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2017 WENDY CORREEN SMITH. Powered by Blogger.


Ruffling Feathers & Saying NO To Cry It Out

A few months ago I shared this disturbing article on Facebook, and I described Sleeping Training or Cry It Out (CIO) as neglectful & abusive. The article detailed a story of an infant that cried alone in its crib for so long it vomited. In my FB post I also stated a time I witnessed CIO in person. The crying baby & the neglect of the parents as they tended to their house party has never ever left my mind.

My Facebook post ruffled some feathers. I had a friend from high school that took offense to my viewpoint, as she did CIO with her children. She and several of her friends did not like that I called it abusive & neglectful. My language was described as "inflammatory." A few ladies thought it was a form of mommy bullying!

We need to be careful using the words "mommy bullying!" I get it, mom's shouldn't be judgmental, NO ONE should be judgmental. I don't care if we are talking about a five year old boy in kindergarten, the CEO of a corporation, or an old lady in a nursing home, NO ONE has the right to be judgmental. Mom shaming is terrible, however I don't believe every parenting topic can hide behind the current rise of "mean moms." My problem with labeling everything that questions parenting as "mommy bullying" is that sometimes there is truly a serious topic that needs to be heard, discussed, & questioned. Even if it ruffles some feathers in the process. The beautiful Maya Angelou said "Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better." Just becuase it was done one year ago, five years ago, or 20 years ago, doesn't mean it was right. Discussing an inconvenient truth about parenting doesn't mean you are judging a person that did/does it. It can be done with respect & the understanding that we are all learning.

Insightful read on mom bullying here.

I know very well that every single parent is different, and most all of us are doing the best that we can. All of us choose different parenting styles & make unique decisions based on who we are and what we think is best. I totally respect that. I will make mistakes & I'm going to learn along the way. A day will come when I have to say, "I wish I would have done ------ differently, because now I know better!"

From time to time, my blog & this space will be used to share & discuss the topic of Cry It Out, Sleep Training, Ferber Method, and all the various names for controlled crying. I'm positive a day will come when CIO will be considered old-fashioned, neglectful, cruel, and for the pages of history books. I look forward to that day because my stomach turns when I hear & read stories about babies left to cry alone in the dark silence of the night.

Why am I passionately sharing new research, articles, history, and the psychological impacts of CIO?
I don't have enough space in one post to share everything we already know about the negative impact of CIO. This will be an ongoing topic on my blog - for the benefit of our innocent babies that don't have a voice. Our society needs more love & compassion, more hugs & more kisses. Rates of depression, suicide, anxiety, depression, and addiction are skyrocketing. Its time to look at our parenting choices. "Neuroscience can confirm what our ancestors took for granted -- letting babies get distressed is a practice that can damage children and their relational capacities in many ways for the long run. Leaving babies to cry is a good way to make them less intelligent, less healthy & more anxious, uncooperative & alienated persons who can pass the same traits on to the next generation." - Psychology Today 

Biology links mothers to children, and when the relationship is in sync, cortisol levels (associated with stress) as well as oxytocin levels (associated with bonding) rise or fall together. CIO breaks this bond. 
From Screaming to Sleep, Part Two: The Moral Imperative to End 'Cry It Out' 

When Magnolia cries my heart rate goes up & all I want to do is get to her as fast as possible to comfort her. That is biological, simple cause & effect, and not to be ignored.

I realize I may lose some readers over this post. For two months I've reflected on the reaction I received when I wrote the words "neglectful & abusive" about it. I'm not writing and sharing about CIO to be popular, it's for the sake of the precious babies. I know night time parenting is hard, its the hardest thing I've ever done. Babies aren't meant to sleep through the night. This publication on the relationship between sleep arousal & SIDS is important to understand when discussing CIO. The research is clear, CIO is harmful, it is an inconvenient truth that needs to be shared. And that is exactly what I'm going to do here, in my little space.

Below are links to articles, blog posts, & research I'd encourage you to take the time to read.

Screaming to Sleep, Part One: The Moral Imperative to End 'Cry It Out'

Screaming to Sleep, Part Two: The Moral Imperative to End 'Cry It Out'

Accepting the Reality of Infant Sleep & Toddler Sleep

It's OK to Sleep Next to Your Infant Child. It's Even Beneficial. 

These two brains both belong to three-year-olds, so why is one so much bigger?

Parents Need More Rest, But Sleep Training Is Not The Answer

How Practicing Gratitude Reframes Night Time Parenting

Is Self Soothing the Biggest Con of New Parenthood?

Cave Babies, Cry It Out & Ruffling Feathers

Dangers of Crying It Out

Hold them, love them, cuddle them, whether the clock says five pm or two am.

With only love & respect, & more to come.
Wendy Correen Smith
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  1. I respectfully disagree with this article. As a mother of four kids ranging in ages from 9 to 1, let me share my perspective.
    1) Just because the current research supports something, doesn't mean it's right or true. For example, when my 9 year old was born I was told that if I didn't put her in her crib by herself and on her back she would be more likely to die of SIDS. She didn't want to sleep on her back or by herself, so I went against the current research and let her sleep with me. Now my doctor tells me cosleeping is fine. Point being, the results of research will change, so you can't just just make a decision based on research, it should only be a part of your decision making process.
    2. CIO is abusive and neglectful. In certain circumstances it could be. Letting a child get so upset they are throwing up certainly sounds awful. However, my experience has been different. (I let my first and forth children cry it out, and not my second and third) With my forth child I lay in a bed right next to his crib, he cried for 15 min the first night, then not at all after that, and has slept through the night ever since. Was it hard to listen to him cry? Absolutely. But now he sleeps better and he is happier during the day. It didn't harm him. Compare this with my niece and nephew who hadn't been fed in who knows how long, and were found in feces before my sister in law adopted them and provided a better life for them. THAT is ABUSE. Why don't we focus that language on kids in those situations who truly need help versus a mom who is trying to do her best for her kids.
    3. You don't know each individual's personal situation. There are plenty of mom's and dads that have to work full time. Being up all night and then having to work all day is exhausting. I decided to let my oldest cry it out after I nearly hit a school bus while driving to work. I was so tired I didn't see it. I had tried gentler sleep training methods and they didn't work.I decided that if I didn't get more sleep I was going to inadvertently kill myself or someone else, and decided that crying it out was best for myself, my baby, and everyone else on the road with me. It took 3 nights, she has slept fantastically since then. She is very independent, incredibly smart and doesn't have depression at all. That is just one experience, other parents deal with depression themselves or other conditions that make a lack of sleep not just inconvient but life threatening.
    4. Is speaking out against crying it out mom shaming? Yes. Please leave other moms alone. If they aren't feeding their kids, help them out. If their kids don't have proper clothes- donate some to them. If the kids are being hit, report it to the proper authorities and provide a safe place for the child to go in the meantime. How a parent decides to get a child to sleep- or decides not to make them sleep at all really isn't your concern. Telling mom's and dads what awful parents they are doesn't help the kids, it just make the parents defensive, and adds more stress to an already difficult situation.

  2. All the new 2016 studies show that it is fine and the babies are not more stressed at all. You see, you can find articles to support both sides. I have independent sleepers which is okay and in the long run way better for themselves. There sleep longer and are more rested.


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