When I first became a mom, I received so much unsolicited advice. I know, most people are just trying to help but it can really become overwhelming. While most recommendations did not bother me, there was one that did strike a nerve. I will never forget being told that I need to let my tiny infant daughter cry herself to sleep because I was spoiling her. This made no sense to me, and upon doing more research I came up with so many reasons why I don’t cry it out. My oldest is now 4 years old and I have added a second child to the family, and I am still happy with my decision to not participate in cry it out.
*I am not a doctor, and I am not judging any mother who does CIO. This is my opinion and what has worked for me*
Why I Don’t Cry It Out
For years, letting baby cry it out to get some sleep has been common advice. It was something that I was told to do with my daughter, but I just could not bring myself to allow her to cry herself to sleep. My mom gut told me not to do it, so I didn’t. Honestly, at the time she was young I did not do a whole bunch of research on the topic. I really just went with what felt right and what worked for us. Apparently, I subscribe to a sort of attachment parenting ideal, but at the time I had never even heard that term.
Cry It Out
In case you did not know, the cry it out method is when you basically allow your baby to cry in order to learn to self soothe. There are varying degrees of this method, ranging from only letting baby cry a few minutes to 30 plus minutes. I have heard that instead of coddling and soothing your crying baby, allowing them to cry a little to get to sleep will help them learn to self soothe. The goal is that eventually, baby will learn to put themselves to sleep without needing to be held or rocked.
Spoil The Baby
I vividly remember being told that I was going to spoil my brand new baby girl. Apparently, I held her too much and picking her up when she cried was sending her down a path of destruction. “Crying is good for her lungs”. “She needs to learn to soothe herself”. Those were just two of the many things I was told. Honestly though, food spoils but babies don’t.
A baby does not have the mental capability to be manipulative for one. They cry for a reason and it is their only way to communicate with us. They cry because they have gas, they are hungry, wet, tired, or just need to feel closeness. My oldest is now four years old, and I can promise that cuddling her as a baby did not spoil her by any stretch of the imagination.
Let’s talk about this concept of self soothing, shall we? Now, I am no medical professional, but I cannot see how it can be healthy to allow anyone, let alone a small baby, cry themselves to sleep. Think about it this way. When you are upset and crying, do you want to be shut away alone or would you like to have the person you love the most there to comfort you? How would you feel crying yourself to sleep?
You probably wouldn’t feel too great, would you? This is a large part of the reason I don’t cry it out. I want my children to feel safe and loved. Not alone and sad. Yes, after a while baby will fall asleep, but it is more from exhaustion and sheer giving up than it is self soothing.
They Will Never Sleep On Their Own
So, this is just not true. I can promise you, that my 4 year old goes to bed all on her own. There have been no negative ramifications as far as that is concerned. You will not be rocking your high school aged child to bed every night if you decide not to partake in cry it out. My youngest is still rocked and nursed to sleep, and I don’t see that changing in the foreseeable future. He is a happy and healthy 10 month old baby.
What About Being Independent?
I had heard that since I don’t cry it out, my kids will not learn to be independent. Well, my four year old tells me otherwise. She is the most fiercely independent and strong willed child, yet she was never left to cry it out as a baby. Here is the thing, it is my belief that I have come to through some research and some personal experience, that children who are coddled as babies are actually MORE independent. Yes, you heard me right. You see, these children have it ingrained into them that if they cry and if they need help, they can ask for it and they will get it. My daughter knows that if she falls down, I will comfort her so she is not afraid to try new things. She is well aware that she has someone in her corner watching out for her, so she is able to fearlessly spread her wings.
It Is Really Biology
One thing I learned is that cry it out goes against a baby’s biological makeup. Think about it this way, a baby spent 40 weeks inside of you. That is as close as another human can get, and that is all they know. Now, this tiny innocent person is being expected to briskly separate from the only thing he/she has ever known. The term fourth trimester comes to my mind, and it is something i firmly believe in. Babies NEED that closeness. They need comfort but they also need it in order to thrive.
It Does Get Better
Being a mom is not all sunshine and rainbows. It can make you want to sit and a corner and cry into a bucket of ice cream, but I promise that it does get better. Eventually, the baby will sleep alone. Sooner than you think, that little baby will be starting school and won’t want you to kiss them in front of their friend. Babies don’t keep, so you hold and cuddle that little innocent one as much as you want. Do what works for you, that is the best advice that I can give because every family is different.