Don't let them cry it out!
Thursday, March 28, 2013 2:25 AM
Many people still believe in the bedtime strategy termed "cry it out" which is a method where the child is put to bed and then allowed to cry/fuss for a set amount of time or until they fall asleep. Overtime some kids fuss for less and less amounts of time before falling asleep, while others scream until exhaustion sets in and they have no tears left.While it is a slow progression, parents are starting to pull away from this method because of the many damaging effects that doctors are starting to identify. When this is used during the early weeks of life, babies often become disconnected. It can have negative consequences related to breastfeeding, because a mother's milk supply is developed thru supply and demand.
Dr. Sears, www.askdrsears.com,points out that "when babies cry alone and unattended, they experience panic and anxiety. Their bodies and brains are flooded with adrenaline and cortisol stress hormones."
When the brain has prolonged exposure to stress hormones it can interfere with the normal development of nerve connections. In addition to the physical affects, cry it out also has emotional consequences. Although it may seem like children learn to self soothe...putting themselves to sleep quickly...what we don't see is that each time they cry and no one comes to them they stop crying because they do not expect anyone to address their needs. Many parents ignore the instinct to run to their crying toddler because they are afraid they will become "trained" by their children.
Call it whatever you want, but when a small child cries or even screams for their parent it is because they need something important. It might be that they are upset about something that happened that day, holding in a fear about something, or they could just need the comfort and security that comes from a cuddling with a parent.
Next time your little one cries out for you, I ask that you consider this...when you got fired from your job...when you and your sister had a falling out...when you dropped your favorite very expensive purse in the mud...when your significant other hurt you...how did you feel? Sad? Alone? Depressed? Do you feel better when a friend lends you a shoulder to lean on? I know that I sure do! If my husband had shut the door and said "cry it out" hunny when I found out I was a part of downsizing at a career I loved, I would have been furious. Even as adults who understand that sometimes life isn't fair, we still don't want to cry alone.