Dangers of Crying It Out

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Kelina - posted on 12/13/2011

2,018

9

235

I agree with rachel it depends on how far you take it. Both my kids are happy and well adjusted, go to sleep no problem at night, and do occasionally wake up during the night and I'm there for them. yet i did do the CIO method. However, when my kids cried I also knew if they needed something like being changed, if they were scared or hurt, their cries changed, same as if they were overtired. When my kids teeth, I go in and give them tylenol and rock with them if they need me, when my son wakes up with nightmares I'm there. I can't count how many times i've nearly tripped and broken my neck vaulting over the baby gate to get to him. And there are times when my kids wake up just so they can be held and I will go in and hold them. There's a difference between CIO and neglect/idiocy. If I had had to find another way of getting my kids to sleep, I'd still be nursing my son to sleep at almost 3 and my daughter would still be awake at midnight with no routine because trying to hold her when she was tired by 8 months she wanted none of it. I hate articles like this that tell me I damaged my child when the alternative was resentment and hatred toward my baby. My kids are both fine.

[deleted account]

i think it depends on how far you take it. if you are habitually denying your child's needs i can definitely see how it could cause long term damage. I let my son cry it out though so that he could learn to go to sleep at regular time. Took 3 days and he seems to be doing ok almost 2 years later.

Tracey - posted on 12/14/2011

236

440

0

I was really glad to see real, hard evidence that crying it out causes measurable damage. It never felt right to me. So much of the commonly-given advice just never felt right to me.

It *destroys neurons*. So you might have a normal kid, when you could have had a child get a free ride through college! Or you might have a child who struggles a bit in school "like normal kids do", when there would be no need to struggle. You'll never know what could have been, so you can't say your child is "just fine".

As a mom of 3, 15, 12 and 7 now, I didn't let them cry it out, and rarely did it take long at all for them to quiet down. I didn't want to harden my heart towards them to the point where I would miss something really important.

With the last child, I found out about baby wraps, and I wore her all the time. She rarely cried, and she's my most independent child. The one who was allowed to cry it out at his sitter? My most dependent one. The one who acted clingiest with me, I let her cling, and she was extremely independent by age 6.

Those of you arguing, who found the article "boring", you missed a lot of real facts and science. The whole CIO thing is merely opinion, while there is now real evidence that it harms children, even physically, in a wide variety of ways.

Kelina - posted on 12/13/2011

2,018

9

235

I have a question have any of you ever wanted to cry when you were tired? because that was why my kids were crying. with my son it took one night. He screamed and screamed because he was overtired-I think I'd been babysitting that day and he'd had no nap. When i tried to go in and soothe him to sleep, he screamed louder, wouldn't take my boob, didn't want to be held. he was tired. For the next two nights, he gave a half hearted cry for maybe five mintues, the "I think i should cry but don't really need to" and then nothing. He wakes up with nightmares about 3 times a week right now, most of the time he'll be fine as soon as I say it's ok, mommy's here. Wiht my daughter it was the same reason. She was tired. And many nights after my kids were asleep i'd go in and rock with them, talking to them, telling them how much I love them. I know of many nights where I've wanted to cry because I was so tired and I'm sure you all know that cry, when they get tired.

Lise - posted on 12/13/2011

1,738

8

237

@Rachael -
I both agree and disagree with your post. Each family needs to do what's right for them, and your choice was right for you, but I personally believe CIO as a method of sleep training does not teach your child how to go to sleep; it's teaching them you won't respond. They may still have needs that are not being met. (They also may not have needs - it depends on the child.) One of my good friends has a super supportive dh - during the day. He changes diapers, feeds the baby, etc. At night, she kept having to tell him to help and he was needing more and more prompts to get up - so she gave in and stopped asking. She does ALL the night time parenting and has a lot of resentment over it. I told her she should just ask for help and she just sighed and said, "it won't make a difference." That, to me, is just like CIO. Your little one stops crying for you because they know you won't respond. Now, her resentment towards her hubby may fade; it may always stay with her. Long term crying has been recently linked to some brain problems (don't know details), but I worry about its affect on our relationship more.

84 Comments

View replies by

Catherine - posted on 02/02/2012

37

45

2

Babies do cry_my eldest slept 12hrs a night from day 2, he woke every two hrs during day I had to change him and bathe him while he was asleep. In complete contrast my yougest woke every 58mins for three months round the clock he didn't take a lot of milk then he was sickif you moved him. I practically carried/held/ pushed him in pram/ swing/ chair whatever it took he still cried! There was two differences in my sons my eldest was two weeks late and weighed 8lb 3oz, while my youngest was three weeks early and 6lb 5oz. Babies cry and constanly picking them up in the long run makes them insecure I know this beacause my boys are still very similar my eldest is a confident little boy who goes to daycare no problem while my youngest is still unsettled when I leave him. Both my boys are independant! I find some of these comment silly to say the least!

Jennifer - posted on 02/02/2012

7

0

0

Thank you for posting this. My friend just told me that at Tribeca Pediatrics they encourage "sleep training" when a baby is 9 weeks old! She is supposed to put him to sleep at 7pm and not go to him until 7am! He is 9 weeks old and she is breastfeeding. Of course, him going from feeding on demand to suddenly nothing at night was crazy. He woke up and cried for 5 hours. I do not understand how this is helpful to mom or baby....Does anyone else know about this "sleep training" at such an early age? I can understand it at 6 months or so but this sounds ludicrous to me...

Sherri - posted on 12/28/2011

9,593

15

391

I guess because I have more than one child and am busy with my other kids and my daycare kids. I can't be at their beckon call so occasionally they have to cry. I don't feel badly because it is our life.

I am always there for them but sometimes I can't be there the very second they need me so crying for 5 mins or so till I finish up is just life or crying for 20mins because we are in the car and I can't do anything about it till we stop is just our reality.

Joy - posted on 12/28/2011

0

0

6

I agree. Every time I hear him cry, I just want to make him feel better. My husband gave me the best advice, Go with your gut. You always have and it has served you the best.

Denikka - posted on 12/28/2011

2,160

5

749

I don't like CIO personally.
For the first year, I nursed my son to sleep every night in our shared bed. And then I used...I guess it could be controlled crying? I'm not really sure. I would snuggle him up close, and rock with him. He usually cried because he wanted to get back up to play and I wouldn't let him. I basically let him cry himself to sleep. But I was holding him, rocking him, and humming to him.
We did that for a good 6 months or so. Then he started realizing that bed time was a time to calm down for sleep and stopped fighting it so hard. He was 18mo when he moved to his own bed (right beside ours) and would spend a few hours there before coming over to snuggle with mom or dad. Just before his second birthday, he got moved into his own room (my bed was too small and I had a baby due 2 months before his 2nd b-day) and he would still occasionally end up in my bed. I tried to get around that by getting up and going to lay down with him when he grumped at night, but sometimes he can be a little ninja boy :P
Now, he goes to bed with almost no fuss. He's 2.5yrs old and bedtime takes less than 20 minutes on a bad night, frequently less than 10. He sleeps in his own room, jumps right into bed when he gets to his room (still wants to stay up and play when in the living room :P), snuggles up with me, I hum a little song, and he's out.
He still usually wakes up at some point during the night. Now that we have the extra room again, we let him jump into bed with us and stay there at night. But more frequently now, he's staying in his bed longer, or even all night.

I just felt so wrong with letting my child cry for any length of time. I do let him work it out by himself on occasion now though. If he's sleep crying, I'll leave him and it usually resolves itself in about 5 minutes or less. Any longer than that and I know he's cycling through a nightmare (he'll have a bad dream, cry, wake up enough for the dream to be gone so he stops crying, falls back asleep and goes straight back to the nightmare. He'll do this for 30 minutes or more (I've only EVER let it go for 30 minutes, and that was the first time, before I knew what was going on and that I needed to actually get him fully awake for it to stop) if I don't actually go in and fully wake him up, get him a drink and redo the bedtime routine)

As for tantrums doing the same damage as CIO, I don't know how I feel about that. I don't think so for the most part.
In my mind, there are 3 types of tantrums. I want, I need, and I can't.
I want tantrums are just the child protesting that they want something they aren't allowed. The toy in the store, chocolate for breakfast, etc. Or even, they want something and mommy isn't getting it fast enough (read: instantaneously XD) I ignore those. I tell my son that if he wants something, he can ask nicely and then he MIGHT get what he wants. But I do not listen to screaming.
I need tantrums are when a child's needs aren't being met, for whatever reason. I'm hungry, I'm hot/cold, I'm dirty, I need to be help, I'm tired, all fall into this category. These ones I try my best to appease and fulfill the need as soon as possible. If we're at a restaurant for example, and food is taking too long, I'll try distracting and telling my child that the food will be here soon, etc.
I can't tantrums are unique in nature, or so I've found. They are born mostly out of frustration. The child wants to, or feels the should be able to do something, but for one reason or another, can't. Things like trying to fit a block into a hole that's the wrong shape, or attempting, and failing, to tie their shoes. I think these tantrums are a very important (and POSITIVE) part of childhood.
I know that there have been occasions where I have been frustrated with knowing that I should be able to do something, I KNOW how to do it, it's just not working for me. I'm been frustrated to the point of tears. Same thing for a kid. But they don't have the coping skills that an adult has (like walk away and come back later), so a tantrum is the best option.
I cannot remember where I read it, but I recall an article that talked about this. Basically, an *I can't* tantrum actually clears out all the backed up information so that the child can come back to the problem with a refreshed mind. I personally think that's a very important skill (and as the child grows older, you can teach them different coping skills)

Shawnte - posted on 12/27/2011

3

11

0

Continued, lets just say my friends are extremely frusterated. You don't give in to the crying when it is over a cookie you said no to, or the dangerous object that you took away, why would you give in when they are trying to get what they want just the same, to stay awake, or to have Mommy or Daddy in the room with them always. It has to stop sometime.

Shawnte - posted on 12/27/2011

3

11

0

With my noe 4 year old, i let her CIO, kin of. I did timed intervals. She would stary crying the moment you left the room, and for a while I would just give in and go sit in the chair or lay on the floor untill she fell asleep and then sneek out as quietly as i could. Well, that gets really old really fast. I did a lot of reading on different techniques to get a child to go to sleep. she was 18 months old, and my back was hurting. I would put her to bed with lots of hugs and kisses, say good night and leave. She would start crying and screaming and I would watch the clock for 5 min. If she was still crying I would go back in and calm her down re-inforce thjat it was bed time and leave agin, each time I would increase the amount of wait time by 5 min. It took about 4-5 night of this, and she never made it all the way to 15 min. By waiting I felt that i was giving her a chance to see that she was OK by herself, and it gave her the opportunity to learn to go to sleep without mommy on the floor. But by going back in after a time period I also showed her that I was still there for her. She is 4 years old and goes to bed wihtout issues, sleeps in her own bed and is just fine. Now, an infant is different, but a child at 15-18 months is ready to learn that they can sleep on there own. I have friends who have a son who is almost 5 and he sleeps in there bed EVERY night. If they try and tell him no, it is a night of screaming untill they give in.

Lacye - posted on 12/24/2011

2,011

31

164

I did the CIO method with my daughter when she was about 10 months old. Now she is 2 and a half and she is awesome when it comes to bedtime. All I have to do is tell her, "go to bed" and she goes (with little or no fights) and gets in her bed. By the time I come in there to give her a kiss good night, she is under her blankets snuggling with her bear.

CIO worked for me, however, it won't work with every child. To me, CIO is kind of like discipline. It may work for some but with others you have to find a different way.

Joel-Malia - posted on 12/23/2011

2

30

0

Thanks, it's nice to see various perspectives, I myself couldn't do the cry it out, but I have friends who did/do.

[deleted account]

@Aleksandra, Thanks for the clarification. I do appreciate that. I didn't think you meant it in any negative way. I just know that that misconception is out there. Nighttime incontinence is a problem that runs in our family. My grandmother's brother was never able to stop it. He had to sleep in a chair because that was the only way he wouldn't wet. My mother didn't stop till her teens and neither did my son's father. I was utterly shocked when my son did NOT wet the bed.

I just hate the idea of people thinking kids do it on purpose when most of the time they don't. I really HATE it when I hear about kids getting punished for it when they really (most of the time) CAN'T control it.

thank you again.

[deleted account]

I have read this article before and I can understand some of what they're saying, as they do have some scientific backing. However I think we're lumping an awful lot into "crying it out". Would I let my child cry all night, no, but I don't think 5 or 10 minutes will be detrimental, so long as your child is reminded that you are there and there is nothing seriously wrong. And the evolutionary basis for not letting a child cry is, I'm sorry, a little over stated, because we haven't been hunted in a rather long time, and babies cry as their only means of communication. For myself personally, if I know my baby is over tired and I'm out of options for getting her to sleep, I won't be feeling guilty if I let her cry a little. Also those people that this article should most likely be directed at, probably wouldn't care enough to read it.

Jessica - posted on 12/16/2011

5

0

0

Lisa that was very touching and I will always think twice when I hear Just let them cry. Wow my heart is broke feeling.

Aleks - posted on 12/16/2011

546

0

48

Kelina
Again, I am not saying that every kid that bedwets was CIO, nor every kid that was CIO will wet the bed or take longer to toilet train. But for some, I believe, bedwetting *may* be the result.

Also, night time parenting in my books includes being there with the child (if the child so needs) when they fall asleep. I do not believe that if a child requires a parent when they fall asleep and if that parent *chooses* not to be there that they are night time parenting, they may be partially nighttime parenting. Please know, I do not wish to accuse parents of neglecting their children completely if they CIO. Like you, most parents who have used CIO will go and check on child if they, out of the blue, cry at night. Will spend most night looking after a sick/fevering/vomiting child, etc. I do not doubt it. I do not doubt that most parents who CIO do it out of sheer necessity or thinking that they are doing the best thing for their child and/or family, however, if YOU or any other parent knew of a better way wouldn't you have done it? I am sure you probably would have.
And, that is just what the article the OP attached was trying to convey to parents. That CIO should be taken and practiced (if really really required) with huge amount of caution.
However, I pick up that most parents who have tried CIO, successfully or not, (for whatever reason) seem to get defensive about it. Rather than taking the scientific research results on board and may be even learning something.
I have found that so many of the popular "expert" advice on babies/child seemed to get me into unworkable stand-offs and constant battles of wills with my kids. And if I won the battle then my kids would start another one somewhere else. So if I won the tantrum battle (of the wills) then there was another one becoming frequently fought in another sphere. On the advice of my (wonderful) mum I looked into doing things differently. I researched and have read into things - less popular advice, as it were.
And guess what? My kids seemed to have started to behave a lot more, ie, I didn't have as many battles of wills as before. Things ran smoother (no not ideally, they still misbehave and we still clash sometimes, as things in life are never perfect, and its more of a balancing act really, but when things do start to go a bit haywire, its a signal to me to stop and re-asses what has been happening of late and then adjust any areas that have been missed/neglected ). So to me, CIO is just a tip of the ice-berg of all the popular advice and child rearing (or should that be training) techniques that leads to more strained parent-child relationships. And sometimes, these strains don't show up their ugly heads until much later on in the child's life... sometimes years down the track. Which now, more and more behaviour scientists and psychologists are starting to discover. But for now, not many people are willing to listen.
I am just trying to convey (in more mundane way) some of the stuff that I have discovered/read, and hence my point of view is what it is. No, not every child is the same and not everything works equally for everyone, as some are just that much more, naturally, resilient than others... but I guess you cannot really know which one is and isn't. (as the ones that appear more resilient, may be bottling up all these frustrations and emotions until things break, sometimes many, many years from now... And some that seem to be more "fussy" get by, when older, that much better, may be because they fought harder for what they needed... ??????????) I am trying not to take those risks with my kids - not if I have the control over it, many things I don't have control over that life can throw at you, but with things I can I will.

Kelina - posted on 12/16/2011

2,018

9

235

Aleksandra I really don't believe that there's much correlation between the two. My son was and is night parented I just let him CIO to learn to go to sleep at night without me. He is not nighttime trained as his body simply isn't ready. My nephew was trained with CIO and neglected far more than my kids. Neglect is a part of his daily life, yet he was nighttime trained within 2 weeks of starting potty training. For a while he did wake up and would get up and pee in his dresser drawer which was most definitely a cry for attention but had nothing to do with bedwetting. I've noticed that on the nights I can keep my son away from liquids after about 6 he's dry the next morning but I don't think I should be denying him liquids. If he weren't thirsty he wouldn't ask.

Aleks - posted on 12/16/2011

546

0

48

Jen,
I didn't mean to sound like a child who is bedwetting does it on purpose. And any attention seeking behaviours by young children most of the time (and especially in toddlers) are rarely made consciously.
Great majority of bedwetting cases have nothing to do with anything but physical reasons. However, there are some that have got emotional connections. There are also times where a child was night toilet trained and all of a sudden starts bedwetting. I by no means blamed all cases of bedwetting on CIO. Sorry if it sounded like that.

(and just so you all don't go around getting your knickers in a twist - I have a school aged bedwetter with frequent accidents that seem to occur more frequently during times of emotional stress. And yes, I have tried cio couple of times when frustrated and didn't know any better when he was less than 12mths old. Oh, and the one that was night parented from day 1 completely toilet trained, day and night, by 2, with occasional accidents - she still less than 3.)

Kelina - posted on 12/16/2011

2,018

9

235

Wendy have you tried a snuggle replacement? a teddy, or large body pillow? I know my hubby's cousin didn't sleep through the night til he was 5. Man I salute his mother, i had a hard enough time with the 13 or so months of pregnancy and baby.

Wendy - posted on 12/16/2011

7

0

1

I could never let my baby cio but have a friend that did. Now I have a 2.5 year old that still wakes up 1-5 x/night wanting to snuggle (I have given up and let him sleep in my bed but he still wakes up crying as he is now addicted to the bottle for sleep ever since I stopped breastfeeding which i know is an awful habit but I'm too tired to break it) my friend who let her kids cio at about 3 months old have slept through the night ever since. pregnant now i still don't think i'll have the heart to do it with my second but sometimes i wonder if she got it right? her kids seem extremely well behaved and well adjusted to me, better than my own so far...

[deleted account]

"….Letting the child/baby CIO is not the solution. It may stop the child crying for you at night, but then the child will find another way to start demanding attention – extra tantrums perhaps? Food/eating issues? Refusing to go to bed??? Hitting/bitting kids in playground/childcare/kinder? Bedwetting?..."

Just to toss an idea out there. Anyone who thinks kids wet the bed for attention has never worken up in a cold, wet bed.

Nightime incontinence is caused by many things but attention seeking is not one of them.

Aleks - posted on 12/16/2011

546

0

48

@Linda Moeai
I had a child that was inconsolable with gut pain and gas. No chance in the world that my baby would be happy about "work it out" on the tummy... reflux and spit ups aren't such a wonderful thing (which are common for babies with gut pain, btw) and they happen to be brought on or worse when baby is on their tummy. Infact, the best thing that I could do for her was to keep offering the breast. That at least soothed her a bit, where nothing else would. Touch is generally quite comforting, so I would just assume that when baby is in pain s/he would prefer being held and cuddled, or at least having their tummy stroked/massaged... But that is just me, I guess.

Autumn - posted on 12/15/2011

4

42

0

I always had a time limit. Put her down and if she cried for more than 10 min then I would go see if something was wrong. Most the time it was discomfort due to teething and once she was older it was night terrors. But I could def tell the difference between discomfort and night terror and just fighting sleep cries.

Tracey - posted on 12/15/2011

236

440

0

Linda: It about killed me to leave my first child with a sitter, but I didn't know how to stay home because my husband's income was so low. I quit as soon as I could. And I haven't worked since. I think because I really wanted to be with him, I had a bit of a different attitude. I held him every single second I could and did co-sleeping and nursed him until I started having pre-term labor with my next child (I'd hoped to tandem nurse). Don't say "never" until you're looking at homelessness if you don't.

I don't think his sitter was abusive, but that she just had so many kids to watch (a legal number, but still really too many to try to hold him all day). I left a sling with her but it didn't fit her well. She called me several times a day to share moments with me, always prefaced by "Your son is just cracking me up." I was glad to hear those moments, but it really ripped me up that I couldn't be there to see them for myself. I felt like when I was finally able to stay home with him when he was 17 months, it took a couple of years before I really felt like I knew him. I'd gone back to work full-time when he was 12 weeks old (part-time when he was 6 weeks and transitioning each week to a little more time until they threatened to fire me if I didn't bump it up to full-time hours), so I missed a little over a year of his life. He would usually stay awake about 3 hours after we got home but was tired, as was I.

He's really a great kid today at 15, a natural leader, ahead in many ways, but he has always hung back in doing new things just a bit. But he had no sleep troubles whatsoever (except he's inherited the family trait of walking and talking in his sleep). He wanted his own bed just before he turned 8, and got a newly-redecorated room for his birthday.

User - posted on 12/15/2011

126

2

4

I also believe crying it out is a harsh and somewhat cruel method to teach babies to sleep. I much prefer controlled crying as it allows you to soothe your baby, but also tells them you mean business and bedtime is bedtime. Having said that, for some babies nothing else will work. In those cases, if the alternative is having sleep deprived, zombie like parents that may become depressed and even resent their child or a sleep deprived baby who doesnt't understand what she's doing to her parents and herself, then crying it out is preferable and I do not criticize parents to choose that method. Happy parents and ultimately a happy child, even if she has to cry it out for 3 or 4 days, is the goal. I am sure parents only resort to crying it out when all the other options have been tried. Let's not make those parents feel guilty or bad for actually being a parent, stepping up and doing what needs to be done.

Kelina - posted on 12/15/2011

2,018

9

235

It's funny because I was at the grocery store tonight, dealing with my wild child son, (he's been cooped up a lot this month and tonight there was no shopping cart with a spot on the front for him) and I almost started laughing. Because somehow i think it's probably far more damang to my son when I tell him i'm going to leave him at the grocery store, or that i'm going to bite his fingers off if he sticks them in his mouth than letting him CIO as a baby was. Far more lasting. And you can think what you like, cause I'm sure my methods are controversial but I'll tell you they work. They work the first time too lol.

Linda - posted on 12/15/2011

12

2

0

I was speaking of Reactive Attachment Disorder...I have two nieces who have this.. one was caudalled continually ( age 4) and one the first, age 6 was mostly ignored.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reactive_at...



Severe issues...but also due to abusive situations one can only imagine. It's very sad.

Linda - posted on 12/15/2011

12

2

0

Key word for the one who wore a baby wrap and difference between her "oldest less independentO child...maybe CIO and a sitter... could it be being left a a sitter? I wouldn't do that to my children.. and didn't. There was a special on the health channel where they did a study of infants by the way... they showed facial and bodily movements for you to key in to to learn the cry's of your child. Tune in.. you may all learn something. Bottom line, depends on the child.. the age, and how you feel about it. Oh! One more thing... my sister was born and got pnumonia... we were told to let her cry a bit to strengthen her lungs... also I found that sometime... kids can't and aren't consolable due to gass or gut pain and the best way they can "work it out" is to struggle a bit on their tummy's... . Love covers it all!
http://www.slumbersounds.com/baby-crying...

http://www.babyexpert.com/baby/sleeping-...

Kathryn - posted on 12/15/2011

22

0

0

There are times that a child (not a baby) cries because they are not getting their way, even though bed us what truly is best for them. I am not one to neglect my child if they have any needs, but if I feel in my heart that what I'm doing is truly in their best interest and they're not pleased about it, I will let them cry. Of course it's harmful to a baby, but as they get a little older, I think kids can use crying as a manipulation to get their way, not just get their needs met

Liz - posted on 12/15/2011

49

28

3

I only let my baby cry when I know shes messing me about at bed time. I leave her for five minutes then pick her up to soothe her to sleep.

Sylvia - posted on 12/15/2011

1,315

8

34

Linda, "separation anxiety" isn't a disorder, it's a developmental stage that all children go through. I'm with Liz and Aleksandra, it seems kind of mean to start doing CIO right at the same time when a baby is naturally feeling extra terrified of being separated from mummy. (OTOH I don't think it's any better to start earlier, when they haven't even figured out object permanence yet.)

Linda - posted on 12/15/2011

12

2

0

Your quite the "authority"... every child is different, and my son started own at around 7-8 mo's not being able to be cuddled to sleep... too much going on and he would just get overtired. He preferred to be put down... I listened to any cry's that came during the night to pat his back or find the paci... and later he did have bad dreams or something, but we always went in to pick him up and comfort him. Every child is different and not fair to say if you don't go pick them up immediately that they will get "separation anxiety" or any aggressive behaviors... and just because the professional's say a certain date in time that disorders "appeared" doesn't mean that they weren't there all along, just not labeled yet.

Linda - posted on 12/15/2011

12

2

0

For century's the "all knowing voices of authority" have deemed what is best for your child... Even today's "Psychologist" are guessing and giving mere opinions. You as a parent should be knowing if you have and are giving lots of love and hugs and snuggles and know what your child's cries mean. There will be a time, and that it is your job, to help them learn to become more independent and learn to sooth themselves in many situations. It's your call, and certainly not before the age of 8 or 9 months... if then.

Sylvia - posted on 12/15/2011

1,315

8

34

Excellent article, thank you. I wish I'd had it available when DD was a baby, to spam my SILs with every time they said "Just let her cry" :P

Lise, I also really liked the article you posted. It's always amazed me that people don't think through the implications of their belief that leaving a baby alone in the dark to cry "doesn't hurt them" or even "is good for them". It just doesn't make any sense to me. I can certainly understand why sometimes it's better to walk away for a few minutes when you're super exhausted, frustrated, etc. and can't cope anymore; I'm all for time-outs for people who need them. What I can't get my head around, no matter how many times it's explained to me, is the idea that systematic deprivation is good for babies. You wouldn't deprive them of physical nourishment (well, unless you follow Babywise...), you wouldn't deprive them of adequate shelter and clothing, you wouldn't (presumably) leave them sitting in a dirty diaper for hours and think it was good for them, would you? So how is it good for them to deprive them of comfort, emotional nourishment, and touch? Yes, every family is different and what works for some will not work for everyone, etc., etc., but I'm sorry, I just do. not. get it.

I do agree that CIO teaches babies something. I just don't think it's anything good.

Among people I know who've tried CIO, I've noticed a pattern. Those who have used some kind of CIO method successfully -- in the sense that their kids "got with the program" quickly and they themselves experienced the process as "a few minutes of fussing for a few nights" rather than as hideous torture -- tend to have a few things in common: their kids were at least 6 months old when they started the process, and often closer to toddler age; their kids are pretty easygoing by nature; they either had never shared sleep with their babies or, if they had, felt uncomfortable about doing it; and they tended to regard nursing as a method of getting milk into the baby. Those who were talked into trying CIO by someone else and quickly abandoned it because it was horrible also had a few things in common: they tended to have higher-need, higher-touch babies; they tended to share sleep with their babies, and to not mind or even to enjoy doing so; they tended to think nursing as a way of not just *feeding* but also *nurturing* the baby (and/or toddler). When a parent from the former group tries to convince a parent from the latter group that CIO is quick and easy and works really well, they are often operating on the assumption that the other parent's baby is more or less like theirs in terms of personality. But there really are babies who will scream for hours, night after night. There really are babies who will cry until they vomit. There really are babies who will be so terrified, and cry so hysterically, that they have difficulty breathing. If you have one of those babies -- and if you have that kind of baby, you've probably figured it out within the first week (I know we did) -- then CIO truly is not going to "work" for you the way it "works" for parents of more easygoing babies.

Of course, this is all just anecdote. What's so interesting about the article linked in the OP is that it contains *actual data*.

Timora - posted on 12/15/2011

51

18

0

To those who are against letting your child cry at all - I'm glad you had children that this works with - that will sleep with you and fall asleep. I finally let my daughter cry it out at 1 year because if I was in the room with her at night, she wanted to play and she would wake up in the middle of the night wanting to eat and play. Staying with her until she fell asleep was no longer an option - neither she nor I would have gotten any sleep. When she throws a tantrum - which doesn't happen very often - I tell her when she is done with her fit I will be here and we can talk, but I'm not going to stay and be hit and kicked. It generally takes less than 5 minutes before she tells me I'm done with my fit and we talk about what happened (she is almost 3). I make sure my child gets attention for her really good behavior. It's a matter of balance and teaching kids what is appropriate and what is not. So I'm glad you all have kids where never letting them cry worked for you, but that would not have worked for my child. If I hadn't let her cry, we would still be miserable and lacking sleep. Not all kids will just go to sleep because they are tired. Now at the same time I would not let a 6 month old cry it out. I knew my daughter understood what I was saying and that she was deliberately trying to control the situation. Sometimes letting them cry is about setting boundaries and letting them know what the limits are. That is one part of this article I really can't agree with - that it is not natural for kids to cry. That's how they communicate.

[deleted account]

@ Keli-Just because a person allows their child to cry it out doesn't mean that they completely stop responding to their child's needs at night. I've always responded to my son';s cries at night. Crying it out was only used to get him into a routine with a regular bedtime and in the habit of going straight back to sleep after his night time feeding. I still fed him and changed him when he woke up crying at night and when he is sick or teething or needs to be changed or fed I will stay up with him and respond to his need. I don't just leave him to cry because I can't be bothered. I just refuse to stay up at night because he wants to play with his toys.

[deleted account]

Aleksandra, they suggest that age (6-7 months, is it?) because babies supposedly have learned object permanence by then, so the theory is, they know you haven't ceased to exist just because you left the room.



Learning that you won't come sometimes is perfectly fine though, I guess.

Aleks - posted on 12/15/2011

546

0

48

I would just like to point out that the popular age at which "experts" recommend "controlled crying" is roughly at an age where SEPERATION ANXIETY starts kicking in. Good one. Love the arbitrary dates these people pick (I would really like to know how they decided this... ), don't you?

I totally agree with just about everything Tracey Rollison is saying.

As for the lady who leaves her toddler and walks away when s/he is having a tantrum. Yes that IS damaging, because (if one does some research on what child and behaviour psychologist say) toddlers need help in controlling their emotions by a parent/caregiver being there, by the actual act of being there and trying to soothe the child one is then teaching him/her how to soothe the wild emotions that are at that very moment ramaging through their bodies. Again, another popular method in "toddler taming" taught by the "experts" , walk away and LEAVE THE CHILD SCREAMING alone.

Btw, just because you hold or are around the child (talking to them in a soothing way, or stroking them) when they are having a tantrum does not mean you are giving in to them, or enabling their "WANTS" (which they feel are their needs). You still can reject them having, watching, playing with whatever it is that they want (but probably shouldn't have).

I did this with my daughter who has some very strong will (and needs) and guess what, she didn't tantrum for more than 5minutes when 12-18mths (20minute tantrum... really?). And hardly ever, after that, if she does it takes less than 1-2minutes.

Most kids tantrum (typically) because they are lacking attention. I know that toddlers need attention 24/7 and its impossible to satisfy this need, but the less attention toddlers get the more they are likely to tantrum or at least more often. Also will probably more likely turn bed time into a battleground as it is again a time when parents LEAVE them alone. For whatever reason western world seems to have made up this picture in their heads that says: put child in bed, turn off light, leave, and child should fall asleep in a minute or two….(its certainly played out in every movie, sitcom and the like). ITS FALSE. Yet people seem to strive for that and think that their children are naughty if they don’t fall into the said “routine” at the earliest of age, so techniques are devised to get this to happen. Often at the expense of the child and especially the child-parent relationship.



People, realise this: your child is crying because they NEED YOU!!! It’s a very real and physical need. Exceptions given re overtired times (where the child doesn’t even know what they need or want anymore, it’s a tough time for any parent, and child, of course). However, may be the reason your child does cry louder when you are there may be cause they really want to tell you how crap they are feeling at that moment. They are frustrated/angry and are taking it out. It may not necessarily mean they don’t want you around. In fact, its probably best that you stay (though depending on child and circumstances you may not necessarily hold/stroke/pat the child). I cannot imagine a little baby feeling better being alone when in a hysterical overtired state in a dark room, than if a parent is present. However, if you are a new parent with a baby in such a state, it is hard to know and figure out what is needed by this child.



@ Janessa Lloyd

“I will go in and give them their pacifier, let them know I'm not ignoring them and that I hear them and love them but I won't pull them out, my mother's instinct tells me it is not what they need,”

I am not sure that it is your instinct – its your “training” by these myths and longheld societal views perpetuated by these so called baby ‘experts’. It has been said that a chemical change occurs in mother’s (and father’s but to a lesser extent) brain that triggers the response of picking the baby up when it cries! Its a physical response in the brain. THAT is INSTINCT. By the fact that they are crying for your presence because you are not there means to them that you are ignoring them. You come and you go… they want you to stay. They need you to stay. And yes, this game goes night after night into childhood mainly because of the points I have already made above.



But in the end, most of you will do as you will and think will work for you. But if bedtime games is what you are happy in tolerating, then sure.. go ahead. I don’t have these games, could it be because my children are secure in the knowledge that they will get their needs met???? May be. I learned the hard way myself. I too had bed time games with my 1st. Because I bought into the “no parenting at night” crap (except for the sick thing). As soon as I stopped, and gave in and allowed myself to parent my child at night (and not feel like I am doing a bad thing and spoiling my child)… all the games regarding sleep ceased. Not immediately…because it takes time to build up trust. But they ceased. My kids also don’t wake up in middle of the night wanting to play. Yes, that is another ploy by the child for attention…. Yes, it can be hard especially if the mother is working and cannot give all that attention to the child, and there are other kids around too…. So, need to figure out then how one can give that much needed attention to the child….Letting the child/baby CIO is not the solution. It may stop the child crying for you at night, but then the child will find another way to start demanding attention – extra tantrums perhaps? Food/eating issues? Refusing to go to bed??? Hitting/bitting kids in playground/childcare/kinder? Bedwetting?....

This is why I don't buy the CIO mentality. But its hard to figure out what to do or one needs to do when all around us we get this advice.

Alicia - posted on 12/15/2011

18

4

1

When my daughter was younger, she didn't cry unless she needed something. Her cries where always distinct an everytime she cried I was right there. Now that she is older (almost 13 months) I have had times where I let her c|o. Her cries are still pretty much distinct. Her most distintive would be her overtired cry. That one is not one I enjoy playing with at all. But, when I know she is changed, fed, and tired but refusing I will let her c|o. However, if she protest when I lay her down, I lay her down an wait about 10-15 minutes an if she's stopped, I go check an smile when she's finally asleep. If she's still crying past 15 minutes, I go get her and try to soothe her. If she cries in the middle of the night, I listen for how long she cries for to decide if I need to go get her or not. If its just an "I cain't get comfortable cry" that usally last a bout a minute an it's over. If it's the "I had a bad dream,need mommy, or hungry" cry I go get her soothe or feed her an put her right back to bed. When she starts to throw tantrums, I lay her on the floor and tell her "I'm not going to listen to you if you wanna be a butt." And almost immediatly she is back up an givin me kisses :), or trying to get into what she wanted in the first place an then the process repeats. Everyone parents differently. Letting them c|o when they are newborn-5 months old is rough on any parent. Do what you think is best. I can say that she is very independant and enjoys exploring new things. Children are like science experiments, you keep them in a controlled environment to see what the out come is by adding and taking away variables.

Joanne - posted on 12/14/2011

2

0

0

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I almost followed a Christian book's advice on how to get my baby to sleep years ago by letting my sons "cry it out." I couldn't do it. After reading the article above, I'm so glad I didn't. God Bless you and your familly. Joanne Ulene in Irvine, CA

Tinker1987 - posted on 12/14/2011

1,144

5

10

i dont believe in Crying it out for Hour-hours,if my son is having a rough time, i will occasionally let him work it out on his own for 15 minutes,if he is still upset i go in and assist and try again,useally by the second round he is sleeping,this only happens if he is over tired or teething or something...

Catherine - posted on 12/14/2011

37

45

2

My oldest only cried if you were late with his bottle, my youngest cried most of the time, there has to be a balance!

Janessa - posted on 12/14/2011

289

10

0

I agree with a lot of what this says, but not entirely. I've never completely neglected my kids and let them cry and cry, but we do get to a point where we will not pull them out for anything. When they make it through the night on their own once we don't go back. I will go in and give them their pacifier, let them know I'm not ignoring them and that I hear them and love them but I won't pull them out, my mother's instinct tells me it is not what they need, I know it isn't what they need, and I know that I and the the baby need sleep more, and that if I pull them out that will not happen. It will continue night after night, even into childhood. Sleep is also important for being a good mother, and is important for the child's development. My children are very well adjusted and independent. I think the important thing to remember is that you do what works for you and your child, and follow your mother's intuition, inspiration from God. And please don't judge anyone else for what they decide to do.

Sherri - posted on 12/14/2011

9,593

15

391

I think also everyone's idea of CIO differs too. My idea was when my kids were fed, changed, was holding them and they just didn't want to be held. They were simply overtired then I would place them in their cribs and let them fuss it out for 5-10mins in that time if they still hadn't gone to sleep then I went to them and tried to sooth them some more. I always went to them immediately in the middle of the night. I never just left them and they were certainly never in distress.

Luckily for us my kids never depended on us for sleep as they slept in their own beds from day one. They never ever slept in the same room or same bed with us. So that certainly helped with not really requiring cio unless they were just super overtired.

Michelle - posted on 12/14/2011

4

11

0

i never thought it was right or natural to let my baby cry it out, they're babies for god's sake, they cry because they need something and that's the only way they are able to let us know! thank you for posting this! it makes me sick to think of all the babies out there that are ignored when in distress...

Christy - posted on 12/14/2011

1

0

0

I think the Dr is off his rocker and full of hot air! Sorry "Doctors" keep changing the rules. Just do what u feel best as a parent and follow your gut not some new article that has once again changed the rules.

Kelina - posted on 12/14/2011

2,018

9

235

Tracey that's one of my points. CIO is a method that has age limits and rules. Yet, people don't follow them, they don't both doing their research, and they give the true method of CIO a bad rep. See if you actually research the ferber method it says it is not safe to do until at LEAST 6 months but preferably older. Leaving a child under 6 months to cry in their crib is, with a few exceptions, neglect and idiocy. These exceptions would include an overdone mom who can't take it anymore and needs a break to regroup. I'm actualy looking it up now and i'm going to include the links, but apparently I am mistaken on that. It says between 4-6 months or when you're comfortable which is not what I remember from when I looked into it with my son. If you actually look into the method it also tells you to listen to baby's cues and not do this during a time of change, say a move, teething, etc.
http://www.babycenter.com/0_the-ferber-m... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferber_meth... http://www.parentingscience.com/Ferber-m... Somewhere in question 4 there is a link to another article on infant sleep training. I did a modified ferber method. I didn't increase the time between when i went to check, I went in every 5 minutes the first night every 6 minutes the next with my son. My kids also had a good routine before bed. Boob, teeth, story. It takes about 20 minutes, although they're both off the boob now :) I don't agree at all with leaving a child to cry uncontrollably and just let them work everything out all night, it's not right. It's also not the CIO method.

Rachel - posted on 12/14/2011

52

12

1

@traci that is an awesome thing you have done for your kids! unfortunatly my children are not the type to just fall asleep when they are tired
.. but they may get that from me because i have a hard time falling asleep myself... i tried cosleeping too but for me that kept them up even longer.... maybe because they wanted to talk or play bevause i was there... but once i put my son in his own room at one he whinned for a bit and i would go in and lay him down and he eventually fell asleep... and now that hes on that routine he sleeps in his own bed very happily... i think he likes the independence... so all kids are dofferent... i can say i do enjoy having the bed to me and my hubby but i do envy you in a way... some nights i wouldnyt mind snuggling them to sleep in my bed

Tracey - posted on 12/14/2011

236

440

0

I've had three learn to sleep on their own, and while you think they would not learn to sleep "on their own" without being taught, just the opposite was true for us. Where there is no fear or anxiety in falling asleep, they just...fall asleep. All three of our kids slept in our beds. All three had night terrors around age 3, but they never became a big thing. And all three wanted to sleep on their own by age 8 (the youngest at age 6) and had no trouble doing so. We had no battles and no tears. We didn't have to "teach" them anything. A tired person just falls asleep, regardless of age, *unless he's learned that nighttime is the time when needs that would be met during the day will go unmet*. Then it becomes a battle.



When they've stayed with their grandparents, their grandmas read to them until they're asleep, and then leave. No problems there, either. And none of them had any trouble with sleepovers, which they starting having around age 6.



All the "experts" tell you to do all this stuff, and it's really opinion and not based on fact or field observation, either one. A baby or child who is confident about having his needs met at night isn't going to have problems falling asleep, and probably won't have problems staying asleep. I can be pretty confident if one of my kids wakes me up at night, it's important. They don't "manipulate" me: unless vomiting or having a fever is manipulation.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms