Every few months somebody throws out a fiercely alarming article about how cry it out will permanently damage your child. The latest one caught my attention because it was featured on Yahoo’s home page. And given that zillions of people read Yahoo it’s probably going to freak a lot of people out.
The Yahoo article is actually sourcing an even more alarming article from Psychology Today. Although I felt obligated to link to it I’m telling you, DON’T READ IT. Also while the title “Psychology Today” may sound like an academic journal, it isn’t. This is a magazine, just like People and Us Weekly, that needs headlines that will get people to buy the magazine.
Please don’t read it.
The Bottom Line on CIO
There is no research that suggests that CIO will permanently harm your child.
The research about attachment disorders are all based on severe cases “predominantly in infants who are abused or neglected.”
My readers are not abusing or neglecting their children.
You are here because you love your children and are concerned about meeting their very real and critical needs for healthy sleep. You are concerned and caring people. The studies that these articles cite are are NOT talking about YOU.
The cortisol conundrum.
These articles invariably come to the conclusion that stressed or crying baby brains produce cortisol, a stress hormone that in large quantities can damage neurons. You know what else results in babies producing large amounts of cortisol? Sleep deprivation. Sadly I have yet to find a study that compares cortisol production during crying to that of sleep deprivation.
3 days vs. 3 years
CIO if done well, takes about 3 days. Chronic sleep deprivation goes on forever. So even if crying produces more cortisol than sleep deprivation, there is NO way that crying for a few days produces more cortisol than years of chronic sleep deprivation.
Tired babies cry more.
Want to reduce the amount your child cries? Help them sleep better.
Attachment parenting starts with YOU.
Even if you’re a huge proponent of attachment parenting, being physically and emotionally available for your children requires that YOU are physically and emotional strong. When you’re beaten down via exhaustion YOUR ability to nurture and connect with your children is vastly diminished. So helping everybody sleep better is a critical foundation to enable parents to be emotionally connected and supportive of their children.
Parents who are looking for answers to improve their children’s sleep are fundamentally plugged into what is REALLY important for the health and well-being of their kids. They don’t need to be freaked out by these alarmist articles that cite research that is based on EXTREME neglect. Frankly the whole thing is bullshit. We’re raising a nation of chronically sleep deprived kids and the bigger narrative should be focused on how we’re going to fix this problem instead of needlessly scaring concerned parents who are trying to make a positive change in their family’s sleep.
Thus endeth the CIO rant.