Crying-it-out 'harms baby brains

Tanya - posted on 05/21/2010 ( 73 moms have responded )

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Leaving young babies to cry themselves to sleep can harm their developing brains, a parenting expert claims.
Dr Penelope Leach says recent scientific tests show high levels of the stress hormone cortisol develop in babies when no one answers their cries.
If this happens over long periods and repeatedly, it can be "toxic" to their brains, she says in a new book
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/educa...
What do you think?

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Christa - posted on 05/23/2010

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My daughter made it very clear in the beginning sometimes she just wants to be put down. She would scream for 30, 45, 60 minutes while I held her, rocked her, tried to feed her again, etc and finally I would put her down and after 5 minutes of crying she was out. I finally figured out she prefers to fall asleep in her bed NOT on me. So wouldn't it be neglectful or whatever to continue to force her or keep her awake when all she wants to do is sleep? Haven't you ever been tired and your husband was rubbing your back or something and all you wanted was to be left alone so you could fall asleep? Haven't you ever tossed and turned a bit before falling asleep as your body shut down for the night? Why is it so hard for people to understand babies need the same things sometimes? When your baby is tired what is the best thing to soothe them? SLEEP. That's what we are giving our children, why can't people see that, it's not neglect, it's not scarring them for life, they won't have trust issues, they will be well rested. Why do people think it's ok for a child to not sleep more then a few hours at time for 1, 2, 3 years? Are you happy and emotionally stable when you don't sleep for long periods of time? Why do people think babies are healthy when they do this? They need those long stretches of sleep just like every other human on the planet. Why is that so hard to comprehend?

Krista - posted on 05/23/2010

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Babies don't "cry it out", they either wear themselves out physically, which makes them sleep, or they learn that no matter how much they cry or how long they cry for, Mommy or Daddy isn't going to fix it.

Or, they were tired and ready to go to sleep anyway, but didn't really want to, and so were protesting, and after a few minutes, they conk out.

Don't you remember being a little kid, and you were so tired you were asleep on your feet, but you didn't WANT to go to bed because you thought you might miss out on something fun?

Why is it so far-fetched to think that my baby would have the same thought process -- that he's tired, but just doesn't want to go to bed yet? When I put him to bed, he occasionally cries about it (usually he doesn't, but sometimes he'll protest). I give him a few minutes to see if he'll basically resign himself to the fact that it's bedtime, not playtime, and lo and behold, he falls asleep. And if he hasn't fallen asleep in a few minutes, or if the crying escalates, I go in and rock him for awhile until he's 95% asleep again, and then put him back down in his crib.

So it isn't necessarily this horrible traumatizing, "Oh, woe is me! My parents have abandoned me!" Dickensian tale of neglect and emotional angst.

If CIO doesn't work for you, or your kid, or your philosophies, then that's fine. But just because it's not a method that works for you, that doesn't mean it's a bad method -- it's just different.

Krista - posted on 05/21/2010

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The thing is, it depends on the crying, and it depends on the child. I always put my baby to bed while he's sleepy, but still awake. And once in awhile, he will cry when I put him to bed, either due to overtiredness, or just not wanting to go to bed.

So I could run in and comfort him the second he cries. And my presence would make him even more alert, pushing sleep that much farther away. This would make him crankier, resulting in even more crying. It'd be a vicious circle. And no, this isn't just a theory. That's what I used to do with him, and it would wind up taking over an hour for him to settle.

So, I decided that as long as it was just that fussy sort of crying (as opposed to the really upset, tears-in-his-eyes, freaking-out kind of crying), then I would try leaving him be for 5 minutes to see if he'd settle.

He did.

Now, when I put him to bed, if he cries (and usually he doesn't), I let him be for about 5 minutes, and then he quiets down, and I look in on him a minute later and he's fast asleep.

There's a big difference between letting your kid bawl his eyes out alone for a half hour or an hour, and letting him fuss a bit for 5 or 10 minutes to see if he'll settle before you go in and comfort him.

And I wish that opponents of CIO would acknowledge that.

Amber - posted on 05/25/2010

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Oh, and another thing @ Caitlin.
We've all already said that there is no lapse in time for changing and feeding. Our children are NOT left to CIO until after we are sure that the ONLY reason they are crying is because they are tired. We do not advocate ignoring your child's needs for food or leaving them in dirty diapers.

[deleted account]

"If I am a full time student with a full time job and I never let my daughter cry for more that a minute or so before I feed her or change her, you all should be able to do the same."

Caitlin if you're a full-time student with a full-time job then therefore I'm assuming your child is put into daycare or perhaps looked after a relative?!? So how do you know that whilst she's there or with that person they are going to attend to her the minute she starts crying? It just seems a bit hypocritical you saying everyone else should be able to do the same when many mothers on here are full-time stay-at-home mums who look after their child all day whereas I'm assuming you don't. I've never used the cry-it-out method as described in the article but was told to let him cry for a minute then attend to him ans so on and now he settles himself to sleep.

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PFFFFFFFTTTTTT...This study is a JOKE...



My daughter will be 3 in 4 months and I still let her cry it out, some nights she just fights sleep and her brain is beyond perfect! Shes passed kindergartners in intelligence tests and aptitude tests and is going directly to first grade when she turns five instead of going to Kindergarten first...tell me her brain is damaged and I would NEVER believe you...probably call you insane as well, and then let my daughter spell insane to you at 2 and a half years old...brain damaged...I highly doubt it...



For that matter my daughter gets stressed out every time shes sees any kind of small bug or anything that remotely resembles a bug...should I never let her go outside again just in case it will "damage" her brain and leave her emotionally scarred for life??? I believe it more detrimental to lock her up in her room and not let her experience the wonders of nature...like I mentioned before...you can sway ANY information to one side or another depending on your views and how you want thing to be portrayed.

Jessie - posted on 05/26/2010

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I think it would have to be VERY extreme to cause harm to a child. I know the people that are against the cry it out method are going to eat this up b/c it shows that there viewpoint could be right. I don't personally care what side you are on, on this issue, but this study doesn't seem very valid. I would really like to see more studies done on this issue before coming to this conclusion. My child is 6 months old and goes to sleep very easily some nights and some nights needs some extra soothing. I don't let her cry it out yet but even if I did for 10 min. or so I truly don't believe any harm would come to her.

Melissa - posted on 05/26/2010

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That's a load of crap....don't believe everything you read. It does not harm a child. I let my son cr i out mybe 2 - 3 times....and he is perfectly fine. He goes to bed like an ANGEL!!! I NEVER had any problems putting him to bed. He only cried for maybe 20 minutes before he fell asleep. Babies will try to fight their sleepyness. ould you rathe have to lay withthem in your bed or somewhere else untilthey fall asleep? Cause you are setting yourself up for a whole lotta work later when they can't put themselves to sleep and are always relying on you to sooth them to sleep. My parents let myself, my sister, and my 2 brothers cry it out, and we all turned out very well!! And as far as it causing "social and trust" issues...ha ha ha...again, no problems with me or my siblings soclializing....no problems with my son socializing.....no trust issues with me or my siblings...no trust issues with my son...lol...this study is so funny cause it's crap!!

Amber - posted on 05/25/2010

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"If I am a full time student with a full time job and I never let my daughter cry for more that a minute or so before I feed her or change her, you all should be able to do the same."

I'm a full time student (5 classes packed into 2 days a week) and a full time mom the other 5 days a week and at night those other 2 days. I was a home with my child for the first year and he only had a babysitter (aka grandma) about 4 times in that year.
I COULD have done what you do. It's not about not having the time to do it. It is a personal choice! You obviously don't understand that we don't choose this method because we have better things to do with our time; we choose it because we believe that it is best for our children.
And I don't know about other moms, but I only had to use the method for a couple of weeks before my son went to sleep on his own. And I didn't even use it every night during those couple of weeks.
After that, it was sparadic (maybe once a month). Until he was two, then he would have a fit because he wanted to sleep with mommy and daddy. And I would put him in his room, kiss him, tell him I loved him, and let him tantrum himself out. That only took a couple weeks also.
I don't believe that my child should get away with tantrums, and screaming when he doesn't want to sleep is just that, a tantrum.

Tina - posted on 05/23/2010

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i believe that if the CIO method is used correctly it will not harm the child. i started my LO at six months and for only five mins at a time

[deleted account]

Thank you for saying that Jennifer, so I didn't have to mention it. I was wondering the same thing......



And sorry, as a single mom w/ THREE kids.... it is physically impossible to be in 3 places at once, so if all 3 kids need me at the same time.....Sometimes the 'baby' (now 2) actually does have to cry for a couple of minutes before I can help him.

Meghan - posted on 05/23/2010

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I don't know if it has been said already because I just skimmed, but also when children hit a certain age they do start to "manipulate" their parents. They don't need anything, they will be fine to cry and have a fit, but they are testing what they can and can't get away with. My son hardley ever cried up until 13 months, and then he decided that he was a little adult and he knew what he was going to do. He cries when he would rather stay up and play, or when he wants to sleep in mommy's room..neither one of those is acceptable to me and he get's told firmly mommy loves him but he needs to go to sleep. He will cry for 5 minutes, realize he isn't winning this battle then goes to sleep (because he has developed self soothing skill-thank goodness!) Different ages require different methods as well.

LaCi - posted on 05/23/2010

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I wouldn't have let my son cry for extended periods of time. My brief experience with cry it out consisted of him being so tired he only cried for a couple minutes before he was asleep. Sure he was mad that I wasn't holding him, and he protested for a few minutes, but I wouldn't have allowed him to cry for a long period. It was a very short, he was sleeping on his own with no problems in no time. Until more recently- when he seemed to have a panic attack when I put him down and thats exactly how I ended up in my current predicament, sleeping in the same room as him which will change now that it's summer break and I have the time to focus on solving the sleep problems.Anyway, after my brief CIO approach he slept on his own, all night most nights, no problems.



I wouldn't have allowed him to cry for 10 minutes let alone 30- which is just my personal choice, nothing to do with harming his brain I just wouldn't have been able to bear it.

Krista - posted on 05/23/2010

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If I am a full time student with a full time job and I never let my daughter cry for more that a minute or so before I feed her or change her, you all should be able to do the same.

And what if she's already fed and dry?

I'm not going to bash AP, because it obviously works well for some families, but it just doesn't work for mine. I tried it, and neither of us slept well. We coslept (he was in a bassinet in my room), and if he cried, I was right there. I'd soothe him, and put him back down, and he'd cry again, so I'd soothe him again. Lather, rinse, repeat...all freaking night long.

It turns out that he really did just need a minute or two to fuss, and he'd drift off again. Maybe letting him cry for two minutes is hurting his brain. But him not getting a good night's sleep probably isn't much better for him, is it? Besides, if crying causes stress hormones, then he'll just have to deal with it. He cried this morning when I redirected him away from my computer cords. What, am I supposed to let him pull the house down on himself so that he never has a moment of stress and disappointment and never cries?

*Lisa* - posted on 05/23/2010

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Caitlin, It's not about not having time. Regardless of my other occupations, my most important job is being a mum. And being a mum requires me to do what is best for the whole family. My boy would wake every 45 mins at night. I was going insane from sleep deprivation. My husband also couldn't sleep because of it. I tried every 'no tears' method under the sun, but nothing worked. So when he was 6 months old over 3 nights, I weaned him off needing to nurse back to sleep. He is a much happier boy because he doesn't rely on me to fall asleep. He doesn't cry before bed anymore at all. He even smiles and flaps his arms when he is put into his bed. So 3 nights of a little crying has damaged his brain and set him up for a lifetime or rejection issues?? Doubt it... A little crying is not going to damage my baby's brain... if that were true we'd all have damaged brains.
If your baby is holding a knife, and you take it away from him/her, she/he will cry because you've taken something off them. Does that mean you give in and give them the knife back? Are you saying that we must try to never let our children cry?

Meghan - posted on 05/23/2010

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@Caitlin...we should all be able to do the same? SO what happens with older babies and toddlers who are full or don't need a diaper change? Let them stay up and play until they wear themselves out and pass out where they are?

Caitlin - posted on 05/22/2010

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Babies don't "cry it out", they either wear themselves out physically, which makes them sleep, or they learn that no matter how much they cry or how long they cry for, Mommy or Daddy isn't going to fix it. You're doing emotional damage to your children when you let them cry it out! If I am a full time student with a full time job and I never let my daughter cry for more that a minute or so before I feed her or change her, you all should be able to do the same.

*Lisa* - posted on 05/22/2010

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Well Fiona if people are leaving their children for hours on end to cry, that is not CIO. And maybe studies like the one in this post are worthwhile to show these parents the effect of neglect (I would have thought that was OBVIOUS and not required to be proven in a study). But it doesn't prove anything about CIO methods. Because leaving a child that long is neglect, not CIO.

I don't think CIO is the only method or the best method, but it is a method. Just as Attachment Parenting is. I'm glad AP is working for you, but it didn't work for me. :)

I agree Kati.

Rosie - posted on 05/22/2010

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you know i do wonder how she came to these conclusions in the first place since there have to date (before i heard about this study) been no actual studies that involved actually taking children and leaving them to cry for hours on end. it would be as unethical as taking a bunch of pregnant women and giving them all alcohol and seeing which ones have fucked up kids. i'd like to know how she came to these conclusions.

i obviously agree with the fact that leaving your kid to cry for long periods of time is detrimental and can cause emotional issues and MAY cause some type of brain damage, but nobody who uses CIO here leaves their child for longer than a couple of minutes. anybody who does is heartless.

[deleted account]

I'm glad to hear all the mothers who do CIO say on here that more than 30 mins is wrong and neglectful. But, in my short time on COM I have come across numerous (and I mean too many to count, they just keep coming) posts from mothers who let their babies CIO for hours or from mothers who suggest the same. Now almost all of these posts say that mum goes in every 5-10 mins (or however long they have designated) to settle baby and then leave and continue this technique for as long as needed (often a longer time first night, less the next etc etc until baby "gets it"). It is because of these types of posts that I think the study mentioned in the OP is valuable, because there are many, many parents who will use CIO inappropriately.

Having said that, I lean more towards AP style and would NEVER, EVER let my child CIO, EVER. Sure, he cries, that is how he communicates with me, but I respond to his communication and when he tells me he is upset I do what I can to help him. Not just calm him until he stops crying and then put him right back into the same situation he was upset about. I find the repetitive "sleep-training"/CIO styles to be unnecessary for me and my child, I would rather respond to his needs and know that he doesn't need to be 'trained' but that he will eventually learn good sleep habits as he develops accordingly. I accept that other parents are going to use these techniques. I don't agree with them, but I hope that for the children's sakes more studies like this are published that point out the possible harm and risks involved.

I do believe that the development of trust and emotional development in babies is at risk with CIO and I think it is great that studies are being done to investigate the effects of stress on developing brains. My response to people who say that 'I did CIO and my child is fine, developed normally, is intellectually smart" etc is... great, good for you. I won't do it personally because I believe there are so many aspects to human nature and personality that we don't understand and that are difficult to quantify but that are essential to living healthy and emotionally rich lives. Like emotional intelligence, the ability to empathise, to feel trust in the unknown, to interpret and respond appropriately to emotional cues, body language, facial signs etc etc.
As the WHO say in their definition of health:
Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

If there was any risk at all (and I feel there is) that using CIO or other baby-training techniques (feeding on schedule as another example) potentially caused issues of trust or inappropriate/lack of development of certain traits then I would seek another way to relate to my child (as indeed I have). I certainly hope that all parents are given more information derived from evidence based studies as the one mentioned in the OP when they are making decisions about their parenting relationship with their child. Not just for their sake or their child's sake, but for the sake of future generations and their contribution to our worlds future.

Krista - posted on 05/22/2010

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From the article: Dr Leach suggested unattended extreme crying bouts of 30 minutes or more could be damaging to babies.

Well...DUH! Unattended extreme crying of more than 30 minutes is NOT proper CIO. Jeez.

Comparing letting your kid complain for three minutes to letting them shriek for a half-hour, is like comparing a light tap on the back of the hand to a beating with a baseball bat.

*Lisa* - posted on 05/22/2010

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I think the time frames she mentioned in the study were 30 mins, 45 mins and 1 hour. Most of the time CIO methods don't take that long. Which means it's kind of an irrelevant study. Just shows neglect can harm babies, which we all knew.

Sarah - posted on 05/22/2010

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I haven't read all your responses yet, but here's my initial thoughts......
Yes leaving your child crying for hours on end, alone, with no response from you, with nothing but an empty room and crying and screaming, would most likely cause some detrimental effects to your baby.
Luckily, that's NOT what CIO is. I HIGHLY doubt that the 10 minutes here and there that my kids have been left to cry have damaged their brains! Jeez, I'VE cried for longer that before and not felt like my brain was being damaged!!!

[deleted account]

Haven't read any responses yet, but I have identical twins. One did CIO at 9 months for 2 hours one night (I know, I know, blame my stupid ex) and the other didn't. Intellectually, emotionally, etc.... they are still the same. :)



I do know that there are emotional issues, etc... for babies in orphanages that CAN'T get as much attention as they need, but CIO as it is 'meant' to be (and not even the way it was done w/ my daughter)..... I don't think is responsible for harming babies brains. Babies cry and it is impossible to instantly attend to all their needs ALL the time. I think you have to look more at the big picture of the babies days/weeks/months as a whole.

Katie - posted on 05/22/2010

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I think that if more people just had common sense there wouldn't be so many random studies done by random "scientists" who then happen to write books and make a profit from it. Of course if you leave your baby to scream for long periods of time there might be emotional issues...If you leave them long enough I would even believe that there might be physical issues. But...The cry it out method doesn't suggest you let your baby scream hysterically for extended periods of time. Seriously, every week there is a new hot study telling us that what we are doing is damaging our children. I think there is a lot to be said for a mothers intuition. There is a difference between fussing and crying and I know when my son is making noise for the sake of hearing himself groan and when something is genuinely upsetting him. It really bothers me when people chastise parents who employ the "cry it out method." There are studies to say that it works that are just as credible as the ones who say it doesn't. Maybe if we spent more time focusing on raising our own children with common sense and less time bitching at others for how they raise theirs, we would all be better off.

*Lisa* - posted on 05/22/2010

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I read the article and agree with her. She said that leaving babies to cry for long periods of time repeatedly is harmful. Of course it is, it's called neglect. This study does not represent CIO at all. CIO is not about leaving babies to scream in their beds for long periods of time repeatedly. There is always such a bad name to it. CIO methods include leaving baby to cry for 3 mins at a time and then coming in to pat him/her and giving him/her time to settle before repeating that process. Therefore I dont think she has proved anything about CIO but just that neglecting a child can harm it. And by the way, for her to do those studies, she would have had to 'research' on babies. So in essence, she has just damaged the brains of her test subjects because mothers don't generally leave their babies alone for the period of time she was suggesting and for as long as she was suggesting.

I always thought that before my baby was born I would run to his every cry. The idea of letting him cry in his bed made me sick. Until I had my boy. He would wake every hour or 45 minutes and need to be nursed back to sleep. I was drowning. So I had to let him cry it out (at 6 months). Now he is much better. He still wakes once or twice during the night to feed and until he puts on a bit more weight I will continue to do that. But he goes to bed happily instead of fighting every step of the way. Does that make me a bad mother? I have come to see that every one is different, every child is different. What works for me may not work for you and vice versa. But it doesn't mean that the methods are wrong, just wrong for you, which is fine :)

Megan - posted on 05/21/2010

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@Celia.
You are 100% correct. Babies cannot be treated equally by any means. It works for my son because he knows he will get what he needs. If I had a child that screamed in terror and I could tell he was not taking well to it, I would definitely try something else. My goal is not to torture my son to sleep, but to slowly teach him how to self soothe. If I have another child, maybe the same technique will work, but if it does not, we will have to ease into it more slowly. I do think that eventually you need to teach a child to self soothe, but you don't have to all of a sudden turn into monster mom and ignore their cries.

It was tough at first, but it has also helped me to learn more about my son. Before CIO, I didn't pay attention to the cries, subconciously I must have known becaues usually I could figure it out fast, but I was not realizing what cry was what. Now, as soon as he opens his mouth, I know what is wrong. I know his tired cry, and I know his his painful cry... I have learned a lot through it as well. If your child does not take to it though, it may just be too soon to try. My son was always pretty independent, so he took pretty well to it. I would never let my child cry for any lengthy amount of time though in efforts to teach him to self soothe.

Christa - posted on 05/21/2010

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Celia, that may be true if the parent doesn't actually understand the process. I'm on my second child now. CIO has worked for both but the process has not been the same. My first was stubborn, she would have cried for hours if I let her. So it took a lot longer and a lot more going in and out calming her down etc. She taking almost all of her naps on me in the beginning because she was stubborn. Then one day she actually went to sleep when I laid her down. My second has always preferred to fall asleep by herself. It actually made me a little sad because she was never really a snuggler but from the get go she would scream and I would rock and cuddle and sing and etc and nothing would calm her down. Finally I would exhaust my options and just lay her down and 10 minutes later she was out. Still she starts crying when she's tired and I don't even bother trying to calm her down anymore. (When it’s her tired cry of course) I give her a hug and kiss I lay her down and sometimes she's out before I close the door. So if CIO is administered properly and with a brain is does allow for differences between children just as any other parenting method does.

Celia - posted on 05/21/2010

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I will say also that it always depends on the child as to how they will react to the CIO method. Some babies will fall right asleep with no issues right from the start, others need more reassurance.
I think all babies should not be treated equally and that is what I feel the CIO does, it takes the personality and individual needs of the child out of the equasion.
For some it will work without harmful effects, but for others I am sure it does a great deal of damage IMO

[deleted account]

I breastfed for one year and I was a CIO mom. But I was very attentive to the types of cries and her needs at that moment. She's a champ at sleeping!

Megan - posted on 05/21/2010

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Haha! I find that I am finding these posts to be much more agreeable than some of the others I've posted to (Who's Choid and Stupid?) I am a CIO mom, and I tried nursing and cried every single time because I have a lazy eater. My son could not latch on, so we used the covers. When he got a little milk in the cover- he stopped sucking, and would start screaming uncontrolably when the milk in the cover was gone. I then pumped for about 6 weeks, which I was also miserable for me. I ended up deciding my own sanity was a little more important than making sure he had only breast milk. He was much happier and I was too, so that worked best for me. If I have another baby, I will definitely try nursing again, because I wanted to, but it got to be way too overwhelming for me.

Christa - posted on 05/21/2010

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I EBF both my girls, my first for 13 months and my second is 3 months now, but intend to do at least a year.

Tanya - posted on 05/21/2010

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Also this day will go down in history. Christa and I agreed on something! lol :)

Megan - posted on 05/21/2010

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@Tanya
Well i definitely think you had a screwy doctor. I fed my newborn any time he wanted and as much as he wanted. I still feed him whenever he wants it, I just wait to see if he needs it or not. In my opinion, if he cries for 10 minutes steady- he needs something. I would never wait 45 minutes to go and check on my son.

We personally never did share a room with our son, basically because he is the LOUDEST sleeper ever, he snores (we got it checked out and he's normal) and just moves around a lot, but I do not think you should have to move your son out at 2 weeks- now two years you may want to start considering giving him his own room.

I never let my son cry for any amount of time before he was 9 months old, and like I said it is still just for 10 minute periods- and it does not go on all day long. If he starts crying during the day for some reason, I don't ignore him for ten minutes in hopes he will stop. I think you may have gotten the wrong idea about the CIO- I'm not saying I'm an expert, but what I consider what I do to be CIO, and my son is one of the happiest babies I have ever seen. I can see why if you got this kind of information from a doctor that you would be set against it. Letting a newborn cry for 45 minutes is CRUEL. Letting a 9 month old cry for 10 minutes to see if he can put himself back to sleep (which unless he is teething it rarely even takes him 5 minutes to fall back to sleep) and then going in to help him out is fine in my opinion.

Our son also would wake up 3-5 times a night just because. He was sleeping through the night at 3 months and then at 5-6 months he started waking up 3-5 times a night again. He would whimper, so I would go in and pick him up, and I got a full belly laugh in response. I know babies need love and cuddling, but I am not going to spend the next 2-3 years waking up every 2 hours just to give my son a good laugh. Niether one of us would be very happy in the long run if he was stuck with a mom that got literally no sleep and was crabby all the time because of it.

Every parent and baby has their own methods that work. We've found what works for us, and I don't hold anything against anyone else that has found a method that works for them. (Unless obviously you are neglecting your child)

Tanya - posted on 05/21/2010

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Yeah trust me he was. But even one of the nurse at the hospital told me he was so great. I had heard good thing about him. I didn't think to ask if he wanted a two week old to sleep through the night!

Tanya - posted on 05/21/2010

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I want to have four children and do plan on putting them all to sleep. My son is four months and I just put him down he did not cry. He put his thumb in his mouth and went to bed. I have never let him cry it out.

As for a doctor saying it ok. When my son was born his doctor came in to see me. he told me to only nurse my son for 5 mins ( NO more than ten) on each side no sooner than 3 hours apart. He lost more than he should have that first week. I talked to a nurse and she told me that he could nurse for up to 15 mins on each side. She also said to feed him when ever he wanted. At his two week check up he told me that I should try to get rid of those night feeding. He said I should move my two week old out of my room and let him cry for at least 45 mins before I went to him. I left that visit and never went back. I am very happy with my new doctor.

Will I let him whimper a little. yes but not for very long and not if it turns in to cry. I would never let him scream.

Megan - posted on 05/21/2010

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I do use the cry it out with my son. He is almost a year old. At first it worked awesome- then he started getting teeth so he is actually in pain some times, and others he is just testing his power.

I only use it when trying to get him to bed. At bed time I bring him in his room and we cuddle rock and have a bottle. Usually he ends up passing out as soon as I lay him down, but once in a while he will stir and start crying. I walk out of the room and I leave him be for 10 minutes. I listen to his cry- if after 10 minutes he is still screaming his lungs out, I go right back in and try to calm him down. If he is just giving a tired whimper after 10 minutes, I leave him be. Sometimes I have to go back in, and others he goes to bed with no problem.

I don't go in his room in the middle of the night right away. I listen for a little bit to see A. what kind of cry it is and B. if he sounds like he will be able to self soothe. I then act accordingly.

Cry it out does not mean that you leave your child to cry unattended for long periods of time all day long. My son rarely ever goes more than 10 minutes of crying without me going to him, and it is only at bed time. I'm sorry but I do not want my 2,3, or 4 year old (when he gets that old) crying for hours on end at bedtime because we've never taught them how to put themselves to bed.

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If I ever decide I want my daughter to learn to self soothe I would rather it be when she's older and I can communicate better with her. As an infant she needs me. I've watched her sleep change and develop and she will fall asleep on her own when she's developmentally ready to just like sleeping through the night.

Christa - posted on 05/21/2010

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I want to have 4 kids and I can't see how that style of parenting would work for more then 2 kids, even two would be hard. Eventually you have to let them fall asleep by themselves. And I feel it's much harder to get a 2, 3, 4 year old to do it when they are used to another way. So at some point you are going to have to teach them to fall asleep on their own and I imagine that will involve some crying. When they are young they don't know any different so it's not like you are suddenly taking your "love" away from them. Just my opinion and why I think CIO is better in the long run.

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I'm unable to co-sleep because my husband has epilepsy so my daughter already sleeps by herself, but she doesn't fall asleep without me. She's 12 months old and she usually sleeps through the night. When we have more my husband will help me with the night duty just like he did with my daughter. And yes, I will nurse and snuggle all of my children to sleep.

Christa - posted on 05/21/2010

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Sara, how many children do you have? What will you do when you have multiple chilren? Snuggle them all to sleep? Let them all sleep in your bed? Does the oldest suddenly have to sleep by themselves? These are the things I wonder about those who are AP.

Christa - posted on 05/21/2010

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I agree with Krista and Amber.

@Celia, I have to address your animal comment. Sea turtles actually abandon their children as eggs and allow them to hatch and find their way to the ocean, never even meeting their children. Elephants will kill their babies the moment they are born if the other moms and grandmas of the herd don't step in because the mother doesn't know who this sudden animal is and they perceive it as a threat. Hamsters and other rodents kill their babies when they are threatened to "protect" them. Some birds literally kick their young out of the nest when they are weak or ill. Reversely no other species drinks anything other then their own species milk and most animals eat their own poop. So I don't think using what animals do as an argument as to how we humans should raise our children is a good one.

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I do understand that every child/family is different and you do what works for you. I have a hard time going to sleep alone without my big, warm, cuddly husband. I completely understand my daughter's need for wanting to nurse and snuggle with me to go to sleep. Even when I've met her basic needs of a clean diaper and food I just can't lay her down and walk away to let her CIO. I stay and snuggle and rock until she's asleep and then I put her down (after I've admired her for a while :)). For us, it feels like a nicer way to fall asleep than alone and fussing/crying.

Krista - posted on 05/21/2010

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That's exactly right, Amber.

Although sometimes in the middle of the night, my baby will cry out, my eyes will fly open, and I'll just wait...and nothing happens. He goes right back to sleep. If I got up as soon as I heard him cry, hearing me come in might wake him up all the way. But once again, it depends on the KIND of crying. That's why it's vital to not do CIO prior to 6 months. It really does take that long to get to know your child's different cries and what they mean and how urgent they are. Sam's sleepy, fussy crying is very, very different from his upset, "I mean business" crying. If it's the former, I let him go for a bit. If it's the latter, I go get him right away.

As in most things, it comes down to knowing your kid and doing what works best for him and for your family. And for us, a very modified, very flexible and situation-specific CIO works very well.

Amber - posted on 05/21/2010

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@Sara~ I don't think that CIO means that you don't get up and respond to your child in the middle of the night. Maybe others do, but that's not what I take it to mean. I only used CIO when trying to get my child to sleep (Bed time and nap time).
When he wakes up in the middle of the night, I get up with him immediately. There is no time lapse. But after I have tended to his needs, calmed him down and got him comfortable again, I go back to bed. If he then starts crying after I've left, I give him a couple minutes (5-10 depending on his insistency) before I respond again.
CIO does not mean that you don't respond to your child no matter what the time or reason is; it means that once the problem has been addressed, you allow them to soothe themelves back to sleep if they aren't already there.

Tanya - posted on 05/21/2010

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. Infancy: Birth to 18 Months

Ego Development Outcome: Trust vs. Mistrust
Basic strength: Drive and Hope

Erikson also referred to infancy as the Oral Sensory Stage (as anyone might who watches a baby put everything in her mouth) where the major emphasis is on the mother's positive and loving care for the child, with a big emphasis on visual contact and touch. If we pass successfully through this period of life, we will learn to trust that life is basically okay and have basic confidence in the future. If we fail to experience trust and are constantly frustrated because our needs are not met, we may end up with a deep-seated feeling of worthlessness and a mistrust of the world in general.

Incidentally, many studies of suicides and suicide attempts point to the importance of the early years in developing the basic belief that the world is trustworthy and that every individual has a right to be here.

Not surprisingly, the most significant relationship is with the maternal parent, or whoever is our most significant and constant caregiver.
http://www.learningplaceonline.com/stage...

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I don't consider leaving a child for a minute or two while you quickly finish your shower as practicing CIO. It's not like my daughter has never cried and I'm sure that April's son has cried. CIO, at least from what I understand, is leaving a child to cry for X amount of minutes at a time in order to allow them to teach themselves how to self sooth.

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The studies I've seen about attachment parenting and responding to a baby's cry concluded that it helps babies become more independent by creating a secure attachment with their caregiver. I'd be interested in reading studies that say differently. I've heard people (husband's coworkers, friends, etc.) say that responding to a baby's cry makes them spoiled. I don't CIO. Yes I see the difference in fussing and crying, but I won't leave my daughter to fuss or cry for longer than it takes me to get to her. As I've said before, I try to put myself in her shoes. If she wakes up in the middle of the night and she's crying, regardless of the reason, I go to her. I can't imagine how overwhelmed and scared she must feel at times. There are a lot of people who think that CIO means put them in their crib and let them scream for however long it takes for them to pass out. That does give people who do CIO and controlled crying for 5-15 minutes (or whatever the appropriate time is) a bad name. I just feel it's part of parenting to respond to a crying child no matter what time it is and no matter what the reason is.

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