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In a nutshell, what's wrong w/CIO?

1178 Views 15 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  Xenogenesis
Ok, we're not going to do it, so don't flame me.

But, really...sometimes I really do wonder. My dh' friend's wife is the authority on all child related issues. Her 20 mos. old goes into her room at 8pm and doesn't reappear until 8am. Same thing 2x/day for naps. The wife is well rested, the child obediant, the parents have sex in their own bed. Ok, I really despise this woman so it's easy to dismiss her. BTW: dh just said today their child is really clingy. And, they can never go on overnights for fear of disturbing the training.

But, my friend w/a year old just "had to" cry it out b/c she was getting no sleep and was a wreck at work. She said it was a horrible 3 nights but now dd sleeps 12 hours on her own.

I sleep every night and every nap w/a child tucked under each armpit. Ds, 11 mos., is back to waking several times/night to nurse or just to look at me for reassurance. I'm exhausted. And, sex?
My kids are incredibly happy, secure and independent every waking moment, though. I would never let them scream and wonder why I wasn't there for them. But, all these women I know who've let their babies scream it out say it's worth it in the end.
But, then don't you have to "retrain" everytime there's a change in health or routine?

What do you think? Short term vx. long term?
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It's mean. It affects the childs ability to trust his/her own parents. Clingy makes me think those poor kids live in fear they will be abandoned... because they were abandoned in their beds. You can prove empirically that the child was perfectly safe the whole time, but if the child FELT unsafe... that's the whole ballgame. I too sleep with a head in my armpit (a head that resists shampooing to boot! ugh!) I would rather my daughter work out her security issues about my presence and reliability in her sleep than have to consciously worry over them awake.
I agree that kids work things out in their sleep. I can't believe how much my 2 y.o. dreams-he was talking about daffodils last night.


sleep with a head in my armpit
Yeah, and last night I noticed I had clumps of little blond curls in the ole pit when ds got up to potty....daddy had let him play w/scissors unsupervised.
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Originally posted by kama'aina mama
Clingy makes me think those poor kids live in fear they will be abandoned... because they were abandoned in their beds.
I don't think so. I have a clingy son and I never did CIO and I co-slept. I think if anything it may be the opposite. It's possible that they don't show emotions or become detached because they have learned that nobody listens to their needs.
In a nutshell CIO teaches them that they cannot count on the ones they love to be there for them when they need them. It tells them that their needs are not important. These kinds of things can really affect a person and their relationships for the rest of their life.
Well, I know that I will probably get flamed for this but here it goes......

Back when I didn't know about Mothering, didn't know about AP, didn't know much except what was in the mainstream parenting magaxzines.....I let my ds CIO - and yes, he was only a little baby
I was terrible - but it lasted only 2 days.....and then he slept like a dream. He was one of those kids that would smile and walk to his own room when you said it was time to go to sleep..........This lasted for almost 2 years - until I was pg with dd and reading ALOT about AP and then we started co-sleeping
And now he 'can't' fall asleep without someone.....*sigh* but would I change it - probably not.....

Anyway - He is not abnormally clingy and is a very happy, vibrante, and wonderful all around kid! So I *personally* feel that our CIO didn't hurt him......but I don't believe it is the best thing for kids either.......I think it really depends on the kid and their personality. Like I said after 2 days of no more then 10 - 15 minutes of crying at bed and nap, my ds was putting himself to sleep - and actually *wanting* to go to bed.....where I have heard other people who will try CIO and let their kids cry for HOUR and do this for WEEKS trying to "train" them to sleep - this to me is damaging, obviously the baby is not going to do that.....

Ok - so I have rambled on and on......I guess it all depends on what someone means by CIO. My dd who co-slept for the first year has now been waking in the middle of the night to play! What fun! If you pick her up and take her out of her crib she will literly want to stay up for HOURS! So now instead, as soon as I hear her crying I go in her room and hug her, I offer to nurse her (which she usually refuses) and then I tell her we need to go back to sleep and I lay down in the bed next to her crib and stay with her. She gets very mad - but nothing else works
: If I pick her up, she goes like a wet noodle until I put her on the floor to play - so my only alternative (other they staying up from 2-5) is to let her cry and be mad about it!
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crying = stress

stress = elevated heart rate, elevated blood pressure, elevated respiration, increased cortisol and other stress hormones, elevated body temperature....

not to mention the psychological effects of being in a state of distress (I would call it "fight/flight" but babies don't have the option to do either: their fight/flight response consists of one thing: cry for somebody to come and save you!) and the effect of lack of response to a baby's sense of trust and desire to communicate.

to allow a baby to cry when you have the ability to comfort it is way beyond *my* comfort level of responsible parenting.
sorry, having to remove all posts with personal info due to an online stalker.
Originally posted by lilirose
I'm about to make a strong statement, let me say in advance that I am not pointing fingers or trying to flame anyone...this is just my opinion and I have felt really strongly about it for a very long time.

I am against CIO because I feel that it is a violation of the child's human rights. Most people would never dream of letting a handicapped or elderly adult "cry it out" so that his/her caregivers can go have sex or sleep peacefully for eight hours or whatever. If we found out that the workers at a nursing home were ignoring incapacitated adults so that the workers could have time to themselves, or so that the patients could learn to sleep alone, we would all be outraged to hear about it and would demand that the workers be fired! So why is it okay to do the same thing to a helpless infant?

I think that it's highly possible that CIO works for some children. I've never tried it myself, but a lot of mothers claim that it works like a charm. And maybe the children aren't really harmed by it. To me all that is beside the point. The only thing that matters, in my mind, is that a baby is a human being, just like an adult, and no human being's cries of distress should go ignored.

Very well said, lilirose!
I'm right there with you! I will not, nor have I ever let DS CIO. Aside from anything I've read on AP and gentle parenting, it just flat out feels wrong to me. It goes against all my instincts as a parent and as a compassionate human being.

I couldn't imagine DH leaving ME alone to cry in any situation....and I'm an adult. I'm capable of handling these types of situations, but I'm still someone with a lot of feelings and enjoy the touch of my loved ones around me when I'm upset. This thought alone is enough to know that CIO is wrong to a little person who has yet to experience a broad range of life emotions.

I think all too often people treat children differently than they are some sort of subspecies that need to be trained to behave. This is so sad to me because it has been proven to create apathetic adults. These apathetic adults are going to be running our society as we all get older. Lets hope they learn some apathy on the way, for our sake. I don't believe it's just CIO alone, but a whole parenting style that CIO usually fits into.
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Aside from the emotional issues, there are the physiological, which in my mind cannot be separated anyway, as nature intended the mother and baby to be emotional about this.

Here's a really interesting piece of research:

"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

Research has also been done that shows that babies being held by their mothers regulate their breathing better than those left to sleep alone. Interestingly, cultures that don't leave their babies to sleep alone or to cry it out, have no term for SIDs, or what the British call 'cot death.' This is because nature intended for a mother to hold a new baby while his nervous system is undeveloped. Other studies show the dangers of babies who might be thirsty or hungry being left to cry and then suffering dehydration. Even the American Academy of Pediatrics, who are known to be conservative to a point of being non-commital, warns against scheduling the feedings of young babies, due to the number readmitted to hospitals every year due to dehydration.

Interestingly, nature got it right here too, because breastmilk alters its composition to provide just water to fend off dehydration when the baby sucks lightly. The mother is programmed to want to offer to nurse when the baby is restless, and to read its cues that it is thirsty, but we have moved so far from our instinctual selves that we often miss these cues. The formula companies have persuaded mothers that they can equal God's design, or even better it.

Of course, it can be argued that the baby 'learns' by sleep-training, but I would question exactly what he learns. Why is everything, especially 'sleeping through the night', a stress in our society? I think a huge factor is that we fail to consider the basic physiology of woman and baby, and don't trust that nature knows best. There is a problem developing in the Western world because man is losing his trust in God's design, and is starting to believe that he can improve on it. God created in babies the instinct to want to suckle. He created in mothers the instinct to want to hold their babies. When a mother nurses a baby, sleep hormones for both mother and baby are released. The baby falls asleep in the mother's arms, and she rests as her baby rests. The baby needs to be held and mother wants to hold the baby.

We will never know if it harms a child long-term if he is left to cry, but the few pieces of research done, show that it does do short-term harm. I don't think that you can pin point an aspect of a child's personality and put it down to cio, or any one experience of their childhood - each individual is a result of a complex mixture of nurture and nature. But cio cannot be an experience that adds a plus to a child's personality or self-esteem. It is logical to me that it adds a negative. But you wouldn't know how the child would have turned out without it.

I see the "cio does no harm" as being in line with "my parents spanked me, but I turned out OK." But I might have made a few disastrous relationships, I might have had problems with friendships, I might have felt the need to meddle with addictive substances, I might have bullied or been bullied as a teenager, I might have underachieved academically ...........the possibilities are endless. How many of those things could be directly attributed to being spanked it is impossible to say, but they are a result of the sum total of the experiences of childhood.
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I can't see any situation where CIO is appropriate other than maybe a rare occasion where the only available caregiver is at risk of abusing the child and needs to take a mental health moment or two to chill out.

Besides being unkind and showing the baby you cannot be relied upon, there is this to consider as well:

Infant Worries Could Be Carried for Years:
Where Does Baby Stress Go?

It's not proof, but researcher Michael Commons points out that children in non-Western societies, ones that generally provide more familial support to children, kids seem to be less stressed.Psychiatrists said today there may be a physical basis linking stressed-out babies to personality disorders in adulthood.

Babies who are made to sleep alone or are not picked up and comforted enough may grow up susceptible to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and personality problems, said Dr. Michael Commons of the Harvard Medical School, and colleagues.The idea that babies need physical contact is not new-that is why they are no longer swaddled in tight blankets and left to cry for hours. But researchers speaking at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science said they were starting to find evidence of physical changes in the brain caused by stress in infancy.

"Parents in most cultures have infants sleep with them," Commons told a news conference. "As an infant, sleeping by yourself is very stressful. We can see this because infants cry."Scientists have also found levels of the stress hormone cortisol to be much higher in crying babies. Commons suggested that constant stimulation by cortisol in infancy caused physical changes in the brain.

These Changes Don't Go Away

"It makes you more prone to the effects of stress, more prone to illness including mental illness and makes it harder to recover from illness," Commons said. "These are real changes and they don't go away."
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I'm really pleased that you could ask this question and not be flamed. Asking for information should never lead to 'telling off'. I think you've got lots of educated informed answers already, but here's my 2 cents worth of anecdotal evidence.

We tried it once when we were trying to break a pacifier habit. I was assured that in three days it would be over. As I have 'confessed' here before, I had 9 days of hell, and so did my baby. CIO does not work for ALL babies. Some might give in and learn you aren't coming, but mine just got beside himself and slept really poorly. He became anxious to lie in his cot or Moses basket next to me during the day, and it was like he didn't trust us any more. It took about 3 weeks after we stopped for him to come right. He kept the pacifier, I kept my sanity.

As for now... last night he slept awfully, we had him in bed with us, and he was awake for ages at 3.30am, but not crying. He was cuddled and went to sleep between two people who love him. The night before he slept 12 hours in his own room. Obviously something was going on last night (teeth, tummy or just needing cuddles) and I for one am much happier giving it to him than listening to him cry. For what it's worth after that hard night, this morning he went straight to sleep in his own bed for his nap. I think he is a happier, better sleeper for being tended to.

There are no rules for all babies!
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I agree with Pip, CIO does not work well for all babies.

I have also said in the past that my daughter had to fuss (not scream) for about ten minutes before she drifted off.....and stayed asleep for 12 hrs. this i learned when she was over a year old and i tried everything and anything to soothe her.i was a complete wreck and my child a miserable baby then toddler. she slept and its like she was reborn. but this didnt last 3 days, it lasted one time, when i realized it was ok for her to fuss, moan groan whatever (for a very short time). now my second and third children did not do this, and i can tell you, there would be no way in he!! i would have let my 3rd child cry, not for a second. he is very clingy, and he was not left to cio (we still cosleep and he is 5), nursed whenever and wherever, and was held 24/7. this is just who nicholas is. it would break my heart if i left him crying and it still bothers me if i sneak a shower in and he is looking for me!
I believe knowledge is power. After reading Elizabeth Pantley's NO CRY SLEEP SOLUTION, I discovered it is so much more than just letting them cry. It's about a schedule, routine and above all patience. Every child is different. It may work for the neighbors child, but not for yours.
here's a good pretty brief article on the importance of touch --

America's "let them cry" attitude toward children may lead to more fears and tears among adults, according to two Harvard Medical School researchers.

Instead of letting infants cry, American parents should keep their babies close, console them when they cry, and bring them to bed with them, where they'll feel safe, according to Michael L. Commons and Patrice M. ******, researchers at the Medical School's Department of Psychiatry.

..."Parents should recognize that having their babies cry unnecessarily harms the baby permanently," Commons said. "It changes the nervous system so they're overly sensitive to future trauma."
i agree that a lot does depend on the personality of the child. my dd would never have been able to be a CIO baby. she never would have given up or given in. car rides with her when she was an infant were awful even when we stopped every 45 minutes to nurse and i sat next to her and patted her and sang to her. i'm crossing my fingers that babe #2 (due in early dec) doesn't take after big sis that way or we may just be house bound for the first 6 mo.

T regarding the nursing home analogy, while i agree that most of us wouldn't want our elderly loved ones to be crying or otherwise asking for attention and not getting any, it does happen and is pretty much the way it is in the nursing homes i've been in. my dad is in a home now and it's very nice, but unless a patient has someone to be with them 24/7 like a parent with a child it's inevitable that the patients are not responded to immediately. it's really not an appropriate analogy. a nursing home is more like a hospital nursery and you know the little babes in the nursery aren't immediately responded to and if they are it's not always in the way they want (say, mama and mama milk). it's the same for the nursing home patients. sometimes they just want things they can't have -- like to get up and walk when they're not physically capable any more. okay, that was highly off topic, but i've had a lot of nursing home experience in the past year and it sucks, but sometimes it seems like the best choice if you can't care for somebody at home.

i think a more appropriate analogy is just say mom at home and sick or sad and crying and dh just leaving her in another room and ignoring her. if we have the capacity for caring for someone in our own homes who is upset and needs our help shouldn't we help? i admit this is tough now that dd is having some tantrumy times, but i do my best to remember to act with compassion and empathy and set the kind of example that i want dd to follow.
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I did CIO with my first son twenty-one years ago.


I can "see" the long-term effects.

Now if we can just stop Grandma from getting up so many times a night we'd be doing well.
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