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in refusing DP's request to let our baby 'cry it out'?

99 replies

baldybaby · 02/10/2007 12:15

Firstly, I'm not posting this because I'm canvassing for support. I'd really like to get objective views on this because it's causing a big problem between us and I don't know how we're going to resolve it.

Here's the deal. We have a gorgeous 10 week old baby boy who has lots of trouble with wind and colic. He doesn't sleep well at all (ie he can't fall asleep without some help from us, either feeding or motion usually). He's also a very light sleeper. These things mean that it's very easy for him to become hugely overtired by the evening, which results in screaming. My technique when this happens has been to go to bed with him where it's dark and quiet and feed him to sleep, which may take some time but eventually works. He is very slowly getting better.

DP feels that we would be better leaving him to cry. He thinks that handling him, albeit to comfort and feed him, is just adding to the stimulation and making things worse. He suggests putting him in the cot in the dark and letting him cry himself to sleep. He wouldn't advocate leaving him to cry in other situations, but thinks in this casewe should try it.

I am against this for two reasons. Firstly, I can't bear to leave him crying by himself - it instinctively feels wrong, he's too little and it doesn't, to my mind, teach him anything. Secondly, I don't think he's the sort of baby who would 'cry down', because when I've had to leave him before (eg to give myself a chance to calm down if he's stressing me out) his crying just escalates and becomes hysterical.

I have told my OH that I cannot do what he's asking me to do because to me it's fundamentally wrong. He feels upset because he thinks I'm not considering his views or giving his ideas a chance and he also points out that my techniques aren't working anyway as our baby still won't sleep by himself. My feeling when it comes to our life together is if either of us feels strongly that something is the wrong thing then neither of us should do it, but he is sure that it could help our baby.

I'd really appreciate opinions and experiences of how others have dealt with similar impasses. I also want to be as fair as possible and get some dads' opinions too, so if anyone could suggest a good dad forum that would be really good.

OP posts:

cornsilk · 02/10/2007 12:19

Get your OH on here.


MaeWest · 02/10/2007 12:19

There are dads here too... And your baby still is really young.


baldybaby · 02/10/2007 12:21

cornsilk - I think he'd be extra-offended if he thought I held the views of a bunch of ... what was it ... "wine-fuelled harridans" or something? ... in greater esteem than his!

OP posts:

cornsilk · 02/10/2007 12:22

So he's been on already?


LadyOfTheFlowers · 02/10/2007 12:22

As far as I am concerned, leaving a child to cry itself to sleep at that age is wrong in any situation, except when you are taking a few minutes to wind down.

Colic is a very stressful time for both baby and parents.
Ds1 had terrible colic and I swore I would not have another child, but I did, luckily he didnt suffer!

With ds1s colic, I did whatever I had to do to try and comfort my baby and did let him cry alone at all. I did try on a couple of occaisions but it broke my heart and made me feel worse.
I do not have any problems with him sleeping or going to sleep on his own now.

It is very difficult and everyone does what they are happy with, but I am sure I will not be the only one to say leaving the child to cry is wrong.
By the time I have typed this you will probably have loads of posts anyway! lol


baldybaby · 02/10/2007 12:23

lol nope but we've all heard the stories

OP posts:

marge2 · 02/10/2007 12:23

I think 10 weeks is far too young to do the 'screaming' thing. At this age they can't get themselves into a comfy position for themselves. With wind and colic can you imagine how awful that must be?? They do say colic stops miraculously at 3 months and all my friemnds with colicky babies have said the same.

I did do the 'screaming it out' thing eventually with both my boys and it did work, but not til they were over a year old and had no excuses such as colic or needing feed in the night any more.

I even asked my HV about it and she said that it does work but the latest 'wisdom' is not to do it before 6 months!

IMO you should carry on as you are for the moment - he is still very tiny and getting used to the big wide world. Babies change SO much so quickly at this age. You may find that after the colic has gone he will be a dofferent boy. After a few more months and he is still a problem then give it a go but only when all other excuses to cry are ruled out - i.e hungry, wet, wind, hot, cold, not tired etc!



margoandjerry · 02/10/2007 12:25

Tricky one. I do have some sympathy with his pov although I didn't do it myself (rarely had to as I was lucky enough to have a good sleeper).

From what I understand, 10 weeks is a little young for crying it out but perhaps you could retrace your steps and look again at why he won't self settle. Self-settling was the key for me (but then, as I say, I had a sleeper - prem so she was always quite sleepy anyway).

Could you compromise by looking again at that and trying to find ways you agree on?

Or think about a sleep adviser person. My cousin had one when she was going through a very rough time with her baby and seriously ill husband (so special circs). She found it invaluable and a skilled one could keep you both happy.


HonoriaGlossop · 02/10/2007 12:25

I think your DP is expecting too much of your baby. He's only ten weeks; that's so tiny, and for many babies that's just too early for them to be able to settle alone.

What you're going through isn't unusual, and it isn't something that I think can be 'cured' by leaving him to cry; I think you need to explain to your DP that this IS what having a baby IS!

I know it's hard and exhausting; but this is still the very early weeks. Your baby is crying for food, or for comfort, neither of which can be given if he's left alone to cry. You just need to give him what he needs, which is contact with his parents!

What worked for us was giving ds naps at regular intervals, even if he didn't seem tired; this kept him feeding at fairly regular intervals too; and we had a little bedtime routine of bath, bottle and bed by 7pm - of course in the early days sometimes he wasn't anywhere near asleep at 7, but it gave us a loose structure to work to, and soon enough ds was more or less slotting into a routine which did help him get less over-tired.

Many, many babies are way more settled by 12 weeks or so.


InMyHumbleOpinion · 02/10/2007 12:26

when I used to his an impasse with the ex, I just used to do what I wanted anyway. You can'#t leave a baby to cry if the other parent is still holding it . Men don't seem to understand the physical PAIN mothers feel when they feel their baby is unnecessarily distressed.

Leaving a child to cry before the age of 6 months has been linked to mental helth problems in the resultant adult. 10 weeks is far too young. He won't even be aware of object permenence yet, which is the only way you can 'teach' a baby by leaving him/her to cry. This awareness won't come for 3 or 4 months yet. All it would achieve is letting him exhaust himself by screaming himself to sleep. He would eventually learn that nobody comes when he cries. Is that a lesson you want to teach?

If he felt something was wrong, so wrong that the idea made him feel sick, then would he not expect that his views on that were respected? he should extend to you the same courtesy.


foxybrown · 02/10/2007 12:27

Marge2 has just said everything I wanted to say.

Only to add, do you have a swing? As you say motion helps and they do free you up and give you a break so you can eat or put a wash on. I have one 4th hand and it does help - ask around, its the sort of thing people pass on.

Perhaps you could suggest a compromise to DH, give LO until, say, 14 weeks and see if things are any better? Good luck


LadyOfTheFlowers · 02/10/2007 12:28

Sounds a bit rough but this works:

swaddle baby tightly as you can manage (it wont hurt baby)

sit on edge of sofa and lie baby along your knees on their side with their head hanging over your knees (you loosely hold the head in your cupped hands, supporting the neck)

sway your legs from side to side quite quickly, allowing baby's head to rock in your hands.

give baby a dummy if you wish.

lean over baby and 'sshhhhhh' quite loudly.

if you get it right, and you may not do the first time, it is a miracle cure! you get some peace and baby goes to sleep or lies there quietly as you rock.
provided you have swaddled them tight enough, you can then move them to their basket or whatever without the knowing!


TheQueenOfQuotes · 02/10/2007 12:28

tricky one - I don't agree with letting a young baby (under 6 months) cry to get them to sleep. BUT sometimes DS3 (who's nearly 19 weeks) has to be left to scream for a few minutes before he goes to sleep - if I hold him or try and comfort him he'll get even more frustrated. I never let him "cry it out" - ie it's never more than 5 or 6 minutes, and if it (the crying) continues after that then of course I'll go back and comfort him and start the process over again.

I hated doing it the first week or so - but I now know that he needs to vent his frustrations and stress out before going to sleep sometimes (sometimes I'll put him down now and I'll leave him........3/4hr later I'll realise it's awfully quiet still and I'll go back and he's sound asleep ).

At the end of the day though you have to do what you feel is right, if you're dead set against it there are plenty of websites out there which explain the reason that they're "against" crying it out (can't find any off hand) so you could find those and show them to him.


WinkyWinkola · 02/10/2007 12:31

Cry what out? His pain? His needing a cuddle? His hunger?

This crying it out business is just daft.

How about sitting with him lying in the cot, you or DH rubbing his back or tum? Could take a while to settle but perhaps it'll help.

It's very very very trying, tiring and upsetting sometimes, this new baby business.

Wish you luck!


NotADragonOfSoup · 02/10/2007 12:32

DD wasn't a "cry down" kind of baby. She just screamed more and more and louder until I had to go to her, to find her red faced, red eyed, sobbing and snotty (and, on one occasion, under the bed because she'd lunged out of the cot onto my bed and then rolled off the bed, but that's another story...)


baldybaby · 02/10/2007 12:32

The main time he's suggesting leaving him to cry is when he's doing the inconsolable overtired screaming. Cuddles don't seem to help but I feel it's important that he at least knows somone's there for him. And yes, it is painful isn't it? He says that leaving him to cry would 'give me a break' but I can't find a way of explaining that letting him cry is just impossible for me.

I had thought about saying 'give me 3 weeks then we'll try it' or something, but it would be awful if he still wanted to let him cry after the time was up, I don't think I could do it.

OP posts:

3andnomore · 02/10/2007 12:34 you say, to you it's feels instinctively wrong, and that si because you are the mum and because that is how mother natrure intents it to's the Baby's safety mechanism, afterall....
your oh will not be able to understand this, because he doesn't have the same hormonal surges, etc..!
Also, if you leave a Baby that is colicky to cry, it will get worse, not better, as that will produce an even more windy and upset Baby.
A new Baby is impacting so much on the new parents lifes, and it cna be difficult, but in the end, he would not win if he would have to listen to your lil lad crying as well as having you bawling your eyes out,and possibly rejecting him (oh now)...


baldybaby · 02/10/2007 12:37

Thanks for your views. I've just realised that there's a 'men's room' on here - is cross-posting ok or frowned upon?

OP posts:

TheQueenOfQuotes · 02/10/2007 12:40

I know with DS3 (DS1 was a different kettle of fish I couldn't let him cry as he would never have settled on his own, and DS2 just slept on his own from day 1) that when he was/is inconsolably tired it can take 20-30 minutes of him screaming in my arms to drop off to sleep...versus 5 or 6 minutes (usually less) if I put him down and leave him to get on with it for a few minutes.

"Cry what out? His pain? His needing a cuddle? His hunger? "

if a cuddle isn't working, he's not hungry and you're 99.99% certain (don't think you can ever be 100% certain with babies) that they're not in pain, and you've done the nappy change, made sure they're not too hot or cold - sometimes all it is (IME) is that some babies just need to 'destress' with a few minutes of crying. Don't forget they are human - do you never feel stressed out and just need to vent?? - or even need a few minutes to yourself to calm down? I believe that some babies (not all, like I said DS1 and DS2 were different) need that few minutes some of the time.


chloesmumtoo · 02/10/2007 12:44

oh this is a tricky one. I had ds who was a right pain in the bum. Would fall asleep whilst I fed him and therefore never learnt to get to settle himself. He also had colic. It took until he was over two years old to get him sorted out and to be honest was a total nightmare. Dont get me wrong I did try to leave him cry later on but it was to late and the damage was done,it didnt work. With dd, there was no way I was going to fall into that trap again of not learning her to settle/sleep herself and so at my choice she would go into her pram for a nap during the day and at night when I wanted. She was a real good baby but of course its easy to believe it was because of my different parenting methods but not sure. I like to think so as being the second baby you tend to do things differently as you have another child to deal with. I understand you not wanting to leave ds cry aswell and with his colic, he is very young. I can only say a happy medium is your best bet. Make sure he gets to be put down when you want at times, dont always go running in to soon and dont do the motion thing for sure. My ds I remember rocking in my arms and god there comes a time when they are just to dam heavy and then your stuck. It does not help them to fall asleep alone, which is what you want them to do. I think perhaps he is not learning him to settle himself and you mention him being a light sleeper. Can you get him used to more noise. Tv on when he needs a nap ect. Its all better in the long run. I think I air slightly more on your partners side in thinking you may be making a rod for your own back but I dont agree on leaving him cry to long either. I dont know if this helps much. Goodluck


BeenleighOfTheDead · 02/10/2007 12:46

He's so small, it gets so much better. I don't think I even bothered trying to put mine down before we went to bed at that age. With DD2 we rocked her in a moses basket, OH sometimes did it over 300 x before she would nod off, then within 5 minutes of him stopping, we'd need to start again. It's just a stage.
She's now 8 months old and goes to sleep beautifully. She is a happy and confident baby and knows that if she cries, someone will try to meet her needs. If she does wake in the night, then I don;t go to her immediately as she often settles herself. That said, when they hit six months, I have let them cry for a little longer (5 mins, then 10 mins) and that has really helped the sleep, but before that time there's no point. Just follow your heatr, and tell you OH to beggar off


InMyHumbleOpinion · 02/10/2007 12:50

Baldybaby, nobody will notice if you cross post, much less care.


margoandjerry · 02/10/2007 12:54

But I think it would be helpful to the OP to try to understand the rationale behind her partner's suggestions too. She sees there's some rationale behind it although doesn't want to do it and doesn't think she can do it.

He's not deliberately advocating cruelty. He's just pointing out that the approach at the moment isn't working.

As you've all pointed out, many babies sort themselves out by 12-14 weeks. Especially where colic is concerned. But in the mean time, he's trying to find ways to help the baby self soothe. OK, maybe this is not the right answer, in fact it seems not to be, but he's only trying to find a way to help the baby to settle as well.


Bundle · 02/10/2007 12:54

cry what out?



margoandjerry · 02/10/2007 12:56

oops, recent posts seemed to cover this.

Just trying to say there are two views on this...

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