Thursday, 16 March 2017

Should I give in and try controlled crying?... I think I've found my answer...


Should I give in and try controlled crying? I think I've found my answer


This isn't the first time I have sat down and asked myself this question. Usually, after a particularly tiring night I might whisper the words in the back of mind - but then just as quickly I seem to push them away with even louder thoughts of "never, never, never..."


You see, the 'cry it out' method, or 'controlled crying' is not something that has ever crossed my mind based on my own intuition. I have never once heard my son cry out in the night and instinctively thought to myself - " I know what will help - I need to just leave him". My instincts as a Mother have always told me to go to him. I'm pretty sure that if it were not for the prevalence of certain sleep training methods in Western culture and the thoughts and opinions of some friends and family, I would probably have never asked myself the question at all: Should I give in and try controlled crying?

I'm not judging those who do. I firmly believe that every single child is different and what is right for one child is completely wrong for another. Some children need the space to settle. Others feel so anxious alone that they can't settle at all. This is where I believe that knowledge of your own child and trusting your own parental instincts comes into play. surely you should KNOW what is right for YOUR child.....Right???

But what if I'm not right. What if my confidence in my own ability to know what is best for my child is actually preventing me from taking 'good' advice which I have just automatically labelled 'the worst advice'?


Rocking a baby in our arms

I tend to gravitate towards those 'bigger voices' on social media such as Sarah Ockwell-smith from The Gentle Sleep Book, and The Milk Meg, whose Facebook posts and inspirational advice have literally kept me going through the most difficult and sleep deprived of days....Does my stubbornness in sticking to my own firm beliefs on the matter mean that I allow their voices to drown out any opposing views? Such big questions, and not enough sleep fueled, rational hours of thought to ponder them properly.  


Co sleeping


Apart from the immediate consequences and repercussions of any decisions relating to this issue, there is one massive thing that always sticks in my mind: The question of the affects of sleep training later on in life. The way the brain will ultimately develop differently based on the outcome of the 'call and response' scenario we are faced with when we choose whether to leave them, or go to them. 
 You see, I'm in this for the long game. So far in this parenting journey I have been prepared to forgo my need for big chunks of sleep on the basis that I will hopefully be raising a more secure, independent child whose needs are being met and who 'should' see the value in communicating their needs, because expressing themselves will always lead to some form of response - and this will have affects later on in life. I know there may be people who jump in here with thoughts about the long term affects of sleep deprivation on the Mother and this ultimately being a more important part of the 'long game'. It has crossed my mind. I'll let you guess whose needs I put first. 


arthurwears


I am going to pause there and tell you that I wrote all of the above when Arthur was 22 months old. I wrote this post because I honestly felt like I needed an answer to my question "should I give in and try controlled crying?" He is now 26 months and a few things have changed....

I'll start by saying this 'change' happened naturally. We haven't had to use any 'methods' or any props. There are a couple of things that have stayed the same:

  1. Arthur still falls asleep at naptime and bedtime listening to the album 'Islands' by Ludovici Einaudi.
  2. He still has the majority of his daytime naps in his pushchair and not in his bed
  3. When he wakes in the night, whenever that may be, he still gets into our bed and 'co-sleeps'
  4. We still have a strict bedtime routine of bath, PJ's, story/nursery rhymes, massage, bed, hand stroking.
  5. He still starts his night in his own toddler bed, with his snuggly and dummy and still uses a sleeping bag.

The biggest changes that have occurred are these:


  1.  We no longer have to stay in his room until he falls asleep (hurrah!) As long as we have gone through the bedtime routine steps above and then told him exactly what we are having dinner downstairs (Lots of LOLs as I write that sentence) and leave the door open so he can hear us 'cooking', he will stay in bed and listen to us/his music and is usually asleep by 8.30pm
  2. Most nights he will now stay in his own bed until 5-6am...bearing in mind a couple of months ago he was waking at 11-12pm and co-sleeping thereafter, I'm calling this a 'sleeping through' win. He still comes into our room once he wakes up and sometimes he will even go back to sleep next to us, if not, he usually snuggles or reads a book.
  3. I'm pregnant. This might be irrelevant, or just sheer coincidence, but I wouldn't be seen as entirely honest if I omitted to mention this (very tedious) possible link. Must resist the urge to test this theory out if the next baby doesn't sleep either...
So there we go. I wish for all of you who may be in the sleep deprived hell I was in a few months ago (and will undoubtedly find myself in again in a few months) that the answer is written clearly above. It might be hiding in there somewhere but I can tell you for sure that the answer for us wasn't to use the cry it out, or controlled crying method...and admittedly I do feel a strange sense of pride, satisfaction and 'thank god for that' that our persistence and belief that we were doing the right thing paid off, and he would just eventually sleep when he was ready. Heaven knows we were!

PS: We will definitely be looking into a co-sleeper crib for our next bundle of joy!

Love Sarah x 


naptime in the pushchair


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33 comments:

  1. We haven't done controlled crying with either of our kids. Like you I have wondered whether that was the right or wrong thing but ultimately trusted my gut to not do it. My 5 year old has just the past week started going to sleep on him own. He started sleeping more deeply at 3. He bedshares with his dad because I bedshare with my 2 year old. She still wakes constantly but we'll get there!

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    1. Good luck to you and well done for sticking to what you felt was the right thing to do! I honestly thought we would have a frequent walker with Arthur until he was at school...and fully accept that things may change again once the new baby arrives, but now I know it is possible without resorting to tears xx thanks for commenting

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  2. I'm so glad you didn't feel the need to do CIO, it just doesn't sit right with me at all. I was sometimes a bit TOO quick to go into every moan and cry when he was younger and do leave him now to have a little moan before his nap, but I'd never leave him to cry. He gets into way too much of a state resulting but in hiccups and screams. Congratulations on your pregnancy as well!

    #KCACOLS

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    1. It's so hard not to check on them when they are tiny though isn't it? I used to imagine the worst. Case scenario and then HAVE to check everything was okay x

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  3. Congratulations on the impending cuddle! How lovely! My motto is always "Do what you need to do", I'm strict with L but I've never done Controlled Crying. He's two now, nearly three, and he's a good sleeper on the whole. #KCACOLS

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    1. Thanks, you're right - and I guess what I need to do might be totally different to what someone else needs to do xx

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  4. I'm afraid I did do controlled crying at coming up to 6 months on my first before going back to work full time. I knew I couldn't function well at my job without sleep. It worked within a week and I never looked back. I never had to do it with any of my others, that or I just didn't wake up when they cried! #KCACOLS

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    1. I can completely understand that - i didn't go back into my teaching job in the end (for lots of reasons) but if I had there's no way I could have functioned on the sleep I was getting at that stage x

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  5. I think we're far too quick to label things right or wrong, it's whatever works for you and judging by his progress in the last few months, it's working!! We have tried bits of controlled crying, mostly during the day when he's exhausted but HATES to nap. Strangely at night, he'll happily go down in his bed, even if he isn't asleep and just chat to himself before dropping off! Still, there's plenty of time for that to change! Good luck with the pregnancy, I recommend the Chicco Next to Me crib, provided a bit extra room for me to cram my body into whilst our son hogged the actual mattress! #kcacols

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    1. The Chicco is one I've been considering, and also the Snuzpod... our bed is quite high though so I need to check out the dimensions x

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  6. Congratulations on the pregnancy. We've actually recently done controlled crying (well a version of), and it's worked really well for us. It's not for everyone though and I completely understand that. I felt like I really needed to do it, and I hope it hasn't done any long term damage. #KCACOLS

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    1. Thank you - I'm so pleased you've found something that works/worked for you and your family x

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  7. As his mum only you know what works for you and him. Controlled crying wasn't part of the plan for me, not until the day I thought I was going to have a complete breakdown, put L in his cot and sat in the kitchen to have a good cry myself. He stopped crying before me, long before me. Turns out me being in his room was keeping him awake the whole time and making him cry more than me leaving him to sleep on his own!! Little hound. #TwinklyTuesday

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    1. So pleased you managed to find the solution for you and your little one, every child is so different aren't they? And parenting can be so hard - especially when you're tired x

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  8. I'm totally with you, we have a very similar journey except my youngest has never slept as well as Arthur. I much prefer a gentler approach but can understand how sleep deprevation is tough #KCACOLS

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    1. I can't quite believe I was still getting woken up every 1-2 hours a few months ago, shows how quickly things can change. Hope you get some more rest soon x

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  9. Congratulations on the new pregnancy! We co-sleep and I love and recommend it to everyone. Glad you found something that works for you. #TwinklyTuesday

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  10. I think it's one of those things you either do or you don't. One of the endless debates that will always be around between parents, even when we are grandparents. I'm not a controlled crying mum. I prefer to go to my kids when they need comforting. Although I understand about the thoughts creeping in, especially when you're having a particularly difficult night! I'd say if it goes against your instincts it's not right for you #TwinklyTuesday

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    1. Completely agree with you - we are all so different and have different beliefs and ideas x

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  11. I think everyone has different opinions on controlled crying. I suppose to some extent we did controlled crying, but I never actively thought I was going to do it. Sometimes they cried and we would leave them for a while to see if they stopped, other times we went to them. You just do whatever it takes! #TwinklyTuesday

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    1. Exactly, I guess following your instincts can change for any given moment - I know Arthur used to have a 'serious cry' and a not so serious one and sometimes it's just using your judgement on which one it is! X

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  12. I put my hand up and admit we tried controlled crying, or controlled whinging as I called it. We never left him to scream and throw up, but if he wasn't crying I left him to see if he would resettle by himself. Not running to him every time he whimpered worked for us xx #kcacols

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    1. Yes, I think as their parent you know don't you, whether it's a really upsetting cry or just a little whinge that isn't so serious xx

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  13. I'm not a judgy parent because frankly I don't care what anyone else does with their children, so I couldn't give two hoots who does do control crying. But it has never sat well with me and I didn't do it with either of my girls. My eldest was 2 before she slept through the night, but by the time she was 3 bedtimes were easy, we didn't have to stay in her room for her to sleep and she slept 11+ hours straight, so we knew with 2nd that things would get better and there was nothing wrong with her not sleeping through early on. I co-slept with both my girls until they were around 18months then they had/have beds with bed guards so they can come out and get me if they need to. I think things have got a bit crazy with people thinking that babies should sleep long periods by themselves in a room without a parent, that just isn't biologically in them. We have evolved from hunter gathers, if they or any other animal left their baby unattended they would have been eaten! Human psychology hasn't changed much since then so babies are still wired to need us. Studies have also shown that controlled crying leads to heightened levels of stress in the babies even though they are asleep. So personally I agree with you. Before the people who did do controlled crying grab their pitchforks though I'll just state again 'I don't care what any other parent does with their children' each to their own. x #KCACOLS

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    1. This is so true. We also moved Arthur into a bed with a bed guard at about 16/17 months as he hated the 'trapped' feeling of being in a cot x

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  14. I'm 55. We were put in bed, kissed good-night and left to get on with it. We slept thru the night, we learned, in time, to get up to go pee and go back to sleep. Don't over think this stuff. There's a book or a guru today to support each and every fear and phobia a Mom can have. My 22 year old son never slept more than 4 hours most of his childhood. He could play on his bed with stuffed animals. That was it. Today he sleeps like a rock. Don't over think it.

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    1. I did buy loads of parenting books when I was pregnant with Arthur and then quickly dismissed them all, realising that there was no manual for my child and following my own instincts was the best option... what works for some doesn't work for all right? X

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  15. Sounds like you may have cracked it - I wish we had!! #KCACOLS

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  16. I'm currently doing controlled crying to get my son to sleep during the day: it is not going well. Worked fine at night so just have to keep going... #kcacols

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  17. I just can't do controlled crying. I mean just the name of it I hate. Controlled. Controlling. Eurgh! Generally if my baby is crying it's because he wants something, whether that be a cuddle or a feed that's what I'm there to give him. We have coslept the last 3 months and are now trying to get him to sleep regularly in his cot. We are on night two now so we'll see if it's as successful and night one! All done without controlled crying! Thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

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  18. I always went to my babies too. After all, if it was your partner or mother crying in another room would you consider leaving them till they sorted it themselves or would you check them immediately? My babies only cried when they needed something and I wanted them to know that their needs would be met.

    Thanks for joining #KCACOLS with this fab post. Do link up next Sunday.x

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  19. We didn't do fully fledged controlled crying, but we did try to leave the Tubblet for a little longer each time when she cried going to sleep. Mostly she would fuss then go back to sleep. The other times she wouldn't so we'd settle her down and go away again. We forget that learning to sleep at night is something we have to learn. There is no right and wrong answer to this one, each parent has to do what they believe is right. Good luck and congratulations on your news!

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