I won't judge you if that's your approach to getting your baby to sleep for naps and bedtime, but I will be openly blunt with my opinion, as usual, and back it up with facts - as usual. :) (If you're going to get all butthurt about what I'm about to say, just click the "x" at the top of the screen.)
I Couldn't Do It
Throughout the course of 9 babyhoods, I could NEVER let mine cry it out. My motherly nurturing instinct made me feel terrible even fathoming the idea, despite my husband's suggestions to try it with certain fussy babies (I won't mention any names).
I remember hours upon hours, days and weeks and months of being exhausted to no end, exasperated because I couldn't console my baby. But, at least I was holding and cuddling and loving on him or her, rather than leaving them alone and crying.
And, after tons and tons of unbiased research, I realized that my motherly nurturing instinct was, of course, spot on. There are emotional and scientific reasons that back up what I was feeling deep down inside.
Normal Infant Sleep
One of the biggest problems is that our ideals, as parents, regarding infant sleep, are quite different than nature. Listen, I understand it's normal to be tired and need a break...after all, I've been through the newborn and infant stage nine times. However, at their most fussiest times, often what our babies need most is cuddling, reassurance, and nurturing.
And when they wake during the night, they need the same things, plus are probably hungry, because their little bellies can only hold so much food at a time, therefore they eat more often. We surely can't expect a baby under the age of 1 to sleep through the night. If they happen to sleep through the night before then, that's excellent, but if they don't, there's no need to punish them.
Anyway, here are 5 reasons why I never let my babies CIO:
1. Result = Detachment & Insecurity
A baby that is left in his or her crib to Cry It Out doesn't stop crying and fall asleep because they are content, all their needs are met, and they feel secure.
On the contrary, the baby falls asleep because he or she has physically worn themself out and has basically come to the conclusion that no one, not even Mommy or Daddy, is going to come to their rescue and console them or fulfill their needs.
Personally, I would hate to think that feeling or thought has ever run through my children's minds. When my babies, children, or (although very rarely) pre-teens and teenagers cry, I want to be the one that makes it better...and even if I can't make it better, for some reason, I want to know that at least I did my best trying.
Research has shown that babies and children whose caregivers were not responsive and empathetic to their feelings and needs in a consistent manner tended to be more insecure than those babies and children whose needs and feelings were consistently attended to.
My kids will not forever be superglued to my hip or breast; attachment issues are the least of my worries. However, I'll be darned if any of my babies or kids suffer detachment or insecurity issues because I wasn't there for them when they needed it, and that goes for bedtime, too.
2. Ferberizing Disregards Babies Needs & Oftentimes, Doesn't Work
Just cruise through some "success stories" written by parents who let their babies Cry It Out. How many parents clearly stated that they had to let their babies Cry It Out for a week before "it worked"!
I'm sorry, I just can't see exasperating my baby to the point of exhaustion, letting them feel like Mommy doesn't care and left them all alone, as being a success. When babies cry, there is a reason that they are crying. Sure, some cry because they are tired, but that doesn't mean that they don't need some cuddling or maybe some lights-out, quiet time with Mom or Dad.
Then, when certain milestones, like teething or even when a baby gets immunizations, parents often find that they have to start the whole process over again.
When it all boils down, it just feels like I'm disrespecting my child's needs. Experts around the world will say that babies cry because they need something. Nobody will tell you that babies cry because they want to make you mad or get on your nerves.
3. Decreased Development
Dr. Michael Lewis, a well-known infant development specialist, presented at an American Academy of Pediatrics meeting his findings that supported that “the single most important influence of a child’s intellectual development is the responsiveness of the mother to the cues of her baby.”
Think about that.
Now think about leaving a baby to Cry It Out. The baby is providing a "cue" when he or she cries. The mother responds by letting the infant just lay there, with no means to care for themself, and Cry It Out.
Other research has shown that a child's intellectual and social skills do not develop in a healthy way if the infant's cries are not attended to. Average IQs are lower, fine motor skills are developed poorly, and they experience difficulty with controlling emotions.
And, if you're worried about attachment issues, they can become worse if you allow your baby to Cry It Out. Children often become clingier when they feel like their needs are not being met.
Infant's don't have the mentality to manipulate. They're not thinking "If I cry hard enough and long enough, I'll get what I want". They're crying because they need something, and it's up to us, as their parents, to figure out what they need.
You've Heard It Before, "This, Too, Shall Pass"
I don't have a problem spending 24/7 with my infants. My little Trinity right now wants to be on my hip all day and beside me in bed all night. She wants me to be right there next to her when she falls asleep, and often breastfeeds to sleep. She wants me right next to her for her "dream feeds" during the night. I'm fine with it.
Being my 9th child, I'm ok with it because...
I know it doesn't last forever. Soon enough, she'll be too busy to be worried about Mommy and running around doing her own thing. Soon enough, she'll be riding bikes and getting invites to pool parties. And soon enough, she'll be in high school, talking about how she's almost old enough to drive. (I know this, because my oldest is almost 16!)
That short amount of time out of my life that I was a sleepless Mombie (mom+zombie) didn't kill me. I've made it through that stage 8 times, and this 9th time, I'm enjoying every moment of it. And I'm pretty sure she is, too. ♡♡♡
(We all have different opinions, and I'd love to hear yours! Leave a comment below if you want to chime in!)