Dadvice #9: Regrets On The Cry It Out Method

20 months.

It has officially been over a year now that I decided to incorporate the “cry it out” method to get my then infant son to sleep through the night.

Has it worked? Oh yes.

Do I have any regrets? Absolutely.

My regrets are that I waited until he was 7 months old. If I had it to do over again, I wouldn’t do it any later than at 3 months old.

But when you’re a first time parent, it’s hard to know who to listen to about whether or not to do “cry it out.”

You become instantly avalanched by blogs and books that completely disagree with each other. You have to choose a side.

Well, I ended up writing two separate blog posts on the subject to simply explain and demonstrate how it worked for me.

In the first one, Is It Wrong To Let Your Baby Cry It Out? I received this hateful comment:

On July 7, 2011 at 10:03 am

“Actually, what you have done is not teach him to sleep well, but teach him that, no matter how hard he cries, how scared and alone he feels, or what his needs may be, you will not be there for him. You have taught him to give up hope that mommy or daddy will be there for him no matter what, and to just give up trying. I see a major difference in the clinginess and dependency in kids that were let to cry it out, compared to those that were not. Kids go through stages and need us more in some then others. Congratulations!”

And then I received this condescending jewel of a comment in Getting My Infant To Sleep Through The Night.

On August 9, 2011

“Ummm infants are supposed to eat during the night. Not only because their tummies are small but preventing a super deep sleep cycle helps to prevet SiDS. The CIO method has been shown to cause distress in infants and leads to learned helplessness. It’s disappointing that parents don’t realize that having children is a sacrafice to themselves. Having children means less sleep. It’s called being a parent. I’m very disappointed in your touting crying it out. I’ve got two kids and I’m terribly tired a lot of the time but I’ll never leave my baby to CIO in a room by herself. She’s a BABY. I wish you and your wife would realize that your child is a baby and needs you.”

So what? There are extreme parents out there who think that way.

And then there are normal, down-to-Earth parents like me who didn’t traumatize their kid by using the “cry it out” method to get them to sleep through the night.

Now my son is 20 months old. I feel no guilt or shame for what I’ve done. Because he’s turned out just fine, a year later.

Other Dadvice Articles:

Dadvice #1: Why Doesn’t My Husband Help More With Baby and Chores?

Dadvice #2: My Wife Lacks Complete Desire For Post-Baby Sex

Dadvice #3: My Wife Wants Me To Be A Mind Reader!

Dadvice #4: Would You Recommend Using A Midwife?

Dadvice #5: How Is It Natural To Circumcise Your Son?

Dadvice #6: Is Circumcision Unnecessary And/Or Immoral?

Dadvice #7: A Skeptic’s Letter To Intactivists

Dadvice #8: Too Young To Medicate ADHD And Bipolar Disorder?


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  1. by John

    On July 27, 2012 at 2:50 am

    Just wanted to let you know your links at the end of the article are pointing at your staging server & are not accessible.

  2. by Karen

    On July 27, 2012 at 4:54 am

    Amen.

    We did CIO (Ferber, I suppose) in our own way at about 7 months too. Anna now sleeps VERY well at 21 months and it is quite obvious she harbors no resentment toward us. She shows no signs of emotional distress during her sleeping or waking hours – she is happy and well-adjusted. She knows how much she is loved and that mommy and daddy are here for her because we actively parent her and remind her how much we love her all the time. And we can be positive and active during the day because we are all well-rested.

    Well, we were until her sister came along three weeks ago. ;) now we pray for 3hour stretches of sleep, but big sister is never our nighttime sleep-stealer.

  3. by MN

    On July 27, 2012 at 9:52 am

    You have zero idea about the emotional needs of a child if you even think CIO method is ideal, much less at 3 mos.
    The ‘condescending’ comment you received in my mind seems spot on.
    There is much literature out there to suggest that CIO is risky to the emotional (and early on the physical) needs of a child.
    Educate yourself.

  4. by Nick Shell

    On July 27, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    Thanks, I think I fixed it now. I appreciate you pointing that out for me.

  5. by CB

    On July 27, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    I have a 6 month old daughter who has been sleeping in her crib for over two months. At first we had to help her fall asleep, but once she reached 5 months, we let her “cry” a little bit until she fell asleep on her own. At six months my daughter is an excellent “fake” crier, and often we find ourselves saying to her “I don’t believe you, you aren’t mad” and she instantly smiles. She sleeps through the night on her own, and is now fully capable of putting herself to sleep. If we ran in to her bedroom every time she cried, she, as well as my husband and I, would never get any rest. The CIO method worked for us, and as a result has taught our daughter to self soothe, as well as gain a little more independence. I agree with you 100%. You know your son better than anyone, and you shouldn’t be judged on your parenting style.

  6. by Nick Shell

    On July 27, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    Thanks Corey!

  7. by Joe

    On July 30, 2012 at 11:35 pm

    Sorry, I gotta chime in.

    You say that he’s fine. And he is. And he may be later on, too. But too often I hear the argument that ‘well, I did such-and-such, and they’re fine…’ referencing a toddler. The real question is how their early childhood experiences affect them as adults. That’s what all the anti-CIO research I read seemed to point out, and the pro-CIO research glided over. All too often, parents don’t see themselves in the moment as being entrusted to cultivate an adult…we just see our little kids in front of us and deny the fact that one day, they’ll be autonomous.

    Some good reading:
    http://drbenkim.com/articles-attachment-parenting.html

    It’s the same issue with circumcision, Nick. Your son is fine now, and you’re fine now (assumably). He might not ever have extenuating issues with his genitals, but he’s not an adult yet. I didn’t have issues with mine until puberty, when there wasn’t enough skin left to go around. Not to mention, they’re linking ED in old age with circumcision. These are the kinds of things people like me are trying to prevent. We’re thinking long-term.

  8. by Joe

    On July 30, 2012 at 11:37 pm

  9. by Joe

    On August 1, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    Did you get to read those articles I posted, Nick? I’m just curious what your thoughts are on them.

  10. by Passerby

    On August 14, 2012 at 4:49 am

    “preventing a super deep sleep cycle helps to prevet SiDS”

    whaaaat? Not only is that completely false, preventing deep sleep is demonstrably damaging to the child – or anyone, for that matter.

    You did the right thing here, Nick, ignore the haters.

  11. by Passerby

    On August 14, 2012 at 5:12 am

    Joe, I would not personally recommend either of those articles. The first is clearly biased, and openly mistates what the CIO method consists of, and the second is written by someone who also publishes books on attachment parenting – and thus has an obvious financial stake.