I 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