Crying It Out: The Debate (VIDEO)


debating crying it outI had the opportunity to talk about crying it out on NYC's local WPIX news today for their "Mom's the Word" segment. It's a topic I am very passionate about -- very passionate against. I do not believe in letting your baby cry it out. Not for 30 minutes. Not for 10 minutes. Not at all. Babies don't manipulate -- they don't have wants, they have needs. And as a mom of 16-month-old twins, I have to help them with their needs whether they need a diaper or need to be held. Babies cannot speak, so crying is the way they communicate. If your baby said, "Hey mom, can you hold me? I just had a bad dream and really need you to tell me it's going to be okay," would you ignore your child?

I believe that if we ignore a baby's cry, it's like we are turning our backs on them. It's like we are saying their needs don't fit into our busy lifestyle. That our beauty sleep is more important than them. Ignoring isn't going to train your child to sleep.

Have you ever cried in a room alone while your husband was in the other room ignoring you? How did that make you feel? Babies and children are people, too. They have feelings.

I believe if we let a baby cry it out, we are in fact training them not to trust us. We aren't teaching them how to soothe themselves and we certainly aren't training them to sleep. Crying only raises the cortisol levels in our bodies, and that is the stress hormone. Crying it out can lead to attachment issues and emotional disorders. Child psychologist and author Larry Balter agrees; he was also on the panel for the debate over crying it out.

I think it's also important to remember that it's going to be many months before a baby sleeps through the night. Some moms think baby's born, baby comes home from hospital, baby should sleep through the night. This is just not true. A baby lives in your womb for 9 to 10 months with all their needs being met, having a constant food source. It also takes a child 9 to 10 months to "externally gestate," and they need to eat every 2 to 3 hours up until the time they decide to sleep through the night. It's different for every child. Having twins I saw this firsthand. My daughter slept through the night faster than my son, who still often wakes up. When he does, I go to him, soothe him, and we're all back to sleep sometimes within 10 minutes. That's surely more restful than listening to him cry and everyone getting upset. 

These are my feelings on crying it out. Dr. Balter supports my feelings. But I know not everyone does. Ellen Meister, mother of three, believes in crying it out. She let her child cry it out when she was a baby, and also did it when she was 7 years old. Check out our lively debate on the topic:



How do you feel about crying it out? If you do support CIO, where is the research that says CIO is a good thing? Why do you think it worked for you?


Image/video via WPIX

baby sleep, cio, natural parenting


To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

madja... madjanssen

I come from a Asian culture where we don't let babies cry it out. It was easier because when a woman gives birth, there is usually more than one family member to help out with everything, including helping to carry the baby around until she soothes. However, after moving to the Netherlands, I was rather horrified to discover that they frequently let babies cry it out, even newborns. Whilst I get that for older babies who have grown substantially bigger, I don't understand why they would let a newborn baby go through that. Of course most of them turn out fine but the rather cold nature of the Dutch people makes me wonder if that has something to do with it.

ARmom ARmom

I'm a Mom of 4 (ages 7, 6, 5 and 2).  I think you have valid points, but I do believe in crying it out.  Not crying it out for hours & hours & hours & hours; but crying it out for intervals.
 As a mom, we know our children the best.  We know the cry that means 'I'm hungry,' 'I'm wet,'I'm overtired,' etc.  My kids are no worse for wear now that they are older.  
Every mom has a different perspective and we find what works best for each of our children. 

Christina Gresham

Aboslutely not, no crying it out... to my mind that is just plain cruel. A baby has limited verbal and communication means, yet has all the same emotions and needs, that older kids have learned to communicate. No, soothing a baby with a cuddle, clean diapers or just the presence of another may not always be easy, but at the end of the day, we will all get more sleep.

I have two kids, and I held them both when they would cry, they are both adults now and they both still know that they can come to me and I will still hold them if they need to cry. One of the best gifts we can give our kids is unconditional comfort and a safe place to express themself. Both of my sons will even hold me and let me cry when I need to... what goes around comes around, and I feel sorry for those who could not take the time or make the effort to offer what comfort was needed.  

Melan... MelanieLouise

It seems to me, that had Ellen not done CIO, her 7 year old wouldn't have so many problems with nighttime anxiety. How she hasn't connected the two is beyond me.

Memph... MemphisSuzi

IMO there are differant ages and appropriateness in using CIO.  Newborns NO!  They have absolutely no way to convey what they want, crying indicates they have a need, you would be mean to ignore that as their parent. 

Older babies/Toddler - this point they are learning to manipulate you and as the parent you have to sometimes make decisions they dont like.  As in, its midnight and sorry kiddo your going to bed.  And I do believe children need to learn to self-soothe to some extent.  If my son stirs in the night, I do not rush right in there.  I give it a few minutes to see if he settles back to sleep.  As a mom, I can tell his "im scared" from "im hurt" to "i just woke up but give me a sec and I will fall back asleep" cries And above all - Common sense prevails. 

Mooki... MookiesMom739

I didn't let my daughter cry it out at night.  I didn't have too, she was a pretty good sleeper from the beginning but once she was older (6months) and she was just crying to be picked up and for no particular reason, I would let her cry and finish doing whatever it was i doing.  As long as she wasn't hungry, wet or hurting... I say let her cry and I will do the same with this next baby


jpfsmom jpfsmom

My son is sixteen months old and the only way he'd fall asleep at night was in our arms, then we'd gently put him down in his crib and he'd sleep through the night. Well the past month, he would play possum, pretend he was sleeping but the minute we'd put him down he'd cry so we'd pick him up and try again, this would go on for hours so finally we one night we put him in his crib while cried (which maybe lasted 15 minutes, finally he went to sleep, the next night same thing, only it lasted maybe 5 minutes before he fell we put him in his crib right befor he falls asleep and he does,kt cry anymore....he babbles then wanders off into dreamland. I admit it was hard and broke my heart but now crying when it's time for him to go to bed is no longer an issue.

Kate Williams

I have a 4 month old baby, and I wouldn't let her cry it out.   If she is just wimmpering, I will though.   She needs to learn how to self sooth.  But when she is screaming, you can bet I try to calm her down.

Lynette Lynette

wow that video made me angry.  It's so sad babies and children are treated this way.  That poor 7yr old's nighttime anxiety totally fits w/ being forced to CIO as a baby.  I am very anti-CIO

Joie Barnhart

AMEN!!! CIO is wrong, damaging & teaches our babies that their parents won't respond to their needs. People who do CIO need a lesson on patience. Fussing and whimpering is one thing but crying because your child NEEDS you and you ignore them?? Learn patience, your child is not manipulating you. How would you feel if you had no way to communicate except for crying? That's what these poor babies go through. CIO is SICK SICK SICK and people who do it need to examine why they had children in the first place. Patience is a virtue and your babies should be the most important thing in your life.

1-10 of 92 comments 12345 Last