news item: “crying it out”

As of the writing of this post, my DH and I are parents to a 2 month and 16 day old baby girl. What this means along with all the joy, excitement and love, is we are, quite frankly, exhausted.  We’re tired.  We knew this would be the case, we have raised two foster infants prior to welcoming our own little bundle.  It’s just a part of the newborn phase, these first few months are hard but worth it.  But when cruising the internet, during an interlude when Stella was actually sleeping in her crib, I saw a story blurb on that showed a picture of an infant crying and the title: “Study, ok to cry it out”

Now immediately my skeptic mind was sensing ‘shenanigans’.  I figured I’d click on the video and it would say something like, “Haha tired new parent, we meant it’s ok to cry it out when they’re FIVE!”  But no, Bryan Williams introduces the piece saying no psychological damage or lasting effects were found from a long-term study done by Australian researchers. The video plays showing in every other shot pictures of newborns in hospitals, crying.  Then it interviews the Mom of a toddler who used cry-it-out (CIO) effectively.  NOWHERE in the video does it say what age it’s ok to CIO or what age of child the study looked out.  In fact with its many shots of newborns in the hospital, it implies that it is ok to CIO from day one. I’m literally shaking as I watch the video, watching day old newborns cry gets my Mommy emotions pumping.  And because with our experience in foster care I know there are parents out there, who through just not knowing, will see this video, and it’s implications about newborns, and think it is ok to let a newborn CIO.  Here’s the video:

Study: Ok to cry it out

So of course, being the person who has read no less than 27 books on parenting, child raising, and infant care, (I have a background in child care, took child-development courses in college, specifically about infants, and as a foster parent I wanted to learn even more about child development), I looked up the study.  And, my shenanigans-sensing was correct.  A “Time” article on the study had this to say:

“a new study in Pediatrics has some good news: strategies that let babies cry it out for limited periods while teaching them to sleep on their own can help families sleep better…”

“The new study by Australian researchers involved 326 children who had parent-reported sleep problems at 7 months.”

The first quotes makes an important distinction the video clip glosses over, that CIO is done for limited time periods, not just letting your kid scream all night.  The second quote points out the blatant irresponsibility that NBC committed in airing this piece:  The study involved children who were at an age developmentally and psychologically that it is ok to let them CIO!  The video mentions this NOWHERE.  And by “ok to let them CIO” I mean, from a scientific standpoint babies can begin to learn to self-soothe between 3-6 months of age*.  This means, if you choose to try CIO, that a baby could help themselves to self-soothe at this age.  Prior to that crying is the only method for a baby to convey it needs something, usually food.  (I want to  make clear, I am not advocating for CIO or for not-CIO.)

I know this is a ‘hot-topic’ issue and I really don’t think there is a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer to whether you never let your older baby cry, or you let your older baby start to fuss a little to try to get them to self-soothe.  However it is NEVER ok to let a days old infant CIO, which is what is so upsetting about the news clip that was aired.

To read the ‘Time’ article click here:


What are your thoughts on the study?

What are your thoughts on the video clip from ‘NBC Nightly News’ (for our non-American readers this is the top rated evening news program in the United States).

Do you have a post about CIO or how the media reports on parenting topics?


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