How do you respond to others who tell you they've used CIO? - Mothering Forums

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Old 10-27-2010, 06:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So we've discussed a lot about how to respond when relatives, friends, coworkers, and total strangers tell us we should be using CIO. But how do you respond to people when they tell you, often accompanied by them saying it somehow saved them and their child, that they used CIO on their baby?

This has happened to me twice recently and I'm never sure what to say to that. Yesterday I was strolling with my new next-door neighbor and our babies. She was saying how her son (who's now 14 months) wanted attention at night and if she picked him up he would cry the next night too, so she "did it the hard way and let him cry". I was like "ooh!" ~said with the painful tone of "Ouch!". And left it at that. I mean, I really don't feel like getting into it with my new neighbor, who I otherwise like well enough and would like to keep the door open, so to speak.

However, it's on par, in my book, with casually saying "Our baby cried a lot so we slapped him upside the head and now he doesn't cry as much any more." In that case you could at least call CPS, kwim? There is a feeling like I want to intervene and help save the poor baby from this awful fate. And I would say if you know a baby's being abused it's your obligation to step in. It's just that, sadly, CIO is not seen as abuse in our culture and even the opposite. So saying something about it mostly falls on deaf ears.

On the other hand, I hate it when people butt into my parenting ("He should have his own bed" "You shouldn't pick him up when he cries", blah blah blah), and I don't believe I'm going to convince anyone of anything, so I mostly feel it's not worth the energy. If someone is attacking my parenting by saying I should let my baby CIO, then I feel the need to defend myself and explain why I don't use CIO. But to argue it with someone else who's already done it, and isn't telling me I should do it? What's the point?

Still, it's a really awkward situation.

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Old 10-27-2010, 07:49 AM
 
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It is a tricky one, for sure. I've only had it happen a couple of times and I've really just said "Oh, right." (which in Australian is sort of the same as saying "Oh, ok" as in I-am-acknowledging-that-I-heard-your-statement-but-am-not-commenting-further-at-this-time) in a kind of surpised tone.

This is probably a bit of a cop-out but, I am trying very hard to stick to the rule that I do not offer an opinion on something another parent is doing unless I am specifically asked. If it was a general discussion of the merits or otherwise of CIO then I would put my boots on and wade in but I don't feel comfortable commenting on something that someone is already actually doing.

I'm not convinced this is the right thing to do, especially as I am pretty sure that the people in question don't know about the research showing that it's harmful. But, I am a wuss I guess

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Old 10-27-2010, 08:43 AM
 
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Depending on the message you're trying to get across to the other person you could say "I'm glad that your baby is sleeping well now but we decided to go another route" or "I've done some research & decided to go another route" or even "our doctor doesn't recommend doing that". Saying your dr doesn't recommend anything is always a great fall back. Even if you may not listen to everything your dr says, they don't know that.

Unless you're looking to discuss why CIO is bad or why you chose not to, I'd just move on to another subject at that point.

But I agree, it's hard to hear. I always just figure if I was crying, I'd want someone to help me. At least now when people hear that Lucian (my 9 month old son) is my 4th, they don't seem to be so pushy with advice. I guess they figure if my oldest is almost 17, I can't be messing up the parenting thing too bad. LOL

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Old 10-27-2010, 10:38 AM
 
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When I have heard this in the past, I have just said, I couldn't do that. If asked anything further I use the response I gave a mom-to-be that suggested I pull DS's hair if he bites while nursing - If there is a way to acheive the same result without causing him pain or tears, that is the way to go.

Thankfully, there are other options, a lot parents just aren't aware of them.

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Old 10-27-2010, 10:41 AM
 
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Of course the biggest question everyone asks about my 6 month old is....
Is she a good sleeper?
Im not one of those who takes offense to that. I feel that people are well intentioned and want to make sure Im getting rest.
I just say, she wakes up to eat and then goes right back to sleep, and that's the best anyone could ask for.
They usually dont ask anything else.
If someone wants a debate on things like cosleeping, nursing on demand, babywearing.... I just hit them with the research. It doesnt make anyone EVER want to go any further.
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Old 10-27-2010, 10:42 AM
 
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I smile and nod and change the subject. I don't like CIO either, and consider it borderline abusive - but it IS borderline. If it's someone close to me, I hope to model how you don't need to do CIO (and co-sleepers do have their own beds eventually). If they're not close to me, then I just move on. But to be honest, I probably would think twice about becoming close to them depending on the degree of the CIO..

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Old 10-27-2010, 10:53 AM
 
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"Every family has to do what works best for them." Also, repeat it to yourself before you say it to the other person.
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Old 10-27-2010, 11:30 AM
 
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Originally Posted by P.J. View Post
On the other hand, I hate it when people butt into my parenting ("He should have his own bed" "You shouldn't pick him up when he cries", blah blah blah), and I don't believe I'm going to convince anyone of anything, so I mostly feel it's not worth the energy. If someone is attacking my parenting by saying I should let my baby CIO, then I feel the need to defend myself and explain why I don't use CIO. But to argue it with someone else who's already done it, and isn't telling me I should do it? What's the point?
DH and I have friends and I was amazed when I asked the mom about sleeping advice and she strongly recommended CIO, saying they need to learn to self-soothe and that, really, it's the best thing for them. I did not expect this advice to come from her and I was honestly stunned into silence. That said, I don't feel it's my place to tell other people what to do or how to parent. Maybe in the future I will drop hints about how we don't do CIO and maybe share some research if pressed. But I won't be blatant about it.
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Old 10-27-2010, 11:51 AM
 
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Originally Posted by lynsage View Post
"Every family has to do what works best for them." Also, repeat it to yourself before you say it to the other person.
I agree with this and this is what I try to do, along with a deep breath, or two.

I realize I don't want or need other people's unsolicited advice and unwanted comments about the way we choose to breastfeed, co-sleep, our health choices, elimination communication, cloth diapering, eating organic, etc...because I am doing what I think is best, and I just assume that they are too. I just happen to think other people are wrong to do CIO. However I try to respect their ability to choose for themselves what they think is best, and keep my opinions to myself, unless they specifically ask me about my opinion on CIO. And usually I find that parents that do CIO ( at least the ones I have met) don't want any input, opinions or advice.
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Old 10-27-2010, 11:52 AM
 
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Most of the time I just smile and nod. Sometimes however, I have responded with, "Wow I couldn't do that", and "You must be strong than me I can't not respond when he needs me". And "I couldn't stand the idea that he thought I wouldn't help him if he needed me."

But honestly those have been saved for snarky I'm smarter than you kinda people.

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Old 10-27-2010, 12:40 PM
 
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If itd stranger or someone just making a general comment I jsut pretend like they never said a thing and move on... If they invite a response...
Sleep is important for us too I'm no good as a patient mama all day if I don't get good sleep (validates their needs) thankfully I've found the whole respond and they will DEMAND it all the time to be untrue. (I leave out trigger words like crying screaming even things like picking up ect) Rather quite the opposite actually i've taught all my LO to sleep well during the night by responsing to their needs.

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Old 10-27-2010, 01:11 PM
 
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im not using any sleep method in particular with my new baby, just doing what feels right at the time...she sleeps with me and feeds when she wants and so far (she's only 19 days old) she sleeps for 5 hour stretches during the night so we're happy...

but im not really up to date with what is actually classed as CIO?? did i use CIO with DS...? He used to cry as soon as i put him down so i'd spend hours settling him then one night (he was ooh about 14 months old) i needed to use the bathroom n his father wasnt home so i laid him down and as usual he cried his head off... for three minutes max while i went to the toilet... when i went in to him he was settled all by himself and every night afterwards thru his toddlerhood he'd cry for two-three minutes (more of a moany-whimper) then pass right out snoring softly, is that CIO?

got me all paranoid that im "borderline abusive" :S

as for your neighbour... unless you truly feel that her baby is being harmed (and you obviously wouldnt want to still know her if you believed that) then maybe just leave it and subtley talk about ur methods of settling ur LO to sleep in future conversations and rave about how lovely and calm the methods are... maybe she'll convert on her own....

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Old 10-27-2010, 01:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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But to be honest, I probably would think twice about becoming close to them depending on the degree of the CIO..
Yeah, this was the signal for me that indeed I am not looking for a real friendship beyond being neighborly with my new neighbor who said she'd used CIO. I'd already had the feeling they weren't really my kind of people, but the CIO thing really cemented that.

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Old 10-27-2010, 01:27 PM
 
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but im not really up to date with what is actually classed as CIO?? did i use CIO with DS...? He used to cry as soon as i put him down so i'd spend hours settling him then one night (he was ooh about 14 months old) i needed to use the bathroom n his father wasnt home so i laid him down and as usual he cried his head off... for three minutes max while i went to the toilet... when i went in to him he was settled all by himself and every night afterwards thru his toddlerhood he'd cry for two-three minutes (more of a moany-whimper) then pass right out snoring softly, is that CIO?
In my opinion, no. Some babies, it seems, need to have a little fuss to release tension and fall asleep. Had he cried for 5-10 minutes, and calmed when you came in to settle him back down, only to cry once again when you left, and you kept that up until he finally went to sleep, exhausted from crying, that is CIO to me.

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Old 10-27-2010, 01:33 PM
 
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I just say "Oh, I could never do that with mine" with as non-accusationary a tone as possible, and no one has taken it badly so I must be handling it. The fact is that it is incredibly common, and even recommended by most "experts" and pediatricians, so most parents do it. I don't want to judge almost every parent I know, but on the other hand I want them to know from my experience that kids can grow up to be good sleepers without that. Sometimes it leads to more conversation and they at least tone down the CIO plans. I think often parents don't really think there is another viable option.
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Old 10-27-2010, 01:50 PM
 
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i don't like to perpetuate the myth that not using CIO is "wussing" out, the way that some of the statements (i.e. oh, i couldn't do that!) do. if it's ever brought up to me, i tend to go with a statement affirming how normal it is for babies to need their parents during the night, and that it's natural for them to wake throughout the night, and that it's temporary.

usually i say something like "oh, i have never needed to do that. i think it's pretty normal for babies to sleep in shorter stretches... i know one day she won't need me at night anymore!" or something like, "it's hard being a baby! i think i'd be pretty upset if someone told me i wasn't allowed to get up at night to go pee or get a drink of water." it obviously depends on how close i am to the person, but if delievered in a lighter tone, i think it usually comes across ok.

anyway, putting an adult in a baby's shoes by comparing getting up for a drink or getting to snuggle with our partner to wanting to nurse or be soothed is a good way to make people think objectively about what CIO actually is.
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Old 10-27-2010, 01:53 PM
 
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usually i say something like "oh, i have never needed to do that. i think it's pretty normal for babies to sleep in shorter stretches... i know one day she won't need me at night anymore!" or something like, "it's hard being a baby! i think i'd be pretty upset if someone told me i wasn't allowed to get up at night to go pee or get a drink of water." it obviously depends on how close i am to the person, but if delievered in a lighter tone, i think it usually comes across ok.

anyway, putting an adult in a baby's shoes by comparing getting up for a drink or getting to snuggle with our partner to wanting to nurse or be soothed is a good way to make people think objectively about what CIO actually is.
I really like this approach, and I'm going to use it next time I get the chance!

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Old 10-27-2010, 02:49 PM
 
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I think I don't like it when others comment on my parenting (telling me cloth diapers are gross, babies don't need to breastfeed past 6 months, wearing her all the time is spoiling her, etc) so I wouldn't do that to someone else.

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Old 10-27-2010, 03:48 PM
 
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The reason I say "No, I could never do that" is because that's the honest and accurate main reason I would never use CIO. I really could never do it. I speak my truth and give more info if wanted.
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Old 10-27-2010, 04:25 PM
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i would just say something like, "oh, that must have been tough." because i'm sure it is tough for CIO moms. nobody likes to hear their babe cry and they are just doing what they think is best for their family with the information they have. and for every study that "proves" that CIO is detrimental to children there's another one that "proves" the opposite (yeah, i've seen the sleep books....everybody has their studies.)

and further, it just doesn't feel fair to judge them on that one thing when i'm sure there is something they are doing for their kids that's better than what i'm doing, yk?
i mean, i have a friend who did CIO with her babe. but she is WAY better than me at showering her son with constant affection and undivided attention. she would never let her kid play while she watched a show on tv like i would.
i have another friend who did CIO with her kids and she stays at home with them while i work part time by choice and have dd in daycare.

also, we're not really sure if what this particular neighbor did was in fact CIO. a 14 month old, while still needing love and attention, is very different from a 4 month old. a 14 month old DOES know that crying will get a response and usually they know how to put themselves back to sleep. i don't do CIO but if my dd cries at night i do sometimes give her a couple minutes...and at her 13 months i CAN tell the difference between her "real" cries and her "attention" cries. 99% of the time she falls back asleep right away on her own.
and just now while putting her down for a nap she was screaming bloody murder. and you know what she needs? i can stand there and talk to her...i can give her a bottle and she swats it away like i'm trying to poison her....i can pick her up and rock her and she wails and arches her back...what she needs is for me to leave the room and the crying stops within the minute. that IS leaving a babe to cry but it's not CIO.

at a certain age, ignoring a tantrum does not mean CIO and i'm sure this age is different for different kids.

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Old 10-27-2010, 04:27 PM
 
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With the people who are close to me, I typicaly say "If I could help it, no one I loved would have to cry themselves to sleep". With fair weather people, I typically either dont say anything at all, or immediately change the subject.

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Old 10-27-2010, 04:40 PM
 
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Call me ignorant, but I never knew that CIO was frowned upon?? I'm a first time mother of 6-week old twins, and I hear people telling me to let them CIO all the time. However, I just can't do it. When the babies start fussing, I might let them cry a minute or two, but after that (and as the fussing turns to serious crying), I HAVE to pick them up and console them. I don't feel like i'm doing any harm, but I would like to read some of the research saying I'm in the right so I can justify my methods when my Mom says "she's fine, just let her cry it out."

Anyone have links to any articles??

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Old 10-27-2010, 05:52 PM
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Call me ignorant, but I never knew that CIO was frowned upon?? I'm a first time mother of 6-week old twins, and I hear people telling me to let them CIO all the time. However, I just can't do it. When the babies start fussing, I might let them cry a minute or two, but after that (and as the fussing turns to serious crying), I HAVE to pick them up and console them. I don't feel like i'm doing any harm, but I would like to read some of the research saying I'm in the right so I can justify my methods when my Mom says "she's fine, just let her cry it out."

Anyone have links to any articles??
first of all, there's nothing wrong with letting a baby fuss, you're right to pick them up if they cry. as for your mom, even the CIO people don't start on newborns! (i think they say 4 months or 6 months or something)

i'm sure plenty of posters will have links for you. good luck!

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Old 10-27-2010, 06:23 PM
 
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Anyone have links to any articles??
Check out the Night time Parenting forum:
http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=624394
Also:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/...rticle1674049/
http://www.parentingscience.com/Ferber-method.html

OP: We usually say, "Oh. We don't believe in doing that" and leave it at that. If they start asking why, we talk about the research and give links.

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Old 10-27-2010, 09:28 PM
 
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I really liked reading the discussion. I just recently had read in a different mommy forum a post of a Mom who called CIO "weak parenting". That is kind of why I agree with a previous poster to respond in a way that states my reasons to not do CIO clearly.

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Old 10-28-2010, 02:38 AM
 
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i always say (in a super pleasant voice,) "well i dont like letting him cry, and i just love sleeping with all my babies in my bed. they wont be there forever, even if i wanted them to."

it seems like if i say it happily and with confidence, people leave it at that.

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Old 10-28-2010, 11:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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i would just say something like, "oh, that must have been tough." because i'm sure it is tough for CIO moms. nobody likes to hear their babe cry and they are just doing what they think is best for their family with the information they have. and for every study that "proves" that CIO is detrimental to children there's another one that "proves" the opposite (yeah, i've seen the sleep books....everybody has their studies.)

and further, it just doesn't feel fair to judge them on that one thing when i'm sure there is something they are doing for their kids that's better than what i'm doing, yk?
i mean, i have a friend who did CIO with her babe. but she is WAY better than me at showering her son with constant affection and undivided attention. she would never let her kid play while she watched a show on tv like i would.
i have another friend who did CIO with her kids and she stays at home with them while i work part time by choice and have dd in daycare.

also, we're not really sure if what this particular neighbor did was in fact CIO. a 14 month old, while still needing love and attention, is very different from a 4 month old. a 14 month old DOES know that crying will get a response and usually they know how to put themselves back to sleep. i don't do CIO but if my dd cries at night i do sometimes give her a couple minutes...and at her 13 months i CAN tell the difference between her "real" cries and her "attention" cries. 99% of the time she falls back asleep right away on her own.
and just now while putting her down for a nap she was screaming bloody murder. and you know what she needs? i can stand there and talk to her...i can give her a bottle and she swats it away like i'm trying to poison her....i can pick her up and rock her and she wails and arches her back...what she needs is for me to leave the room and the crying stops within the minute. that IS leaving a babe to cry but it's not CIO.

at a certain age, ignoring a tantrum does not mean CIO and i'm sure this age is different for different kids.
I like this post. And I do have a couple closer friends who've used CIO, so I can appreciate trying to see other things they do that are good for their kids. I think CIO is just the sort of default way of handling sleep issues, so most people do it, even against their better judgement, unless they happen to have access to other information.

As for my neighbor, she didn't say explicitly, but I got the feeling she was talking about how she did this awhile back, like when her son was closer to my son's age. But maybe not.

And I totally know there's a big difference between meeting baby's needs and giving in to a tantrum. In fact, I made a thread recently in the toddlers forum asking more experienced moms about how to tell the difference, because I'm not sure at what point simple crying does become a tantrum. Definitely not at age 5 months, but maybe in half a year from now.

Still, I'm not sure if I'd leave him to cry alone at night, whatever you call it. I guess I'll have to wait and see once I have experienced tantrums how I'll handle them.
Oh, and DS is a high needs baby, so you can rest assured I know when to let him fuss a little and when he really truly needs me to pick him up.

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Old 10-28-2010, 11:44 AM
 
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I guess I'm lucky in that this has only happened to me once, at a playgroup. I don't think it's very common here in Nova Scotia (at least, I hope not!) I was too shocked to come up with a thoughtful response--I just got up, gathered my kiddo, and left. Not my best moment, but it was better than any of the,um, unconstructive responses that came into my head!

I think CIO is abusive, and not anywhere near the borderline. It's way in the red. I appreciate that people choose it as a tool with well-meant intentions, but both science and instinct tell me that it is completely inappropriate from a developmental standpoint and has lifelong negative effects on the child's well-being. From the baby's point of view, there is no difference between CIO and neglect/abandonment.

If I was in that situation again, I don't think I could say just something polite about it or take a different strokes for different folks approach. I hope I'd be able to engage in a friendly discussion about what's developmentally appropriate for infants, but one way or another I think I would express an opinion. I don't like having my parenting criticized more than anyone else, but in this case live and let live means not standing up against abuse of an infant. I can't do that.
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Old 10-28-2010, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by ToadJode View Post
Call me ignorant, but I never knew that CIO was frowned upon?? I'm a first time mother of 6-week old twins, and I hear people telling me to let them CIO all the time. However, I just can't do it. When the babies start fussing, I might let them cry a minute or two, but after that (and as the fussing turns to serious crying), I HAVE to pick them up and console them. I don't feel like i'm doing any harm, but I would like to read some of the research saying I'm in the right so I can justify my methods when my Mom says "she's fine, just let her cry it out."

Anyone have links to any articles??
Welcome! CIO is pretty commonly advocated, even by some peds, but all the good research points away from it. Here's a good link (the Harvard name gives it good oomph for a lot of people, like pesky in laws ): http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/...enNeedTou.html

Pretty much google cry it out and cortisol, or attachment parenting, or look at Dr. Sears' web site, and you'll be well on your way to reading about how really terrible CIO is, according to research. I also like Dr. James McKenna's sleep research Of course just parenting/human instincts kept us away from CIO-- my husband is the one who really can't stand to be around anyone who says they do it.

If someone said this to me, it would depend on the person/relationship how I would respond. A random parent at a park? I'd say I don't believe in doing that and try to move on to something else. A friend? I'd probably get more into the research and my ethical stance on it. But all my good mama friends are AP for a reason. I can't stand to be around CIO or hear about it. I want to cry and I can't respect the parent doing it. I'm not going to berate the parent but I figure there are plenty of other people in the world for us both to make friends with instead. If someone said it to me and was like trying to push it on me or was clearly looking for affirmation and really getting into it, I'd be happy to discuss all the research, developmental stages, and all that.
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Old 10-28-2010, 12:40 PM
 
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Some of the best advice I got as a parent to be was "give yourself permission to change your mind...go easy on yourself." I tell myself that every time I'm confronted with someone who parents differently than me. We (mostly) all do it with the best of intentions, and people need to find what works for their situation.

For example, I intended to be the best co-sleeper in the world. We had a custom side sleeper built, were totally committed to it, thought about how great side-lying nursing would be, etc. We made it 6 weeks before she moved to a bassinet. A combination of needing to nurse upright, and a shifty grunty baby who hates swaddling made it an untenable situation. Do some people think I'm missing out on the greatest thing in the world? Perhaps, but it's what works for us.

I couldn't CIO. But it's a method, and everyone comes at things from their own perspective. Seeing that documentary Babies kind of shows you how radically the parenting differs world wide, and most folks turn out okay. So what I do when confronted with it (and similar things like comments on cloth diapering from folks in disposables) is to mainly say "well, X works really well for us, so I'm happy about that."
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