It is sometimes so frustrating to be a mother in 2016. There is such a high degree of scare mongering and the result is a whole lot of frightened and exhausted women. I could probably write a novel on the subject but instead or at least for now, I’ve decided to write a few posts dispelling one myth at a time.
You will create a rod for your back if you rock your baby to sleep.
This is probably the one that has irritated me the most. Ripley has GORD, for those that don’t understand it, it just comes off as being an overly dramatic mother with a baby that spits up. They really need to rename it, it’s not spitting up or a little bit of vomit. It’s actually a really bad imbalance of gut bacteria leading to inflammation that leads to food intolerances, or worse still allergies. And the result is increased acid production that burns the oesophagus and contributes to vomiting. At the end of the day, the baby is screaming, has eczema and likes to feed constantly. A baby like this will not like to lie down much and one of the only ways to soothe his cries is to rock him, pat him, cuddle him and move gently. Over time he will learn it’s OK to fall asleep and nothing will hurt him.
For babies that don’t have GORD, there is absolutely no reason you should leave them to cry for some ridiculous number of minutes. Your baby is crying for a reason. To think that we have somehow evolved quickly enough that a baby can think to itself ‘I’m going to cry right now to get attention because I feel like being naughty, but really nothing is wrong’ is ludicrous. It’s got me incensed as I see so many mothers letting their babies cry in their cots because they are so tired. I get it, I’m tired too, my baby is waking up every 2 hours at the moment but I drag myself out of bed, or roll over actually, and soothe him, even with eyes closed because it is what he wants, what he needs. Leaving him to cry would only send a message that we don’t care about him, and that he is alone. It’s not self settling or self regulating, it’s just survival that he stops crying because biologically he is thinking ‘crap I better stop crying otherwise the big scary predator is going to eat me’. Honestly, I’m not making this up, the science is out there.
Why maternal child health nurses and magazines like Mother & Baby tell people to put their baby down asleep, and recommend Sleep School beyond me. I called a Sleep School once and asked questions. They are adamant they don’t use the Controlled Crying or Cry It Out method but seriously, they are using it and tell us it’s called something else. I think maybe Responsive Settling is what I’ve heard it called. There is no difference.
As a mother (and father) it’s more important that you find what works for you and your baby. Ripley likes to be held upright before going to sleep, and he loves his mama’s milk so he has a feed, and a cuddle upright on our chest and he drops off on his own. If he’s overtired, a bit of patting and standing up swaying your body might be needed, but I despise being told that I’m creating bad habits.
Think what you want to think, but be informed. The number one reason we are told not to rock our babies to sleep is so we don’t create a bad habit. A bad habit meaning the child likes to be cuddled to sleep, which is actually just a ‘pain’ for the parent who would rather eat dinner / have a shower / watch TV than spend time rocking/holding their babies.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical expert, just an expert in Ripley Faraday Cram. I don’t want to offend but I also think it is important that the realities of parenting are acknowledged. If my thoughts offend you, I’m sorry, but please just move on.