Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Why Ayden Won't Be "Crying-It-Out"

The only pic I took today... CRAZY!
 When we run into people, the first question out of their mouth after admiring our little sweetie's cuteness is, "How is he sleeping?" The question itself is innocent enough.  The problem is that when your reply is any variation of, "Not very well..." the flood gates of advice open.  We know people are just trying to help and definitely appreciate that they care enough to try.  The thing is, advice is really only great when a) you ask for it and b) it is advice that can be implemented in a way that aligns with your parenting style.  The #1 piece of sleep related advice that we receive?  "Let him cry-it-out."

Let me preface the rest of this post with: We know that the cry-it-out (CIO) method works and that babies who go through it turn out just fine and sleep well.  If you chose or choose the CIO method for your little one, that is your choice and there is no judgment here.  What is important that you make decisions that work for your family.  We, personally, are not a CIO family.  Here is why...

As I have mentioned countless times, we are a contemporary crunchy little family, and we have found that Attachment Parenting (AP) is what feels right to us.  If you are not familiar with what that is, here is a great article from that breaks it down very nicely.  If we were to turn back time, we would AP 100% from day one, but as a newbie I thought that maybe we could do some sort of 80/20 or 90/10 variation.  Maybe some people are successfully able to piece various methods of parenting together, but it did not bode well for us so lesson learned and moving on.  We shall just tuck that tid bit away for next time :).  Not only does the idea of CIO go against every ounce of maternal instinct in my body, it also does not align with AP in any way.  The whole premise behind AP is that you respect the language value of our baby's cry and respond quickly and sensitively whenever they do.   Read more about the "why" for this here.

David and I are both what I'd call "co-dependent" individuals.  Meaning, we often find ourselves leaning on one another for support, comfort, stress relief, warmth, encouragement, etc.  If one, or both, of us have had a bad day, we always end up leaning into an embrace and holding it as we feel the stress melt from our bodies.  Why then would we expect our infant, who doesn't have the ability to identify or understand his emotions/feelings or "why" it is important to sleep all night long, to deal with the stress of being alone as he cries it out or learns to "self sooth?"  We also don't believe that babies are manipulative, nor do we want to see Ayden in that light.  When I think of adults in my life who are manipulative, I usually have negative thoughts, emotions and feelings towards them.  I don't want to let myself be tempted to feel the same about Ayden when he's woken me yet again in the middle of the night.  He is just a baby.  He has no idea the effect he has on us when he wakes up time and time again.  He just knows that it's dark and that he's alone and feels groggy, hungry, etc. The fact that he quiets as soon as he is nestled in my neck or at my breast shows me he is leaning on me and drawing comfort as David and I often do with each other and there isn't anything wrong with that.

We have heard the argument that we are depriving Ayden of developing self soothing skills and autonomy, however we believe quite the opposite; that by consistently being available we are providing a launch pad from which he will feel secure to go and explore the world.  He will gain these skills, in his own time, when he's good and ready.

I could go on and on but if you are interested in learning more or if you are trying to do your own research so that you can make an educated plan for your own baby, please read the articles here, here and here.  They are well researched, well worded, and I couldn't have said any of it better myself.

I would like to add that if I were a working mom and had a job on the line, my feelings on this topic would possibly be different.  Everyone has to make decisions for their own family and for ours, we always want Ayden to know that we are here for him, no matter what.



  1. Amen. I may not be wording this quite correctly, and you may already know this, but a good friend of mine who is a child psychologist has always helped reassure me in times of need - I have quite the high needs daughter (as Dr. sears would label her) - that research shows one of the best possible outcomes for a child is a responsive parent to a needy child. When an infant/toddler communicate in any way and their parent is quickly responsive to their needs, they grow to be the most independent and self confident and outgoing of any other mix of personality/parenting style :)

  2. I am so happy to read this! I never questioned how you raised your son and am happy to see that you soaked in what you read/ researched and came to your own methods. I also have to remember that my son doesn't mean to wake us up, he just wants to be with us and we are all much happier this way. You haven't mentioned yet what you chose as your sleeping arrangement and I know you've mentioned that you didn't want Ayden waking David up but we are co-sleeping/ bed-sharing and it is the best for us. Especially since I went back to work a couple weeks ago (part- time), I need the extra cuddles in my day and am glad to get them at night! I was just talking to one of my coworkers about AP and how I think that by wearing him and co-sleeping, we are addressing his needs so he can feel confident to find his own self