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Is 'holding while crying' same as 'CIO'?

Poll Results: Is 'holding while crying' same as 'CIO'?

  • 0% (1)
    Yes, holding the baby while he settles himself through crying is the same as cry it out.
  • 7% (13)
    No, it's not exactly the same; but it's damaging and I wouldnt recommend it.
  • 88% (158)
    No, not the same at all, you're letting baby communicate and let off steam.
  • 3% (7)
    Other (please explain below)
179 Total Votes  
post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
Recently, my 5 month dear ds only cries and cries when he's super tired and needs 2 sleep. he cries through everything; white noise, shower running, walking, rocking, bouncing, jiggling, treadmill, car ride, sling etc. ultimately something ends up putting him to sleep. but it usually takes from 1-3 hrs of this. by that time i am totally worn out, physically and mentally.

the only thing that stops him if i fully wake him up and give him more stimulation. but that only makes it that much harder later on to sleep (naps and nighttime).

my question is; do i just hold him and let him cry with me until he falls asleep? or is that just the same as CIO? i have tried this twice now... he just screamed and screamed. i couldn't bear the poor little guy... is this just me? or will it damage him some way later on?

i know this wont last and i keep trying to remember that. but its heartbreaking.

post #2 of 32
No, it is most DEFINITELY not the same as cio! As you can guess, I said no. If you have tried nursing/bottlefeeding, diaper change, rock, warm/cold etc and the baby is still upset, the only thing left to do is just hold it and let it cry. We feel better as adults when someone just holds us as we cry even if they can't help our situation, right? I think there is a big difference between comforting your child in your arms as he or she lets out their emotions and letting them scream alone in a crib to teach them some twisted form of "independence."
post #3 of 32
i am strongly of the opinion that the two are completely different.

CIO= condeming a baby in a time of real emotional need to isolation.

Holding babe as babe cries= offering your support and comfort through the storm, even if you are incapable of stopping it.

((Kishor's Mami,)) I am sending you some hugs as I can hear the frustration in your post. Keep holding your little guy; I'm sure your arms are a comfort to him even if he's in tears. When my little girl was brand-new, we went through nightly routines very similar in nature to what you are describing: the rocking, the white noise, etc. We probably wound up exhausting ourselves even further than we already were exhausted and DD fell asleep all in her own good time.
post #4 of 32
I voted

No, not the same at all, you're letting baby communicate and let off steam.

At the same time, I suggest reading Tears and Tantrums by Aletha Solter. I haven't gotten to this one myself, but I have read Aware Baby. A friend has read both and said that Tears and Tantrums covers a lot of the same stuff, but isn't quite as dogmatic. I suggest reading one of them to at least make you comfortable with the theory. Essentially, the belief is that some (most she suggests) babies need to release past hurts, whether they be a stressful birth experience, a bonk on the head earlier in the day, or the frustrations associated with learning a new skill. The way they do that is by crying. According to Solter, if you let a baby cry until he is done (ALL crying must be done only after a check of all possible needs, and should only be done in arms), he will have released these hurts and will be able to move forward. She talks about the difference in composition between stress tears and wash out the eye tears and how many adults who are allowed to cry feel better afterwards. Babies are supposed to be clear eyed and either happy and ready to play or ready to fall asleep easily (they do not cry themselves to sleep).

I don't feel that I have ever been able to let my dd cry until she was completely done. I've been able to let her go for 10-15 minutes when she would take a good sized break in crying to check things out. Both times I let her cry I took advantage of the break and stuffed a breast in her face when I thought she might be about to start up again. It is really very hard to allow your baby to cry like that. But especially if you are unable to console your child and he wants to cry (and you've addressed all needs) Solter probably got the right idea.

Good Luck, I know several other people on these boards have had more experience and some success with this method. I suggest doing a search of "Aware Baby" and of "Solter"
post #5 of 32
I actually just started a thread in Parenting Issues to talk about the Aware Baby methods...I just got into them in the past few months, and both intuitively and from seeing how it benefits dd I feel that offering a loving supportive place for our babies to just let it all go is a beautiful thing...It is sometimes scary to ley her cry like that, feels so out of control, breaks my heart that I can't make it all okay for dd...But then the thing is, the release of the cry DOES eventually make things right inside dd again...Last night after a wearing day of trying to walk and taking spills, dd screamed on my lap for 20 mins while I gently rubbed her back and encouraged her to share her feelings with mommy, gradually calmed, and then started cooing and giggling...it felt so fulfilling to have been able to deeply be there for her. The Aware Baby wedsite has greatarticles you might want to check out. Hugs to you!
post #6 of 32
I agree that letting a baby cry in your arms can be very loving and understanding. Sometimes we all just need to cry. For an infant, that happens more often since they can't express themselves any other way. And, even though I don't think crying is a good lung exercise like some CIO advocates say it is, I do think it's a good form of exercise for baby's muscles.
post #7 of 32
But what is the alternative? Doesn't this poll assume that there is another option - don't let them cry at all? And how realistic is that? Seems to me that from everything I've learned, sometimes baby cries and we don't know why. And even the best AP parent can try BF-ing and slinging and holding and still baby will cry, so if anybody says that even holding the child while they are crying is the same as CIO I'd like to know what the alternative is?
post #8 of 32
Just offering my words of support here too. I've been there, still am at times. Holding your baby is giving him the knowledge that he's loved and he's cared for.

When Abi was about 15 mos. old we realized it was time for a bedtime, for our sake. She was staying up until 11 PM some nights and dh wakes up at 4 AM so that was just not working. We tried the bath/book/bed routine and it didn't really work. As soon as we turned out the light she screamed until she was removed from the bedroom. Finally decided to do a loving CIO with one of us in the bed with her, but lights out and no music or talking. She screamed hard the first couple of nights for about 15 minutes but we felt we had to let her know that lights out means bedtime. We felt she was old enough to learn this and we were NOT leaving her alone. Most of the time she was too angry to want to be held but we never left her. Finally after about a week she accepted her bedtime. Now she goes down at around 9PM with one of us lying next to her, and will lie down without a fuss and go to sleep within minutes.

One suggestion: I don't advocate putting a child in front of TV all day but the Baby Mozart video has been worth its weight in gold at our house. We bought it out of desperation when she was 2 mos. old and had colic after she reacted so well to it at a friend's house. When she got overly tired or cranky I would pop it in for 15 minutes and she would calm down and most of the time go to sleep. Also worked great to keep her busy when I was pumping in the early months. We still use that video about once a week and she's 18 mos. old.

post #9 of 32
I said "other" based on your poll but not on your example. Based on your example, I would have said a resounding "no," it is not the same. You have tried everything, you are in tune with what baby's needs and wants, and you have come to the point where you can only hold him while he cries. That is totally understandable. Babies cry -- even attached babies. I wish I had learned that lesson earlier with my first dd.

The reason I said "other" though is that I have sometimes seen people just hold their baby while it's crying when they haven't tried other options. Sometimes they actually look kind of wooden there, holding their baby like an object. That's sad.

What you are doing, however, is wonderful. He is lucky to have such a wonderful, caring mother.
post #10 of 32
I agree - not the same at all!!! I think by holding you are really sending the message, "I love you even when you are hurting/feeling sad/can't sleep" - you are actively accepting your child - cio is rejecting your child. It is hard to do though - it can hurt so to hear them cry!! I just want to refer you to the chapter on crying in Natural Family Living - it's the best stuff about crying I've read. For some reason I had the idea that in attached cultures children never cry (anthropological observations in tribal cultures or something where babies are always held and fed on demand). The chapter points out that this IS true - during the day. In the evening it's expected that babies will cry because that's the only way they can deal with feelings. Good luck to you!
post #11 of 32
Thread Starter 
thank you moms so much...

well he's cried today twice at nap times. i find now that when i'm putting him to sleep, i tense up soo much, just waiting for him to scream...

but this evening, though it took forty minutes for his eyelids to actually close, he didn't scream nor cry. just whimpered and fussed every now and then. i found that i was still so tense and just looking at his eyelids as they fluttered close, willing them to stay closed. finally i realized... i have to RELAX!!! it's not the end of the world!!!

It's so good now to understand that babies *do* need to cry sometimes to let go of steam, get out frustrations, communicate, etc. After the cry session (9 minutes of screaming) he had this afternoon, he hasn't done it since. It feels almost liberating... for him and for me.

Of course I'm sure that he may even cry tomorrow and the next day or year. How as mothers, when we have our very lives for their happiness, can we find out to tolerate this? How will I handle it when he gets older and gets hurt by a fall, or upset by a friend who disses him? My, my... such thoughts are worrying me. If I cant handle this communication, how will I prevent myself from being overprotective.

Quite a challenge, this motherhood thing is... quite an emotional journey.

Hydrangea: You're right. I do think it's important to make sure that one has tried other options, instead of holding their kid and letting him scream when one can definitely 'make it better'.

USAmma: I've tried the Baby Mozart video. But tv just seems to rile ds up more. He zones out but doesn't sleep; then when he leaves he's all the more upset.

Piglet: I'm also wondering the same thing. If I stop ds from sleeping, and stimulate it, it's not in his best interest. he'll just never sleep or get to a point where he cant stop crying. I noticed one person voted that doing this is damaging. Wonder what their reasons are.

Grumo, Wildflower: Also, I'll be checking out those two books... seems very interesting.

AmyG, NewMa, Dr Worm: thanks for your support and experiences.

Again I'll say, it's wonderful to come here for support; I was really at the end of my rope these past few days. Have been working to with Pantley's methods for over two months and after 2-3 wks of success, it seemed like we're back at square one.

Now I can think clearly and see that we've gotten so far. He's not waking up every hour at night to nurse, and that is a BIG step!

take care,
gopi gita
post #12 of 32
I'm coming forward to confess I am the one who voted differently (No, but...).

I voted before I read any of the posts.

I realized, after I read the posts, that I had made a totally incorrect assumption about what practice you were referring to.
I thought you were talking about people holding their hungry crying babies but refusing to nurse because it wasn't "time" or something.

Sorry for the misunderstanding . It sounds like you are doing a wonderful job. Your baby is fortunate to have you. -SP
post #13 of 32
Thread Starter 
no prob... super pickle thanks for the explanation.
post #14 of 32
My mantra since motherhood has been "This too shall pass" When something is going on and I get tense about it, like a temper tantrum or crying or just a bad day, I tell myself that it won't last forever. It really helps sometimes just to remember that. I know that when your baby cries it seems like hours instead of minutes.

post #15 of 32
No, I wouldn't consider that CIO at all!

My baby is 5mo as well (almost 6) and I can definitely relate to what you are going through. Babies at this age seem to be more assertive. They are learning about likes and dislikes. They are also learning that some things that we won't let them do are, theoretically, options. I do not HAVE to sleep right now, I could be playing. For instance, my ds was quite frustrated today when he wanted to grab my dh's can of pop. I wouldn't let him because of the sharp area. He cried pretty loudly, and while I did try to find something else exciting for him, I wasn't willing to let him have the can. He, of course, doesn't see the safety aspect of the issue.

A few months ago, my ds wouldn't have:

a) Had a strong preference for the pop can over any other toy.
b) Strongly stated his preference.
c) Remembered that the pop can existed when I showed him something else.

The toughest part about this age is that I do have to let my ds cry about some things. Of course I do my best to make the home (and world!) a place where he has lots of room to explore, but some things come up where I have to set a limit. And on those occasions, he will cry to tell me how he feels about it.

I don't think it's possible to create an environment where babies don't need to cry. I wish it were. But when we have moments where all we can offer is a shoulder to cry on and empathy, I don't think we should beat ourselves up over it. I think that babies sense that you WANT to comfort them, even when it is impossible or unsafe to fix the situation, or you aren't sure exactly what the problem is!

I think that lovingly holding your crying baby, when all attempts to correct the situation haven't worked, is exactly what your baby needs.
post #16 of 32
I don't think it is the same thing at all. There were times when my kids were little that the only thing I could do was hold them while they cried. There wasn't anything that I could do to STOP the crying. I remember holding them and sometimes crying right along with them because it was so frustating. I think that when we hold our babies while they cry we let them know that we are always here for them. I think leaving a baby to cry it out alone teaches them that we are not here for them and they need to learn to deal with life on their own.
post #17 of 32
Sometimes you can't help them stop crying.

Sometimes they *need* to cry for some reason.

By holding a child you are there for him, showing him you care about him.

This is a far cry from abandoning a child and letting him cry it out.

Debra Baker
post #18 of 32
I think that when you've done everything possible and your child is still crying, it's pretty easy to say that the best thing you can do for your child is let him or her cry while you hold them and try to comfort them. The same goes when the child is crying because they want something that you won't let them have because it is dangerous. I think a harder question is what to do when you know what your child wants and it's not dangerous per se, but for some reason you don't want your child to have it right now. I went through this just last night with my daughter. She is six months old and just learned that when she is put on her back in our bed, it is bedtime and playtime is over. Last night, she was NOT ready for bed, and as soon as her back touched the bed, she immediately started crying. I was bringing her to sleep with me because I was tired and needed to get up for work early in the morning. I tried to comfort her, but she just screamed. After about 10 minutes, I got up and as soon as I got her out of bed, she immediately stopped crying. We played for about 45 minutes until I was exhausted. Then I brought her back to bed. She cried as I held her again, but after just a minute or so she calmed down and fell asleep. Even though I was there holding her, I kind of felt like I was letting her CIO, or attempting to until I just couldn't stand listening to her cry. I'm curious to know whether other mommas have done this or if this is like letting them CIO.
post #19 of 32
My first son who is now four, was a high need/heavy duty crier! He cried for hours a day despite our best efforts.

It took us a while to figure this out because it felt cruel for us to not hold him while he cried, but often when he cried the only thing that stopped him from crying was for us to put him in the bouncer for a while. It was almost as if he needed a break, a little time alone. We discovered it one night when we were both (all) fried from about two hours of non-stop crying. I couldn't take it anymore and needed a couple minutes to regroup. I strapped him into the bouncer and went to the other room. He cried for about a minute, then he settled down and just sat there looking around. I am definitely an AP mom, but I learned that just like adults, babies sometimes need a few minutes to themselves.

BTW, I voted that they were definetely not the same.
post #20 of 32

no. but you should TRY to help

not the same.

if you hold them, you are telling them "mommy or daddy is here".

if they are left alone you are telling them "no one cares".

two totally different messages.

however, if you are holding them, i'd like to think:

1. you are speaking softly or singing.
2. you are rocking or dancing or swaying.
3. you are assuring them somehow that you love them.
4. you are making some eye contact or body contact...such as back patting or something.

i guess if you just held them coldly without much love it wouldn't be a whole lot better, but still a little better i'd think.

PS. i don't let my baby cry, but i do allow him to wimper...sometimes when i put him down he fusses for a few minutes/seconds. but i don't let him do that for long...and i don't let him become sad.
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