Looking back, we literally had no point of reference or guidance when we became new parents. There were no midwives or day-time nurse who would come to check on us and how the baby is doing. (Apparently, new parents get such support in Holland free of charge. Isn’t that just amazing?) There were no handbook of tips and tricks dished out to us on how to handle a new, bawling baby.
Apart from our parents who are a hundred miles away, there were no SOS emergency numbers to call to ask the most stupidest question. It was literally just us; and in the daytime, us and the nanny. Google was, and still IS, our best friend.
It is all almost a blur now, but I recall the frustrating, sleepless nights we went through in trying to sooth a wailing baby for hours and hours on end. Some nights, it will take us more than 3 hours straight before Spud would calm down. The next thing we knew, the sun has risen and we barely had some sleep before the entire cycle started again.
The fact is, babies cry. That certainly is a fact of life, since it is their only form of communication. What we don’t know is how much we should let them cry. Depending on the school of thought one subscribes to, crying it out is easily one of the most emotionally confusing and polarized issues for new parents like us.
That is, until a friend from Holland, who are parents themselves, shared the 10-Minute Rule with us.
The 10-Minute Rule basically is a form of controlled crying where the baby is allowed to cry for 10 minutes. This is done only after we ensure that she has been fed and no longer hungry, has had a change of fresh diaper, has been burped, no fever or any stomach issues. Then we let her cry, as we will then know she is just being whiny. At the same time, we do keep our eyes on the clock like a hawk; for 10 minutes can feel much longer than it actually is. If she continues crying, it is usually one of the lists.
You have NO IDEA how that little tip changed our lives! It makes our lives so much easier and once we attend to that, Spud will usually settle herself within the 10 minutes time-frame. As silly as it may sound, both Silver Bullet and I could finally have a sit-down dinner at the dining table. T.O.G.E.T.H.E.R! Believe it or not, that was something which we weren’t able to do since we became parents!
From then on, we spent many an evening having dinner by the baby monitor. Most times, the first 10 minutes at the start of our dinner will be accompanied by her cries and lullaby. It was more bearable as all ear-blasting, nerve-wrecking effect were promptly toned down by the baby monitor. Not the most ideal background music for dinner, but it certainly was better than nothing.
We now swear by the 10-Minute Rule, for without it, our own mental health and well-being will suffer as a result of sleep deprivation. It is most useful at night as it helps us distinguish the real cries from the whiny ones. That rule is truly god-sent. It literally saved us our sanity. We no longer feel as exasperated at the slightest sound of her cries. It really is one of the best tips we have received so far since we became parents.
We now let her cry it out, but within reasons. Honestly, I don’t think she will love us any less in the morning.