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Crying it out Versus Not crying it out? Which one?

(39 Posts)
cherrysodalover Tue 31-May-11 23:06:43

Just sharing this link to interesting conversation between the two specialists on this on with pretty polarised views-Weissbluth and Sears.

I have just been reflecting on how instinctive the choice is for each family-but I am surprised people are so anti the opposite method to the one they have chosen.

I never point out ( I of course think it to myself) to people who who let their babies cry it out that there is much research( which convinces me) to suggest this can be harmful but others are so quick to make a point about their own choice...."Ah yes we knew when he was 4 months and we brought him into bed with us when he cried that he was manipulating us and we never did it again." said one mum I know who also knew we co slept. I am really amazed by how people do seem to attack others choices on this topic.

Maybe I am the same as I think it- when people let babies cry till they are sick I have an opinion on that of course- but I keep it to myself.Same with formula feeding through choice rather than necessity.I have an opinion on that choice because of the research out there that is available to most people.

I know we all do what enables us to flourish as families and I can see some are forced to let babies cry it out, to stay sane, but does that mean people just ignore the research ...... in Sears' words?Yet I also get that people need to get their sleep and if the baby just cries for a short time, then sleeps, I can't see how that can be harmful, even though I can't even bring myself to do that.,0,5608949.htmlstory


""""""""Dr. Bob Sears: And I would say that mild CIO is fine for babies. But I worry about INTENSE WEEKS of crying night after night. Here are some thoughts:
Circulating throughout the bloodstream of every person, even tiny babies, is an adrenal hormone called "cortisol." Produced by the adrenal glands, this hormone helps major systems of the body function normally. The body needs just the right amount of cortisol at the right times. Too much or too little, and the body is not in tune, sort of like an engine trying to run with the wrong mix of gasoline and air. Adrenal hormones are also known as stress hormones. Levels rise quickly to help a person react to a threat. Although stress hormones are needed in times of danger, if they remain too high for too long, the body becomes overstressed and certain systems, such as the immune system, can't function as well. Experiments on both human infants and infant experimental animals showed these fascinating results about attachment research. :
* Human infants with the most secure attachment to their mothers had the best cortisol balance.
* The longer infant animals were separated from their mothers, the higher the cortisol levels, suggesting that these babies could be chronically stressed. The mothers also experienced elevated cortisol levels when separated from their babies.
* Prolonged cortisol elevations may diminish growth.
* Prolonged cortisol elevations may suppress the immune system.
* Infant animals separated from their mothers showed imbalances in the autonomic nervous system -- the master control system of the physiology. They didn't show the usual increases and decreases in heart rate and body temperature, had abnormal heartbeats (called "arrhythmia"), and showed disturbances in sleep patterns, such as a decrease in REM sleep (the stage of sleep in which an infant is most arousable in response to a life-threatening event). Similar physiological changes were measured in preschool children separated from their parents
* In addition to the agitation caused by prolonged elevation of adrenal hormones, separation sometimes caused the opposite physiological effect: withdrawn, depressed infants who had low cortisol levels.
* Separated infants showed more irregular heart rates.
* Infants separated from their mothers were less able to maintain a stable body temperature.
* Infant animals who stayed close to their mothers had higher levels of growth hormones and enzymes essential for brain and heart growth. Separation from their mothers, or lack of interaction with their mothers when they were close by, caused the levels of these growth-promoting substances to fall.
Clearly, the continued presence of a nurturing mother is important for the infant's physiological and emotional well-being. A secure mother-infant attachment helps an infant's physiological systems work better. Attachment organizes a baby's overall physiological systems; separation disorganizes them."""""""""

SleeplessInSuburbiton Tue 31-May-11 23:59:27

Thanks! That's a really interesting link, and some useful questions were posted. I've been considering the options for sleep training although my gut says that Sears methods are more right. We ended up allowing DD a bit of crying for 2 nights while being comforted by me and DH, and we finally got her to fall asleep in the cot and not while being rocked or fed!

cherrysodalover Wed 01-Jun-11 16:25:59

Good for you sleepless. They both make such good points so in the end we just must follow our instincts.

inanna12 Wed 01-Jun-11 16:44:49

after nearly 6 months of feeding my ds 8+ times a night, in a various permutations of bed, chair, lying down etc etc, my dh and i finally snapped and stuck him in a room by himself in the moses basket. within 10 minutes of listening to his terrified screaming, we were also both in tears. he came into bed with us and spent the next 3 years there, until he moved peacefully and confidently to his own room.
this was a pivotal point in my parenting. i realised that i was supposed to find it impossible to ignore my ds, and that the fact that i couldn't was good for our relationship. i think the culturally-enforced notion that it is beneficial for the mother (and father) to systematically and knowingly sever the connections that exist between them and their child is very, very dangerous. i think that in hundreds of years' time, when the childcare trends and the philosophies behind them are studied and understood, people will be astonished and saddened by the horrors children were subjected to.
i hope so anyway.

DialsMavis Wed 01-Jun-11 19:25:50

But surely the whole point of CC and CIO is the fact they are quick solutions. A baby wouldn't be crying for weeks and weeks intensely hmm That would be abuse! Is there any evidence that leaving a baby/child to to cry for intervals for a couple of nights is harmful? That is a genuine question as I have never found any. I guess parents make a personal judgement call as to what they deem more dangerous/damaging to their child; being chronically overtired/ having extremely sleep deprived parents or a few nights of upset and then good sleep for them all.

Bumperlicioso Wed 01-Jun-11 20:01:59

It annoys me when people justify CIO by saying 'they need to learn to self-settle'. Not sure crying themselves to sleep is learning to self settle.

Parietal Thu 02-Jun-11 23:16:25

inanna there is a great book called Dream Babies which summarises childcare philosophies from the 18th century to now. The conclusion is that they are all trends and there is no particular evidence for one over another. So go with whatever works for you.

Alibabaandthe80nappies Thu 02-Jun-11 23:22:42

Bumper - completely agree. Now DS2 (9 weeks) is learning to self-settle. By which I mean that he will be happy and awake in his bed/basket/pram, then start to fuss a bit. By the time I have finished changing DS1, having a wee, making DS1 his lunch - ie. not very long! - he is sometimes asleep. No actual crying, just fussing and a few squeaks.

I remember going to a friends for coffee when her first was about 6 months old and DS1 was only a few weeks. She put her DS down for a nap upstairs, and we then sat there and listened to him scream his heart out for over 10 minutes until he fell asleep exhausted. 'Oh it's so important for him to learn to settle himself' pipes up friend.
We have really drifted apart since then, I find it incredibly hard to be around people who parent in what I consider to be a cruel way.

matana Fri 03-Jun-11 09:19:52

My 7 mo DS can self settle and has done this since he was very little. However, there are times when he gets hugely overtired and i know all he needs to do is cry to wind down. The more i interfere and cuddle, rock etc, the more prolonged his stress becomes each time i try to put him down. This morning he woke at 5am and has just thrown the biggest tantrum i've ever seen due to over tiredness - kicking his legs and arms about violently and screaming. All i could do was leave him for a few minutes to calm down in a quiet place (his cot). He is now fast asleep.

He is an extremely happy, healthy, bonny, easy going and adaptable baby so i have no doubts about my mothering skills. Perhaps that's why i have the confidence to let him cry sometimes. I don't let him scream and scream for more than about 5 minutes though because i know if it takes him longer than that to calm down there's something else wrong.

cerealqueen Fri 03-Jun-11 23:38:22

A friend of mine let her three month old DD cry it out...she woke up in the middle of the night and she didn't go in to her, just let her cry for about an hour. Her DP wanted to go in to her but she wouldn't let him. She was well chuffed that she'd done it as she was determined to have her sleep through the night and she has on occasion. Thing is her poor DD was probably hungry needing a feed. I was very alarmed on hearing this. She is a strong advocate of 'she who will not be named' but took it too far. Anyway, still doesn't sleep through. I think this is cruel on a very young baby.

cherrysodalover Sat 04-Jun-11 00:11:39

I do think some people do....cio.... it to survive but instead of being honest, they say it is.....good for the baby.

differentnameforthis Sat 04-Jun-11 05:13:12

I taught mine to settle with resorting to listening to them screaming for hours of a night.

CC or CIO, neither are essential to raising children.

nooka Sat 04-Jun-11 05:43:34

I don't think that a quote from a newspaper is particularly good evidence. A lot of the research about attachment is taken from some very extreme studies that bear very little relationship to the relationships that most parents have with their children.

Some of the studies were so unpleasant and abusive that I very much hope they would not be given ethical approval today, and wonder what on earth the scientists thought they would gain from doing them.

We let ds cry himself to sleep when he was small (for perhaps 5 mins or so before deep sleep), but dd would have none of it and had to be walked or jiggled for hours at night. Her cortisol levels might have been fine, but ours certainly weren't! Actually some of the cortisol studies are a bit iffy too, as it is a response to a wide range of activities and when Oliver James was doing his web chat thing here I looked up the research of nursery children and cortisol and i was a very poorly conducted piece of research which showed changes that didn't correlate to anything very meaningful.

I now have two tall bright children with good immune systems (esp ds). My mother was an advocate of leaving the baby to cry outside in a pram (preferably under a tree for distraction) and we grew up just fine too. Of course these are purely anecdote of no scientific value at all grin

My view is that new parents should learn from others, their babies and what works for them, bearing in mind that what works for one family may be very different from another (and keep away from childcare 'experts' it is a highly faddy field).

mousesma Sat 04-Jun-11 06:28:00

I don't think people who use CIO ignore the research as such but many people don't think the evidence against CIO is as clear cut as you claim. Even in the quote you have used it talks about extreme CIO which hardly anyone uses and even then there are too many "mays" and "sometimes" for the results to unequivocally say CIO is wrong.

Personally I tried CC for a couple of days with DD but it may her worse and neither of us enjoyed it so we stopped. However I think we used it in the wrong circumstances anyway, DD could already self settle but she was waking early and using CC in this case was never going to work because she was waking for a reason.

I think CC is a useful tool though for those babies who are over 6 months who really won't settle and it is causing pyschological damage to the parents and the rest of the family. Some people really can't cope with waking several times in the night for several months and it can be immensely damaging to your mental health especially if you have other commitments i.e. older children, have to return to work etc.

flimflammery Sat 04-Jun-11 07:06:25

I'm always posting about it, but it doesn't have to be either CIO or nothing. The Baby Whisperer techniques worked very well for me and didn't involve leaving DS to cry alone, but still taught him to sleep without waking every two hours for a bf.

pettyprudence Mon 06-Jun-11 17:11:41

I never thought I would let my pfb ds cry anything out but it turns out that when he is tired he gets more distraught by any attempts to soothing. 2 weeks ago I stopped trying to sooth him and just swaddled him, gave him a dummy and put him down. After a couple of shouts he was fast asleep. All the hours I spent trying to rock him to sleep were pointless and actually made him more upset. It doesnt always work so if his shouts turn to cries/screams I will go to him and comfort him with a hand over his chest in the cot and some shushing (or brumming as he like the sounds of cars!). This is totally the opposite to what i expected and as strange as it is to me (and goes against every fibre of my being as I just want to cuddle him when he cries!) its what works for my ds. Ds is only 10wks now so things could change again by next week.

DialMforMummy Mon 06-Jun-11 17:55:45

I agree with other posters who said that letting your DC CIO or doing the CC thing for a few days is jolly unlikely to have an impact on your LO. We did it, it was tough for a few days but LO sleeps absolutely fine and now when he cries at night, we now something is up and we never ignore him.

Children cry. And sometimes, there is no a fat lot we can do about it. LO cried a shed lot more when he had colic than when CC and I am not sure it is helpful to make people feel guilty about it when sometimes, we are powerless.

I remember reading somewhere that this study was carried out in some orphanage somewhere, so it's hardly representative of the general population.

There are way too many studies out there and although some are helpful and necessary, other are just pointless bordering on propaganda.

DilysPrice Mon 06-Jun-11 18:09:21

The first thing Sears says in that quote is that "Mild CIO is fine for babies."
It would be helpful if we had a definition of what "mild CIO" is - I suspect it would cover most of the CC techniques that I'd consider reasonable, but I don't know.

matana Mon 06-Jun-11 19:27:20

I suspect mild CIO is what many people here are saying - leaving a baby for 5 minutes to wind down before sleep when overtired. When it's screaming and screaming non stop for half an hour, i'd consider that major CIO.

PukeyRag Mon 06-Jun-11 20:13:00

How does a baby feel about crying it out?

No one truly knows how crying it out affects a baby. After all, one cannot raise a baby twice and note the difference. And no one really knows how a baby feels when he is left to cry it out. Jean Liedloff presents a likely perception in her volume on anthropology, The Continuum Concept: In Search of Happiness Lost (Addison-Wesley, 1977.) Here, she describes a baby waking in the middle of the night:

“He awakes in a mindless terror of the silence, the motionlessness. He screams. He is afire from head to foot with want, with desire, with intolerable impatience. He gasps for breath and screams until his head is filled and throbbing with the sound. He screams until his chest aches, until his throat is sore. He can bear the pain no more and his sobs weaken and subside. He listens. He opens and closes his fists. He rolls his head from side to side. Nothing helps. It is unbearable. He begins to cry again, but it is too much for his strained throat; he soon stops. He waves his hands and kicks his feet. He stops, able to suffer, unable to think, unable to hope. Then he falls asleep again."

Even before coming across this, I didn't for one second consider letting my DD cry it out. How could ANYone think their poor, helpless child is manipulating them by crying?? It makes me very, very angry.

RidinOnAPig Mon 06-Jun-11 20:43:53

Your OP confuses me.

Criticizing others for criticizing others, whilst criticizing others who use CC, CIO or FF.

Nice one.

RidinOnAPig Mon 06-Jun-11 20:45:08

Oh and this is from somebody who doesn't use crying it out techniques, before any one thinks I'm being defensive about my choices.

adamt Mon 06-Jun-11 21:13:22

1977 says it all really !
"mindless terror" I'm sorry sounds like overly emotive language to me.

No one is saying abandon your child for the night but 5 mins of crying, I for one think does no harm, especially if you are comforting them or being present in the room.

Calling people cruel etc I think does not promote opinions , it stifles.
You don't want this to end up being a chatroom for the self-righteous.

DialMforMummy Tue 07-Jun-11 09:06:18

PukeyRag. I don't think this extract is helpful at all. The lexis used in this passage is IMO completely over the top. And, may I add,this might not even be a true representation of how the babies feel, no-one knowing how they feel.

Education is I guess manipulation to some extend. What are you going to do when you LO has a tantrum in Tescos because you buy her sweets? Give in because if she cries, her throat will hurt, her head will throb etc...
But hey, each to their own. You feel angry at people like me, you should not, my child is not helpless nor neglected, very much loved.

seeker Tue 07-Jun-11 09:16:59

Education is I guess manipulation to some extend. What are you going to do when you LO has a tantrum in Tescos because you buy her sweets? Give in because if she cries, her throat will hurt, her head will throb etc..."

You know that is a bonkers comparison don;t you? A non verbal baby crying for something it needs - human contact and security - and a verbal toddler crying for something it wants - sweets are two completely different things.

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