Results 1 to 13 of 13

Thread: Is this gentle parenting?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    2,732

    Default Is this gentle parenting?

    Now girls I must post a disclaimer - I am specifically posting here because I want to know what those who practice gentle parenting think of how we are settling our boy. I specifically would like people to criticise or critique our approach. I am confortable with it, but am always looking for pointers, particularly of the gentle parenting kind.

    We have variously rocked, fed, cuddled and patted Flynn to sleep since day one. I think we did what is called controlled comforting when he was really little, but always if he got distressed he was cuddled and put back down in his cot while still awake but calm. He was a very sleepy baby (16-18 hours a day till about 2 months!!) and always easy to settle. I honestly don't think we ever spent more than 20 mins getting him to sleep before the age of about 5 months.

    Now he is a bit older he is more testing but we have a nice little routine for him (dinner, play, bath, play, boobie, cuddle, then bed). Often the last part of the routine is stretched out until he sleeps. We sometimes are lucky and he calmly drops off after a feed, and other times he lies in his cot awake, staring off into space, before drifting off to sleep. But about half the time he really cries - often when he is overtired. He will scream while I am holding him and then calms, so I put him down and settle him. If he arcs up again we will wait to see if he settles (maybe for 20-30 seconds) then go in and settle him. Occasionally we will cuddle him again or I'll feed him to sleep, other times we will tuck him back in and shush him to sleep.

    Now my question is whether gentle parenting lets a child cry at all. Like I said, when overtired he will scream while I just hold him, so he is the kind of kid who gets real upset when tired (mind you, this is one of the ONLY time he cries - we are real lucky with him).



    I really would like to flesh out some opinions here - do you think that it is ever ok to leave a child in a cot while they cry, even for 20 or 30 seconds? Or is that ok so long as they are calmed and cuddled. It is a general discussion I am after, but feel free to use my example as a spring board. I am big enough to take direct criticisms because like I said I am confortable with what I am doing and think it is right for him (he is a very chilled out child) but I am always looking for ways to be a better parent. I am genuinely interested in what you all have to say, and one of the main reason I ask is most of the mums in my mothers group do cc and have not been able to give many pointers.

    So bring it on girls, what do you think?

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Ubiquity
    Posts
    9,922

    Default

    I think there is a big difference between "controlled crying" and a baby that fusses or cries for a few seconds. My kids have never liked the cuddle to sleep thing, they like their own space. I've tried feeding to sleep (but with overactive letdown it was impossible... I never experienced a baby falling asleep at the boob), I tried co-sleeping (and I just tried tonight as Seth isn't well atm, and he fussed and fluffed about so I fed him again and put him back in his cot and now not a peep) and the only thing that would work for either of my children is cot settling. Which means they can get upset when you put them down in the cot but within a few seconds (sometimes minutes, any longer and I know somethings wrong) they have calmed down and we generally leave the room at this point. Sometimes I'll need to go in and resettle other times (like just now) out like a light. I think the thing to note is that it is all baby led for us. We know our babies, we listen to their cues and we know that 45 mins of screaming and arching in our arms or beds isn't working, so he maybe get upset initially at the idea of bedtime (I'm yet to find a child who doesn't whether they co slept/rocked etc or not) he calms down very quickly. We believe in comforting a child rather than leaving them to cry. So whilst others would say leave the baby to cry, if one of our children cry we go to them and stay with them till they are calm. And I know when its a fussing cry or a pick me up cry and we'll work with that. The most "Gentle" thing for me is not about training your child but about listening to them, to their needs and what suits them. But I also respect that parents need to do what suits them emotionally too. So yes I think its fine for a baby to cry, and IMO thats not ungentle.

    Now please don't attack me either LOL as this is just my humble opinion

    *hugs*
    Cailin

  3. #3

    Default

    I think it depends a bit on age. Yasin is 27 months now and has recently started trying it on a bit - he has a funny habit of watching/practising his emotions in the mirror. Its quite cute, almost like he's figuring out' when I feel like this I look like this' IYKWIM. So in the last month or so he's sort of learned to fake a cry when he doesn't want to go to bed. Now we put him down and if he's getting upset we go to him but if its just a tester we let it go. I probably sound mean but he's over 2 now and we know the differance between when he's genuinley in need of a bit of extra comfort before he goes to sleep and when he's just turning it on.

    Imran has started to develop full-on seperation anxiety and spends alot of his days clinging to my side like a little monkey. He cries when I put him on the floor and sometimes its unavoidable. Yasin also has needs and if he needs some food and I don't think that I can carry Imran while I prepare food for myself and Yasin safely then I have no choice but to put him down and let him cry for those few minutes. When I only had one baby I never would have done it. I just would have waited until Yasin was ready before doing anything but Yasin can't always wait for Imran to let go of me and I don't think it's fair to always prioritise Imran. I would like to never let Imran cry but sometimes its just unavoidable.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Melbourne, Vic
    Posts
    4,340

    Default

    My DD is 14.5 weeks, what you do sounds similar. I always give DD a BF before bed, sometimes I am lucky and she'll fall asleep, other times I put her down and she'll seem content but in 5 mins crying.
    The thing we listen for is the type of crying if its a "I'm tired" cry we leave her to wind down but if its a "I'm upset and need a cuddle" cry we go straight into her. I then usually will try to settle her in the cot first, if that doesn't work I will give her a cuddle til she's drowsy and if that still doesn't work I give her the boob again.
    As you asked about if its okay to leave a baby to cry at all well as I said above I think it depends on the type of cry. I don't think the tired cry is causing any distress to my DD cause she looks half asleep when she does it and her body language doesn't seem to be upset but anytime she starts getting upset I go to comfort her. Personally I don't see how babies who are left to cry when distressed can peacefully fall asleep, I know if I'm really upset there is no way I could sleep unless calmed down first. Its like Cailin said, "We believe in comforting a child rather than leaving them to cry".
    And as dachlostar said a few mins wouldn't hurt. Sometimes you need to get something done or I know sometimes when a baby cries on and on you need to put them down for a few mins for your own sanity.

  5. #5

    Default

    I too listen out for the cries. I can tell pretty much straight away if Nina is settled or not when she's put to bed. If she just lays there having a little whinge, then there's no need for me to pick her up as she normally settles herself within minutes. But if she starts crying as soon as I've put her in bed, then I pick her up and comfort her until she's settled again.
    DH & I aren't fans of controlled crying, however like shellbell said, sometimes you do need to do something and you might just have to let them cry for a couple of minutes.
    Nina is the type that if she's been crying for a couple of minutes, she will then get really hysterical and it will take over an hour to settle her then.
    I just just saying to DH last night that even if at 2yrs, Nina is unsettled one night, I will happily rock/pat/feed (whatever it takes) until she's settled. That's just me personally. Even if Nina is having a screaming fit, I'll just hold her until she's calm, that way she knows she's in safe hands, with her mummy, and she just might need to get it off her chest!

  6. #6

    Default

    shellbell, I totally agree that sometimes a Mum just needs to put a baby down and walk away for a while for her own sanity. Steve Biddulph actually says in one of his books that babies' lives have been saved by thier carers leaving them to scream while they hide out for a while and calm down. In an ideal society we would be able to call on other people to hold our babies while we take a sanity break/meltdown but the reality is that many mothers are quite isolated for much of the time so they have no option.
    I think that to large extent the popularity of CC is due to the isolated nature of motherhood in our culture. 2 people are trying to do the job of a village and often it's just one person so it's not suprising that they resort to anything that promises a quick fix. In a more cohesive society a crying baby or one that won't settle can be passed around between adults which reduces the stress but we don't have that luxury. Personally I think that close proximity to an extended family network is a mixed blessing because it can also carry the baggage of alot of unwanted advice and meddling.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    419

    Default

    roryrory i don't leave my kids to cry at all when they are this age. i know i am not of the mainstream parenting group and honestly do what works for you, for me even if oscar is crying in my arms for us that is better than without my arms IYKWIM. although in saying that we donot put our babys down really until after 12 months so they are pretty much in arms/sling the whole time or sleeping with us etc. Oscar is still in arms now at 18 months alot but not as much as prior to 12 months. BUT i know this isn't for everyone and is unusual in western society. i find in doing this, though, my kids are very sensitive and calm as toddlers and pre-schoolers, and as 11 & 8 year olds, i have also noticed that oscar does not tantrum as other kids his age. granted this could be temprement/developmental thing as well. i just think that you need to follow your heart and instincts and if it works for you continue if not change it.

    i am glad you feel confident in how you parent cos that's half the battle i think.
    beckles

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    2,732

    Default

    Thanks for the votes of confidence girls . Even though I am happy with what we are doing it is nice to get a "thumbs up" so to speak from some like minded ladies. Beckles and Dach, how did you manage settling the younger bub with having older ones at the same time? Did they ever get jealous? (only ask cause we are not actively preventing TTC#2 - IYKWIM!!) I wonder how Flynn will go when he sees a sibling crying and being settled - will he want a cuddle at the same time?!

    Just had a big cry session with Flynn now - he was over tired and wouldn't have an afternoon nap (despite a walk in the pram!) and ended up crying his heart out in my arms for about 2 minutes. He refused all settling and it was only when I showed him his refelction in the mirror and told him it was ok, mum was here, that he stopped crying and settled, then dropped off to sleep.

    WHY OH WHY do they fight it so much? Cailin, what is it with the "I'm yet to find a child who doesn't whether they co slept/rocked etc or not"?? If someone said to you, here you are, you have a sleep while I do EVERYTHING for you, you'd take them up on the offer, wouldn't you - LOL!!!!

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    419

    Default

    my answer to how did i cope BIG AGE GAPS!!!!! 3 years between the older 2 and 7 between the middle and 3rd. even 3 years wasn't a big enough gap for us looking back but 7 years is perfect!

  10. #10

    Default

    We have a really small age gap so it can be alot of work and some days (and nights) it feels like they're taking turns lol but its really rewarding to see how close they're becoming. Imran has seperation anxiety about Yasin and he gets upset if Yasin leaves him and all happy giggley when he comes back lol. From the first time that they met each other I made a big fuss over Yasin every time he did something nice for Imran like gave him a kiss or handed over his blankie if Imran needed a wrap and I still do. Its really paid off because now if Imran starts to get upset Yasin runs to find his lamb and a dummy. I geuss that what I've been trying to do is make Yasin into my helper with Imran so he see's him less as a rival because he gets lots of positive attention for looking after him.

    When it comes to puting them both to sleep at the same time we don't often have issues. During the day Yasin likes to play in his room for a while before his nap so if Imran is due for his nap Yasin doesn't mind if I leave and at night I just lie down between them in Yasin's bed and put them both to sleep at the same time and when I go to bed I get Imran and bring him into my bed. We got one of those trio bunks for Yasin's room and it's a great investment. Because it's double on the bottom it's big enough to co-sleep in comfort and I can put both boys to sleep at once and since it's really low to the ground it's an ideal first bed. We're planning on having the boys share the bottom bunk for a few years (Yasin already enjoys co-sleeping beside Imran in the evenings) and when they don't want to co-sleep any more we'll get the ladder out and one of them can have the top bunk. The top bunk is single sized so even though the top bunk is traditionally cooler having the big bottom bit should be good trade-off lol. Yasin loves it when I get a sheet and make the bottom bunk into a cubby lol.

    Sometimes they do both want a cuddle at the same time but that's ok because I've got two arms so I just pick one up on each side. There are times that they are both needing something and I have to prioritise. The example I gave earlier was if Yasin needs dinner and Imran needs a cuddle. I can make a sandwich one handed but if I'm handing hot foods or liquids I would rather put Imran down and let him sook for a minute or so than risk injuring him. Once I've done what needs doing I can get back to carrying Imran about. I just try to be fair in prioritising - I don't always put one first, I try and prioritise thing that I can take care of quickly, I explain to them that I love them but I need to do this and then I will do that and obviously a bub with an owie takes precedence.

    I seem to be rambling....

  11. #11

    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    2,732

    Default

    Dach that double bed bunk sounds like a great idea - I like the idea of younger kids co-sleeping. My cousin in Denmark has 4 kids and her middle two, a boy of 8 and a girl of 11, co-sleep most of the time. They decided they wanted to both sleep in the boy's room and have the girl's room as a playroom.

  12. #12

    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Melbourne, Vic
    Posts
    4,340

    Default

    Tulip, I get that crap from my MIL, we were there for dinner the other night and she kept telling me I "have" to learn to leave her to cry. I said I'll leave her to grizzle but if she is upset I'll go to her and she just went on about how I'm letting Ash lead things when I should be and I "should" have a set routine, blah blah, I got very upset she even told me because I'm not leaving her to cry she's not learning to sleep for long and therefore not getting enough sleep in the day and that she has bags under her eyes!Then for the millionth time I had to hear about how she left my partner in the laundry when he was a few months old to cry cause she wanted to cut out the 2am feeds. I thought it was nothing to brag about, but all this is coming from the same person who told me to put honey on a teat cause she "had" to take a bottle and who gave my daughter without permission a taste of custard!
    I guess with an older generation maybe they just see one way of parenting thats why we are always having to defend although my mum has no probs she tells me all the time to do things how I want and tells me I'm doing a great job, which is always great to hear.

  13. #13

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    141

    Default

    Hello lovely people!

    Wow I wish I had found this site and this thread when I was going through many sleepless nights...

    My little girl is now 28 months and it's only in the last say 8 weeks that we have turned a corner, purely through patience and acceptance that she will grow out of the need to wake at night.

    I breastfed her for 18 months, with night feeds cut out from about 14 months. This alone brought out a lot of the older generation of mothers who said OOH NO, that's a bad thing, they'll be wanting boobs til they're 10, etc etc.

    Rubbish. I needed to sleep in order to get to work the next day and function, so boobies were the quickest, easiest, and most comforting way for both of us to get back to sleep.

    Once I stopped breastfeeding at night, Ivy still woke and cried, and when I walked into her room she would be standing up with her little arms out wanting to be picked up. How can you tell such a young child NO you can't have a cuddle? It was just terrible to hear so many people saying Just Leave Her to cry it out!

    I would give her a cuddle for a few minutes, tuck her back in, and sit or lie on her floor til she fell back to sleep. Sometimes this would take up to two hours, as she would sit up and check to see if I was there, then lay back down. The minute I walked out, if she heard me, she'd be standing up again and crying for a cuddle.

    Yes it was hard at the time, especially getting only four or five hours broken sleep then having a full on work day, but now - seeing a happy little girl who just grew out of a natural waking pattern and into a comfortable full night's sleep because she feels safe and loved - it's so worth it.

    Just had to share.

    And yes I agree that it's OK to leave a baby for a minute or so if they're crying, not to teach them a lesson, but because sometimes you've got other things that have to be done, like going to the loo, or helping a sibling, or serving hot food.

    Love to all.

    Jo

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •