There are several different approaches to night time parenting, and respected experts with doctorates degrees who will go to bat for each of them. In our experience though, we’ve found that babies really do respond better when the parent takes an active role in helping them to relax and fall asleep.
Babies need constant attention. While some babies are needier than others, the fact is that all babies need a lot of nurture from their parents. While we think that many claims that babies who are allowed to cry it out at night grow up to have more problems later in life are grossly exaggerated, we’ve found it more satisfying as parents to take an active role in helping our babies fall asleep.
Some might argue that going to your baby immediately when they cry at night is likely to cause them to become clingier or dependant later in life, but this hardly seems likely. The fact is, regardless of how a baby is encouraged to sleep at night, they will grow up and usually become healthy children and, later, adults. Any deep connection between adult or teenage behavior and how one was laid to sleep as a baby is anecdotal and frankly far fetched.
With that being said, here are some of the reasons why we suggest taking an active role in helping your baby fall asleep when she’s fussy at night time:
- You’re going to be awake anyway. Let’s face it, the overwhelming majority of us aren’t going to be able to sleep if the baby is crying anyhow. In our opinion, it’s better to do something rather than nothing if you’re going to be up anyway.
- Night time parenting is a great time to bond with your baby. Babies love to snuggle, and falling asleep in your arms is especially comforting for your baby. And, frankly, it feels pretty good for us as parents as well.
- Baby may have real needs. While we’re not suggesting that people who allow their baby to cry it out for a while are being neglectful or abusive, sometimes babies wake up because they are hungry, wet, dirty, or otherwise uncomfortable. We always preferred checking on our baby to make sure rather than waiting five or ten minutes only to find out afterwards that she had peed through her diaper.