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Cry It Out (CIO)


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  #1  
May 15th, 2007, 09:19 AM
bubblesispreggers's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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What are your feelings on CIO? Use it, don't use it? Support it, think its crazy? Just give me your general opinion on the matter.

This is a great article I found and wanted to share with you ladies: http://drbenkim.com/articles-attachment-parenting.html

Since nobody reads links too often, I'll post the good points.

We live in an age where we can know that the baby is safe in another room, despite the loudness of his cries. Does this mean we should leave babies to cry on their own? CIO proponents often advise that babies left to cry will eventually stop, and the duration of future crying bouts will decrease. What are the emotional consequences of crying for the infant when she is left unattended? Bowlby and colleagues initiated a series of studies where children between the ages of one and two who had good relationships with their mothers were separated from them and left to cry it out. Results showed a predictable sequence of behaviours: The first phase, labeled “protest”, consists of loud crying and extreme restlessness. The second phase, labeled “despair”, consists of monotonous crying, inactivity, and steady withdrawal. The third phase, labeled “detachment”, consists of a renewed interest in surroundings, albeit a remote, distant kind of interest. Thus, it appears that while leaving babies to cry it out can lead to the eventual dissipation of those cries, it also appears that this occurs due to the gradual development of apathy in the child. The child stops crying because she learns that she can no longer hope for the caregiver to provide comfort, not because her distress has been alleviated.
...

According to attachment theory, many babies are born without the ability to self-regulate emotions. That is, they find the world to be confusing and disorganized, but do not have the coping abilities required to soothe themselves. Thus, during times of distress, they seek out their caregivers because the physical closeness of the caregiver helps to soothe the infant and to re-establish equilibrium. When the caregiver is consistently responsive and sensitive, the child gradually learns and believes that she is worthy of love, and that other people can be trusted to provide it. She learns that the caregiver is a secure base from which she can explore the world, and if she encounters adversity she can return to her base for support and comfort. This trust in the caregiver results in what is known as a secure individual.

Children who do not have consistently responsive and sensitive caregivers often develop into insecure individuals, characterized by anxious, avoidant, and/or ambivalent interactions.

...

North American parenting practices, including CIO, are often influenced by fears that children will grow up too dependent. However, an abundance of research shows that regular physical contact, reassurance, and prompt responses to distress in infancy and childhood results in secure and confident adults who are better able to form functional relationships.

It has been suggested in the past that CIO is healthy for infants’ physical development, particularly the lungs. A recent study looking at the immediate and long-term physiologic consequences of infant crying suggests otherwise. The following changes due to infant crying have been documented: 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. The study’s researchers suggested that caregivers should answer infant cries swiftly, consistently, and comprehensively, recommendations which are in line with AP principles.

CIO supporters tend to view their infants’ cries as attempts to manipulate caregivers into providing more attention. Holding this view can be detrimental to the immediate and long-term health of the baby. ... Infants, quite helpless without the aid of their caregivers, may suffer both emotional and physical consequences of this type of attitude.

When faced with a crying baby, it may be prudent to ask yourself the following questions: Why am I choosing this response? Do I want my baby to stop crying because he feels comforted and safe, or do I want my baby to stop crying for the sake of stopping crying? What is my baby learning about me and the world when I respond in this manner? If I were a baby and was upset, how would I want my caregivers to respond?





Personally, CIO isn't an option for us. I find it pretty cruel to leave a small baby in a dark room, scared, hungry or wet to cry alone. I also feel that it is more for the convenience of the parent than for the benefit of the child. I know this is bound to offend someone, but that is my honest opinion. For those of you who do practice CIO, what are you reasons behind it?

Jenny

Edit to fix bolding and color thingies.
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  #2  
May 15th, 2007, 09:30 AM
AnnaBananasMom's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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This debate is bound to get heated pretty quickly, but I'll put my quick thoughts in.

I personally agree with CIO, but I think there is a lot of room for misuse of it. When my baby was a newborn, of course I responded to her cries. However, once she got a little older and demonstrated that she was crying for reasons other than hunger, being cold/warm, wet/dirty, etc., I let her cry for short periods of time. It worked so well for us and she was sleeping through the night in no time. Bedtime is totally stressfree for both of us. She doesn't need this perfect scenario to fall asleep. She'll just go down whenever she is sleepy sicne she learned to do it herself. She'll sleep in a crib, a pack and play, in my arms, anywhere. She's a happy, well rested baby who doesn't get upset when her environment changes and things aren't just so.

However, when I hear about parents leaving their babies to cry for 30, 45, 60 minutes or...EVEN MORE...I admit I'm horrified! My DD never cried that long. I made sure her every last need was met and she was in fact sleepy before attempting any CIO. At first, it was a lot of work to make sure the timing was just right. It worked because she rarely cried more than 5 minutes, 10 minutes on a very bad day. Anymore than that, and I would check on her.

Maybe I lucked out with an easy baby, maybe not. Still, I refuse to believe I mistreated my baby in anyway. There hasn't been a single tear shed in months and months over naptimes or bedtimes. I think CIO is mistaken for the easy way out, both by a lot of believers and non-believers. I think it requires a lot of work to get it just right and make it work for both the parents AND the child.
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  #3  
May 15th, 2007, 09:30 AM
donomama
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I don't believe in CIO for babies (for our family). I do, however, believe in CIO for toddlers. Neither of my babies slept through the night until they were well over a year. And I'm not talking getting up once during the night, I'm talking 3-4 times every night for an entire year. Gets tiring... Anyway, when my kids weaned (at 15 and 13 months) we started letting them CIO in their cribs. My DD slept through the night almost immeditely, and DS is starting to. Last night I only got up one time!!! I think sometimes, it is a neccessary evil.
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  #4  
May 15th, 2007, 09:38 AM
mommyKathyX3
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I personally could never never do it, but I dont think its wrong if its done with certain restrictions. Like I dont believe in CIO for a baby under 4-6 months EVER! Then dont just start cold turkey. If you do it, start working your way into it. Also, people who just let thier babies cry for hours will tick me off. Sorry, they do. Sure I dont feel they are "abusing them" or anyting, but its just not good for a baby to scream thier head off for hours at a time. (and some will) Julia used to cry until she'd barf all over her bed and then what, should I just let her lay in it? We gave up on CIO with her, and found out the other way is easier for both of us. I dont just "jump" at every wimper. Sometimes I'll let them wimper it out or even fuss a bit. If it turns into screaming, then yes, I will go in and get them. They need that reassurance that I'm there.

I'll bet this one could turn ugly really quick!

Quote:
I don't believe in CIO for babies (for our family). I do, however, believe in CIO for toddlers. Neither of my babies slept through the night until they were well over a year. And I'm not talking getting up once during the night, I'm talking 3-4 times every night for an entire year. Gets tiring... Anyway, when my kids weaned (at 15 and 13 months) we started letting them CIO in their cribs. My DD slept through the night almost immeditely, and DS is starting to. Last night I only got up one time!!! I think sometimes, it is a neccessary evil.[/b]

I gotta agree with that to an extent. Once they are 2 or 3 yrs old, they will throw tantrums. That sense, yep, they will get a talken to, and then they can cry it out for a good time, cause they are concious of their surroundings. They understand what is going on, they just are trying to get their way. I know what you mean.
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  #5  
May 15th, 2007, 09:39 AM
bubblesispreggers's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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What if they just need to be held or comforted? Letting them cry is not meeting that need. Also, why is it so important to have an infant sleep through the night other than for the parent's convenience? I don't really understand the logic behind sleep training.
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  #6  
May 15th, 2007, 09:40 AM
Mom2DavidandAaron's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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As a general rule I don't use CIO. With two kids it sometimes happens because one is crying while I'm trying to attend to the other one, but what can one do?
Personally, I don't believe it's damaging or traumatic. Our personalities have so many variables it's ridiculous to say that a person was "meant" to be a secure, happy individual and just because of CIO he's insecure and anxious.
Now, if a baby is left to cry out of hunger, or because it's afraid, needs a diaper change, or is in pain, that I think is neglect. I don't think anyone here who practices CIO or supports it will tell you it's OK to neglect your child like that to "teach" him. I do think it's taking it a bit to far to imply that parents ignore these needs out of convinience. That's not what CIO is about. My sil used Ferber because her youngest son just refused to sleep, he kept waking up her oldest son and she had been practically sleepless for months. For her, it worked wonders, her child isn't anxious or insecure and everytime he's hungry, wet, pooped, or afraid or just genuinely needs some mommy contact, she's there for him. She's not ignoring her child to watch soap operas or go shopping or sleep all morning, she did what she thought was right to teach HIM to sleep properly and get the rest she and the rest of the family needed. The two aren't the same thing.
Personally, both my children never had sleep problems, they're great sleepers, so me not using CIO is more out of lack of necessity that conviction that it's harmful. But my 3 year old is in his tantrum phase, mainly because he's now jealouus of his 1 year old brother who's starting to do all the cute stuff. For me, tantrums are unnacceptable and I'd never encourage them by giving him attention as a result of them. So in that case, he can cry as long as he wants and I believe not letting him CIO in that circumstance is actually damaging for him.

Sharon
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  #7  
May 15th, 2007, 09:41 AM
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I guess I am one of the mommies who believes in it. I did it with my oldest at 12 weeks and it lasted maybe 2 days of hard crying and I did it with my newest one at about 6 weeks. My oldest daughter fought it really hard because she was older and the youngest one just got it and really never screamed her head off. I would go in there after a while and reassure her that she was ok and I kissed her and told her I loved her and she was ok and it was time for her nap. She NEVER fought going to sleep at night just her naps. I knew she was warm, fed and loved and I knew she was tired and there was NOTHING else for me to do, she had to jsut "cry it out." I dont think she feels that I will not be there for her because of 2 dyas of crying, I dont believe the bond will be broken because of that. I do beleive that babies must sleep and they must learn to sleep. We all had to learn to sleep. I dont belive I treated her less than a pet (I have been told by many AP parents that is what I did), I beleive that healthy sleep habits is good for a baby. Babies grow a lot and they need to sleep. Cry it out worked for us and for me and my hubby too! I am not putting anyone down for not doing cry it out, some people just cant do it and thats ok.
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  #8  
May 15th, 2007, 09:43 AM
donomama
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What if they just need to be held or comforted? Letting them cry is not meeting that need. Also, why is it so important to have an infant sleep through the night other than for the parent's convenience? I don't really understand the logic behind sleep training.[/b]

Like I said, I don't do CIO for small infants, but I can't imagine having to go to work after being up all night. I can see why parents do it. I can't function without sleep. I am gonig on nearly 2 years (between pregnancy and the baby) without sleeping all the way through the night even ONCE. It's really starting to take a toll on me and making me a grumpy mom. And I SAH. I can't imagine how it would feel if I had to be out the door at 7 every morning, dressed and smiling...
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  #10  
May 15th, 2007, 09:46 AM
bubblesispreggers's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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I seriously think letting a 6 week old cry it out is abusive. Honestly. Did any of you read that link? There have been studies proving that the child stops crying out of despair because they finally realize that their mother isn't coming. They don't stop crying for healthy reasons.

I don't see how holding your child or allowing them to share your bed so that they can fall asleep while being comforted is the lesser option especially when in comparison with letting your child cry themselves to sleep. And yes, I know they only cry it out for a few days but that is because they know that no matter how much they cry, their caregiver won't help them. It makes me sad.


ETA: Tantrums are completely different than sleep training. Also, in situations where you just can't attend to the crying child at that moment letting them cry is fine (like when you are cooking or in the car or something where it would be dangerous if you picked up the baby, etc). I am talking about CIO for sleep training purposes where you leave the baby to cry it out until they fall asleep.
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  #11  
May 15th, 2007, 09:47 AM
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Quote:
What if they just need to be held or comforted? Letting them cry is not meeting that need. Also, why is it so important to have an infant sleep through the night other than for the parent's convenience? I don't really understand the logic behind sleep training.[/b]
It's not just for the parents. Babies NEED to sleep in order to function and develop properly. And sleep is a learned behavior. Some parents do it with a bedtime routine (I did that and that worked fine for us), but other parents use CIO. Each child is different and learns in a different way. But there HAS t obe some sleep training, as soon as you think the baby can handle it. A routine was great for us because that's something you can do since day 1, as opposed to CIO. But sometimes that's not an option. At some point that baby needs to learn how to fall asleep on his own and stay asleep for the amount of time it needs.
Now, I don't know what your experience is with babies and sleep, but it's not the same to be sleep deprived for a few months than for a whole year or more. It takes a token on you. Sleep, even for parents, isn't a luxury, it's a basic need.
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  #12  
May 15th, 2007, 09:50 AM
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I'm more on the anti-CIO end of the spectrum, especially for babies under the age of 6 months. I was totally against CIO just a few weeks ago. However, quite by accident, I found that in one specific situation, I do more harm than good if I interfere. In the middle of the night, she would cry and I would go get her out of her bassinette and try to comfort her. But, one time, I had to pee really bad during my comforting, so I put her back in the bassinette, used the bathroom and washed my hands and by the time I got back to her, she was fast asleep. I began watching her on our monitor (we have a video monitor) when she wakes up in the middle of the night; it's different than the rest her crying. It's almost like an annoyed moan and her eyes are never open when she does this...I notice now that if I let her CIO for a 45 seconds to a minute, she falls right back to sleep. But, if her eyes opened and the crying got worse, I would go to her.

I do let her "whine it out" now but I didn't when she was tinier. But, when the whining turns into crying, I drop what I'm doing and attend to her. Usually she only wants a few minutes of play and then I can continue cooking, cleaning, etc...
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  #13  
May 15th, 2007, 09:52 AM
AnnaBananasMom's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Quote:
What if they just need to be held or comforted? Letting them cry is not meeting that need. Also, why is it so important to have an infant sleep through the night other than for the parent's convenience? I don't really understand the logic behind sleep training.[/b]
I do hold her when she wants to be held of comforted. I love doing it, actually. Now that she's practically a toddler and running around, it gives me warm fuzzies anytime she comes to curl up with me for a while.

Like I said, I only CIO'd for sleep. If she was crying because she was sleepy, well, I let her sleep! I found it to be more disruptive to pick her up at bedtime than if I just left her. It was either cry for five minutes or start an hour long ritual of crying, picking up, putting back down, cry some more, picking up, putting back down, cry again. I found it much less cruel to let her just work through her sleepiness and get to sleep, which is why she was crying in the first place.

As for why have an infant sleep through the night, if they can, why not? I get my sleep so I'm up and running for a day full of chasing after her, playing games, and, yes, cuddling. She is none the worse for it either. If she's not suffering in anyway from sleeping through the night, I wonder why I wouldn't choose to sleep through the night as well. Had it gone differently and she was screaming her head off, I might have a different opinion, but as it was, I would be a masochist to choose sleepless nights over restful ones.
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  #15  
May 15th, 2007, 09:54 AM
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Well I never had a problem with my youngest... she was breastfed and she ate and drifted off to sleep... She is almost 2 and she says mommy I am tired I go night night... With my oldest... dear lord that child... she screamed from about 3 months... I was a married single mommy.... hubby was deployed... so I HAD to let her scream at night sometimes, but never for too long... But if you need to then do it... I am all for babies CIO if mommy/daddy can't handle it... I would go in about every 10 minutes... and she would calm down... but she was really bad about age 2... she was AWFUL!!!!! I mean awful screams... So I would do our routine and then sit outside while she screamed... Nothing was wrong.. I get tired of people attacking moms who believe in CIO... its THEIR way of parenting not the persons attacking them. I was not an AP child... and I turned out fine... people have WAY TOO MUCH TIME on their hands if you ask me...let the attacks begin
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  #16  
May 15th, 2007, 09:54 AM
bubblesispreggers's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Quote:
Quote:
What if they just need to be held or comforted? Letting them cry is not meeting that need. Also, why is it so important to have an infant sleep through the night other than for the parent's convenience? I don't really understand the logic behind sleep training.[/b]
It's not just for the parents. Babies NEED to sleep in order to function and develop properly. And sleep is a learned behavior. Some parents do it with a bedtime routine (I did that and that worked fine for us), but other parents use CIO. Each child is different and learns in a different way. But there HAS t obe some sleep training, as soon as you think the baby can handle it. A routine was great for us because that's something you can do since day 1, as opposed to CIO. But sometimes that's not an option. At some point that baby needs to learn how to fall asleep on his own and stay asleep for the amount of time it needs.
Now, I don't know what your experience is with babies and sleep, but it's not the same to be sleep deprived for a few months than for a whole year or more. It takes a token on you. Sleep, even for parents, isn't a luxury, it's a basic need.
[/b]

I know it is necessary for parents to sleep too, but when both parent and baby can achieve peaceful sleep by sleep sharing or other means why would you choose to let the baby cry alone? I just couldnt do that to my baby so that's why I can't understand.
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  #17  
May 15th, 2007, 09:55 AM
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Before you imply that I am some abusive mother let me just tell you it wasnt this screaming that went on an on and on. I actually asked her pediatrician about and she gave me the go ahead and actually said I could put her down for an hour and let her go and that was at a month old. I didnt do that just cause I couldnt and didnt want to. Im not here to get told that I am abusive. Ihave 2 healthy beautiful baby girls who I am totally inlove with and we have a strong bond. babies need to sleep and so do parents. My bed is my marital bed not a family bed I dont belive in co sleeping.
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  #18  
May 15th, 2007, 09:56 AM
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So, does the debate need to be changed to CIO for sleep purposes only? Or CIO in general?
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  #19  
May 15th, 2007, 09:57 AM
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I don't really have an opinion one way or the other about CIO. I lean more towards being against it. I know that it works for some babies, but I worry that the potential for abusing CIO is pretty great. It's one thing if all baby's needs are met and she cries in her crib for 5 minutes before falling asleep, but it's quite another if it takes 30-45 minutes of non-stop crying. We don't use it, because we don't need to. We have let her, what I call, fuss it out a few times, only because she tends to make little noises and sing herself off to sleep if she is overtired, and if we went in for every noise she would never go to sleep!

ETA: I definitely disagree with CIO for a baby who is younger than 6 months old.
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  #20  
May 15th, 2007, 09:58 AM
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Quote:
Hmm...when you put it like that...I can definitely see why parents have their infants CIO (though, not newborns...it still puts a bad taste in my mouth).

I dunno. It makes me sad to think of a baby crying....but then again, I don't think it is purely for 'convenience' of the parents. You know the saying "happy mom = happy baby". I strongly believe in that.[/b]
I completely agree.
What sometimes bothers me is that people imply that just because a parent made a different choice she's doing it for selfish reasons. I think we're all mothers here to know that no matter what we choose, we're always thinking about our children and what's best for them. I think it's very condescending and even insulting to say that a parent who chooses differently is selfish or doing it out of their own convinience. Parenting doesn't have to equal discomfort. Why are people asuming that the more uncomfortable a parent is, the less selfish he/she is? It's not a competition to see who can suffer the most. It's not about suffering or sacrifing every little of scrap of life we have left after becoming parents. It's about making the choices that will get us the results we want for the well-being of our children. Not just this instant, but for the rest of their lives. And these choices aren't always in conflict with our own comfort. You can make a right choice that works for your child without sacrificing something in return.

Sharon
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