold me.
After I had screamed a while, I had to stop. My throat hurt so badly. My head was pounding and my tiny tummy was growling. My heart hurt the most, though. I just couldn’t understand why you wouldn’t come.
After what felt like a lifetime of nights like this, I gave up. You don’t come when I scream, and when you do finally come you won’t even look me in the eye, let alone hold my shaking, sobbing little body. The screaming hurt too much to carry on for very long.
I just don’t understand, mummy. In the daytime when I fall and bump my head, you pick me up and kiss it better. If I am hungry, you feed me. If I crawl over to you for a cuddle, you read my mind and scoop me up, covering my tiny face with kisses and telling me how special I am and how much you love me. If I need you, you respond to me straight away.
But at night time, when it’s dark and quiet and my night-light casts strange shadows on my wall, you disappear. I can see that you’re tired, mummy, but I love you so much. I just want to be near to you, that’s all.
Now, at night time, I am quiet. But I still miss you.'

She doesn't understand why it's angered me. In my opinion, it's emotional blackmail and utterly manipulative. I did controlled crying with DD1, but she was naturally a good sleeper so it wasn't really a challenging experience. DD2 isn't a great sleeper, and we do try for a few minutes to see if she will settle, but get her back up when she doesn't.
As I see it, this is written by an adult projecting her own feelings about CC onto others through the form of a poor vulnerable baby, it really doesn't sit right with me at all.
I don't really agree with co-sleeping, but I never would post stuff like this to upset people doing co-sleeping.

HaroldLloyd Mon 15-Jul-13 10:48:04

Research is different though fanjo what if someone posted something along the lines of

Mummy every time we go in the car I get dreadfully upset that I'm pointing forwards is so dangerous mummy oh why oh why didn't you go to halfords.

DuelingFanjo Mon 15-Jul-13 10:27:08

"The 'if you are hurt by this it's because it makes you feel guilty about your choices' attitude is arse too"

I agree.

I find it a bit offensive when people say I am putting my child's life in danger by not having a rear facing seat for example, or that I could have had a better birth if only I had tried more but I don't assume that every time someone posts a link to research on those things that they are aiming it at me specifically.

What is hurtful is when people tell you that you are neglecting/harming your child... i.e explicitly telling you.

In either case the OP had every opportunity to call 'bollox' on the link posted if she wanted to, rather than assuming it was explicitly about her.

At the end of the day the world doesn't stop just because you have a baby. You still have to attend those appointments, your older children still need to get to school, your neighbours still have to sleep, and you and your partner still need to get to work. If parents see fit to spend months pacing halls or sleeping in every room and garden shed so not to wake everyone else then that's up to them, but its unfair to criticise those who choose to address the situation. Newborn - normal, 4 months -normal by 8/9/10 months its not normal. Yes they still may feed at night but it is not unreasonable to expect 4-6 hour blocks and for them to even <shock horror> sleep through. I'm sure most people are bright enough to realise that if there Are no improvements after a few days then either there is something else wrong that needs addressing first, or that the method they are choosing isn't working. I would never criticise anyone doing cc because I believe it's just as selfish and unfair that the older child is kept up all night. What about their stress and cortisol levels? Sleep is not a luxury as pointed out in a previous post. It's something vital for growth and development and its as important to try and achieve that for the babies sake as well as the rest of the family. If co sleeping works then great. If gradual retreat works well that's great to, but if its cc thats your last resort as nothing else worked then that's fine too. Don't ever underestimate the effects of poor sleeping.

OTheHugeManatee Mon 15-Jul-13 10:08:18

It's also worth pointing out that chronic sleep deprivation is a major risk factor for PND, which has been shown many times to have an adverse effect on babies.

So if parents are opting for the (minor, unproven) risk that CC may affect their babies, as a way of heading off their own MH problems and the (major, proven) risk that their MH will affect their babies then how in the world is it reasonable or indeed ethical to make them more anxious and guilty about this decision?

kali110 Mon 15-Jul-13 10:03:34

Toad that made me laugh!!

HazleNutt Mon 15-Jul-13 09:57:31

of course that SIL will think people doing CC are unreasonable if she really has a baby who will be immediately sound asleep as soon as mommy has attended to its needs. She should try:

dear Mommy, I only fall asleep when I'm sleeping on you and wake up screaming every 20 minutes, around the clock. I also wake up screaming whenever you move and then keep screaming for ages, no matter what you do. Yes, you are always crying yourself and starting to look a bit like zombie, but that's just tough luck..

KateCroydon Mon 15-Jul-13 09:50:40

The 'if you are hurt by this it's because it makes you feel guilty about your choices' attitude is arse too. I guess some people skip merrily into cc, but a whole lot more try it in desperation because they can't cope. The first lot will never feel guilty, the second lot already do.

KateCroydon Mon 15-Jul-13 09:46:31

YANBU. Unkind, unimaginative, mawkish post,

I hope never to have to do cc, but sleep isn't some kind of luxury you can do without.

OTheHugeManatee Mon 15-Jul-13 09:41:26

PPS Here's a fairly balanced evaluation of the relationship between cortisol/stress in infancy research and controlled crying: link

MrButtercat Mon 15-Jul-13 09:33:33

Oh and a twins lot in life is to wait.You don't hear of thousands of screwed up sets of twins (or babies born into larger families) because they've had to wait 5 minutes.

I like the maj of 60s babies was left to cry down the bottom of the garden.Very close to my mum and ever grateful for the good routine of sleep,3 nutritious meals and early bedtime she instilled in me.

OTheHugeManatee Mon 15-Jul-13 09:33:07

The cortisol research is SO badly misquoted SO much of the time on this kind of thread. It's not that the facts that get quoted are inaccurate as such, but they are out of context and incomplete. It is true that elevated cortisol levels over extended periods in infancy has been linked with later mental health problems, but when this is quoted by 'gentle parenting' types there is never any definition of 1) what age in infancy (the neurobiology of babies changes rapidly and what may be appropriate at 3 months is different to what may be appropriate at 9 months) and 2) what constitutes 'extended exposure'.

For example, the HPA axis (the neurochemical stress response) doesn't settle into its adult circadian rhythm until 3-6 months old, producing more cortisol in the morning (to wake us up) and less at night (so we can sleep). From this we can deduce that trying to put a four-week-old baby into our circadian rhythm may be a waste of time, as its brain simply isn't wired for it yet. However from a neurochemical point of view a 1-year-old absolutely can be on the same rhythm as an adult. Talking in a vague, general way about 'babies' implies that a 1-year-old and 1-month-old have the same needs and neurochemistry, which is patent nonsense.

Equally, the 'extended exposure' concept has generally been studied in situations where there is severe neglect, for example parental substance abuse, violence or abandonment. There is plenty of evidence that this kind of exposure to stress causes long-term damage, and I see this on a regular basis in my clinical work. However there is also plenty of evidence that brief exposure to stress, in a context where recovery can be aided by a trusted, loving parent, is actually beneficial as it teaches resilience. So the recurring theme about 'cortisol rising to dangerous levels' misses a crucial nuance: cortisol is not inherently toxic or dangerous - in fact it's a crucial component in enabling us to respond to our environments. What is dangerous to a baby's development is being in an environment where misattunement is persistent, care is unreliable, frightened or frightening, or neglect is pervasive over the months and years.

Lots of people on this thread have described sleep training their babies. None of those descriptions sounds like pervasive neglect to me - brief exposure to stress, maybe, but not pervasive neglect. Briefly elevated cortisol levels (5 minutes a few times over a couple of days) will have a completely negligible effect on a baby's development. So we should all calm down a bit.

PS: I have no axe to grind in this, as I don't have DC yet and don't have very strong views on how I will/won't sleep train them when I do. But I have some knowledge of the research field and get a bit fed up with perfectly valid studies being quoted partially or out of context.

Mintyy Mon 15-Jul-13 09:32:36

Yes, that cringeworthy post made me laugh too but its not really funny. I'd just have to defriend someone who shared anything as mawkish as that on facebook.

MrButtercat Mon 15-Jul-13 09:30:42

Believe you me my dc were exposed to more cortisol pre cc than during it.

Pre they screamed constantly whatever I did.We were stressed and I was sobbing and dreaded every whimper.I ended up one night throwing pillows found the room in frustration.I was a zombie during the day and rarely smiled as too knackered.They must have inhaled cortisol 24/7 and smelled the stress.

3 days after.

Smiling,happy contented babies(twins) who rarely cried and smiling happy mummy who finally got to start enjoying being a mum.

There is no way I'd choose a stress filled sleep deprived environment to raise babies ever again.

TOSN that just about sums it up!!

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 15-Jul-13 09:26:05

Anyone who's ever been driving and not able to stop or turn round with a grouchy tired baby, when you actually can't pick them up, has seen that babies can sometimes squawk a bit before going off to sleep and no harm's done.

Likewise, anyone ever raced up the stairs on hearing an isolated cry, and then found a sleeping baby when they get there?

A baby who did a bit of skriking and then slept through is a bright-eyed bushy-tailed delight in the morning (well, relatively) - as are its parents. (and I love how the emotional manipulation in that post is targetted exclusively at 'Mommy'!). A baby who was picked up and walked around up and down, and never really got beyond a fitful doze all night, is a whingey misery in the morning - as are its parents.

I have to admit that when I read the quotation in the OP I pissed myself laughing, and I keep re-reading it to amuse myself. DD1 had trouble going to sleep, to the extent that DW and I ended up with symptoms similar to jetlag. That was when we were advised by Plunket NZ to try CC, which worked a treat. I think had DD1 been able to speak, it would have just as likely been this:

Going to sleep? Like buggery am I going to sleep. You stay right here. What? Goodnight? Fuck no. Where do you think you're going you stupid cow? WAah! WAaaah! (Next five minutes skipped). Good - there you are. Sniff. Meanie. I'm going to make you feel as guilty as hell for that ... what? You're going again? RIght - I'm going to throw my toys everywhere; that'll learn you. Bang! Smash! WAah! Waaah! (Next five minutes skipped) Waah! WAaah ..ummm zzzzzzzz.

maja00 Mon 15-Jul-13 08:46:31

Could you link to some more information on fabricated evidence Jux? What exactly was fabricated?

Attachment theory is still a pretty central way of understanding child development as far as I know.

Jux Mon 15-Jul-13 08:13:56

Bowlby's research is not reliable. He fabricated evidence.

pigletmania Sun 14-Jul-13 23:36:51

It is but you go up at intervals like maja said

pigletmania Sun 14-Jul-13 23:35:34

Sorry doh too much vino

cosydressinggown Sun 14-Jul-13 23:33:08

I did read your post, you said: controlled crying [is] not leaving babies to cry.

It is. You might not leave them to cry indefinitely but you do leave them to cry.

pigletmania Sun 14-Jul-13 23:32:56

Well I always left 5 mins give bby little milk and stick lullaby and go. Well that my version of it anyway, I would not like baby to cry fr longer imo

maja00 Sun 14-Jul-13 23:29:46

Controlled crying means leaving the baby to cry while the parent leaves the room and returns at intervals - for instance 5, 10, 20 minutes - with minimal eye contact and settling when the parent goes in.

pigletmania Sun 14-Jul-13 23:27:13

My post doh silly auto correct

pigletmania Sun 14-Jul-13 23:26:48

Read myosotis, I said BABIES from 7 months plus

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