Tuesday 19 June 2012

To cry or not to cry

I have always wondered why we use the term 'controlled crying' surely no crying can be controlled. If I was sad I would want someone to comfort me and not leave me to cry, come in and say two words and then leave me to it for five minutes before gradually making their visits fewer and more far between. So why do we do this to babies.

Can you really control an emotion?

Now don't get me wrong it really is a matter of personal choice but having tried and failed, I'm not sure it's the choice for me.

Yes my children don't sleep well so I am in no position to give advice, I just have to do what feels right for my babies. I often think about trying sleep training but as soon as I hear that little cry, the thoughts go out of my head and turn to getting into them to check they are ok.

Both Damien and Dennis have very strong wills. When we tried to control Damien at around 18 months of pure sleep deprivation and utter desperation it took 4 hours to complete. He finally fell asleep sat up, with his face pressed firmly against the cot bars. The technique did work for a few weeks until he became unwell and everything went out the window. We decides we couldn't face another 4 hours and that it just wasn't for us!

We may come across as weak for not being able to control cry but I think it shows strength to continue having disturbed sleep night after night, week after week, month after month.

I am not even talking about our little ones getting up once or twice a night. We went through a phase where we were up 7 or 8 times a night for weeks on end. It was relentless, stressful, exhausting and at points emotional but even at the worst points I would not go back to controlled crying.

Just because it's not for me doesn't mean it isn't for others. What are your thoughts? I would love to know what you think...


  1. I am a big fan of controlled crying although I know exactly how you feel. What you need to remember is that not every cry is a sad one. Now up until about a 12-18mth I don't really believe a baby could be naughty and wouldn't try it - I am quite happy to co-sleep and have them in my room. When Ethan was 18mths I was heavily pregnant and I couldn't stand being kicked in the night anymore. The first night it took nearly 6hrs before he went to sleep, I had read all the books that said 'up to 2hrs' - I didn't think we had a hope. The 2nd night took 4, 3rd just 1 and after that he was asleep within 15mins. We also had relapses but we started again and it never took as long as before. I think the reason it's a controlled cry is that you do go in and comfort so as not to let them get distressed. When I started I felt guilty and just wanted to give up but I was desperate - as I started to listen more carefully to his cries I could hear when he shouted 'Mummy' it was anger and frustration at not getting his way. Even after this he continued to crawl into our bed around 3am but over the years he eventually stopped. I'm lucky in that Cian and Tilly have always been happy sleepers so I haven't had to do it again. I think it's all down to personal choice - I think it was Ant that said to me that it didn't really matter if they wanted to snuggle with us because no child is still doing it at 16 so eventually they'll stop of their own accord if you're not happy pushing it. Emily x

  2. Thanks Emily, that is a really lovely comment. I agree that they wont be sleeping in your bed till they are sixteen and sometimes when Jake doesn't come in with us, I actually miss his sleepy cuddles. Its such a nice time when they are so peaceful and they look so beautiful when they sleep. Very relaxing. xxx