Baby Sleep – Controlled Crying

I am at the point where I will do anything to get my baby to sleep! But I do have a fear of causing her to be insecure. Is controlled crying cruel?

There will probably never be a consensus on this issue. For many mothers, controlled crying has been a complete life saving strategy, producing babies who sleep very well, and mothers who cope because they are not short of sleep. These mothers will tell you that their babies are not at all insecure because of the controlled crying, and are happy, well adjusted children. But you will also meet many parents who contend that it is wrong to leave an unhappy baby to cry. This is not a method to use on a sick baby, or a baby who is teething. If your baby is unhappy, she needs to be comforted by you, and sleep issues are secondary to that. This is a method for a baby who is content, well fed, and has no other reason not to sleep.

You will need to have a strong will in order to try this technique. Before you embark on it, think carefully about anything that may be unsettling your baby or causing her to wake up. Set up a nice bedtime routine, and stick to it rigidly. Make sure it is a gentle and happy time, so that baby is calm and content when she goes to bed. Make sure she is warm enough, but not too warm. Make sure her room is dark and quiet. Give her a good feed before bedtime, and experiment with nappies until you find a night time arrangement that suits her. Even if you are in favour of cloth nappies, it may be worth investigating the super absorbent night time disposables, to see if having her dry for longer aids her sleep.

Once you are sure that you really have made every effort to ensure that she is not unhappy in any way, you put her in her cot, tell her to sleep well, and leave the room. If she cries, wait for five minutes before going back in. Do not pick her up. Settle her back into her cot if she has wriggled out of her blankets. Use the same message as you did the first time, so that she starts to understand that when you say it, you are serious about her going to sleep. Wait a few minutes longer every time, before you go in, settle her without picking her up and say the same bed time message. She will eventually go to sleep, but how long this will take varies from baby to baby.

If she wakes in the night, you will have to repeat the process. For this reason it may be worth embarking on this programme on a weekend when you can sleep late.

You may need to do this for a couple of nights, but know that this method does work if you can stick it out and if you are rigid about the system. It is not uncommon for babies to go to sleep straight away when you put them down on the second night.

If you are concerned about this method making your baby insecure, then ask yourself, are you there for your baby every day? You know that you are a good mother and make every attempt to bring your baby up to feel loved, and valued. So teaching your baby to sleep is something you are doing in order to make life easier for both of you.

See also:
Baby Sleep – Cot in parents’ room
Baby Sleep – Doing it your way
Baby Sleep – Overtiredness
Baby Sleep – Own Room
Baby Sleep – Position
Baby Sleep – Sharing Mother’s Bed
Baby Sleep – Teaching baby to sleep +27 (0)81 885 4683

*Important : The information provided is for information purposes only. No medical diagnosis or prescription can be inferred or is implied. Please consult your doctor for medical advice.

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