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How do you respond to CIOers?!

post #1 of 85
Thread Starter 
I just got off the phone with a friend who I adore. (She lives in another state so we don't see or talk to each other often), but we are about to visit her and while we were talking she said her dd was crying in her bed because she just woke up. She's 7 months old. My friend said she was going to let her cry it out for a little bit. Uuughhhhh : My heart sank and I wanted to say something witty, smart, and mind altering, but I couldn't think of anything except "ahhh, maybe she's teething. I'll let you go."

Do any of you have something that you say to your friends who believe in letting their babies cry? I realize that changing that type of parenting is a process and one statement can't reverse it all, but I hold out hope that something can be said that will get them to rethink their position.

So, what are you on-liners?
post #2 of 85
I wish I had some. Most of the ones I can come up with are too snarky to be useful (i.e. Oh, DH and I have decided that we WANT our daughter to know that she can depend on us.) The only more gentle way I can come up with is to talk about the situation from the child's perspective: a child doesn't "know" that they are in a modern house with no predators around. They are hardwired to survive in a much more basic world. The only way to teach them that the world is a more gentle place is to deminstrate that to them, and abandonment does not teach that. It only teaches tham to give up. Blech. I get nauseous even thinking about it.
post #3 of 85
It's happend a couple of times; my husband and I being face to face w/ other parents letting their babies CIO. After we walk around in a panicky fashion, worrying out loud things like.... "can they hear him?"... "oh my god I cannot stand this one more minute"... "I couldn't do it, oh my no, I just couldn't!".... someone usually asks us why it freaks us out so much... to which my reply has always been ".... I don't know how you CAN do it, I just couldn't do it... not at all...". :
post #4 of 85
I usually just tell people that it wasn't until dd was two that she had a regular sleeping schedule and could put herself to sleep, and that now, at almost 3 1/2 (oh my god! ) she sleeps 10-12 hours a night, without waking, puts herself to bed, and I owe it all to the fact that until she didn't need it anymore, I was right there for her whenever she woke, cried, etc.
In other words, I don't tell them they are doing anything wrong, I just tell them my positive experience without CIO, does that make any sense? They usually listen and are like, oh, at some point this will end. I mean, I don't think I've met anyone who likes CIO, they think it's the only thing to do, ykwim?
post #5 of 85
I haven't been in the position to voice my opinion, as I don't really have anyone close who does this (this is not because of a choice, just haven't really made a lot of friends with kids), but I would imagine I would say that my husband and I are just following our instincts and doing what we would have wanted our parents to do. Interested to see what others have to say about this.
post #6 of 85
I usually tell ppl (as kindly & gently as I can) that they've been misinformed - that babies CAN'T and DON'T manipulate their parents (they're expressing needs, not wants), and that it isn't a question of showing the baby "who is the boss" but rather of adapting to the baby's needs. But of course, they trot out their "experts" to show that I'm wrong, not them. 'Cause if it's been published, it must be true, right? And that goes double for a bestselling book? B/c all those ppl can't be wrong...
post #7 of 85
Ah, but those people who publish the books are NOT experts, that's the sad irony of it all...they publish the books because they KNOW it'll make lots of money. But they haven't looked into the effects of mother-infant separation, crying, etc. on the infant's rising levels of cortisol and what all that may do to the brain, immune system, etc. They haven't done ANY of this research (or they purposefully omit it). So they have no business publishing these books, it's solely to make money.

I had the unfortunate experience of writing out a sumamry of my research and the supporting background data on CIO to a friend of a friend who wanted to know what I had found, and what the exisitng scientific literature suggests. She made her daughter CIO and insists it was "the best thing" and wishes she had done it earlier.

When I gave her the info, she proceeded to call me judgemental, and then insisted she was as much of an "expert" as I (though I got my Master's at Harvard by doing this work, and she is a computer programmer..), and wrote me hate email for months. She had wanted to join an AP group I started (she breastfeeds and uses a sling), but wanted to talk up CIO in this group because it "works." Obviously this didn't fly..

AND her daughter still has to CIO everytime they go overseas (because of the time change). This woman has not changed her nighttime unparenting ways one iota.

Some people really do just choose what's in the best interest of the parent, despite being given the info. SOme people really do choose to make their child suffer so that they can get their 8 straight hours. And this woman considers herself AP and makes a big deal about how attached they are because she uses a sling!! REALLY pisses me off.
post #8 of 85
These are things I do say to parents in regard to CIO:


A baby cannot be spoiled.

If we respond to a baby's needs NOW, he/she will learn about trust. The baby will learn that they can count on you, his parents. This in turn, will later lead to the child being independent, knowing that you are always there should he/she need you. And the more you pick the baby up, the less the baby will cry, that has been my own experience with three children...

On the other hand, if we do not pick up a baby and respond to his/her needs, what the baby learns is insecurity, he/she also learns he/she can't count on you. And this will cause more problems later down the road.

Letting a baby CIO has been shown over and over not to be a healthy choice.

Responding to a baby's needs has been shown over and over to be a healthy choice for the entire family, because it helps the child to feel secure and in turn leads to his/her independence.


I also direct parents to specific books they can read, and I model the behavior I am speaking of as I care for their baby.
post #9 of 85
Well, I try to respect the fact that they are doing what they feel is best for their child and their situation. Not that I agree with CIO, but if they are not asking for advice, I'm not giving it. I didn't like it when someone approached me and my DD when she was in a sling telling me it was dangerous, so I try to respect that others don't want to hear my opinions about CIO. OTOH, I do not "validate" the things I disagree with and will typically just blatantly change the subject or get off the phone if I was really uncomfortable.

And there is a big difference between letting your child fuss for a few minutes to see if they settle themselves and CIO, where you let your child cry for long periods of time until they stop on their own.

Its also a different scenerio if someone puts what I am doing down to make their choice to CIO justified. I will not stand for that and will share my opinions at that point.

But if someone is not asking or putting me down, I keep my mouth shut because that is what I would prefer others do when they disagree with my parenting choices.
post #10 of 85
By minding my own business and not telling people how to raise their kids.
post #11 of 85
I don't usually say much - unless they seem like they want advice. I will usually offer what we do as a point of conversation but not in a judgmental way.

I was just on the phone a couple weeks ago with a girl who was very proud of the fact that she had her daughter CIO. She then went on to say that lately she's had a problem with her daughter waking up again though (she's 17 months old) in the middle of the night - she said she just lets her scream though and that eventually she will "get" it. I offered that maybe she was having night terrors - as that sometimes happens at that age and maybe she just wants to be reassured real quick. The mother said "Yeah, that could be it, because some of her screams sound downright terrified." So I did say that maybe she could try for a couple nights going in and just calming her down and see if she will go back to sleep. I'm hoping this mother did try it.
post #12 of 85
Kitty-
What a great way to approach it! I'll bet she did go in. My DD started having night terrors at the same age and I'm ashamed to admit it, but it took someone else suggesting it before I realized what it was. She sleeps in her own room (her choice at 14 months) and the first few times I don't think I heard her because I am a super heavy sleeper (I actually used to sleep through her cries when we were cosleeping in the same bed and my DH would have to wake me.)

My MIL heard her when she stayed over one weekend and brought it my attention, but did it in a really nice, non judgemental way like you did so I wouldn't feel crappy.
post #13 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by SmilingChick
By minding my own business and not telling people how to raise their kids.
Ditto. Except I've actually asked people how they did it, and discovered that real life CIO may not be what many people on this board portray it to be. While I'm sure that there may be the extreme situations that people on this board like to talk about -- the crying for hours, until vomiting and ear damage results, I doubt that this happens often. I think CIO is so popular because babies with mellower personalities adapt to it quite well, sleep well afterwards, and don't cry for long periods of time. After the "training" is over, these kids go to bed happily and sleep peacefully, without crying.

I know many young kids whose parents have CIO'd when they were between 9-12 months old. I've been at their houses many times at bedtime, and there is no crying. The kids are happy and well-adjusted, and close to their parents.

I do believe that extreme CIO practices, that result in hours of crying over a prolonged period of time, must be bad for kids and their relationships with their parents. But I remain unconvinced that all CIO can be labeled as the horror that some advocate.

Karla
post #14 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by dswmom
I just got off the phone with a friend who I adore. (She lives in another state so we don't see or talk to each other often), but we are about to visit her and while we were talking she said her dd was crying in her bed because she just woke up. She's 7 months old. My friend said she was going to let her cry it out for a little bit. Uuughhhhh : My heart sank and I wanted to say something witty, smart, and mind altering, but I couldn't think of anything except "ahhh, maybe she's teething. I'll let you go."

Do any of you have something that you say to your friends who believe in letting their babies cry? I realize that changing that type of parenting is a process and one statement can't reverse it all, but I hold out hope that something can be said that will get them to rethink their position.

So, what are you on-liners?
I have no idea why someone would let their baby cry after they've woken up, I don't see any logic in that. You know, MIL used to do this when she'd babysit Ben - I came home from work early one day, and I could hear Ben talking to himself in the crib, and MIL said, "He just woke up so I'll wait till he starts to cry before I go in there." I was very confused as to why she'd want to do that. : So I just went in the room and got him out of the crib right then. She laughed at me like I was some wierd overprotective nut case. I don't know, some people are just wierd like that, I guess.
post #15 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by lifetapestry
Ditto. Except I've actually asked people how they did it, and discovered that real life CIO may not be what many people on this board portray it to be.
I remember my stepfather's first piece of advice for me...he said the first night we were home with the baby not to pick him up after putting him to bed for any reason so he wouldn't "manipulate" us.

Then he told his own story about how he held his ex-wife down in bed so she wouldn't go to their son while he cried in his crib at two days old. After that, he said, "he never did it again."

I didn't point out to him that since graduating high school, his son joined the military and has lived as far away from Maine as he could manage (South Carolina, Germany, and now Texas) for the past ten years. Coincidence?

post #16 of 85
i agree w/karla...i have many friends who practiced CIO and it went smoothly and quickly for them and they have excellent sleepers now...
post #17 of 85
I've had the over the phone thing happen a couple of times. I usually try to rush through it, "Oh wow, sounds like you have to go. Poor babe! I'll call you tomorrow, ok?" and hang up. Like I assume that of course they are going to go to their child...

I've never had anyone get offended over that, and it also has staved of conversations where people try to justify cio to me, which quite frankly I'm not interested in having.
Kaly
post #18 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by michelemiller
i agree w/karla...i have many friends who practiced CIO and it went smoothly and quickly for them and they have excellent sleepers now...
Oh, so their baby just gave up on them really easy? Nice...
Just because it went quickly and smoothly for the parent doesn't mean that it didn't damage the child. I can't believe anybody on MDC is defending CIO.
post #19 of 85
Hmmm I'll probably get kicked off the boards for admitting this but... I'm a terrible awful CIO mommy.

My daughter slept beautifully in her own bed after being nursed to sleep until she was six months old. THen she had a really hard time settling in. As soon as her back would hit the mattress she'd bolt awake. Now, based on your assumptions, I would have tucked her in and let her scream and walked away to enjoy my martinis and eight hours of slepp. But contrary to my very bad reputation I picked her up and soothed her and rocked her and nursed her and did everything I knew to comfort her. She started to sleep with us then and that worked beautifully for about three months. I loved sleeping with her and she slept great. Super! Fine! But at around nine months bedtime became a horror show, we'd lay down to nurse she'd go about five minutes and then start kicking and playing and then crawling around. Then it would take another hour to get her to calm down to sleepy mode and we'd start over again. ANd the same thing would happen. Bedtime became a three hour excercise in frustration for everyone. When she finally did sleep it was fitful and poor and she was tired all the time. Very healthy, right? So we decided to try to move her back to her bed. What the heck. It had worked once, and the current system wasn't working. So we let her cry one night, which she did for about 45 minuts, and then she fell asleep. Slept great. Woke happy. No signs of abandonment, no resentment, no confusion over who loved her. The next might, one half hour. Since then she goes to bed peacefully nearly evry night, and never has any crying, usually form being overtired I think, amounted to more than 15 minutes. I listen, I care and it's upsetting to be pigeonholed as abusive or neglectful for doing what worked for me. Children are different and respond well to different things. Why is that hard so to accept? You might think of what I did as a selfish choice, fine, but I know my daughter and we have an incredibly loving and beautiful relationship. I made choices, with my partner, that I felt were best for her.

I respect the choices of mothers who co-sleep and I have friends who I wish would try it and won't but I've learned one thing and that is that parenting is really personal and what people want is support. If not for their choices - which you may disagree with, then just for their struggle and the difficult decisions we all make. So I can tell you exactly how to respond to CIO MOthers:respect them and if you must voice your opinion, do it in such a way that you are simply sharing your own successes. No one knows a child as well as their mother and what is right for you just might not be right for them.

I think that lifetapestry is right, there are a lot of parents who relaly stuggle and find this is the way that works for them. But it's not so extreme as letting them cry all night. If my babe crys out in the middle of the night I go to to her immediately. I attend to her and comfort her until she is ready to go back to sleep.

I feel awful for any woman who was held down and unable to go to her child inthe night, but come on, that is an extreme case. And I doubt that his distancing himself from his parents is a total result of CIO. I'm thinking the intevening 18 years of parenting might also factor in.

I don't go calling myself an AP mom, because I'm not. But I think all you mommas have a lot of great things to say and a lot of wonderful advice, ideas and support. What a bummer when it becomes a trashing session on other people's parenting styles.

Peace.
post #20 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennymama
I feel awful for any woman who was held down and unable to go to her child inthe night, but come on, that is an extreme case. And I doubt that his distancing himself from his parents is a total result of CIO. I'm thinking the intevening 18 years of parenting might also factor in.
Do you really think so? Anyone I've told in either my family or friends that we co-sleep think we're nuts. I get told all sorts of negative things, like "You'll never get him out of your bed." "You're still breastfeeding? You'll have to visit him at grade school during recess!" "That's not healthy." "Looks like he's got you well trained." So people who don't agree with my parenting are allowed to say assy things to me, but when I hear something that affronts me I have to be polite and sweet and modest about it?

I am not ashamed of my parenting decisions.

The problem is that it's such common practice to allow kids to CIO, and the advice I get is "they'll get used to it" with NO thought whatsoever about how it may be impacting the child.

So come on, everyone else is doing it, so why shouldn't we? It works for them, right?

People are so blase about letting their children cry that it's become expected of them, and those of us who choose NOT to do that are the "weird" ones and are bucking convention.

I really hate that popular opinion becomes fact and overrides what, for me at least, is common sense. My SIL makes some terrible parenting decisions, ALWAYS based on "I have a friend whose sister's mother's cousin says..." I used to try to recommend books for her to read, or to relate my own successes, but that mystical hand-me-down advice always wins out so I just gave up.




As far as my stepbrother being distant from his parents, I do believe it's related to CIO because along with that little tidbit came a whole mindset of "don't let the child manipulate you" so his upbringing was a very hands-off affair (except for spanking, which was pretty much the only physical contact he got).

I'm not saying that all parents who practice CIO would act the same way, but I do believe opening the door to such practices make other such decisions more likely.
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