Cry it out vs. Attachment

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Cry it out vs. Attachment

Postby Aum » Sat Jul 30, 20:22 2016

What do you all think of attachment parenting vs. the "cry it out" method?

The cry it out method means that, unless something is obviously wrong (like feeding time, diaper needs changing, injury, etc.), you let the baby cry it out until they just eventually stop. No running to comfort them. The practice is promoted for bedtimes. Like if they spend all night crying eventually they'll learn that nothing is wrong and just stop doing it, but if you keep coddling them then they'll never learn to exist apart from you and cope with their own emotions.

Attachment parenting says... they're babies, so they don't understand our weird separation rules, because they need us for everything. When the baby cries, no matter what, you go to it and comfort it. It teaches the child that the parent can always be trusted and relied upon, it builds strong bonds, and some say it prevents the trauma that the "cry it out" method causes. A lot of proponents of attachment even let their babies sleep in bed with them, which is a big faux pas in the safety world.

My sister did the attachment parenting method with her two kids, and I respected her choice. She said her children were so high needs that they would just keep crying until they were basically choking, so attachment was necessary. As the kids acquire language, you balance it out by offering a lot of verbal support to help them understand their emotions, instead of "mommy or daddy will be there any time something bad happens".

It's hard to tell if my sister's kids are truly high needs or not. What it seems like is that attachment parenting reduced their tolerance for suffering. My sister could be there 24/7 in the beginning because of her lifestyle but now she works full time and so the kids had to drastically learn how to live without her for time periods, but also that other caregivers might not be as coddling anytime they have a boo boo.

As I'm not a parent I can't really judge one way or another, so I'm curious if the parents here did any research on this, or if you just did what came naturally to you as a parent. I'm a very empathetic person so my son or daughter crying in terror would really trigger me to want to go to ze. My dad used the "cry it out" method on my sister and I. When my mother wanted to go to us he would stop her because "we had to learn". But it's like... we're babies so how can we learn other than just being scared?
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Re: Cry it out vs. Attachment

Postby ladyhawk » Sat Jul 30, 22:07 2016

For me, personally, it's really kind of a case by case thing every time they cry.

For instance, I don't think I let my kids cry for extended periods until they were around 8 months old, but that's really when they started throwing tantrums. On the other hand, when I'd check on them when they were crying, after they were around 6 months old, I didn't typically pick them up when they were crying unless there was something they really needed, or they were just hysterical and couldn't settle without physical comfort.

My husband, on the other hand, never ever ever let our oldest cry, to the extent that he literally rocked him to sleep every single night until he was 10 months old, and I moved after getting out of the Army. He also woke up a gajillion times and my husband rocked him back to sleep every time. While he was still in TX waiting to get out and I was in PA with the baby, I started letting the baby cry himself to sleep because there was really nothing actually wrong. After about a week he just started going to sleep after I read him a book and tucked him in, and he slept through the night.

With our youngest...he was just really easy. He really only woke up when he was hungry or had a messy diaper. Around 1 year he went through a sleep rebel phase, but he sort of just babbled and etertained himself until he fell asleep. Now he has bouts with nightmares, and we obviously go comfort him, but we put him back in bed after he's calmed down and before he's fallen asleep. On really rough nights when my husband is working and I have to be at work the next day, I'll put him in bed with me, but that's rare.

If I'm being honest I don't really like either idea, but I think people have to do what works best for them and their kids, and every kid is different and will respond differently to different things. I didn't like listening to my 10 month old cry himself to sleep, but I also know he was only crying because he was throwing a temper tantrum, and I didn't feel that responding to that would be setting good habits for either of us, and after a week he was sleeping like a real person. On the other hand, I detest cosleeping, but it's sometimes the only thing that will keep my two year old from crying until he pukes, and I know the idea that 'he'll never sleep on his own' is just nonsense, because chances are that by the time he's 10 or so he's not going to want to sleep in Mommy's bed anymore.

So...middleground for me, but that's just what worked for my kids.
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Re: Cry it out vs. Attachment

Postby rowan » Sun Jul 31, 16:42 2016

CIO is a little more complicated than that, it's not just letting them cry to exhaustion. I have friends who this was the only thing that worked for them, after trying other methods. There is no evidence that CIO causes trauma, though some people thought it might, research has not borne that out.

We did the attachment parenting thing and it worked for us. There are safe ways to let your baby sleep in bed with you, basically using another thing in the bed to make sure they don't suffocate. We used the sidecar sleeper instead.

But really, all kids are different, and different things work for different kids, and you just gotta go with what works for that kid. Even kids in the same family different things work. There are other things too you can try.

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Re: Cry it out vs. Attachment

Postby antfancier » Mon Aug 8, 9:54 2016

I recently saw an article about the 'no-cry method' of sleep training, although I can't for the life of me find it again. Similar to cry it out, you put them to bed awake and tell them you'll be back to check on them shortly. You come back into the room ONLY when they are not crying (at the beginning it will be more like when they pause for breath in between cries). You keep going back as often as necessary to comfort them, reinforcing the desirable behavior I.e. Not crying. Even after they're asleep you go in there room and talk so they become used to your presence. The idea is they will assume that you are checking up on them all night, so if they wake up and you aren't there they won't immediately freak out. Hopefully they'll just go back to sleep with the assumption that you'll be there soon.

I haven't tried any sleep training methods because my baby is too young, but a couple weeks ago I told my moms group I would be doing cry it out as soon as he's ready. I made that decision because I just couldn't handle the sleep deprivation anymore. I tried letting him sleep next to me at the beginning, but even that wasn't enough - he had to actually be in my arms, lying in a very specific position, which meant I couldn't lie down. He was literally attached to me! At some point I just said fuck this because my back hurt too much and put him in the crib. He stayed there for four hours and then had to be back in my arms. And it stayed that way until two weeks ago when all of a sudden he's started sleeping 8 or 9 hours! This has made me reevaluate my decision of course, but since he still only naps in my arms, if I ever want to be able to do something with my day, I'll have to try some sleep training (again I went the attachment parenting route and have tried babywearing, but he wouldn't sleep like that. Plus he's too heavy for me!).

Of course, every parent hates to hear their child cry, but you get to know what the different cries mean and which ones are urgent and which can be ignored for a bit.

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Re: Cry it out vs. Attachment

Postby Nerd1987 » Mon Aug 15, 20:33 2016

I wonder what other primates do and if it varies much from family to family or within family.

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Re: Cry it out vs. Attachment

Postby melsbells » Thu Aug 18, 15:39 2016

Everything I remember reading about this seemed fairly contradictory. As far as I could tell, there aren't actually any good studies available, which I suppose is expected when the subject matter is infant behavior. We ended up leaning toward attachment parenting because it fit our personalities better and then the kid's personality seemed to pull us decidedly in that direction. I was even convinced by doctors and nurses in the hospital to bed share, even though I was opposed to it from what I now see as fear mongering in the U.S. about safety.

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Re: Cry it out vs. Attachment

Postby Tsinkashala » Sat Aug 27, 18:40 2016

When my baby was younger, there is no choice but to soothe her immediately as she really would not stop crying until she's almost blue. Unfortunately, it is only breastfeeding that soothes her so her dad is in great stress when it she cries and I am 10 minutes away. Now that she is one year old, I give her chance to calm herself first (if it is not food or nappy change) by being calm myself when asking her questions. If she continuously ignore me, I will divert her attention e.g. to a toy or song.

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Re: Cry it out vs. Attachment

Postby Aum » Sat Aug 27, 20:32 2016

The artist's job is not to succumb to despair, but to find an antidote to the emptiness of existence. -W.A.

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Re: Cry it out vs. Attachment

Postby Taurwen » Sun Aug 28, 21:56 2016


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Re: Cry it out vs. Attachment

Postby careme777 » Tue Aug 30, 11:56 2016

This is the best summary of the research I've come across without actually doing the research myself: https://scienceofmom.com/2012/03/30/hel ... -to-sleep/. Obviously, it's talking about stress and CIO as it relates to sleep training, but I think the takeaway jives pretty well with my parenting philosophy. Basically, kids experience strong emotions, it's important to empathize with them, validate those emotions, but not let them take over. Also, stress is a part of life and allowing your child to experience a manageable amount of stress under your supervision and guidance isn't the end of the world.

So when my kid cries, I'll pause and acknowledge what's going on, I might give him a hug, and offer comfort, but if he's not able to calm down with my assistance, then I'll leave him to figure it out himself. That's how we helped him to sleep, that how we deal with tantrums, and that's how we deal with tired, cranky melt downs if I can't deal with the source of the cranky (food, sleep, etc.). If he's really hurt, like he's fallen over and bumped his head or something, I'll sit with him until he calms down, but otherwise, I comfort and then let him deal with it.

I get why some parents do the whole attachment thing, but personally I don't think it's a healthy investment for the parent or the child. Children need to learn how to deal with their emotions and how to self-soothe, and it's a parent's job to teach them how to do that in an acceptable way. That doesn't mean that you ignore their emotions, or don't let them express them, just that it's not a parent's job to make everything better all the time, because that's how you get kids who can't deal with anything negative happening to them. Personally, I think that's why we're seeing higher levels of anxiety in college-aged children (I don't have a source for this, but I think I've read it a few places). The other thing about attachment parenting is that it's not healthy for a parent to be that thoroughly invested in their child's wellbeing. Sleeplessness, and that constant need to please are what contribute to some of the toxicity we see in parenting these days (helicopter parenting, super critical and judgemental parents).

I guess it might sound harsh, but I think the world is a pretty harsh place. If you can't offer a structured, loving environment in which to prepare your child to face the realities of life, they're going to have to figure it out later and then you have no control over it.

If you're curious on reading more about the nitty gritty of how I parent (not really scientific, just sensible), check out janetlansbury.com.

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Re: Cry it out vs. Attachment

Postby robichek » Fri Sep 2, 22:23 2016

My philosophy is basically "don't rush". A 3 month old should not be crying it out, a 3 month old doesn't even understand what the crib is, or what it means when they can't see you anymore. But at, say 7 months, or 10 months, the baby is starting to get that there is a point to the separation, that you aren't disappearing forever, etc.

I feel like there is such a rush to get babies sleeping, potty trained, learning their ABCs, etc. Everything happens in due time. You can guide it along, even push it a little, but the way we drag babies into things that are really for our own benefit, and not for theirs, is a shame. And I don't mean that this is something moms do selfishly. It's a shame that moms in America have to go back to work so soon and often CAN'T have interrupted sleep.

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Re: Cry it out vs. Attachment

Postby rowan » Mon Sep 5, 11:20 2016

^Hm that reminds me of a thing I read about pushing reading (and by extension other things) in this country too. I'll see if I can't dredge it up.

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Re: Cry it out vs. Attachment

Postby lyra211 » Sun Sep 25, 18:12 2016

We sort of went middle-of-the-road. In the beginning, we had the sidecar cosleeper, and that worked great. Baby woke up a lot at night because he was a newborn, but I could pick him up, feed him, and put him back down without getting out of bed. He seemed to pretty much only be waking up if he was hungry, and settled pretty well after that, so all was good with the world (yes, there were nights when we'd have to get up and bounce on the yoga ball for a while, but we never had the horrific newborn nights that we seem to hear about where he was inconsolable at 2am). He started sleeping longer stretches and was sleeping one 8-9 hour stretch per night by the time he was two months old.

Around 3 months as he started getting more sensitive to noise, our nighttime rustlings would wake him up -- and if it wasn't my husband or me rustling it was the dog, who also sleeps in our room. It got to the point where I was so worried about someone waking him up that if I heard anyone moving in the night I'd instantly be alert and ready to murder someone if the baby woke up, and then even if the baby didn't wake up I was all keyed up and would have trouble falling back asleep. So for about a month, I moved myself to the floor of the baby's room. He transitioned easily into the crib, but I slept on the floor of his room every night and fed him when he woke up hungry.

At around 4 months, putting him down for naps or bed started getting stressful for both of us. I'd bounce or nurse him to sleep, he'd wake up five minutes later crying, I'd bounce him again, he'd wake up 5 minutes later crying, repeat, and then he'd sleep for like half an hour (at naptime) before he'd wake up crying again. And he was back to waking every 2-3 hours at night, clearly not always hungry, and I was exhausted -- I know some people deal with much worse sleep situations, but I was having a lot of trouble with waking every 2-3 hours at night for many weeks on end, and felt drowsy all the time and even got in a fender bender, and I decided that something had to change because this wasn't safe and it was clearly stressful for him as well as me. People talk about no-cry sleep training methods, but what do you do if your baby is crying even when you aren't sleep training?! So I started putting him down awake, and did a controlled crying method where I'd go in every 2-3 minutes. Not extending the intervals, just patting and reassuring (but not picking up) every 2-3 minutes until he fell asleep. First nap he cried for 25 minutes, next nap 15, and by the end of two days it was <5 min of fussing every time we put him down. It also helped his nighttime sleep. Now at 7 months he's pretty good at going to sleep on his own (many fewer tears than when he was waking and crying every 5 min / few hours at night!), and he sleeps for 11-12 hours with one wake-up for a feeding around 3am. We are all much happier and healthier, I think.


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