Sunday, April 27, 2014

Cry Baby, Cry!~ Why I do Cry It Out


 Crying it out is a method that is very hotly debated in many households and other parent forums across the world. People have very strong feelings about this topic, and it can be a polarizing one.  I learned that this past week when an angry mom posted on my Facebook page. I do understand that by putting my thoughts, ideas, and practices out there in a blog opens me up to criticism-- I fully accept that fact and encourage good discussion from those who read my writing. However, I do expect that discussion to come in a respectful manner. I guess it is just the nature of the beast sometimes. If you have a very strong feeling about my last post or if you were offended in any way—I hope to explain myself in greater detail. I should have known better than to have posted that manual without first diving into my beliefs on Cry it Out and Babywise.
                I do not feel that I owe anyone an explanation for why I have chosen this method with my daughter. She is my daughter, I am her mother—it is my choice. I will not criticize or judge you for the way that you choose to parent your children. I am a firm believer that women could rule the world if we would just stop criticizing each other so much. I think one of the worst groups with this is mothers. If we did not raise our child a certain way, or if something did not work for us—then we believe that it is not the best way or that it does not work for other mothers. This is SO not true. I am fully aware that the system that I use may and will not work for some babies. I know mothers in my Mommy and Me group whose babies would not fit into this system. I use Babywise because after observing my child over her first month of life—I deduced that it would be beneficial for her. That is all! That is the reason.

                I could sit here and ramble off studies about Cry it Out and psychological development. There are countless articles that claim both sides of the coin. Here is the deal—I am not a Pediatrician, Psychologist, or expert in infant development. For this reason—I am not going to make statements that only these professionals should make. You will not hear (or I guess see) me talk in absolutes here. I will say that something may or can be, but never will or is. That is how babies are. They are not exactly identical. What works for some will not work for others. This is why moms cannot judge other moms. We are not dealing with the same product here. All we can do is what we feel is best for our individual child. Ok, rant over. Here is what I do want to say about my routine/philosophy with Baby P.
                When I first heard of Babywise, I too thought that it was a bad thing—I then I did my research. I read several blogs, articles, and the book itself. I made the decision that this could work for some infants if –and only if—several things were present. For instance—I do not believe that CIO would work for babies that are having significant colic or other major issues. I do not believe in letting a baby in pain cry. If you are a mother for any significant amount of time you know that there is a difference in the cry of an infant who is tired, hungry, or in pain. I would NEVER let my child continue to cry if she was in pain. PERIOD! Secondly, I think that CIO should only be done if you are also sleep training/schedule training your child. I have already talked about this in length and why I have chosen to do this with my child. You can read that post here.

Here are some common misconceptions about Cry It Out
1.       Cry it out is not a substitution for feeding a baby.
a.       I don’t know where this idea comes from, but when your baby is hungry, you should feed it. That is just common sense. What CIO does is to make sure that your child is actually hungry before you feed them. I have had many a friend tell me that their child was waking up at night—but would not eat when they tried to feed them. That is because they are not hungry. Babies do not only cry when they are hungry. Sometimes you may need to go down the chain of the many other likelihoods before finding the culprit. CIO maintains that sometimes babies wake up because that are used to and conditioned to wake up for feedings—and that they will continue to do this even when they do not need or want the calories. CIO is a means to break this sleep habit.
2.       Cry it Out does not mean you let your child cry for long periods of time every time they cry.
a.       I only let P CIO when I know that she has a full tummy and clean diaper. Even then, I go in and try to redirect her every 10 minutes. BTW—I think she has only ever cried for 10 straight minutes once. She usually always falls asleep after a minute or two of fussiness.
3.       Cry it Out does not mean that you just put the baby in the crib and walk away leaving them for hours and hours.
4.       It is not a substitute for parenting.
a.       When your child is hungry, wet, or sick—you may not want to let them cry for very long—if at all.

Here is what CIO means to me:
1.       CIO is a sleep training method that helps to train my daughter how to fall asleep and fall back asleep
2.       CIO is a way to send a message to my daughter of what is or isn’t acceptable night or nap time behavior.
All CIO is for me is a way to set limits of what I will or will not do during the night or naptimes. Babies can quickly associate things when it comes to sleep such as nursing to sleep, rocking to sleep, replacing pacifiers etc. These things can become sleep props for your child, and can start to really wear you down over time. I did not want my daughter to have to have these types of things in order to fall asleep because I knew I would not always be able to provide them for her. I do not want her to always have to eat in order to sleep for instance. For this reason—I think that CIO is great for breaking these types of habits.
Here is a good example—if your child hates the car seat and starts to cry while you are driving—you are not going to pull over and take them out. The baby is not hurt by the car seat—but is just unhappy. Eventually the baby will learn that it cannot just cry and get out of the seat. The same thing applies if your child does not want to fall asleep without being rocked. The baby may cry because they are frustrated that you will not rock them back to sleep, but eventually they may fall asleep on their own. The crying is just a way to express frustration. It is not hurting them.

In my case, Piper would wake up and cry at about 5 every morning. I would try to resettle her, but she would not fall back to sleep on her own. I would finally take her out and try to nurse her, she would eat for less than a minute before falling asleep at the breast. She was not hungry—she just wanted to be soothed back to sleep. While I loved the idea that she would nurse in the middle of the night (because she won’t any other time),  I knew that I was not prepared to do this each and every night. So one night she woke at five—I went in and re-swaddled her, gave her the pacifier, and turned on the mobile. I then left the room. She cried for about 5 minutes before she fell back asleep. The next night she did the same thing—I did the same thing. Then the third night she slept through to 7 am. She didn’t wake because she needed the nourishment—she had taken 27 ounces during the day. She had just woken herself up moving around in her crib and couldn’t fall back asleep on her own. On that third night—she did. I was so proud of my girl!

So that is why I do it. I hope now you understand it better. You still might think that it is harsh, mean, or cruel—but in the end—it works for me. What types of tricks do you have for helping your child sleep?

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