The Dawleys

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Why I can't let my daughter cry-it-out...

*Disclaimer: I hope I do not offend anyone with my opinions. I know we all love our children and want to do what's best for them. This is just what works/doesn't work for our family.

Despite saying we would never cry-it-out (CIO), we have done so on two separate occasions when we felt we had exhausted all other options and we ourselves were exhausted. The average mainstream parent would probably laugh at our CIO attempts and say they don't count, but to us, it was pretty traumatizing. The first time only lasted less than 5 minutes. I was in the room and Ella was so upset that I was rubbing her back instead of picking her up that she puked. The second time Dave tried it because I couldn't put her through that again. His attempt lasted a little longer, but he was in the room with her and gave her breaks. She eventually ended up falling asleep exhausted from the fight. Dave and I hated it so much that we decided that no matter how desperate or exhausted, we would never try it again.
You might be thinking to yourself, "What is the big deal with CIO? Toughen up and just do it. She'll turn out just fine and she will sleep through the night." I've heard that a lot from my dear friends and family. It is hard for me to explain to people why I am anti-CIO so I decided to dedicate a blog post to this controversial topic.
Here are some reasons why I am against CIO:
1) People say that letting a baby CIO will teach them to self-soothe. I find it very hard to believe that a baby that cries himself to sleep at night has actually soothed himself to sleep. I believe that he's fallen asleep due to exhaustion and eventually due to the realization that no one will respond to his cries (learned helplessness).
2) There is scientific evidence that CIO causes physiological damage and might also cause psychological and emotional damage.
3) I can't in good conscience leave Ella to cry alone. What if she's hungry? What if she's cold? Or sick? Or teething? Or just scared or lonely? I would never ignore these things during the day so why should night time be any different?
4) When Ella cries out for us at night, I believe with all my heart that it is to communicate not manipulate. I would never ignore an adult trying to communicate with me and I will treat my daughter with the same respect.
5) So much research supports that being responsive to your child rather than pushing them to independence before they are ready promotes more independent and secure people. If we go with the flow now, Ella will show appropriate independence when she's ready. This goes for both daytime and nighttime independence.
6) It goes against everything that feels right to me and that is the most important reason. If it doesn't feel right, it must not be.


chalbond said...

I, of course, loved this blog! thanks for sharing!

Jeff said...

Carrie, this is Jeff from justabaldman. Tracked you down through the comment you left on my blog, and was so happy to have found this gem. #3 above is brilliant; I've never heard it put that way, but of course it's true. Good, good stuff - and stealing it to share!

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