Cry Baby - Listening to Babies

I Decided to write this following a post from Constance Hall Facebook page the other day.

It talked of her difficulty with her newest baby, Raffi, nearly 1. She talks of her struggle with his desire to breastfeed thought the night, how she did sleep training with her twins, she says:

”Of course people on facebook linked me studies to prove I was fucking them up long term, giving them anxiety, proving to them that they cannot rely on me, but I saw I had no choice. I was on the verge, a shell of my former self.”

I wrote a post on Facebook saying we have to stop making women feel shit for doing what they feel is right. I lost 7 followers within the space of 6hrs (but also 61 likes & 13 comments from mums that had experienced the same).

Our negativity & hysteria towards letting babies cry is getting out of hand. To all good mums, their baby is by far the most precious being on the planet. The sound of that cry is the most awful noise in the world, I defy any mum to choose to listen to her baby cry. However, crying is the ONLY method of communication a baby has.

It may be the only method of communication but there are lots of things to say. Especially with a 6, 7, 8m old baby. I am hungry, I am thirsty, I am tired, I have had enough, I want to play with that plug socket, I want to sleep in your bed, I don’t want to sleep, I do want to sleep, the list goes on…

Our job as parents is to try and do what we believe is best for our baby. Sometimes that is doing something they don’t understand is in their best interest. For example, a baby who has been awake all afternoon, and is wired with adrenline, needing to sleep, some babies may protest cry at our knowledge that they NEED to go to bed.

We seem to be hugely pro empowering mums, until it comes to saying no to our babies. Mums are expected to carry on rocking or feeding to sleep, as that is what baby wants. Now that is fine if that is what MUM wants. But if mum doesn’t want to do that, and she trusts that her baby is warm, fed, watered and safe, and wants to put that baby down to sleep without whatever prop is being used, that is HER choice! That baby WILL NOT be damaged by those actions. I never had time to spend hours at bedtime, as a working mum my evenings were my time to get work done (I went back to teaching 4 evenings a week when my youngest was 4months, he was exclusively breastfed and he didn’t have the option to feed all evening, the boobs left at 6, and came back at 10pm). My kids had to go down and go to sleep in their own time, I didn't have time to rock, or sit on floors. But that is MY choice! No one has the right to tell me that that choice is wrong!

This isn’t about teaching a child to sleep, or the method you choose do to do that. You can feed to sleep, rock to sleep, or use no prop and sleep train. This is about hysteria over something that can make mums feel SO crap. I KNOW babies have needs, I KNOW babies can’t manipulate, but I also know that they don’t understand that sometimes we know better than them what those needs are. Or sometimes our needs are greater or on a par with theirs. Does that make us selfish? No, we give everything to our children, it is ok, sometimes to say no. This is 100% different to neglect, babies left to cry for days/weeks on end in Romanian orphanages are NEGLECTED. Of course they learn not to cry anymore, of course they will be damaged, this is NOT the same as “cry it out” or “controlled crying”.

I think as mums we can sometimes react too quickly to our crying baby, we are too scared to listen to what they are saying to us. Especially if we are breastfeeding, we just assume that cry is hunger, we can then end up with a situation whereby we feel as a breastfeeding mum we can’t keep up, we aren’t producing enough milk, as our baby still cry’s (because it isn’t a hunger issue).

So we do need to listen to babies, it isn’t about not meeting their needs, its about learning what those need are, and not panicking if our baby cries.

Mums, do your thing, if it doesn't’ feel right, don’t do it, if it does, do. Your baby will be a happier being wth a happier empowered mum.