On "crying it out"
How to get kids to sleep -- one of the most heated parenting debates out there, with polarized camps on both sides. One groups says, "Let them cry it out! They must learn to soothe themselves!" The other says, "Nurture them to sleep! CIO is cruel!" Never the twain shall meet...but when they do, the fur flies.
That's why I was so impressed with Moxie's take on the "cry it out" (CIO) method of sleep training/learning. She's against it herself, but, in the most reasonable way I've seen, explains what she believes CIO to be. She suggests that, for those kids who cry to release tension, CIO is a fundamentally different experience than for kids whose crying increases tension.
My story, fwiw:
I have two kids of wildly different temperaments. My son, who's 6 1/2, didn't nap as a baby unless he was in a car or stroller, and was difficult to get to sleep at night. After months of rocking him for hours on end, we finally let him cry it out (he was about a year old). It worked after about a week, meaning we could put him in his crib awake and he'd go to sleep on his own, nary a peep. But it was extremely painful for all of us.
I now have the benefit of years between then and now. I don't believe he was traumatized by the event, and he's a fine get-to-sleeper -- has been since then. But, at the time, it was terrible. It went against every parenting instinct I had. Even so, I don't feel we had an alternative. We simply couldn't tolerate the rocking-for-two-hours-then-gingerly-placing-baby-in-crib-and- tiptoeing-out method anymore. We tried more gradual methods of helping our son get to sleep, and they didn't work for him or us. We were resentful, exhausted, and demoralized. In the end, I feel that this parenting decision, like every other, had to take the whole family's needs into account, not just the child's.
My daughter, on the other hand, has always preferred to be put down to get herself to sleep. She seemed irritated when we'd try to rock her. Even as a newborn, she just wanted a swaddle and her bouncy chair or crib, and she was out.
No earth-shattering insight here. But for those of you struggling with getting your kids to sleep, my heart is with you and I am virtually patting you on the shoulder. If you'd like to hear more of Moxie's advice, here's her Sleep category archive.
If anyone feels like sharing their own experiences, feel free to do so in the comments, or on your own blogs (include the URL so we can visit). I'd love to hear your takes on this.
More: Hacks about sleep learning