"Crying it out" is definitely not for everyone. Each family has to weigh the pros and cons and assess their personal situation to determine if the "cry it out" method is the best one for them. For my family, crying it out seemed to work for a little over a year. Then, completely unexpectedly, our situation changed and it no longer made sense to continue. However, during that year or so I heard things people, honestly, should never say to a mom who's crying it out.
When we were "crying it out" and friends or family visited, I found myself worrying about what they were potentially thinking, feeling, or even how they were viewing me as a mother. It's no secret that crying it out, while effective if done correctly and already proven to be anything but harmful, has a bad reputation. However, I quickly learned that worrying about what other people (friends and family included) were thinking was an exercise in futility and a waste of my precious energy. In the end, people will think what they think regardless, so the best thing you can do for your and your family is constantly research, ask questions, try different parenting techniques and find out what works best for you. If you let the opinions (or even perceived opinion) of others influence your decision making, you're in for a long, exhausting parenting road, my friends.
Still, that road sure would be easier to traverse if people stopped saying the following things to moms who use the "cry it out" method. In the end, we don't all have to agree with one another, but it would be nice if we all respected one another, and trusted one another to do what is best for our families. So, having said that, here are just a few things you should never say to a mom in the throes of this particular sleep training technique.
"Do You Do This All The Time?"
Yes, we do. We found it works better for our family and this particular sleep training method only works if you keep to a relatively strict schedule (deviating when your kid is sick or experiencing another major life change, of course).
"Aren't You Afraid Your Scarring Your Child For Life?"
Nope. There has been plenty of research that proves "crying it out" isn't detrimental to your child, and doesn't have any long-term affects that are going to cost my kid in future therapy bills.
Perhaps most importantly, though, is that the idea that "crying it out" is somehow harmful, comes form the mythical notion that I'm simply leaving my kid in her room to cry for hours on end. That's not how crying it out works. Every few minutes, if necessary, my partner and I go in and soothe our child, so she knows she's not being neglected or abandoned.
"I Could Never Do That"
Never say never, my friend. And even if you're right and "crying it out" isn't for you and your family, there's no need to subtly shame the moms who found this method to be effective. There is no super secret moral race for the "best parents ever," people, and no one is handing out gold stars based on the decisions we end up making for our children.
"That Can't Be Good For Them"
Babies cry as a way of communication, and different cries mean different things. So, let's not assume that a baby only cries when it's scared or in pain. Of course, if your baby's cries start to sound too strained and almost as if they are scared or in distress, then something needs to be addressed. However, "crying it out" ins't a form of torture and it doesn't hurt your baby in any way, when done directly.
"It Doesn't Sound Like It's Working..."
If they're crying it's because it's part of the process, not because the process isn't working. That's why it's called "crying it out". It takes time and, as previously mentioned, every few minutes or so someone will be going into my baby's room and handling things on the crying front.
"Why Don't You Go Get Them?"
I will. I promise, there is a method to this perceived madness. My partner and I will go in intervals, leaving our baby alone for a certain period of time, then going in and soothing her for a period of time, then leaving again. We're watching the clock and we're waiting for the moment we're essentially "allowed" to go to her. Trust me.
"You're Torturing That Poor Baby"
Just stop talking.
"You Must Just Have A Heart Of Stone To Just Sit And Listen To That..."
I don't like listening to my baby cry, but that's part of the technique. I told myself I'd try it and whether I like all parts of it or not, I'm gonna stick to it until I see a reason that I shouldn't. I may not like every part of it, but that doesn't mean that I am going to just immediately give up on it. I'm going to see it through.
"...Either That, Or You Must Just Not Care"
This is easily the most hurtful thing anyone could say to a mother who is "crying it out." In fact, please don't think that a mother doesn't love her child just because her parenting differs from yours. There is no "right" or "wrong" way to be a mom (as long as you'er being healthy and safe and not, you know, abusive). I love my child so very much, and that is why I am working so ver hard to help her get the sleep she needs.
"How Do You Not Cry All Night, Every Night?"
I'm not going to lie and say that "crying it out" (or any other form of sleep training) is easy. Honestly, bedtime in general can be a pretty big pain. So, yes, sometimes I do cry, but sometimes I don't. In the end, I know that what I'm doing is best for my baby (and my family) in the long run, as we all function better, are healthier and definitely happier when we have a great night's rest.