Crying It Out: Will Holding Your Baby Too Much Spoil Him?
If you have a baby you’ve probably heard of something known as “crying it out”. Crying it out, or CIO refers to leaving your baby to cry until they fall asleep without any help at all from you.
This is a form of sleep training and is a way of getting your baby to sleep more soundly through the night or during naps without you having to help them fall asleep.
There are actually many different levels and types of CIO, some ranging from you just slowly reducing the amount of time you spend trying to get your baby to sleep all the way to leaving your baby in their crib alone to cry until they soothe themselves and eventually fall asleep.
To Cry It Out or Not To Cry It Out
Of course, with anything child-rearing related there are many schools of thought and experts letting you know what is best for your baby.
CIO may sound harsh to some parents while other parents feel that it is perfectly okay for them to let their baby soothe themselves.
The important thing to remember is that you do what you feel is best for your family and that it’s not up to anyone else to judge you for the decisions you make in terms of how your baby falls asleep.
Upon hearing the term “cry it out” many new parents balk at the thought of letting their baby cry for hours on end on their own until they fall asleep.
However, after months of sleepless nights, these same parents just might be singing a different tune. Many parents from older generations don’t know the term cry it out, but many of us were certainly raised in the CIO fashion.
Plenty of new parents hear from their own well-meaning parents that holding their newborn will spoil them and they’ll never learn to sleep on their own.
Don’t be swayed by what others think. It’s entirely up to you how you want to raise your child.
Is Spoiling An Infant Possible?
There is no black and white answer to this question but recent studies have shown that “spoiling” your baby by holding them too much isn’t possible.
In fact, it’s actually good for babies to be held as much as possible. Babies crave and need lots of loving human contact to grow into fully functioning, trusting and emotional adults.
If you ask any group of parents you will get plenty of subjective “evidence” that supports babies being spoiled by too much attention and babies not getting enough attention.
All this proves is that every baby is different and parents have their own ideas of what works best for them.
There is also the concept of attachment parenting which some people believe is spoiling a baby to the extreme.
However, most parents who raised their babies following attachment parenting principles will assure you that their children are happy, healthy, well-adjusted, and not at all spoiled.
Many parents who practice attachment parenting will co-sleep or share a family bed with their children and don’t engage in any form of sleep training at all.
Spoiling and Independence
Parents often are worried that holding their baby too much will prevent them from gaining independence.
When babies are newborns holding them as much as they need, especially when they cry, helps them to learn how to trust their caregivers.
This will actually help to build independence later on. Children who know they can rely and trust on their parents are more likely to try new things and venture out in the world.
Knowing their parents will be there for them makes them less afraid. A baby who doesn’t learn trust may end up being fearful.
If your baby is crying then responding to those cries is not spoiling. Spoiling would be giving your baby a treat to make him stop crying.
Showing him that there is someone there who cares about their needs and wants will allow him to gain trust and won’t spoil him at all.
There is a huge difference and you should never feel guilty or worried about caring for your baby’s needs.
Is There a Happy Medium?
The answer is yes. You don’t have to leave your baby alone to cry for hours in order to get a good night’s sleep and you don’t have to sleep with your baby either.
The key is to be flexible but consistent and gentle with both your baby and yourself. What works for your best friend’s baby may not work for your baby, so don’t beat yourself up when things aren’t working out.
Many parents find it helpful to research several methods of sleep training before choosing a method to follow. There are countless books on the subject and there is one to fit any family situation.
One thing that almost all sleep experts can agree on is that no form of sleep training should be done when your baby is less than four months old.
Newborns can’t differentiate between needs and wants, and responding to your baby’s cries is very important in the first few weeks.