Cry It Out (CIO) is the biggest controversy that I have yet to encounter in my two rookie years of parenting. Views on sleep training, or lack thereof, differ vastly from parent to parent. I’m going to tell you why you should let your baby CIO.
First of all, I know it’s hard. We’re human. We don’t like to see others upset. We want to comfort them. We want to make it better.
I’m not saying don’t comfort your child. By all means, please do so. As you’re putting her down, tell her that you love her, that she needs to sleep so that she can grow strong in mind and body. Sing to her about how mommy needs her sleep, too, so she can be the best she can be.
Then, leave the room and commence comforting you. Reassure yourself that, as a newborn, this baby fell asleep left and right without your assistance. She can do it again, and again, and again…It’s more difficult to witness an upset loved one than to be upset ourselves. For this reason, CIO is more challenging for the parent than it is for the baby.
When those guilty voices enter your head, squash them:
Myth #1: My baby will pop blood vessels in her face if she cries too much.
It’s not impossible, but the likelihood is slim to none. You can also pop blood vessels by pooping, but I don’t recommend you stop doing that.
Myth #2: My baby will grow into an adult who feels her needs were never met if she cries.
There is no empirical data to back up this claim. In the 18 year journey of newborn to what we consider adult, there are way too many other factors that could contribute to a person feeling that her needs were not met.
Myth #3: My baby will feel unloved if I let her cry.
News flash: your baby is going to cry. You can heed Dr. Karp’s 5 S’s System for soothing her. It will help, but it will not make crying cease entirely. Think of all you do that makes your baby feel loved: hold her, soothe her, talk to her, sing to her, read to her. If your baby cries, she will not hold it against you. Babies can’t give you the cold shoulder if they don’t yet know “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.”
The main reason you should CIO is for your family’s health. Everyone needs his sleep.
Then, there’s the social well being of your family. My husband and I realized that taking two hours out of each evening to rock our son to sleep was taking its toll. We barely had time for each other, and when we did, we were too exhausted to enjoy it. At three months, we bit the bullet and did CIO. By four months, we had our first (non-family) babysitter.
A few weeks later, and nervous as hell, we embarked on our biggest trip to date: a week in Hawaii for a friend’s wedding. Thanks to CIO, Logan fell asleep for his naps on the 7+ hour flight (plus layover). On the wedding night, we shared a babysitter with another couple and both babies did fine sleeping in the same room.
“Why didn’t we CIO sooner?” we asked ourselves. So…what are you waiting for?
Filed under: Parenting