How do you respond to friends who use CIO methods? - Mothering Forums

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Old 02-02-2010, 03:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So one of my very best friends called me this morning for moral support. She had survived her first night of CIO with her 10 month old. My heart broke. I didn't know how to respond. I felt myself getting upset as she told me about the process. I tried to fend off any judging tone in my voice but I wanted to scream, if it broke your heart to hear her cry for an hour, then DON'T DO IT! But I listened. I know they've tried co-sleeping and it hasn't worked for a number of reasons. It did for a while and my friend was totally on board with it. She even said that if the baby would sleep well with them in bed then she wouldn't have had to CIO.

By the end of the conversation I learned that my friend was feeling pretty overwhelmed with parenting, her husband does not assist with night-time parenting because he works and she stays home (don't even get me started on this one) and that the lack of sleep is taking its toll on mom and baby. My friend said she just couldn't take the baby waking up 4 times in the night and being up for near an hour sometimes after the baby woke up. At this point she's weaned the baby (we worked through supply issues early on) so she has to be up and awake for night time feedings.

Ugh. I feel sick to my stomach. Any words of advice?
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Old 02-02-2010, 04:11 PM
 
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I am currently reading "The No Cry Sleep Solution" and loving it. My DD (20 months old) now sleeps on our floor on a matress. It may sound weird, but Man OH Man is it working for us. I highly recommend this book, even though I'm not finished with it yet.
As to how to respond, I would ask her what her gut tells her about it and suggest that she follow her instincts. Also, you could offer to come over and babysit while she takes a long nap.
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Old 02-02-2010, 04:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Update:

THis has been weighing heavily on my heart so I sent her a short email message with the FYI , sleep disruptions tend to happen around developmental milestones. also, I found the Kin West and Elizabeth Pantly books very helpful. (She was using the Ferber method).

And I do wish I was closer because I'd babysit in a heartbeat but we're on opposite coasts.
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Old 02-02-2010, 04:23 PM
 
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Honestly, in your situation, I would have told her what I thought. That there are gentler ways to do this, and to trust that mama instinct. Knowing how hard it is for her doesn't change the fact that using this method can harm her child.

Also...I might be mistaken...but unless she was doing some sort of crazy extinction method, Ferber advocates going in to soothe at intervals. Not leaving the baby crying for an hour with no contact. I can't think off the top of my head who talks about the extinction method but it's not any more "effective" than gradual. I say "effective" in quotes b/c I think the "effect" is coping with abandonment, not learning to fall asleep on one's own.

I would talk to her again, and see if you can get her to trust her instincts.

Carrie SAHM to Nora Caitlyn (5) and Finnley Dax (2) homebirthing, breastfeeding, babywearing, intactivist, doula mama!         
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Old 02-02-2010, 05:51 PM
 
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Perhaps treading carefully is a good option here. If she's as overwhelmed as you say, she might not take your views as help, she might get defensive and upset. Maybe continuing to listen and be supportive is the best course of action. That way you can offer suggestions if she asks. You are a good friend to listen and let her vent.

Mom to two lovely girls, 4 and 3. SAHW/M in need of sleep.
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Old 02-02-2010, 05:58 PM
 
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When things like this happen to my friends, my response is "Your heart and body will tell you if you're doing something that's not right for you or the baby. Listen."

I have a close friend who did a little CIO type stuff with her son and as long as she felt like she and the kid were both OK, she would leave him to try to self-soothe, but if she started feeling like either of them was getting in a bad place she'd go pick him up. It worked for them. I never CIO'd with mine because I just knew she wouldn't be able to handle it- she's a lot more high needs than my friend's little guy and has a more intense personality.
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Old 02-02-2010, 06:20 PM
 
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I had a similar situation with a friend from church. We aren't close, but I felt like I had to say something after she told our playgroup how tired she was, and how she didn't want to CIO but felt like she had to to get sleep and everyone was encouraging her to CIO.

What I did was, I sent her an email saying that I understood how she felt being sleep deprived, and that I wanted to encourage her to follow her instincts (she said she hated hearing him cry-- she had tried CIO a couple times) and not let her DS CIO. I then sent her the Jay Gordon nightweaning artice, and told her I had a copy of The No Cry Sleep Solution she could borrow. I also suggested putting a mattress on the floor in her bedroom, as a compromise between cosleeping and having him CIO in the crib.

Surprisingly, she was very thankful for the info/email and it has opened up a dialogue between us. She decided not to let her son CIO!! She feels less alone now that she isn't the only one not doing CIO and has someone to talk to that understands not sleeping at night.

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Old 02-02-2010, 06:32 PM
 
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ugh, I hate hearing about babies having to cry it out!! I am not a big fan of "The Baby Whisperer," but she does have a gentler method of getting the baby to sleep alone in the crib, if your friend is determined to go this way. From what I remember, when the baby starts to cry, you pick her up and soother her, then lay her down in the crib. She says you may have to repeat this process over and over, maybe a hundred times or more the first night, but then the next night will be many, many fewer times (although still maybe quite a lot), but that in a few days or a week or so, you will get down to very few times and eventually the baby will fall asleep on her own.
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Old 02-02-2010, 06:37 PM
 
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I definitely think it's about tone as well.

When my oldest was an infant (now seven) and severely colicky, I was right on the borderline of using CIO. I was lucky in that I had parents who could help, but I was overwhelmed and exhausted, and determined to 'fix' her sleep issues myself.

I had an older cousin send me a very non-judgmental, sweet, kind email with some helpful advice (including offering to take her overnight, which I realize not everyone can do based on distance, etc.) and I took it as it was intended. To be helpful and share information.

So, I personally have no issues with sharing information like that. In my case I hadn't asked, because I was afraid to, but I was thankful someone stepped in.

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Old 02-02-2010, 11:23 PM
 
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I think a certain amount of empathy is key. Parents who CIO and struggle with it (never mind those who CIO and don't feel bad at all) are generally (a) at the end of their rope, or (b) under the influence of a book or other friends/family members telling them their kid NEEDS to CIO. I've been there (both a and b) and... it's tempting. I'd never have done it, but they make such juicy golden promises of sleep-filled nights.

#1: "He cried and it broke my heart."

#2: "OMG, that had to be awful listening to that. *hug* (if you're close enough to hug) You know there's no rule that says the HAVE to be sleeping a certain way or a certain amount by a certain time, right? If it doesn't feel right, if it makes you and your LO cry, you can walk away from the CIO process at any time. There are totally other ways of making nighttime easier. Let me ask around and see if I can find any help for your specific situation."

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Old 02-03-2010, 12:24 AM
 
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Several PPs have offered a lot of heart-felt advice to you and your friend. Forgive me if mine seems less than sensitive, but like you, I am pained when I hear about moms who CIO, even if parenting is overwhelming.

I'd ask her this: When her daughter is 16 and comes home crying because she was dumped by her first love or failed a big test or been hurt by a friend she trusted, is she going to put her daughter in a dark room and leave her there to suffer through it alone? It's tiring, I know, but her job is to be there for that darling baby at any age.

Married to Tony 6/07. Mommy to Jude 4/08 and Gemma 4/11.
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Old 02-03-2010, 04:34 AM
 
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i would provide her with some articles and thoughts. if it seemed like she wanted help/change, i would try and provide that.

i dont think i could continue to be friends with someone who did CIO. i feel like that mentality represents a small fragment of a larger picture that i just can not stand to watch. its the same reason i do not watch television or most movies or go to the mall. i dont want to watch people to cruel to one another
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Old 02-03-2010, 04:36 AM
 
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Ugh 10 months just seems like the worst possible time to CIO (well I am anti-CIO but you know what I mean). That is a big milestone, anxiety, teething stage. DD typically STTN and she was a monster during that time...didn't quiet down till 12 months.

Mama to expecting Babe 2
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Old 02-03-2010, 04:44 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kgreenemama View Post
Several PPs have offered a lot of heart-felt advice to you and your friend. Forgive me if mine seems less than sensitive, but like you, I am pained when I hear about moms who CIO, even if parenting is overwhelming.

I'd ask her this: When her daughter is 16 and comes home crying because she was dumped by her first love or failed a big test or been hurt by a friend she trusted, is she going to put her daughter in a dark room and leave her there to suffer through it alone? It's tiring, I know, but her job is to be there for that darling baby at any age.
I think that would be fine to say if a friend said they were considering CIO.

For a friend who has just said that they did CIO the night before, it's kind of a harsh thing to say. I like the PP's suggestion about offering alternatives for the future rather than laying on a guilt trip, which isn't going to turn back time.

A, jammin.gif mama to a boy (2005) and a girl (2009)
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