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Anti CIO Advocates - what would you do?

2508 Views 59 Replies 23 Participants Last post by  roseselene
If you've been on this board before, you've probably seen my posts. DD is 8 1/2 months old and is now waking every 20 - 30 minutes all night long, except for one 1 1/2 stretch when she first falls asleep. I get NO sleep until 7 a.m. when I give DD to DH and sleep for 2 - 3 hours.

I see so many of you are anti-CIO and honestly, I am too, but I don't know what to do. We can't continue like this (I've been saying that for 2 months, but now I'm getting sick, my skin looks horrible and I can barely function).

If you are anti-CIO and were in this position, what would you do? I'll admit I've got a CIO book on hold at the library, plus the No Cry Sleep Solution.

FYI, we cosleep and have since birth. I removed all down from the bed, thinking she might have allergies. I tried an elimination diet but lost so much weight I couldn't continue. Ped says DD may be lactose intolerant, but we're not sure. She wakes crying every time and I nurse her back to sleep. I've tried not nursing, but she usually really wakes and then it's a long process to get her back to sleep.

DH wants to take her at night and lay with her when she wakes, but not pick her up. I'm considering trying this route for a few nights. She will cry alot though and in the meantime neither DH or I will get any sleep. But perhaps she'll then be able to sleep with DH? Do you still think it's CIO even if we stay with DD?
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maybe she needs her own sleep space. it may be that she is a light sleeper and you are waking her when you move or make a noise. can you try sleeping a bit further away from her for a night and see if that helps?
i don't think it's CIOif someone is tending to her needs while she cries. but i don't understand why your husband would want to just lie next to a sobbing infant. that makes no sense to me and seems like all 3 of you would get more upset in that scenario -- her because she knows he is there and won't help her, and you and your dh because the sound of crying is meant to stress you out and elicit a response.
i haven't read your other thread. i have some questions for you but i'll go peruse the original before i inadvertently repeat stuff you've already covered.
I am sure that you are really at the end of your rope, but please do not do CIO. CIO is taking your precious child, who I am sure you love very much and placing her in a room alone to cry untill she falls asleep.

Try eliminating all dairy from your diet. It could also be reflux. Try propping her up, like in a car seat, bouncey seat or swing. after feedings, look and listen well. Does she cough alot? Do the cried come in waves maybe accompanied by drool strings? They were teh indicators of ds's reflux. He cannot sleep flat even though he is on meds, he stll needs to be upright, so he sleeps inour room, in the swing. During the day he naps on the couch propped up on a pillow
Have you spoken to your ped about the possibility of reflux?

As far as you needing sleep, yes you do. Try keeping you dd propped up and not lie flat on her back or tummy. avoid pressure on her tummy as well. I do not think that it is CIO if you are right there with her, but there is a reason behind what is happening and I encourage you to find that reason.

We are a sleepsharing family and love it, however ds's comfort is more imporant than being able to say we share a bed right now. It may be hard to have her at arm's length, but it may be a welcome relief for her and you.
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Well hello there, looks like we're in the same boat again!

I have a book called 'Sleep Right, Sleep Tight' (an Australian book written by 3 people with extensive experience in babies, children and sleep problems). It says that from 6 months on, babies are able to tolerate short separations from parents. While they are starting to develop separation anxiety, they are also developing the 'object and person permanence' (which means she knows you still exist even though you're not in the room with her).

Anyway, this book by no means suggests that you leave her to cry to sleep, but at your DD's age you can try what they call 'Modified Controlled Comforting'. What this means in a nutshell is that you put her wherever you want her to sleep while she's awake. If she's quiet, leave the room. If she cries, wait 30 seconds and go to her and use settling techniques for 2-10 mins (if she settles earlier, fine, if she doesn't settle in 10 minutes leave the room anyway. Then wait for 2 minutes. Go back in and settle again if still crying, but leave the room for 4 minutes next time. This continues for 6, 8 & 10 minutes. Then after this, just 10 minute blocks until she either goes to sleep or you get her up again.

The authors stress that at no time should you leave her for longer than 10 minutes, and that this is also about what you can deal with - if it's not ok with you then don't leave it for the full 10 minutes.

The authors say to plan to do this, talk about it with dh so you can support each other, and try to have a week without appointments and the like, so you can concentrate on helping her learn to settle and re-settle herself to sleep without interruptions.

Sorry this is long winded. We haven't done this yet, I'm trying to build up the energy to be able to see it through. I think Mieke sleeps just a little better than your DD - we get about 1 and 1/2 hour stints through the night.

Hope you get some sleep soon and if you want any more info from this book I'm happy to share


Oh, the above I think is for her sleeping in her own room - I can't stand bedsharing anymore - she's too wriggly and neither of us are getting any sleep. Would you consider putting her in another room or do you want to continue bedsharing? I'll have to get back to you on the bed sharing one - that's harder
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How is that technique not CIO? That baby is still going to be left alone to cry. It may not be extreme CIO, but it is still CIO.
Miekesmummy: That's pretty close to what we did and it worked really well. I still think it is certainly next of kin to cio if not the same. But at the point we finally did it(10 mo) I felt like I had nothing else to give and we needed something. We went from waking every 30 min to 1.5 hours to 8 or 9 hour stretches at night within weeks, and we moved him into his own room. Whenever he cried at night DH would go in and hold, rock, rub his back, then lay him back down... I know we didn't wait 10 minutes, anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 min maybe. Whatever felt comfortable/uncomfortable. It started because I'd be so tense trying to get him to calm down I had to lay him down, walk out of the room and calm myself. Then when I went back in he'd be so happy to see me he'd calm down easier. The other thing is he was allergic to wheat, dairy, and strawberries. I never managed to elliminate them completely from my diet either. I don't know how or if this story would help you. Just know someday you'll be through this and you'll all survive.

I wanted to add my ds, 3.5, is still an awesome sleeper! So far no sleep issues from it.
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Sorry, but however it is wrapped up, this sounds like cio to me.

Yes, your baby will learn. Yes, he/she will survive. It will 'work', if by 'work' you mean that your baby will learn to sleep. But I believe that damage will be done. There is research that shows that cio causes physiological damage:

"Research by Christopher Coe in the United States suggests that although behaviours may be altered by such methods as leaving babies to cry it out, the physiological effects remain. Coe took infant squirrel monkeys and separated them from their mothers, and then monitored both their levels of 'distress calling' - that is, crying - and the cortisol levels in their blood. After a time, the monkeys ceased calling for their mothers and seemingly had overcome their distress. However, their cortisol levels remained high, and their immune systems and the development of their brains and other systems were negatively affected."

Coe, C.L., Glass, J.C., Wiener, S.G., Levine, S. (1983). Behavioral, but not physiological, adaptation to repeated separation in mother and infant primates. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 8(4): 401-409

There is a reason why women are not comfortable when they leave their babies to cio. It's quite simple - our physiology did not intend us to do it. It is bad for babies, bad for mothers.

I realise that this is not terribly helpful, but maybe you could explore other options. Have you thought about getting your dd to sleep in the stroller, then parking her until she wakes, grabbing some sleep yourself while she does? Both my dds slept for a few hours this way, and dh could resettle them easily by rocking the stroller if they were stirring. He took them for a walk to get them to sleep, and I immediately hit the sack. We still do this some evenings with dd#2.

It sounds exhausting, and frustrating, and I hope you find some answers, but I strongly believe that cio is not the one, whoever wrote the book and named it something else.

Good luck! I hope that you get lots of practical suggestions here.
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I believe there is a huge difference in leaving a newborn baby to cry herself to sleep and leaving an 8 1/2 month old for a few minutes.

I think it's about what is an issue for you and your baby. I personally have never left dd to cry alone, but am giving some serious consideration to trying the method I wrote above. I am no longer getting enough sleep to parent her the way I would like to and something needs to change.

It's all very well and good to say that this is a form of CIO and that is bad, but what solutions do you give mothers who are exhausted and do not have the support networks in place to be able to have a break?
island mommy,

sorry you're still in the midst of this. we were talking about this in the summer and now it's october already. this is a good reminder of how fast time goes and how quickly your sweet but exhausting baby will grow up and be off to dance class and soccer.

talk to me about how you did the elimination diet. i want to see why you were losing weight.

here's some repeat advice from me: magnesium

did you try it before? how much and at what intervals?

try 500mg calcium and 250 mg MAGNESIUM and a full glass water at bedtime.

then another 1/2 or whole MAGNESIUM in the night when you get up to pee.

this will help you relax and sleep heavier, fall asleep quicker and may get to baby's system and relax her, too.

ACIDOPHOLUS. this helps our family deal with allergy and excema and intestinal problems. easy to take (don't skimp) and easy to give baby.

also, have you started solids? be sure, sure, sure to only give baby food to play with on a full tummy of breastmilk. that means nurse her and have dh help prepare dinner.

too much food and not enough breastmilk can dehydrate a baby and screw up their digestion, etc. can contribute to wakefulness and lead baby to seek milk at night to balance things out.

can you take a nap?

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It's all very well and good to say that this is a form of CIO and that is bad, but what solutions do you give mothers who are exhausted and do not have the support networks in place to be able to have a break?
Have you tried a swing? My ds would not sleep longer than about 45 min while we co-slept, but once we learned of his reflux and kept him upright and used a swing for night sleep it worked wonders.

Does your baby sleep like this during the day, or is it strictly a night problem???

I believe there is a huge difference in leaving a newborn baby to cry herself to sleep and leaving an 8 1/2 month old for a few minutes.
An 8 1/2 month old is still a baby, and is still rather "new" - yes there is a difference. Perhaps you need to use the toilet or tend to another child for a minute. Crying as a means of getting a child to fall asleep is not a good thing. I know that it is darn near impossible to function being so exhausted, I know because I have been there. All behavior has a reason, since our babies cannot tell us the reason we need to find it ourselves. For us it was reflux and a case of having his days and nights mixed. It could be a food allergy, it could be the inability to get back to sleep once wakeful but regardless of what the issue is it will not be solved by letting them cry. Ok, so bed-sharing is not working for you, I understand there are many people who cannot sleep with a baby in the bed, but that does not mean that you need to make the baby CIO.

Do either of you own or have access to a swing? Try it if you can. Yes, it may run for a few hours but if that sleep is needed so desperatly that you would be willing to use a CIO tactic then using a battery-operated swing shouldn't raise any arguments and you can buy decent batteries at the dollar stores and I can tell you from first hand experience that they last just as long as those more expensive ones cost-wise (one set a week for 1$ or one set of energizer max's for two weeks for 3$ KWIM?)

Are you both SAHM's or WAHM's? Can you just wake up your dh's and tell them to take a "shift"?
I am a SAHM and this was happening with my second baby. We worked in shifts. DH took the first one from midnight till about 4-5 am then I took the next one, napping with ds till dd woke up. Then we found the reason and now he is a sleep champion - no crying needed.

Ask yourselves this question. If your babies were sick or colicky would you just let them cry? No, right? You would be there and try to soothe them correct? Why does this need to be any different. Maybe they are in pain from teathing, did you try using something like Hyland's Teething Tablets or even Orajel?

This miserable time will pass, but damage done by making a child CIO, no matter how "light" it is will not.
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This miserable time will pass, but damage done by making a child CIO, no matter how "light" it is will not.

This is such a simplistic view of the issue. It's not that black and white.

Just as there is research into babies CIO, there is a lot of research to support the fact that an 8 month old baby has the ability to be separated from her parent for short periods of time. They are also highly capable of learning how to settle and re-settle thenselves to sleep. Of course if there is a physical need you attend to it. But is it unreasonable to think that perhaps the baby may cry because at 8 months a habit has formed that you are now attempting to change? 2 minutes. 4 minutes. I have been on the toilet longer than this, and I hardly think Mieke will wear the emotional scars from that into her adulthood.

I'm not advocating that your baby should cry to get to sleep and that you should listen to your baby cry and do nothing. What I will support is a happy, well rested mother. I guess the point I want to make is to be careful how arguments against helping babies learn to sleep are worded, as there are too many mothers out there who feel inadequate enough without having their parenting decisions deemed wrong and cruel by fellow women and mothers.

This method sounded like the middle ground to me. I honestly don't view it as leaving her to cry herself to sleep and as someone who has swings, slings, a hammock and co-sleeps (all of which have failed), I don't really see any other options.

Island Mommy, my offer still stands if you're interested and if it's not for you that's fine too
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You know, if there is one thing I have learned, it is that YOU, the mother, know your baby, and yourself best. I am by no means in favor of any form of CIO, but maybe that's because 1. I can function pretty well on 2 hour sleep intervals, and 2. my baby would have NEVER tolerated being left to CIO - she would have cried until she threw up. I do have a very good friend who was suffering so much from lack of sleep that she was just a mess. She was depressed and falling asleep driving - not good. She decided to try Ferber (which I was totally against her doing!) and her DD cried for 5 minutes and fell asleep in a crib the first night!
She must have needed her own space. Some babies are like that.
On the other hand I also know a couple who co-slept and BF their son on demand and decided to Ferberize when he was 9 mos. They tried for a week leaving him to cry for 2-3 hours
and finally gave up when he got an ear infection. he went back to bed with them, and has not been the same baby since that week of he!! he must have had. These are parents who ignored the temperment and needs of their baby and went with the "advice" of parents and doctors.

The bottom line is that if you are a grouchy zombie-like depressed wreck like my friend was everyday, you are probably doing more damage to your baby in your mental and emotional absence than you could in letting your baby cry FOR A FEW MINUTES while you are in the room. Again - I stress that only you know your baby's temperment. I am all for finding the CIO alternative before trying any form of CIO.

I think night time parenting is the hardest part of parenting an that our babies need us just as much at night as they do during the day. Before I knew my friend and saw what she went through I was a very judgemental anti-cio person. I learned - who am I to judge? (although I am judgemental of ignorance and stupid parenting decisions like babywise!) I didn't have to live her life. I see that she's happy now and her baby is perfectly happy now - and we respect each other's parenting decisions (in fact, she's sad she couldn't co-sleep longer) because the bottom line is we both love our children and want the world for them. I think that is also probably true of you.
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Thanks for all the info and support. I'll post more later, but have an incredible sore throat, dd has a cold and I only slept 2 hours last night. I'm off to bed.

I was supposed to cook Thanksgiving dinner tonight for mom and sister and family. Had to call and say there was no way I could do it. Disappointing, but mom came and picked up the turkey and veggies and took it to my sister's. Now at least I can sleep.
I totally agree with lucklady. I've been thinking about this alot since I last posted. I've always been against cio, on principle. It doesn't make sense to walk away from a crying baby, in a perfect world. But with Josef I wasn't functioning well at all and he still had me near and comforting him when he was crying. With Andrew I was prepared to do the same thing but his temperment is different and I never 'needed' him to learn to do it alone. He can fall asleep anywhere, stroller, car, my arms... then I could lay him down. There were a couple times I just threw him in his crib because I needed to tend to Josef immediately and Andrew would cry for a minute then start playing until I came and got him. He didn't even seem to be overly excited to see me.

I don't know what advice to give except try to know where you stand as a Mom and what your baby needs from you. If you are managing to function with little, broken-up sleep bits it's different than if you're afraid you'll fall over from sleep deprivation while holding the baby and damage him that way. You have to find what fits you. I don't think there've been any experiments done where the mother consistently returns and gives more comfort than alone time.

Let us know, when you get a moment, how it's going and what you're choosing.
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but the thing is, she requested help from anti-cio advocates.

i wonder why people don't respect that.

there seems to be quite a lot of trying to convince going on here.

it's great to say here's what worked for us, if it helps you, great.

hope you feel better soon, island mama.

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Island Mommy I feel for you! I guess all you can try is the pick up and comfort/put down ... pick up and comfort/put down ... pickup....

Have you read the Baby Whisperer? I think she's quite sensible. Practical advice on how to change 'accidental parenting' without just leaving a baby to CIO. It does take a LOT of patience though, 'cos it's so tempting not to put down when you know it will upset the baby, even for a moment. She talks about picking up over a hundred times on night one, then thirty, and on until baby can settle without rocking/walking or whatever you can't keep doing all night.

Best of luck with whatever you decide.

I AM anti-cio - the method I wrote about is what I am considering because we are in exactly the same position and have tried everything else. It does not involve leaving a baby to cry it out (as I keep saying). She asked for suggestions and that's what I gave her. What haven't I respected?
I value everyone's response so far.

I will definitely try rrr's suggestions. If we could get to the end result of better sleeping without anyone crying (me or the baby
) I'd be the happiest woman alive.

But I also know that I can't keep going like this, although it has been over 4 months now. So, it's important to have some alternatives in case I get to the "danger zone" as Dr. Sears puts it.

My worry of course is that I'll try something and it will backfire and dd will sleep every WORSE afterwards. Although, we're getting to the point that if she slept any worse she wouldn't be sleeping at all.

The last couple of nights I've put dd in a bucket seat to see if sleeping on an incline helps. No improvement so far, but she has a cold so I'm not expecting anything right now.

We had a swing but it was the wind-up kind. Mamaof2, how old is your ds? Until what age do you think it is safe for them to sleep in a swing? I'm not sure dh would go for me buying a mechanical swing...but hey, maybe I'll just do it. Do you give your ds Zantac? We got a prescription but I was uncomfortable giving it to dd when I didn't know for sure if she had reflux.

As for the elimination diet, I ate only oats, rice, millet, meat, olive oil, squash, avocado, potato and pears for over a month. I am not a big meat-eater, so couldn't stomach eating meat every day. I tell you, if anyone wants a good weight-loss diet, that's it! I've since tried completely eliminating dairy and I just keep giving up. I don't drink milk and use rice milk on my cereal. A bit of cheese once in awhile, a splash of milk in my tea and some chocolate here and there is the extent of my dairy intake.

I'll admit I bought some soy-based formula the other day. If dd is lactose intolerant then no matter how much I eliminate dairy she's still getting lactose in my breastmilk. I thought I'd try a bottle of soy formula before she goes to sleep at night and see if that helps.

Thanks for all your support.
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(((hug))) what a tough situation to be in.

i agree with whoever it was that suggested acidophilus, if you haven't tried it already. my DD had yeast in her belly and cried every time she ate for like a month, especially at night, and as soon as i started giving her acidophilus (and taking some myself, too) she was a totally different baby within like 3 days. it's extremely gentle to their delicate systems, so even if that's not the problem, it wouldn't hurt to try. does it seem like she's gassy? i know with DD, the yeast made her very gassy, and to help relieve those symptoms when they were extreme i gave her Hyland's homeopathic colic tablets - they always made her burp really loud a few times, and then she'd usually pass right out.

we co-sleep, and for my DD, picking her up usually makes it worse unless she's totally screaming. instead, i gently pat her on the chest (she sleeps on her back), stroke her head with the other hand, and shhhhhhh in her ear very lightly and rhythmically. she never cries for more than about a minute that way, but if i pick her up we'll be pacing the floor for an hour. just what works for us.

i hope you find something that helps soon - it sounds like everyone could use a good night's sleep.
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How do I give dd acidophilus and how much?
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