I'm a strong believer in letting babies cry it out (CIO) and learn to self-soothe.
I feel like parents who don't believe in CIO couldn't possibly have ever tried it in earnest. Here's how it works, in my experience:
--On the first night, the baby throws a shitfit, screaming and getting really upset while you huddle in a corner, feeling like a horrible parent. It lasts, like, 45 minutes.
--On the second night, the baby cries for about 15 minutes.
--On all subsequent nights, when you put the baby down to sleep (drowsy but awake), she goes to sleep immediately.
--If the baby wakes up in the middle of the night, she will generally go right back to sleep without requiring extra comfort.
I suppose one could argue that this is a horrible thing, that I've raised a baby who is so apathetic that when she wakes up during the night, she knows nobody will come for her, and just gives up and goes back to sleep. But she cries for me in the morning when she's ready to get up for the day. And she cries for me all the time during the day. But when she's tired and in her crib, she's learned to settle down without me.
Prior to doing CIO, when I put her down in her crib not sound asleep (which is hard to manage sometimes), she'd pop up immediately, panicked and upset that I was leaving. It was awful. I felt so freaking guilty.
I knew this woman who strongly believed that it was very unhealthy to let your kid cry. Period. She said it could result in permanent hoarseness. And actually, I read an article on attachment parenting that said infant crying results in "increased heart rate and blood pressure, reduced oxygen level, elevated cerebral blood pressure, depleted energy reserves and oxygen, interrupted mother-infant interaction, brain injury, and cardiac dysfunction." Well, that's perfect, actually. Because my sleep-trained baby cries way less than one who is waking up screaming during the night multiple times.
In any case, that particular woman had a four year old daughter who cried her head off every day when she got dropped off at daycare. And at four years old, she was still waking up multiple times during the night.
My kids were attended to if the woke up from sleep. They woke up intermittently for a few weeks in a row untill 3-4 yo. I am a believer in sending kid a message they will be taken care of. And such are multiple cultures around the world, even developing world where childrens' labor is used. I doubt that attending to kids needs even at night when its inconvinent will lead to a clingy baby (see above example where chilren start working at early age, obviously they are not clingy). I had rare but scary night terrors growing up and glad my family member was there for me. At 8 or 9 I could not fall asleep in the dark room alone. And my grandmother lay with me for half an hour. It only adds to security in adult life in my different from yours opinion. I supported myself since age 20, worked night nursing shifts starting midway through med school. Bought myself paid of appartment in a large city at age 26. Moved across Atlantic and completed med training in this country (in top institutions). Have busy family life and full time job that I enjoy and am proud of. So much for your theory..ReplyDelete
It's not about "sending the message that you will attend to your child's needs." It's about teaching your child to fall asleep without help from you. In my mind, preventing your child from learning that skill because you can't handle a few tears is abuse.Delete
And watching your child cry for straight 45 minutes is..?Delete
I hardly think having an alternative theory indicates that the original theory was wrong, "Anonymous." But boy, I saw this coming Fizzy. Just try bringing up co-sleeping!Delete
When you add up the total amount of crying if you *don't* sleep train, don't you think that equals more than 45 minutes? How is having a chronically sleep deprived child (because they can't self soothe) as well as having chronically sleep deprived other family members preferable? Do you keep your child in a moby until he is 12 months old so that he'll never fall also? I mean, so what if he learns to walk 6 months later. Oh wait, you probably DO do that.Delete
"Dr Alice", opposite opinion is not alternative theory. Neither of these approaches can be proven right or wrong.Delete
Every time your child cries for a cookie, you wouldn't give them a cookie. Sometimes it benefits the child to learn that crying wont get them what they want.Delete
"I am a believer in sending kid a message they will be taken care of"Delete
This is the attitude that I don't like, acting like women who sleep train their kids are harming them. Allowing a kid to sooth themselves during the night does not give them the message that they will not be taken care of. My kids frequently turn to me for comfort during the day, regardless of sleep training. Nighttime training hasn't changed their daytime behavior at all, aside from everyone being less cranky and more well rested.
First night our first born was at home, we had the crib in our room for about 2 hours, it was quickly moved to the other side of the house. She turned out fineReplyDelete
I think this is gonna be a bigger flamer than the thin post!ReplyDelete
I think that different kids need different strategies. My kids were very different and what worked with one would never have worked with the other. They continue to be very different sorts of people. We didn't really "sleep train" until they were older, ranging from 11-14 months, and I don't think we ever did a traditional cry-it-out technique. (isn't it funny that I can't remember, it was SO important back then) I will say, my choices in sleep habits when they were tiny babies had more to do with my stress & anxiety about crying babies than actual harm or discomfort they may have experienced. I have learned that parenting is a mirror into one's psyche as much as it is about the kids you are parenting.
I am told I was a very "colicky" baby in infancy. The army of 6-7 family members was recruited/available to take care of me. I hear stories about all of them tired, sleepless, holding, rocking, singing to me. I am thankful for all they did. You are right Larissa it is a mirror into ourselves. I could not bring myself to deprive my children from the same attention I am told I received. And my children are plenty independent, doing homework by themselves without me checking in 2/4 grades, good grades, helping with chores.ReplyDelete
Colic typically ends before 4 months, and nobody recommends sleep training before that. Soothing a colicky baby and sleep training an 8 month old so that you don't have to soothe them back to sleep every 2 hours at night are not the same thing at all.Delete
The way I see it is that this is how my parents dealt with my crying- I'm not dead, I'm a semi normal member of society, I think I've turned out okay --> there is more than one right way to raise a kid.ReplyDelete
Anyone who thinks they have the supreme answer to parenting is kidding themselves.
Though, I'd probably do the same thing my parents did and that you do, it seems to work.
All children are different. We tried sleep training and letting my oldest cry it out. After over a week of him crying for over an hour, we realized it wasn't going to work. My second kid, he slept through the night on the second day of sleep training. This is why parenting can never really be a science: every child and parent is different and nothing works for everyone all the time.ReplyDelete
Totally. I am so grateful this worked for my daughter. I guess it doesn't work for all children. My neighbors had a 3 year old who wouldn't STTN, even after doing CIO, and it was really tough on their marriage. They are now divorced.Delete
I was personally so grateful when 20 minutes of crying over one night led my daughter to STTN 11 hours a night pretty much every day after starting at 5 months old. The sleep deprivation prior to that (2-3 wake-ups a night, 1 hour each) was really tough to take.ReplyDelete
If as a parent, you don't feel comfortable doing this, and *want* to remain horribly sleep deprived for an indefinite period of time (not to mention really grumpy and hard to be around), knock yourself out. Just don't hold yourself up as some kind of parenting martyr. Different things work for different families.
Exactly. Parent how you want to parent, but don't act like a martyr. That's what really bothers me. What inspired this post was some women I know posting something on facebook about children needing comfort and how she was sooo grateful she didn't do cry it out, that she couldn't live with herself if she had.Delete
I mean, if you're going to think that way, at least keep it to yourself.
My husbund and I woke up to comfort our children every time they cried at night for years (I think it stopped at age 6 for one of them). We keep it to ourselves and do not go around wearing martyr hats and tell people we did it. Every parental approach/any idea at all becomes disgusting when people act superior if they did something they think makes them special. But for the sake of discussion here, different opinions are voiced. It is clear that when people share experience my family had, it is not well received. That gives a negative tinge to "sleep-training" opinion too. Likewise, do not brag/pose yourself as a wise parent.Delete
I think that timing is totally key for sleep training. Under 6 months really helps. I'm sure that if Baby McFizzy screamed at night now, she'd probably get some attention as needed. But learning to fall asleep by yourself is a skill that they have to learn. The brain totally checks in after 90 min of sleep to see if the situation is the same - when its not, they freak out. I totally sleep trained. Happy babies don't always know what is good for them. Once had a friend who's kid was 4 and could only nap when snuggled with her mom. Very nice, unless you actually wanted to get anything done - like look after another kid.ReplyDelete
Well I certainly agree with the self-soothing approach. I can't see how anything else could work really. As for this:ReplyDelete
"increased heart rate and blood pressure, reduced oxygen level, elevated cerebral blood pressure, depleted energy reserves and oxygen, interrupted mother-infant interaction, brain injury, and cardiac dysfunction"
It's amazing how these claims get more and more outlandish. We should attend babies at night so they don't deplete their ATP or glycogen stores? Are they going apneic? Brain injury? Cardiomyopathy?
Wouldn't this mean that any kids prone to tantrums would similarly give themselves anoxic brain injury and cardiac ischemia?
It's so ridiculous.
Childless person here.ReplyDelete
I can't imagine there's a one size fits all approach for this, there are too many variables to consider. My older brother was deemed "colicky" by our pediatrician. He was apparently like this for 8 months. No amount of CIO worked. Soothing him only brought short bursts of sleep for him, so that still left my mom extremely sleep deprived. When I was older, my mom once tearfully confessing to me that it was so hard on her (my dad was an absentee due to extensive travel for work, and back then the grandparents didn't offer any support) she called up the pediatrician one day and told him she was afraid she would hurt my brother to shut him up (don't worry, she never laid a hand on any of us). The doctor's advice was to swaddle my brother, stick him in the crib, and if necessary, sleep in the farthest corner of the house so as to not hear the screams. (Of course this was back in 1974, I'm not sure a pediatrician would ever say that now).
She was a fabulous, loving mother who was nearly driven mad by a baby who screamed all night for months on end.
I was apparently the opposite and took to sleeping by myself with no problem.
My baby brother fell somewhere in the middle. Never really slept well, but compared to my older brother he wasn't so hard on my mom.
Three kids, all with the same parents, fed the same, given the same amount of love and attention, sleeping under similar heat/cold situations, etc., and yet, three totally different outcomes in terms of sleeping behavior.
So, to each their own. Do whatever you think is best. Whatever works for you and your baby is the right choice. Don't worry what others think.
I didn't read all the comments. My first born, Cecelia, slept through the night by three months. I decided it was me, I was the best parent in the world, and all the problems I read about were because no one was as good as me. Ha ha.ReplyDelete
Jack taught me I was wrong. I responded to his nightly cries for 7 months - many times during the night, until I was over exhausted, confused, and needing to hang up the hat desperately to study for my pathology boards. The CIO took a full week. I turned on a loud space heater in my bedroom to drown out the cries that I was sure would do him in psychologically for the rest of his life. He was hoarse every morning. He could cry like a banshee. But it worked, and we lived, and he is happy and healthy and doesn't remember it at all. I do.
I read that you can start CIO at 5 months. I regretted trying it as late as 7 but was glad I erred on the side I did instead of trying it sooner.
Or, the first night, your child screams for hours until you give up. Second night, child scream for hours and you call it a lost cause because he literally was to the point of throwing up.ReplyDelete
2nd child slept like a dream from the beginning, and the only reason he ever woke up at night was due to teething or something like that where he was in pain. Didn't do a damn thing different.
I think the point is, different children have completely different sleep patterns and temperament, and that telling parents that if they only did this one thing they would have a great sleeper is doing them a disservice.
I'm sure CIO doesn't work for everyone, although there are probably *some* strategies to get difficult kids to sleep. I feel fortunate both my kids responded quickly to CIO.Delete
My beef is with women who act like they're superior for not doing CIO.
My parents did the utmost in Crying it Out to me. I would scream every night, even way past infant years. They let me scream. I would crawl out of my crib, cry and kick the door all night long. I never got the impression that they weren't there for me, or wouldn't help me with my needs. No psychologically trauma there for me.ReplyDelete
So of course my daughter cried it out. It worked perfectly fine. She knows I'm there for her, since I respond to her needs that actually need to be met by me. I think we have a fantastic and very close bond, but she is also blessedly independent when she needs to be. I watched my peers struggle with their non-sleeping babies for months, they were constantly exhausted and near the point of tears. They were so eager to hand off their children to others during the day because they were so sick of holding them all night long. I am so glad my child learned to soothe herself and go to sleep on her own.
My kidlet has always been a Velcro baby. She's also brave and independent and sassy and very very bright. I couldn't do CIO. When she cried at night after about 6 months, I went to her room. Patted, soothed, and left. Mom is here, you are ok, this is not playtime. Light stayed off, no picking her up. Went in spurts- woke up a few nights in a row, then not for months. Shes 7 now, and fine. Loves school, sleepovers... This was right for us. Your mileage may vary.ReplyDelete
Ooohh, the vitriol!! I knew this post would inspire some! IMHO, combining CIO with a sleep schedule and some habits designed to encourage sleep worked well for us. Mine always whimpered and cried for at least a few minutes each time I put them down to sleep, it was just their way of settling down for sleep time. They certainly always woke up happy to see me. I feel like if you as a parent wants to invest multiple hours each night in constantly getting up to see to your child because they don't sleep well, then that's your choice as a parent. I do know quite a few of these parents and it seems to me that at 2 and 3 years old they still complain that their kids don't sleep well. All I know is, I've been sleeping well for 10 years now and my kids all sleep through the night, no problem. My children do NOT function well during the day without a full uninterrupted night's sleep.ReplyDelete
Best sleep momma I saw, had a grandkid in the airport around age 2 or 3. Put her grandkid on her lap sideways, covered her with a blanket and said - go to sleep its nap time. Kid was out in less than 5 min after running around. Did I mention it was in the middle of the airport?ReplyDelete
My youngest sister would not self-soothe as an infant. My mom let her scream for almost two hours until I couldn't take it anymore. As long as someone was cuddling with her, my baby sister would fall asleep in 5-10 minutes. She could then be moved to her crib and as long as there was a blanket bunched up against the top of her head, she would stay asleep.ReplyDelete
My toddler niece has nightmares. She will wake up startled and sobbing even if someone is next to her. I used to be the same way when I was little. Sometimes my dreams still make me cry and i'm 28. She is afraid to take a nap without someone nearby. I remember how terrified I used to be when I would fall asleep with my mother nearby and wake up from a nightmare and she wasn't in the room anymore. I spend naptime snuggled with my niece because I know she is as scared as I once was when she awoke to an empty room.
My nephew, on the other hand, will nap and sleep as long as nothing interesting is going on. He is my niece's younger brother, he just turned one year old, and never cries himself to sleep. He just keeps going and playing until he just can't crawl another inch. Then he falls asleep on his belly...sometimes with his eyes still open.