Blog # 9: Self-soothing: To Cry or Not To Cry?

Hi friends! So this topic has been a debate that I have heard since I became pregnant with my first child. This method of parenting is something that people feel strongly about, on both sides, and it's called self-soothing: the idea that a baby needs to cry it out to be able to learn to calm themselves down, rather than a parent responding with comfort every time their child cries. Yes I have heard both sides of the argument, and yes I have my own opinion, but in this post I will discuss both perspectives, and share my personal point of view.

I know that people feel passionately about this, trust me, and I have been lectured about the benefits of both sides by parents who swear by their choice. But is there a gray area? As a person, I generally like to see both sides of an argument, weigh the pros and cons of each, and then try to make an informed decision; But this is different, this is personal, and this choice affects my child from the moment they are born and their entire lives.

So yes, logically, I can understand the reasoning behind not "baby-ing" your child and picking them up every time they make a sound. I don't disagree that that can be harmful, but emotionally, I can't allow my baby to cry for more that a minute or 2. It just breaks my heart. I do think that a baby can cry for a little while, maybe up to 5 minutes, but after that, I just think something is wrong or they need my love and attention.

Don't get me wrong, I have tried the self-soothing method. I have tried to walk away when my kid is screaming bloody murder, and I have tried to not go rush in and pick her up the second I hear that cry, but I physically and emotionally can't handle it! I'm not saying I don't agree that the baby can cry a little bit. I am not extreme in my views, I am just a mommy who is over-caring or over-emotional, whatever you want to call it. My husband is a little firmer in his parenting style, and really thinks that I am going to spoil my kid to the point that they are just a total brat, if I pick her up the moment she cries, every time. And I don't disagree!

I know I need to 'cut the cord' as they say! My daughter is 16-months old, and very attached to me (as I am to her). I think in general, with your first child, you are just extra protective, extra careful, and extra emotional- at least I was!

The perfect example is that I still sleep in the same bedroom as her... I know, I know! Here me out! I get that she is way to old to be sleeping in the same room as me, but I kind of messed up the whole 'sleep training so your child can naturally move on from bassinet to their own crib and own room' situation. I just kept her near me as much as possible and as long as possible, to the point where when she was around 6 months old, she could not even be left alone ever! She would scream her head off as if she were being tortured, just because I would walk out of whatever room she was in, and leave her in her bed or play pen.

And it KILLED me. My heart ached when I heard her screams, but I knew I created this mess, and I had to clean it up! So little by little I let her get adjusted to the fact that I cannot stay in the same room as her 24/7, every day, for the rest of her life! It wasn't easy, but now she is perfectly fine (for the most part) with being alone in her room, as long as she has toys to play with or a show to watch. So I am working on letting her sleep alone the entire night. It stems from laziness really. For some reason, and I don't know if this is normal or not, but while my daughter is sleeping, if  her pacifier falls out of her mouth, she will scream and cry until I pop it back in.

(And I know that brings up a whole other conversation about pacifiers and whether they are good or bad, but that is a discussion for another day).

So every time that happened, at least 2 or 3 times a night, I would have to get up, leave my bedroom, walk over to her, and pop it back in- and she would immediately stop crying and go back to sleep. So being sleep deprived at times, I would end up falling asleep in the bed next to her, just so I could put her pacifier back in without having to fully wake up each time.

But it just goes to show that the methods you put in place while your child is young, have implications that can affect their whole life! No pressure right? So it's not that I don't understand the benefits and rationality behind self-soothing, I do. It's just that as a protective and emotional mama bear, I can't take it when my child cries! It breaks my heart, and my instinct is to run to her and comfort her!

My husband believes in the 'cry it out' method to a certain extent. We have both came to the agreement that 5 minutes is the max amount of time we will allow our baby to scream and cry. After that we can comfort them and continue with whatever parenting choice we are trying to instill.

As a side note, I think that communication with your spouse about topics such as these is extremely vital! I suggest discussing various parenting choices, like pacifier vs. no pacifier, breast-feeding vs. formula feeding, etc... (preferably before baby comes), and coming to some kind of agreement that you can both feel comfortable with. That doesn't mean my husband and I totally agree on everything related to our children, no way! But if you communicate your reasoning behind why you feel a certain way about something, I find, it just makes it easier to co-parent!

So yes, I see the benefits of self-soothing, and I see the criticism as well. I know my parenting style may be considered "helicopter-parenting", or as too hands on, but it's just that, MINE! The most annoying part of being a parent is definitely the unsolicited parenting advice, in my opinion, but that comes with the territory. I have learned to tune out any and all advice that conflicts with my own. Now that I am expecting my second child, I feel more ready than ever to 'fix my mistakes' so to speak. I know I need to sleep train better this time, and I know I need to not over-spoil my child. 

This parenting thing isn't easy, but it is obviously so worth while. What is your opinion? Do you believe strongly in the self-soothing method, and feel it is in the best interest of the child to learn to calm themselves, or are you more of a 'pick my child up the second they make a peep' kind of parent? Or are you like me, trying to find that middle-ground? Let me know in the comments! I know this topic is a heated debate amongst many parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc... but I think a healthy and open discussion of both options is ideal!

Thanks for listening to me, and please subscribe below to read more from me as I share my journey of parenting & mommy-hood!

My beautiful baby girl sleeping soundly.
My beautiful baby girl sleeping soundly.

Love always,


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P.S. If you are struggling with sleep training, you are not alone! This book was recommended to me and I do truly feel it works (if you actually follow what it says). It's called The Baby Sleep Solution and promises 12 hours of sleep a night by the time a baby is 12 weeks old! (I know it sounds too good to be true, but I have seen it personally work with my one year old.) The authors even promise that its never too late to sleep train, although the sooner you try it, the better the results! Click below to purchase it on Amazon.