Crying it Out

I've been hearing a lot about "cry it out" lately on a baby board that I frequent.  For those of you who don't know, crying it out, or CIO, is when you let your baby cry in hopes of him learning how to "self-soothe".  Some people will let baby cry for a set time then go in to comfort baby, but NOT pick the baby up.  Others just let baby cry until he falls asleep (probably from exhaustion).

There is going to be a time in almost every parent's life where one considers CIO.  Maybe baby won't let you put him down.  Maybe baby isn't sleeping well.  Whatever the reason, CIO is never a good idea.  The only time I think it's okay to let the baby cry is if you are at your breaking point (put baby in a safe place and walk away), or you need to do something quick and the baby will only be crying for five minutes (tops). 

The only times we let Em cry is when we really need to do something and holding her just isn't an option.  If I'm making her a bottle or getting her meds ready or if I need to eat and I'm alone....  these are the times she may cry for a bit, but never long.  I would never just let her cry in hopes of teaching her how to soothe herself.

CIO is so popular that Harvard did a study on it.  I find their results quite interesting.

"The pair examined child-rearing practices here and in other cultures and say
the widespread American practice of putting babies in separate beds - even
separate rooms - and not responding to their cries may lead to more
incidents of post-traumatic stress and panic disorders among American
adults.  The early stress due to separation causes changes in infant brains that
makes future adults more susceptible to stress in their lives, say Commons
and Miller."

This makes sense then as to why so many adults are on meds for anxiety and why so many children have had panic attacks before the age of eight.  Something has changed to cause this to happen (I certainly didn't have panic attacks when I was eight). 

So basically, Em will never have to CIO. One of us will always be there to pick her up and hold her.  She is attached to my hip these days and that is okay!

"Parents should recognize that having their babies cry unnecessarily harms
the baby permanently. It changes the nervous system so they're sensitive to
future trauma."
- Dr. Michael Commons, Dept of Psychiatry, Harvard

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