Children all over the world have to self soothe because they don't have the loving arms of a mama....2 of my children never had anyone to rock them to sleep...to wipe their tears...to kiss their sweet cheeks and to hear 'I love you'. I use to buy into the "let them cry it out" but never again. The season that our babes want to actually be held and cradled is short. Don't ever let anyone tell you that you are holding your child too much...that is the most absurd statement...how could possibly love on your babe TOO much?? How could offering comfort, safety, love, and promoting healthy attachment & bonding be a bad thing? God designed our children to need us...they will be on their own soon enough...by holding your babies, your are giving the gift of security and assurance. Such a funny world we live it!
What prompted that fb status? My heart was burdened as I heard a young mama, with great pride, talking about how she is 'finally' letting her daughter cry-it-out. She shared about how the first night it took over 2 hours of her daughter crying before she fell asleep...then 1.5 hours of crying for her nap the next day....then 2.5 hours that night of crying...she was so proud of herself for not giving in and picking up her daughter. My heart BROKE!! Was I upset with her...absolutely NOT...society tells her that she is doing what's best for her and for her baby...and she desperately wants to do what is best for her daughter.
You see...I was that mama the first time around....dare I say, almost 15 years ago...man, seeing that in writing makes me feel very old!!! Everyone told me I was spoiling my son because I always held him...that he'd never fall asleep on his own if I always rocked him...that I would never have my own space because he would suffocate me with needing to be held all the time....that he'd never know how to be independent. It was all well-meaning advice but it was wrong advice.
But being a first time mama and wanting to do everything right, I believed them. I sat on the other side of the door and wept as my baby wept and longed for his mama's arms to hold him....my arms longed to hold him...I remember asking my hubby, 'what am I doing...he wants me...he needs me...' needless to say, that put a quick end to our cry-it-out attempts.
I allowed older, well-seasoned, who honestly wanted-the-best-for-their-children mom's influence my better judgement for our family. I fell into the trap of 'they must know best'. But here is the bottom-line and the reason I am writing this blog post.....
~Only you know the dynamics of your family...only you know your child...if you don't want to have them cry-it-out, then DON'T...it's that simple. The Lord has entrusted you with your child, not your loving friends that are offering advice. Be confident in your choice, either way and don't feel bad. I felt so insecure in my decision and I don't ever want another mama to feel that way. Seek the Lord, He will guide you.
~Do I believe that the cry-it-out movement is bad...for my family, ABSOLUTELY...for your family...only you can determine what is best.
~Whether you let your child cry-it-out or not doesn't determine your depth of love for your child...nor does it mean that I think you love your child more or less...my purpose in this post is to offer support for those mama's who are struggling with this decision.
I will say that the cry-it-out method is very dangerous for children that have been adopted older than birth so I beg you to please pray before considering this method. Many have spent their first days...months...years...learning to self sooth and to cope on their own...learning that they don't need anyone in their lives. With lots of love, patience, and time, your job is to teach them...to SHOW them that they indeed do need someone to care for them, especially when they are scared and hurting. By allowing these kiddos to cry-it-out, you are confirming that you aren't going to be there when they need you. Nighttime is a very vulnerable time for most people, especially our kiddos that were adopted after birth.
I urge you to follow your heart and the Lord and be confident in your decision.
Baby wearing has become something very serious and special to our family. Understanding the need for our children to be able to safely explore their environment is also important to us, too Having a child with pretty significant sensory issues, we also know there is a balance...finding that balance will be individualized to each family.
Love your babies...hold your babies...rock your babies...wear your babies...God designed them to need their mama's...God designed you with a special love that only you can give...a special comfort that can only come from you...He also will guide you on the best way to care for your child.
Would you believe that 7 kids later...15 years (eekkk) later...people STILL tell me I hold my babies too much. I just don't understand how you can hold your baby too much...so weird!!! She doesn't seem to mind being held and I DEFINITELY DON'T MIND holding my babes...I LOVE IT!!!!