Tag Archives: baby

Is CIO Killing Your Baby?

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Recent studies have shown that CIO, also known as “Crying It Out” can be seriously dangerous for babies. CIO is the method of sleep training in which babies are left to cry themselves to sleep, or “self soothe”, while parents check on them at regular intervals. Crying it out breeds abandonment and greatly damages the relationship between a mother and her child. It teaches her child that Mom cannot be trusted to come in when he is crying, sad, and lonely. It teaches babies that Mom is not reliable, and may not be safe. Despite the sorrow of this truth, CIO is practiced by many parents nationwide. But here is why CIO may not only be damaging your baby’s brain, but may also be putting him in danger of death. 

Psychology experts write that when babies cry, their brains release Cortisol, a stress hormone. Cortisol is not only a stress hormone, but is also a toxic hormone that kills neurons. You know what that means– stress kills brain cells! A full-term baby’s brain is only twenty five percent developed at birth, and continues to grow and change rapidly throughout the first year of their life. Unfortunately, when babies are exposed to excess amounts of Cortisol, their brains do not develop properly. Studies released from Harvard and Yale universities show that babies who have experienced cell death as a result of exposure to Cortisol are more likely to develop conditions such as ADHD, anti-social tendencies, and poor academic performance later in life. 

Furthermore, increased levels of Cortisol cause babies to fall into a deep sleep when they do eventually stop crying. This is why it seems like your baby is sleeping so peacefully after a session of CIO. However, your baby may not be as peaceful as she seems. Falling into such a deep sleep shortens your baby’s breath and greatly increases the risk of SIDS, also known as crib death or cot death. CIO, or sleep training, is literally deadly. 

Human babies are hardwired to crave comfort, care, and human touch. Depriving an infant of the touch and care that they need will do much more harm than good. Sure, it may be easier to save the fifteen or even thirty minutes that your child needs to fall asleep at night. However, is that thirty minutes really worth risking your baby’s mental and emotional health? 

Human babies thrive best when snuggled close to their parents. This means that practices such as cosleeping and breastfeeding are the best gift you can give to your child. But even if you are unable or unwilling to breastfeed and cosleep, please, do not leave your infant to cry it out alone in a crib.  

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Thoughts On Attachment Parenting

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Way back before I had babies, I thought I would be the “typical” mother. You know the one. Setting up a nursery, putting baby in its own crib right out of the hospital, circumcising, vaccinating, Gerber-baby food feeding… the works. What surprised me was how rapidly my ideals changed as I gave birth to my daughter.

Moose was not in a bassinet in the hospital. She was born 5 weeks premature with a Congenital Heart Defect, and was perfect in every way. But she needed that closeness to me to regulate the uneven beating of her heart, just as I needed it to erase the pain of her delivery. When we came home, she shared our bed and our hearts.

As my second child was born, I witnessed my parenting style change and develop even more. I became a co-sleeping, anti-circumcising, delayed vaccinating, homemade food making, ‘crunchy’ mom. Something I never thought I’d be. Which brings me to my point.

Attachment parents seem to raise the best children. From my experience, babies who are raised in a loving, nurturing, warm environment turn out the best. They have that innate understanding that mom or dad will answer every one of their cries, and that someone’s arms will always be available to hold them close. They grow up warm, secure, and confident in their support systems- something that every child should have the right to experience. And according to Dr. Sears, attachment babies cry less and develop quicker. The act of a baby and mother being close together, ‘attached’ or most of the day is beneficial to the health of both mom and baby.

I remember when my son was born, I asked my husband (while crying, watching Little Bear fuss in his crib) how I was supposed to embrace the separation between mother and baby. I said to him, “We were attached, literally, for 10 months. He was connected to me, inside of me, but at birth I’m expected to be so separate from him?” I remember how my heart hurt as I watched him turn towards me, the bars of his crib imprisoning him and banning him from my arms. Soon after, co-sleeping began (or rather, resumed). I honestly cannot fathom how we, as mothers, are expected to go from a state of complete connection with our children to a state of complete separation. It seems that attachment parenting allows for children to be independent while confident in the closeness of their mothers. It’s a wonderful thing, knowing that your baby will always find you when he looks for you, that he will always know where to turn when he is afraid, or lonely, or in need of comfort. That he will turn to you, knowing where he can share his joy, his delight, his excitement.

Is there any better way to watch your baby grow than from a position of complete closeness and warmth? I think not.

Dr. Sears has this to say about attachment parenting:

“The single most important influence on a child’s intellectual development was the responsiveness of the mother to the cues of her baby. In caring for your baby, keep in mind that relationships, not things, make brighter babies.

BENEFITS OF ATTACHMENT PARENTING – A SUMMARY
BABY
  • is more trusting
  • feels more competent
  • grows better
  • feels right, acts right
  • is better organized
  • learns language more easily
  • establishes healthy independence
  • learns intimacy
  • learns to give and receive love
PARENTS
  • become more confident
  • are more sensitive
  • can read baby’s cues
  • respond intuitively
  • flow with baby’s temperament
  • find discipline easier
  • become keen observers
  • know baby’s competencies and preferences
  • know which advice to take and which to disregard
RELATIONSHIP

Parents and baby experience:

  • mutual sensitivity
  • mutual giving
  • mutual shaping of behavior
  • mutual trust
  • feelings of connectedness
  • more flexibility
  • more lively interactions
  • brings out the best in each other”

Really. Need I say more?