Reasons I don’t let Miles “Cry it out”

Some, not many, but some people that I know have been of the opinion that I should just let Miles cry things out on his own and he’ll soon ‘get the picture’ that it won’t get him anywhere.  But I don’t, Troy and I do not do this.  I really think that most people who cared about their child would NOT unless ‘the books’ had said it was ok. It’s a natural instinct to respond to your infant, it’s how we were wired and to NOT respond feels false and like a betrayal.

And it IS a betrayal.  The only way an infant can communicate his/her needs is by crying (note: i’m not talking about frustration, which can be a motivator to learn something new).  They are little bundles of primal instinct; they can’t help that their urges and needs are overwhelming.  For example, we may know that they are not actually going to succumb to starvation if they wait to eat for 30 or 20 or 10 minutes, but they do not.

The main reason why I don’t let Miles ‘cry it out’ boils down to this: it’s not fair.  Just because I am big, and I can move around and can choose whether to respond or not doesn’t give me the right to NOT respond.  Miles isn’t big. He can’t move himself yet. I can get out of bed by myself. He can’t. I can go to the other room and talk to Troy if I am lonely. He can’t. I can get up and change what I’m doing if I’m bored. He can’t. 

The only way an infant can tell you that there is something not right in his world is by crying and then mama and daddy have to figure out how to make it right. It’s exhausting but I would rather work hard now and have him know that he can trust us to respond to him, to value what he’s trying to get across and to have him be secure later than to tune him out now and pay for it later.

Obviously there are times that he cries. But he doesn’t cry alone. There’s always a shoulder there for him.  And in the end, isn’t that what we all want and need?


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lisa
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 05:59:14

    I’ve been busy and traveling, and am getting caught up on a variety of blogs today. Some random thoughts overall on your last few posts:

    1) sleep makes a lot of difference, for both Miles and his mom! I’m not sure what your breastfeeding style is, but if it includes pumping and bottles at times, you might want to think about asking Troy to take a night (although I’d imagine he’s still busy with taxes at the moment?). Go to a friend’s so you won’t hear Miles wake up, and sleep a deep sleep with multiple REM cycles.

    2) I agree with Sharon, and even though I’m not that close of a friend (anymore), wish I could be there to send you out of the house for a two hour walk in the sunshine.

    3) I occasionally let Emma cry it out, but it was more a symptom of my own PPD than believing that was a good way to deal with her needs. One thing we did decide to do during a stage of random night crying was to not pick her up. We did gentle massage and sang instead. While she didn’t get precisely what she wanted, we were still there with her for comfort while she worked out whatever was going on and settled back down.

    4) You may have already done this, as I think you’ve said before you’ve been in touch with La Leche, but in case not–keep a catalog of what you’re eating and how he sleeps. Did you not eat something during his longer sleeping stage that you’re eating again now? Emma had a horrid car trip once when I had eaten something out of the ordinary that afternoon.

    5) I’ll try and do some checking to see if there’s a particular sleep strategy to use for infants who spent time in NICU. I wonder if some of his lack of longer sleep patterns is related to that environment? I have a great friend who is a fabulous all-around nurse and who’s current job is as a lactation consultant–between her and google scholar I might be able to find something credible.

    6) It does get easier, eventually! You are doing a great job dealing with a challenging situation. It’s challenging even with an infant who takes long naps and sleeps for long periods during the night. The fact that you’ve made it this far without going nuts is something to be proud of.

    So, to quote (after all these years, really paraphrase) Mr. Townsend–reach your hand way up in the air, reach around, and pat yourself on the back!


  2. ~m
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 08:07:00

    Lisa, your last line just made me laugh 😀 Hilarious!
    Thanks for your input…it just seems so hard to figure out that we kind of go with the flow. Sometimes he WILL sleep well but then often he won’t. He’s had stuffy/runny nose all last week and that makes it hard for him to sleep. He’ll actually go 7 hours or so before he wants to feed during the night, which is pretty good. But sometimes he’ll be really restless during the beginning hours or sometimes he’ll not want to go back to sleep after his feed.
    I didn’t think about tracking my eating…usually I don’t eat anything much different than normal but it might be worth doing.
    Troy has offered to give Miles a bottle during the night feeding…problem is I get engorged and then I wake up anyway feeling full to overflowing. stupid boobies. on weekends, Troy brings him to me and then gets him back to sleep so i get more rest (usually) then.
    During the night we will often just pat and shush but sometimes that doesn’t work…he’s pretty persistent about being UP when he’s awake and about wailing about it if not.
    And finally, Troy and I have both often wondered what the effects of the cooling treatment for his first 72 hours were on his system and organizational skills. Would he have been a high needs baby anyway or did that affect him greatly? I would be really interested to talk to other parents whose babies had the same treatment to see if there is any correllation. Hey! future research topic?
    Anyway, thanks again for the thoughts and for doing some digging for me (in all your spare time??) 🙂


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