Dangers of Crying it Out from Psychology Today

I just had to share this article with you guys. I hope it helps reinforce the positive parenting techniques for moms who are trying hard to be responsive.

It’s hard work but it is natural, instinctive and well worth it.

ENJOY!

[don’t read it from the standpoint of “omg that one time I let my baby cry, she’s scarred for life”, but from the standpoint of the background on human history for why babies need to be responded to and not left to cry until they are over with it]

the Dangers of Crying It Out

And just because I can’t post without a photo: Lexi reading her favorite book

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Posted from iPhone.

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68 Comments

  • Reply
    Emily
    August 25, 2012 at 10:15 PM

    Crying it out was the only thing that worked for my baby. When she was tired she HATED to be held. She wanted to work it out herself and she always did. My baby was soooo much happier after we did a couple nights of CIO. But, that’s what worked for us! I understand it’s not for everyone.

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      August 26, 2012 at 7:18 AM

      I think your last two sentences are key! Every mother/baby pair is different and it’s solely up to the parents to decide what it is that works for them.

    • Reply
      Anne
      August 26, 2012 at 3:52 PM

      Mine was the same way. She would cry literally for hours as we tried to rock or nurse her to sleep. When we finally tried CIO (using the kindler, gentler Sleep Lady method from Good Night, Sleep Tight where a parent stays in the room), she cried for a grand total of 15 minutes the first night and 3 the second. She still occasionally lets out a few cries when I put her down for a nap because she’s telling herself she’d rather stay up and play even though she’s exhausted. However, overall she’s a much happier baby and much less overstimulated.

      • Reply
        MMS
        August 28, 2012 at 12:26 PM

        We also used Good Night, Sleep Tight. Loved it! Glad to hear another glowing report. I think it has a ton to do with if your baby is a cuddler/non-cuddler. My son was a cuddle bug and would go to sleep instantly while being rocked. My daughter would arch her back, flail around, etc. until we put her down and she could herself in a particular position. To this day, she is the most independent of all of my children. She wants to do everything on her own, while my 12 year old is content to have me do everything for him if I would. LOL..Different strokes for different folks even applies to babies.

  • Reply
    Rachell
    August 25, 2012 at 10:18 PM

    What a great article. I am so tired of hearing people tell me to just let him cry. NO, if my child is crying it means something is wrong. I am sending this to everyone I know. Thank you for keeping everyone informed!!!

  • Reply
    Ciara
    August 25, 2012 at 10:18 PM

    There are times though that some of us get stressed out and it is safer for us to put the baby down and let them CIO of a couple minutes. My son may cry for 5-10 minutes after I put him down for bed but I know that he is safe and if I’m getting especially frustrated than I’m not going to do something to hurt him. CIO works for some people and it doesn’t for others and I really don’t think that all that much harm is done to the child. I don’t agree with the article.

  • Reply
    Jill
    August 25, 2012 at 10:39 PM

    “Psychology Today” is not peer reviewed and that article would have never made the cut with any respectable journal. It is crappy pop psychology and mostly opinion. They lost me when they applied a study on neglected babies and elevated cortisol (neglect meaning left alone for several hours – both lacking in food and comfort) to “cry it out” as it is applied in the average setting (loving parents who let their baby cry for 10 minutes). It just isn’t the same thing and to compare the two is irresponsible. I have a Bachelors in Psych and a Masters in Counseling – this article is bunk and PT magazine is a joke.

    Crying happens. I never let either of my children cry before 6 or 7 months old (within reason, obviously – bad car trips happened). But after that I did “sleep train” them both through Ferber. And you know what? I would be you a lot of money that my kids slept better and cried less than almost any baby whose mother didn’t believe in CIO. Because after a few nights, they were both sleeping longer and more soundly. At 1 and 3 years old they both still nap at least 2 hours per day and sleep happily and soundly 7 to 7. TO ME, it is more damaging to have children who CANNOT sleep without 23904821 outside factors. If your child isn’t napping well (meaning soundly sleeping for at least an hour, 2-3 times per day as a baby), they are NOT getting adequate sleep. There are lots of great studies (both peer reviewed and pop opinion) about that too.

    • Reply
      Joe
      August 26, 2012 at 10:11 AM

      Completely agree.

    • Reply
      Betsy's momma
      August 26, 2012 at 10:50 AM

      I 100% agree. This article read likes research report from someone’s Child Development class in college. The typos were horrible, the evidence is old and out-dated, and the title didn’t make any sense. Although, it doesn’t take much to get published is Psychology Today.

      I firmly believe in children needing routines and good sleep hygiene. Good sleep is the foundation of healthy development. The journey there is not nearly as important as the end result. This to cry vs not to cry is getting to be a tired battle. No one functions well on sleep deprivation including babies.

    • Reply
      Lisa
      August 26, 2012 at 2:11 PM

      Great response, Jill.

      • Reply
        Tawny
        August 27, 2012 at 11:40 AM

        Jill and Betsy took the words right out of my mouth.

    • Reply
      Jamie
      August 27, 2012 at 2:17 PM

      Agreed. When my son was approaching 1 and STILL waking every 2-3 hours at night, I was about to crack (because we all know that falling back to sleep after a night waking isn’t an easy process for Mom, either!). I said between 10 pm and 4 a.m. I wouldn’t go in unless I felt he really, really needed me. It took 2 nights of him crying on/off for 30 minutes around 3 a.m. and he started sleeping through the night. At 6-7 months I was still okay waking multiple times a night…I didn’t love it because it was draining, but I managed…but as the months went on and he still woke up 4, 5, 6 times a night I knew something had to be done for both of us and that is the method that was quickest and most effective for him. He’s been a great sleeper ever since and is a completely secure little boy who knows he is very loved.

  • Reply
    Bailey
    August 25, 2012 at 10:55 PM

    I knew there was a good reason to not “cry it out”. I would hate to see my baby (that doesn’t exist yet) cry, when I’m perfectly able to go and comfort them. Thank you so much for sharing! And the photos are adorable, as always!

  • Reply
    Kim
    August 25, 2012 at 11:06 PM

    This is the exact article that made me do terrified of doing any type of sleep training since for my daughter any type would have to be CIO to a certain dwhere because she would go from calm to hysterical in 5 seconds, she had no fuss. My last comment about this issue got buried so I will repost it-

    For what it’s worth, my 15 mo old was exactly the same way as a baby and we fell into the default of doing anything to get her to sleep. Swings, rocking, nursing to sleep,etc. which all only yielded very small amounts of sleep time. She would stay up for 12-16 hours straight from 2 months old on, it was crazy. She has not yet outgrown this. She still wakes up at least 3 times a night and as a result I haven’t been able to sleep in any more than 3 hour chunks for over a year. I am mentally and physically exhausted all the time. I couldn’t sleep train because I felt too guilty and selfish to even try but now I wish I had earlier. It’s so much harder to try as they get more stubborn and can call out for you by name. I loved being needed but the novelty wore off and now I am just tired and cranky all the time.

    She also can still not handle any independent play and has severe separation anxiety. I am sure a small amount of that is her personality but a larger part was our own doing.

    My husband and I were 100% pro AP, against CIO methods and now we are realizing that we either did it very wrong or it just served to make everything much more difficult then it needed to be. Recently I have started asking around and our outcome is much more common then anyone admits until you press the issue and dig deeper. I had a lot of the same responses as you at 6 months about how it’s no big deal because I stay at home and we don’t have anywhere we need to be, I can just wait for her to be ready. Now I am over it. We have made very little to no progress at all and are now having to contemplate sleep training just for survival.

    If your friends kids grew out of the sleep crutches on their own they are lucky. It is not the norm.

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      August 26, 2012 at 7:11 AM

      I have a lot of people i know who practised responsive parenting and all of their babies grew out of needing to be put to sleep and are just absolutely amazing kids.

      As far as growing out of crutches, I think some babies need more help than others. I’m currently working on Lexi’s need to be rocked with gentle techniques by Pantley and I don’t want to jinx it but I’m already seeing results.

      • Reply
        Jessica
        August 26, 2012 at 9:52 AM

        I agree with Elena. She will grow out of it. My daughter (now 2 1/2 years old) was always nursed to sleep and only napped in my arms. She now falls asleep on her own (she still nurses but doesn’t nurse to sleep–she stopped on her own around 2 years old) and she doesn’t nap on me anymore. Those were things that she needed at the time. I definitely wasn’t going to let her cry herself to sleep when she needed me.

        • Reply
          Jessica
          August 26, 2012 at 10:35 AM

          I wanted to add (because Kim’s comment above) that my daughter plays on her own and does not have separation anxiety. She has stayed with my parents many times and goes to other people that she knows (great-grandma, aunts, friends of ours, etc).

  • Reply
    Sarah Joan
    August 25, 2012 at 11:23 PM

    i find this article to be interesting for sure, but i’m not really sure it does a good job of giving an explanation of the CIO method. When i had my 1st daughter i had many friends who had used the “babywise” method of getting a child to sleep, they gave me the basics of what it was and then just told me “you just got to let your baby cry to learn to self soothe” I felt VERY uncomfortable with this solution, but around 4 months of age i was desperate to get my HIGH NEEDS sleep baby to sleep without my help. We tried “CIO” and let her scream for 45minutes one, i HATED every moment and went to get her when my mommy instinct was just to strong to ignore. Here was the MAJOR fallacy on my part though. I didn’t take the time to get the Babywise or any pro-CIO method books and research on my own, i just took some loose advice from people i knew and it worked HORRIBLY-too be expected. I was practicing “Un-responsive” parenting. This is the problem though, i have since then researched and read “Baby Wise”, and, “Solve Your Child Sleep Problems” and bits and pieces of many other sleep books. And what i found was CIO method IS NOT supposed to be just lay your baby in bed, shut the door and let them scream themselves silly until the can’t do anything but fall into fitful rest. CIO is letting your child fuss and work through sleep “crutches”, CIO is being VERY responsive, coming and soothing your child over and over and over, just working on getting the child to not need to depend on a thousand different sleep crutches to fall asleep. I say all this to say i was VERY mislead as to what the CIO method was when i first began parenting and became vehemently against it after we tried that first night, i though people who used CIO were uncaring and were missing the “mommy instinct” I mean how could any mother just IGNORE their child’s screams. Well, at the time i had no understanding of CIO. Since then i have had a 2nd child and while i haven’t used CIO method with her (she miraculously attached herself to a pacifier and swaddle and has never needed help getting to sleep) i’m careful to not speak so negatively about it, but rather inform people of what it actually is so they don’t do what i did intially. Obviously not every parent is going to use it-i still wouldn’t use it because in the correct form you need to be VERY consistant with feedings and scheduling-i myself am NOT a schedule person so its not really a method for me. But i know many who have used it and they are better for it. Their children are not neglected in the least, they are very confident, strong, independent kids, their parents where able to find something that worked for them and the family was better for it. So i caution people to this article. Babies Cry. period. Its COMPLETELY NORMAL. There wasn’t enough explanation in this article of how much crying is bad thing, they didn’t address colic babies aside from give a link on how to soothe colic babies, it is very one-side. I think informing parents of what CIO is and then giving pros and cons as well as other options it the best way to help new parents. Not scare them with articles like this. I don’t mean to be offensive to you Elena, i know you don’t do CIO (and neither do it), but many other parents do and it has worked wonderfully for them, this article put those parents into the “BAD PARENT” box which is really un-fair.

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      August 26, 2012 at 7:05 AM

      What I got from the article personally is the background on why babies cry and why we are supposed to be responsive. I don’t think this article is meant to be judging. It didn’t say people who do 10 minutes of CIO are evil.
      And “being responsive” varies from family to family. Some babies fuss for 30 min before they start crying, others go from happy to full fledged meltdown.

      It is the confirmation of my instinct to respond to my baby when she is distressed.

      The point is we get the info that available and we apply what we know to how we parent and this article was really interesting from that perspective.

  • Reply
    Corinne
    August 26, 2012 at 12:07 AM

    Thank you for sharing this!

  • Reply
    Lucy
    August 26, 2012 at 5:52 AM

    I’ve read this article and no where does it include any evidence that typical structured controlled crying programs such as those recommended by Ferber, Weissbluth et al are in any way harmful. The author of this article Darcia Narvaez, talks about how stressful situations are harmful to babies, but her underlying evidence comes from studies such as this one http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0165380693900223 which involve a 24 hour separation – hardly comparable to a controlled crying program! She also talks about how cortisol (a hormone produced in response to stress) is toxic to developing neurons – but fails to indicate the actual threshold at which it becomes harmful. The other articles that she has cited indicate that only a vast overproduction of cortisol over a sustained period of time could produce a harmful effect. And don’t forget that cortisol is a normal physiological chemical needed for proper glucose metabolism, regulation of blood pressure, blood sugar maintenance, immune function, and inflammatory response etc.

    No doubt neglectful, abusive parents are harmful to their babies, but it is ridiculous to conflate this with CIO/controlled crying. In my opinion, Danica Narvaez undermines her academic and intellectual authority by doing so.

    I respect your decision not to do CIO, but please don’t fear monger that it has “dangers” when there simply isn’t the science to back it up. I could equally say that Ferber, Weissbluth etc. have also done decades of research and found no evidence that CIO/controlled crying are harmful and plenty of evidence that they have found many advantages. I mean, given the litigious culture in medicine today, they are not going to recommend any method for which they could be sued for causing permanent harm!

    Personal disclosure, I am super lucky in that my son has been a great sleeper his whole life. I’m not looking at this from a personal perspective, I’m looking at it from a science perspective. You want to say that breastfeeding is (slightly) superior to formula feeding? Sure, I’ll back you up on that one, there is plenty of hard scientific evidence to back it up. But the evidence simply doesn’t exist on this issue.

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      August 26, 2012 at 7:14 AM

      For what it’s worth, I didn’t get the impression that the article spoke specifically about structured Sleep training programs. The term CIO to me is to literally let the baby cry it out.

      • Reply
        Sandi
        August 26, 2012 at 11:54 AM

        I don’t think there have been many people on here have been advocating for you to put your daughter in her crib and let her cry herself to sleep. I think most people have been advocating sleep training of some sort.

  • Reply
    Emily
    August 26, 2012 at 7:13 AM

    You can find articles on the internet that tell you anything you want about raising your child.

    They always list the dangers of crying, but they never seem to list the danger and harm of a chronically overtired baby and mother. Hmmmmm….

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      August 26, 2012 at 7:24 AM

      I think there’s always a balance, an in between. Babies can be put to sleep many different ways that don’t result in an overtired baby.

  • Reply
    Pretty_Petunia
    August 26, 2012 at 7:13 AM

    Yes, great article with lots of important information (though I don’t completely agree with extensive crying of an infant equalling a lack of experience, knowledge and support of the caregiver, there are too many variables for that to be as clear cut as this article makes out) but…there’s a whole world of difference between supporting a child to learn to do things like self-soothe and fall asleep by themselves and CIO or “a crusade against affection” that the article outlines.

    I’ve noticed that every time the topic comes up on your blog Elena, and people suggest you might want to help Lexi develop some of these skills which would in turn make both your lives easier (that is Lexi’s too, not just yours), you automatically intimate that these people are suggesting that you use CIO, that you should leave her to cry for hours alone. Supporting a baby to self-soothe, fall asleep alone etc and CIO are NOT the same, and I feel that you posting this article is rather disingenuous. You want to demonstrate that you are the perfect mother because you don’t leave your baby alone for a second, while at the same time implying that mothers who do it any way differently to you (i.e. those mothers who support their children to put themselves to sleep or whatever) are essentially abusing their children. This article would be irrelevant to 99% of the people who read and comment on your blog because I doubt very few people do CIO in the way this article suggests it is done.

    As you know, I generally like your blog, but I’m a bit fed up with the whole supporting babies approach somehow automatically equalling CIO/Abuse/Neglect and the associated hyperbolic “if you let your baby cry for 2 seconds they will be scarred for life!!!”

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      August 26, 2012 at 7:23 AM

      Lol this was not in response to people’s suggestions. I just read the article, liked the info and shared. You know I’ll do what I feel is right with Alexis regardless . No need to read into it.

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      August 26, 2012 at 8:14 AM

      Also, I don’t think the article was talking about the properly administered controlled crying techniques or anything BUT immediate response. The way I read it is it gave a very good explanation for why we as parents are supposed to be responsive. What that means in each situation is different. For some it might mean a minute, for others it might mean 5 minutes. Everyone acts within their circumstances.

      I guess I have a big problem with this sentence of yours “You want to demonstrate that you are the perfect mother because you don’t leave your baby alone for a second, while at the same time implying that mothers who do it any way differently to you (i.e. those mothers who support their children to put themselves to sleep or whatever) are essentially abusing their children”
      Don’t you think that’s a bit assuming? How can you say what it is I am implying by posting an article with some support words for fellow mothers?

      You said it yourself: “Very few people do CIO in the way this article suggests it is done” (which I agree with), which means people have nothing to worry about.

      It is just a good article to reinforce positive parenting, that’s all 😉

  • Reply
    Sarah
    August 26, 2012 at 10:12 AM

    I understand what you are saying you took from this article. The idea that babies cry because they need something and mothers respond because, at some point in time, they needed to stop the alert to predators, is fine. The reassurance that you’re doing the right thing in responding to your baby’s needs is always appreciated. But even you have to admit, the title of your post (the article’s title, granted) is misleading and more than a little fear mongering. I clicked through thinking there might be some small piece of evidence that CIO is truly dangerous, as implied by the title. What I found was a poorly written article full of typos, scattered ideas, and misapplied evidence that neglect and abuse are damaging. In short, “Letting babies cry is bad because SCIENCE!” As your other commenters have mentioned, none of that has anything to do with structured and supported self soothing in infants. I know how hard it can be to lose sleep to respond to your baby’s needs while everyone around you is telling you to just let them cry. I never let my boys CIO, but if it had come to that I think I would have been open to it. I realize that for you this article was comforting, and helped you to feel like you’re doing the best for you daughter. But you have set yourself up on this blog as a strong supporter of AP, and your readers look to you for support and guidance. By your own admission, you have done the research and people (whether right or wrong) consider you something of an expert. What you say you took from this article is entirely different from what the title and article itself imply, and I think it’s more than a little irresponsible of you to put something like that out there for parents who are struggling through sleepless nights and trying to do what’s best for their babies. Instead of walking away thinking “This is fine, it will get better, I’m happy with the mother I am” they walk away thinking that letting their baby cry is causing permanent and lifelong damage. If you truly do support each parent doing what’s best for their baby, focus on that. There’s nothing wrong with explaining your position on parenting and offering support to people in the same situation, but please don’t scare people into your beliefs in the name of science when there’s no science to be found. Ed: The fact that you had to add in later the viewpoint you think people should have reading the article should be a good indicator to you that it didn’t have the intended effect with your readers. People will read it how they will, and your take on it seems to be in the minority.

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      August 26, 2012 at 10:29 AM

      Ok, the name dangers of CIO isn’t the best title, I agree, but I just copied if off the article. The typos were annoying, but the concept was there, and it’s not the only article that talks about this. I’ve read a ton of books and articles that pretty much the say the same thing, this just did a good job summing it up.

      I will paste what I wrote to a different commentor:

      “Basically, I went back to re-read the article, thinking maybe I missed the judgement in it the first time around, but I still don’t see it. What I see is an article about infant biology, a need to be responsive to babies’ needs, the dangers of leaving a baby in distress alone. I also think when it talks about CIO, it means the original meaning of CIO, which is letting a baby CRY IT OUT in distress without response. It keeps talking about extreme distress, extreme crying, abandonment of the baby. From what little I know of sleep training techniques, parents are encouraged to leave the baby only for short periods of time, and never ignore a truly distressed baby. So the “judgement” or “dangers” in this article wouldn’t really apply to most modern CIO parents, like Courtney Carpenter Morrel. I don’t think 3-5 minutes even counts as CIO, it’s how long it sometimes takes to get upstairs to respond to the baby (lol)

      Anyways, what I am trying to say is to me what this article did is encourage parents to be responsive, loving, to reinforce the idea that babies cannot be spoiled by being tended to, or responded to, that independence comes from security and trust in the caregiver, rather than being forced to be independent. I think these are all great suggestions and encouragements for everyone.

      And finally, difference of opinion and parenting techniques does not automatically equal judgement, and until the mommy world gets that, I think everyone will feel like everyone is judging everyone. lol Because one size DOES NOT fit all when it comes to babies. I can tell that just from Lexi, because things that work for her are so so different from things that work for other babies and it was a matter of going through them, one after another, to even find what works ( and it keeps changing to boot ) :)”

      And let me address something you said “By your own admission, you have done the research and people (whether right or wrong) consider you something of an expert”
      WOW! Where did you get THAT from? I bet those wonderful forums with crazy people putting words in my mouth and inventing hilarious shit and their mindless readers eating it all up. Not once did I say I was an expert or anyone considered me an expert. Simply because I don’t think so. I am a person with a new baby doing what I believe in.

      Finally, “…it didn’t have the intended effect with your readers. People will read it how they will, and your take on it seems to be in the minority.” That’s because people who agree don’t bother commenting and arguing, that’s reserved for those who get angry with the article. They instead send me personal emails about how much they agree and their situations. lol

      • Reply
        Corinne
        August 26, 2012 at 11:47 AM

        I think you’ve had a lot of positive feedback and readers comment and agree openly on your other articles, so why would this one be different? Also, Sarah never said you consider yourself an expert. She said you’ve done research (which you have) and people who follow you and can’t/won’t/don’t want to do their own research just take your findings and follow them because THEY believe you know all about it since you’re choosing to use or not use certain methods or techniques etc.
        I’m not saying I agree or disagree with anything. Just pointing out a few things.

        • Reply
          Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
          August 26, 2012 at 12:07 PM

          Corinne,

          Her words exactly “by your own admission”. I don’t think people consider me an expert. I’ve researched certain things, but others- I go based on my instinct. I honestly wouldn’t want anyone to think I’m an expert. With that come too many responsibilities. Lol

          As far as people sending emails, I was speaking in generalities, not about this post in particular.

          • Corinne
            August 26, 2012 at 12:31 PM

            Her words exactly “by your own admission, you have done the research” then she goes on to explain by you doing the research, people may feel you’re somewhat of an expert. I think she’s basically saying you have a LOT of influence over people and the decisions they make for their babies. They take it (on their own accord, not by recommendation from you since you’ve said what works for one will NOT work for all) as ‘she knows best and this is what I need to do’.

            Basically, with power comes responsibility. And I can’t stress enough, not saying YOU feel you’re an expert or YOU feel like an influence or pro, but others might and they take what you have to say blindly, putting you in that position.

          • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
            August 26, 2012 at 1:01 PM

            Lol I took it literally as “by your own admission, so-and-so AND so-and-so”, not “by your own admission, so-and-so and [therefore] so-and-so”.

            Who cares, we are debating semantics.
            The point is, I shared an article that I agree with based on the stuff I’ve read in other sources and books and my personal parenting views. I don’t think the article refers to the modern sleep training techniques, but to actual crying it out and not being responsive to baby’s needs.
            I also think that every mother knows her baby best and knows where the fussing turns into distress, which is what the article is referring to.

            As a side note, I don’t see where people could consider me an expert in parenting in particular because I’m learning as I go myself. Baby gear, certain development aspects, green/safe products/pregnancy- fine, whatever . But parenting, that’s just a very very subjective field that “experts” don’t belong in.

          • Sarah
            August 26, 2012 at 12:50 PM

            I didn’t say you consider yourself an expert. I said you have said you enjoy doing research and have done lots of it. Because of that, people follow your advice on things. I know you don’t consider yourself an expert. But for a lot of people who don’t have the time or inclination to do all of the reading you have done, it’s nice to have someone to sum it all up for them. Especially if they happen to be selling ideas they like. I truly don’t think you were judging anyone for using CIO. I just think that the tone of the article and the fact that you chose to use the title in your post about it were poor decision that could have consequences you hadn’t considered. Please don’t misunderstand me. I actually find most of your parenting decisions to be in synch with mine. I’m aware of the forums you’re talking about and I find them to be rude and ridiculous. Anyone can hide behind the anonymity of the internet and be a jerk, and that’s not my intention. I’m simply saying you may not realize the degree to which people panic when they read things like that article and know that there’s simply no way to stop their baby from crying 100%. Especially if it came from someone whose parenting advice in the past has seemed like something they could follow.
            Any real disappointment I feel is with the article, and we’ll just have to disagree about that. I feel absolutely that the author used the worst case scenario and an outdated method of child rearing to scare people into not using something that could work and has never been shown to be dangerous in any way. There’s no reason to write the article to modern day parents discrediting a technique used early last century, and she was very much trying to draw parallels that weren’t there. It’s wonderful that you chose to look past that and find the good in the article. Not everyone did.

          • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
            August 26, 2012 at 1:17 PM

            Ok I see. That’s what Corinne explained. I didn’t take it that way (see comment above).

            And I appreciate you realizing that I wasn’t sharing the article for any reason but the certain interesting facts behind it.

            The name sucks, the typos are unprofessional, the reference to the outdated CIO is misleading. BUT I just really do like the premise behind it. I guess between you and me (and everyone else reading this lol), it particularly sang to me because I am currently reading Baby Hearts book which is an AMAZING book and said pretty much that without the heavy slant on CIO=Bad. Sometimes I read certain things and I think “oh I wish I had time to write about that”.

            And the article summed up everything the book was saying.

            And at the same time, I think people shouldn’t take CIO so lightly especially if they hadn’t read the books on how to properly do it, so an article encouraging the responsive parenting is helpful especially for new moms. If I were not into reading for pleasure, who knows where I’d be with Alexis sleeping so unconventionally. I bet I’d crumble especially under pressure of baseless “you’re gonna spoil her” warnings. Instead I searched for other ways, for gentle techniques to encourage her to sleep and they are paying off big time (I’m actually giddy).

            So if people wouldn’t be so quick to go to CIO, they might look for other ways.

            (side note: I don’t consider letting your baby fuss or cry for 5 min CIO)

        • Reply
          Rachel M
          August 27, 2012 at 3:28 AM

          I’ve both agreed and disagreed with Elena, but this argument that readers are idiots who blindly follow Elena’s advice/choices is offensive yet funny. Seriously. If someone is so dumb that they treat this blog as their baby bible and copy her exactly, what is it to you?!?

          The point that Elena and this article is trying to make is that responding to a crying baby is not a bad thing. You don’t want to respond to your kid the moment they make a noise bc you think that is not the right way? GOOD FOR YOU! I don’t give a crap how responsive or unresponsive other parents are. Elena is merely validating why she doesn’t let her baby CIO. That doesn’t mean she never cries… Of course a baby will cry. It is their main form of communication. As much as us APers get a bad rep for being sanctimommies, the CIOers have a bad rep for defending their “right” and “need” to let their baby cry. If you are doing what is “right” just laugh at these articles and move on. Talk about fear mongering…. These comments are a bit of the pot calling the kettle black.

          • Lucy
            August 27, 2012 at 1:56 PM

            Rachel M,

            I’m not sure if your comment was referring to me, but I did use the term “fear mongering” so I’ll respond. What I had a problem with regarding this article (and many other anti CIO resources I have seen) is that it claims that there is scientific evidence which proves CIO is bad. Actually there isn’t. There is evidence that abused, neglected children who are left to cry on their own for extended periods may be permanently damaged (well, duh!). I’ve seen endless AP websites, Dr Sears, PhD in Parenting etc. claim that “the science is on our side on this one” (it isn’t – the evidence simply doesn’t exist either way) and it frustrates the heck out of me, because I’m a scientist not because I’m pro-CIO or in any way biased.

            So I don’t laugh at those articles because they *are* spreading fear (that CIO is “dangerous”) based upon non-existent evidence. That’s pretty much what the definition of fear mongering is! I don’t laugh at those articles because, judging by the comments on here, people believe it.

            Oh and I too have agreed with Elena in the past (see her post on taking Lexi to a party) so I’m not being blindly antagonistic here.

  • Reply
    Lara
    August 26, 2012 at 12:02 PM

    Thank you for sharing this!

  • Reply
    Lara
    August 26, 2012 at 2:30 PM

    This article hits the nail on the head, and it actually cites some good studies as well. Bottom line: A baby who sleeps well is convenient for the parents.

    This whole idea about conditioning children so they are easier to handle is nothing more than a remnant of certain child rearing trends from the first half of the 20th century, that have long been dismissed. Even more so than what we do, it’s important to know how things came into existence.

    It can’t be stressed enough how incredibly important and long lasting the effects of maternal (un)responsiveness are. What it all comes down to is the mutual responsiveness between mother and child, which the most important component of healthy attachment.

    Thank you for sharing, it’s nice to see these things being mentioned every once in while.

    • Reply
      flylikeagirl
      August 26, 2012 at 3:05 PM

      After my second daughter was born I quit reading anything. I always joked that if babies came with a manual I would read that but aside from that, everything you read is an opinion. no one knows how a baby works!

      I have always believed in “do what works best for you” but I also know from experience that we often eat our words and almost everyone I know looks back on the time when they had babies and thinks “man I did/said/thought” some of the stupidest things. It’s part of figuring it out!

      • Reply
        flylikeagirl
        August 26, 2012 at 3:06 PM

        I didn’t mean this response to the above comment but in general. Sorry!

      • Reply
        Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
        August 26, 2012 at 3:19 PM

        Completely agree. I still like to read studies and books on development but when it comes to applying things to my baby, I go only by what I feel is right for her.

        • Reply
          flylikeagirl
          August 26, 2012 at 3:31 PM

          The good news is that as they get older it gets much easier. My oldest is 12 and I haven’t looked at a parenting book or magazine in 10 years!

    • Reply
      lara
      August 26, 2012 at 11:18 PM

      I need to change my name when I comment so people don’t think that the two Laras are the same person. 🙂

    • Reply
      Lucy
      August 27, 2012 at 2:20 PM

      Lara,

      I completely disagree with you on the article (that’s obvious from my comments above) but I especially take issue from your comment “a baby who sleeps well is convenient for the parents.” Actually, good sleep and lots of it is vitally important for infant development. There are tons of studies looking at how vital good quality sleep is for babies, with some even suggesting that sleep in infants has a significant impact on a wide variety of outcomes in later life such as academic performance and obesity (for example, see http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19840242).

  • Reply
    RD
    August 26, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    Could you share the positive results you’ve had with the no cry sleep solution? Her techniques didn’t teach our daughter any sleep/soothing skills. The 10 minute console taught our daughter to sleep thru the night. She sleeps 10 hours straight a night. How long of stretches is Lexi doing?

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      August 26, 2012 at 4:46 PM

      Yes I will definitely share them once I’ve been seeing the results for long enough to consider it a success.
      To me I’d would rather be patient with slower working techniques if it means not letting her cry.
      If nothing works when she is 1.5-2 years, I’d look into what the previous commenter used as a sleep technique.

      I think the point of Pantley method is it’s not supposed to work instantly. It requires patience, which I know not all parents can afford.

      • Reply
        RD
        August 26, 2012 at 6:51 PM

        We tried the sleep shuffle method and were really hoping it would work. Made us feel better knowing we were in room with her during any crying. It worked beautifully for our friend. Not for us though. 🙁 We have all the patience in the world and did the no cry sleep solution for five months. I think all babies are different. We coslept for 5 months too because it made sense for our daughter because I don’t believe in any crying it out method until we are positive she was ready.

        • Reply
          Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
          August 26, 2012 at 7:28 PM

          And I say Amen to that, because my feelings are exactly the same.
          How old was she when you did the shuffle method?

          • RD
            August 26, 2012 at 11:55 PM

            We did it at 5 months and at 8 months. Both unsuccessful.

            We had sleep difficulties since the beginning. We were able to get her to sleep but never keep her asleep. She’d be up 45 minutes like clockwork at night and naps were even shorter. My husband and I ended up holding her through naps for almost 5 months. We ended up cosleeping the first 5 months because all the tear free methods we were trying were not working. White noise, every swaddle on the market, tried to get her to take a pacifier, nursing, rocking, shushing, patting her, a lovie….I could go on and on. We were all sleep deprived and cosleeping was our saving grace for those 5 months We finally figured out she was a stomach sleeper and no wonder she wouldnt stay asleep! But because of the SIDS risk we chose to keep her on her back. We had also tried countless times to let her fall asleep unassisted. She did not fuss but went full throttle screaming for longer than was okay with us. We received mixed support from friends during this time which was very hurtful. Everyone has an opinion. I was always open to try anything though – but we finally decided to do a modified version of CIO closer to five months when she could roll both ways finally. I read Ferber but didn’t agree with not being able to pick our daughter up if we consoled her. We know her very spirited personality and picking her up to console actually helped. There were times when we felt she was too distressed – it wasnt okay with us for her to cry like that. So we created our own CIO plan of consoling. We are definitely doing so much better at night now. And we can actually go out on dates now! We had a sleep regression at 8 months and we tried the shuffle again but it didn’t work. So we did our CIO plan again. Teething also has been tough.

            We have a nightly routine and we do sit and rock with her before we put her in crib but don’t have to do it the sneaky way anymore when we put her in crib. She actually will reach for her crib now. Naps aren’t always perfect – we definitely rock her more at naps but can get her in crib a lot more easier than before also.

            I wasn’t shocked the shuffle didn’t work for her. But I gave it a try because I felt obligated to do ANYTHING I could to avoid CIO. I read every damn thing on the Internet and every book on sleeping. It was a tough journey.

          • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
            August 27, 2012 at 7:44 AM

            Wow sounds rough! Very interesting story. I’m glad you figured it out and were comfortable with the solution. It’s the only way.

  • Reply
    Anna
    August 26, 2012 at 6:09 PM

    I’ve noticed can’t comment in Russian 🙁 oops

  • Reply
    Hayley
    August 26, 2012 at 7:12 PM

    Do you wonder if maybe them crying for the 2 or even 10 minutes when you put them down is part of their going to sleep’ process? I did intend on trying to not let my baby cry but after I faced so many issues with trying to get her to sleep I thought that this is not really the right way for us (baby and I). Feeding her to sleep, then rocking her, patting her, etc all just to find that after half an hour I would be back in the room laying back down to try and get her to sleep by starting to process all over again only to find I had a tired, miserable baby who would not go back to sleep. After investigating her crying cues, I found that she needed to cry to go to sleep and sure enough 4 months on, she cries for maybe a minute and then she sleeps soundly and even if she does stir and wake she is able to go back to sleep HERSELF!!! Just a thought Elena and let me tell you, I do not feel like any less-a-mother because my child cries – she is no doubt happier and healthier because she is getting sleep and good chunks of it at a time.

    • Reply
      Alexandra
      August 26, 2012 at 10:41 PM

      I once read a blog where the author talked about tension releasers vs tension increasers. My son is an increaser. If I don’t get to his room immediately he gets so worked up, it’s hard to settle him. He is 16 months and we have never done CIO with him. I truly believe he’d cry for hours even with a Shuffle or Ferber system. Other friends’ kids need a few minutes of fussing or crying to release built up tension and then they go right to sleep. It depends on the kid, but I abolutely think some need or blow off some steam with a little crying.

      • Reply
        Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
        August 26, 2012 at 10:52 PM

        You know you are very right! Lexi is the same way as your son. She escalates fast.

      • Reply
        Rachel M
        August 27, 2012 at 4:03 AM

        My son is an escalator. Keeping him happy was key to having a good day when he was an infant. Once the screaming started, it was hard to stop it. What did that mean for us? Bedsharing, LOTS of nursing (he nursed every 1-2 hours until close to 2), and baby wearing. I’m with him all te time and it was no bother to me that he nursed often.

        My friend is a very natural momma also. Her son wants his own sleep space and fusses for 1-2 min before falling asleep. She didnt train him to do it, it happened when she laid him down to answer the door. I think that some babies are more prone to falling asleep on their own and others are not. I enjoy those tender moments and make the best of it.

        The only chord I’ve struck with you, Elena, is that you have come across as an unintentional martyr due to the fact that you keep posting stuff from when she was 2 months old. It makes sense when you clarified that the posts are older and you’ve made progress. It is just hard to read about someone struggling while seemingly doing the same ineffective things. It isn’t always abundantly clear that you were going back in time with your posts. Plus, it has seemed like she has stayed 2-3 months old on the blog for awhile.

        Re: forums. I just discovered the big site people use bc a running blogger friend from high school is popular on the forum. I’ve known this girl my whole life and know her pretty well. On one hand, I’m absolutely amazed at how spot on they can be sometimes. On the other hand, I cannot believe they devote so much energy googling and digging to find out every aspect of her life! Every little thing is criticized. They also make it seem as though the bloggers out there have bad intentions or that they are wrong to monetizing their *brand* or whatever it’s called.

        • Reply
          Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
          August 27, 2012 at 11:59 AM

          I think that’s the biggest problem. Moms who have babies who’ll just drift to sleep do not get how a baby may need hours of rocking or nursing to fall asleep. I mean I got a comment asking why on earth would I rock my baby so much, it’s so much stimulation when all they want to do is sleep. Seriously? Do people think that other parents rock their babies to sleep because it’s fun to do or something 🙂 lol

          Anyways… as far as the whole posting from when she was 2-3 months old. This post was about how I learned to change my expectations to avoid frustration, so I had to refer back to when Lexi was 2-3 months old. But I believe I clearly stated when it was and that it improved and how, etc…

          Re: forums and your friend, I just don’t get it. One thing is to bitch about mommy blogs or fashion blogs, but what do they find to bitch about in a runner’s blog or a foodie blog. I’ve read some stuff, and I just don’t see it in any of it, i prefer to see the positive in people. I don’t get how they can see so much negative in a person who they don’t know and who’s writing about…FOOD! lol I’ve never had read a blog, even one that I staunchly disagree with and thought bad things about that person. oh well, whatever, it’s up to them how to choose to live their lives…

  • Reply
    Sarah
    August 27, 2012 at 12:15 AM

    I consider myself to be a super-responsive, loving, caring, sleep-training mom. I never let my baby cry at all until 3-4 months, and I feel great about that – he developed a great sense of trust and knew his needs would be met. As he grew, though, he slept horribly for the longest time. We were incredibly exhausted and so was he! He was not getting anywhere near the daytime sleep he really needed, and had come to rely on nursing/rocking every single time to fall asleep. It was awful for him because he had to rely on us to help him, and couldn’t do it himself. He was up 3-4x/night, in the Rock n’ Play, swaddled, for the longest time and required a ton of help for every night and every nap – usually more time spent putting him down than he actually slept.

    At around 6 months, I definitely noticed he had learned the ability to totally cry for reasons I didn’t want to be responsive to (e.g., taking away my cell phone, doing something unsafe, etc.) I always acknowledged his feelings and demonstrated empathy but acted firmly. Yes, when babies cry something is wrong, but for a baby over 6 months, it’s okay for SOME things to be wrong, such as not always getting what he wants (as long as his true needs are met.)

    I did sleep training at 6 months and it has changed our family, our lives, and best of all my son who is no longer chronically sleep-deprived and is *so much happier!* Before, he slept exactly like how you describe Alexis. I had already been working on the No Cry Sleep Solution for a couple of months. Traditional, loving/responsive sleep-training took 3 nights (45 minutes of crying the first night, 20 the next, 10 the next.) Since that time, he sleeps wonderfully and soundly (8 – 7) and takes 2, TWO-hour (!!) naps during the day. He puts himself to sleep (often babbles or just whimpers for a few minutes) for naps and nighttime. When he’s awake he is calmer, able to cope better with frustration, happier, learning better, playful, joyful, etc. Because of this and the better rest we’re all getting, we are happier as a family. My husband and I have our bed and that part of our marriage back. I enjoy mothering so much more because I’m not exhausted. I have more patience and reserve and I feel like that makes me such a better mom. I have time to do the things we need to around the house (laundry, dishes, cooking, showering, etc.) and appreciate that I get a good 3-4 hours of alone time during the day to take care of things so I can focus on being with my baby doing swim lessons, park outings, just having fun together when he’s awake. I cannot downplay how dramatically different our lives and how much more I enjoy parenting because of doing sleep training. I originally swore I would never do it and am so glad we finally did.

    It is interesting to read about your parenting style with Lexi because I relate to much of it, but as a new mom am also changing my tune about a few things. Originally, our baby totally ruled our lives (as they should as newborns) and was the center of every thing we did, talked about, etc. But now that he’s 9 months, I appreciate slowly teaching him that he is A PART of our family, and needs to eventually learn the world doesn’t revolve around him. I respond to him very lovingly and in a caring manner, but appreciate parenting techniques (such as sleep training) that take into account the whole family’s needs. Everybody in my family gets their needs met, as best as we can given where our baby is at. We plan to expand our family and I want my son to be valued and feel important but be able to integrate and find his place among his siblings.

    I hope your method is working for you and your family. Obviously I’m a big CIO convert/believer and this has just been my experience – which is the total opposite of what this pop psych article describes. I honestly didn’t do sleep training just because I was tired, or wanted time to myself during the day but because it was best for my baby.

    • Reply
      Sarah
      August 27, 2012 at 12:22 AM

      Oh – two questions I am curious about. Do you feel like Alexis truly gets the daytime sleep she needs with 40-minute naps?

      And also – just because I’m curious, how do you keep Alexis safe sleeping in your bed? Do you use a cosleeper? When you travel, do you nap with her for every nap?

      • Reply
        Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
        August 27, 2012 at 8:04 AM

        Lol I just answered one question without knowing it above.

        There are two ways she wakes up from a nap. When I walk in, she’s either whimpering, at which point I put her back to sleep like no cry solutions suggest, or she has a huge smile for and is kicking (that’s also when she wakes up and looks around with wide awake eyes)- that’s when I know she’s had enough. Most of the time I have had to rock her back to sleep, but about once a day or every other day she will wake up from a 30-40 min nap and literally push off of me laughing and looking around while I attempt to rock lol
        In the last week, she has grown out of the need to be rocked and now falls asleep on the bed while nursing. A few times she’s put herself back to sleep after cycling through and slept for 1.5 hrs each nap that day. On her own.

        I’ve never had to sleep with her for naps. I put her down and sneak out. Though when I do nap with her she sleeps 2 hours (I’ve only done it twice, so I can’t say it’s a rule).

        As far as safe co-sleeping, in hotels I put her between us (hubby is a sensitive sleeper). At home she is either between us or I have her crib pushed up against the other side (safely). I occasionally try to put her in a crib but right now sleep is a commodity for me so I tend to not to risk waking her up. Once I see her naps consistently going in the right direction, I’ll be trying that more often.

        We use no pillows and thin blankets and I make sure that I’m lying with my head leveled at her belly so that even if I cover up to my neck, it’s nowhere near her face.

        But the biggest thing is we are both light sleepers so I am not worried at all.

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      August 27, 2012 at 7:53 AM

      Also a very interesting journey!!! Thanks for sharing.

      I would be more concerned with sleep training if I felt that Lexi isn’t getting enough sleep. But once we got a routine at 3 months and figured out how to keep her asleep for 40’minute naps (or 2 40 min stretches twice a day), she has been a happy bundle of energy even when she only naps for 40 minutes (though sometimes it’s clear she needs more and she willingly goes back to sleep with some help). But from the moment she is up at 6am after only about 9-10 hrs of sleep, she’s kicking and laughing and happy until 3 hrs after when she needs to nap.

      I do wish I could have those 4 hrs of free time you describe but not at the expense of my baby. Like you, I do what I do for her sake not for mine.

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