Kirsten: My 10mo baby has just slept from 9pm-5am for the fourth time, and after a feed and a quick nappy change, is now back in bed while I get ready for work (win!).
Despite what some people say, I believe waiting it out and being gentle does not spoil children, and it does not delay them in being able to sleep for longer stretches. Each baby is different and they will get there in their own time. We might as well be gentle while they do!
We have never used crying methods, and the only times our little bear has been left crying has been if only one parent was at home and we needed to use the bathroom! We had several reasons not to use crying methods. I was a gentle parented baby, I come from a whole extended family who wait it out and use gentle parenting, and we both view crying methods as mean (and some stronger words from my partner!). My partner was left to cry as a baby, and is sure that is why he and his mother never bonded. And our little bear had a few medical issues in the beginning, so at the beginning often the tears were tears of pain (admittedly a different cry to nappy/hungry/need reassurance). This little one has gone from NICU crib, to home bassinet, to home crib, and occasionally bed sharing with me when sick or really unhappy. (My partner is not too keen on co-sleeping and I respect that viewpoint.
We cuddle / feed / pat / stroke to sleep (different nights he likes different things) and he never truly wakes in the night, just stirs enough to get our attention, and while he is half asleep he has nappy change / a feed and a cuddle. Unless there is a bigger issue (i.e. wind or sore teeth) then it takes about 10 – 20 minutes, once or twice a night.
But he is gradually sleeping longer stretches.
I guess the moral of my story is that the cries are for a reason. And the cries do pass.