on : raising kids and emotional attachment

We received a ton of pressure to have our firstborn cry-it-out before he was 4 months old, and I've already experienced the same in our daughter's first 3 months (especially month one!). While we did use the method at our son's 6 month after exhausting all other methods and after we had, I believe, created bad sleep habits, we also held him as often as possible or "wore" him, exclusively breastfed for the first 5.5 months, and kept him in our room for the first 6. We're doing all the same with our daughter except we strive to avoid bad sleep habits (she has slept through the night from day 6).

Our daughter cried more during the day than he ever did. I think this is part temperament and part second-child reality--she's often made to wait while our oldest is attended to. I've been told that she's colic and that some babies just need to cry. That may be true for a handful, but we believed that her cries had specific meaning and that we should give her the benefit of the doubt.

Sure enough, by persevering in my attempts to comfort her I've learned that she's a highly visual person; if she can see, she's going to be active even if she's exhausted. So lights on? Not good. Now for naps I either take her into a dark, dark room or shield her vision with a cloth (though never against her skin/face) as I wear her. At night, it's always a dark room. She also needs a good half-minute to adjust to a new position. And she needs me to be attentive to her sleep cues before she has the chance to reach exhaustion. Though I help her, nurse her, and rock her, the little gal falls asleep in her crib! And I take advantage of that high-interest during her daylight waking periods by talking to her and giving her plenty to experience. The result? Her cries are still powerful (0-60 in no time flat) but very brief and less traumatic for all.

Recently, I came upon this article on PBS's this emotional life page. I found it encouraging and appropriate.

What do you think? I know this can be a hot topic!



  1. I never cared for Eva when she was an infant, but I've found that she managed to get attached even at 18+ mos (like the article suggests). I found that really interesting.

  2. Love the baby posts, keep them coming. I am not capable of the cry it out method, at least not yet with a newborn.

    1. Gosh, I hope not!!! I am so excited for little Clementine! I bet you're just glowing, even with less sleep...

  3. We decided to try a graduated crying (go in after one minute, then wait three...then 5...then 7...) and I don't think he's ever tried for more than 20 minutes. I didn't try this until he was 5 months old but he kept falling asleep nursing and then crying whenever I moved him so that putting him to bed took almost an hour AND involved crying! It really helped me emotionally when I thought about all the time he cries in the car and I can't do anything about it until we get home and then he's fine. If he can cry driving across town, he can cry for a few minutes in his crib. And after a few days he didn't cry at all (unless he was kept up too late and was super exhausted). I will also note that I do think babies crying always means something (our son was really colicky too, dietary changes helped amazingly) because it does mean they want something. That doesn't mean they should always get it (IMHO). I mean, I want ice cream every day but 1) I'd be an elephant and 2) I'm off dairy while breastfeeding! Sometimes it makes me want to cry, but I know it's for the best. And I think teaching my son that bedtime is bedtime is the best for all of us.

    Lots of parents have told me they just can't deal with hearing their kids cry and I get that, if Sam were more stubborn and cried for hours I wouldn't have been able to do it. As it is just listening to him cry for a few minutes is hard but I think about all the things he has to go through that will be hard for me to watch--driving alone? dear God that will be hard to let him do without wanting to help. Learning to tie his shoes will be difficult, I'll want to step in, but it won't be good for him. But that's a temperament thing too for sure.

    On the other hand, if one more well-meaning family member told me crying 'was good for him' I was going to punch someone.


    1. Morgan,
      What a great perspective! I really appreciate your insight given your son's colic. I totally agree: "bedtime is bedtime," and also that crying means something. I think about these little lessons I have to endure that prepare me for greater ones down the road. Thank you for the comment!


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