CIO, or Crying It Out.
Harmful, or beneficial?
According to Dr. Sears, one can also look at the bottom of this article for his sources,
"Research has shown that infants who are routinely separated from parents in a stressful way have abnormally high levels of the stress hormone cortisol, as well as lower growth hormone levels. These imbalances inhibit the development of nerve tissue in the brain, suppress growth, and depress the immune system"
"Infant developmental specialist Dr. Michael Lewis presented research findings at an American Academy of Pediatrics meeting, concluding that “the single most important influence of a child’s intellectual development is the responsiveness of the mother to the cues of her baby.”"
"Researchers at Pennsylvania State and Arizona State Universities found that infants with excessive crying during the early months showed more difficulty controlling their emotions and became even fussier when parents tried to consol them at 10 months. 15
Other research has shown that these babies have a more annoying quality to their cry, are more clingy during the day, and take longer to become independent as children 1."
And according to Infantsleep.org, they have this summary.
"The majority of research on crying it out (CIO) has been conducted on toddlers and preschoolers."
"Only 2 studies have included any infants under 6 months. There has been no research on the use of CIO with infants younger than 4 months."
And the final recommendation states,
"While the stress that a crying or wakeful infant places upon a family cannot be minimized, this paper nevertheless recommends that research on crying it out in the first yearas well as the advice that proceeds from itbe reexamined in light of new understandings of early brain development and the role of distress modulation in an infants developing self-regulatory capacities."
On the other side of the coin, we have the Ferber method, which states:
"Ferber says you can teach your baby to soothe himself to sleep when he's physically and emotionally ready, usually sometime between 4 and 6 months of age."
"Ferber never says you should simply leave your baby in his crib and shut the door behind you. His progressive waiting approach allows you to gradually limit the time you spend in your child's room while providing regular comfort and reassurance — as well as reassuring yourself that he's okay."
"In the preface of the new book, Ferber takes pains to clarify his position: "Simply leaving a child in a crib to cry for long periods alone until he falls sleep, no matter how long it takes, is not an approach I approve of. On the contrary, many of the approaches I recommend are designed specifically to avoid unnecessary crying." Ferber's "progressive waiting" technique encourages parents to frequently comfort their child during the sleep training process."
Other links of interest, for and against CIO: here, here, here.
Here's my take on CIO. I do not support the idea, that an infant should self sooth itself to sleep. An infant is designed to cry to tell the parent it needs something. There is a reason the child is crying, UNLESS they have colic, in which case CIO is still not the option I'd choose. There is no way you can spoil an infant, up until they are over a year old, they still need to comforting assurance that Mommy and Daddy are there. They have needs that HAVE to be met. They need to eat to survive grow and thrive. They need cuddles and comfort to feel safe and secure. They need the care of their skin, so they don't get sick or have skin break downs. This to me is simple and logical. I understand that being tired happens...its in the not so fine print of being a parent. My first son had colic! Again, there is a reason for the sleeping issues for the parents, to attend to the needs of their baby, not to ignore them. Research is coming out to support this view, as more and more parents are calling for it, and more is being understood about the infant brain growth etc.
As with all things in the parenting world, every one's views are their own, and we all have our reasoning's behind them. While I might not do XYZ, it might be the best thing since sliced bread for your family. What worries me, and makes many other parents upset, are the extreme measures tried out on our youth, for the sake of a parents selfishness. Just letting ones baby cry, without checking to see what the need might be, is selfish. Just as co-sleeping while under the influence of medications or alcohol, or drugs is selfish.
So tell me, what are your views on CIO? Have you used this method? Why or Why not? I can't wait to hear your side!