Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Crying It Out (CIO) Sucks. Plain and Simple

When we as adults go to bed at night we like for that to be a time of peace and calm. We all do different things to set the tone so we can get a good nights sleep. We may watch tv, read a book, listen to the radio but how many of us adults like to go to bed crying? I think if you said you like to go to bed crying, you are lying to yourself.  Really, going to bed crying and trying to fall asleep while crying. That means any number of things can be going on with you. Spouse hurt your feelings, you are in pain, or just had a very long stressful day. So how would crying yourself to sleep make any of that better?

It doesn't. At least I don't believe so.  So if it doesn't do us adults any good to cry ourselves to sleep, why would we make our kids Cry It Out? (CIO)  CIO refers to what some use as training for letting young babies or children fall to sleep at night. I don't agree with this at all. Not even one bit of me thinks that letting your child CIO is good for them. Don't children deserve to go to sleep the same way we do? In a peaceful way so they can actually have a good sound nights sleep.  All parents know that some kids are going to put up a fight at bedtime. So what does that mean? You work on it.  Maybe co-sleeping is for you, like it is and has been for us. Maybe not.  Maybe resting with your child until they fall asleep is your way. Maybe letting them fall asleep in your bed and then moving them is the way you do it. But if you are leaving your child who is screaming and crying at night when its bedtime then you are doing your child more harm than good in my opinion.

Why do children cry?  So many reasons, so many. Tired of course. Hungry. Hurt. Needing something. Scared.  There are too many to list.  Your child would need you for any of these during the daytime and you would be there for them during the day, so why would you leave your child at night.  Children need to know the parents are there.  Safety, security, the love we parents give to our children is something special. When you put them in a room and let them CIO you are leaving them. Do you think your child will want to go to bed every night if you leave them there to CIO? I don't think so, they are going to remember that when it was time for bed mommy and daddy left me and all I did was cry.  What good is that doing?

Look at the simple things. Your baby or child is CIO. You are in the other room and all you hear is crying. What can you do to stop that crying. Shut their door. Shut your own door. Get frustrated and go back and tell your child to go to sleep.  Yeah all of these make so much sense..If you're a moron. (In MY opinion)  If your child is upset for whatever reason, don't you want to hold them and let them know it will be ok.  Give that protection and make them feel secure? Or are you scared that your child will think that you will always be there to save them. That's crazy. You are not hovering over your child and doing them a disservice if you cuddle and sleep and gentle parents your babies and children.  We are talking about letting them go to sleep with peace of mind, just like any adult wants to do. We have held our babies for hours until they fell asleep. I can remember C1 crying forever when we got him home. We didn't leave him in a crib or our bed to cry, we carried him and walked laps around the house.  C3 also cried until I probably cried myself, but she was made to feel safe and that is what parents are for.

We co-sleep. Have and still do. C4 will be three in June and he can sleep with us until he goes to his bed.  Some of our children moved themselves and some we moved.  But we would stay with them and gradually move out the door until they were comfortable falling asleep on their own. Now we have three children that love their own beds and sleep in them.

This CIO thing just makes me so mad. Husbands and Fathers, if your spouse is crying for whatever reason don't you try to calm them and make them feel secure?  So why not do this with your child. Same for you Moms and Wives. Do you try to calm your spouse when he is so pissed and angry? Why would you do it for him but not your baby boy or girl?

Look different people do different things obviously, but do you really want your child going to sleep with the last thought in their head being that I was crying when I went to sleep?  Try something else if you are a CIO parent. You may be surprised. Your children may love you more for it later in life.

Kiss The Baby



Erica January 4, 2012 at 11:45 AM   Reply to

Great post! I'm slightly different in my philosophy. I let both of my kids CIO for one night around 6 mos of age. They both "broke" in about a half hour to 40 mins and have been wonderful, all-night sleepers ever since with the exception of "normal" sleep disturbances. The key for me was knowing when my kids were ready to sleep through the night. I watched for signs and learned their patterns. Parents must take responsibility for teaching kids how to sleep and my diligence in preparing helped my situation. Plus I was sick of waking up multiple times, every night for 6 months straight! I was also lucky, but I knew when the time was right. I would have never continued the CIO method if it didnt' work the first time or two. I certainly would have wondered if something was wrong such as ear infections, etc. I would have changed to a different method. I agree that kids deserve to discover good, peaceful sleep. It's up to parents to know when and how to do that!!

Nikki B. January 4, 2012 at 12:14 PM   Reply to

i was lucky enough to have kids who were great at self soothing and never had to let them CIO. my oldest was a fussy one...and sometimes i had to take a break from the screams and let him cry in his room while i showered...but, that was for his own i was on the verge of losing my shit with him!!!

the other two learned to fall asleep on their own from birth. i'd put them down just before they fell asleep after breastfeeding...when they were sleepy, but not asleep...and i never had an issue with them not being able to sleep on their own. that way...if they did cry while going down for a nap/bedtime...i knew it was for a real reason and i tended to it.

i don't see anything wrong with CIO per se...but, i think waffling between the two can be more damaging than consistently letting them CIO (which is usually just one or two times before they realize they're on their own). i think responding to some cries some times...can be more confusing to the child who is learning to self sooth.

another thing...i think the self soothing should be taught very early on (mine started at birth...and it worked for me), so that it's what they always know.

love that you're such an involved and passionate daddy...T's a lucky lady!!

Anonymous,  January 4, 2012 at 1:13 PM   Reply to

I think you can tell a difference between an I'm hungry, I'm tired, I'm hurting etc cry. You can't say the CIO method is terrible. No I don't particularly like to cry myself to sleep but sometimes all I need is a good cry. My daughter, for example will whine and fuss a little if we put her down but almost immediately falls asleep. However there are times she screams and cries and we can tell something is wrong. We will then tend to the situation appropriately. When we first did the CIO method at around 6 months, it only took a few nights before we broke the habit of waking at night. I'm glad you say it's your opinion bc really there isn't a right or wrong way. In my opinion, kids are not going to be scarred for life with either approach!

Dogleg Arms January 4, 2012 at 1:50 PM   Reply to
This comment has been removed by the author.
Admin January 4, 2012 at 1:52 PM   Reply to

Good argument about CIO. Never thought about it like how you explained it and it makes sense. Learned something!

Brad Jenkins January 4, 2012 at 2:57 PM   Reply to

For me, CIO is not just shutting them in a room and letting them scream until they wear themselves out - I agree with you entirely that is probably not a good idea.

But there are different definitions of CIO.

After seven months of twin girls having to breastfeed to get to sleep, and then waking up as I put them back in their cribs only to start the process over again, we drug ourselves to a sleep specialist who helped us with a modified CIO.

Our version of CIO, which was done to help teach them how to self soothe, involved mama leaving the house hours before bedtime. I would then play with them, feed them their last bottle, and put them down. The first night took 45 minutes or so, but I would check in at short intervals (3-5 minutes)to let them know I was still there, pat them, and speak to them, but leave them in bed.

The second night took 15 minutes and the third they were asleep right after I laid them down. They've done that pretty much ever since.

We tried everything else, seriously EVERYTHING, and used this as a last resort as I was hesitant at first.

I'll never know if they were pissed at me and plotting my demise because the last thought that went through their heads was "I'm crying", but I'm pretty sure they still love me.

Dana K January 4, 2012 at 4:01 PM   Reply to

I completely agree with you. Even when Klaw screams his head off, he needs to know I am there for him 100% of the time. I don't understand the need to foster such "independence" at such an incredibly young age.

Biologically & historically speaking, infants & toddlers would literally need an adult with them at all times to protect them from predators. Their brains are still wired that way & I'm comfortable helping Klaw feel secure by parenting him throughout the night, if he needs me.

I can't remember where I read this but "confidence comes from security." I don't think CIO would foster security in my child or my family.

Jenny Georgio-who January 30, 2012 at 8:28 AM   Reply to

I hate CIO. I would never put my child through something like that. When I read about people letting their child CIO or "Ferberizing" I just want to slap them.

I often ask them, "Remember when so and so broke up with you and you cried yourself to sleep for a week, how did that make you feel? Do you think your child likes that?"

What I find works with D when she is being fussy is NOT to hold and rock her to sleep but to sit in the rocking chair in her room and tell her mommy is here. I read my book while she falls asleep. Doing that is so rare. She's been a great sleeper since birth but I could not imagine for the life of me leaving my kid to cry her eyes out until she passes out from sheer exhaustion.

Good post as always Scott!

Anonymous,  September 7, 2012 at 9:03 PM   Reply to

I don't believe in leaving your child to cry on their own, I would never do that, but I do believe a variation of the cry it out method can work.
I have a 4 year old daughter who was breast fed exclusively and I never had to CIO her at all, she was to so easy going. But my eight month old son is a different story. He has been doing a variation of co-sleeping and independent sleeping since his birth, but even when he is right beside me, he wakes me every hour, which is driving my husband and I crazy. We are now letting him cry for a few minutes at a time, then we go in and hug and reassure him we are there and repeat. It is working....just saying. All children are different and the methods you use to teach them how to self soothe will also have to be different.

The Mobile Worker October 17, 2012 at 1:42 AM   Reply to

Awesome post! I think CIOs are doing good...

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