eK-3zmjBImBHOZjRJYEZVBw4ZWs Shaky Mommy: Teaching 3 month olds to "self-soothe"?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Teaching 3 month olds to "self-soothe"?

So my in-laws were over here the other day. While they were here, my mother-in-law was sharing some things about her job. She works at The Children's Hospital. She had to do some observations at their Child Development Center. She went to observe in a class of 6-9 month olds and what she told me she saw really disturbed me.

While she was there, a baby started to cry. My mother-in-law instinctively moved to pick the baby up and was told not to. No one else picked the baby up either. My MIL was told that they teach the babies to self-soothe and that every baby in there was capable of soothing himself by age 6 months. They start working with the babies on "self-soothing" at around 3 months.

Now in this class, there are 7 babies, but there are 4 workers, so it's definitely possible for them to hold the babies during the day. That's a really good teacher/baby ratio. The teachers farther explained to my MIL that they hold every baby while they feed them and change them. Other than that, nothing. They sit on the floor with the babies and talk to them or hand them toys, but they don't touch them or hold them. It sounded like the cry it out method some people use to help their babies learn to get to sleep at night. I asked my MIL "So it's like cry it out?" and she said yes. But we're not talking nap time or bedtime, we are talking cry it out all day long!

I know at daycare that babies can't be picked up every single time they cry because the workers have other babies to take care of. But its odd to me that they never pick them up except for feeding and changing. Sometimes a baby just wants to be held, right? They don't even take the babies from his or her mother at drop off time.The mother has to put the baby on the floor and then leave. It sounds so awful!

My first two kids were in daycare when they were babies and the teacher/baby ratio was 1:4. And yet, my babies were held a lot. I never felt like they were neglected and they were never left to "self soothe." At our daycare, if a baby needed more attention than the teachers could give because she was busy dealing with the other babies, the director or assistant director would take the baby to their office for some one on one time.

Now that I'm not working, I pick Jaxon up and hold him all the time. If he cries, I come to him as soon as possible. Sometimes he has to cry while I'm dealing with the other kids or while I'm in the shower. But mostly I try to hold him if he wants it. If I need my hands free while he wants to be held, I wear him. I don't think you can spoil a little baby, and I see nothing wrong with picking him up when he is upset. I feel that if I don't pick up when he cries, he will come to think his cries don't mean anything and feel I'm unresponsive to his needs.

Hearing this story really made me sad. I felt bad for those babies. The worst part of this for me is that this daycare is recognized with some of special accreditation for being so advanced and wonderful. They There are probably moms who leave their babies there because it's supposed to be such a great place but then their poor babies are not being held and loved on during the day.

Maybe I'm overreacting. Maybe I'm weird to want to pick my baby up and respond to his cries. What do you think about this practice?

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1 comment:

  1. That is... weird. I mean, it's kind of a mean way to teach babies to self-soothe, too. I pick my baby up when he's crying and check to make sure he's okay, not hungry, etc. I put him back down to play but if he's screaming bloody murder I do hold him. At this age, who can tell if he's dealing with a tummy ache and just needs to be held or something?

    I don't think you're overreacting - I can't imagine not picking up a baby as a habit, especially at 3 months.