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A Mother Wants To Call The Police After Her Husband Lets Their Baby Cry For 5 Hours In Her Crib

Photo: Tim Bish / Unsplash
yawning baby

In order to sleep train his one-year-old daughter, a father decided that it would be best to leave her in her crib, no matter how much she screamed and begged her parents to get her. However, the baby’s mother believes that his actions are cruel and traumatizing to their daughter, and has even considered reporting him to the police. 

Now, the mother is asking others if her husband is doing their daughter a favor in the long run — or jeopardizing her well-being. 

The mother revealed that her husband left their baby in her crib for five hours while she screamed and cried. 

Sharing her story to the subreddit, r/TwoHotTakes, the mother revealed that she and her husband share a 13-month-old daughter. Her husband has been “very persistent” about sleep training her. 

Sleep training refers to the process of helping infants and young children develop good sleep habits and learn to fall asleep and stay asleep on their own. The goal of sleep training is to encourage independent sleep and to establish a consistent sleep routine for both the child and the parents. 

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However, not all babies respond well to sleep training, especially if they’re used to co-sleeping with their parents. 

Since the woman’s daughter had been sleeping in their bed since she was born, she was not a fan of having to suddenly sleep alone in her crib. But instead of comforting her as she cried, the woman’s husband urged her to stay in their room and wait for her to settle herself. 

“[He] shut the door and left her to cry,” the woman wrote. “She was screaming for hours nonstop.” 

The woman’s husband claimed that it was “for her own good” and that the baby would eventually wear herself out from crying and fall asleep. However, she never did and cried for five hours. Her mother admitted that sleep training her has been “torture.” 

baby crying in a cribPhoto: Kristina Igumovnova26 / Shutterstock 

This baby cries very loudly, screams mama/baba, she only takes a few breaks but always keeps going,” she wrote. 

The woman has argued with her husband several times about whether this is the appropriate method to get their baby to sleep through the night. 

“I feel like this is abuse. The more we try this method, the worse it gets and the longer she stays awake,” she added. “She doesn’t give up easily. She’s lost her voice due to this.” 

Since her husband grew up being coddled and spoiled by his own parents, he does not want the same for his daughter. 

“My husband co-slept with his mom until he was a teenager, he was spoiled as a child and he wants the opposite for our baby. He’s very close with his family,” the woman wrote, sharing that her husband is still very dependent on his family even as an adult. 

However, since their daughter is still a baby, the woman believes that she and her husband should do whatever they can to make sleeping easier for her. 

“She’s a year old, I swear I can feel her being in physical pain from the crying,” she wrote. “It hurts me so much.” 

The woman has attempted to protest her husband’s method of sleep training their daughter, which has led to threats from her husband and his family who insist that his method will get the baby to sleep through the night. 

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Now, she is wondering if she should talk to the police. 

“I’m the only one that took Parenting classes and I know this is wrong, but can’t convince anyone,” she wrote. “Will my daughter be okay?” 

The mother received input from Redditors, many of whom sided with her, agreeing that her husband’s method to sleep train their daughter was just barbaric. 

“At this point, the crib is a place of isolation and abandonment. She is much less likely to accept it as a safe place to sleep after that. How sad for her,” one Redditor commented.  “Just get your baby and stand your ground. You know it’s wrong.” 

“I’m a pediatrician and this is not sleep training, this is neglect,” another user shared. “Please protect your infant before real damage is done.”

“Five hours of screaming herself hoarse isn't sleep training, it's neglect. A year-old child doesn't stay awake screaming for five hours because they stubbornly want cuddles,” another user noted. 

Even though the woman was concerned about her daughter’s long-term well-being, Reddit users claimed that it was not a matter for the police just yet. 

“The police will not do anything because this does not meet the legal standard for abuse. The child has not been physically harmed, she is clothed and fed, and she is not being neglected,” one user pointed out. 

“Sitting alone in a crib overnight does not meet the legal standard for neglect.” 

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While some parents may believe that allowing their babies to 'cry it out' will help them learn how to self-soothe and sleep through the night, it can have detrimental effects on them in the long run. 

According to Darcia Narvaez, Ph.D., who conducts research exploring early life experiences and their influences on society and well-being into adulthood, leaving infants to cry themselves to sleep can lead to increased stress and cortisol levels that can negatively impact their developing brains, impair their self-regulation, and undermine their trust. 

Crying is the only method of communication that babies can engage in and to alert their parents that they need something. When their cries are ignored, their trust in their parents drops as they realize that their needs will not be tended to. 

If parents want their babies to sleep through the night without traumatizing them through the cry-it-out method, there are other ways to sleep-train them more humanely. 

For one, you can put your baby to sleep in their crib when they become drowsy to allow them to fall asleep easier and quicker. You can develop a calming bedtime routine, such as bathing them, singing to them, or reading them a story just before bedtime to help settle them into sleep. 

You can also create a soothing sleep environment complete with white noise or some of your baby’s favorite sights and sounds that will make them feel at ease when going to sleep. 

While parents of infants likely do not get much sleep, especially if their children wake up frequently throughout the night to be changed and fed, leaving them in a room by themselves to cry themselves to sleep may not have the positive outcomes parents anticipate it will. 

When considering sleep training methods, parents should be aware of alternative approaches and choose a method that aligns with their parenting philosophy and the needs of their child. 

The best way to do this is to seek expert advice and have a conversation with your pediatrician. 

The only thing worse than a fussy baby is a fussy baby who is also in obvious distress. As difficult as it can be sometimes, especially running on little sleep, parents should try to have compassion for their babies who cry for them at night. Imagine how lonely a crib must feel when they are used to falling asleep curled up next to their parents. 

Parents sign up to do whatever it takes to keep their children happy and safe no matter how challenging it may be. 

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Megan Quinn is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment and news, self, love, and relationships.