We see social media posts and discussions where a common type of comment arises explaining the reason why babies and children stop crying during sleep training.
"It is because they have given up, they realise no one is coming anymore to help them, they are alone and they therefore go silent in their helplessness and neglect."
There are often references or articles then brought up to support this notion discussing short and long term trauma and impacts.
The sad thing is that the babies and children that are often referenced in these articles and research who stop crying are babies who have shut down in extreme scenarios. This comes from long term neglect and trauma. These are not babies who are in loving, nurturing, responsive environments where their needs are being met. This is a COMPLETE and UTTER tragedy when this occurs and it makes us sad to even write about little ones who go through such horror.
It would be very rare for any evidence-based and holistic sleep development program to suggest any such method. In fact, we have never met a parent that would come anywhere near this type of parenting and in fact they are typically so passionate about their little ones development, sleep, emotional well-being, attachment and they are deeply nurturing their babies and children.
So why DO babies and children who do our Sleep Sense program stop crying when it comes to sleep? Let us give you an analogy.
Think back to a time your baby mastered a new skill that was challenging. Let’s take for example, they have rolled onto their belly and now they want to get on their back but ‘oops! Mum, Dad! Help I can’t get back!!’ and they can get upset pretty quickly right? We move them gently onto their back and appease their upset and before we know it they are back on their belly and upset again! This can keep going. They are upset and potentially even crying as they are feeling a bit frustrated, wanting to get this sorted and yet they need help. Now if every single time they were trying to get on their back you did it FOR them, would they have their opportunity to learn? They may but it will be much further down the track than if they had been able to be appropriately challenged while being supported. In fact often you see them also get frustrated when you help them! It’s a balance right? This doesn’t mean you just walk away and say SORT IT OUT. It also doesn’t mean you keep doing it for them over and over and remove their opportunity to grow.
Fast forward down the track and you see them on their belly and you look away for a moment to do something and when you turn around you see them on their back calmly playing again. THEY DID IT! And not a peep of upset or frustration. Why? Because they mastered a new skill and didn’t need to ask for help. They didn’t need to cry out because they had the confidence, ability and strategy to get onto their back.
When there are age-appropriate, supportive methods used (which honestly are most types of sleep training and most definitely ours) then the reason the babies and children stop crying as they go to sleep is because they have mastered some beautiful independent sleep skills. They haven’t stopped crying because they have given up or feel neglected. It’s just not the case with what we see time and time again.
If parents want to co-sleep, rock to sleep, feed to sleep and so forth and it’s working for them and their family and the kids are getting deep nourishing sleep then we say do what works. However, if you ever hear parents saying that the reason babies and children stop crying with sleep training is because they have given up on anyone supporting them then we certainly beg to differ.