Updated: Aug 5, 2020
When you're in the thick of #momlife for the first time, you'll come across two types of parents: those who let their baby cry it out and those who do not. I fall into the latter category and let me tell you why on an instinctual level and then on a factual level.
The only way for a baby to communicate with you is by crying. If you ignore that communication, how do you know if baby is wet, cold, hot, scared, hungry etc? What does that tell your baby when they are being ignored? How do you think they feel? I'll tell you, abandoned.
I'm so sick of hearing people say that the baby is "spoiled" simply because you are caring for their needs. A baby can't be spoiled! How is loving and responding to your child spoiling? It's the dumbest thing I've ever heard. If that's the new definition, then sure, I am guilty of spoiling my baby girl. How ridiculous is this notion! I get so angry. How can you follow through with the torture of hearing her scream until she loses her voice? How can you just tune out his crying that is so loud that your heart is about to explode? HOW! I just don't get it. I've done a ton of research on this because it's one of those issues that has a lot of controversy and even more misinformation. Especially since Harvard did a study saying CIO is fine. But, thanks to people who question everything, like La Leche League, we know that it isn't as "safe" as it's reported.
One paragraph that really caught my attention was the one about breastfed babies and CIO:
" Leaving a breastfed baby to cry may alter normal feeding patterns, and unnaturally longer sleep patterns may affect the protection regular waking gives babies in regulating their breathing. There seems to be very little gained by leaving a baby to cry, and a very small, short-term increase in sleep time would have to be balanced against the stress caused to both parents and infants. "
You may not want to spend the extra 15 minutes getting your baby to sleep, but for moms like me, we relish every second we have with her. It only lasts for so long and I want to breath in every second of her that I can.
While babies may indeed stop crying if left unattended long enough, they are not learning to self-soothe, they are simply giving up on the hope that comfort will come. The term “self-soothing” was invented in the 1970s during previous research by Dr. Thomas Anders, but it has come to be adopted as a fact rather than a research term, with far more meaning than was intended. There is no way of knowing if, when babies stop crying, they have fallen asleep or have simply gone into a “withdrawn” state where they have given up hope of being responded to.
Mind blown! Imagine being a defenseless little baby and giving up hope because your caregiver and nurturer is not coming to help you when you need them. I mean, wow. Talk about neglect. It's only an extra 15 minutes on average to make your baby feel safe and cared for. The article goes on to say the following:
"When deprived of the physical comfort she needs, a baby will use her primary survival response — crying to attempt to attract the attention of her parents. By using cry-it-out methods to train their babies to sleep, parents are severing the link between crying and response. They are ignoring the very thing which is meant to ensure an infant’s survival."
I think what really bothers me is the misinformation out there for new parents. So much of what we're told is super outdated information. For example, when my parents were raising us, they were told formula was better than breast milk. How completely and utterly wrong the pediatricians were! My underlying point is, do your research then dig deeper. This, like politics, is okay to change your view to the better one when human's lives are at stake.
Now all this being said, I'm not judging another parent for doing what they think it right. But, next time you decide to let you child cry it out, I hope my voice pops into your head and you pick up your little precious baby and hug them until they fall asleep in your arms.
"If you know better, you do better" - Maya Angelou
You can read the full LLL article here and several other studies: