Thought we were done battling it out in this previous post? On no, I’m here to present some more topics that have parents debating – pitting skill against skill – when it comes to the proper way to raise children.
Which, by the way, there is no proper way to raise a child. Feed them, clean them, shelter them and love them – and make sure they don’t turn into a-holes. So easy.
Hot Topic #1: The Cry It Out Method
Also known as the “Ferber Method” (named after Dr. Richard Ferber), the Cry It Out Method (CIO Method) involves allowing your child to self soothe by not responding to their crying for a predetermined amount of time. This is a popular method used to solve baby sleep issues.
The CIO Method certainly has its advantages since it does help babies learn to fall asleep on their own faster than most methods. It also allows parents to return to a regular sleep schedule.
Even though the CIO Method is approved by the American Associate of Pediatricians, it is not without its risks. It has been scientifically proven that ignoring the cries of babies can cause damage to neurons which potentially leads to hypersensitivity toward future trauma. It can also cause the high levels of cortisol produced during crying to continue even after the crying has stopped.
If not done properly, or done excessively, the Cry It Out Method may cause a situation of isolation for the baby in which the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) increases.
Chelsy Weighs In: Before having a child, this method made sense to me – a child needs to learn by doing and if we constantly pick our children up when they cry, then they will never learn to calm themselves down. That all changed after I had my daughter and the instinct in me could not let her cry for more than a couple of minutes. Sometimes you have to go by what your gut tells you.
Hot Topic #2: Co-sleeping and Bed-sharing
Riding on the coat-tails of the Cry It Out debate, here is a topic I’ve personally heard argument over: should you let your child sleep in your bed?
The first consideration here should be age. Bed-sharing with an infant younger than 6 months old creates a risk for SIDS. The risk also increases if you co-sleep after having consumed alcohol or drugs or if you are a smoke (even if you smoke outside the home and not around your child).
All that aside, there are benefits to co-sleeping under safe conditions. First of all, breastfeeding is infinitely easier since you don’t have to get out of bed every feeding. You can simply release the boob, feed your baby and put it back – sometimes without ever really waking up!
Being close to your baby means that you are there for immediate comfort and are able to respond to them quickly. This also helps to strengthen the bond between parent and child.
Apart from the risk of SIDS, there are some downfalls to co-sleeping. A wiggly child, for instance, is likely to cause disruptions in your sleep pattern. As well a child who star-fishes in the middle of the bed, leaving you to contort your body around their spread limbs in order to find a comfortable position.
Another consideration with bed-sharing is looking ahead to the transition to their own bed. While some children may independently decide it’s time to sleep on their own, others may not be so easily convinced.
Lastly, being intimate with your partner is mission impossible when you share your bed with your little one.
Chelsy Weighs In: “She won’t sleep in the same bed as me when she’s 16,” is a phrase I often repeat to myself when my daughter and I snuggle down in my bed for the night. Once my daughter reached a safe age for co-sleeping, she’s been in my bed ever since. I also tell myself: “If it wasn’t her taking up space, it’d be cats.” (FYI: It’s all of the above.)