Cry It Out

Sometimes, we get very very close to giving in and trying cry it out. It’s hard not to with a baby who has sleep problems. It would be so much easier to just get a crib, put the baby in it, say “Goodnight, it’s bed time”, walk away and put headphones in until our baby gives up and stays quiet.

But that’s just it- I don’t think this would help my baby in the slightest. Cry it out wouldn’t be about helping my baby, it’d be purely selfish on our part.

Both my partner and I have the same sleep disorder, and our baby shows the signs of having it as well. My partner’s mother didn’t practice CIO, instead staying up until 4 am every day trying to get the baby to go sleep. My parents practiced CIO, my mother brags about how I “slept through the night” at 2 months- ignoring the fact that I went through my life in a fog of a fatigue because I had a medical problem preventing me from getting to sleep. I can now lie perfectly still with my eyes closed, sometimes making people think I’m asleep, for as much as an hour, when I’m actually wide awake- this is what CIO taught me, it didn’t teach me how to fall asleep. I suppose the rest is better than nothing, but it’s not real quality sleep. I still have never once experienced waking up rested in my entire life. But my parents got a good night’s sleep when I was 3 months old so it was worth it, right?

Perhaps it’s a fine method for healthy babies, I’m not commenting on it in general, but way too many times I see people advocating CIO they don’t even acknowledge the possibility that the sleep problems may be due to medical problems. I find this highly irresponsible, as someone whose sleep disorder was covered up by CIO and so went undiagnosed until adulthood. CIO covers up sleep problems that are medical in nature, because eventually babies give up when their cries aren’t acknowledged no matter why they’re crying.

We’re trying to get referred to a sleep specialist. Our pediatrician agrees that our baby isn’t sleeping enough and that there’s a problem, but is dragging her feet because our baby is “too young”. As I said, we have this disorder so know how it works, CIO will not help our baby get enough sleep if they have this disorder- it’ll only make them be quiet about not getting it, and may make it harder to properly diagnose when we finally do get to a specialist. Sometimes I wonder if CIO will help our baby learn to fall asleep, then I remember exactly what it did for my sleep. We only know how to handle this disorder in adults, all of the methods could work for a baby, but none of them are things we’re comfortable doing without a doctor’s help because they can also be very dangerous for a baby if done wrong.

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