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Thread: 20 minutes of sobbing 'helps put baby to sleep'

  1. #1

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    Default 20 minutes of sobbing 'helps put baby to sleep'

    NURSES are advising parents to let infants cry for up to 20 minutes at a time to get them to sleep better.

    Research by the Murdoch Children's Research Centre in Melbourne has shown that the controlled crying technique is successful with babies more than six months old.


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    Would you let your baby cry? Tell us in the comments below
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    Researchers assure parents it is safe - and it works.

    But many other experts say it is dangerous and cruel.

    Maternal and child health nurses around Victoria have been trained in the technique, among other forms of baby-settling measures.

    In cases where they judge it appropriate, they will guide parents on how to use controlled crying.

    The technique teaches babies to fall asleep by themselves. Parents are told to, at six months old, let them cry for two, four, six, eight, 10 and up to 20 minutes at a time, returning to comfort them briefly between each period.

    Anna Price, PhD researcher at the Centre for Community Child Health at the Murdoch centre, said the aim was to teach babies to put themselves to sleep.

    "Parents who use the technique have children who sleep better up to two years of age, but the effects are strongest at one year," she said.

    "And mothers' depression symptoms were considerably reduced even two years later. There is no evidence of harmful effects."

    But Cindy Davenport, from Safe Sleep Space and a maternal and child health nurse, advocates a more gentle approach.

    "Often parents can't work with controlled crying - they don't like to listen to their babies cry," she said.

    "I am quite surprised it has been given the stamp of approval - it doesn't sit very comfortably with parents."

    Pinky McKay, one of Melbourne's leading baby sleep experts and author of Sleeping Like a Baby, said:

    "It may indeed work; however, the trade-off could be an anxious, clingy or hyper-vigilant child or even worse, a child whose trust is broken."

    The Australian Medical Association supports the Murdoch position. But the Australian Association for Infant Mental Health says controlled crying is "not consistent with what infants need for their optimal emotional and psychological health".

    But Ms Price said parents could rely on the Murdoch study, involving 328 Melbourne mothers from 2003-05, which found there was no difference between the behaviour and emotions of children whose parents used controlled crying.

    "Eighty-five per cent of parents who used it said their relationship with their child was better, and none said worse," she said.

    LET THEM CRY

    ASHLEY Thonemann realised it was time to change her routine when baby Bailey, eight months, refused to go to sleep without being rocked or being given a bottle.

    The family were exhausted, and decided to try controlled crying.

    "We only did it for a little while and it worked," Ms Thonemann said.

    She said that at first it had not been easy using controlled crying.

    "It does feel really mean," she said. "But it's worked well and now he'll only cry for a couple of minutes at the most before he goes to sleep."

    NO CRYING

    KAT Song Son has tried leaving son Jayden to cry, but has not had much success with the technique.

    "It depends on what I'm doing. Sometimes I'll leave him for a couple of minutes," Ms Song Son said.

    "But he just doesn't stop crying by himself."

    Ms Song Son said she believed all babies were different.

    She said she and her husband had tried leaving their son to cry, but Jayden would cry until he made himself sick.



    "I'm sure it works for some people, but it doesn't work for him," she said


  2. #2

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    When my kids were 6 months I would try the 'let them cry themselves to sleep' but listening to them cry often made me so stressed out and anxious I would cry! For me, I found cuddling/rocking/feeding to sleep worked for me and my babies. As they say in the article, all babies are different. Different techniques will work for different people and at different stages.

    I think these people writing these stories need to be careful incase it affects an already vulnerable mother.

  3. #3

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    ^ I'm with you on that one, different situations for different mums and bubs - I don't like articles that word things in a way that could be misconstrued as suggesting that *everybody* MUST do it this way, instead of allowing for individual people and circumstances.

    I did read an article very shortly after DD was born that really confirmed (in my mind, anyway) that my methods were working and that I was doing the right thing for my individual situation (I didn't do a 'proper' controlled crying thing, just went by instinct, if DD's cries were just whingy ones I left her for a bit, if she was actually crying of course I would pick her up straight away). I can't find the link to it now, but the gist of it was that babies are just the same as us in that they get stressed, overtired and need a vent after a long, hard day - and that constantly 'shushing' them when they cry can be detrimental because they need to learn right from birth how to express their negative emotions in a healthy way, instead of bottling everything up - we all know as adults how important it is to have a cry when we're down, how important 'alone time' or a big *****ing session to our best mate or a chocolate binge after a hard day at work is... and babies need the same thing, but obviously they can only cry to vent their frustrations.
    So, I would often allow DD to just lay next to me and have a bit of a sook if we'd had a busy day, when feeds, cuddles and other things weren't working I assumed she was just letting it all out and she would often get her tears out of the way and either fall asleep or be back to her smiling self very soon. Not that I left her alone in a room bawling for hours or anything, I was always with her, but I didn't try to comfort her other than putting an arm around her and letting her know that mummy was there for her, kwim??


    But again, reporters need to be very careful about how they word their arguments and research for fear of someone who isn't as confident a parent as others taking it to heart and doing more harm than good.

  4. #4

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    Ergh, how depressing

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    I could only let DD1 cry herself to sleep IF I was cuddling her. In that case I was trying to get her to drop her night feed and although she was crying I was cuddling and soothing her without the feed - fortunately it lasted only a couple of nights before she stopped waking BUT even doing it that way was not pleasant and I was also teary. I don't think I could ever let my babies cry alone for that length of time and not provide comfort

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    This was on the Today show this morning and caused arguments in my house already, LOL. Why do some people believe everything they see on TV because its said by a so called "expert"? DH believes in CC....and I don't...lucky I am the one who has to deal with the baby then, huh?
    Its hard when every time Jack wont sleep DH just turns around and says "let him cry"...makes me more determined to be gentle, HAHAHA.
    I do let Jack have a whinge (as GothMum said sometimes a whinge can help them wind down) but I will NOT let him cry, I don't care what DH thinks about it!!!

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    I saw this on the Today show too. I was slightly annoyed by the doctor's comments that babies can start 'manipulating' us from birth. Sure. And if we give in to them they will grow up to be 'self absorbed'. Hmmmm.

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    I don't know why they bother quoting doctors and the AMA...I think a cross section of pyschologists, child and adult, would be more appropriate! Doctors aren't the ones who study cortisol and adrenalin levels related to stress in kids and adults
    Also, manipulation and self-absorption are tendencies of kids whose needs are NOT met, who are 'punished' and 'rewarded', NOT of kids who are unconditionally loved and their needs respected and met.
    But, this is what parents want to hear - they want to hear that life can go back to normal for them (and thus remain in denial that they ever had kids)...ARGH!

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    Quote Originally Posted by bon View Post
    I was slightly annoyed by the doctor's comments that babies can start 'manipulating' us from birth. Sure. And if we give in to them they will grow up to be 'self absorbed'. Hmmmm.
    That kind of stuff bothers me, too. What, so there is absolutely no way on earth a bad habit or behaviour pattern can be broken once a child gets away with it a few times?? God, I'm in big trouble then lol It's a moot argument, imo - there are always ways to establish new patterns and behaviours - not every little thing you allow your child to do is going to affect them long-term, kwim??

  10. #10

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    IMO there is no such thing as "controlled crying" - if they are crying you are not controlling the situation!!!

    This is the most critical stage for a child to develop empathy - leaving them to cry/scream (IMO!!) is more likely to result in a psychopathic adult!!

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    "ASHLEY Thonemann realised it was time to change her routine when baby Bailey, eight months, refused to go to sleep without being rocked or being given a bottle...The family were exhausted, and decided to try controlled crying."

    It doesn't take a great deal of imagination to work out that these are not the only two alternatives.

    ""Eighty-five per cent of parents who used it said their relationship with their child was better, and none said worse," she said."

    To quote a well worn phrase - well, they would say that, wouldn't they? It's still a logical fallacy - they may be relating to their child better because they are getting more sleep. But who knows what the outcome would have been if they had achieved that result in a different way? Again, there is more than one answer to disrupted sleeping habits than "controlled" crying.

    I don't even let my five year old cry for twenty minutes without offering comfort, no matter what the cause of the crying is. And if I am crying and no-one in my family pays attention, I find it absolutely devastating, regardless of how justified or otherwise my tears are.

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    With DD I had no choice but to let her cry herself to sleep otherwise she wouldn't sleep but would still be crying nonstop anyway. - she would originally cry for at least 20-30mins, in the end there was no crying just sleep. But she was a dreadful crier - if she was awake she was crying. She had dreadful reflux and nothing else would work, she would usually wake up happy. That is not to say I never comforted her, but if nothing was working and it was a choice between her crying herself to sleep or me holding her whilst she still screamed her lungs out and going quietly insane, well it wasn't much of a choice...

    With DS, he rarely ever cried - so when he did there was no way I would just leave him to cry it out - he needed comfort, and would calm down when he received it.

    With this third one, it will depend on what works best.

    I guess my point is "horses for courses". What works for one baby will not work for another.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nai View Post
    I could only let DD1 cry herself to sleep IF I was cuddling her. In that case I was trying to get her to drop her night feed and although she was crying I was cuddling and soothing her without the feed - fortunately it lasted only a couple of nights before she stopped waking BUT even doing it that way was not pleasant and I was also teary. I don't think I could ever let my babies cry alone for that length of time and not provide comfort
    Totally agree here. All of mine I have done this with. They go to sleep after crying but I am ALWAYS cuddling them while they are crying. I personally don't believe in CC, I tried it and it resulted in clinginess and I felt like it broke trust. Babies are babies for goodness sake!! It's their right to expect comfort when they are upset!!

  14. #14
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    My SIL has done this method for sometime now ... even allowing for her son to cry & scream for up to 30mins ... Too be honest i have never seen it work as her son ends up hysterical & with short of breath ... and then shes goes in to get him & she starts the same procedure all over again

    Maybe she continues to use this method as 'maybe' ?? it's worked for her at some point ??

    I personally couldn't witness my DD get so emotionally & physically stressed ... When she was a baby i would chose to cuddle her if she was crying until she slept (but then that's just me & that's my choice ... and not to mention she had painful colic pains )

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    Hmm, must have the conversation with my DS that 20 minutes of crying will help him sleep better. Nothing more, nothing less. Yeah right. I have the opposite - if my DS is crying himself to sleep, even if he does drop off after a few minutes, guaranteed he will be awake again at the end of the first sleep cycle. If he goes to bed happily, I'm much more likely to get a good nights sleep. That sounds like I do CC - I don't at all, but now that he's developing his toddler independence, if he's really messing around at bedtime I pop him into bed to think about what he wants - sleep or milk...Can't think of a time when milk wasn't the winner

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    . Yes it was hard to her him cry and not go in or rock him to sleep in my arms, but he was getting to old for rocking to sleep. U can tell the difference bewteen cryign and having a whinge, if he was really crying to the point he was gunna be sick we'd go in and calm him down Now we r up to the point were he only have to sit for a few mins he is asleep. THese so called experts obviously dont have children

    I suppose every child is different and whatever works best for the child and parents is the go.
    Last edited by BeautifulMadness; March 31st, 2009 at 03:42 PM.

  17. #17

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    *begin sarcasm*
    Well, yeah of course. The poor cherubs exahust themselves that they fall asleep. Of course, in that 20 minutes the emotions they feel some terrible emotions, fear, abandonment, loss, danger, but hey, at least they fall asleep. The ends MUST justify the means, of course. Sleep is the ultimate goal of parenting.
    *end sarcasm*

    I think this is terrible. One day I turned the monitor on but accidentally switched it to the wrong frequency. Jazz was crying and I thought it was the child next door because the monitor was on and jazz wasn't crying. I bawled at the thought that she was in there thinking mummy had left her to cry I don't know how long she was crying for but I had this horrible lump in my throat. I couldn't imagine letting her do that on a daily basis! I'd prefer her to be awake and me tired, then have her cry herself to sleep... I have cried myself to sleep before. It's terrible.

    I have left her to cry. When I am at my absolute wits end with her. I can count on my hand how many times. I personally can't justify letting her go through that range of emotions at an age when all they should feel is safe, loved, and cherished. Yes, it might seem to work for some people but at what cost? There needs to be more to support parents through tough sleep patches, so they don't need to resort to (un)controlled crying.

    JMO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Toomanytoomany View Post
    "ASHLEY Thonemann realised it was time to change her routine when baby Bailey, eight months, refused to go to sleep without being rocked or being given a bottle...The family were exhausted, and decided to try controlled crying."

    It doesn't take a great deal of imagination to work out that these are not the only two alternatives.
    So true, our 3 year old currently gets sung to or her daddy plays guitar for her until she falls asleep, our son gets patted to sleep. It only takes 15 minutes out of our day and both children fall asleep knowing mummy and daddy care for them and are always there for them. We had issues with DD waking up at night when she was ounger but we never left her to cry, if she did cry there was always someone there holding her until she calmed down.

    I know that long-term sleep deprivation really knocks you areound but people have to be realistic, being a parent means that life will change a lot, including the amount of sleep you get, and if you don't want it to change then don't have kids. It's that simple.

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