Crying it out is a personal choice, and one that isn't always an easy one to make. Even if you're steadfast in your decision and you know without a shadow of a doubt that it's the best one for your baby (and yourself) it can still be difficult. After all, no one likes to hear their baby cry, even if it's just for a few minutes at a time. Thankfully, there are some helpful things people can say to a mom who's crying it out that can make the entire exhausting, difficult but ultimately worthwhile process much, much easier.
When I was using the "crying it out" method with my daughter I, unfortunately, was on the receiving end of a few stares, glares, and judgmental looks from people; especially when I told them that we were sleep training and "crying it out" was the method we had decided to use. As a new mom still getting the hang of this whole parenting thing, those stares and glares made me question if I was, in fact, a "good mother," if I knew what I was doing, and if I could do this well. In other words, those judgments left me feeling totally inept.
Rather than judging moms for their decisions, we (collectively, as a society, and individually as human beings) should start trusting them and their instincts and their ability to make the right decisions for themselves and their families. It's amazing what can happen when a new mom is built up and reassured and supported. So, with that in mind, here are just a few helpful things a mom currently "crying it out" would absolutely love to hear:
"You're Doing The Right Thing..."
Sometimes it just helps to have someone there to help reassure you that you are doing the right thing and that it will all be OK. Crying it out isn't easy, and just like any other parenting decision you inevitably make, there will come a time when you probably second guess yourself and your choices. So, in those moments, unyielding support is crucial.
"...And You're Doing A Great Job"
I'd argue that there isn't a woman in the world who doesn't feel like she's failing, at one time or another. Self-doubt and parenthood seem somewhat synonymous, so hearing someone reassure you that, yes, you are doing a fantastic job is so vital. I can't tell you how many times I've been able to collective myself and gain the perspective I needed, after someone told I'm a great mom or I'm doing a great job.
"No One Knows What's Best For Your Baby Like You Do"
Motherhood comes with an endless supply of unsolicited advice, as everyone seems to have an opinion about what you're doing or what you aren't doing. Sometimes, hearing someone tell you what you already know — that you truly know what is best for your baby, and not some random stranger on the internet or even a close friend or family member — is the reminder you didn't necessarily know you needed.
"This, Too, Shall Pass"
I know, I know; it's a platitude, at best, but it's true. Sleep training and "crying it out" will not last forever and, yes, eventually you will get the sleep you so desperately need and deserve. It's hard to see the forest through the sleep-deprived trees when you're in the middle of crying it out, so while saying this to a mom isn't going to make time go any faster, you can at least give her a nice, kind, supportive reminder.
"Let Me Make You/Bring You/Buy You Dinner"
Because nothing says "I'm here for you" like some takeout or a home-cooked meal. Food, my friends. Food is the ultimate comfort.
"Is There Anything I Can Do To Help?"
Chances are, there's not a whole lot you can do to really help a mom sleep train her kid (unless you plan on spending the night and being part of the routine she has to establish in order to make "crying it out" a success). However, simply reminding someone that they're not alone can make all the difference in the world, so offer your services (whatever they may be) and remind this tired, hard-working mom that she's not on her own.
"One Day, Your Kid Is Going To Thank You"
It can be hard not to take your baby's cries personally, or as some sort of sign that they hate you. Of course, that's not what's happening but when you're emotional and exhausted, your thoughts go to some pretty rouge, pretty unnecessary places.
So a nice reminder that your kid loves you and will thank you for all the hard work you're doing now (hard work that is going to help them sleep at night) will go a long way.
"Ignore The Haters"
Goes without saying, but definitely worth repeating. People have some feelings about crying it out, and it can be hard to keep those comments at bay and not let them negatively affect you and your though process. So, having someone essentially say, "I have your back, and you should just ignore everyone else that doesn't," is clutch. So, so clutch.
"It Will Get Easier"
This is the truth. The more you do it and the more your child gets used to it, the better it will get and the easier it will get. They will learn how to put themselves to sleep just like you do at night. They will begin to recognize that you're always going to be there and you aren't going to just leave them. It does get easier, I promise.