If you have many mommy friends on your Facebook account, you’ve probably seen a certain video popping up in your newsfeed. It’s gained a lot of popularity lately and it grinds my gears every time I stumble upon it. It’s titled, “What Happens When You Ignore a Crying Baby?”
Let me just start by saying, if you didn’t feel like an inadequate parent before you watch it, you will now. It all starts by sharing that ignoring crying babies can lead to serious problems in their development including increasing aggression, impulsive behavior and violence later in their lives. But the list doesn’t stop there – it can apparently inhibit their immune systems and growth as well.
Now look, I get that this video has only good intentions. Don’t get me wrong, I hate when my newborn son is crying. None of us want to see our children unhappy. However, when it comes to having a baby in your home, sometimes sanity requires you to let the baby cry.
With my first child, I had postpartum depression. Looking back I’m so ashamed of some of the thoughts I had and am so grateful I’m not alone in feeling that way. I remember wishing I could go turn back time and just decide to not have children at all.
A lot of that stemmed from the lack of sleep and complete panic that all new parents seem to go through. But on top of that, my daughter was quite the crier and I could never figure out how to console her. We used to all pile in the car at 3:00 in the morning and drive for hours hoping it would settle her down long enough for a little peace. That nonstop crying often led me to the brink of insanity and I often had to call on someone to come help me so I could lower my stress levels.
I learned then that sometimes you have to just walk away and let the baby cry. When you’ve done all you can with no relief, your mental health may require nothing less.
Ignoring my baby is a last resort but it certainly is an option that’s on the table if I absolutely need it. In fact, just last week my son was in quite a mood. I had just bought myself lunch because he seemed to be quieting down. When I got home with the takeout, he started fussing. Naturally, I tried to nurse him to comfort until he fell asleep. I knew my food would be cold but that didn’t take the hunger away.
As soon as I tried to lay him down in the bassinet, he began crying to nurse again. I picked him up to give him what he wanted until he finally fell asleep. Finally, I could eat. Wrong! Once again as I laid him down, the pattern repeated. I tried this three times before I lost my composure – my patience is thinner than I’d like but I really tried to stick it through.
Third time was not the charm.
Because of this, I made a decision, my son was going to have to cry while I ate my lunch. Sure, I’d gulp it down as fast as I could, but I had to take care of me so I could properly take care of him.
So what I’m trying to say here mama is that you should do what you think is best and don’t worry about the rest. There’s a lot of parenting advice out there but you don’t have to take it. Follow your gut and find what works for you.
You may not find yourself ignoring your crying baby, but ignoring unsolicited advice instead.