As my children grow I understand the importance of putting my needs in front of theirs.
I know, you’re probably thinking… WHAT?! Our children’s needs always come first. This is the first rule in the “parenting” book (which I still haven’t read), right? Actually this is the biggest misconception in modern day parenting.
Wrong. taking care of and nurturing yourself cultivates a balance and allows you to give your child all of you in each moment. When your cup is full, you can fill theirs. If yours is empty it’s impossible to fill them up.
BUT, during infant years, all this goes out the window. Their needs trump ours. They are little heavenly creatures fully dependent on us. It’s can be scary, overwhelming, and sometimes just so absolutely exhausting.
And here is where lies another major modern day parenting misconception. The Cry It Out Method (CIO).
The CIO is a sleep training method where the child it left to… you guessed it, cry it out. Many parents took to this method as a great way to train their kids to sleep, however studies have shown these methods could have lifelong effects.
I remember after having my first child… well-meaning advice constantly spewed from EVERYONE’S mouth.
“He’s not getting enough breast milk, you should try giving him formula.”
“You really should let him cry it out. He’ll NEVER sleep in his own bed.”
“If you breastfeed him, you’ll never have time to yourself.”
“He’s going to be a spoiled brat.”
“You really should just let him cry it out… it’s hard at first but will be SO easy after you follow-through.”
We have become SO disconnected with our intuition-guided ways of raising our own children. We second guess our intuition telling us to hold and comfort our baby. We are told what to do and how to do it. Like it’s a step-by-step program! We look to Baby Center, Google and our pediatricians for advice and guidance for OUR children. It’s not that these resources and doctors have ill intentions, but THEY are also disconnected from OUR intuition.
The parent’s convenience and lifestyle is now more important than responding to our babies immediate needs. This is the modern way of raising our children. It’s based on old theories and a majority of old male doctor recommendations.
I tried once to implement the ‘cry-it-out’ method and my whole body was telling me… screaming to go grab that baby and comfort him. I couldn’t do it. I wouldn’t do it. I NEVER did.
I held him constantly for almost a year. I breastfed until he was 21 months old and my second until he was 26 months old. Was this the easy way? No, absolutely not. It was the hard way. It was the only way my intuition guided me to go. I trusted it.
You must trust and follow yours.
If you already know what way is right for you… stop reading!
Or, check out these facts and sources of information regarding the CIO method. But again and most importantly follow your inner mother wisdom. It’s ALWAYS right.
Recent studies have shown what’crying it out’ can actually do to the baby:
- Neuronal interconnections are damaged. When the baby is greatly distressed,it creates conditions for damage to synapses, the network construction which is ongoing in the infant brain. The hormone cortisol is released.
- Disordered stress reactivity can be established as a pattern for life not only in the brain with the stress response system (Bremmer et al, 1998), but also in the body through the vagus nerve, a nerve that affects functioning in multiple systems (e.g., digestion
- Self-regulation is undermined. The baby is absolutely dependent on caregivers for learning how to self-regulate. Responsive care—meeting the baby’s needs before he gets distressed—tunes the body and brain up for calmness.
- Trust is undermined. As Erik Erikson pointed out, the first year of life is a sensitive period for establishing a sense of trust in the world, the world of caregiver and the world of self. When a baby’s needs are met without distress, the child learns that the world is a trustworthy place, that relationships are supportive, and that the self is a positive entity that can get its needs met.
- Caregiver sensitivity may be harmed. A caregiver who learns to ignore baby crying, will likely learn to ignore the more subtle signaling of the child’s needs. Source
Modern parenting may hinder brain development, research suggests
Social practices and cultural beliefs of modern life are preventing healthy brain and emotional development in children, according to an interdisciplinary body of research presented recently at a symposium at the University of Notre Dame.
“Life outcomes for American youth are worsening, especially in comparison to 50 years ago,” says Darcia Narvaez, Notre Dame professor of psychology who specializes in moral development in children and how early life experiences can influence brain development.
“Ill-advised practices and beliefs have become commonplace in our culture, such as the use of infant formula, the isolation of infants in their own rooms or the belief that responding too quickly to a fussing baby will ‘spoil’ it,” Narvaez says.
At the end of the day, you need to make the best decision for you and your family.
However, before you consider to implement the ‘cry it out’ method… reflect on this information and listen within. You will know exactly what to do.
Did you use the CIO method? Please inspire us! Many mothering minds want to know!
Live hippily… and listen within 🙂
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