None of us like to hear our babies cry but it is how they communicate when they are little.
You might feel an urge to ‘make it stop’. The sound of crying causes us to feel the need to ‘fix’ the problem and stop the crying. This is totally natural.
However, sometimes our rush to rescue a crying baby can lead to sabotaging them in their development of self regulating skills.
It’s controversial when we talk about self regulation because it conjures up thoughts of leaving babies alone crying in order to teach them to ‘get over it’ for themselves. But this is a narrow minded view and requires deeper insight.
When it comes to sleep, it seems a parent’s ability to handle cries is far less of a tolerance than a parent’s ability to handle a tantrum over a toy in the cold light of day. We assume that cries at bedtime or in the night must mean they NEED something when sometimes the only need is sleep and the parent’s roll is to help the baby get there…
Sleep training and crying is where a lot of people struggle – I did! But gaining a clear understanding of what it is your little one is crying for or about and how you can best serve your baby in that moment is the key to reducing those cries and meeting your babies needs.
What ‘fixes’ or stops the crying isn’t necessarily what your baby actually wanted or needed. We are often left guessing and we instinctively feed a crying baby to make it stop or rock a crying baby who won’t take a feed – Natural soothing techniques we’ve used forever.
We overlook that sometimes a baby is crying to simply say “I want to go to sleep but I don’t know how”
And then we think we are helping by feeding or rocking or pacing around until they fall asleep but there comes a stage where those tricks don’t work anymore and your baby won’t be fooled – Those things lull a baby off to sleep (and that’s fine in the early months) but what you baby really wants is sleep and the ability to fall asleep and resettle when he wakes is the ultimate gift you can give him.
He needs you to help him learn. Does that mean you have to let him cry rather than soothe him? NO it absolutely does not and that’s one of the biggest misconceptions with sleep training.
What it means is, it’s time to allow him to take on a little bit of the settle process rather than you doing it all for him…
You wouldn’t do your child’s homework for him would you? Why not? Because he wouldn’t learn anything if you do it all for him.
The same applies to learning how to self settle. If you always do it all for him, he won’t develop any of the skill for himself and this is doing him a dis-service.
Can you teach a baby to self settle without leaving him to cry it out?
ABSOLUTELY! In fact, I don’t ever recommend you leave a baby cry. Babies cry and sometimes a baby will have to wait a moment for you to respond because you’re seeing to your other child or (heaven forbid) you’re on the loo! But you do respond in reasonable time.
It’s how you respond that makes ALL the difference. Knowing why your baby is crying and responding appropriately, in line with his developmental stage and individual personality and temperament is the first step.
Of course, when it’s hunger, we feed them. When it’s a dirty nappy, we change them. When it’s reassurance, we sooth them. When it’s tiredness….We seem to get stuck!
At The Sleep Nanny® we help you, the parent to understand how to help your tired little one to happily learn how to get to sleep and sleep soundly and enjoy all the health and well-being benefits that come with that.
So, in conclusion, babies cry and we respond to help them. Knowing how we can best hep them is the next level.
I hope you enjoy this episode of the Sleep Nanny Show featuring some of my key tips on crying and sleep training.
For a handy reminder at your fingertips, I’ve created a printable Quick-Guide for you. You can download it for FREE >> Download free Quick-Guide.