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Do some babies need to 'cry down'?

(50 Posts)
Cakehead Mon 20-Aug-07 15:11:41

Second baby here and LO is astonishingly different to my first. She's now 8 weeks old and always has a full-on cry before dropping off to sleep. Doens't matter if she's being held, in her bouncy chair or in her cot. You can see she's really tired and really fighting it, and she absolutely howls.

Is it cruel to let her cry it out? It normally takes 10 - 15 minutes. At night, I put her in her cot when I can see she's tired, and then make the room very dark. She starts crying; I pick her up every few minutes to comfort her and then put her down, after ten minutes (which feels like ten hours) she just conks out. I feel guilty that she has to cry before sleeping, but she'd be doing exactly the same thing if I was holding her. In fact, it seems to be worse if you're holding her - every little noise and movement sets her off and you can see her bottom lip trembling. Is this what's meant by 'crying down'. It's quite stressful if so...

Egypt Mon 20-Aug-07 15:17:07

oh i'd love to get some advice on this too. my dd is 20 wks and has always got to the crying stage when she's tired. i think it happens when i've let her get overtired actually, anyway, there is NOTHING i can do to calm her - feeding, holding, dummy, nothing, so i have no choice but to lay her down. i hate it, but after a while she is so tired she finally takes her dummy and goes to sleep. i wonder if i should just let her cry herself to sleep too. (dummy habit needing to be broken maybe!?) but i too feel so cruel.

i remember reading somewhere that it was healthy for them to cry; exercises the lungs, not painful to them, and we feel it's worse than it is. but.....come on.....not nice

Highlander Mon 20-Aug-07 15:18:30

it might be that, as the second baby, you don't have the time to 'wind her down' before sleep so that she's a bit wired when she's tired.

I personally feel it's abhorrent to leave a baby to cry for more than a couple fo minutes. 10 mins is a long time at that age.

Nemo2007 Mon 20-Aug-07 15:19:17

my dd2 seems to do this, she will just cry and cry even if you are holding her etc.

Highlander Mon 20-Aug-07 15:19:52

It is not not not healthy to let a baby cry! Jeez.......

LilianGish Mon 20-Aug-07 15:21:55

Ten minutes doeasn't sound very long to me - although I can appreciate it seems like an age when it's your own baby crying. In fact if she can get herself off to sleep in just ten minutes at 8 weeks I'd say you are doing pretty well. My advice would be to find something to do for that ten minutes to take your mind off it - my ds (baby number two) used to yell while I was bathing his sister. By the time I'd finished and settled her in her bedroom he would invariably be asleep. TBH I preferred that to the enormous amount of fussing I went through try to settle dd at the same age and I'm convinced that as a result I never had the same sleep disturbances with him - he has always been a brilliant sleeper. Good luck.

Cakehead Mon 20-Aug-07 15:26:15

Highlander, actually I do wind her down. I found this worked well with DD1 and do the same for her. But, she's much more prone to crying that my first ever was, particularly if she's tired.

And, I didn't say I let her cry - I pick her up and soothe her. She cries when she's being held as well. Even when she falls asleep in my arms, it's accompanied by a great deal of crying and fussing (I thought first post explained that, but perhaps you didn't quite read it). In fact, it's more prolonged if she's held.

Anchovy Mon 20-Aug-07 15:28:10

I'm interested in this. My Dd was exactly the same.

Highlander, I hear what you are saying, but my DD when she was between about 6 and 13 weeks every late afternoon she used to get crosser and crotchetier and crankier and bawl for about 10 mins and then literally just "cut out", sleep for about 30 mins and then have enough energy to face the rest of the afternoon, bath and bed. We used to rock her in the chair, and stroke her back but she hated being fussed about - picking her up only made it worse. My mother used to call it "crying down" as well.

BTW my DD is nearly 4, lively, articulate and very happy so it hasn't harmed her in any way whatsoever.

CatIsSleepy Mon 20-Aug-07 15:32:10

cakehead my dd was exactly the same...she cried to get to sleep, whether I was holding her or not...and as she got bigger, it was as you have have described-holding her seemed to make it worse because of not being able to stay completely still.
in the end (around 8-9weeks) I started just laying her down in her cot and she cried for a few minutes at first (5-10) but then seemed to sleep much better the rest of the evening ie no wakings from then on.
the amount she cried when being put to bed then decreased over the next few days to a minute or less...then at around 12-13 weeks she discovered her thumb and bedtimes were easy.

leaving a baby to cry may be abhorrent to some-
it's actually my feeling my dd got to sleep quicker and more easily on her own than when I was holding her and trying to get her to sleep. I was probably stressed and passing on my bad vibes to her!
Hope this helps.

LilianGish Mon 20-Aug-07 15:34:21

Sorry Highlander - I think kind of comment is so unhelpful. All babies cry fgs and you can't always dash to them straight away when it's your second (I'm sure that's why so many second babies are easier - because mum can't always jump to it and they learn to wait).

CatIsSleepy Mon 20-Aug-07 15:36:02

babies cry.

TheQueenOfQuotes Mon 20-Aug-07 15:37:09

I think there's a difference between leaving a baby howling and red in the face to cry, and leaving a "grumpy" crying baby for a little while to settle themselves.

I often have to leave DS3 (now nearly 13 weeks - eeek where's that time gone?) to cry for a bit. However, I can tell quite easily if it's a

"I'm absolutely shattered but I'm going to
fight this to the end"

sort of cry, from the

"OMG please don't leave me I'm hungry/lonely/bored/in paind" type of cries

Gipfeli Mon 20-Aug-07 15:37:25

Cakehead, ds (now three) was the same as you describe. Nothing I did made any difference to him - not holding him, walking, pushing in pram, singing, listening to music, patting, dummy, not even breast-feeding would stop him. In the end we resigned ourselves to the fact that we had to let him cry before he could sleep. And by "let" I mean that we had to mentally adjust ourselves to the fact that it was going to happen and that we could not stop it. We let him cry, we did not leave him to cry. Mostly I did what you describe and it did indeed seem that things were worse if I kept picking him up. Over time (and I forget when exactly this happened) it developed from a cry to a sort of mumbling and singing noise which he will still do sometimes when he's had a busy day.

Btw dd( 15 months) was completely different and will still fall asleep anywhere as soon as she is tired (sometimes mid-lunch in her highchair with a piece of bread in her hand!)

MegBusset Mon 20-Aug-07 15:38:13

Cakehead my LO went through a stage where before every other nap he would scream his head off -- up to 30 mins -- looking back I think he was overtired, it was while his nap body clock was starting to change to its current 3 naps a day stage so it was really hard for me to tell when he needed to sleep. I think it got easier as he naturally fell into a routine (not imposed by me) and also started to be able to recognise 'sleep cues' like dim lights, Grobag etc, so hopefully your DD will also calm down soon!

I do think there is a difference between what the OP is going through, and deliverately leaving a baby to cry it out. at crying 'exercising the lungs', though...

luckylady74 Mon 20-Aug-07 15:40:30

i think you've found what works for your dd and as for abhorrent to let a baby cry - well yes for hours, but i wish you'd been here with my baby twins and my then 2 yr old with special needs - i was talking to the vicar's wife who has 4 and we agreed that if you just accept there'll be some crying then you end up doing things a lot quicker and being able to tend to them in the end - without beating yourself up.
follow your instincts cakehead - and remember this is the hardest bit!

MegBusset Mon 20-Aug-07 15:41:04

Just want to clarify I did not leave my DS crying for 30 mins (I can't bear crying!), I was shushing and cuddling and rocking and whatever else you can think of!

franch Mon 20-Aug-07 15:42:51

Experienced the same thing with my DD2 - maybe it is a 2nd-child thing, for whatever reason. Don't think you are being cruel cakehead, you're doing your best

Cakehead Mon 20-Aug-07 15:45:10

Sometimes it's just funny how sensitive she is to noise and movement, especially when she's tired. She'll be yelling while I hold her, wear herself out, and I shift a little bit in my chair, or a I stifle a sneeze, and the bottom lip goes and then we get a full-blown howl of protest. She is adorable with it, though! So actually, for me, putting her in the dark where it's calm and quiet seems to work. And she then goes into a really settled, deep sleep (which I hope isn't brought about by exhaustion).

Blandmum Mon 20-Aug-07 15:46:43

my dd used to sort of grizzle herself to sleep. Not your full on , but a sort of general whingy cry. at first I jumped to comfort at every squark, but in the end realised that I wasn't actually helping things. Once I left her alone a minutes or so whinge would be all that she needed before dropping off

stealthsquiggle Mon 20-Aug-07 15:46:55

If it works then it works... DS was never left to cry as he would just work himself up into more and more of a state. DD regularly howls for a couple of minutes (max 10 - more than that and I go and get her) and then falls asleep. After a hard night (teeth ) last night I put her back to bed at 5:30am and decided go back to bed myself and give her 5 mins before I went and got her. She didn't make it to 1 min before she went to sleep - but if I had stayed there she would have still been going 10mins later, I am sure. Apparently when put down for a nap at nursery she will spend a good 20mins chatting at the other babies before she realises she has lost her audience and gives up and goes to sleep

Egypt Mon 20-Aug-07 15:49:12

there is also nothing i can do with my dd when she gets like this, like i said. i don't leave her to cry although holding her to try and stop only prolongs it.

franch Mon 20-Aug-07 15:49:46

Sounds like you're following your instinct and doing what's best for her. I bet she'll turn out to be a great sleeper.

ProfYaffle Mon 20-Aug-07 15:54:23

dd2 has been like this too although at 26 weeks now she has grown out of it. I found holding/walking/rocking/pacing seemed to wind her up and leaving her to settle by herself she got to sleep much quicker. She now drops off with no screaming, just twittering to herself.

Egypt Mon 20-Aug-07 15:56:22

just tell me - do ANY of you use a dummy? i'm guessing not if they are crying/chattering themselves to sleep.........time to give up?

TheQueenOfQuotes Mon 20-Aug-07 15:57:16

Egypt - none of my DS's would ever take one (well DS2 we didn't even try as he was a dream with his sleeping). Just kept spitting them out and getting more frustrated.

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