When Psychology Today ran an article titled "Dangers of 'Crying it Out'," my response was, perhaps predictably, jaded. I read the article, then clicked over to one of my "Birth Clubs" on BabyCenter to watch the ensuing fun while I nursed my seven-month-old. It took a while for the drama to start—when I landed on the page, everyone was up in arms about extended-rear-facing versus forward-facing car seats—but before my daughter had finished nursing, someone had linked to the Psychology Today article. And the insults and name-calling began.

In case anyone is curious, the Mommy Wars are alive and well.

"Dangers of 'Crying it Out'" didn't cover any earth-shattering territory. Written by Notre Dame psychologist Darcia Narvaez, the article described the psychological harm done by leaving an infant to cry to teach "self-soothing." Mommy War veterans will recognize many of Narvaez's points as reminiscent of Penelope Leach's headline-making arguments of 2010, and William Sears's headline-making arguments that date back a lot longer. Their conclusion: Leaving a baby to "cry it out" increases their stress hormone cortisol, which can be toxic to the developing neurons in baby's brain. "Crying it out" can also undermine trust, impair self-regulation, and threaten lifelong health.

Narvaez credits behaviorist John Watson with launching the "crusade against affection" in his 1928 book Psychological Care of Infant and Child. So far-reaching were Watson's anti-affection endeavors that a government pamphlet from that time instructed new mothers to "stop [holding the baby] immediately if her arms feel tired," as "the baby is never to inconvenience the adult."

(As the mother of four, I find the idea of a baby never inconveniencing an adult hilarious.)

Fast-forward to today, Narvaez states, and we have a plethora of parenting theories and manuals that are just as damaging as Watson's. Specifically, "letting babies get distressed is a practice that can damage children and their relational capacities in many ways for the long term."

Personally, I'm not a fan of "crying it out." The science behind theories such as Narvaez's seems plausible. I also find it noteworthy that the Creator both designed babies' cries to be highly grating on adult ears, and gave mothers the ability to feed and comfort their children, feeding that renders the baby's crying impossible. On a practical level, our family has six people—four of whom are small children—sleeping in three bedrooms that are feet apart. Letting the baby "cry it out" would mean waking up the toddler, the preschooler, and the second-grader, which would lead to a lot more crying for all of us. None of this seems prudent or even necessary, when I have the means to comfort my baby within constant arm's reach.

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But science, suspicion, and setting aside, at a fundamental level I think I am not supposed to leave my baby alone to cry, because God in his infinite mercy does not leave me alone to cry either.

"I cried out to the LORD, and he answered me from his holy mountain." "In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me." "Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I." Scripture paints the picture: we cry out to God, and he answers us. He delivers us from distress. He doesn't leave us bawling alone in the dark, reassuring us that this is, in fact, for our good. He doesn't pat our back with less frequency each night, timing his intervals, until we learn that our crying will not bring him back to us. He never leaves us in the first place. When we cry, he's right there.

I hold this picture of God in my mind when I comfort my crying baby. Do I sometimes wish I weren't so convicted, that I could leave her alone to "cry it out"? Absolutely. My daughter woke up every two hours last night, as she did the night before and the night before that. I continue to pick her up and nurse her in the hopes that someday all of this "nighttime parenting" will result in a child who happily sleeps through the night—as is true for my older children. But if someone who could see into the future told me that all this effort was for naught, that I'd be getting up with her every two hours for the rest of her childhood, I wouldn't stop. I'm not "attachment parenting" my children with an outcome in mind. I pick up my child when she cries because I believe it is the right thing to do.

Now, consciously deciding not to let my babies "cry it out" does not guarantee the crying will stop. Narvaez seems to believe that a lovingly-parented child will be blissfully content, all the time. Perhaps in her world this is possible; in mine, it is not. My baby cries, sometimes a lot. She cries when she gets her diaper changed. She cries when she is buckled into her car seat. She cries when I put her down to take a shower. Maybe Narvaez would argue that even that crying is unacceptable, and advise me not to diaper her, but practice elimination communication instead. Or don't put her in her car seat, which would in turn mandate that we homeschool, or don't take a shower.

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But I draw a strong line between leaving a baby alone to cry because it "teaches" her something, and the different, one might say necessary, crying that is part of living in a community. My daughter was born into a family—she's the youngest of four—and as such there will be times when I cannot comfort her, because I am picking up Legos or taking someone to the potty. She may not like it, but I pray that all of the other, immediately answered cries will teach her that although I may not always be able to get to her immediately, I will always come for her as soon as I can. In time, I will introduce her to a Heavenly Father who is always there for her, immediately, every time she cries.