Posted in Infant, Newborn, Toddler

Devil’s Advocate: Cry It Out

Sleep: it’s the word on everyone’s mind in babycenter community’s November 2012 birth club.  It’s quite natural.  I mean, being a parent requires energy, a LOT of it, and to have that, we need to sleep.  Obviously, for us parents to sleep, we need our little bundle(s) of joy to sleep as well, that is something every parent will agree on.  Where there’s disagreement, however, is in the method used.

There are, as I understand it, three major schools of thought on sleep training.  The first is know as the “Cry it Out” (or CIO in the online lingo) method.  The second, is the Gentle Sleep Solution (proposed by the Sleep Lady).  The third is Elisabeth Pantley’s No-Cry Sleep Solution.

In a nutshell, the first method advocates helping babies develop self-soothing techniques to fall asleep on their own by letting them cry it out alone for set periods of time before going to them and soothing them.  The second method is, from what I understand, a variant on the first in that though the parent will let his/her child cry s/he will be in the room and will soothe their baby when they cry.  As for the third method it, quite obviously, encourages parents to not allow their child the chance to cry in their quest for sleep.

I bring this up because this week, a rather provocative thread appeared on the subject of CIO.  The user was clearly frustrated by the bad rep the method was getting in another thread.  At first, I found her reaction to be rather overwhelming.  I mean, when I’d first heard about the cry it out method my first thought was : “wow, what kind of parent would put their child through that?  I will never do that to get my child to sleep”.  I’m a pretty easygoing and ‘live and let live’ kind of person, so if I had that kind of a reaction, I can only imagine what others may have thought and written about it in the babycenter community (because let’s face it, a large group of women isn’t ever going to all agree on one subject and a group of women that have a two to three month baby on their hands is likely to be full of emotionally-driven hormones).

The thread, however, has been running through my mind all day today and I didn’t know why…until I had a light bulb moment.  I can imagine that at least one use must have been emotional enough to claim that a parent that used CIO was a bad parent.  After all, there was at least one study that concluded the method to be harmful.  On the other hand, another study found that there was no harm in the method.

Coming back to the user that sparked a controversy, I can imagine that she is a very loving mother.  I am certain that she loves her children deeply and cares for their every need and so, to be told (whether it be directly or indirectly) by others that a parent who uses CIO is a bad parent (and by extension that she is a bad mother because she has used it) must have been like being stabbed in the heart.  I know that if anyone ever questioned my love for my child because of a personal parental decision, I would be pissed.

I guess my point is that though you can disagree on a method (I, personally do not find the CIO method appealing), it would be best not to attack a person on his/her decision.  Also, though I can say that I much prefer using the No-Cry Sleep Solution if bedtime becomes an issue, I will not stubbornly declare that I would never use CIO.  Why is that, do you ask?  Simply because all children are different and perhaps I will come to a point (where all other options will have failed) that cry it out will be the only thing left for me.  I do not wish it, but I do acknowledge that it may happen.  After all, it has happened to other parents before.

I’m curious, how did you get your children to fall asleep on their own and sleep through the night?

Proof that one should never say 'never'.  I am finally able to swaddle my son to help him fall asleep!
Proof that one should never say ‘never’. I am finally able to swaddle my son to help him fall asleep!