About The Cry it Out Method

by Maxine
Posted August 18 2010 01:55pm
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Often friends and family will suggest that you “Let him cry it out.” And many parents do, even if their baby is just a few weeks old. So, what is it the Cry it Out method and when is it appropriate to use.

After several months of having your child wake you in the night with his cries, many parents are exhausted and looking for ways to make the nights easier. Often friends and family will suggest that you “Let him cry it out.” And many parents do, even if their baby is just a few weeks old. Other parents are advised to never let their baby cry it out because it will damage their emotional development, so they always get up and tend to their crying child.

Our experts believe there is a way to manage both techniques to help support your baby’s healthy development. When babies are only a few weeks old they are too young to sleep through the entire night without waking, so when is it appropriate to use the ‘Cry it Out’ approach and what are the alternatives?

Cry it Out is often referred to as the Ferber approach because it was originated by Dr. Richard Ferber
. The approach assumes that babies learn to fall asleep on their own, just like they learn to feed themselves. Advocates of this approach see sleeping through the night as a skill that babies can master if their parents give them the opportunity.

Advocates believe that if your child is used to having you rock him all the way to sleep, he won’t fall asleep on his own. The same applies if your baby always falls asleep while nursing. If your child wakes during the night – as all children and adults do as part of the natural sleep cycle – he’ll cry for you to help him get back to sleep, rather than just go back to sleep by himself.

Dr. William Sears advocates the Attachment Parenting approach. Dr. Sears is opposed to letting babies cry without an immediate response from caregivers. He and many other experts argue that if you do this, it threatens your baby’s trust in you and his sense of safety and security in the world.

Our experts have looked at both sides of the debate and believe that if you are interested in trying the Cry it Out method you should wait until your baby is at least 6 months old. It might even be preferable to wait until your baby is 9 months or older. This opinion is based on many developmental factors of infants, but you need to decide what is appropriate for your own baby and your family.

“Sometimes you can look at other options before choosing to try the Cry it Out method,” says Karon Foster, a Registered Nurse and Parenting Expert. “First and foremost, establish good going to sleep habits. A good bedtime routine is predictable and benefits both parents and babies. If you have a good going to sleep routine it can reduce the amount of crying at night.”

Our experts also suggest that you try night weaning before trying Cry it Out. It’s too much for your baby to lose both a feeding and connecting with you at the same time. At about 5 months most babies will start feeding about 4 times during the day with a feeding just before bed and should be able to go without a middle of the night feeding.  Reduce the night feeding to as little as possible before starting the Cry it Out method.

You should also consider your baby’s temperament. How successful any approach will be can depend on how your baby responds. If your baby craves physical contact with loved ones, it will be more difficult to be successful with Cry it Out. Few babies are truly “high needs” in this regards so many babies will do well with either approach or something in between.

Did you use Cry it Out? Or did you practice Attachment Parenting? Or did you do something totally different? Leave a comment below and share your story with parents just like you!


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I Feel Awkward Around My Baby

by Maxine
Posted August 18 2010 06:19pm
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Sometimes new parents feel awkward with their new baby or have trouble relating to her. This is a normal feeling and will usually pass.

Our experts have developed some tips to help you when you’re feeling this way.

If you are having trouble relating to your baby, here are some tips that may help.

Remember that bonding is a process that takes caring, patience and time. Your feelings for your baby will grow stronger over time.

Understand how important you are to your baby. Your baby needs to feel comforted and protected by you.

Although some of these things might feel awkward at first, here are some ways to begin to build a warm relationship with your child (even if you don’t feel that warm at first)

  • Hold your child close, talk warmly about what you or your child is doing, and provide hugs and kisses.
  • Try singing or telling a story to your child - whatever songs or stories you like. Be yourself and your baby will come to love it.
  • Try playing some games like peek-a-boo or 'I'm going to get you.'    

Even if it feels like this is "not really you," create your own version of these activities. Over time, both you and your baby will become more relaxed and appreciative of each other.

Did you ever feel awkward around your baby? How did you manage this? Leave a comment below and share your story with parents just like you.

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Cues and Attachment

by Maxine
Posted June 21 2011 03:50pm
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All babies need their parents and caregivers to provide sensitive, responsive attention to them. When you do this, your baby learns to trust you and forms an attachment to you.

Your baby will send cues to you when he is ready for you to engage with him, and will send different cues when he has had enough.

  • Crying: babies cry when their feelings are out of control. They cry when they are hungry, tired, bored or in pain. Find more on crying here.
  • Facial expressions: quivering lips and furrowed eyebrows usually mean your baby has had enough stimulation, and just needs some comfort, or some down time. A smile means she is ready to engage with you.
  • Eyes: wide open eyes are an indication your baby is ready for more contact. An averted gaze means, please stop whatever you are doing.
  • Gestures: even small babies can bat things away, when they are tired or irritable. And they quickly learn to hold their arms up, when they want to be picked up.

Your baby's cues are signals for you to provide some attention, but what kind of attention? Here are a number of different ways you can engage with your baby:

  • Soothe him
  • Feed him
  • Hold and cuddle him
  • Provide body contact, or skin-to-skin contact
  • Show affection
  • Gesture back – mimic him
  • Change your facial expression
  • Sing, hum, whistle
  • Talk to him as if he can understand you
  • Do some physical activities, like running, skipping or jumping together

If your baby is feeling hurt, sick, upset, sad, frightened or lonely:

  • Comfort and reassure her by holding, kissing, and talking quietly and calmly
  • Take her to a quieter environment where it is calm

You can make it easy for your child to become attached to you by paying special attention to her when caring for her daily physical needs. For example, during:

  • Feeding - hold your baby comfortably, looking at your baby face-to-face, this is an opportunity to hold your baby skin-to-skin
  • Diapering/dressing - talk, sing, smile, and play games, such as peek-a-boo
  • Sleeping - sing a pre-nap song, recite a rhyme or tell a story, hold and rock your baby
  • Bathing - talk about the body parts as you wash and dry your baby


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Planning to spend time away from your baby

by Maxine
Posted January 2 2012 04:23pm
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During the first few weeks after your baby is born, you are probably not going to have the time, energy or desire to leave your baby. Eventually, though, you will want to spend time together with family or friends. Here are some tips on how to ease back into circulation:

  • Plan ahead for your outing, and how you are going to go out.
  • Look for a babysitter fairly soon after the birth or even before your baby is born.
  • Choose someone you trust, a family member or someone you know well to take care of your baby.
  • Have the sitter come over to help care for your baby while you are at home for the first few times.
  • Plan to go out for only a short period of time for the first few times.
  • Time your outings around your baby's schedule.
  • Plan for plenty of time to give the sitter a thorough orientation.
  • Leave a number where you can be reached.
  • You may still experience some anxiety, so call home to check how things are going.

The first few times may be stressful, but your ability to relax will improve as you take more occasions away from your baby.

Was it hard for you to leave your baby for the first time? Did you use any of the tips above to help you through? Let us know and post a comment below!

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