FAQ: Controlled Crying

In discussing the pros and cons of letting babies cry, there is one very important point that must be made first:

If your baby is crying and you feel that you are about to lose control and become upset with your child, leave the room. Leaving baby to cry for a few minutes while you calm yourself will not harm him.

What is controlled crying?
“Controlled crying” is currently used as an umbrella catch-phrase for all sorts of settling techniques, including what can only be called “uncontrolled crying” (the practice of repeatedly leaving a baby to cry himself to sleep).
Actual “controlled crying” or “controlled comforting” requires the parent/carer to wait a prescribed amount of time before entering the room to provide comfort to a crying baby / child.

Does it work?
It can be a useful tool, in some instances, with older children. I find it counter productive with children under two.

Does it harm my baby?
This recent study shows quite clearly the harm that uncontrolled crying can do; an abstract of the research is here:
http://www.earlyhumandevelopment.com/article/S0378-3782%2811%2900270-2/abstract
What this means, in a nutshell, is that babies who are left to cry do stop crying, but they do not stop being stressed.

Do you practice controlled crying?
I neither condone, support, teach nor practice controlled-crying-type methods with small babies.

Mentoring New Mums

Something I’ve been doing a lot more of again lately – and meaning to blog about – is mentoring new mums. After meeting for an initial consultation, we meet again either weekly, or every couple of weeks, to build on Mum’s brand new skills, to discuss Baby’s development, perhaps to keep an eye on Baby’s feeding / weight gain, or to deal with an ongoing issue such as sibling rivalry, or postnatal depression. I am also available by phone and email to touch base with these families between visits.
Having a new baby is a really steep learning curve for many Mums, especially if there is no family support available. One of the Mums taking part in this program said that having me around is like knowing that the “safety net” is there.
For more information, please call me or email me.