Thanks to SleepbyConnection for sharing this wonderful personal insight in our Sleep Training discussion (see “Crying it out” may damage baby’s brain and Cute parenting technique or child abuse?)
As a retired sleep trainer and now a sleep deprived mother, my knowledge of the brain, years of sleep training, years of working with all kinds of children, and now a new mother, I know deep in my heart that developing the limbic brain is very important. We as adults impose our own needs onto our children without much awareness of the long term effects.
My daughter is very sensitive and I can’t imagine being an ignorant parent so desperate for sleep that I’d let her CIO (Cry It Out) and ignore her communication to me to feel secure, safe, nurtured and heard.
In all my years of sleep training, I never had to let a baby CIO. And in all my years, I’ve never dealt with the temperament of my own daughter. And wouldn’t life have it that way for me! I truly believe that parenting by connection is far more important than sleep. And being able to recognize the gradual steps to sleep training with the combination of temperament in infants and toddlers is so very important. It’s not easy, and it’s a life long process.
In witnessing an array of personalities in babies for the last 20 years, I don’t think that most parents understand how to parent by individual personalities of their children. Instead they look for formulas and quick fix solutions; CIO sleeping training now being the number one solution to allowing the parents to get some much needed rest. It’s sad.
What I don’t understand is that “crying it out” is “training”??? The phrase in itself suggests this- CRY- SCREAM and you’ll eventually figure it out. You must learn 4 month old baby!!! How can anyone call this training. You don’t train for a marathon in JUST 5 nights. Ok run 15 miles the first day, and don’t worry, you won’t hurt as much the second day, so run 20 miles, and on the third day, just run a few more miles and by day 5, you’ll feel great!
Parents are crazy to think that babies don’t remember things in his/her infant stages. As a professional care giver, I’ve had 3 year old children tell their parents about me and their experiences with me as an infant. I know the main reason was because I was sleep training by connection and moving with the needs of each child.
And with my own child, she got bit by a wasp at 7 months on her eye, and 2 weeks later freaked out with a fly in the room. And now at 11 months watches black flying bugs of any size with her keen eyes. She looks up at me for reassurance that it’s OK, and mommy is here. She remembers her experience.
There’s an MD in NY now telling mothers to put their babies (at 4 months) to bed at 7pm and not go into the room until 7am- no matter what. When my friend asked what to do if her daughter threw up, he said, “go in there, clean her up, don’t talk to her, and put her back in her bed, shut the door and don’t go back in till 7am!” That’s abuse! And this is an MD. If you hear a baby screaming in NY, I’m sure it’s a patient of this absurd famous rich MD that thinks he’s just the bomb. My friend walked out.
My personal take from my observations in life- your baby shuts down when you let them CIO. They learn very fast (in 5 days or less) that you will not come. But that baby still needs you to feed them, love them, play with them, and provide, so they connect to you in the morning. And they will love you unconditionally, until more experiences build on the foundation you created. And you have no idea how they store those memories. You have no idea what perceptions they will develop about they decisions you’ve made. Is that a risk you’re willing to take?
EVERY parent I’ve asked about CIO that has done it says the same thing- IT WAS HARD. VERY HARD. Personally I think that’s the parent intuition being ignored.
If a parent can let a child scream that loud for that long, what else are you able to ignore in your child’s communication?
I believe it damages the limbic brain. I believe sleep is so personal, and it’s years before any person realizes they like to sleep alone because they rest better. In most cases, no one likes to sleep alone, thus the double, queen and king size beds. We all need comfort, security, and love while we sleep. It starts at birth and goes for years!
Is this hard? Yes. Will I survive? Yes. Will my daughter have a foundation where she knows her needs are met and her emotional building blocks are all in tack? Yes.