Don't Cry (it out) please.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

I may get a lot of flack for this- and that is okay. I guess. What is popular is not always right and what is right is not always popular....

Anyway. I do not like Cry It Out (CIO) or sleep training for babies. It just seems so mean.

I am a mother. My job does not come with 'off' time. My job does not end when the sun goes down. My job is a 24/7 deal. Sure, I get breaks, that is what family and sitters are for. Sure, I get tired. Sure, I get crabby. But I cannot get behind purposefully neglecting my child's needs- physical or emotional.

Inevitably, I will mess up what I am trying to say so please bear with me. But when there is nothing left of me to give- then what? Being an attached and connected mother is about learning to recognize and respect my child's needs as an individual. It also involves teaching them to recognize and respect other people's needs- including mine.

Believe me I know what it is like to look at your child and want to scream, cry, and or beg for him or her to just for the love of all that is holy go to sleep. I know the fatigue that causes dizziness and forgetfulness. I live it. I understand, the motivation behind parents who think that letting their child CIO is better because then they can sleep and be better parents. I honestly believe that almost no parent looks at their child and thinks, "ok cool- this can really mess with your developing brain, I wonder how else I can screw my baby up?". I do not agree with the method of CIO though.

Two awesome bloggers who talk about it better than I can are MamaEve and Alternative Mama

The key has to be- that my kids are going to struggle with some things, that is okay. I can let them struggle and support them through that and remain attached and connected. Letting them suffer- that is an entirely different beast. Who would let their child suffer with a broken bone? Who would let a child suffer with a broken heart? Suffering is suffering, physical or emotional.

It is really hard to listen to a baby cry- there is a reason for this, it is an instinctive response. How often are we told to trust our instincts? Trust this one.

The babies learn to self-regulate from parents. They learn and grow through being held. Having their needs met. I would rather my babies learn that adults are there to take care of children and meet their needs than that the world is a cold and isolating place.

There is no evidence to support CIO as a good thing, and lots of evidence to support its negative impact:
We know now that leaving babies to cry is a good way to make a less intelligent, less healthy but more anxious, uncooperative and alienated person who can pass the same or worse traits on to the next generation.

~Darcia Narvaez Psychology Today

I think part of the key is to recognize that it is a relationship between a mother and child. No one is 'in control' of a relationship. It is a mutual thing.

Meet your child's needs. Physical and emotional.


Trip Snyder said...

You, as always rock! It takes guts to stand for what is right, and you are doing an amazing job of standing up for issues that need voice! Keep up the good blogging!
Love you!

Kristy said...

I've raised 4 kids. I have a 5 minute rule. If they are crying for no apparent reason, i do let them cry it out for 5 minutes. That is AFTER I make sure all is okay. I do understand what you mean tho. A child needs to be loved and held and have that skin to skin contact. ;-) Great Blog you have here SITSta!

Just Me said...

5 minutes I think is reasonable- heck sometimes going to the bathroom takes longer than that.....

charlotte j.w. said...

Great post! I am a first time mom of a 3 month old girl and recently had this conversation with a dad of 3 who said his son cried for 40 minutes before falling asleep. I tried CIO, but could only last for about 3 minutes! I just can't bare to hear her scream!

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