Wednesday, January 21, 2015

6 things to do instead of CIO

CIO= cry it out, also known as the Ferber Method, has probably been recommended to you at some point. Maybe you were the one to recommend it to a mother. Maybe you don't know that there are other options, or that allowing baby to cry it out is actually harmful for them. 

For those of you that don't know, cry it out is when you allow your baby to *cry it out* without attempt at soothing. This is when you lay baby down and most likely have to walk away until they've stopped crying because it pains you to watch and hear. 

It's normal and natural for this to upset you. Your instincts are flaring telling you to comfort your baby, go to them and help. They need you. There have been plenty of studies showing that CIO hurts babies. They feel scared and abandoned, which of course is only going to make them cry harder. It can be very traumatizing and detrimental. You can read about it here and here and here. There are endless resources on why you should never practice this method with your babies. 

In hope that a mother finds this before she ever practices the CIO method, here is my list of five things to do instead of the CIO method. 

It's not complicated. Baby is in need of something. After you have met feeding and changing needs and baby isn't sleepy, they still have emotional needs as well. They want to be comforted and it is more than okay to comfort your baby. They learn to soothe the right and healthy way when you are comforting them. You're teaching them good things, mama! 

Your baby loves the sound of your voice. It's incredibly soothing and comforting to them. Singing to your baby also helps them develop social skills later on. 

Yep, you read right. Comfort nurse. There is a difference in nursing for comfort and nursing for nutrition. Breast feeding is about so much more than feeding. You're creating a bond and teaching love. When you offer yourself to your baby for comfort it makes them feel safe and loved. This is healthy, natural, and regardless of what you have heard or been told it will NEVER spoil your baby. It's about the most selfless thing you can do. Even if you don't produce milk anymore, comfort suckling never hurt a baby! 

Oh how I love infant massage, as does Amelia! I give her a massage at every bedtime before getting her pajamas on. She especially loves her feet being rubbed gently. There are a lot of tutorials on how to safely and effectively use infant massage! It's very soothing and relaxing and can often heal an upset tummy or make baby relaxed enough for sleep. 

Your baby will set themselves on a routine. Follow their lead. Don't force sleep on a baby not ready for it, that's when they cry and cry and cry until you stop. They just aren't sleepy yet. Now if it's bedtime you're trying to get baby to sleep for (and let's face it sometimes they decide its party time when really it's bed time) follow through with your usual bedtime routine (maybe bath, massage, stories, saying goodnight, etc.) keep the lights as low as possible and so soothing activities. Repeat massage, take a soothing bath, use lavender, snuggle, nurse, rock, bounce, sing, anything that will mean ITS TIME TO SLEEP to your little one. 

There will be times when nothing will relax or soothe your little one. A nice warm bath with mama, or alone, should usually help TREMENDOUSLY. I took baths with Amelia constantly when she was a newborn. It was our favorite thing to do and an easy way to get skin to skin, which is always super helpful!

All in all, I highly recommend that you never leave your baby to "cry it out." Even if they're inconsolable at times, the best you can do is hold them and comfort them during this time. They need you, and that is normal and healthy! Sometimes baby will cry, and I understand how frustrating and exhausting it can become, but the best thing you can do for them is love and comfort them during this time. 

I hope that in reading this you understand that you are not being judged if you have ever practiced CIO method. I only hope that this list helps you to not ever have to do it again. Parenting is so important, and we need to support and educate each other on how to be the best mamas we can be for our little babes! 

And to all the mamas reading this who are stressed, tired, burnt out, and frustrated: I get you. I feel for you, and I hope that you see the light at the end of the tunnel. These moments may seem long right now, but they are so short and so small. It is hard to look at it this way in the moment, when you are considering crying along with them, but remember that this is a gift too. It may not seem that way, but you get to be the one to comfort your baby, and be their safe place. You get to be their mama, and that is the most honorable and precious gift in the world. 


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