As many of you may know, this “being a parent” thing is pretty wild. Specifically I’m talking about the first month or two, which is where my wife and I find ourselves right now. Our son, Sammy, is almost 7 weeks old and it has been one wacky roller coaster ride. I think the key may be to mentally prepare yourself to be mentally unprepared. There is nothing on the planet like having to care for a human being 24 hours per day, non-stop.
We are learning day by day, minute by minute, and one of the biggest lessons we’ve learned in 7 weeks time is that babies cry! Our agreed-on approach is that once you check and take care of the following things and the baby is still crying you either need to take them to the hospital or let them cry it out. And those things are:
-Is the child hungry?
-Does the baby need to be burped?
-Does the baby need a clean diaper?
-Has the baby had a good amount of parental contact/ holding?
-Is the baby sleepy?
I am one of those people that cannot sit there and hold a crying baby until they stop. Don’t get me wrong, I have held my son for 10 to 15 minutes (probably even longer) while crying and you know what…it absolutely grates on my nerves!! The three sounds in the world that bug me the most right now are alarm clocks, endless dog barking, and endless baby crying. Love me or hate me…I just can’t stand it when a baby cries and cries and cries.
I am a problem solver and to me, the crying needs to be solved. Granted, I would need my son to be a logical thinker and have the ability to speak so we could work through things together but that just isn’t happening right now. There are people that disagree with letting babies cry it out…I’m not one of these people. On the other hand, I do not believe in letting babies cry it out without supervision to some degree. For example…if little Sammy is having an issue after all the major things have been checked we will lay him somewhere (our bed, his crib, his bouncy seat, or his swing) and my wife and I take turns going to check on him every 2 to 5 minutes depending on what all is happening.
The purpose of checking on him, in our opinion, is to let him know we are still there and to check on things like burping or to make sure he has not spit up. We will lay him on his side with a bumper of some sort behind him so he cannot go on to his back…don’t want him to choke/ gag on any spit up that may happen. Typically he will calm down after 5 to 8 minutes, other times he has gone on longer but the great thing is that I’m not losing my hearing because he isn’t screaming in my ear…he’s away from me and I can also keep some amount of my sanity. After 5 to 15 minutes of letting him cry it out, he is usually tired and will calm down once we pick him up.
I’m not here to tell you whether you should or shouldn’t let your baby cry it out sometimes. My personal opinion is yes, if it works for you, and based on what I have heard back from others parents, Annie’s doctor, and our pediatrician…so long as you are checking on them and have checked all obvious things that might be bothering the baby…it’s fine to let them cry. It’s more about the comfort level of the parents and how easy or hard it is for them to allow their baby to cry. That’s the big issue…we hate watching Sammy cry, we want to fix it…but sometimes…there is nothing to fix. Maybe he’s in a bad mood or his belly is bothering him due to all that newborn digestive crap…but all we can do is all we can do.
So who is right? Who is wrong? Rather than focus on that, why not be supportive of each other through the parenting process? It’s a difficult enough road to travel, so agree to disagree if need be and focus on nurturing these babies.