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What do you say when your lovely friend tells you she's doing controlled crying on her 4 month old because she wakes to feed every 4 hours?

(105 Posts)
thatsnotmybelly Wed 19-Aug-09 13:36:53

This is NOT a judgy thread. I am genuinely interested in what you say when your friends make choices that really stick in your throat.

Do you speak your mind?
Polite smile?
Tight lipped smile?
Fake gushing so they'll never know you're secretly appalled?

My friend is lovely, and a great mum. She is doing controlled crying on her (very placid and 'easy') 4 month old because her paediatrician told her that it wasn't necessary for her to wake to feed every 4 hours overnight.

I did say I thought every 4 hours was pretty normal, in fact pretty good, but friend said that as the baby was now on solids in the evening she ought to be sleeping through.

I very mildly mentioned that I thought breastmilk had more calories, but to take it any further would definitely have left friend feeling got at and it is not my business to criticise my friend.

But, (and I realise that many people think otherwise) I really do think that letting a 4 month old cry for milk is awful. I think expecting a 4 month old to sleep through is completely unrealistic. I think 4 months is too young for solids. I think she should jolly well feed her baby and put up with feeling tired.

(I wish my 16 month old could be relied upon to sleep for 4 hours!)

But then I don't doubt that the little girl is utterly loved and looked after and happy.

Do you find it easy to do your own thing and let others do theirs?

Or is there a point at which you say what you think, and if so where is that point and how do you do it?

GooseyLoosey Wed 19-Aug-09 13:41:18

You say nothing at all - particularly if you want her to remain as a friend. I have one friend who over the years has made a number of what I regard as disasterous choices. She is aware that she parents in a completely different way to me and probably thinks what I do is wrong. Me telling her would make no difference. I would only ever say something if I thought that someone was endangering thier child.

CybilLiberty Wed 19-Aug-09 13:46:29

She is not being neglectful, just doing things differently to you. We have all had to keep shtum when another parent has done something shock to us.

My mate used to douse her babies liberally with talcum powder every time she changed them, something I never did.

And my SIL used to draw every curtain in the house at 7pm after putting her baby to bed, even though he was in his own room. We are all different,.

kathyis6incheshigh Wed 19-Aug-09 13:46:35

I don't think my friends do ever make choices that stick in my throat. Sometimes they do things I wouldn't have done but then I don't have their children. None of my friends neglect their children as far as I can see so I don't tend to think I know better than them about their own kids.

reikizen Wed 19-Aug-09 13:48:20

I don't really have a problem discussing different parenting styles with my friends but I am quite an honest person who finds it hard to keep my mouth shut! But I would only do it to someone I knew well, and could judge best how to talk about it. And not really with a view to changing their mind, simply to register a difference of opinion because it can be easy to think that what you are doing is the 'right' way or what is expected of you if it is your first. I have been happy to change what I've done after speaking with friends, although controlled crying on a 4 month old was never something I contemplated! I was of the opinion that feeding and cuddling babies is sort of a mum's job tbh.

HumphreyCobbler Wed 19-Aug-09 13:52:15

I wouldn't say anything, despite feeling the same way as you.

seeker Wed 19-Aug-09 13:55:45

This isn't the same as drawing curtains - it's n - this is genuinely n

MrsBadger Wed 19-Aug-09 13:57:53

I have had a few of these on various issues and my reaction depends on situation

sometimes I do the tightlipped smile and keep schtum, esp if the friend appears to be anxious to justify it to herself.

sometimes I see if they want a get-out clause (iyswim): eg if they are saying their book says You Must Do It This Way I might say (eg) 'oh, SIL lent me a book that had a bunch of different suggestions in it, would you like a look?'

sometimes I play dumb: 'Oh, I thought they were meant to stay in your room for 6m because of the FSIDS advice?'

sometimes I am self-deprecating: 'Well, I'm probably just a soft old hippy but I think they still need the cuddles at that age'

seeker Wed 19-Aug-09 13:58:01

Sorry - I changed my mind about posting because this is a hobby horse of mine. But what the hell. This isn't a matter of doing things differently - this is genuinely neglectful and wrong and potentially damaging and you must say something. Apart from anything else, the baby won't be getting enough food if he isn't fed when he wakes to be fed.

annieshaf Wed 19-Aug-09 14:07:50


That is scaremongering in the extreme. everyone has the right to make their own parenting choices without these kinds of accusations. In particular I think it is important to allow friends who you know well and who you know not to be abusive to make their own choices and we all have to learn that not everyone has the same approach to parenting.

abra1d Wed 19-Aug-09 14:15:13

Perhaps she wonders why your baby has reached 16 months and can't sleep through. ;)

Mine were strongly encouraged to sleep through by seven/eight months: using their own sleep patterns as a guide.

I knew I couldn't manage many more disturbed bnights. Nor could my husband. For some people sleep matters more than others. I was working and needed more time asleep.

Studies have proved that sleepless nights are very bad for women. Easy to say, catch up during the day when the baby's sleeping. But you can't if you're working.

seeker Wed 19-Aug-09 14:15:32

But nobody, not even the person who invented it says that controlled crying is all right for a 4 month old. People are of course entitled to make their own decisions, but if they are doing something wrong then it is other's responsibility to tell them.

Would you say that it was a parent's right to choose not to put a baby in a car seat in the car?

Umlellala Wed 19-Aug-09 14:18:46

What MrsBadger said, usually the self-deprecating 'I'm a bit of a hippy but I can't bear to hear them cry at that age and just cuddle them'. Often more sympathetic, 'ohhh, they haven't been out of you longer than they were in! Must be weird this whole new world...'.

Find it hard not to say anything if I feel it is really wrong tbh (and like Seeker, I do feel it is pretty harmful. Makes me quite sad truth be told.)

Umlellala Wed 19-Aug-09 14:21:04

Oh yes, that usually gets thrown in too - that my own kids wake for me still (actually ds has just started sleeping through) so what do I know? grin

abra1d Wed 19-Aug-09 14:25:14

Well, I didn't really use CC--except a modified version, for two nights, at eight months. I agree four months is too young.

What I did was consciously try and increase the periods during which the baby was asleep. Only ever fed wiht lights off. No chat. No eye contact. Same routine every night from about eight weeks or so.

My sleep mattered to me. My husband was in his mid-forties when our two were born and you can't do the disturbed nights and then commute (driving on a motorway) for an hour plus each way.

I have a friend, a mother of five, who did FF with a maternity nurse and had them all sleeping through within a month. hmm. It wasn't the way I would have done it.

Meglet Wed 19-Aug-09 14:25:28

As you said the little girl seemed well loved and looked after so she should be fine. However while my ds slept 12 hours at 3 months old (and didn't grizzle in the night) I wouldn't have denied him a feed if he seemed hungry.

seeker Wed 19-Aug-09 14:29:14

Wsking every 4 hours to be fed is NOT having sleepless nights. And anyway, sometimes we have to deal with the hand we're dealt. Babies do not, sadly, fit neatly into the life patterns we want them to.

And 4 months is NOT the same a 7-8 months.

Umlellala Wed 19-Aug-09 14:30:44

What Seeker said.

TrinityRhino Wed 19-Aug-09 14:30:58

I would have very real pronlems with this

it is wrong
even the guy who amde up this awful thing now says its not for under 12 months

messalina Wed 19-Aug-09 14:42:46

I did CC on a 7m old baby because I had to get a full night's sleep when I went back to work full-time (yes, I am a heartless, money-grabbing bitch) and she is a perfectly happy 11m old. In fact everyone comments on how happy and jolly she is. The CC worked and she has slept through the night ever since. I don't have a problem with parents who would not contemplate CC on their baby but I do have a problem with people who make judgemental and smug comments like "it's a mum's job to cuddle". They can fuck right off. As for the age of the baby, I really have no idea whether it is a good idea or not. I think a 4m old might still need to feed during the night but this friend of yours has been given the all-clear by medical experts so she is responsible enough to check. I actually have a friend who did CC on a six week old (not to get it to go through the night, but to go to sleep in the evening) and her daughter is perfectly happy. No doubt she will lob this back at her mother in her teenage years though.

annieshaf Wed 19-Aug-09 14:43:39

We may all have our own opinion on whether this is wrong or right. However it is completely different to an issue such as the use of a car seat were the law states what we have to do for good reason.

I am not aware of any instance were a baby has died through the use of any form of CC or derivative of it. There are many people on both sides of this argument who have good and bad experiences of both types of parenting and in reality I find very few are prescriptive about applying a 'method' but many people I know have made up their own rules as to how to encourage a baby to sleep for longer periods at night. The OPs friend has a right to make her own choices in this area and should go with what she feels comfortable with without having to fear the judgement of her friends.

GooseyLoosey Wed 19-Aug-09 14:44:03

Seeker - I did cc. Not sure I now think it was the right decision but at the time it seemed like the only decision for a whole truck load of reasons. I a "well meaning" friend had told me at the time that not only did they not agree with what I was doing but it was cruel, it would have been the last straw and utterly destroyed any fragile belief that I had that I was capable of parenting at all.

I completely understand why many of you think that it is wrong. I respect and even agree with your view. However, I do not think that this gives people carte blanche to criticise people who do it. The criticism would in many cases be far more damaging to both parent and child than the cc.

Mmm, have found that this is something of a hobby horse of mine too!

Umlellala Wed 19-Aug-09 14:46:06

True, it is not fatal.

Still makes me sad though.

messalina Wed 19-Aug-09 14:46:48

And in response to the cretin who compared CC to not using a car seat, get real. The woman has consulted a paediatrician. Not using a car seat is positively DANGEROUS. Can you IMAGINE fathers having this sort of debate? They would never accuse each other of neglect in the way that mothers on this thread have done.

TrinityRhino Wed 19-Aug-09 14:46:53

things dont need to be fatal to be a really awful thing to do

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