One phrase that we often hear as parents is let your baby “cry it out”. Most of the time when we first become parents we have no idea what that means, or why anyone would even imagine to let their precious one cry.
Whether you cry it out or love it out for sleeping, you need to be consistent and persistent.
However, sometimes as parents we struggle when our children are unwilling to go to sleep, or stay asleep all night. As parents we can come to the end of our ability to calmly help our children. When we reach this end, we tend to turn to methods to help us take care of our problem.
All babies have a sleep cycle similar to that of adults. The biggest difference between the babies and adult sleep cycles is the amount of time spent in each cycle. Babies spend more time in the non-REM sleep, or the deep sleep. The shorter periods are spend in the REM sleep. By 6 months of age every baby is capable of sleeping at least 8 hours in a row. There are two popular methods to handle bedtime. You can let your baby cry it out, or you can love on your baby no matter the tears.
Crying It Out
One popular method of helping to train your child to sleep is the Ferber method. This method is commonly known as the cry it out. The idea behind Ferber is that if you put your baby to sleep they will wake up and no be able to soothe themselves back to sleep. This method is not only hard for mom but it is really hard for baby.
How to: You begin with placing your baby in their sleep station. Telling them goodnight and then turn around and walk away. Even if your baby cries stay out of the room for a predetermined amount of time. If he is still crying then you may go into the room and comfort him (without picking him up). Leave the room again while he is awake. Continue to stay out of the room for a little longer each time until they are able to sleep after you have left the room. The goal is to increase the amount of time each night that you wait before going into the room to comfort your child.
My Experience: I had one child that wouldn’t go to sleep on his own. Every time he woke up it seemed like he would cry forever. He didn’t ever go back to sleep unless he was in someone’s arms. I used the cry it out method. We place our son in his crib, said good night and walked out. He was quiet for 2 or 3 minutes. Then he started crying in a piercing uncontrollable cry. I sat on the floor outside his door crying as much as he did. When my 5 minutes was up, I jumped up and ran into the room. It took all I had to not pick him up. I calmed him and then went back to my spot on the floor. We continued this for 5 days. Finally after those 5 days he was able to sleep through the night, however he had a lot of trouble coming to is for comfort after that time.
Loving On Your Child
This may seem like an obvious thing, however to many parents want controlled order. It is simple to love a child, however to be there every time that they are crying can be very exhausting for some parents. Babies can be demanding and need a lot of attention.
How to: These directions are so simple. Whenever your baby cries pick them up. Help your crying child handle the reasons that they are crying. It is important to offer comfort and reassurance. Try some soothing methods like motion, swaddle, kangaroo care, or you can use white noise.
My Experience: I believe that our third child taught us the right way to be parents. We never made her be alone when she was upset. We tried to offer her as much attention that she needed. She was involved in kangaroo care (or Babywearing) as often as possible. She was snuggled, rocked, and loved on ALL the time. As my daughter grew a little she became confident and felt comfortable to be away from us. Within a few months she was willing to roll over in the bed and fall asleep. We no longer had to be in the room when she fell asleep because she knew if she needed us we would be there.
There is never a right or wrong way to do anything with your children. Cry it out or love it out for sleeping works as long as the sleep is achieved.
However, there are easy roads and hard ones. Offering love and security is much better to me than crying on the floor when they cry. It has never matter why my youngsters were crying, I always cried with them, and that made me want to give them reasons NOT to cry.