Gentle Sleep Training (No Cry It Out)
Gentle sleep training is becoming more and more widely practiced. Many parents are now steering away from the cry it out method which often left parents feeling uncomfortable.
The cry it out method has been practiced by mothers for years. For a very long time cry it out was the accepted form for getting a baby to sleep. Today a lot of mothers are now accepting that perhaps leaving a baby to cry it out is not necessarily the best thing to do.
So what is cry it out?
Cry it out basically means leaving your child to cry until they can cry no more and fall asleep on their own. It is a practice which is taught by Richard Ferber allowing babies to cry until they self soothed and would fall asleep.
I’ll be honest with you cry it out has never sat well with me personally. When I had my first child people would try to convince me that there was nothing wrong with my son and that I should just leave him to cry himself to sleep.
They tried to convince me that he was just being needy! Personally I could never do it and would always make an excuse as to why he needed picking up. Thankfully that all changed with the more children I had and the more my confidence grew as a mother.
I am happy to report that I now openly tell people that I don’t support the CIO method. Watching your child cry until they are blue in the face is no easy task I can tell you that much!
I can still remember the countless battles that I had with people who thought I was being too overprotective and would somehow damage my newborn baby by pandering to his every need. Looking back now it all seems completely crazy and unjustified but at the time I felt that these people knew more than I did.
Becoming a mother is already a very difficult job at the best of times and can often feel as though you are taking a stab in the dark at being a new parent. You are in a highly vulnerable position and having people tell you that you are doing something wrong only highlights that vulnerability even more.
What is gentle sleep training?
Gentle sleep training is a method whereby you teach your child to fall asleep on their own. The reason for it being called gentle is because you obviously choose to do it which ever way you are comfortable with, gently.
A lot of people were not comfortable with the Ferber method which is why gentle sleep training works so well. You can use gentle sleep training however you see fit.
If you are happy for your baby to cry for 2 minutes before you pick them up, you can do that. If you prefer to have no tears at all, you can do that. There is no right or wrong way for this to work which is why this is the favoured method for a lot of parents.
What Happens if You Allow A Baby to Cry It Out?
Well aside from the fact that your baby will probably turn many shades of blue and red all at the same time from all the excessive crying it is not good for their emotional make up either.
Studies have also shown that the cry it out method can actually cause some brain damage in young children even more so if the child was born prematurely as their brains are not fully developed yet.
Babies have a genuine natural need to be comforted when in distress. If you allow them to cry it out every time they want to sleep you are denying them the opportunity to understand some of these emotions.
What you have to understand is that your baby has been comfortably growing inside your womb for the past 9 months of its existence. It’s every need has been taken care of before he or she is even aware that they have a need.
Sounds have been gentle and soft, even loud bangs are not loud bangs in the womb. Babies live in a perfect temperature without the need to ever feel hungry. They have been comfortably growing inside you only to one day be served an eviction notice and be thrust into a world of loud noise and bright colours.
To be fair if that happened to me right now I would probably cry too. This is the reason that the cry it out method seems so inhuman to me. Surely this is the point at which your baby needs you more than ever? They need you until they can understand this new world of light and sound that they have entered.
Everything is new and they could be suffering from sensory overload. Baby probably wants the one thing that has been consistent to them all along and that is the sound of your voice. Surely this is not the best time to leave your vulnerable baby to figure it out themselves by leaving them to cry it out in a cold cot?
I agree that having a newborn baby is not the easiest of tasks as it means living on only a few hours of sleep each day. Personally speaking I would rather have a little bit of sleep deprivation and have a healthy baby. Babies never stay babies for very long and this beautiful moment will be over before you know it.
What Alternatives Are There to CIO?
Gentle sleep training without cry it out is a much less harsh way to help baby get into a sleeping pattern. There are different ways to do this.
- You can make sure you have a good bedtime routine which will signal to baby that its almost time to go to sleep. Incorporating a bathing routine can help with this.
- Also having a set bed time will help to bring around routine,
- Turning down noise and lights at a certain time will create a wonderful sleep ambience for baby and perhaps for mama too!
Let me know which tips and tricks you use for gentle sleep training. Leave a message in the comments below.
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