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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Day Whatever of Sleep Training -- They Don't Really Need to Cry, Do They?

All my life I heard that babies needed to cry, that it was good for their lungs. My mom always said crying developed their lungs and made for healthier babies down the road. I always had trouble believing that.

Fast forward to when I was pregnant with Tessa. I did a lot of research, especially on the Dr. Sears Web site and his books. He is a firm believer in co-sleeping and the attachment parenting method and does not believe babies need to cry.

Tessa cried a lot as a baby, and I picked her up every time she did. I wanted her to be happy and healthy and well attached. My family told me numerous time that it was Ok to put her down and let her cry if I needed to get something done. Babies need to cry, it's good for their lungs.

I grew sick of hearing about it, but I learned to accept that my family bought into the old wives' tales. Well, now Ella is here. I am a little more relaxed with her than I was with Tessa. Ok, that's a lie. I am a lot more relaxed with her. Comparatively speaking with Tessa I was a paranoid schizophrenic, and with Ella, almost nothing worries me.

I still don't think babies need to cry, and I chalked that old wives tale up to something the older generation believed, kind of like babies need cereal to sleep through the night. I thought people my age would KNOW it wasn't really true, but I was wrong.

We were discussing sleep training with a friend, and he said that it had to be done. I have mixed feelings about that, but I knew I needed to do it if I wanted a better sleeper than Tessa was and is. I also knew I needed to do it so Ella wouldn't wind up in the bed with us (and honestly, if my husband was up for it and we had a king-sized bed, I could totally go for the family bed thing).

Then he says, "They need to learn to be independent." I agree. Children do need to learn to be independent, but not babies. She's seven months old, for goodness sakes. She NEEDS to be dependent on me for a while yet.

And then the kicker, "Besides, babies need to cry. It's good for their lungs." Ugh, he's only a few years older than me, and he believes that. The only time a baby really needs to cry is right after they are born. I don't believe it's good to just let a baby cry, because it's good for their lungs. I'm just wondering if more people believe this to be true.

As for the sleep training, it's coming along. We had one night where she fell asleep really quickly (Sunday, I believe). Monday night, it took an hour. Tonight, it took about 40 minutes. I will admit that I let her cry for a bit longer than normal, but not because it was good for her lungs. Brian was in the shower, and I was in the kitchen doing something for Tessa and couldn't get into Ella's room right away. She didn't calm down, and she didn't fall asleep. In fact, she was sobbing when I got in there. I patted her, got her calmed down and went out.

I think it will probably take less and less time for her to fall asleep as we go through this. It might not be as fast as crying it out, but it is working. She is also sleeping through the night. Last night, she slept from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. I am extremely happy with that because she had been waking up at 3 a.m., before we started the sleep training. We will get there.

P.S. If you do believe this old wives' tale, no offense. I still have a few I believe in, too, especially ones my Granny introduced me to.


JenJen said...

Honestly, with a full-term healthy baby over the age of 6 months it's probably not such a big deal for a little bit of crying...they do need to learn to self-soothe at this point, actually. I've never let Cooper get too worked up for the simple fact that he is a preemie and he's had lung issues in the past. Now, I think it's hard for mothers to CIO because we feel the emotional need to step in and make them happy again...I think they say to not let the crying go on for longer than 15 minutes for those that are into CIO...

But, in the end, you do what you're comfortable with and what works for your family!

OH, and I need see you're also getting the stupid spam stuff, too...I HATE them...

FeliciaE said...

I agree I never thought they needed to cry but at the same time I knew it wouldn't hurt them.

We did a version of the CIO method and within three days she was going to bed without a fuss and sleeping pretty much all night.

The important thing is that what you are doing works for you.

Mama Hen said...

I agree that I do not like the saying "let them cry, it is good for their lungs." I think that eventually they have to become independent and learn to get a good night's sleep. But a little baby needs to feel safe.
Hey do you want to join in on Thanksgiving Thursday tomorrow? Just grab my Thanksgiving button in my left sidebar and let me know so I can add your link. Have a great day!

Mama Hen

Sam said...

I'm the same way - with my first, I picked him up the SECOND he cried. With my second - I'm not so quick to rush in but I still hate to hear a baby cry too much. As for sleeping, we never ran into much problem with either one wanting to go to bed when it was time. Don't let the family stress you out too much, you know whats best for YOUR kids!


P.S. Thanks for stopping by...I'll make sure and post pics from the concert!