It never ceases to shock us that something like baby sleep is the cause of so many heated debates. We figure that it’s your prerogative as a parent to choose the baby sleep solution that works best for you and your family. Whatever you do, though, whether you decide to pick baby up and comfort her every time she cries or allow her to cry it out, don’t jump on the bandwagon and start making crazy accusations about people who choose a different baby sleep method.
Believe it or not, we’ve heard some attachment parenting advocates suggest that babies who are allowed to cry it out suffer brain damage. Brain damage? Really? Come on. We think there are more than enough adults in this world who were allowed to cry it out and managed to grow up reasonably healthy and happy (and with mysteriously undamaged craniums) that we can all agree that babies aren’t suffering from brain damage from crying.
And make no mistake, there’s no monopoly on misplaces overzealousness on the attachment parenting side. There are some who actually would have you believe that soothing a crying baby at night will cause social problems down the road for the baby. Some go so far as to suggest that babies who are soothed to sleep by their parents will end up being overly dependant as adults. We’re pretty sure there are plenty of independent adults out there who were held and soothed as babies, so we can toss this extreme out, too.
Look, whether you allow your baby to cry it out and learn to self soothe at night or you pick her up immediately really isn’t going to have any earth shattering effect on how your baby turns out as she grows up. Of course, babies who are allowed to cry it out still do need to be held at times, and still do need to be shown affection. Babies who are soothed whenever they cry also need times when they’re not being held. But in the vast majority of cases, parents are already doing that.
Of course, babies should not be left to cry it out before they are old enough to sleep through the night. Until babies are four to five months old, most of their night time crying is because they are hungry and need to be fed. You should wait until your baby is at least four months old before trying any kind of sleep training.
Night time parenting isn’t easy. Regardless of which method you choose, there will be challenges and difficulties. The important thing is to be consistent with your baby.