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Hello Mommies,


I have a dilemma. I have a 8.5 month old is sick for the first time. She has an ear infection, and so far she's been to the doctor twice and the second time they put her on a stronger antibiotic.


She was premature and for the first two months of her life my husband and I took shifts holding her at night because she would NOT sleep unless you held her. I was (and still really are not) a big fan of the cry it out method. We stopped feeding her at night several months ago. When we finally couldn't take it anymore we let her cry it out, going to check on her every 5 minutes and offer comfort. However, I can't usually let her cry more than 20 minutes.


Since she has been sick (a week now) she reverted back to the "only sleep when held" phase. I was unwilling to let her cry at all when she was sick. I knew she needed to rest in order to get better. I'm so worried that we will never be able to get her back in her crib. It was so hard to do it the first time and I don't want to have to let her cry. I don't think that we can get her to sleep in her crib unless we do that, though. I am going to wait and make sure she is 100 percent healthy before we try going back into the crib. (She also refuses to sleep in our bed, just on your chest in the recliner---where it's impossible for me to sleep!)


I've had 2 hours of sleep in 48 hours. Which is OK because I have terrible insomnia anyway and I'm actually functioning quite well to my surprise.


So my question is...how much crying is too much? Please do not judge me, as most moms that are totally against any bit of crying had easy babies. There have been many nights when I have gotten up with her 10 or more times a night. We have tried everything  from following Babywise faithfully, cereal at night, overnight diapers, increasing her solids, white noise, etc. I have read EVERY book on infant sleep. And all the experts usually agree that teaching them to sleep well is more important to their development than practically anything else.


There is no way we will get her back in her crib without her crying some. I also know that intermittent reinforcement will not work (picking her up sometimes and not others)....


I just don't know how I'm going to do this. I'm deathly afraid she will cry for hours and I just can't let that happen. Any advice is appreciated.

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I'm sorry your baby is sick, and I'm sorry she's crying.  My son necessitated constant contact and I understand how draining it can be.  My life change when I brought home a sling and found that he LOVED it.  I could hold him and have my hands free to do the things I needed to do and he was happy and content (which is all we want for our kids, right?).  When he fell asleep in the sling I would lay him down onto the bed and he'd finish his sleep there, curled up in the sling.  Actually, both my kids loved it.  Have you tried a sling?


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I think I'd try to get past the ear infection before I pushed the sleep issue too much.  Have you checked with your doctor about either giving her Motrin before bed or ear numbing drops?  That may help her get past the pain enough to sleep.  I'm wondering if she's feeling the pain and pressure worse when she's lying down right now.  It's common for ear infections to hurt more at night when you're lying down.


As far as crying, I've probably let my kids go 20-30 minutes.  I've found that they all slept best when I could get them in a routine and put them down when they were sleepy and content, but not exhausted and frantic.  I know, it doesn't always happen that way!  She might be really overtired at this point.  Honestly, if you have to let her cry some for your own mental health, that is okay too as long as she's in a safe spot.


I'm sorry!  I know it's harder when your little ones are sick.  :(

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Hi!  Sorry to hear you have a sick little one. No fun.

I am trained in Interpersonal Neurobiology and your question sparked a lot of feelings for me.


Your baby's brain is hardwired to "ask" what we call the Big Brain Question, "Are you there for me?" If you answer a YES as often as possible. your child's brain will grow and organize in an optimal way. If you answer no, your child's brain will NOT grow as it should/could and they will have more chances of problems in all areas of life.


Think about it. If you were scared and in pain, would YOU want the people around you to ignore you and let you cry by yourself. I assume you would feel abandoned. Abandonment is the worst type of abuse for the brain.


You can not "spoil" a baby with security and affection. If your child needs your comfort when they are sick, then so be it.


My children are all grown now, and they are all solid citizens. They were held, loved, and soothed when they were scared, hurting, or just needing attention. You can never go wrong with love. :) 


I hope your little one feels better soon. I hope this post was helpful.


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Her needs are met and I'm not talking about letting her cry in pain. I'm talking about letting her cry in pain. I wouldn't try to put her on her crib while still sick. She is a very spoiled child. I do think however, that there is going to be a little bit of crying when getting her back in the crib and it's unavoidable. She will be dry, fed, rocked and not in pain. Im not sure where your training comes from but I have a doctorate in experimental research and I can tell you that the studies that show decreased or abnormal neural development from crying are babies that experience constant abuse and neglect... Not the ones who have to cry for 10 or 20 minutes for a few days to learn to sleep in their crib again. I think going in to comfort her every 10 minutes let's her know she's not abandoned. I think it's healthier for her to learn to sleep then for her to be up 25 times a night or for us to hold her all night every night. Most people that are against any crying usually didn't have babies that were up more than ten times a night. That kind of sleep disturbance ruins marriages and your sanity.
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I think you really misunderstood when I said WHEN SHE IS HEALTHY again we would put her back in her crib. It really makes me mad that you would assume I would let my sick child cry alone in pain. I've held her all night for a week now, sacrificing sleep entirely for myself.
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I have a doctorate in clinical psychology. My first born was up every two hours for the first four months, so I know that it is a challenge to get sleep with a crying baby.  I had found children under the age of four, so I know first hand how hard it is to balance the needs of babies, sleep and marriage.


You sound a bit defensive so I wont explain any more about the studies of the amygdala and prefrontal cortex.

I didn't mean to step on your toes.


Hope your little one feels better.



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I didn't mean to sound defensive. My doctorate is in experimental psychology. I'm familaiae with the studies of the amygdala and prefrontal cortex you are referring to. However, those studies are confounded. The only evidence of neural damage was found in babies who experience constant neglect. I do not let my baby cry if I can avoid it. However, there is a lot of evidence on the importance of healthy sleep in children. How do you suggest I get her back in her crib without her crying at all? My daughter wouldn't sleep in 15 minutes ANYWHERE but my arms the first two months of her life.


I was looking for advice about how much crying is too much. Obviously, I'm not going to let her cry for hours. I also provided constant reassurance that I'm there for her. In addition, this only usually lasts a few days. I hardly think that is going to affect neural development.


Thank you for the info about the sling. We have one, but my daughter only likes to be in it with her arms and legs out now, not curled up for sleep. We have also tried cosleeping with no success. I appreciate the advice and I am doing the best I can.

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we both "should" know when someone sounds defensive, that the good ole limbic system is hard at work. :)

I am sorry if I sounded callous. I battle my benzo brain still, and it is NOT the best brain for communicating with love and respect, as much as my heart may feel those things.


First, I appreciate more than you know, the hard work a mother puts in raising her children. I know the sleepless nights and all that goes into wanting to raise a healthy, happy child. I did not mean to insinuate you want anything less for your child or that your efforts are not "good" enough.


Let's focus on the heart of your question: How long is too long to let your child cry?


In my very humble, benzo withdrawal brain, my answer is "who knows?" Every child is different in their genetic makeup.  I encourage parents to use the 4L's method for parenting: Look, Listen, Learn, Love.


Simply put:

Look: what is the behavior of your child saying. Pay attention to the more subtle cues and clues, not just the "surface" of things.

Listen: what is your child saying (or crying!)  what is your child NOT saying which is vastly important too?

learn: what need is your child expressing either skillfully or not? It may be hidden under words or behavior. Your job is to be a super sleuth and find out the need.

Love: fill the need!! With love, compassion, understanding, acceptance etc. And, fill is as quickly as you can. A child's brain is "watching" to see how fast you respond.


If your child sounds (there is the listen component) distressed, then its a good idea to step in with a loving response, which may be to soothe them in  your arms.


I understand that sleep is vital to the development of a baby. (to all of us!) But so is secure attachment. I know, (trust me!) how hard is it to live with a fussy baby. Two of my four were challenging sleepers. But the good news is that they don't go off to college needing you to rock them to sleep. I find it interesting that our culture promotes so much distance between parent in child in separate rooms for baby and mother.


My best answer to you would be simply, Listen to your OWN heart. What does it tell you to do when your baby cries? If it tells you to pick it up and soothe it, then do so.  The heart has its own wisdom.  In my humble opinion, you can not spoil a baby. But you can do the opposite by ignoring its cries.


Hope this was helpful and didn't trigger anything, sincerely not my intention. Being a mom is the hardest, thankless job. I applaud your efforts and your desire to do what is best for your baby. Hope all is well at your house soon.

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I appreciate the advice and I think it's good advice. I have a lot of guilt from a complicated delivery and postpartum period filled with many surgeries and health problems. I missed out on a lot but I did the best I could. That is what started my benzo journey and withdrawal after a reaction to cipro. I've been through more than your average new mom. I haven't slept more than 4 hours in nine months. I'm sorry I got so defensive. I've done everything in my power to foster secure attachment. I had to though for the sake of my sanity allow her to sleep in her crib. My husband is a big guy and a restless sleeper and I was afraid of cosleeping for safety reasons. She didn't sleep well that way anyway. I have to let her cry a little bit to get her to sleep. I usually go and pick her up to soothe every ten minutes, and then after a few nights she would sleep on her own with few wakeups. My fear is that their will be more crying this time because I've let her sleep on me for a week now. I want to do what is best for her, but I want to be realistic, and I can't rock her all night everynight and be functional with zero sleep. The benzo wd insomnia makes sleep tough as it is. I think good sleep is important and I think that you must eventually decide what boundaries to make. I can't be a good mommy if I never get sleep.
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Aww jittery

Hang in there don't put to much pressure on yourself!!!

Its way hard being a new mommy let alone being a new mommy in w/d!


Sounds to me like Ur a wonderful nurturing Mommy for real. Its hard to break our babies

habits especially the 1s when there on our chest all night just wanting security!

But that's really not healthy either. Your baby needs to know your always there but sleeping in there own crib is safe to,

I was and still kinda am a very nurturing Mommy to. I spend prob half there lives hugging them holding them at night ,especially when there sick. But I learned the more children I had .I have to let go a bit and let them have independence to.Its very important or they may grow up not being able to handle life's challenges without MOMMY LOL..Hang in there sounds like Ur doing every rt..



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Jenn's right, you ARE doing your best!

Sorry to hear things were complicated and you had to go on a benzo.


Hope you find some peace in your heart, and some sleep!

Hope your little one feels better soon.


Rearing a baby is hard enough, I can't imagine trying to do it in benzo wd. Hats off to you.


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I just caught some of your posts. Being a mother of a 23 yr old. I remember going through the crying stages.

This is not advice for a sick child. If they cry when you put them in the crib . Try music in a cd player or an ipod nearby or whatever they have for kids now. My son loved music when he was a baby. If they cry and try to jump out of the crib: My pediatrician said to do this. Put them in the crib  put a latch on the outside of the door. Let them get out of the crib and let them cry. They may even sit by the door and cry. Let them. He said he would eat his hat if I had to do this more than once. Wellllll..... it worked. It was hard to do . But I did it. Make sure they cant pull stuff off of dressers , etc. Just give them a blanket and toy to sleep on. It make take a while but you will see they might fall asleep on the floor.

My son grew up happy and healthy. PS he slept with us when  he wanted when he was older if he was afraid or not feeling well . Or I put a twin bed in his room to sleep if he was real sick. He is happy and healthy and the best kid . I am blessed. He works on wall street now. So this too will pass. HoneyM :smitten:

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Stupid phone... Ear infection is gone but 2 days later she got a cOld! I put her in her crib and let her cry five minutes then picked her up. Now that she has a cold I Pick her up immediately. She slept ten hours last night! However with my insomnia I only slept three :(
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Sorry to hear she got a cold. But its great that she slept. Too bad you didn't. :(

Thanks for letting us know her ear is better. Hope she kicks the cold soon.


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  • 4 weeks later...

Dear Jittery,


So sorry that the little one has a cold and that you can't sleep.  One small hint for you, never ask a room full of mothers the right way to do things.    :2funny:

You are going through recovery and it makes it harder for you.  But you will learn what the different cries mean.  It won't take too long to figure out the "I  want my way" cry and you will know how to deal with it.


My doctor said a baby will never cry more than 1 hour if you they are fine, feed, changed, etc.  Well, he was WRONG.  Some children are stubborn.  It was easier for us to get into a routine.  Even just rocking the baby for awhile and singing, then bed, sets a routine.


I had a pediatrician that said her child wouldn't eat hot food - so she put it in the refrigerator to cool it down.  Everyone has "THEIR OPINION", just go with the flow, it will work out.  When they get older put a special toy in the bed, just for bed.  Oh well, now look who's been doing nothing but giving you advice.  Guess it comes naturally.    :crazy:




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