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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).

pinkyponk67 Thu 17-Jan-13 14:47:38

I think a lot of people mistakenly think "controlled crying" just means leaving the baby to cry themself to sleep without going in at all (aka crying it out).

With DD, all she wanted was to come in the bed with me. No amount of shush patting, gradual withdrawal made any difference. She would just stand up in her cot and scream if anyone was in the room with her.

We were at our wits end. CC (the Ferber type version) was the only approach that worked and even that took a long time. She sleeps okish now (at nearly 2). Had two previous DC that were much better sleepers.

brainonastick Thu 17-Jan-13 14:47:50

I forgot to say, we did the CC at 11 months for one, and I think well over a year for the other. I wouldn't use it on young babies either. I also used it as a last resort - they screamed if I left them, and screamed if I didn't!

goldiehorn Thu 17-Jan-13 14:57:31

I sometimes worry about the stress levels for the first few days of DS's life as he cried a lot, basically because we were absolutely clueless about what to do with a new baby.

My MIL was telling me not to go to him every time he cried as he was 'testing' me (WTF hmm ) and the 'breastfeeding is so wonderful' NCT workshop I attended had neglected to tell me that yes, he may want to feed all the time to start with. So we thought that he couldnt possible be hungry again, and just didnt know what to do with him, when all he wanted was feeding!

I feel absolutely bloody terrible about his first few days now, although I know that he is a very happy boy who knows his parents love him very much, I really wish I could rewind that little bit of time and do it properly!

KerryKetosis Thu 17-Jan-13 15:30:37

Goldie, please don't beat yourself up about having a newborn that cried and not knowing what to do about it. It is the nature of having your first baby and gazillions of us have been in exactly the same situation.

Anyone who suggests that babies shouldn't cry at all because it causes x, y and z are on another planet.

Most of us just plod along trying to do our best.

TeWiSavesTheDay Thu 17-Jan-13 16:06:58

Please don't worry about that! I think 99% of parents don't have a clue how much newborns will want to feed. I didn't!

VisualiseAHorse Thu 17-Jan-13 16:14:20

Goldie - please don't worry about it, we all make a few mistakes in those first weeks!!

I'll never understand anyone who leaves a newborn to cry because they 'need to learn'. WTF.

LadyIsabellaWrotham Thu 17-Jan-13 16:28:22

I think there's a huge difference in older babies between "I'm distressed, my mother has abandoned me and I'm scared" crying and "I'm pissed off because I want to play some more and bed is boring, how dare you tell me it's time for bed!" crying. If they're not old enough for you to tell the difference then they're not old enough for any form of controlled crying.

But I agree with you that there's a lot of confusion on both sides - parents who say "oh, we're using CC for sleep training - we just walk away and put earplugs in" and parents who say "I can't understand people who do CC - how can they bear to ignore a baby screaming for hours on end"

SaraBellumHertz Thu 17-Jan-13 16:35:00

I fed DCs to sleep and fed them in the event the woke. No crying or being left.

As they got older they were more awake as they were placed in their cot to point where they went in awake and settled themselves.

thebody Thu 17-Jan-13 16:40:00

Hi op, I did cc on 3 of my 4 children.

No 2 was a dream and settled himself to sleep through at 9 weeks.

I claim no parenting skills for this as he was treated exactly the same as the others, exclusively bf and constantly cuddled so there you have it.

They are what they are and at 21 he's still the quietest and calmest of us all.

With ds1 I did cc when he was 13 months as if I hadn't I was afraid I would have harmed myself. I dreamed of developing appendicitis just to get a sleep.

Dr greens 'toddler taming' saved my sanity and I think almost my life.

It works by being determined and focused. You have to be focused on carrying on until it works, if you arnt 100% behind the process then you crack and it won't work.

It's not in the least cruel it's life saving, in some cases I think it could prevent child abuse, depression and illness as chronic lack of sleep is defined as torture.

I wouldn't expect it to work on a baby under 8 months though.

thebody Thu 17-Jan-13 16:42:06

To add it took 3 days with ds1, 2 weeks with dd2 and 5 days with dd4.

I know I don't need to describe the incredible paradise of a full nights sleep.

Grapesoda Thu 17-Jan-13 16:52:25

Hi. Sorry for being tardy. Just got back from the park.
The no cry solution thing involves a child centred approach and a range of techniques to promote " good sleep". She describes gradual changes for different issues. For example if your toddler is used t falling asleep only in your arms then she suggests lying next to him with your arm round him for,so many nights, then lying down without the arm round, then lying close by, sitting close by etc. all the time being led by your baby. She also talks about daytime activity, bedtime routine and so forth. It's quite a useful book IMHO largely because she explains that so many parents struggle with night times with their children and that it's actually quite normal. The biggest message for me was that although ppl might tell you that if you do x, y, z then your baby will sleep through when you want the, to, this is actually not the case. We're all different, babies are all different.we still have wakeful nights with our 2 yr old. But I found the stuff about weaning off night fee when he was about 12 months really helpful.
We're all just muddling through aren't we? smile

Grapesoda Thu 17-Jan-13 16:53:09

"fee" = "feeds" doh!

AndABigBirdInaPearTree Thu 17-Jan-13 16:53:53

We did it with #1 because he wanted to be in his own toddler bed (not ours) but wanted us to be face touching face when he went to sleep which took a very long time, he was very squirmy and it hurt my back. So after bath, story and a cuddle we slowly transitioned from holding hands in bed, holding hands while I sat on the floor next to the bed, to not holding hands but being there to pat to slowly further and further away until we were sat in the doorway reading a book. He wasn't exactly happy about any of it, but not really unhappy and certainly very little crying. I answered every time he called for me and told him the same thing, I was there, I loved him and it was sleepy time. I came if he called me over but would go back to where I was. Within a month he was going to sleep on his own with us in the next room. That month seemed to last FOREVER though and was very awkward when I was sitting on the floor with my hand in his and my arm killing me!

DS#2 co slept with us and then with DS#1 and then into a bed.

AndABigBirdInaPearTree Thu 17-Jan-13 16:56:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BertieBotts Thu 17-Jan-13 17:10:30

I definitely agree there are different kinds of crying, although I still (personally) think you shouldn't be leaving them to cry until they are much older and they can understand why they are being left.

Also the thing about going at the first grizzle/movement vs leaving them to see if they will go back to sleep, again I did this when DS was an older baby but when he was little I knew from experience it was better to go in straight away, before the crying, as he'd just go straight back to sleep then whereas if I let him get to the point of crying he'd be properly awake and I'd have to calm him down and THEN get him back to sleep which took far longer.

SirBoobAlot Thu 17-Jan-13 17:25:13

A baby crying is a baby that need something. This might be something specific, or the reassurance that they are loved, and that someone is there for them when they need it.

If you 'need' to get you child to sleep, then there are much kinder alternatives. But we also as a society have very unrealistic expectations of what children 'should' do by X age. It is completely acceptable for a child to still not be sleeping through the night by two years old. However, you get it rammed in your face all the time that sleeping through the night is a Big Thing to aim for, and somehow an achievement as a parent. I disagree with the notion of 'good' and 'bad' babies anyway, but it makes me angry when you hear ''Oh Y is so good he's already sleeping through''. Why? How is that an achievement?

When you take on being a parent, you take on accepting that you are not going to get a full nights sleep for years, and that even after that, you will be up in the middle of the night with a poorly child / sorting out things for the school play / preparing for a party.

Controlled crying and cry it out are both cruel, and there are numerous studies to show they are both ineffective long term towards sleep, and damaging to emotional development.

Iggly Thu 17-Jan-13 17:28:31

Depends on age. When younger I see to them quite quickly once they cried because I knew they wouldn't resettle - you can tell.

When they get older, mine grumbled more so I'd leave them until they were crying.

As for self settling, I would leave them after a feed and see if they'd settle. Sometimes they did and that was how we gradually got them there. I figured that no fully grown adult needs to be rocked to sleep by their parents so I didn't need to do CC.

I have two terrible sleepers BTW. I'm sure some will think its because I didn't do CC but it's actually because they have/had silent reflux and food intolerances so cannot sleep well out of discomfort. CC would make things worse so I have to take the longer approach .

PolkadotCircus Thu 17-Jan-13 17:38:34

There are numerous studies which show how damaging lack of sleep is for young children.Lack of sleep is also not good for mothers.Sorry I don't buy the when you become a mother you sign up to sleep exhaustion line,it's tosh.Many mothers have other children or a job to deal with and they needa decent night of sleep as do their babies and toddlers.Miserable ,exhausted mummies and babies aren't good for anybody.

Mothers know instinctively what is best for their children and IMHO they tailor controlled crying or whatever the trendy name is to what suits their baby as believe it or not the vast majority of mothers love their babies above all else and want the best for them.

With me it was simply gently training my 3 into a routine. They always had all their needs met and it worked in a couple of days.Pre cc I had cranky miserable babies and mummy,after cc I had happy,contended babies and mummy-no brainier IMHO.

BertieBotts Thu 17-Jan-13 17:42:00

I don't think that sleep training is the only way to get sleep, though.

PolkadotCircus Thu 17-Jan-13 17:46:49

Who knows,all I know is no other method would have worked for my 3 eg we all loath co sleeping.Mine thrived with cc.

chandellina Thu 17-Jan-13 17:56:54

Cry it out worked a charm for me. I don't see anything cruel about it as a quick fix. Not for tiny babies, but once they're closer to one year and well fed in the day.

thebody Thu 17-Jan-13 17:57:22

Agree polkadot totally..

Sir boob its extremely crassof you to call a method that has clearly worked for many people as cruel. By default you are calling parents who do this as cruel.

If its not for you then fine but hook down your judgy pants please.

My kids range from 23 to 12 and all all happy and fine. They weren't damaged by 'cruel' parenting methods. Chill...

choceyes Thu 17-Jan-13 17:58:54

Yes we go to them as soon as we hear a cry and pick them up and soothe them. DH in particular can't bear to leave them crying even for a few seconds.

PolkadotCircus Thu 17-Jan-13 18:00:48

Exactly the body,I have views re co-sleeping however if it truly works for some all power to them,it's not a one size fits all.As I recall mothers and babies differ in personality,body and mind.

LadyIsabellaWrotham Thu 17-Jan-13 18:02:01

Older babies cry for all sorts of things, Boobalot; inappropriate toys, another banana when they've just had the last one, their book back so they can play the brilliant "throw it out the buggy" game for the seventeenth time, escape from their car-seat, or simply because they're knackered. These do not all represent needs - that way leads trying to glue broken biscuits back together.

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