The sound of a baby or toddler crying hits me right in the heart. There is something really pitiful and plaintive about a wee one’s voice in distress. When my daughter was born I vowed to not let her cry herself to sleep. It was instinct, a mother’s instinct if you like. I wanted to show her that I would be there for her.
My daughter was a bad sleeper and sometimes she would wake up about 8 times in the night. I was exhausted all the time but I never gave up going to her when she woke. A year later the child health visitor advised me to attend a sleep clinic for babies. At my first appointment the child psychology expert told me that babies who cry themselves to sleep over a prolonged period of time start to learn that no one will come to them when they need soothing. I was mighty pleased that I had persevered for a year.
I do know that there are many people who believe that a child who cries in the night ought to be left alone in an effort to get the baby to learn to sleep through the night. I am sure that many babies subjected to this experience have turned out just fine too but this was not my choice.
There is an article on the Huffpost site which has gone viral because of the photo of the mother sleeping in her daughter’s crib. The reason why she did this is the real story. She had heard about an orphanage in Africa where over 100 babies lie in cribs without crying. This is because they, allegedly, stop crying after a week of being brought into the orphanage because they have learnt that no one will attend to them if they cry.
That brought a tear to my eye.