Thinking of Controlled Crying?
Do Not Know Where To Begin?
Do Not Know If You Can Cope?
Then Read On…..
The thought of letting my babies cry put fear into me. When they were tiny I never let them cry, I picked them up, cuddled them, nursed them and played with them. My little ones also slept in the same bed as me. Prior to having my children I had plans to do the controlled crying and setting a strict routine from the start, but I failed miserably once my babies came. I DO NOT REGRET THIS. I loved the time I spent with them and could afford that undivided attention whilst on maternity. However I had to return to work and so for my own sanity I had to set a better routine.
When my first was 8 months I started the controlled crying and this was to stop the breast feeds during the night. After this was resolved I used the controlled crying to put my son to sleep in his cot in the evening at 7 pm. I then used it to get my son sleeping through the night in his own bed. With my second child again I waited until 6 months and then followed a similar pattern. Here are my survival tips.
1. Do Not Do It Alone
I could not have done this without the support and help of my husband. This helps you to stay strong, share the work and have someone to voice your anxiety to.
2. Have A Plan
We did not just go into controlled crying lightly. My husband and I sat down and discussed it. I had sought advice from my Health Visitor, friends who had also been through it and read up a lot on the internet. My husband and I then spoke and discussed areas that we wanted to adapt to make the controlled crying work for us. We then set a date and I spoke to my children beforehand telling them about what was to happen (which they probably did not understand)!
3. Follow It Through / Be Consistent
This can be a battle of wills. With my son he did not cry more than 20 minutes. However with my daughter, my husband and I have been up with her for 4 hours doing the controlled crying. If you give in your child learns that they have won so when it comes to doing it the next time then it is harder for you. Do not be put off by the 4 hours, the following night she cried for 1 hour and the after that for 15 minutes and then she went to sleep first time.
4. Our Method.
This is an adaptation to the real method as I was too chicken to do what I read and was told! I let my children cry for 5 minutes then went into the room saying ‘Shhhh, it’s night time, time to go to sleep.’ If they were lying down I would stroke their hair and pat them until they calmed down, then I would kiss them and say ‘love you, night, night’ and leave the room.
If they continued to cry I let them cry for 10 minutes and repeat them process. However If they were sobbing and standing up in their cot asking for a cuddle I did pick them up to comfort them and then put them back to bed once they had settled (this is not recommended though). The literature I had read on controlled crying recommends increasing the crying time i.e. waiting for 15 minutes and then 20 minutes. However I found this quite hard so I just kept to the 10 minute cry down.
5. Every Child Is Different
Both of my children reacted differently to the controlled crying but we ended up with the same result. Adapt your approach to your child. My son would always cry after you left him but would go to sleep within minutes. My daughter never went to sleep crying, she always had to be comforted and at that point decide to just go to sleep.
I also found that my son wanted cuddled most of the time but my daughter was happy to be comforted through a stroke, a pat and some quiet words. I have also mentioned that my daughter was more determined and lasted hours longer with the controlled crying.
6. Do Not Be Put Off
I know that after the first night with my daughter, the thought of doing it again the second night terrified me. I felt terribly guilty as a Mum for putting my children through it and I also felt anxious at the thought of again very little sleep. This is why planning is key, only start controlled crying when you and your partner do not have work or any plans. I was lucky that the second night for both my children was significantly better than the first, which fills you with hope for the future. However I was warned that you can have 2 – 4 hard nights.
This is an emotive topic. The whole thought of letting your babies cry sounds horrendous. However babies in a secure environment with routines thrive, as do children. It could be argued that I should have done the controlled crying long before 6 months and a few of my friends who had adapted the Gine Ford method have contented children. They also had babies that slept through the night at a young age and went to sleep without being comforted to sleep.
Parenting is very subjective and I think the best parenting is to go with your instincts, research and adapt to suit you and your family as no method will work for all.
Let me know your thoughts as everyone will have different experiences and It will be nice to have a variety of ideas for any Parents considering the Controlled Crying Approach. My final words of advice are to STAY STRONG.
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