CRIES IN THE NIGHT from Dr Sears article a Primer on Christian Parenting
The next class began with another control issue – crying. The teacher warned parents against responding to their baby’s cries. "He will learn to manipulate you," the teacher said ominously. "Do not pick up your baby, and he will stop crying. You’ll then have a good baby." The novices nodded enthusiastically. That’s what they wanted: a good baby.
Michael was especially pleased. Susan, as before, was much more hesitant. So once again, the couple went to talk to Dr. Joan, who shook her head sadly when they told her of the class’s latest lesson. "Let him cry it out; that old line again," she said. "I thought that philosophy had died out, but I guess it is coming back again."
"It sounds so easy and desirable," Michael persisted. "I want to be in charge of our child, just as God is in charge of us."
"But I don’t know if I can do it," Susan said.
Dr. Joan looked from one to the other. "I’m going to have you consult with a friend of mine, Dr. Johnson, a developmental specialist who is also a Christian and a father. I think you will profit from what he has to say."
Dr. Johnson had a learned, grandfatherly demeanor, and both Michael and Susan immediately felt comfortable in his presence. He got to the point without preamble. "Crying it out – there is probably more difference of opinion on this issue than any in parenting," he said. "Volumes have been written about the signal value of the infant’s cry and its effect on the mother." He turned to Michael. "There are reasons why an infant’s cries affect you and Susan differently," he said.
"A baby’s cry is a baby’s language," he continued, "designed for the survival of the baby and for the development of the mother. It is the only way babies have of communicating their needs. The key is to learn how to listen."
"But I don’t want our baby to manipulate us," Michael interjected.
"Tiny babies do not manipulate, they communicate," Dr. Johnson corrected. "That is why your baby’s cry will produce especially strong reactions in you, Susan. Blood flow to your breasts will increase, your heart rate will go up, the hormones in your system will increase, and you will have a biological urge to pick up, nurse, and comfort your baby. Susan, you are biologically wired – and I believe God designed you this way – so you will give a nurturing response to your baby when she cries, not restrain yourself."
"Something just dawned on me," Susan interrupted, "What does the it mean in the ‘cry-it-out’ advice?"
"Ah," Dr. Johnson smiled at her, "You have put your finger on the weak point of this philosophy. The ‘controllers,’ as I call them, feel it’s a habit, a manipulation, a gambit for goading parents. I don’t believe this. In the early months especially, stay on the safe side. Consider your baby’s cry a call for help of some kind and give a nurturing response according to your God-given mother’s instinct. In time you ’ll learn when to pick up your baby, when to put your baby down, when to give a quick response, and when to let your baby fuss a bit. Certainly, you do not have to pick up a seven-month-old baby as quickly as you do a seven-day-old baby. That is a cue-response network that you and your baby will eventually work out."
"But God let Jesus cry on the cross," Michael protested.
Dr. Johnson looked deeply troubled. "Michael, that was for our very salvation. And it was so hard for Jesus because before that God had always responded to His son. That’s the lesson I hope new parents will learn from the Bible. Because what we’ve discovered in recent years is that babies whose mothers give an appropriate and nurturing response to their cries learn to cry less. They feel the world is a friendly, responsive place. But babies who are insecure and don’t know whether they are going to get picked up or not are the ones who become clingy and whiny. Or worse, they simply shut down, clam up. Sure, they become ‘good’ babies, but at the price of their inner happiness. I don’t think that is what you or God want."
HTH if you need more ammo pm me
mom to 4 great kiddos