“Cry it Out”, often simply referred to as CIO, means different things to different people. Ask ten different mamas and you’ll probably get ten different answers. Generally, CIO refers to putting the baby in the crib awake at the beginning of the night and letting her fall asleep on her own for both bedtime and some or all night wakings. This will usually involve some tears from the baby if this isn’t their norm. Modifications of CIO include whether you will check on your baby, the length of time you are comfortable letting your baby cry, the stretch of sleep you’re trying to achieve, and whether or not you stay in the room with them.
As moms we are hardwired to respond when our baby cries. Crying is the baby’s way of communicating their needs. From the moment they are born, we learn to react to their crying by feeding, diapering, comforting and helping them sleep.
Like the rest of us, babies are creatures of habit. They get used to familiar surroundings and routines. When faced with a new situation, like sleeping independently in their crib, they will naturally protest in the form of fussing or crying. This crying is your baby saying, “Hey! This is different!”
Some parents worry that letting their baby cry will have harmful consequences. Babies experience only short-term stress during sleep learning. This type of stress can actually enhance memory and improve immune function. Studies have shown that infants who experienced CIO sleep plans were found to be more predictable, less fussy, and more secure following the intervention. In other words, nothing negative happened and the babies seemed happier after CIO than before. The few research studies that suggested negative impacts from CIO focused on babies that were truly abandoned and left to cry for extended periods. This creates long-term stress which does have disastrous effects. This cannot be compared to you trying to give your baby more sleep.
At The Mama Coach we will never instruct you to let your baby cry without boundaries. We will teach you how to respond to their cries in a way that comforts you and your baby, but also helps them to become independent sleepers! We know that usually some tears are necessary to learn a new skill. We are sensitive to crying, and personalize each plan to your comfort level.
Struggling with sleep? Please reach out to your local Mama Coach! We would love to help create a plan that works for you and your baby!