To Cry It Out or Not?

To Cry It Out or Not?

When Getting Your Baby to Sleep is a Problem

To Cry It Out (CIO) or not? That is the question.  I know many of us moms have had issues getting our babies to sleep at one point or another, but is there a time when you should and should not not use this method?  This is a topic that certainly gets blood boiling and moms up in arms about parenting methods, as it is quite a touchy topic. I would like to share my own personal perspective without attacking one side or another.

Many experts warn that letting your baby cry will damage their trust with you, as a parent.  This is because your baby needs to trust that you will be there to take care of them when they are in need.  After all, up until a certain age, crying is the only way in which they know how to communicate.  Experts also warn that letting a baby cry too much can damage neurons in their brains, as well as affect their personality later in life, making them much less self assured children and adults. 

I myself believe that some people who warn against CIO "dangers" do not know what it is.  This method is certainly not one where you let your child cry for hours on end.  It is simply a way of letting your baby cry for fixed periods of time and then soothing them for short periods of time in between.  For example,  you can let your baby cry for 2 minutes, then soothe them, and then bump that time to 4 minutes and then soothe them.  You would continue to increase the time that you let your child cry until they finally fall asleep on their own.  My personal threshold is 5 minutes.  This seems to work for me.  Once I get to 5 minutes, my son seems to be tired enough to go to sleep on his own.  I believe the recommended time to work up to is 15 minutes.  Doctors advise you to never let your baby cry for more than 30 minutes at a time.

I personally think that CIO is appropriate when your baby is being clingy for no reason or simply wants to be held.  I have this issue with my son.  He will sleep fine until I put him down and then he cries and cries.  He screams in a manner that would make you think that he was being hurt, when in fact, he just wants mommy to be there holding him.  This is a time when I think CIO is appropriate.  The clingy habits need to be broken.  I think babies should be able to self-soothe to a point; however, they should not have to do so completely. After all, why should a baby have to "toughen up"?

When a child is in pain due to teething or illness, I find it cruel to let them cry.  This is a time when they NEED their mom (or dad for that matter).  However, sometimes it is necessary to walk away for a moment if you feel your patience is wearing thin.  Trust me, I have been there many times. 

Although this topic is controversial, there is no real consensus as to whether CIO is a good method or a poor one. There are just many differences of opinion.  Some say that their babies slept for hours undisturbed after using this method; however, I still have issues with my son sleeping through the night.  Every baby and every result is different.  I hope I have not offended anyone with my knowledge or opinions.  I would like to know, what are your experiences with CIO?  Are you for or against it and why?  Remember, only YOU know what is best for YOUR baby, no matter what side of the fence you are on.