“My heart breaks when my baby cries!!”
“I cannot handle it when my baby is crying!”
We were built to respond to cries. It’s in our make-up. We want our kids to be happy! So it naturally happens that we intervene and do anything in a specific situation to stop the crying. Especially with our babies before a year, when they cannot tell us what they are unhappy about.
Babies and children communicate with us through crying – I’m hungry, I’m tired, I’m overtired, my teeth hurt, my sock is too tight, my nappy is too wet, the list goes on. So in these situations, we do our best to figure out what we can do to make the crying stop. But in instances where we are trying to enforce a boundary, crying is one of the best ways our kids can tell us that they are frustrated or overwhelmed by this change or simply not liking it as much!
One of these boundaries can be to work on better sleep for your child and your whole family. Sometimes during this process of sleep training, it can feel like you are withholding something from your child, and then the crying can really break your heart! We as parents play such an important role by showing our little ones that we have space for what they are feeling, and they are allowed to feel the frustration, we accept it and we are there to support them. But the boundary is in place, mom is still in control of the situation. By doing this, we as parents are acting as a positive buffer to help our little ones learn to self-regulate. We believe this to be a very necessary skill to learn in life!
Even if you are not actively sleep training at the moment, use this tool to help you give your child some space for their feelings and emotions:
- Listen – Listen to what is going on and assess the situation
- Wait – Give some space, allow them to feel, and get out what they need to unload
- Respond – Give a loving response and reassure them that you are there for them for whatever they need!
They immediately feel more understood as we respond to their needs, may it be emotional or physical in a loving way and this helps us stay connected to our children. - Janet Lansbury
We as parents often feel more assured about crying if we are ok with our own emotions when it happens. Try see crying as a positive experience and that your child feels comfortable expressing how they feel. Try to label the feelings even with small babies, so children can also understand what they are feeling. With a child feeling so in tune with their emotions, and a parent supporting them through it it can create nothing other than a secure attachment.
What about secure attachment?
The number one reason that prevents parents from taking on sleep training as a way to fix sleep difficulties is because of the term “Secure attachment”. Parents are terrified that they will do harm to their relationship with their little ones. As with all things, we need to go back to the origin of the term Secure Attachment and not confuse it with Attachment Parenting. Media has gone on a tangent and misleads parents to think that they need to 1. Co-Sleep 2. Breastfeed 3. Always carry/hold your child to form a secure attachment.
Let’s just say first off that YES we always need to take care of our little one’s needs, that is the privilege of a parent! But we as parents have a responsibility to ourselves, our partners and the rest of our families to also take care of other things. When it comes to sleep, we often keep compromising, but rest assured that when both parties sleep better, the attachment gets even stronger!
The definition of a secure attachment is: children who show some distress when their caregiver leaves but are able to compose themselves knowing that their caregiver will return. Children with secure attachment feel protected by their caregivers, and they know that they can depend on them to return.
Children and babies with a secure attachment tend to react well to any kind of stress. They are willing to try new things independently. They form stronger intrapersonal relationships. Attachments between an infant and a primary caregiver begin developing at birth through one-to-one interactions. These early interactions affect the brain, establishing patterns for how a child will develop relationships as they mature. The brains of infants who form secure attachments have a greater foundation or ability to form healthy relationships. You can develop a secure attachment with your baby through nonverbal emotional interactions such as reassuring touches, attentive eye contact, and a warm, affectionate tone of voice.
So by what you as a parent are doing by responding, taking care of your little one's needs and also holding the space for them when they are emotional are key factors to keeping your relationship secure. It does not mean we have to forget about our own health and needs. Having a balance in life is key to having a healthy growing family.
Why do babies cry?
- Hungry, cold, hot, wet, lonely, bored, over stimulated, understimulated, pain, sick, angry…
- Capture your attention
- It’s the only way babies can “call” us
- Frustration is a big reason why babies can cry especially when it comes to sleep and being overtired.
- Crying and sleep training…
Now that we know nothing can happen to our secure-attachment with our little one, what about the crying while we do sleep training?
Yes, your baby will be crying, some cry a lot while we are doing sleep training. But, it is important to know that when your baby cries when we do sleep training it is because we are changing the way your baby was used to falling asleep and it is not because they are hungry or feel abandoned in any way.
We make 100% sure everything is in balance and your little one is healthy with the best sleep environment that we as parents can give. Your little one will be fed, their love tanks will be filled to the brim and our goal would be to have the least crying over the shortest time. We at Brave Little Baby care about our babies and our parents wellbeing. Sleep training would not be a thing if it hasn’t helped many many families.
Remember we as parents are there for them to support them through it all and help them calm down. We are putting a loving boundary in place that comes with protest, I would also put up a fuss if someone had to take my favorite pillow. Loving boundaries are an important part of growing up. Our children needs the reassurance that we know what is best for them and that we are the loving leader they need to flourish. We are holding the space with them. Your little one is crying because it is the only way to communicate their dissatisfaction with this new routine and to accept the new changes not give up as the media makes you believe. They usually start to love their new routine and you will see a change very quickly.
Even doing "gentle methods" or so called "Sleep-without-sleep-training" will also include crying, it may be less but will be spread out over time. Even with this method we will still be changing their sleep associations and expect crying. These gentle methods also do not guarantee results and one could expect a big improvement but not exact results and that is ok for some, so it all depends on your initial goals
You know your baby best. When it comes to crying and how to handle them when they cry. If you are ready to embark on the sleep training journey, you also need to be emotionally ready for the change. You need to be calm and confident for this to work well. If you are ready and you were scared of the crying part, we hope this gives you some insight to what we believe and if we would be a great fit.
Once your baby understands their new loving boundary and that they can let go and fall asleep on their own, the crying will subside and your attachment will remain in tack. A baby rarely cries because they are scared or feel abandoned, they do not understand these complex feelings especially when you are going in ever so often to comfort them or even staying with them in the room to support them through the change.
The method we choose will accommodate your little one’s temperament as well as your parenting style.
Get in touch..........so we can start on this sleep journey