12 Things Your Crying Baby Wants You to Know

Should I Comfort my Crying Baby? Thinking about crying from a baby’s perspective.

Crying baby with "12 things your crying baby wants you to know" text

After yesterday’s honest and vulnerable piece from Hailey, I asked her what she thought should follow it.  She brought herself back to the time when she was overwhelmed. “Something that humanizes babies” she said.  “I wish I’d had more insight into his mind and body.”

So here they are:

12 Things your Crying Baby Wants you to Know

1.  I am not crying to make your life more difficult. I am crying because something is wrong.  Even if it does not seem like it.

2.  I am brand new. I do not have control of my nervous system.  I am disorganized.  Being with you; hearing your heartbeat, smelling your scent… it calms me.  It helps me.

3.  The fact that I cannot stop crying is not your fault.  I know your are doing your best.  We are just getting to know each other.  We will get there- please stick with me.

4.  You are my world.  You are my everything.  You are all that I know. I do not have anybody else that can provide for me what you can.

5.  I do not need to cry.  It does not exercise my lungs, or provide any other benefit.

6.  The stress chemicals that are released when I cry (that stay with me my whole life) are lessened when you hold me while I cry.

7.  If nursing helps me to stop crying, please nurse me.

8.   Do not listen to anybody else- not your neighbor, not your aunt.  Forget the book that you read which talked about helping me to learn to self soothe.  Just listen to me. And you.  Forget the world outside of ours.

9.  I cannot self soothe.  It is not possible.  If I stop crying when you leave me alone, it is because I have given up hope that you will comfort me.

10.  If you are at your breaking point ask for help; with the dishes, the laundry and preparing meals.  If I am content with somebody else, please use that time to shower or change or have a cup of tea.

11.  I know this stuff is hard to hear.  We live in a world that promotes political correctness at the expense of others.  My needs are real, and I really need you; even when this means eating one handed and with dirty hair. I am your baby.  You are my parent.

12.  This will not last forever.  It feels like it now because we are in this time warp of newbornhood.  If you comfort me now, I will be calmer sooner.  We will be closer.  This time will end- this is not the rest of your life.  While you may never long for the crying, your wiser self will be grateful to know that you trusted me, and yourself, from the very beginning.

Most importantly, I love you Mom.  Thank you for trying so hard and taking such good care of me.

What else do our crying babies want us to know?

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185 Replies to “12 Things Your Crying Baby Wants You to Know”

  1. Pingback: One Mother’s Experience with Cry It Out »

  2. The best thing I got was a Moby warp. I would wear my baby close to me and she was really content. We also nursed a ton in the early months, but it was so worth it! I NEVER let me baby cry it out or just cry. I or daddy would also and still do tend to her right away. My baby is 10 months old now, and she is so happy and doesn’t cry now. I have no regrets responding to my baby’s cries. Follow your heart! 🙂

  3. Your baby loves you, and needs you. My heart goes out to any mother when their baby starts to cry. I remember not being able to calm my baby and “friend” took her to calm her for me. She cried more. She wanted me and only me, that made me feel so much better. Being held, rocked, and comforted is what they want.

      • RE “Most importantly, I love you Mom.”
        This ending seems to indicate the article was written only for Moms, although as a Dad I sense its importance to my perspective as well. Do you believe Mom’s require a reminder about a baby’s perspective more so than Dad’s? Or do you believe the Dad’s role is minimal in relation to caring and soothing? The latter seems like a perpetuated theme in society. I am curious why, question whether this is a legitimately perpetuated ideology, and the impact that it would have on the development of children and society’s emergent quality if Dad’s were widely accepted as equal caregivers. I believe it hurts society when this polarization is perpetuated.

        • J,

          You are absolutely right, and I agree whole-heartedly. I do believe this is intentionally perpetuated and sometimes we all fall victim to it. I intentionally use “parents” most often when I speak of caregiving, rather than mother and father. I will reevaluate this piece.

          I used mother here because I was talking specifically about breastfeeding. No matter how involved a dad is, he will never know the demands of breastfeeding. This does not make us mothers more heroic or loving, it is real though. Breastfeeding has virtually no support and I think it is important to acknowledge its realities to make it more successful.

          Thank you for bringing this to attention, and reminding us of the importance of your words.

        • Some things are written to only dads and only moms it is OK. Emotionally the two respond differently and mothers do give the baby something a dad just cannot. The baby spent 9 months inside the mom on average they know the mom inside and out. Her heartbeat is different than any others and her breathing is unique as well. The way she moves and the sound of her voice comforts the baby because that is what the baby knew best when he/she was comfortable growing inside of her. Yes I completely agree that daddies are just as important but this article does mainly speak to mommies… maybe crying baby will write one out to daddies too. 🙂 I hope that gives a little incite. I can tell you are a good daddy by reading this article and wanting one for you as well.

        • They mostly say “mother” because baby was carried for 9 months by her, and knows more of her than a father. Her heartbeat, her voice, her everything. So yes, I noticed with both of my children my touch soothed them more than daddys most of their newborn life. Dont get me wrong, my son would only be calm for his dad at times, but mostly he wanted to be close to me.

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  7. I don’t really think that this is spot on!
    I comforted my little girl now 4 till she was just over 1 years old, she wouldnt sleep without me wanted me 24/7 would wake in the night. it had to stop, i think helping them but not letting them get in a state works. CC does work, HV recommend this so it really cant be that bad. i have started doing it on my 5month old and it is working, he’s happier in the day because he will sleep for an hour or more and be more rested in his own room in the quiet, if he wakes he will easily go back to sleep himself without crying.

    Iits much easier to do it on them young rather than a toddler age, they don’t remember it and it benefits them! ‘Stress hormone’ they have when they cry, well stress is what this world is about now a days you cant prevent that. If my child wants a toy but i say no and they cry am i meant to go “oh ok then i dont want you getting to stressed while crying”. no of course not, i say no and if they cry well they cry. Being a mum or dad is very demanding and pleasurable but we all do what is best and i believe in CC helps and works very well in the long run. its a short term pain for a long term gain.

    • I think there is a middle ground. Neglect is one thing, not picking a child up the instant they begin to cry is a different thing. Learning to say no to your child as they become a toddler and young child is another thing. Let’s not confuse them. I have worked with many children and see the down falls of true neglect. I have seen K-3rd graders who rub themselves raw and rock/hug themselves in constant stress, trying to relieve it, but it doesn’t work. They struggle in school academically, emotionally and socially. In this case the neglect as an infant did cause problems. But, again these are more extreme cases. A good sensitive mother/parent should learn the difference. Babies will cry and if once in a while they cry a little longer because you can’t run to them they will survive but intentionally not comforting them sounds somewhat dangerous.

      • Lissa,

        I think this is an important distinction. Choosing not to comfort your baby is what we are talking about. A lot of people think that they need to “teach their child to self-soothe”, or that “if the comfort their baby instantly it will spoil them”, or other propaganda that we have been fed.

        Babies do cry! The better we get to know them, and understand how to meet their needs, the less they cry (unless there is an underlying medical condition or something else).

        I am not sure what you mean by “learning to say no” to your toddler, but I want to be clear that this site promotes gentle parenting in which the parents and children are partners- neither bullies or has control over the other.

        • And what happens when this “gentle parenting” results in a child that cries all day unless they are being held? Fine if you are a SAH mom, but not so fine if you plan to use childcare while you are at work. FYI- most childcare providers don’t have time to cater to these kinds of excessive needs. Nor will they usually wear your baby. Middle ground on this issue is a must. Now, I’m off to unlike this drivel on Facebook and enjoy my wonderfully well adjusted, happy, calm children that *gasp* cried occasionally as infants.

          • Hi Kate,

            I agree that we parents are in a really difficult situation. My hope is that we can find a solution that does not require compromising meeting our babies’ needs.

            There are daycares that will wear babies, but they are not common, I know. Like anything though, if we shift our cultural norms, it will become more common.

            In terms of your statement about gentle parenting creating needy kids, it’s just not true. The opposite is factually true.

            If there is something specific we can support you with, please let us know. Nobody should have to figure this out alone.

      • I don’t know what controlled crying is but I also agree with this person that it is OK to let the baby fuss a little as he/she falls asleep. There is truly distressed crying and there is just a little grumbling cry by a baby who can’t settle.

    • Sarah – Stress is something that we all will experience in our lives. The problem with leaving your baby to cry is that they have not developed strategies to deal with stress. They still need help managing those feelings. That’s why they want to be held. Touch helps them calm down. Think about how you would feel if you had a hard day and the person you expected to comfort you, told you that you were fine and left you deal with it on your own. Wouldn’t a hug make you feel much better?

      Also, you are comparing apples to oranges when you suggest that a baby’s cries are the same as a toddler’s cries. They are not the same at all. My toddler can understand my words. I can explain to her that something is not safe and then help her find something else to do. You can not reason with a baby. Babies cry to communicate their needs and physical touch is a need for a baby. Responding to your baby is not the same as giving your toddler everything they want. My 22 month old daughter is learning many new things and pushes her boundaries at times. We are consistent, firm and loving in our responses to her. We are teaching her what to do and what not to do. She does not always get her way, and sometimes she cries because she is upset by that. We support her, validate her feelings and help her move on. She is not in any way spoiled by all of the love and reassurance she received as a baby and continues to receive today.

      Please think about your methods. There is a better way! Hugs to you. . . this mama job is hard.

    • They do remember it at 5 months even! I taught my son sign language, and he REMEMBERED how to sign milk when he was hungry, and he recognized the sign before he was even 5 months old. He’d try to move his hand (while he didn’t have the dexterity to make the perfect sign) I knew what he was trying to do. so, that is PROOF that babies do have a good memory. if they can remember an ASL sign, they can remember the feeling of loneliness when they cried themselves to sleep.

      If my child picks up something dangerous, and I say he can’t have it, and he starts crying, of course I don’t give it to him! But I do hold him, hug him, tell him why he can’t have it inage appropriate terms (dangerous, owie, whatever) and will then distract him with something he CAN hold and play with.

      On that note, a toy is meant for kids. Why would you not allow him to have it? Is it not his? Do you mean he took it from another child? In that case, explain that it isn’t his, and hug him and give him a replacement toy. Eventually, they WILL learn from that. but if you just take it away, they don’t know why, and the behavior will continue into older toddler years.

      I remember laying in bed so terrified I couldn’t even scream for my mom to come get me. Eventually, exhausted, I fell asleep. But I didn’t tell my mom what happened because I knew she would say “there’s nothing to be afraid of. You are imagining things”. That would not have been comforting given how scared I knew I was the night before. Kids experience fear. They are human beings with feelings. They just can’t communicate that very well to you, so they cry, scream, to get your attention.

  8. Also I wouldn’t recommend it at an early age of 1 2 3 months, they do want there mummy/daddy then and are not really aware of what is going on they also want feeding a lot especially breastfed babies like my ones. id say 5/6 months start. it does work and my babies are both still very happy laughing lots contented!

      • Don’t you think that is a little harsh? There is NOT just one way to raise a child & while I don’t agree with all of what Sarah said, she is in no way harming her child! Just because you don’t agree with her method does not make her grossly misinformed. Your way of parenting is not the only way. Parenting is hard and mothers should support, not attack one another.

          • How is telling someone who shared their own experiences that they are grossly misinformed being supportive?

          • Amber,

            Sarah was not sharing her own experience. She was sharing a bunch of untruths and misinformation. She shared this in a way that made it sound as though it might be true and it is not. It is not her fault- it is the fault of those who lied to her. The fact though, is that she was grossly misinformed.

        • Amber you are SO correct! To say she is “grossly misinformed” is wrong! I have 5 grown children with 3 grandbabies. Every single child is different and you learn different things with each. No two are the same, no matter what your parenting style is. Never expect them to be the same. Never compare them either. They are individual and you parent according to their specific needs. The word “grossly” is an offensive word and does seem extreme. Being a mom is the hardest job in the world! Supporting others ideas and their opinions can be helpful to others who are not narrow minded.

          • I think maybe you aren’t aware of what “gross” means. Here is the definition:

            gross [grohs] Show IPA adjective, gross·er, gross·est, noun, plural gross for 11, gross·es for 12, 13; verb
            without deductions; total, as the amount of sales, salary, profit, etc., before taking deductions for expenses, taxes, or the like ( opposed to net ): gross earnings; gross sales.
            unqualified; complete; rank: a gross scoundrel.
            flagrant and extreme: gross injustice.
            indelicate, indecent, obscene, or vulgar: gross remarks.
            lacking in refinement, good manners, education, etc.; unrefined.

          • i know what “gross” means, i just think you’re not aware of how this comment comes across. you didn’t speak directly to sarah. you addressed the audience to criticize her parenting. that also seems like attacking to me, because of the words you used. you could have simply said, “see my reply above in response to controlled crying. we do not endorse that method.” instead of saying she was flagrantly ignorant.

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  10. I so wished i had read this when my babies were younger! And yeah letting them cry when they are younger is not good.
    But again all babies are different, and we all parent differently. I have five boys and they all slept differently (never did they read those baby books!) and if I had my time over again I so would parent according to my baby needs, not those around me.
    I like the idea of attachment parenting -that is how babies thrive.

  11. When my son was born we found something on Oprah about what the cries mean. There are 5 different ones : Nair- hungry, Eh- wind me, ow- tired, eair-colicky wind, heh- general discomfort.
    Sure enough he did these cries and we could respond to his needs. The baby whisperer also deciphered body language too so we learned to respond to his physical cues too. We have never done cry-down, and we have a happy 3 year old who has a very positive outlook. He is very loving and friendly and loves life.
    Pass this info on, look it up from oprah’s website too. Emma

    • Emma,

      Thanks so much for sharing that. It was only a couple of months ago that I heard about deciphering the cries as described above. For those reading, you can find the video by clicking here. It is so interesting!
      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, Emma.

    • I saw this video when I was pregnant with my little one. We always listened for and responded to the “nah” to determine when she was hungry. We started teaching her sign language at about 4 months as well. I believe that these two things have greatly contributed to her language development. She has always been able to communicate her needs (although not perfectly). I feel that responding to those sounds helped her understand the idea that she can communicate with us. At 10 months old, she was able to sign simple sentences (more, please). At 22 months old, she uses well over 200 words and speaks in 3-4 word sentences. 🙂

      As far as CIO goes, my little one has a dairy intolerance and other tummy troubles (possible reflux, issues with acidic foods). Her delivery was very difficult and traumatic for both of us (and her Daddy). She was a high-needs baby, always wanting to be near me. Sometimes it seemed hard and exhausting to always respond to her cries, but I know I will never regret that. So many people told me that I was spoiling her and that I needed to let her CIO. My response has always been that I don’t think I’ll ever look back on my life and wish I’d have held my baby less. She and I needed that time and those connections to heal. She is a happy, healthy, loving, confident, independent toddler. Judging by the results, I know we’ve done the right thing for our sweet girl.

  12. Ive never agreed with leaving babies to cry on their own and continued what I felt comfortable with even though Ive been told over and over that I was spoiling my now 2 year old. This is nice to think back on when having a rough night with my newborn. Btw is there anything like this for toddlers to look back on when losing my patience?

  13. @ my muddy boots, to tell someone that they have been grossly misinformed is an awful thing to say to someone, its just short of you saying your a terrible parent. Im sick if site’s like yiurs putting people down if telling you, yiur wrong when they do something you disagree with. I for one agree with sarah I did a similar thing for my lo to help him go to sleep at night by himself and he is a happy healthy little boy who people love and I will do the same with our other little one if need be. Im fed up with all this incessant drivel people like you throw at new parents it doesn’t help them it makes them more stressed out. And I was shown this vua a link on Facebook I would never sign up to this crap.

    • there have been studies on babies brains that show their stress hormones increase the longer they cry. and decrease if they are picked up right away and even if crying in someone’s arms. it’s been proven. It’s science.

      would you choose to believe here-say and one person’s story over believe something that has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt?

      and, if it’s proven, then anything being said to the contrary is in fact misinformation.

      • Being misinformed is not an insult in any way. People used to believe all sorts of things before science told them it was wrong. And humans are the only creatures that deny our instincts. Being misinformed in almost a constant state of humanity. We can find out something tomorrow that today we believed to by wrong/impossible simple because we were not informed of this new information.

    • I also let my LO CIO and she is one of the happiest babies I have ever seen. I am not disputing science, because facts are facts. But, I don’t think it will be doing any damage to my daughter either.

      • Hi Amanda,

        Hmmm… this is such a tough one to discuss with a parent using CIO. Being the one to deliver info can be really tough. Since you are open to science and facts, I will share this with you- there are several carefully chosen links that are worth taking the time to read. If you decide to stop using CIO, we are here to support you in any way that you will have us. Truly. Click here for the link. Here’s one more that will be useful for you too. We have been detrimentally led astray in terms of what is “normal”, and even safe, for child sleep.

      • I agree Amanda. I never let my baby actually “cry” herself to sleep. I let her grizzle away to herself, because I knew she had all needs met. And if she became distressed I was immediately next to her cot comforting her to sleep. She slept in our room for a long time (separate bed) and I never avoided wearing her for the sake of self-settling. So where does my technique fall as far as crying it out. She is a well rounded baby. Was that crying it out? I feel like I’ve never experienced her screaming her lungs out much, not high needs at all. Whereas I know of high needs screamers from hardcore attachment parents. I think if only there had been a control group with the study referred to it might be more convincing. The research relied on needs to include a much larger range of children. There’s so many anecdotes and confounding factors to take in that I’m not sure we can so definitely claim one way better than another. Society and culture have a large impact on why a child is raised a certain way, so even looking at more tribal cultures with large family units is misguided and perhaps Romanticising some concept of a more ‘pure’ form of humanity back to our natural ‘caveman’ roots.

  14. Last night we were in the car and my sweet newborn got so distressed in his carseat. I couldn’t do anything, and it just about ripped my heart out. How do you other mamas deal with that horrible emotion while you’re driving and don’t have anywhere you can stop just to comfort the baby for a minute?

    • My little one was a constant car seat crier from about 5-8 months. Sometimes he would scream from door to door. It was so hard for all of us. I tried to schedule our longer trips when he was sleepy so that he could sleep in the car and made sure he was well-fed before we drove. I sang to him while I was driving or played white noise, gave him a lovey and a pacifier and a toy in the car, and we would stop and cuddle for a few minutes if it got really bad on a long drive. I think he mostly grew out of the crying in the car phase, but moving him from an infant bucket seat to a convertible seat helped, too. Hugs, mama. It’s so hard to hear them cry when you can’t get to them. (If there are two adults in the car, having one of them ride with the baby might help, too.)

    • When my son was a little guy (1-6 months) if we were going somewhere and he started crying I would pull over and take care of the problem. He only cried when he was hungry or had a wet diaper so I knew it was always one of the 2. My husband’s office had a baby shower for us when he was 2 months old and we were actually late because half way there he started crying so I pulled into a shopping center parking lot off the interstate and fed him a bottle. I’ve stopped in college parking lots, corporate headquarters parking lots, sides of the road (main roads, not side roads), grocery stores and coffee shops to change diapers and give him a bottle. I remember riding home with my mom from shopping and he started crying so I pulled over. She told me we should just go home since we were almost there and that crying was good for his lungs. I literally had to ignore my own mother in my own vehicle because any response on my part would have been very insulting to her. She kept making comments the entire time I took him out of the car seat, changed his diaper and gave him a small bottle. He immediately fell asleep once I started the car back up and was as happy and content as could be.

      He also cried almost every day on the way home (20 minutes) when he was a baby. I think it was mostly due to being hot (living in the south) and I tired but nothing I did really helped. I always made sure he had a fresh diaper before we left daycare and would feed him at daycare if it was getting to close to dinner time. I put 2 fans in the backseat to blow right into the bottom of his car seat and I would turn the air conditioning down so low I would have to wear a sweater but he would still scream. He was fine, he was not over heated, he didn’t have a wet diaper and he wasn’t hungry, he was just mad and once he got mad he could not calm down (we’re still working on this as a toddler). In the middle of rush hour traffic there literally is nothing you can do but try and get home as quickly as possible. Once we got home and we sat down for a minute he would calm down but in the car there was no stopping the crying. Some people said “turn the radio up and tune him out”, or “just ignore him till he stops” but that seemed to be the cruelest and most selfish answer. I would always tell him (and still do) that mommy is listening to him, I want to hear how mad you are, and we will be home in a few minutes. Although I couldn’t do anything to help him at that moment, I wanted him to know if I could I would.

      He is now a toddler and we have a routine that helps – he gets a Sippy cup of cold water and a graham cracker to satisfy him on the way home. Basically the most important thing is to listen to yourself. I tell everyone that “you learn your child very quickly” so do what your gut tells you.

  15. My baby boy will be 3 next month, so the crying at night as slowed with us. I remember when he would cry and cry and nothing would work. Sometimes I would cry right along with him. I cannot count how many times I said, “I’m tired too. But we’ll get through this together.”

    • I too cried along side my daughter. It was less heartbreaking than listening to her cry from afar. But that was only with needles. If she was upset while sleeping, my holding her was enough. That said, she is almost 4, and I put her to sleep most nights. I was in hospital recently, and she did sleep for her dad, with some resistance. It’s ok if I’m not there. When I’m there she wants me. Re: the car, I remember driving home in tears (2 hr trip) ready to hand her to the hospital as I wasn’t a good mother. Turns out, she hated facing backwards. As soon as we turned her seat (earlier than we should have, but it was for her mental health) she was fine. It is so hard listening to them cry. She is now a very caring child, who will ofer “cuddles” to others when they are upset. It’s all she’s known.

  16. For God’s sake, can we just take it easy on Sarah? We all do what we need to do….and there have been many researchers who have re-negged some of what they’ve said about the crying. We are supposed to be supporting one another as parents and everyone is getting on her case. If each and every one of you can show me a child that had CC and one that did not, when they are at age 20, then you go for it. I held my babies, nursed them a thousand times in the night and did all I could do. Who came over then to support me? No one. Every time one of my children cry today, I hold them, hug them, comfort them…every time. For every study you find that says CC is bad, you can find one that says it’s fine. Let’s just be supportive and tell moms what they can do now that their babies are older? Support please….support.

    • Very well said. Often the first three months are a matter of survival! (Quite literally for our baby!). Our ego’s are too often caught up in the way we choose to parent, probably a natural thing, we all like to think we’re doing the absolute best for our child. Kids are pretty resilient. When I look at stories of people who come out of war torn countries and experience high trauma (high cortisol levels there!) when they’re little and just marvel at the success they make of their lives in the end. Give a mum a break. The above article is a nice sentiment (maybe a bit judgemental and does fail to take into account the wider family, dads, grandparents, aunties, uncles), but if it helps someone who thinks their baby hates them because of the constant crying, well good.

  17. The Moby Wrap is useless when you need to take a shower or use the bathroom or perform any task that involves bending over. It also takes like an hour to put on – during which time you cannot hold your baby. The bottom line is that Mommies – like babies – have certain basic physical needs which must be met if we are to survive. And sometimes meeting those needs means baby has to cry for a bit. Mommies feel awful when their babies cry. But we still have to eat food and go pee.

    • True about the shower Crystal. It is helpful for using the bathroom though, and doing dishes, and playing with an older child, and going for a walk, and going grocery shopping, and keeping baby close to your heart, and helping baby nap…. you get the idea 🙂

    • There are mesh slings on the market now so you can wear your baby in the shower if needed. I plan on trying one out with this one since I’d rather nap or snuggle my 3 yo while the baby is sleeping then shower.

  18. I do. You’re right about the walks and the walking errands. And I love it for those. But washing dishes? Your arms must be a lot longer than mine. And if you can sit on a toilet with a tiny human tied to the outside of your clothing and NOT end up with pee all over your clothes, well then you are a lot more coordinated than I am.

    I spend my days trying to figure out how to make bottles, do laundry, do dishes and meet my basic physical needs without putting down my daughter – who requires constant hands on attention right now. I haven’t figured out how to do it. So she cries. And I try to soothe her with my voice. And it doesn’t work. And I feel awful. But the dishes actually do have to get done.

    I don’t think I’m that different from most moms. I think we all love our babies and are doing our best at an impossible task.

    • Crystal,

      At first I thought you were reaching out for some suggestions and support. Now it seems that you are trying to prove to the OMB readers that the way we live is not possible. Which is simply not true.

      We all struggle, but I do not think raising a baby is an impossible task, I think all of the other expectations that come with it are impossible to keep up with while we have a baby. We certainly need some major changes to support families, but babies don’t understand that those need to happen- they just need us.

    • Crystal dear, I feel your pain. This is what I do:
      I bought a short bouncer seat that is easy to cart around for less than $50. I put my son right next to me by the sink in the floor and rock him with my foot while doing dishes. He can see me and I can see him. I talk to him, sing to him, tell him stories, and take frequent breaks. Often times he falls contentedly to sleep. This is helpful for showers and using the bathroom, since we can reach a hand, head or foot out to let them know we are right there. I also co-bathe and shower occasionally. My 3 children including my 3 month old are all very happy and well adjusted. Good luck!

  19. I am always looking for suggestions and support. And I’m sorry if I seem like I’m trying to prove something. I’m not. I think the reality of motherhood speaks for itself. We seem to be in agreement – that expectations of motherhood are unnaturally high and trying to meet them is pointless.

    I do not believe that raising a baby is an impossible task. But I have found it impossible to raise one without sometimes leaving her to cry. I strongly suspect I am not alone in this. And I found this post – while well-written and well-meant – manipulative and hurtful.

    Obviously, babies want to snuggle with their mommies all the time. But this is not possible because mommies are not machines and mommies have other responsibilities. And this heart-rending baby’s point of view doesn’t change either of those facts. It just makes it hurt more to do what we have to do.

    • I feel like this post is nice, for your first baby maybe. But I have four children all 18 months apart. Each one has needs and they have had to learn there is only one mommy I know the youngest has the most needs but my 18 month doesn’t feel her needs are less important. I cannot constantly hold all of them! Realistically I carry the baby ,during naps snuggle with the younger kids and try to homeschool in the middle (forget housework at this point) my children cry for me, but have learned that while they may have to wait mommy is coming, and I think they are better for it.

  20. I don’t think this is trying to make any one feel bad. It is meant to be a beam of light for those in the dark that following your instincts is ok and good for your baby.
    Back wearing is great for getting dishes done and keep baby close while they sleep. For those that were wondering. And while we as mother have other responsibilities to tend to, being a mother is the choice I made when I had this baby and it is my first job now. I am going to cherish every moment I can with my baby and keep him as happy as I can all the time, why wouldn’t I want that for him? And yes the world has hurt and pain and can’t always bend to our will but why should a baby have to learn that cruel lessons so fast? Can’t we let them be the innocent children they are meant to be a little longer?
    A great read Our Muddy Boots, thank you.

    • Robin! I agree. I had a baby to raise a human. Not to get things done :). This mumming job is hard but it is so very rewarding. I want my child to trust that I will be there for her even if it means jobs don’t get done. Washing up only takes 10 minutes. It can be done later. I find trying to calm my baby takes a great deal longer if I have let her cry to get a job done. I salute all mums because we are all working towards the same goal. I also know that one day my baby may not want my comfort in this close way and so I will cherish this time while it lasts.
      I loved this article. I have a hugabub wrap (similar to a Moby) and love it. It took a bit to get good at tying it but I now tie it at home before going out. My bub gets visibly excited watching me put it on. She knows 🙂

  21. This is an absolutely wonderful article! I am a first time mom who is single.. I do not have much support and no one around me has practiced attachment parenting. Soooo. I am just researching, following my instincts, and ignoring all those who have anything negative to say about it. I have never let my baby cry anywhere except my arms but even though my daughter is 5 months, I still question myself daily. Thank you for writing to assure us first time parents that we are doing AP correctly… I appreciate this article/blog more than you know. Much love. <3 -Brittany.

  22. I am the mom of two- a 27mo old and an 8mo old and we parent this way. It is absolutely possible. We do not leave them to cry for any reason. Dishes are not the priority…wash as needed is good enough for the short time our kids are babies. Nothing is more important than my babies knowing that their mom and dad are always there to comfort them when needed. They take priority over everything. They need us. It IS possible. Easy? No.

  23. I agree with not doing CIO or cc. This article is great. I’ve read most of these comments and many make me laugh. I have 4 kids under 7 and I’ve never let them cry as babies. I don’t have to leave my little one to cry to shower or eat. A baby who was left to CIO may turn out to be a happy healthy toddler but so has all of mine who were never left to cry as a baby. So don’t take the easy way just because you know someone who used CIO and their toddler is happy (or seems to be). I will never look back and wish I held my babies less. I’ll look back and know I took the time to care for my babies and respond to their needs.

    CIO has been linked to insomnia as an adult.

    • You people are so over the top your arguing hearsay and shotty science at best there are a multitude of factors that contribute to a child’s mental makeup saying that your child stops crying because they have given up all hope in parents comforting them is the same thing as saying your child is less dependent aka spoiled using harsh words mean nothing other than you people will say anything to get your point across, share your parenting styles by all means but let’s stop the gross exaggeration of what the future holds if you let your child cry of if you never let them cry ps babies are also stressed when they poop pee are hungry too hot too cold which also raises that chemical you so proudly mention as proof does that also lead to insomnia lol oh I get it you super moms don’t let your child do any of those other things either on the flip side the mother that’s soooo busy bathing her self that she cannot take care of your kid ???? Really priorities much wait till your kid is asleep if it’s not too much of an inconvinance to you

    • Meg, your random post-script that CIO has been linked to insomnia intrigues me. Do you have any links to the journal article or actual research behind this conclusion. Or did you read it on another blog or news paper article? I like delving into the origin of some of these “facts” (as Jennifer calls them). More often then not you find there are very few “facts” proven (science never claims to actually prove anything, merely show a strong inductive argument or correlation). Of course we have to go with these strong correlations otherwise our lives would halt.

      “No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.” – Albert Einstein

  24. Crystal, I think you are confused. Attachment parenting does not mean a baby will never cry. It means that you attempt to meet babies needs in a gentle way and you don’t just leave them to cry it out. If you are on the toilet and your baby is crying, you can’t help that right? Very different from putting your baby in their crib, walking away, and leaving them to cry for hours until they pass out from exhaustion. Attached babies cry. Sometimes we do need to check ourselves and see if something we are doing is causing us to not be as mindful. No judgement at all and this post is not saying, ‘you must never do anything for yourself because your baby might cry.’ But it is saying that maybe thinking about crying from a babies perspective will help you soothe baby. Will help you understand that maybe you are trying to do too much and need to take a break. We attachment parent but that doesn’t mean our kiddo doesn’t cry. He cried yesterday because I cut his banana wrong.

    • “leaving them to cry for hours until they pass out from exhaustion” – You realise this is a very extreme 1950s version of CIO. Most moderate and well balanced methods for helping a child sleep would never endorse this.

  25. I must say that, as a babywearing mama of two, I must agree with Jennifer. From the moment my son was born, the Moby was my best friend. You CAN do dishes, laundry, sweep the floor, play with your older children, use the bathroom, go out into the yard. I do not have long arms. I happen to be quite petit, and my children were both large babies (9 lbs each).
    At 1 week old, I was able to wear my son and participate in my older daughter’s gymnastics (she was then 3), which is quite an up and down, round and round, activity. I am no more of a Supermom than the rest of the mothers on this sight, and I’m sure that many of them have experienced similar situations.

    It is hard. And some days my house is a complete disaster by the time my husband comes home. But everyone has days like that, not just mothers. The point is, it IS POSSIBLE. You can meet your babies needs and still attend to your other responsibilities. If a Moby is not working for you, try another wrap or carrier. Perhaps an Ergo with an infant insert would be more comfortable. Or seek support from a loved one. Have a friend come over and chat and drink tea. She can hold the baby while you fold laundry. If meeting the needs of your child is what you really want, you can find a way to make it happen.

    Good luck to you.

    • And please ignore all of my typos! I really need to take the time to proofread things! But then, those kids have to go and need me 😉

  26. What do I say? I guess I say that I admire and envy them. I wish I could be more like them. And I truly don’t know how they do it. Do none of them work outside the home? Do they all have live-in housekeepers and cooks? Do they have an extra set of arms? A few extra hours in the day? What am I missing?

    I’m baffled. And frustrated. Because my daughter is growing and teething and crying. She doesn’t take breaks and I need them. And when I do a google search on “crying baby” and come across a piece of writing that offers no practical guidance but does offer up a stinging reminder that as hard as I’m trying, it still isn’t enough – I’ll admit it. I crack. I cry. I join a forum I have absolutely no business in just to say things nobody wants to hear. It’s terribly rude of me and I do apologize. But I’m out of ideas and I know that it’s not her fault and that it’s entirely normal that she wants to be held all the time. What I don’t know is what to do about that.

    I will look at the links you just posted. And I do appreciate your thoughtful responses. And I’m sorry if I’ve been antagonistic. It’s just been one of those weeks.

    • Crystal,

      Now I am with you whole-heartedly. I mean that truly <3. Practical stuff is exactly the problem and everyone of us struggles with it. Here is a piece that might resonate with you. I could share a whole bunch of posts that might resonate with you, but it’s probably overwhelming.

      I think you are here on this forum because you wanted to be- and we are all glad that you are here. PLEASE! Tell us that specific thing that is most overwhelming to you right now and let’s see if some other Mamas out there can offer some suggestions. Stay open to it, I am awed by what I have learned- not just about parenting, but about myself.

      Sending you loads of love Crystal. I mean thing. From one mama who has been where you are to another. Please stick around with us.

    • Crystal, I can feel your frustration jumping from the page. I *think you are wanting actual help. And, I will tell you, I believe fully in positive parenting, but have experienced some (a lot) of your frustrations. If you don’t have a lot of support, or this is new to you, it can be very very overwhelming. First thing: let go of guilt. Sometimes, babies do cry. Sometimes, my son (youngest) would cry, and cry. But I always held him through it. And the dishes were still there when I was done. And I was overwhelmed with responsibility. And i suffered depression. And guilt. Support is really helpful. Do you have anyone who can hold baby for you, lovingly, while you do dishes. (I found wrapping, and shifting my body to do dishes was helpful, though it did go slower… I never did get the hang of some things to where it felt natural. And peeing was possible also! 😉 ). Try different positions in the wrap. This required practice. And watching youtube tutorials on wrapping. Then, I modified them further until I found something that worked for us. He was very particular. If you don’t have support, and you are new to this, do not beat yourself up. I am relatively new to pp. I had my first of two children 5 years ago. And I am still learning. I suspect I will be making mistakes until they are adults. We all do, and we have to forgive ourselves. But, we are planting a seed. We are improving, little by little. And, I think maybe you want to do the same. It is hard to find a starting point. Starting out with questions is good. If it feels overwhelming, take a look at the most difficult thing right now, and work just on that. Prioritize. Take baby steps. But, it is possible. And I try my hardest, even though I sometimes feel very similarly to you….

  27. Crystal. It is so hard and it seems impossible sometimes. I have my third child now and get overwhelmed often. My baby is older now and able to be put down for a few moments or understand that mommy will come back and not cry or have a problem with it. But when she was little I did do everything in my power to not have her left in such a Way that she would be crying and not understanding why she couldn’t be held. It may take trying out several different carriers to see which one works for you. It may be waiting until she’s asleep to do the dishes. It may be having someone help you out- a neighbor – family member – anyone. I do pee with the carrier on (even at 14 months) and I do ask for a lot of help from my partner and friends. I think there’s a balance between putting all the demands on you and taking away what the child needs. It takes a lot of creative work and a letting go of our standards. It definitely shifts the way we think we should do things. But with creativity your needs and your babies needs can both be met. Give it some time to think it through and see what feels right to you. Maybe don’t take the post as a criticism but as a new idea to ponder for a while. We are all in this together. We’re loving our kids and just trying to be better moms. No judgment -just working together to be the best we can be.

  28. To the doubters:
    I was once where you are. I, too, believed that a child needed to self-soothe and that there was no way to get everything done and be a mom to your other kids if you “pandered” to your baby. I was wrong, I was “grossly misinformed.” We did the self-soothing method with my oldest (he didn’t cry so when he did, something was wrong). My youngest we did not use CIO because he became so distraught one night that he nearly threw up. It still breaks my heart to think of it. I discovered baby wearing and a way to help my youngest sleep in a way that made him feel comfortable, safe and loved. Three things I’ve learned that helped my perspective.
    1. CIO does stay with a child. There are traits that children who are allowed to cry display. My five year old displays them. Heck, my husband and I display them. They are so common that people think they are “normal.” They don’t have to be.

    2. “Self soothe” is a grossly misunderstood research terminology. The case study in which this phrase was coined was trying to differentiate between infants who wake up and cry and those that wake briefly and fall back asleep without parental intervention. You see, everyone wakes periodically during sleep. We just usually don’t wake up enough to remember it. Which leads me to…

    3. Prior to the age of six, children do not have complete access to the frontal lobe, which, among other things, controls self-regulation. This part of your child’s brain is still developing. When you couple this with the idea that comforting physical touch helps children create neurological pathways, CIO is actually pretty detrimental to brain development and their ability to self-regulate.

    I am still learning, this is a process, but it is possible.

  29. Coming from someone who has done both crying it out and responding to their needs responding is so much easier!!! Maybe it’s because he’s my second babyor because I’m older and more mature now? I don’t know, but I am happy with my decision to research this time around and I’m really upset with myself for not figuring it out the first time! Why I choose to listen to everyone else instead of my baby, I’ll never know but I am glad I decided not to this time! As for meeting the needs of your children and taking care of your other responsibilities… It’s hard but it’s not impossible!!! All you have to do I’d adapt a little. Buy a woven wrap instead of a Moby! Then you can wear baby on your back and do the dishes! Take showers with the baby! If there’s a task that needs to be done, look outside the box! You don’t have to let your baby cry to get something done.

  30. I agree with what Robin is saying. I think this piece is not to degrade or manipulate moms. it is a reminder that babies are not here to make us miserable! i cant think of one baby who came out of the womb, screaming “IM HERE TO MESS UP EVERYTHING!!!!!!”

    i had a terrible time parenting at first. i was young, generally clueless and listening to the CIO camp in my family. i thought i was a terrible mom! it sucked. eventually i did listen to my own instincts and realized, i am not a bad mom if my daughter cries while i am showering and i dont immediately dive bomb out with a half shaven leg and unrinsed hair. i am not a bad mom if i was folding clothes in the living room and didnt hear baby right away when she woke up from her nap. i am not a bad mom if my baby is crying and i have no clue why and she wont stop even if i am holding her. i am not a bad mom if i am running late to work and 5 minutes away baby starts crying and i power through the rest of the ride to child care and start to soothe her when i pull in the parking lot. i am not a bad mom if i am ready to piddle my pants and baby starts to cry mid-stream.

    i am not being the mother i need to be if i ignore my baby and roll over and go back to sleep with a pillow over my head to drown out the noise because i am too tired. i am not being the mother i need to be when i get so frustrated i put my baby down mid cry and walk away and shut the door. i am not the mom i need to be when the second i bottle prop to do a feeding. i am not the mom i need to be when every instinct is screaming at me, and my heart is pounding with guilt, and i do the opposite of what i feel anyway. i am not being the mother i need to be when i take advice from well meaning people- who really dont know my baby or me.

    see the difference? the mom in the second paragraph needs more support and needs a reminder that babies need us, even when we feel like we can’t win. some of us don’t have support, some of us do. this is why “it takes a village” to raise a child. if you sense a friend needs support… dont hold her baby while she cleans. clean the house for her. go food shopping for her. go over in the afternoons while baby is napping so you can be there when he wakes up while she takes a shower. dont tell her she is doing it wrong (even if you know in your heart she is). be the example of another way to do things.. and that starts by helping her.

  31. Crystal, my first baby was just like that, never took a break, and I remember being tired, and stressed, and feeling like the worst mother in the world because I couldn’t work out how to keep this baby from crying *and* get everything done. Gradually I’ve worked out the answer is that so much of what I expected to do, even thought I *had to* do, just isn’t necessary. Obviously peeing and eating, yes 🙂 If you’ve found you can’t go and pee with a baby in a wrap, have you tried going to a local slingmeet for advice? Maybe a different wrap, or a different carry? Sometimes these things are just practice I think, they seem so complicated at first but then become second nature 🙂
    Eating… can you do a big batch cook once a month or once a week? I find one afternoon a month given over to cooking a load of curries/sauces/casseroles/chopped veg and freezing the whole lot means that dinner in an evening literally takes one minute of preparation. For lunches I make sure I have snacks handy plus sandwiches etc already prepped in the fridge the night before.
    Cleaning… Leave it 😉 Seriously. Babies don’t keep. Lower your expectations for your home til your children are older. If your baby is old enough for toys (or you have other children) have big tubs about that you can quickly scoop stuff into in two minutes at the end of the day. Can you put your baby on your back while you wash up? Or could you afford a dishwasher? Or could you sometimes eat off paper plates when you feel you really really just need to not wash up that night?
    It’s all about lateral thinking. If you’ve decided that your baby matters the most, there are ways to make this way of doing things happen. My third child is one this week. She’s the one where I’ve finally done *everything* the way I knew she needed, without any heed to what anyone else in the whole world thinks I ‘should’ be doing. She’s been held the most, and has cried the least. And because I’ve let the less important things slide without worrying about it, this is the absolute least stressed I’ve ever been as a parent. Don’t get me wrong, it’s tiring, and takes preparation and organisation, but I’m unschooling two children and looking after a baby and I’m (mostly!) chilled!
    It can be done. You *can* do it if it’s what you want to do. I promise you. It might sound cliched but sometimes just a bit of thinking outside the box is needed 🙂 And if you do decide that actually, this could be the way that you’re going to do things, there are really good communities about (not least of which is right here 😉 ) who can give you specific advice on specific struggles you might have.
    The best way to look at this article, rather than takin it personally as hurtful, is that it’s unapologetically advocating for babies. I wish I’d read the exact list above seven years ago, as it would have mentally given me permission to feel ok to do what my instincts were telling me to do (and everyone was telling me not to do), which was to hold my baby when he needed it.

  32. Thanks, Ladies. This is more support than I’ve ever felt on a mommy forum. Ever.

    My biggest difficulty is getting myself ready for work. I can’t hold her while I bathe, dress and groom myself. Or when I fly through the house collecting the things I need to take with me. Or when I do my final mental review and try to remember what I may have forgotten. (Well, I could physically hold her for that part but I can’t think with her screaming in my ear.) When her dad is home, he takes over. When it’s just me and her, I’m at her mercy. If that’s the moment she has a meltdown there’s nothing to do but set her down somewhere and try to get everything done as quickly as possible. I would love nothing more than to stop everything and hold her in those moments. But that doesn’t get the rent paid.

    • Can you shower the night before when your husband is home? Brush your teeth with her in a wrap?
      Can you have a little table or box by the front door where you put all your stuff for work the night before?
      Can you do a list of things you need to do/take in the morning so that it’s easier to look at/check off as you leave?
      Are you able to get up 30 mins/an hour before she wakes up so you can get dressed?
      Not to answer here, obviously, but just small changes in routine might help you 🙂

    • I love Tam’s suggestions. I hope some of them might work. Another thought: can you try to get even more cuddle time with your daughter? If you are nursing, nurse her as much as you can when you are home at night? And if you can find the right carrier- babywearing helps a lot of mothers and dads connect with their kids while getting stuff done. Many parents find that this helps the transition to daycare too.

      I have to run out now, but when I get back I am going to try to find a couple of resources for finding the right carrier for you. Here in Boston we have a babywearing group that allows you to borrow carriers to try them- and shows you how to properly put them on so that they fit right (which makes so much of a difference).

      It is a pain, frustrating, overwhelming, and often times panicked trying to get both yourself and your baby ready to leave for work in the morning. This is amplified profoundly by the unrest that we feel from not even wanting to leave our baby. It is unfair and you are not alone, Mama. Not even a little. <3

    • Love Tam’s suggestions too. The only thing I might add, is just keep a simple list by the fridge of the things you take with you. That way you don’t have to go through the list mentally as you are trying to head out the door. Get as much ready the night before as you can. And try to breath. It feels like you are drowning when you are overwhelmed. Just pause and breath for a second. Gather yourself. It goes more smoothly, and thus takes less time, even if you have to pause more than once. If I am frustrated it takes me waaaayyyy longer to get ready. And if I simplify, by getting as much ready the night before as possible (usually after the kids are asleep), it helps a lot. <3 And, I had 2 different carriers (a wrap and a mei tai) and each had a good use for my oldest. My youngest was luckily very agreeable, but didn't prepare me well for my second. 😉

    • I completely understand. Sometime you have to set the baby down and rush around for 5-10 minutes. When mine was little I’d narrate what is was doing to her. She couldn’t see me, but if she could get my voice she would quiet and intently listen. I got to the point where I would tell her before I set her -when she was sill calm- that mommy needed to set her down for a sec to brush her teeth as I’d be right back. Then I’d come right back, let her see my face, smile and check in, tell her I was going to put my clothes on and lay her on the bed and pretend to ask her opinion on the color choices I was making or tell her Mommy is getting we black pants and pullin up the zipper, now I’m getting my shirt with hearts. Do you like hearts? At which point she’d usually coo something and kick and smile. I could gage if she was ok, get stuff done and at least keep her distracted enough to not scream the whole time I was preoccupied. I did feel like an idiot when I first started this, but it really helped!

  33. Interchange the “oldest/youngest” descriptions up there. I got it backward: my youngest needed 2 different carriers, my oldest was very agreeable. 😉

  34. Crystal. Oh my goodness, I have totally been there. My second child cried nonstop from horrific reflux for 15 months. He hated me. Well, not really but it seriously felt like it. I hated life from time to time. But I am telling you, you can do it. To heck with the dishes, switch to paper for awhile. (Lifesaver!) Get an Ergo and put that baby on your back. Super easy to get on an off. But I am telling you, you can do it. Mine are now almost 4 and 5.5. I do not regret for one moment that I practiced bot attached parent and gentle parenting with them. It is really starting to show. You can do it.

  35. One thing to add, the one time it IS okay to put a screaming baby down is if you feel you might lose it. If dad or someone else can take over, great but if not you put the baby down and walk away. It is the one thing I learned with having a child they cried so much. Sometimes you just reach your breaking point and you need to lie that child down and back away. You can take a couple of deep breaths and come back.

  36. Good ideas, everyone. I will take them into consideration. I think much of the problem is that there is no routine at all. It is chaos and poop all the time. I had the shortest maternity leave ever and still haven’t really found my feet as a working mom. And every time I start to feel like I’m finding a rhythm, she changes it up on me. This week she’s just decided she needs to eat every hour. There is no warning. She just starts screaming until I put a bottle in her mouth. I finish the feeding, do the burp, change the diaper, think about doing something else for a second and WHAM! She needs to eat again. Entire days go by in this way. I blink and the sun has gone down and I’m so tired and I literally haven’t done anything all day but feed the baby.

    I used to be an organized professional person. Now I wear PJs until 2pm and have no idea what my bank balance is and blurt inappropriate things on the internet while she naps. But I truly appreciate the supportive words. It’s nice to think there are things I haven’t tried.

    • Perfect description: “chaos and poop all the time.” Yes. That is it exactly. I haven’t got much for you on routine/organizing the day. I am no good there, but working on it. I will say, there are many changes in the baby’s routine, especially in the first couple years, concentrating in the first year. It can be every couple weeks that they change. Because their bodies change so rapidly during this time, and everything is new to them, it can be overwhelming. So, it is normal for feeding and sleep to change quite often. I don’t have a lot of practical advice here, but will be watching for someone who does. I have my pen ready for notes. 😉

    • No, You don’t Crystal! I haven’t noticed anything inappropriate in what you were saying. I, in fact, find you a super great new mom! By the way, moms are not born (or very few), they are made. You wrote: “What I want most of all in moments like this is take her up and stop everything, but that doesn’t get the rent paid.” That is a gentle mom in the making for me, doing gentle parenting. Right there. I think you are doing great and yes, it seems that for previously well organised, rational, professional women it is even more difficult! I used to be quite disorganised and not good at planning my days (I was a freelancer) even before I had a baby. And I loved eating slowly and mindfully and drinking WARM tea (not cooled after it stood there for an hour while I was trying to comfort my precious little one 🙂 So after my son was born I couldn’t even make it on time for our monthly pediatrician appointment. I remember one time after a very messy morning I was finally about to head out and BOOM! my baby started screaming wanting to nurse again (and I nursed him an hour ago!). I started nursing. He pooped. I finished nursing, started changing him, he started peeing while I was working on the poop and peed his body and I had to change his clothes and we were SO late at that point – I just burst into tears… So yes, it’s chaos and poop all the time 😉 I learned that the only constant with babies was constant change. I struggled. And endlessly thought how to make it work. I am still work in progress. One of the things that helped me was: I started to see my baby as a friend. My best friend. I befriended my baby screaming or not. I started seeing him as he really is and loving him as he really is: even if he slept surprisingly little during the day and wanted to be rocked, held and tended to all the time and nursed constantly, I started finding ways to get both our needs met: mine and his. Because… Well, because you don’t leave best friends behind, do you?
      Good luck Crystal! You are not alone. And you deserve to eat, pee and have at least 5 minutes totally for yourself too! You are a great mom, but you are also a human being who is (and I was and I still am too) tired, stressed, sleep deprived and hence, all those frustrations. Chin up! This too shall pass…

  37. Sounds like she is going through a growth spurt. I swear to you I spent weeks on the couch nursing a baby. I did rewatch all 7 seasons of the Gilmore Girls that way. But ack! It was hard. But the change from an organized professional to a woman who stood in the kitchen crying because she had no idea why she was standing (and I never would figure it out!), oh I hear you. It is crazy making. But I promise, it will get better. You will get your brain back. It will just take awhile. I highly encourage you to seriously drop your expectations (is everyone fed? is everyone dressed in reasonably not nasty smelling clothes? Good to go), have a lot of grace with yourself, and remember it is just as season and I PROMISE you will look back and laugh at much of it.

    • Karen, I couldn’t resist replying to this one – the Gilmore Girls saved my sanity on more than one occasion too!! I’m also a mother who ‘wishes I knew then what I know now’. Thankfully, I’ve found this page (and others like it) in time for my second baby which in turn, has also helped my eldest. I can attest to what others have said on here. It does get easier. I too had to lower my expectations. Tasks that used to take minutes now take hours but I wouldn’t change it for anything.

  38. Pingback: The “Life Lessons” Fallacy | Evolutionary Parenting | Breastfeeding and Sleeping Arrangements - Science and History in Parenting

  39. Crystal, you are doing a great job. It is so so hard being a parent. We are lucky here in Canada that we get an entire year of maternity leave where we can hold our crying babies. If you are trying your best, and are on here for new ideas, then you, I repeat, are doing an awesome job. Doing your best is all you can do….and disregard negative comments. Hugs.

  40. This is a sweet article- which personally I loved. I would never let my 5 month old intentionally cry to the point where it’s harmful but if I’m in the middle of say… Washing the dishes or going to the toilet I certainly wouldn’t stop to quickly go over to him & pick him up straight away. We just got back from sleep school where Controlled crying was the method they use- this was in a hospital run by nurses. It’s helped my family immensely seeing he has gone from waking every 1hr45mins to sleeping 5hr stretches. As a parent u do what works for you & your family- especially if you have more than one child! Parenting is freaken tough and if your way works for you then amen! There are all different types of parenting and even if we don’t agree with it geeze we should all at least respect it. If be damned if i let others make me feel bad bc I sent my son to sleep school or bc I let my older kids eat left over pizza for breakfast lol mothers need to stick together!

    • Cathy,

      Many people on this page (myself included) do leave the dishes to comfort our crying babies. This is a good thing that is in the best interest of babies. I get that you don’t do this, and find it ironic that you suggest this is unnecessary given your misappropriated suggestion that “mothers need to stick together”.

      What I mean by this is that I will certainly not support a mother who is perpetuating untruths (that crying for a baby is good and need not be comforted). The mother who says “I wish I had known how unhealthy it was for my baby to leave him to cry and now my heart is broken” will have all of my support and admiration.

      Sleep training may have been good for you, but it is not in baby’s best interest. You will be angry that I say this, but it is true. Please feel free to start reading about it here.

      I do not believe it is respectful to insult someone’s intelligence by telling them that something they did or do is in their child’s best interest if it is not. In fact, I believe that this honesty is precisely what will bring families (not just mothers) together. You see, I don’t believe it is mothers against anyone Cathy. I do not believe we need to stick together to “fight” anyone. I believe that we should all be working together to make things better for babies and children. This includes mothers, fathers, non-mothers and non-fathers- everyone. This would mean more support of families in an honest (not profit) driven way.

      This page is not about making sure parents are lied to about poor choices, it is about making sure that they are informed before they make the choices, and comforted when they are not.

      Controlled crying is not in baby’s best interest. Once we all admit that there will be more support for families so that they can comfort their babies and meet their needs.

  41. I have only recently found your blog, but so much resonates with me here. I’m a first time mama to a three month old boy. When I’ve exhausted all possible reasons for crying and nothing worked, I put him to nurse and it ALWAYS works! I’ve been so worried that this is the wrong approach and a bad behavior to instill. I think he’s sick or teething so he’s been nursing or sleeping nearly allll day! I worry though that this will make it hard for his daddy to soothe him if I am not around. Is this really ok?

    • Yes it is really ok. Babies nurse for more reasons than hunger. If he is teething, he just want the comfort of being close to you. If he’s growing, same thing, plus that golf-ball sized stomach empties pretty quickly. I would say don’t worry about daddy, but we all do. However, he will find something that works for them. Have you considered pumping? A little bit of frozen breast milk can save the day for your misters if you are gone for a bit. I’m not a professional by any means and I’m sure OMB will have links and info and stuff in this matter, but I hope I gave you a little Peace.

  42. This reminds me when I’m exhausted from full-time nursing school, 3 children, husband, house, and two pets that I am making the right choices to help my babies. I do have to put him down sometimes, but one of us is always there for a whimper.

  43. I didn’t like hearing the sounds of my baby crying, it broke my heart. So my husband or I would always go to her. My question is now that she is almost one, and the only time she really cries is at bedtime or nap time now do I still go to her when she is crying or do I try to get her to calm herself down.

  44. I know this is an older post, but I just came across it and read through the comments. My kids are 13 and 10 now and those early years seem so long ago. I want to say this. The fact that you are concerned about the best way to soothe your child, whether to let them cry or not, how to get through a day and shower once or twice a week, means that you are a great parent. I come to you from the future – this too shall pass. Follow your instincts. Love your baby, comfort them, let people help you, give yourself credit. You are doing the best you can and you will make mistakes. We all do. Everyone told me – enjoy it because it will be over before you know it. While that’s true, when you’re living it, it doesn’t feel that way.

    My first son has autism (which we didn’t know until he was almost 2) and sensory issues so he cried a lot and for reasons I didn’t understand. I read all the books and made decisions about what I would or wouldn’t do, but once he arrived, I did whatever I could for both of us to survive. My second child, my daughter, was nothing like her brother. I found that she didn’t like being held very much. I would spend time trying to hold and soothe her when she was tired, then would put her down and she would go right to sleep. She is still like that now. She likes to cuddle, but when she’s ready for bed, she wants her space.

    Every child is different. And what works one day may not work the next day. Hang in there mommies (and daddies). You will get through this and will be better for it. I always say – parent the best you can and save for therapy!

  45. With a wife who is chronically ill I did most of the looking after of my children, and figured if they were crying they had a reason. I always found one, except when they were teething, when i could only just hug and rock them. They never needed a soother or a blanket to hold and turned out very bright and happy.
    Maybe I was so careful because of a memory which surfaced when I was around 8 years old. My mum was talking to friends and spoke about how she had done timed feeds every 4 hours as the doctors then recommended, and I used to bite her breast very painfully. Like a flash it all arose to the surface, I actually remembered the trauma of not being fed, of getting very weak and HUNGRY, and the huge relief of getting the life-giving milk into my mouth… the can’t-help-it biting down with the relief, and then the milk source being inexplicably removed again! And my alarm, then the return of the milk and again a clampdown of my jaws and again the removal… and my anguish at being teased in this way… was something wrong? Give me the milk and keep it there!
    I know that many won’t believe this, but this is literally how my thoughts ran at somewhere under 3 months of age, when I was not being fed – not in words, but in the ideas those words carry:
    “I am weak. I cannot last long without the nutrition. Where are you? My life will end if you do not provide for me soon. My life depends on this. Where are you? I am getting weaker. There is not much time left. Are you there? I can feel my living being is running out of life-giving sustenance. I need you. YOU are my provider. You have a DUTY to provide for me. Is that right? Either you made me, or whoever made me gave me to you to provide for me. Either way, you owe me. Where are you? Where are you? I am dying! Feed me!”
    Perhaps because of the trauma, perhaps because I am very intuitive*, or both, this memory came flooding back to me as clear as day. I know it happened that way. Babies have spiritual minds with logical ability. They cannot talk but they know when you hold them that you love them.
    *(I once felt someone feel cross with me over the phone while I was talking, and realsie there had been a misunderstanding, though I could not even hear them breathing. the temperature just plummted from a balmy 22C to zero.)

  46. I am the mother of two little boys. We are co-sleeping and using natural attachment parenting with our one month old. We had our first son sleep in a bassinet near my side of the bed for the first month and then moved him to a crib across the hall (in his own room) after that. We were told by the pediatrician at the time that he did not need to eat at night and we could night wean him. She also told us about self-soothing and as first-time parents, we went along with it. I now have terrible guilt that I have done life-long damage to my first child. Is there anything I can do now that he is almost three years old?

    • Don’t turn him away, even if he’s clingy or it’s bedtime or you’re busy or the baby’s crying, etc. Include him in your world. Include him in the love and care of the new baby. Now that he can speak, use language to tell him of the great love you feel for him. Tell him, as you’re rocking/cuddling him, that ‘even when mommy goes away, she always comes back.’ Sing love songs to him while you hold and cuddle him. Shower him with affection (as he wants/permits) and be glad to listen to him and play with him. Laugh with him, not at him. Spend those magical times after bath and right before bed to snuggle and softly love him. With a new baby, it’s hard to focus on your toddler. Show your toddler–by both your words and actions– that you prize and honor the great love you two share. Remember, kids are resilient and love is the strongest force on earth. Watch out for the pull to over-indulge him in stuff, and don’t let him be the leader of the family. Know that your love is what he wants and needs, not mountains of stuff, or control over you and the entire family. Trust and hone your intuition, don’t rely on the “professionals” for your every move. They exist only as guides that you can follow or not, according to you own sense of what’s right and wrong. Finally, do not feel guilty. Ask your God to forgive you, ask your son to forgive you, then forgive yourself. You were new and trusting. Now you know better. Move forward. Deal with your guilt now, so it doesn’t fester and warp your perception of the wonderful loving mother that you are! You’ve got this, because you care so much. Enjoy your babies!!

  47. I have a lot of doubts about this, I’m 3 months pregnant so I’m starting to read this type of articles. English is not my first language, so I hope I can express myself clearly, and, if anything sounds rude I don’t mean it to be, please don’t be mad, I’m just trying to be clear. Attachment parenting is not “a thing” in my country neither is the moby wrap, but one of my co workers did it, so it got my attention, she would go to the office (she was allowed to work from home and just went there for meetings and important stuff) with her child attached to her chest, sleep with him, breastfeed at demand,etc. she quit a couple months later, she couldn’t do both. Anyway, that boy is now 2 and half years old, and he is unbearable, he wont listen to his mom, he is extremely hyperactive, and I see my friend struggling to set limits, it’s as she can’t, the kid will run, break things, scream like crazy, and she just smiles and laughs. So, here are my questions: does attachment parenting isolate moms from the rest of the world and is this healthy? after living 24/7 for the baby for such a long time, is it hard to reincorporate to the “real world” when the child becomes more independent and does it cause pain or detachment issues (for mom and baby)? is it hard to set up limits for a child that’s been raised like this? and, sorry, I have to ask this, What about your marriage, your husband, how do you manage to give him attention and to keep a healthy relationship while doing this? because that’s hard enough with “normal parenting”and I can’t imagine how you do it. I don’t know if my questions are silly but those are things that worry me

    • I know this is old, but this comment never received a response and I want to respond in case someone else comes along and reads this.

      Your friend may have done attachment parenting and wound up with a bratty child, but one anecdote can’t prove a theory. I can disprove the idea that AP causes bad children. I practice AP. I have a 6 year old son and a 3 month old baby. I do the wearing usually once or twice a day. As babies, they are always within arm’s reach if not already in my arms. They sleep with me. My older son slept with us until he was 4. I exclusively breastfeed. I work from home, so I’m with them all day and night. My older son rarely ever spent time away from me for the first 3 to 4 years of his life.

      I was constantly told I was spoiling him. That he wouldn’t be independent. That he would have social problems. Yada yada.

      6 years later he is very healthy. He’s always been extremely well behaved. From infancy I’ve consistently received praise from strangers and friends about how good, chill, happy, and polite he is. He spends every other weekend with my parents without issue. He’s independent and makes friends easily at school.

      What I believe has helped him the most is not so much the AP as the fact that I speak to him on his level. I treat him with respect. I’ve always been honest and explained things to him. And I don’t punish him for having feelings. We talk about those feelings and appropriate ways to express them.

      I dislike CIO immensely, but that’s for me and my children. What I do and don’t do has no impact (and shouldn’t) on anyone else. The issue with your friend had nothing to do with AP but instead was her actual parenting and teaching her child to be respectful of himself, his mother, and the people around him. There may be even more to it. Don’t allow one situation color you perception of an entire theory or group.

  48. I have four children & my older two refused to be comforted by me or their father once bed time came. They wanted nothing to do with us even though they had been super cuddly during the day. At bed time they wanted their beds. On a few occasions where one would get an ear infection we put him in our bed & he screamed & cried until we laid him in his own bed. Hub & i wanted at least one of them to cuddle in our bed with us but it was a no go, neither one ever allowed us to! Both our older kids were like that from the start. At bed/nap time they wanted their own space & would wail at us if we tried to cosleep or put them to sleep in our arms. It was the worst while we were out, if we new nap time was nearing we’d book it home because a melt down would ensue & everyone would try to comfort them convinced that they’d be the one to put them to sleep, to no avail of course. BOY, Was I surprised with our third…he still co sleeps & he’s 3. lol our 16 month old also co sleeps. We finally got out cuddlers. I’d never imagine four kids with the same parents & same living conditions could be so different & yet they are. Our oldest two are now 7 & 5 & when hub & I go up to their rooms to lay with them in their beds & cuddle, they let us until they start to fall asleep & then they promptly kick us out…lol

    • Thanks for sharing this example, Natty. I think the dissonance comes when we have babies and children who want to be cuddled, breastfed, and snuggled throughout the night and day. We are told that this is bad, wrong, and harmful. Most babies need to have these things available to them as they need them, and we are told not to let them have it. We adjust our definitions and say that crying for x amount of time isn’t a big deal, because they just fall asleep after anyway. We are told that all babies cry most of the time and that it is our job to “break” them of this. Neither of which is true, of course.

      Though I realize you are not saying this, often times people say “well, every baby is different. How do you know what they want?” We have evidence that babies and children do know what they want, and that they communicate it efficiently. From my interactions with parents and self-education, I recognize that the struggle comes when we don’t listen to our babies.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts with us.

  49. As I read this all I can think of are all the little brats that I see running around day in and day out cussing out their parents and grandparents and just being beyond monsters and the mother just gently chides then to which, of course, they don’t listen. I’ve spoken with a several moms likes that… and surprise surprise they were ALL against the CIO method and then as their child got older they still let the child call the shots because god forbid they actually be a PARENT! Parenting is NOT a partnership, it is you are the parent, they are the child they learn to do as you say and follow your rules because you have to guide them into adulthood and I guarantee that if they don’t know how to comfort themselves by then, they are in big trouble. Everyone parents different, but seriously do CIO or don’t doesn’t really matter, but for the love of all that is holy, teach your children manners please… I’m tired of all these children growing up to be such jerks…

  50. I appreciate this a lot, but there are some male parents who aren’t “breastfeeding dads,” and it really minimizes our existence if a post like this excludes us on purpose. there’s no mom in our family, so if all we were doing is “setting up the pump and the gossip magazines” (gag me), we’d be in trouble.

    • Joel,

      Your comment is not cohesive. What is it that you “appreciate a lot”? You told me that I intentionally excluded some dads and minimized their existence.

      There is irony in your comment. After telling me that I minimized the existence of some dads, you minimized the very dads for whom I wrote this tribute. Make no mistake, having the pump always ready (particularly for someone like me who had to pump literally after every single feeding because I had to go in for cancer surgery when my son was 3 weeks old) and having something there to entertain me while I was pumping… again… is supportive and attributed to our breastfeeding success. The seemingly little things matter, Joel, and it’s not okay for you to pretend they do not. At least not on this page.

      Also, you meant to post this comment here.

      Can you clarify specifically what it is that you “appreciate a lot”? I can tell you specifically what I appreciate about your comment; the use of “gag me”. I have not heard that since I was 12 and it really brought me back.

  51. Just read this while nursing my 12 week old son and it made me cry. He’s so new and little and precious i could never leave him to cry without me. I don’t know who it would be more stressful for, me or him.

  52. I think this is ready useful information, and I’m glad to read it as a brand-new mom. What are your thoughts about allowing a baby to put herself back to sleep if she does not reach the crying stage? My daughter will often wake in the night, make small fussing noises, then go back to sleep. Is this ok? I didn’t want her to despair of me helping her, and I never leave her alone if she begins to cry, but I usually wait to see if she will fall back asleep before picking her up, as I don’t want to fully wake her if she was on her way back to sleep. What do you think?

    • Hi Ashley,

      For me, I always try to understand what my child wants. Does he want to be near me? Does she want to breastfeed? Does she need a cuddle? And here is the challenge of parenthood, right? Getting to know our child well enough to know! I constantly try to get all other voices out of my head so that I can really hear myself and my child. There has not been a situation yet where I did not know everything I needed if I trusted myself.

      In answer to your question, only you can answer it. Loads of us make this difficult for you, which is why it takes so much practice, I think.

      Thanks for being here, Ashley <3

  53. I am a proud NON-CIO parent. I am constantly being ridiculed by my husbands family who believe that basically babies should be born adults and you should do only the minimum for them. It hurts me that his family always criticizes everything I do with parenting but my daughter is about to turn 6 months old and I just don’t care anymore. I do not ask for advice from them (never have) because I know what I’m doing for the most part. I don’t believe in letting my daughter just cry forever until she finally falls asleep or just loses hope that someone will come around. Yes I do let her fuss and cry a little when she is sleepy but I try to soothe her and she just is inconsolable for awhile then finally gives in, but she knows I’m there. Plus she just said her first word a couple of weeks ago “Mama” and when she cries she screams for me and I cannot sit and listen to that and not go love on my daughter. Babies are only babies once and I feel you should cherish these moments. They grow up way to fast and then everyone regrets things they didn’t do. I’m doing everything I can to make sure my daughter knows how loved and cared about she is. I know my daughter will not have attachment issues like other children who are left alone to cry it out might have in the future. My daughter is my world and I well guarantee her that I will always be here by responding to her cries and not leaving her alone 🙂

  54. If a baby is stressed, it takes someone else to bring them back to their joy place. They can’t do it themselves, but if you teach them to be happy through comfort and distractions, they will eventually be able to bring themselves back quicker. That is why so many adults are depressed. They don’t know how to get out of that sinkhole, cause no one taught them when they were babies and their brain didn’t get wired to bounce back quickly. So, the sooner you can get them happy again, that helps them to do it later in life sooner. I used to get depressed and stay in that place for so long that I forgot what put me there in the first place. I was thrown in my bedroom to cry it out, so my place of joy was lost in my formative years. The good news is that, no matter how old a person is, the brain can learn to rewire itself at any age, but you have to know how to do it, and it takes others at first.
    At any rate, please bring your baby back to its place of joy as soon as possible, and one day, they will do it themselves sooner and quicker and not stay in a state of despair, depression, anger, sadness, or any of the other negative emotions.

    • I salute this comment. What you said here is crucial. I was often left to cry it out in my room. I have virtually zero coping mechanisms which is something I learned to work around but it’s been really messy trying to raise my firstborn not knowing how to approach her when she was distressed. I learned with my second one – it came naturally. I regret not figuring it out sooner. It is actually rather simple…

  55. Personally very offended that some moron pretend to “see it from the baby’s persoective” if this was possible they would actually be able to tell what was wrong, the most selftuggious, rude and highly offencinve outright absurd statement. Nobody knows for sure how to raise children accept that love is what they need. Both my children are happy secure individuals who come to me for help only when something is ACTUALLY WRONG because they have learned early that its right to deal with your emotions and problems and not expect that crying or sooking will fix them. I believe my job is NOT to coddle them but to teach them. Just because you think you know something doesn’t mean you know everything and to make people who are trying something you don’t believe feel bad when you have to real proof they are not doing the best thing is just bullshit…

  56. That’s really great article. Actually, we habitually do mistake. And it would be painful when we realize that our child actually wanted another thing. As a mother of a child, I did not understand his language at first. I was asked to consult a doc but I had the confidence. And gradually I grasped it.

  57. Some of these comments are off the wall. As a former preschool owner, I have seen the results of over-coddled kids. We have two wonderful grand-daughters. Both were allowed to cry when they just wanted some attention, but it was bedtime or naptime. In very short order they now have a set time. They never cried themselves to sleep. Even at 14 months, they have learned to not open certain cupboards, climb the stairs, etc because we told them not to. I think some of you people are crazy with not allowing them cry some. These are happy, happy little girls. In shock over some of these comments.

  58. This may just be one post in an ocean of posts, but everyone who posted should know this:

    There is no ONE way to parent that is right for every child or every parent.

    I let my kids cry occasionally because I needed to and they survived just fine. But my daughter-in-law never lets her babies cry and that’s okay, too. I had five kids and couldn’t cater to every need. Some moms can handle the constant neediness and some moms can’t. Some babies need moms more than others.

    Additionally, Jennifer’s post assumes some things, like the fact that babies only cry when something is “wrong”–it depends on how you define “wrong” here. If “wrong” means their life or health or well-being is in danger, then this is simply not true. Babies cry for a multitude of reasons.

    This post can seriously induce some guilt in moms who sometimes need to let their babies cry. If you have had to let them cry for whatever reason but you aren’t being neglectful, you are still a good mom.

    Moms need to support one another and offer helpful advice without criticism.

    • Well said Mary, thanks. Sometimes when I feel bad because I have to cook dinner and can only give my baby intermittent attention I remind myself that a mother with 5 children really has no choice! I guess with my next babies they’ll have older siblings to distract them a bit when I have to cook.

  59. I think that this article has some very valid points and I try and not allow my children to cry. My two year old son is very independent and doesn’t cry at almost anything. I now have an 8 week old new baby. We are currently co-sleeping, sort-of. We (me, and my two boys) go to sleep around 6:00 P.M. and then when I go to work at 11:30 P.M. my husband takes my place, or if he is tired will put my older son in his toddler bed in the next room (even though my son still ends up sleeping next to our bed by the time I get home at 8:00 A.M. Lol) While I’m at work my husband only is able to wake up to take care of the baby after he is in full-out scream mode, and my husband is so tired, disoriented, and stressed that he doesn’t thaw the breastmilk all the way. Is there any way to help my husband be more responsive to my little ones cries faster? I wish I could be there so that I could sooth him myself, but I have to make a living. On nights that I’m home with the boys my youngest doesn’t even cry he just whimpers and I guess I instinctively start nursing him. We both are happier and better rested. Thank-you!

  60. Moby wrap was a lifesaver for us as well, she loved being carried in it, and especially loved being carried in it by Daddy. It was a great confidence builder for Dad to soothe and calm her in the Moby, and gave Mommy such a break.

  61. Oh boy….this is why kids today are needy and unable to cope with adult life. You certainly shouldn’t let your infant scream for an hour but letting them cry it out for 5-10 minutes is ok. Your child won’t get everything they want in life, so help them learn that early on….that will be how you show them love.

  62. How about: Someday when I am grown I will be there for you when you need me, or even better, for others. Because you showed me how.

  63. I am a CIO parent and just want to give a little defense for us here- we are not cold-hearted, cruel parents ignoring our precious babies. I did not expect my babies to behave like adults out of the womb and only let them cry at night when they were old enough/chubby enough (for my kids that was around 7-8 months) to not need to be nursed at 2 am, 4 am, etc…a mother who exhausted ALL the time even for only a year or so at a time will struggle being a good mom- she will be quick tempered, easy to get physically ill, lose creativity in play, and be less of a mother during the waking hours. Perhaps I am the only human who doesn’t function well on only 2-3 hours of sleep at a time? If you do CIO properly it only takes about 2-3 nights and by the 3rd night there is almost zero crying. It is not being selfish to acknowledge a need for sleep as a mom; we are created to need sleep both physically and emotionally. I realize this is just my opinion, and every parent makes decisions to do things differently. I fully support any momma who snuggles her baby anytime they cry as I LOVE snuggling with my little ones (now 1 and 4) any chance I get with the exception being every night at 1 am, 3 am, 5 am, etc…but lets get over the judging. What works for one child may not work for another. Overall your children need your hugs, snuggles, and playtime fun to be secure in your love. COI parents can actually be loving parents too and our kids don’t all turn out to be psychopaths:)

  64. Very sweet..truly. I remember someone telling me that for my son’s first 6weeks of life, I should do nothing but nurse and snuggle him-that all cleaning, cooking, and laundry should be done by others.
    It just made me feel awful. My husband did what he could to help, but he had to go straight back to work…then, he went to prison (please don’t judge; it was not a crime that had to do with me or my son…and he maintains his innocence regardless) and all friends disappeared. I was truly alone and if I had done everything in this article always, the house and I would have been filthy and I would have starved.
    I never have used CIO and never would, but my son had times where he cried longer than I would have liked. He is one now, still nursing, and doing well. I’m finally making new friends. It will be okay.
    But I do want to say that no, my child never learned how to self-soothe. What a ridiculous concept!
    Also, I really wish there was an article on how to be an involved, attached parent to an infant when your life isn’t ‘together’. I never felt like I had any support after my husband was suddenly gone.

  65. I am 20 years old, a single father of a now one year old little girl whom I have custody of. From the time she was born till 3 months I comforted and soothed her. Note that my little girl never woke up during the night for a bottle. After 3 months old i started putting her on a set schedule which included a bedtime. I’d lay my little girl down in her own room with a light and soft music. For the first week she fussed me and would throw a fit but after that I’d lay her down with her paci and her bear and she would no longer fuss or cry. I firmly believe that if you have tried everything and your child is still crying them most likely she is fighting sleep and in that case it’s an out of sight out of mind matter. Don’t get me wrong about other things being wrong but i don’t know about any of you parents but I can differentiate the different kind of cries my child has.

  66. I may have missed it, but could you provide sources to back up your statements. Preferably scholarly articles. Also a list of credentials?

  67. I like your post… and I would NEVER EVER let my babies cry it out alone in another room, we all cosleep… but, there is considerable research that states that allowing crying is not actually a bad thing… so long as it’s done safely in the arms of a loving adult. Allowing a baby to cry is actually beneficial for releasing pent up stress and emotions. Of course, after all other needs have been met, and your baby is still crying, it’s ok to hold them in your arms lovingly and let them cry. I’ve done it with my girls and have seen how after they have a big cry in arms, they are so much more settled, happy and have much less restless sleep. I highly recommend reading ‘Tears and Tantrums’ by Aletha Solter

    • I do not believe that breastfeeding or comfort should be withheld so that a baby can cry. I think it is arrogant to think we know better than our babies what they need.

  68. “I cannot self soothe. It is not possible. If I stop crying when you leave me alone, it is because I have given up hope that you will comfort me.”.

    Where exactly did you get this information? This statement is said like it is a fact. This whole article comes off matter of fact and berating instead of helpful and encouraging. Just my humble opinion.

  69. DISagree wholeheartedly to this patronising article. Please stop this kind of article and the way it vilifies mothers, again. Mothers out there, please trust your instincts and don’t allow yourselves to be judged or defined by gushing lists like this.

  70. You say the baby lacks the ability to soothe itself, then tell us that they baby has a concept of hope AND the ability to abandon it. Really? This article advocates the enabling of attention seeking behavior with ridiculously invalid rhetoric. Good luck trying to convince your child that you’re in charge when it gets older.

  71. Your crying baby wants you to know there are reflexive precry sounds that they make that have different meanings. Priscilla Dunstan, a woman with photographic sound memory, figured out the cues and turned it into the information you can use, called the Dunstan baby language. The five sounds refer to hunger, upper gas pain, lower gas pain, discomfort and tired. This is universal for all infants from 0-3 months. An amazing scientific discovery you can use to connect with and help your child! Now that is attachment! <3

  72. What a load of offensive, judgemental people there are on here. And almost none of you can write a coherent sentence. Wish I hadn’t wasted my life reading this. Do what you think is best for your baby and your life and don’t listen to anyone else’s judgements of you. Everyone’s life and everyone’s baby is different so listen to your heart.

  73. I’m a practical and common sense kind of mom of three and I don’t really agree with what the author of this article has written about…well…basically you shouldn’t let your baby cry and that there is no reason for a baby to cry. Ummm…actually that is the only way a baby can communicate and she’s reaching a tad bit if she knows exactly what a baby is communicating. There are different cries for different needs and as a parent one will learn what each cry is for as you get to know your little one. Some of her comments send out a huge guilt trip message to mom’s who actually allow their babies to cry or even to new mom’s who are trying to figure it out. The lungs are organs that when exercised strengthen. It’s like when someone sings they exercise their lungs, diaphragm, and vocal cords.Well, it’s similar when a baby cries too. Yes, if a baby cries too long he/she can get too much air in the lungs and start coughing but don’t let him/her cry for more than 20 min. especially a newborn. Newborn babies are different and there is no way one could ever spoil a newborn. They need lots of snuggles but older babies (5mon.and up) it’s not going to scar them for life if mom or dad lets them cry for a few minutes while they finish something up. I really liked what Mary had to say. Thank you for your more seasoned advice on the issue. In the end, each baby is different and mom/dad you will know what your baby will need and if you’re not sure go with “mother’s intuition” because it’s usually right.

    • The lungs are organs, not muscles. Organs do not need to be exercised. Singers to not warm up their lungs. Hopefully this shows readers your lack of understanding of how long it is okay to let a baby cry.

      • I’m a singer, have been for years. You don’t exercise your lungs. At all. You exercise the diaphragm which can really irritate the heart, stomach and lungs. I actually get really bad arrythmia if I sing for too long. A warm up is not for the lungs, it’s to prevent diaphragm and vocal cord injury exactly like an athlete before exercise. A vocal warm up relaxes and reduces stress in the diaphragm and vocal cords. Crying is stress induced and so will make everything tense and more likely to damage. That choked up feeling you get when you cry is all your neck muscles tensing. And that ache you get in your belly from crying for ages is a build up of lactic acid, which is not good for you! And that’s just the physiological aspect of crying. Not to mention the chemical changes the brain experiences when crying. Babies may not be tiny adults but they are tiny humans and there are a lot of physiological similarities. I, as an adult, can’t cry for more than 5 minutes without having that ache and the sore throat and the feelings of hyperventilation. And that’s not even the same kind of full on crying that some babies can manage! If it feels that bad for an adult who can understand why they are upset and can proactively do something to fix whatever the problem is, imaging how much worse that is for a baby who is hungry but can’t get their own food, or needs a new nappy but can’t do anything about that!
        I’m not saying that there aren’t times when you can leave baby alone for a few minutes, but please remember that even babies of 5 months+ are still babies! You wouldn’t expect an adult to be able to learn a whole new language, and deal with a totally new culture and a new environment in 5 months! It’s takes adults years to deal with change like that. And that’s an adult. Someone who has full cognitive function and communication skills. Babies don’t have that, their brains are still busy growing. Give them a break.

  74. Your idea that infants cannot self soothe is 100÷ incorrect. My son has been self soothing since the day he was born by sucking his thumb. I have never let him cry it out, it was simply a skill he was born with. Often he will wake in the middle of the night and cry and before I can even walk the 10 feet from my bed to his crib to comfort him he has already started soothing himself back to sleep. Truthfully, it makes me a little sad that he doesn’t need me to comfort him. I also think it’s ridiculous that you use words such as ‘factually’ in some of these comments since these are your ideas and opinions and your ‘references’ are just similar articles written by other people who share your opinions. Your replies to anyone who disagrees with you come off as extremely rude and condescending, regardless of your claim that this is a ‘supportive thread’. There is no one ‘right’ way to be a mom.

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  76. I am in complete agreement here and rarely comment. However, as I am preparing to send this to imminent new parents, I am compelled to point out to this sensitive and aware community that we are expanding parenthood outside of mom and dad. I am about to send this onto 2 dads and while they have to overlook being called mom or women while their role is both/and, I would love it if we would start emphasizing that gender does not define the ability and drive to nurture. Thanks again. I love your voice and find it pivotal and important for new parents to hear.

    • Hi Kate,

      You are absolutely right! I am learning as I go, so thank you for pointing this out. I changed the one reference of “mother” to parent, and the piece is so much stronger.

      Thanks again, Kate.

  77. Loved your post and agree with the sentiment. It is a hard thing for parents to hear that our babies actually need their mothers in a way that is fundamental to our being human. My first (now 23) didn’t do well when he was put down and in fact didn’t really sleep on his own until he was close to 5. My second was the opposite. She slept beautifully until she was 5 and then had a harder time. I looked at both of them, each with such different needs and responded from the heart and not from a book or from my head. it wasn’t always easy, and I took a ton of flak from family members. I mothered my kids the way my heart told me to.

  78. I never thought I’d be more of an attachment parent but it turns out I am. We don’t do CIO and I hold my daughter most of the time for naps and such. I would be interested in co-sleeping however she doesn’t lay next to me. She’s 6 months old and will only sleep on my chest. For the last 6 months I’ve been sleeping sitting up in bed using a neck pillow. It’s been working because it’s easy to nurse and she was so small and didn’t move around a lot. However now she tosses and turns and gets upset when she can’t get comfortable. A lot of these comments are about wearing your baby during the day. I need some suggestions on what to do at night. I think we are both uncomfortable. How do I encourage her to co-sleep?

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  80. My heart was warmed by this, and it vindicated everything my wife and I have been doing with our 8-week-old. I just wish there was a “dad” at the end too.

  81. I read this again today and shared your link with a friend. The first time I found this, I was up in the middle of the night with my then-newborn (now busy 1 year old!). He is my last baby (3 in all), and I cried and hugged him a little closer that night. I have never forgotten number 9 on your list. Thank you for this post – it’s one I share often with my overwhelmed new mama friends.

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  86. I thought this was a great read, maybe exactly what I needed to hear. Being at home with our 3mo old without my wife to help has really raised the stress bar.

    PS to the author, you do realize there are fathers that take care of babies too right? Here, let me edit your last paragraph *** “Most importantly, I love you Mom & Dad”

  87. I have to say I think this is a ridiculous article. My daughter is one now and she is a perfectly happy baby, she loves me infinitely. And I surely used the “control crying” method if that’s what you want to call it. At 4 months old, she was up all night and wouldn’t sleep in her crib and was getting too big to sleep in my bed all night. So I sleep trained her (which involved crying!) And now she is much happier and loves her crib! She is not traumatized for life because she cried. She does not love me any less. Sometimes babies cry. That’s a fact of life. And I will not be made out to be “misinformed” or a bad mother because I did not go running to my baby every time she made a peep. M

    • It is far too early to kn w the effects that your child may have. Anxiety, depression and other side effects (such as sleep disorders) may not show up until adulthood.

  88. What an absolutely lovely and insightful list! Thank you so much for this. I think every new mama should get a copy! This is exactly what this new (and tired) mama of a 3 month old needed to read. I might frame a copy of it for inspiration on those long, sleepless nights and hectic days.

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