Finding it hard not to judge people who leave their baby to cry

I know it’s none of my business. I know people make what they believe are the best choices for their family. I know everyone wants the best for their babies. I know there’s a massive marketing campaign selling sleep training which is probably very convincing. But when my baby cries, it is gut wrenching. Her distress is the worst thing in the world at that moment. I just can’t understand why people would buy into this cry it out stuff. We have so much evidence that babies rely on their caregiver to help them regulate because they just can’t regulate by themselves. No crying doesn’t equal no distress if it’s because you just leave them to cry, so they stop calling for you. Someone on here pointed out that babies who are sleep trained sleep the same as babies who aren’t but they just don’t cry when they’re upset because they don’t think you’ll respond if they do, and that broke my heart. Their brains aren’t developed enough to be able to cope, they just give up. It’s learned helplessness. People who are otherwise lovely, loving, caring parents tell me they leave their baby to cry it out and it always takes me aback. They often even say it was traumatic for the first few days/weeks - if it was traumatic for you, how do you think it was for your infant who thought they were abandoned in the dark? Your instincts are there for a reason - your baby needs your comfort. It’s how we’ve all evolved. I feel bad for judging people who do this because it’s nothing to do with me, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t awful for their baby. I see it as kind of similar to corporal punishment - it was the norm for so long, everyone was probably saying it’s the parents choice, but ultimately there’s a tiny, vulnerable person being subjected to it and it’s heartbreaking to know how many babies are put through it. CIO has really only been a thing for 100 years. We don’t have any good quality research looking at the long term impacts (eg mental health) of this. Why do we have a system that pathologises completely normal infant behaviour (crying) and sells it as a thing to be trained out of them (impossible) rather than responded to, which is what it’s there for? I don’t know what I’m hoping to get out of posting this. Just a rant I suppose, I feel like I’m in the minority here and it all just makes me sad. Maybe I’m hoping someone who’s on the fence will see this and it’ll help them decide.
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I respect your own opinion on this however I think it’s equally as important to not write posts that judge how other people parent their child/ren. (I’m not meaning to sound argumentative) I’ve just seen so many posts on this app recently where people are posting anonymously and they’re picking apart how other mums / parents are parenting their own children just because they disagree with it. I understand that this is a place for people to post freely and talk about anything but I think when it comes to parenting it’s important to remember that we’re all on this journey together, some people may do things you wouldn’t do personally and that’s fine, as it’s their babies they are doing this with and not your own. I personally wouldn’t do this with mine, but I also wouldn’t post on here and judge those who do. We’re all learning together, we’re all on this journey together. It’s difficult enough as it is being a parent & overthinking absolutely everything you do as it is x

That’s a really thoughtful response, thank you. I absolutely don’t want to make anyone feel bad for the way they parent - it’s not for me to judge, as I said I do know that, we’re all doing our best. If it really comes across that way I’ll delete it, but I think there’s a difference between disagreeing with something (which is what I feel I’ve done here) and attacking it (which I hope I haven’t). I never said anyone is a bad parent. I’m thinking as well of all the other mums who feel like there’s something wrong with them for not being able to do it. Loads of people are told if they can’t tolerate their baby crying during CIO then go out and let their partner do it, use headphones, have a glass of wine. Basically being told to ignore their instincts. Or finding that it didn’t work as they’d been told it would and thinking there’s something they should have done “better”. I feel like those mums don’t have a place to feel understood because we’re told our babies crying is a problem.

I agree with the above that it’s not good for people’s mental health/confidence to have their parenting choices attacked. However, I think the sleep consultant and Instagram industry has a lot to answer for because I am really shocked by how many people seem to think their baby waking in the night is the sign of something wrong and something that needs to be fixed asap at any cost. This is what the industry drills into people. I hate the implication that you are somehow ‘failing’ if your baby wakes in the night. I just want to let all those mummas know that babies waking and seeking comfort, food and support for sleep is nothing but the sign of a healthy, normal baby (even up to 2-3 years) and it doesn’t need to be ‘fixed’. Babies go through soo much in that first year / 18 months and nothing is permanent (even sleep training). Sleep is generally developmental, like walking or talking, some babies simply learn it faster than others. Good luck mummas! X

@Leah, I judge people, I judge and deem those who use this method as selfish parents. It's normal to judge. That's called fast thinking. It's a thinking process embedded in our minds ! I also judge those who feed , clean, and put their children down because they don't think it's necessary to keep the baby occupied and talk to them. I also judge those who don't change diapers as often because they think that babies should get used to being dirty or they will become sensitive. I judge mothers who smoke and breastfeed , smoke while pregnant, and say there isn't much research, I judge mothers who leave their new born to others and go party. I judge parents who think that it's okay to feed formula when they can breastfeed but choose not to because it's easier to them. And I judge parents who let children watch TV under the age of 3, when all research and reason say it can cause autism. Oh I judge! And unfriended people because of this, because I see them not caring enough and it triggers me.

I absolutely will judge people who use the cry it out method and I’m not sorry about it. It’s cruel. I get sometimes you have to get something done so you have to leave them cry for a little bit, that’s fine it can’t be helped. But the parents who put their babies to bed then leave them cry? It’s so wrong! There’s a lot of misinformation about babies sleep and that is probably one of the reasons people think this is ok. Babies aren’t meant to sleep through, it’s actually better for a baby to wake up, it helps reduce the risk of SIDS too.

Parenting choices should be attacked when it's not right for the children! We call child services when we see a parent hurting their kid ! Well, that's also a parenting choice . Why is it okay to criticize one and not the other when both are harmful? And we are not on this journey together. Each is on its own , and those children are on their own, and adults have all power upon them , if we keep our heads between our tails things will never get better for them, I judge and I speak up when I see a parenting problem, and I provide scientific proof, and if that person doesn't want to hear it,he is out of my life, because I can't watch a kid being hurt or unknoledged. And people have been picking up one me for loving my baby and treating her right saying I am spoiling her, it's okay to do that ! It's okay to pick on good behavior in this society, but God forbid we say something wrong about bad parenting.

There’s disagreeing with something and then there’s laying it on thick with the mum guilt by saying things like “a tiny, vulnerable person being subjected to it and it’s heartbreaking”, “abandoned in the dark”. All of this “it’s not for me to judge” but you are judging the hell out of other mothers and it doesn’t come across well to me. This is a good, balanced read on sleep training and what evidence we do and don’t have on it. Notably, it says that “Of the few studies that have looked at the short- to longer-term outcomes of sleep training, none have found an effect on a baby's attachment or mental health.” It’s worth knowing what the research shows before you spend your time on Peanut making other women feel bad. And if you really have to guilt other mums, at least have the balls to post publicly rather than going incognito. https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20220322-how-sleep-training-affects-babies

That’s a great article, but it’s easy to copy and paste a random segment and use it to back up either way (because it outlines both sides really well). No evidence of harm isn’t evidence of no harm. I could also copy and paste “studies consistently show that babies of less responsive parents have higher cortisol levels, particularly after a stressful event. Researchers have found, for example, that newborns whose mothers were more "sensitive" to them during a bath – defined as being aware of, and responding appropriately and promptly to, an infant's communications – better regulated their cortisol levels when they were taken out. The cortisol levels of seven-month-olds with less sensitive mothers also took longer to regulate after a stressful situation. This is no less true overnight.” You’ve interpreted intent from what I’ve written which, as the author, I disagree with. I’m sorry if you didnt like how I phrased it, but that’s how I feel. I said everyone makes their own choices and

…we’re all doing our best. I’m not here to argue. I just wanted to express my feelings on the subject as it’s one I find very emotional, which obviously influenced how I phrased it. If this comments section descends into people bickering then again, I’ll delete it. I’m saying I don’t understand how people could do something, via my understanding of what it feels like for me, not that they shouldn’t. Sleep and lack thereof is incredibly difficult as a parent and you have to do what feels right to get through. People make their own choices.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that people may turn to sleep training in absolute desperation and not knowing what else to do. My husband and I never planned to sleep train and never wanted too, we were lucky that on the whole our daughter was a good sleeper. That was until she hit 1, then all of a sudden after getting her to sleep and down in her cot she would wake up screaming the second we went to leave. She could have been asleep for 20/30 minutes with one of us in the room and the second we went to leave she woke up screaming her head off. This carried on for several hours over several nights. The night we then started sleep training, we were in tears, but just didn’t know what else to do. We went back in regularly to settle her and then leave again, so she knew we would come back. It hasn’t meant that she doesn’t cry if she need us, but it has led to nap times and bedtimes that are free of tears and happier for all of us.

It seems impossible for people to hear an opinion different to theirs without saying it’s an attack. The wording in your post was far from an attack you were literally stating how you feel very diplomatically and it’s good to have opinions out there on both sides to help people make informed decisions. If you can’t post this then no one should be able to post pro sleep training stuff either! There’s no one quite as defensive as parents 😅 and I mean that for me as well it’s very easy to get defensive when you feel someone’s criticising you but it’s definitely unnecessary sometimes

@Sophie tbh she’s not laying it on thick. It quite literally is a tiny vulnerable person and they are abandoned in the dark. I’m not massively anti sleep training and I sometimes do let my son cry 5 mins but for those 5 mins I am technically abandoning him

@Isobel thank you for saying this. It’s always so nerve wracking taking a position on anything, someone always interprets it differently to how it was intended and gets defensive. I get it, there’s so much conflicting information out there that it’s impossible not to always feel like you’re doing something wrong as a parent, you just can’t win. It’s inherently emotional for everyone as there’s so much wrapped up in it (and if we’re not emotional as parents, we’re not human - I feel like even the word “emotional” is triggering to some as it seems dismissive, but it’s literally a cornerstone of any relationship to be emotional). But that shouldn’t mean you can’t hold any opinions at all!

@Jihene k grateful for your response, but just to pick up on one thing you said here for anyone who reads it and suddenly panics. My understanding of the research around tv and autism is that there is an association, but not necessarily causation. Children with autism tend to watch more tv, but it’s not clear whether that’s because tv causes autism, or if parents of autistic children find tv helps to regulate their behaviour/sensory overwhelm/use it for another reason and so they tend to watch more tv, but it doesnt cause it - it’s just associated with it. Some studies indicate that excessive screen time may contribute to social and communication difficulties associated with ASD, while others suggest that children with ASD may be more drawn to screen-based activities. Basically, we don’t know the direction of that relationship yet, as far as I know. Again, this just illustrates that there is so much info out there and it’s so hard to navigate for everyone!

I used sleep training for both of my kids at 7 months. It worked in two nights. Everyone was happier, including them. They’re now 3 and 5 and I don’t regret it one bit. I don’t care if people judge me about it. It was a great decision for us ☺️

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I definitely understand what you’re saying and do agree to an extent. I don’t think what you’ve said has come across in an awful way, and I don’t think you’ve meant it in a terrible judgmental way. I’ve seen posts on here of people saying they’ve done CIO and left their babies to cry for up to 90 minutes, and I definitely thought god I could just never and I have felt sorry for the baby. I do think it is a harsh method. However, I’ve never been in a state of mind where I think I need to do it, and I think for some it is a last resort. My baby has always been a good sleeper, when he hasn’t been I’ve had so much help and have always been able to catch up on hours of sleep in the days. I do have colleagues that work in child psychology and they all say the research is very conflicted. In the long run however, there’s no difference between an adult who was a CIO baby and one that wasn’t. I have friends who done it, and they have no different bond and attachment to their babies than me

@Jihene k Screen time doesn’t cause autism, autism is something you are born with. Comments like this actually fry my brain 🤯

I’m pretty against sleep training, but I’m also in an incredibly privileged position as I have a partner who helps me out at night. If I didn’t, I’m not sure I could cope with a child who wakes hourly for support. I can understand why people are pushed to sleep train. I think, actually, the bigger issue is the expectation that our babies need to be able to settle/self-soothe/sleep independently so early on. Healthcare professionals are some of the worst for pushing these ideas onto new Mums. Also, the infant sleep industry is pretty unregulated and this is a bit of a concern.

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