I’m hoping to get some good email out of this one

The current “hot-topic” right now in a lot of the mommy-blogging world is the No-Cry Sleep Solution (NCSS) v/s Cry It Out (CIO). For those of you new to these techniques, let me break it down for you. NCSS means under NO CIRCUMSTANCES do you let your child cry themselves to sleep. CIO means that if you know they are not hungry, not wet, and not sick…you just let them cry (for a reasonable amount of time) themselves to sleep. For many parents? It’s a tough decision to make. You feel guilty about letting your child cry, but sometimes you find yourself weighing that guilt against the insanity you feel over lack of sleep.

And to give you an idea as to how PASSIONATE people are about CIO? Here is a comment from Julie’s entry regarding letting her son, Charlie, Cry It Out for the first time.

Well, you’ve alienated me. I thought you were an educated woman. Why does Charlie stop crying? Because he is learning a lesson. That when he cries, mommy may not come and get him. He feels abandoned and his primal instincts kick in for self-preservation (I’m alone in the world, I must conserve energy or die). Some of your readers think he won’t remember. No, at the age of 8, he won’t go, “Remember that time you left me crying for 13 minutes in my crib?” But he will trust you less and that will carry on into adulthood. It’s not too late. Maybe you can rebuild his trust. My son was also a short napper and I NEVER let him CIO. He’s now 17 months and takes a great 2 hour nap all by himself in the afternoon and sleeps 10 hours at night (waking after about 6 hours for a night snack). He’s also healthy, happy, and knows how loved he is. Hope Charlie is the same as a toddler…

Why do the most opinionated commenters always remain anonymous? They lose so much respect that way. Well, I’m going to take a stab at this topic and see if I can get my OWN Anonymous commenter to tell me what I’m doing to ruin my child and future children’s lives.

I am a big fan of the Cry It Out method. Now, lucky for some Moms, this method is not necessary because they are born with children who sleep well. But, when LilZ was a baby, I had never heard of the NCSS. I don’t know if anyone had. So, I used CIO with LilZ and I plan on using it with NikkiZ. I never read any parenting books with LilZ, I just did what my insticts lead me to do, and so far? So good. So why mess with that now? My instincts said, “He’s fine. He’s full. He’s clean. He is just tired and will go to sleep soon.” And he did. And when he didn’t? I picked him up and consoled him until he did. No big deal, in my mind. If anything, I felt guilty for not feeling MORE guilty about letting him cry!

But this is not my point. My point is – WHY do other people care so much about how we get our children to sleep? I mean – we ALL obviously care enough about the welfare of our children to painstakingly decide on a method, and we ALL feel large amounts of guilt over whether we’re doing the right thing. In the end? Isn’t it each of our own decisions whether to pick our baby up every time they cry? Or not?

I believe in CIO for ME and ME ALONE. I do NOT look down on people who use NCSS, so why should they look down on me? I don’t understand. It’s not like I’m beating my child to get them to sleep, or drugging them, or reading to them from the Necronomicon, so why do the NCSSers feel SO strongly that they need to tell those of us, who are OBVIOUSLY GODDAMN EVIL parents, that they believe what we’re doing is wrong?

This is a tough world that we are bringing our children into. They need us to love them and care for them however we see fit. ALL OF US. Parents or not. We should bond together as adults who LOVE OUR CHILDREN, for chrissakes. Grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, neighbors, and friends. We all love the children in our lives, THAT is what is important. We should embrace the different techniques and be glad there is something for all of us. We should learn from each other, we should support each other, but most of all, we should just agree that as long as we are doing what WE feel is best for OUR child, then that child is better off, no matter how they fall asleep.

And give me a break, all of our kids are going to hate us at some point in their lives. Many will try drinking before they’re 21. Some will smoke pot. Some (many?) will have premarital sex. And some? Will grow to be republicans. There will always be parenting battles to face, regardless of what sleep technique you used. So instead of arguing and fighting about it? Let’s meet for drinks. Especially if it’s Naptime Martinis while my baby is Crying It Out in the next room. It’s always easier to ignore the cries with a good buzz on.

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34 Responses

  1. stace says:

    WELL SAID (written)!! – Except for the repulican comment. ; )

    Oh, and naptime martinis??? That’s a plan!

  2. stace says:

    Republicans can spell!! I swear!

  3. Kim says:

    I agree – it’s your child and you can raise him or her however your little heart desires. Except for, ya know, anything illegal like beating or molesting, what may have you. When I have a child, my first instinct will probably be, ZOMG BABIES CRYING, RUN TO CRIB and see what is wrong. Then after a while of not being able to sleep… ya know, let them cry for a little bit. *shrugs* I don’t know what I’ll do. But parents should raise children in their own ways, and make sure they grow up to be a good, self respecting, law abiding citizen (For the most part. ~_^ )

  4. Your Mom says:

    When you were a baby, there wasn’t a name for it. Just Mo (my mother of seven) saying let her cry. Make sure she’s fine etc and let her cry, she needs the exercise. I really haven’t noticed any long term effects on you, of course unless you count the donuts..naked pictures on the internet, (oops, I did that didn’t I?) and that thing you have with the dishwasher…mmmmm and just in case anyone wonders…. I Love you, Mom

  5. workinggirl says:

    Well put Zoot. I do not have children…yet… BUT my mom did the CIO with both my brother and I and I love both my parents for it. And I am sure I would have loved them if they would have used the other method as well. What a baby needs is a parent(s) that love and respect them and teach them to do the same. And look at me, I am a normal 30 year old woman AND a republican!!

  6. workinggirl says:

    Well put Zoot. I do not have children…yet… BUT my mom did the CIO with both my brother and I and I love both my parents for it. And I am sure I would have loved them if they would have used the other method as well. What a baby needs is a parent(s) that love and respect them and teach them to do the same. And look at me, I am a normal 30 year old woman AND a republican!!

  7. cagey says:

    Hands down, from what I have seen – CIO works. I hope (note the word “hope” as opposed to “Plan” because who the hell can PLAN anything when it comes to babies? But I digress……) to use the CIO method with my own kid (due in October). I don’t think CIO is a good method until they are about 4-5 months old though – at that point, they are supposed to be physically mature enough to be able to comfort themselves to sleep.

    I think the opinions are strong because I know that I get tired of hearing my non-CIO friends whine, gripe and complain about their kid not sleeping through the night yet, my CIO friends have no complaints. My non-CIO friends act like the CIO friends are cruel and uncaring, but HEY, whose kid is getting GOOD sleep??

    Here is my very favorite sleep advice from one of my CIO friends via a recent email where we were JUST talking about this very topic:

    “Here’s the best analogy I’ve heard. Imagine you are in bed, sleeping fine. You roll over and bump into a pillow you didn’t know was there. You emit a short “oh!”. Someone immediately comes rushing into the room, scoops you up, rocks you like crazy and starts
    talking to you. What would you do? Well, you’d wake up, of course. Like everyone, babies wake up in the middle of the night. Circadian rhythmns and all that… They don’t don’t have any language, so they might just cry for a little bit. You will learn the “tired cry” rather than the “omigod I’m terrified of something and need comfort cry”. With
    100% accuracy EVERY time I’ve gone into his room in the middle of night when he is crying, it’s done more harm than good. EVERY time.
    Did I mention EVERY time? Sometimes it’s hard, especially if you are tired and just want him to shut up and sleep. But it NEVER has done me (or him) any good. “

  8. Casey says:

    Very well said – everyone has thier own way and picking option A over option B doesn’t make you better/worse than anyone else – it just makes you different from those that choose option B

    (personally I know exactly what you mean – my Mom was a big propnate of CIO by the time my sister was born {I was 12}- and I was a nervious wreck about not feeling guilty about letting her CIO- she used it on all of us and none of us have turned out to be social deviants quite yet!)

  9. Elizabeth says:

    I think it’s interesting how important people think it is to put a name on one’s comment. I mean, I understand to a certain extent: you want someone to be willing to put their name on what they say. But if they don’t, does it matter? They’ve still said it, and it’s still in the comments section. If that anonymous comment had been “owned” by someone, what different would it have made? If they linked to their own site, you could find out more about them, and then leave a nasty comment on their site, or enjoy their site and just disagree with their opinion. If they didn’t have a site, would you take the time to email them, assuming they left an accurate email address? Would it be worth the time and energy? Maybe comments that are left anonymously don’t really bother me, because even with a name, email address, and a link, it still seems pretty anonymous to me.

    I was sort of glad to see that a few people opposed what Julie had said. I mean, there were a lot of comments supporting her, and I think it was good to get the opposing view. I felt that the opposing comments were fairly respectful for a topic like this. I hated that people clobbered them for saying something, especially when they started calling names.

  10. sherrypg says:

    Ha! If my child remembers anything from my parenting, it won’t be the CIO method. It would be more like “Remember the time I was sitting on the floor minding my own business and you went to step over me and instead you kicked me in the head and sent me ass over tea kettle?” or “Remember that time you were so stupid tired from me waking up every two hours to be fed that you missed the fourth step while walking down the stairs and we both went ass over tea kettle? And then when Dad came running to make sure we were okay and he started carrying me downstairs and missed the next to last step and then he and I went ass over tea kettle?” Yeah, good times.

  11. cagey says:

    Also, I didn’t mean to be so critical of my non-CIO friends. I just get frustrated when they only want to complain and get sympathy, but aren’t willing to even TRY different things to see what works for their kids. To me, that is the very crux of parenting, right? Trying different things to see what works. It doesn’t take a Supernanny to see that different things work for different kids.

  12. Dabney says:

    Well said, Zoot.

    You know that I find that the people that I respect the most are the ones who don’t say things like “Unless you do (believe, think) what I do you are being a bad ___.” Not just in baby matters (I don’t have one) but in politics, religion, and other “moral issues,” I think it is important to listen to a viewpoint that is different than yours. You probably won’t change your mind, but you may learn something. It amazes me how many people truly believe the “You are either just like me or you are dead wrong” attitude. I find that to be pretty scary.

  13. Princess says:

    What’s up with people standing in their little camps judging those who don’t join them? It gets annoying!

    So funny you posted this today b/c I also just posted about parenting/birthing decisions that I have come to that have made folks get a little snitty!

    You backed my point up exactly….Different strokes for different folks but in the end we all love our children and only want what’s best for them and choose that based on what works best for each.

    P.S. I’m a big fan of CIO

  14. There’s alot of things out there that people feel very strongly about with regard to parenting. I heard CIO refered to as “Ferberizing”. I never was a big fan of it. I always felt it helped the parent deal with a newborn, more than it helped the newborn deal with being born and having to live in the air and not in the womb anymore.

    Lots of stuff to argue about with regard to parenting though, Zoot:

    spanking/no spanking/soap in the mouth
    homeschooling/public school/religious school
    drinking (parents AND kids)
    makeup for the girls
    when can they date?
    which words are swear words?
    how much candy?
    TV? Video games?
    When can they see a PG movie? An R movie?
    How old before they can “date” unaccompanied?
    When can they drive?
    How old before they can stay home alone?
    How come they never call anymore?
    Why do they want me to live in nursing home?
    Why won’t they just let me die?
    Bury me there.
    Please remember me.

    Its rough stuff. Keep it all in perspective and try to follow your heart.

  15. cagey says:

    Jon in Michigain,
    Great points! There will ALWAYS be controversy about parenting decisions. I am already bracing myself for all the criticisms I will get when my family sees us feeding our kids curries (my husband is Indian so this not unusual to HIM).

    Also, I would like to point out that the Ferber method is not recommended until the baby is 6 months old.

  16. ben says:

    All I’ve learned is – every kid is different, and what works well for one doesn’t work so well for another.

    Sometimes you have to combine things.

    Here’s an example from the other night: my daughter was tired, and it was her bedtime. I put her in her crib, gave her the blanket, etc. She smiled and closed her eyes. I left.

    Two minutes later she started crying. I ignored it, and she was asleep in just a few minutes.

    Around midnite she woke up crying. This is unusual for her (she’s a heavy sleeper) so I went in and picked her up and held her. Over the next minute I could feel her muscles relax, her breathing deepen, and she seemed much better. I put her back down and she slept till morning.

    Now, what did I do? Did I let her cry it out, or did I do NCSS? Is somebody going to be grading me on this? Cuz lemme tell you, I’ve got two more kids that are extremely different, and this would not have worked with them.

    However, they seem to be getting what they need.

  17. MrZoot says:

    I’m glad we agree on this stuff. Arguing over parenting issues w/ other parents is one thing, but can you imagine if you and I had opposing viewpoints on this kind of thing? That would be tough.

  18. I think if you are going to say something then you should either put your real name or at least the “screen name” you always go by.

    I can’t believe that all these issues are even “hot topics.” Its to each her own and what works for your family.

    I wouldn’t show up at the Zoot house and try to inforce all the rules that work with my daughter, why? Because my baby and your fetus are very different (okay, or will be.)

    People just are looking for a reason to get on their soapbox and fight.

  19. Amy says:

    Crying it out, comforting them – who the hell cares? Either way THEY’RE NOT SLEEPING and everyone knows Mommy can’t have her afternoon margarita with the damn baby crying.

    Love your site Zoot!

  20. Junkie says:

    You know I’m a huge fan of CIO…b/c it worked like a charm for me. And I agree w/ sherrypg, too…using CIO w/ Ariel and it coming back to haunt me is the least of my worries. I should be stressing more about her coming to me years from now asking what was up w/ me not jumping to her rescue when she fell in the freezing stream water when she was around 1…b/c I was too busy getting some good pix of it. :)

  21. Elizabeth says:

    What about makeup for boys?

  22. Stacey says:

    That person who posted the comment is an idiot. I was left to CIO plently of times…and you know how I know? My parents told me….not because I “remembered” and was traumatized. gee.

  23. zanie says:

    I know what works for me and that is the no cry method. The thought of hearing my infant cry drove me to heartbroken distraction. I can’t imagine leaving him crying in his crib when he was little. (He’s 14 now)

    Baby Girl was different. She cried no matter what I did. If I held her, she cried. If Papa held her, she cried. Nothing worked when she cried, so I let her (after changing, feeding, and attempting to calm her.)

    Do what works for you, but for gawd sakes, don’t judge others for what they decide to do!

  24. BerryGirl says:

    I totally agree- it is just not fair for others to judge someone’s parenting based on something as stupid as how you put your child to sleep. I used the CIO method for my son and he is a perfectly happy well adjusted child- who is loved and knows it! If it works for you and your child who cares?

  25. christine says:

    this string of comments left me laughing…:) my two cents…

    1) all children grow up to have “issues” that they blame on their parents, no matter what.

    2) I used to have a lot of respect/admiration for people who were strong in their opinions…and then I realized they weren’t strong, just stubborn.

    3) I don’t want to have to deal with these issues…and the issues I will deal with as a teacher, because we all know there are issues between teachers and parents too…

  26. Anonymous says:

    Also, every child is different and no one knows them better than their Mom and Dad, so deciding what is best for each child is up to those people.

  27. Michele says:

    I didn’t have to do the CIO for H when he was a baby; he slept through the night at two weeks. But I did have to let him cry for two nights when he was 4. He wouldn’t sleep in his room, kept coming out, time after time. After the books, after the snuggles, everything. So finally one night we let him cry, scream, yell etc. He ran out of the room at least three times when after almost an hour of crying and begging to come out he gave up and fell asleep. It did work, but trust me I sat outside his door with tears running down my face. I personally couldn’t let him cry when he was a baby, my ex husband and I would cry and then go get him. I have a marshmallow heart.

    But my mother did it for all of her children, and we turned out fine. Well let’s not count my sister Melissa..She’s a different story. J

    I do think that when you put out anything in cyberspace you open yourself up, it’s tough. I’ve quit talking about my son, because I don’t want him to google me when he’s a kid and not be to happy with what I’ve said. I also take being a mother very, very seriously like I know you do. If see someone making a clearly neglectful action towards his or her child I’d say something, I might be the one person that gives them a wake up call, or honestly maybe they just don’t know any better. This is clearly not the case with the CIO. There are so many little clubs about attachment parenting, they’re also the same people who tell you to breastfeed till your child can pull up a stool and milk you himself. I sign my name when I do make comments, but I don’t think it makes it any more effective. I also think that this is life peeps not everyone is going to agree with us all the time, and when someone does either learn from it, brush it aside or get angry and get yourself all worked up. I’ve done all three I’m not perfect, but what I have learned from being on the net is, people are braver with a keyboard than a voice.

  28. erin says:

    Well said! Plus the republican remark, lol! My feeling is that we are all doing the best we can with what we have. I KNOW that the Drama Queen suffers from night terrors. She wakes up hysterical. I should let her just be? I’m thinkin’ not. But other times she just doesn’t want to go to bed. Tough noogies sistah. See you in the a.m. Parenting is all about learning to go with the flow. We teach and we learn as we go.

  29. Angie says:

    Well said Zoot! I used CIO with Graham. I agree with everything you said!

  30. Angie says:

    Well said Zoot! I used CIO with Graham. I agree with everything you said!

  31. Lora says:

    I totally agree with you on the CIO method. I used it on both of my kids. My parents used it on me and my siblings.
    My SIL used and still uses the other method with her daughter. Her daughter is only 2 and has already learned that all she has to do is cry and her parents do and give her whatever she wants. When she doesn’t want to go to bed she will scream and cry so her parents will let her stay up until 2AM sometimes! It has led to her realizing that throwing a fit will not only get her out of going to bed but it will also get her whatever she wants. Let me tell you that girl needs a good spanking.(Yes I spank my kids also, not to be confused as beating them!!!)
    I still use the CIO method on my 5 year old when she doesn’t want to go to sleep. It has never failed. She sheds a couple of tears when she is told it’s bedtime and them BAM, 2 minutes later she is out like a light.

  32. Sheryl says:

    CIO has worked well for our family. I mean, there are some times when you can nip the crying in the bud, by giving some extra snuggles, you clue into those moments as you get to know your kid better. There’s no doubt it is AGONIZING to hear your kid cry, but I truly believe that many kids have extra steam to burn, especially if they’re overwhelmed by the stimulation of the day, and babies don’t have a lot of ways to do that except to cry.

  33. Randi says:

    Our doc always gave me the best advice…it’s kind of CIO, but not quite…when my son or daughter was crying, if they were dry, fed, ect, to let them cry…for a few minutes at a time. I’d let my son cry for 2 minutes (clocked), and then go in and just lay him back down (this is for when he was big enough to start moving around in his crib, rolling over, ect), and say “Momma loves you, night night. Time to sleep “or something similar. And then go for 4 minutes and do it again…ect. NEVER EVER EVER, she said, pick them up out of their crib, cause then they’re getting what they want. This way they’re CIO, but at the same time, know you’re still there!
    It’s true, though, about discriminating parents. I chose to bottle feed (Isomil), and I’m looked at as a monster. My two children are healthier then most kids I know who have been breastfed! Seriously! A few of my cousins and an Aunt breasfed their kids, and all of them (different sides of the family) have tons of allergies, ear infections, colds, ect. My daughter has never had an ear infection, my son had 1 when he was about 6 months old, and neither of them have allergies and get sick hardly ever. I believe it’s a choice, just like everything else. But there’s so many “Support breastfeeding mothers” signs, why not “Support bottlefed babies”?

  34. Gin says:

    I just physically couldn’t handle the CIO method until my sweet girls were bigger… Of course, I should have instituted it before they were a year old, because it would have saved me a LOT of middle-of-the-night, falling-asleep-in-the-rocker breastfeedings. However, I really could not listen to my teeny tiny newborn girlies crying, especially since when one started, she got the other one going. (ah, the joy of twins!) Following my mother’s advice, I tried, when they were two weeks old, to just let them cry – but I ended up crying just as hard as my sweeties. It’s really a personal thing; whatever works for mama and baby(ies). (same with the debate between breast and bottle feeding, although I will *never* agree with the ignorant fellow who tried to convince me breast feeding is actually detrimental to babies!!)

    Anyway… looking back now, the one thing I would have done differently is start letting them CIO once they were past the newborn stage, instead of getting up 3+ times a night to breastfeed for that first year. It took about 3 nights before they were sleeping 10 hours a night, plus a two hour nap every day.

    I do believe, though, that a newborn needs all the TLC in the world; they need to learn that the world is an okay, safe place, and that the people who take care of them are, in fact, going to take care of them. Once they’re bigger, though, they definitely need to learn to sooth themselves. With the next baby (years from now, sometime between nursing school and midwifery school – and hopefully a singleton!!), I will most certainly put CIO into effect WAY before the 12 month mark.