Re: Console or ignore a crying baby at midnight

Pink cat wrote:
My thirteen months old son wakes 1 or 2 times at midnight with loudly
crying. When he crying, my husband always goes to his room to comfort
him. I think it is wrong and we should ignore him so that he can
return to sleep by himself. Now we are having an argument. I want to
have a consultant for how to deal with a midnight-crying baby.

I think it is really bizarre that you are viewing this as an
all-or-nothing situation. Either you console the child, or you let him
cry-it-out. Don't you think there MIGHT be something in-between you
might be satisified with, and that might work for the child?

1. I disagree with crying-it-out *in general*. There are of course
exceptions. If the parents are so exhausted from multiple wakings that
they can't think straight and nothing else has worked, then MAYBE it's
the right answer. That said, I think those are very, very rare
situations. There is, however, nothing wrong with finding little ways
to encourage sleeping all night. And there are things you can do that
don't involve making your child feel abandoned. There is also some
evidence that crying-it-out *might* cause sleep problems in adulthood.
My own experience suggests that this is true. I know more than one
adult who was left to cry it out and also has insomnia problems (I'm
one). And the one adult I know who was NEVER left to cry it out, sleeps
like a baby (my husband). I know, I know, small sample statistics and
all that.

2. I never let my child cry-it-out. My mother did it with my little
brother when he was 9 months old, and he cried for 5 hours. It was
horrible. (I'm 14 years older, so I remember it quite clearly).
However, I read the Elizabeth Pantley book mentioned in another post,
and used it to get my own daughter's night wakings down a bit.

3. 13 months old is REALLY young, AND they are old enough to be
stubborn enough to scream all night. Are you really prepared to do
that? I couldn't.

4. My daughter woke almost every night of her life, until she was 3
years old. I decided that once a night was livable, and waited for her
to outgrow it on her own. And she did. They really do learn
self-reliability on their own, and you really don't need to push it. I
have found that the parents who push self-reliance too much tend to
have the clingiest kids. I am referring to extreme parents, though -
most of the parents I've talked to who emphasized self-reliance, but
weren't exteme about it, didn't have particularly clingy kids.

So get that Elizabeth Pantley book and try it out. Read other sleep
advice books. And try those. There ARE methods you can use to help
your kid sleep all night that don't involve crying themselves to sleep.
And, you really should also ask yourself if waking up once a night is
really a problem. Maybe it is, and maybe it isn't - that's for you to
decide - but don't decide it's a problem because someone else says it's
a problem (my daughter's doctor was horrified by her not sleeping all
night by a year).

Cathy Weeks


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