That's what parenting has become for me, my heart and soul... I put all of myself into helping the little person develop into the greatest big person she can be. Though it's not just about the end, but her journey to that point as well. I think about this often and make very conscious decisions about how I parent. I do so with all the love and compassion and patience in the world; it's a truly amazing thing.
That said, I'm going to rant for a little bit. I was on facebook two nights ago, and a distant friend from high school posted about letting her 5 month old cry it out (CIO). She mentioned how hard it was, but how he'd better get back on his schedule or she'd be crying. Others posted in support of CIO, and another mother who is also a health care professional posted that her 4-5 month old had CIO for 50 minutes that night.
I did not respond. Part of me feels it's not my place, it's their choice for their children. However, I've read study after study recently about the harmfulness of CIO. A 6 month old baby experiences significant distress if left to CIO for just 2 minutes. It can lead to aggressiveness and possibly ADHD. Even Ferber himself says CIO should not be used under 6 months of age, and suggests that it's not meant to be used on every child. At some point I'll post more, with citations to the studies so I'm not just spouting off information. But right now, I just need a little vent.
If you follow my life as a mother at all, you know that I have not had the easiest sleeper in the world. Olivia napped on me until 10-11 months. She is 15 months old now, and within the past week has begun waking only once per night. This is a major step for us. I get 5-6 hours of sleep in a row, the most I've had since she was born. I have never considered CIO as an option, nor would I utilize any other type of sleep training. She is my baby, 24 hours a day. I didn't sign up for daytime only parenting. It's your responsibility as a parent, to BE a parent, whenever your child needs you.
I'm 29 years old. My mother would not let me cry for 50 minutes alone in my bedroom, while she sat on facebook with a glass of wine.
Why is this okay for a little baby? Why is it something as parents that we feel we should be doing? At 5 months old, when Olivia cried it was because she needed something. If it wasn't to nurse, have her diaper changed, because she was chilly... maybe it was because she just needed her mama or daddy. That's okay! It's okay to cuddle your children, and to make them feel safe and secure. Flame away, if CIO is your thing that's fine... but it's not for me. I believe there is no such thing as spoiling a baby. In fact, when something spoils, it's because you let it sit without paying enough attention to it for too long, or because it was forgotten about.
I'm not really trying to cut anyone down for their parenting, that's not really my thing either. I'm just trying to understand, and maybe get some ideas on how to suggest to others that there is another way besides CIO. Perhaps they just don't know? It's instinctual to me, to run to my daughter when she needs me. I lay her down last night when she went to sleep, and began watching a movie with my husband. After about an hour, she woke up and I heard her cry. I went to the room immediately, and she was in her bed trying to climb onto our bed, patting around the pillows. She was looking for us. After 30 seconds of crying, she was looking for her mom and dad to be there. And we always are. We always come for her. What happens after 50 minutes (or even just 10 or 15) of crying, looking for mom and dad, and they never come? Baby just eventually gives up and goes to sleep. It breaks my heart to think about.
I hadn't really intended to get so into this topic. As I said, it's not my thing to bad-mouth another person's parenting choice. But I've been thinking about this for several days now, I guess I just had to get it off my chest. Rant over.