Crying It Out (with articles about the sleeping child too) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 1 Old 08-08-2004, 09:42 PM - Thread Starter
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I have decided to put together some information together on Crying It Out (CIO) and the harmful effects it has on both mother and child. Please feel free to add additional and relevent sources of information.

Sleep Training - Not for Breastfeeding Mothers (Dr Sears)

This article is an easy read, yet is full of useful advice.

Beware of using someone else's training method to get your baby to sleep or get your baby on a predictable schedule. Most of these methods are variations of the tired old theme of letting baby cry it out. Before trying anyone else's method, run it through your intuitive wisdom. Does this advice sound sensible? Does it fit your baby's temperament? Does it feel right to you?
Baby Training

I like this article as it deals with the breastfed baby as well as the harmful effects if CIO.

Keep one thing in mind when you consider letting your child cry it out. If you were upset and could not speak to communicate your needs, and you were crying in the middle of the night, how would you feel if your spouse walked by your room and ignored your cries? You would continue to cry until you came to the realization that the person who means more to you than anyone else in the world was not going to help you. Then you would stop crying. You would stop crying not because your needs have changed or gone away; no, you stop crying because you feel defeated. It is no different for your child.
Crying for Comfort: Distressed Babies Need to Be Held

This article was written by Aletha Solter - brilliant and VERY informative.

But there is no doubt that repeated lack of responsiveness to a baby's cries-even for only five minutes at a time-is potentially damaging to the baby's mental health. Babies who are left to cry it out alone may fail to develop a basic sense of trust or an understanding of themselves as a causal agent, possibly leading to feelings of powerlessness, low self-esteem, and chronic anxiety later in life. The cry-it-out approach undermines the very basis of secure attachment, which requires prompt responsiveness and sensitive attunement during the first year after birth.
I asked about this a couple of weeks ago and got some great links. I'll repost them here.

Article by Dr Sears

Article by Paul M Fleiss

Article by Peggy O Mara

a FAQ answered by Dr Sears

The following deal directly or indirectly with CIO.

Australian Association for Infant Mental health-Position Paper on Controlled Crying

Emotional learning in Infants

Children Need Touching

Raising Trust

Should I let my baby cry it out?

Mothering Matters: Throw Away Your Cry-It-Out Manuals

Is a crying child manipulating the parent?



Crying for comfort: distressed babies need to be held - Art of Mothering

Stressed Babies May be Prone to Trouble Later

Crying baby, Sleepless Nights:
why your baby is crying and what you can do about it

A Baby's Cries

Boot Camp for Babies

Selected Journal articles

Neurological Benefits

I Failed Sleep school


Are we damaging our baby by letting him cry himself to sleep?

"Convenient" Parenting

The Origins of Human Love and Violence

Kangaroo Care

Some interesting journal articles if one had access.
(anti CIO info for formula feeding mothers)

from dswmom:
...cortisol is produced during all types of stressful events, and that high levels of cortisol seem to be associated with a number of effects, including
low immune system functioning.,00.html

A mental health expert warns that fashionable advice to ignore your child's tears may cause lifelong harm

Nanny no longer knows best, the Contented Little Baby Book could undermine a child's development, and Dr Spock's advice that a child should be left to cry could cause psychological damage.
When it comes to the crowded and hotly debated world of how best to bring up baby, there is a new theory that uses brain scans to argue that controlled crying not only damages babies' brains but produces angry, anxious adults.

'If you ignore a crying child, tell them to shut up or put them in a room on their own, you can cause serious damage to their brains on a level that can result in severe neurosis and emotional disorders later in life,' said Professor Margot Sunderland, a leading expert in the development of children's brains and a British Medical Association award-winning author, who has already written more than 20 books on child mental health.

Based on her four-year study of brain scans and scientific research, Sunderland entreats parents to reject the modern theories of baby experts such as Gina Ford and Channel 4's Supernanny, Jo Frost, who preach strict discipline, routine and controlled crying.

(see link for full article)

I’m awfully surprised to see support for cio methods showing up here, where parents are seeking biologically appropriate, evidence based methods of influencing their baby’s sleep patterns.

Most proponents of cio are absolutely NOT taking into account the current research that tells us what is normal and healthy for infant sleep. Here is a link to the world’s foremost expert on infant sleep:

that is just one page among many that will open your eyes to a whole new body of information that is actually evidence based, unlike cio, which is a culturally based method based on the parent’s needs rather than the infant’s physiological needs, as well as a misunderstanding about what is normal for infant sleep.

Harvard scientists have understood for years that babies should not be left to cry and try to tell parents why it is so important:

And the knowledge that it is completely normal for babies to take a year or two or even more to develop the ability to sleep thru the night is not that new, either – it really makes you wonder why parents continue to ignore the information. Take a look at this article:

The Sleep Patterns of Normal Children, Armstrong KL, Quinn RA & Dadds MR.
Medical Journal of Australia 1994 Aug 1;161(3):202-6.
“It is not until after 24 months that regular night waking (requiring attention) becomes much less common.”

The information about what is normal and healthy for infant sleep is so solid and compelling, that an entire country has drafted a policy against cio.

Why do parents continue to cling to and defend cio, when every shred of evidence we have shows it is inappropriate and does not meet the child’s needs? Our culture values independence strongly, and mistakenly believes that denying a child’s need for closeness will foster independence and confidence, when the opposite has been shown to be true. It is also traditional in our culture to give priority to the needs of adults, regardless of the fact that imposing sleep training on infants is a practice that has been well studied and shown to be undesirable.

There are biologically appropriate, kind, evidence-based ways to deal with the normal sleep patterns of infants, but they continue to be ignored and dismissed by most parents in the U.S., where parents will insist that they cio for the children’s own good, despite the truth that we know better and have for years.

Thank you for this stickie and the wonderful links! With baby#1, I did CIO and Babywise, had failure to thrive, etc. and growth problems through 18mo. I just knew it had to be BW. I didn't know any better... it was the only book anyone had given me on breastfeeding or child-rearing. So with baby#2, I threw BW out the window (well out to the trash truck), and did what I knew felt right. No problems this time. ALL of my other friends use CIO with BW or some other method of it, and this is the link I now send to them so that they can make an informed decision. (Sorry if it's already been posted)

Getting Wise to Babywise

Mama to: Katie, Emily , and Abby
Not perfect, Just amazing!
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