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grace4cyn in mamas_milk

Crying It Out

I feel the need to address this form of sleep training. I would be putting it mildly if I said I disapproved of this method. Over the last few years it has become apparent to me that this method is not only very popular, but people misjudge its "effectiveness" by only looking at the product. Just because something yields a desired effect, does it make it morally right to do? In what way is leaving your child to cry it out an example of Christ's love and attitude to us? How can you on one hand teach your child that they can trust you no matter what, and in the next breath say,"I'm too tired to get up anymore, my child must learn to self soothe!"? I have a problem folks. I feel like this is detestable and I am truly afraid of the effects this parenting technique will have on our children on into their adult life. But to start from the beginning lets give a definition of what it means to "cry it out."

To "cry it out" is to allow your baby or child to cry themselves to sleep in an effort for them to learn to self soothe. It is still considered crying it out if you are progressively leaving your child for longer periods of time, but going in to pat their back as is dictated in the Ferber method. Now that we are on the same page, lets continue. I want to start with the first question I have here:

Is it morally right to allow your child to cry themselves to sleep, even if it yields the desired effect of a sleeping child?

I am basing my beliefs of what is morally right on God's teachings so there will be no confusion about this. While the bible does not clearly state not to do this practice, as many things parenting related, there is not a single verse that will spell out exactly how to parent because there is room for variety in all of our homes based on our personalities and circumstances. Typically what works for one family will not necessarily work for another one. However, the idea of crying it out is very sad to me because of its complete lack of love. Some people will argue that letting your child learn to self soothe in this manner is loving them more in the long run by providing them with a tool that is valuable for them for life. I disagree. I think it is another one of those things that look and smell real good, but just aren't good at all. When your baby calls for you, your baby is not trying to manipulate you. Babies are incapable of manipulation. Thats right folks...I know this is revolutionary for some of you guys, but its true. Babies lack the MENTAL DEVELOPMENT upstairs to understand manipulation and spoiling!! When they cry, it is INDEED for a reason. Whether it be hunger, thirst, loneliness, cold, hot, bored...you get the picture...to a baby it is all the same. ANd to a baby, since they only have one voice, they cry out to you in hopes you will answer. ANd if you have been answerig swiftly and regularly you have taught your little one a valuable lesson. My parents love me and I can trust them to answer my cry. Or on a much deeper level...My God loves me, He will answer my cry. It is in these early months and years that we can teach our children the nature of God. God is there for us no matter what. He will never leave us nor forsake us. If we are to be the example of Christ to our children, then we have the obligation to teach them His nature. SO, just because letting your child cry themselves to sleep for several nights in a row for any length of time will end up with a child who goes to sleep on their own, doesn't mean it was the right thing to do. Think, please think of the larger picture and the bigger lesson you are actually teaching.

In what way is leaving your child to cry it out an example of Christ's love and attitude to us?

I think I made this very clear in my answer to the above question. It is not the way to show your child Christ's love and nature to let them cry themselves to sleep. Love your little one, nurture them, teach them about His mercy....do not take away that fundamental building block of learning who their Creator is because you think your child needs this unnecessary lesson in life. People, how many 20 year olds do you know that need to nurse/rock/be laid next to to get to sleep?

How can you on one hand teach your child that they can trust you no matter what, and in the next breath say,"I'm too tired to get up anymore, my child must learn to self soothe!"?

We all know parenting is not only a day job. It is a 24/7 365 day a year commitment. It doesn't stop just because we are tired. It doesn't stop just because we want to put our feet up. It is a commitment! Your child is depending on you to be there. Your child does not know that you are tired, and frankly doesn't care. Your baby is just that: a baby. Allow yourself the pleasure of not only daytime parenting, but nighttime parenting too. Take that time to spend with God. While you sit rocking your little one to sleep, choose that time to sit in His presence. Reflect on God's goodness, His everlasting love, on His face. It is a wonderful quiet time us mothers and fathers have the hardest time finding. Use this time to your greatest advantage!! And pat yourself on the back because you have invested time into your young one that can never be replaced.

Now, I know for everyone there are exceptions. And certainly, if you are nearing your wits end, and feel you want to hurt your baby, then please leave the room, let the baby alone in his/her crib and go collect yourself. Single moms, I feel your pain. My husband is in the military and has missed much of our children's life due to deployments. I know how it is when you are exhausted and trying to parent them and have no energy. God can give us strength and family and friends want to help out too. Let them! And if you really feel you are going to scream if you do not get a break, there are actually ways to teach your child to sleep on their own that do not involve them screaming their little heads off in hurt and fear.

If I can leave you all with anything, its this...something Martha Sears says,"Get behind the eyes of your baby." Imagine what it would feel like to need something so desperately and no one will listen or even seem to care. Your child has feelings to, and jsut because they are small, does that make them any less important?

Please believe me everyone, I cast no judgment on mothers who have used this method. I myself with my first felt compelled to use it. I was so afraid I would be doing my child a disservice if I didn't teach them this...I ignored the God-given mother's instinct and instead followed my own desires, all the while destroying the bond I tried to create with my son.

Don't listen to the world...listen to your inner man. Listen to the instinct God has given you. Don't deny your baby's call for help.


2.5 yrs and newborn, tandem nursing Lily ans Susannah

September 2010

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