I asked this on another board...

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I asked this on another board...

But I know you ladies would have some insight. What is an acceptable amount of time to allow your child to "cry it out". Kaylee refused to sleep last night and i eventually let her cry for about 1/2 hr giving her her soother here and there. I finally caved and let her fall asleep on my chest and then put her in her crib. It did get more sleep out of her but I felt bad.

So what is acceptable?

Last seen: 1 year 8 months ago
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Never let your baby cry it out... we never do it and I have two older boys that are perfectly fine. There are many articles online like this.... http://drbenkim.com/articles-attachment-parenting.html Please do not let your little cio at this age.

Cry It Out: The Potential Dangers of Leaving Your Baby to Cry
Posted By Margaret Chuong-Kim Children's Health IssuesHealthy Pregnancy

Among parents of infants these days, there is constant debate about how to respond to a baby?s cries. On one hand, there are proponents of the ?cry it out? method, where the baby is left alone to cry in the hopes that he or she will eventually stop. On the other hand, there are the ?attachment parents? who respond immediately to their crying babies and attempt to soothe them using various methods including holding and cuddling. While the cry-it-out method (CIO) has been popular in previous years, attachment parenting (AP) is gaining a foothold among new parents today. Results of studies in psychology indicate the AP approach to crying is most likely to result in an emotionally and physically healthy child.

Attachment theory originated in the late 1960s when psychologist John Bowlby postulated that a warm, intimate relationship between caregiver and infant is necessary for optimal health as well as for basic survival. As such, each individual is born well-equipped with reflexes and instincts for interacting with their primary caregiver, which is often times the mother. For example, infants quickly learn to recognize and prefer both their mother?s voice and smell. As babies develop some locomotor control they display their desire to be close to their caregivers by reaching toward their mother or father to be picked up or by crawling toward them. From an evolutionary perspective, these behaviours have survival value. Babies who lack such attachment behaviours will stray from their caregivers and are more likely to get lost, attacked, and perish. An infant?s cry is also intended to increase the likelihood of its survival, as a mother?s instinct is usually to go to her child at the first sign of distress.

We live in an age where we can know that the baby is safe in another room, despite the loudness of his cries. Does this mean we should leave babies to cry on their own? CIO proponents often advise that babies left to cry will eventually stop, and the duration of future crying bouts will decrease. What are the emotional consequences of crying for the infant when she is left unattended? Bowlby and colleagues initiated a series of studies where children between the ages of one and two who had good relationships with their mothers were separated from them and left to cry it out. Results showed a predictable sequence of behaviours: The first phase, labeled ?protest?, consists of loud crying and extreme restlessness. The second phase, labeled ?despair?, consists of monotonous crying, inactivity, and steady withdrawal. The third phase, labeled ?detachment?, consists of a renewed interest in surroundings, albeit a remote, distant kind of interest. Thus, it appears that while leaving babies to cry it out can lead to the eventual dissipation of those cries, it also appears that this occurs due to the gradual development of apathy in the child. The child stops crying because she learns that she can no longer hope for the caregiver to provide comfort, not because her distress has been alleviated.

Do babies cry more when they are attended to? A 1986 study concluded just the opposite: the more a mother holds and carries her baby, the less the baby will cry and fuss. Cross-cultural studies also show that parents in non-Western societies are quicker than parents in Western societies to respond to their crying babies, and babies in non-Western societies cry for shorter spans of time. Caregivers in 78% of the world?s cultures respond quickly to an infant?s cries. For instance, Efe caregivers in Africa respond to a baby?s cries within ten seconds at least 85% of the time when the baby is between three and seven weeks, and 75% of the time when the baby is seventeen weeks. !Kung caregivers respond within ten seconds over 90% of the time during the baby?s first three months, and over 80% of the time at one year. In contrast, American and Dutch caregivers have been found to be deliberately unresponsive to an infant?s cries almost 50% of the time during the baby?s first three months. Infants in non-Western societies have been found to fuss just as frequently as those in Western societies, but due to the prompt response of caregivers in non-Western societies, the overall cumulative duration of crying is less than what occurs in Western societies.

According to attachment theory, many babies are born without the ability to self-regulate emotions. That is, they find the world to be confusing and disorganized, but do not have the coping abilities required to soothe themselves. Thus, during times of distress, they seek out their caregivers because the physical closeness of the caregiver helps to soothe the infant and to re-establish equilibrium. When the caregiver is consistently responsive and sensitive, the child gradually learns and believes that she is worthy of love, and that other people can be trusted to provide it. She learns that the caregiver is a secure base from which she can explore the world, and if she encounters adversity she can return to her base for support and comfort. This trust in the caregiver results in what is known as a secure individual.

Children who do not have consistently responsive and sensitive caregivers often develop into insecure individuals, characterized by anxious, avoidant, and/or ambivalent interactions. Long-term studies have shown that secure individuals, compared to insecure individuals, are more likely to be outgoing, popular, well-adjusted, compassionate, and altruistic. As adults, secure individuals tend to be comfortable depending on others, readily develop close attachments, and trust their partners. Insecure individuals, on the other hand, tend to be unsettled in their relationships, displaying anxiety (manifesting as possessiveness, jealousy, and clinginess) or avoidance (manifesting as mistrust and a reluctance to depend on others). North American parenting practices, including CIO, are often influenced by fears that children will grow up too dependent. However, an abundance of research shows that regular physical contact, reassurance, and prompt responses to distress in infancy and childhood results in secure and confident adults who are better able to form functional relationships.

It has been suggested in the past that CIO is healthy for infants? physical development, particularly the lungs. A recent study looking at the immediate and long-term physiologic consequences of infant crying suggests otherwise. The following changes due to infant crying have been documented: increased heart rate and blood pressure, reduced oxygen level, elevated cerebral blood pressure, depleted energy reserves and oxygen, interrupted mother-infant interaction, brain injury, and cardiac dysfunction. The study?s researchers suggested that caregivers should answer infant cries swiftly, consistently, and comprehensively, recommendations which are in line with AP principles.

CIO supporters tend to view their infants? cries as attempts to manipulate caregivers into providing more attention. Holding this view can be detrimental to the immediate and long-term health of the baby. In the field of cognitive psychology there exists the premise that our thoughts underlie our behaviour. Thus, if we think positively about an individual, our behaviours toward them tend to be positive as well. Conversely, if we think negatively about an individual, we will behave correspondingly. Consider people in your own life whom you consider manipulative ? how does that perception influence your behaviour toward them? It is unlikely that the interpretation of a manipulative personality will result in the compassionate, empathetic, and loving care of that individual. Infants, quite helpless without the aid of their caregivers, may suffer both emotional and physical consequences of this type of attitude.

When faced with a crying baby, it may be prudent to ask yourself the following questions: Why am I choosing this response? Do I want my baby to stop crying because he feels comforted and safe, or do I want my baby to stop crying for the sake of stopping crying? What is my baby learning about me and the world when I respond in this manner? If I were a baby and was upset, how would I want my caregivers to respond?

bamsmom's picture
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I have never been much for CIO, until the twins. There is 1 of me and I can not tend to both of them at the same time and DH isnt always here. So I have no choice but to let the babies cry from time to time and honestly they often times will continue to scream whether they are in my arms or the swing or the crib, so I dont know that it matters.

indianajones's picture
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This is a topic that has the potential to get heated, as people often have strong feelings on one side or the other. Let's just all remember to choose our words carefully, ok?

I did a form of CIO with my older one at about 9 months and it worked really well for us. Would it work for everyone? No. Would it work for my other kid(s)? Who knows? Each kid/situation is different.

As long as you are tending to their needs, sometimes they need to learn to self-soothe. Age makes a big difference, though, and I have no idea if babies are able to fully self soothe at 4-5 months. Have you talked to your pediatrician to ask his/her opinion?

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Sometimes Andrew gets in moods where he will cry whether I am holding him or not so to save my sanity I will put him down and let him cry for a few mins. I feel like if I allowed it he would just cry for hours. If you are actually following a cry it out method I believe it says to start letting them cry for 5 min intervals and then gradually increase the time. Being a first time mom I don't really let Andrew cry for long but sometimes you have to do it!

Last seen: 3 years 8 months ago
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I only did this out of complete sleep depervations and I do NOT want to continue doing this but the problem is that I have another baby to tend to. What am I suppose to do. I don't want to neglect Brad because Kaylee is being fussy/ won't sleep and he's being good. I'm completely torn. It would break my heart to let Kaylee cry but then I feel bad for Brad who won't get as much attention because he is an excellent baby.

skylersmomma's picture
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I see both sides of the debate with my first I refused to let him cry but the kesler there have been times I have to let him cry. Each baby is different sum fussier than others no one can say what's right or wronmg all I know is moms do the best they can all while triing to keep there sanity and care for their babies to there best of ability.

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When Alice is inconsolable, I'm at the end of my rope, or there are things I need to do, she gets put down (usually somewhere that she will start to feel better after a while, like the swing). I don't consider this CIO - I consider it keeping my sanity. There are times I recognize if I don't get away from her, I will go over the edge.

I did CIO with dd1 at 9 months b/c no other method worked. She was still waking every 3 hours and I needed better sleep. What I did, I would not consider for a baby this age. But no one could fault you for putting her down to tend to other needs.

mandi04's picture
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I've let all of my kids cry varying amounts and they are all perfectly healthy, smart and secure. You can find 'studies' either way if you look. I'm a proponent of doing what you feel is right for you, your baby and your family. You are their mom and you can best tell if they are crying because they are tired or just cranky or if they are crying because they need something/are scared.

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This is a great non-preachy blog on CIO...


It's pretty pertinent to this discussion.

Anyways, OP- if your quieter twin is happy NOT being held and cuddled at that moment- then I wouldn't worry about neglecting him by cuddling/holding the crying twin (if that's what she wants- and if that's what you mean). So I wouldn't let that weigh you down too much- I have a feeling with twins that it might change depending upon the age/growth/teething of said baby too, right? So some months, you might give Baby A more attention and some months, Baby B?

As it is- true CIO- these little ones are too young for it. Fuss it out? Sure, if you are comfortable and can handle it. CIO to me means leaving them to cry- even if that means leaving them to get very very upset and screaming at the top of their lungs.

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Thank you for keeping this conversation from getting too heated...you ladies are awesome.

I totally understand how difficult it is to have a needy/fussy baby, especially when you have other kiddos to take care of. I'm sure most (if not all) of us have had to let our kiddos cry at some point, either because we were driving or otherwise engaged. It's just not possible to hold them 24/7 and I think that's fine. I also agree with Prudence, that since you have two, they are going to need more/less attention at different points of their lives, and that's ok too. You shouldn't feel like you're neglecting one because the other needs you more at that moment. I'm sure they know they're both loved equally.

I'm not a fan of CIO but that's my own personal opinion and I certainly understand why it works for some families and respect their right to choose that path. I think you know what will work best for you and your kiddos so you need to trust your instincts. I do agree with the others though that true CIO (where you leave babies alone to cry) is probably not best to do with kiddos this young (most articles I've ever read advise not doing CIO before 6 months), as I don't think they can fully self-soothe the way older kids might, but allowing them to fuss a bit might work for you if you need a break to attend to the other baby.

Good luck, I can't imagine how hard it must be for you with two infants to care for, especially when one is high-needs.

Last seen: 3 years 8 months ago
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Thanks ladies. I'm more less speaking of letting her fuss when I know that she just wants to be held. I feel bad letting her cry but I also understand that I need my sanity. Everyone's insight has been helpful. Thanks again.

Last seen: 4 years 6 months ago
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To the OP, I don't think it's CIO at ALL if you're tending to one child because they need something, and you've done what you can for the other one (place in swing, binky, etc.) and are just finishing taking care of one child, and will tend to the other one as soon as you're finished.

I'm close to anti-CIO, and I have had to do this! I have a 17 month old and a 3 month old. For example, yesterday morning Damien was very tired, and I had spent 2 hours trying to get him to sleep. He wouldn't sleep. My 17 month old was screaming at me because he had a stinky diaper. I had to put Damien in the swing while I changed Jonathan - as I had no choice (to take him in the room with me would have been even worse on him). He screamed and screamed and became very sweatty and his face was bright red and he had alligator tears. I wasn't intentionally neglecting him (which is what CIO is - intentionally letting them cry.), I just could not console him at that moment, as Jonathan's diaper was more of an emergency.

Have you considered, or do you babywear? Perhaps that can give you a way to be able to hold both babies at the same time, if only for a few minutes. Smile