If ever there was an example of why babies and toddlers should not be left to cry it out, this is a good one!
Imagine the damage we would have done (this isn't some theory I have just made up myself by the way...babies left to 'self-soothe' (how I loathe that phrase) show raised cortisol levels i.e. stress hormone, in their blood despite outwardly appearing to be 'fine' and it sets the child and then adult up for high stress levels for life).
For so long we wondered what we, as parents, were doing 'wrong'.
Why would she not just SLEEP? This phrase would often include expletives!
Why was she waking angrily in her sleep from three to ten times a night even at age 3?
Why would she itch her tummy in her sleep some nights and wake incessantly to do it?
Why was she complaining of a nauseous tummy for a few minutes every second day?
FINALLY....we found out why in early February. My friend is a homeopath and she did a blood test via Cambridge University testing for antibodies present in her blood to detect for food intolerances.
Turns out...Isobel is highly intolerant to eggs, gluten, potatoes, barley, cows milk, cashews, hazelnuts, oats, pineapple.
Within two days of cutting out these foods, SHE SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT! We couldn't believe it.
When we mentioned to friends that Isobel was waking lots at night, we received all the usual well-meaning advice...'oh she's playing you', 'she knows you'll get up to her every time', 'you're making a rod for your own back'.
Frankly, the notion that babies, toddlers or preschoolers are capable of manipulative, cunning thought is absurd in my mind.
Babies and children cry because THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG. Period.
Whether this is a physical or emotional pain, it is a need nonetheless.
Thankfully we have always co-slept so getting up to her was never as issue. Often just an arm around her or some reassuring words would put her back to sleep albeit briefly!
Imagine the guilt we would have felt if we had let her cry for three and half years and made this discovery!
So yes, I am entitled to feel a certain degree of smugness in the face of the 'cry it out' and Gina Ford brigade...we were right. Our daughter was in pain/discomfort. She needed us and we responded like we felt we should.
I thank God for having listened to that strong maternal instinct within and I thank God for having a husband with a heart who never believed in 'tough love' and that we were strong enough to listen to our child's needs.
NOW AVAILABLE: My first ebook ''Healing the Pain of a Traumatic Birth Experience'' on Amazon. Only $4 to download to any PC/Mac/Kindle.
P.S For anyone interested, I post my own tried and tested recipes cooking without many of the foods listed above on my Facebook page'What the hell can I eat?'