Originally Posted by Madre Piadosa
My thoughts really depend on the age of the child- under 6 months I would probably take the view that whatever you can do to soothe that child - ie take a shower when daddy is home, order take out etc is the best bet.
Well, sure, but the idea of ordering takeout doesn't help me when I am in the middle of dinner and the baby starts to cry, YKWIM (not to mention the fact that we can't afford it for 12 months!).
Or when my toddler starts climbing into the oven the same time my 5 month old starts fussing to nurse. Or even more common - I am stuck in rush hour traffic and my baby starts crying, despite the fact that he was nursed or sleeping or whatever when we got in the car.
I sorta feel the judgement of "you must attend to your baby immediately at all times when s/he cries or you are being abusive" makes for some VERY frustrating and upsetting times for mamas (okay, me) when there are reasons why they can't attend to the baby at that precise moment.
I mean, if I don't pull the car over on the freeway to nurse my baby for 45 minutes but rather let him cry until I get home 10 minutes later (all the while singing and talking to him), is that going to psychologically damage him for the rest of his life? God, I hope not, since I have had to do that more than once.
Staying home all day, every day for the first 12 months so that I can respond to my baby immediately is just not an option for me, nor for most people, I think. So I need to know what is okay (i.e. less harmful) in these situations.
I hate hearing my kids cry - it physically hurts me - so not responding is very hard. But I am trying to sort out *what* it is about CIO that hurts kids, you know? So I can make better judgements about prioritization. I know that if my baby is choking in the car, yes, pulling over on the freeway is the best response. Is pulling over on a busy freeway the best response if he is hungry, and I will be home in less than 10 minute? I don't know.
Are we judging CIO on intention? I intend to meet my kids needs but sometimes can't, so it is okay for them to cry a bit sometimes?
But the kids don't get intention - they don't know that I want to pick them up but can't - they just know that their needs are being met. So from the standpoint that CIO damages a kid's trust for the parents, ANY time a parent/caregiver doesn't meet the kid's needs, regardless of intention, s/he is damaging the kid.
Is it age or time limits? it is okay after age 12 months but not before? Okay for under 15 minutes, but not for more? is it okay if I talk to them but can't pick them up?
Obviously, avoiding the situation is the best for all concerned, but sometimes things cannot be avoided.
I cannot tell you the amount of guilt and pain I went through during DS1's infancy about this issue of what to do when I cannot meet his needs right then and there (especially as he was a moderately high needs child). I still wrestle with it, though I am a lot more relaxed because I see that my ds is very attached and secure little guy even if I finished my shower a few times while he cried as a baby.
Luckily ds2 is pretty calm and easy going.
Edited to add: Please note that I do not think that *anyone* is suggesting I am abusing my kids or that you are judging me. This thread has been very useful for me to articulate what goes on in MY head whenever faced with this situation. I would love to know y'all's responses, thoughts, decision making approaches, etc.