Crying it Out is a Waste of Time

Crying it Out is a Waste of Time

Crying it out is a waste of time. But not in the way you might think.

With both of my girls, I was a “Babywise” mom (which basically is a philosophy of keeping your baby on a rolling 3 hour schedule of feeding, playing, and sleeping). In Babywise, the author (who a lot of people hate) talks about allowing the baby to cry before falling asleep but checking on them throughout to make sure they’re okay. I took the Babywise approach with A and let her cry it out (CIO) many times. I had a change of heart with E – not because I didn’t think it worked; A slept and still sleeps like a champion. E does, too. But see, as a first time mom having no experience under my belt, I was afraid that I would “spoil” my baby and that she would never sleep on her own if she couldn’t “self-soothe” so I did what the book told me (to an extent).  With E, having been more experienced, I adopted the 3 hour schedule but with some small tweaks, including removing CIO (which kind of happened unintentionally, actually). But, this isn’t about the effectiveness of CIO or the studies that go with it. I’m not here to start a debate or mommy wars. This is about what I learned as a mom my second time around.

What I learned is that CIO is a waste of time: A waste of precious baby time.

I realized that every moment I spent listening to my baby cry at bed and nap times was a moment lost where I could have been holding her, snuggling her, smelling her sweet baby scent, squishing her sweet baby squish, and taking in her delicious milk breath. I realized that those moments are fleeting and that I would never get them back. I realized I was wasting my baby’s precious baby time – my precious baby time with her.

We only get so many days to love on our babies while they’re still babies.

It’s funny how we as moms look back at the baby days – each having a very different experience. It’s no secret that I have been struggling with the end of mine. But, if I’m being honest, while I’ve loved every stage of motherhood so far, the baby days have been my favorite. And, while I remember feeling like I couldn’t survive with another sleepless night back then, I would now give up a few hours of sleep to hold my squishy babies again any day.

I’m so glad that I realized it when I did – that I was wasting our time. So now, when my 2 year old cries for me when I lay her in her crib and leave her room, I turn around, walk right back in, and pick her up to hold her tight; we sit in the glider and rock. I’ve wasted too much time. We snuggle for a bit and then I lay her back down sans tears; all she needs is a little bit more Mama time before she goes to sleep. Will she be spoiled? Maybe. Do I care? No.

So Mama, I know you’re beyond tired. I know you feel like you can’t possibly hold that baby any longer without going crazy. But maybe not every time – maybe just sometimes – pick that baby up and give them just a little bit more lovin’. You’ll never be sorry you did.

The days are long but the years are short.
Don’t waste your time like I did.

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  1. Melissa
    November 3, 2016 / 11:21 pm

    This is so sweet. I am a babywise mom and it has worked really well for us! I don’t remember the part about CIO though, I thought that was more of the Ferber method — but regardless you definitely need to do what works for you and your babies! Thank you for sharing.

    • November 4, 2016 / 10:28 am

      You’re right – I use CIO and Ferber interchangeably when I know there are differences. BW definitely did work for us but I do wish I would have held my first one and rocked her to sleep a little more. Thanks for reading!

  2. October 30, 2016 / 1:26 am

    I co-slept with my little man until he was around 8 or 9 months, then we did CIO. For where we were then it worked great. He’s almost 3 now and every night I lay with him until he falls asleep or until he tells me he’s okay, and when he wakes up in the middle of the night crying I’m quick to go lay in his bed until he doesn’t need me there anymore. With our 2nd on the way I’ve been less thrilled with the idea of CIO because you only get that precious baby time for so long. I loved reading this! (And I loved that it wasn’t a post on how awful moms who do CIO are because there are just way too many of those!)

    • October 30, 2016 / 9:26 pm

      Thanks for reading and for sharing! I’m a firm believer in “whatever works for your family” and we definitely did CIO when we needed to. I just wish I had more of that precious baby time back! I would have held them a little longer.

  3. October 28, 2016 / 2:20 pm

    This is what I’m thinking about with my first one. I know time will go by really fast (I don’t know how fast since I don’t have anything to compare it) and I want to enjoy all my time with him. Even if that includes holding him longer and picking him up when he cries.

    • October 28, 2016 / 2:22 pm

      Yes! You’re so smart for thinking of it early!

  4. October 27, 2016 / 8:36 pm

    I’m a huge fan of CIO, but only because my first was a HORRIBLE night sleeper. So, we did it for nighttime, but not for naps. Those came with time. Now that she’s 2, I will definitely go in and snuggle with her if she wants me to. But doing CIO totally helped me keep my sanity when she was a tiny baby. I was able to enjoy my time with her, rather than living in a total sleep-deprived fog.

  5. October 27, 2016 / 12:12 pm

    I love this piece. It is so true. I take every chance to snuggle I can get.

    • October 27, 2016 / 2:48 pm

      Yes! As you should! Thanks for the love!

  6. October 27, 2016 / 4:33 am

    Yesss! Couldn´t agree with you more! We attempted some sort of sleep training with CIO but i hated it and i also felt it was a waste of time: i much prefer consoling him, holding him or singing to him and that he falls asleep calmly. Do i sometimes wish he would fall asleep faster? Yes, obviously. But do i really value this precious quality time together? Hell yes!

    • October 27, 2016 / 9:13 am

      It worked for us but looking back, I just wish I had picked A up and held her a little more back then. It’s time we’ll never get back!

  7. October 27, 2016 / 2:36 am

    Exactly! So much yes! Cherish it, Mama!

  8. October 26, 2016 / 11:27 pm

    We tried it a couple of times, and it did not work for us. If either of my babies fussed for more than 5 minutes, I would go back in and try to settle them by rocking them a little more, singing, rubbing their backs, or even just speaking firmly that it is time for bed. Rinse and repeat.

    • October 27, 2016 / 2:27 am

      Yes! You have to do what works for you! We always checked on A and were always able to predict how long it would take her but I do wish I would have taken more snuggle time with her!

  9. October 26, 2016 / 10:42 pm

    Shannon, I couldn’t agree more. My little one is just 1year old but I feel so guilty when I’m not holding him or if he cries and I let him cry. No more wasting baby time! Lol.

    • October 27, 2016 / 2:28 am

      It’s all about balance! Thanks for reading!

  10. October 26, 2016 / 10:07 pm

    Thank you for sharing it! I seriously used this as an excuse for everything when Blaire was a baby… and maybe still do. We coslept and I rocked her to sleep and it’s true what you say, you don’t regret it. They just grow up so quickly, I want to experience as much of my little babies as I can before they’re grouchy teenagers who don’t think I’m the best thing ever.

    • October 27, 2016 / 2:28 am

      Ha! Exactly!!! It will be here before we know it!

  11. October 26, 2016 / 10:00 pm

    We love how well Leyton sleeps letting him cry it out but definitely food for thought for the 2nd go round…thanks!

    • October 27, 2016 / 2:29 am

      Yes! A slept (and still does) so well! But, E does, too, and we took a different approach with her. Every kid is different!

  12. October 26, 2016 / 9:44 pm

    YES!!! this is so me! But I also can’t handle the tears, I read an article that moms who breastfeed are highly sensitive to their child’s cry. I believe to be true! lol

    • October 27, 2016 / 2:29 am

      That makes sense to me… raging hormones! LOL

  13. October 26, 2016 / 8:37 pm

    Aww–that precious baby time.

    • October 27, 2016 / 2:30 am

      There’s nothing more precious!

    • October 27, 2016 / 2:30 am

      Thank you for reading!

  14. Meredith
    October 26, 2016 / 3:42 pm

    I LOVE this post. I am a no crying it out mom, and I feel like everyone (including our doctor) thinks I’m nuts!

    • October 27, 2016 / 2:30 am

      You have to go with your mama gut always!

  15. October 26, 2016 / 3:12 pm

    Wow great food for thought. Time is precious !

    • October 27, 2016 / 2:31 am

      Thank you! Time is all we have!

  16. October 26, 2016 / 3:11 pm

    I agree!Every time I wake up in the night I think “this won’t last forever! Enjoy it while I can!” and then we snuggle 🙂

    • October 27, 2016 / 2:31 am

      Yes! As tired as I was, I used to love the middle of the night rendevouz!

  17. Renee
    October 26, 2016 / 1:20 pm

    “And, while I remember feeling like I couldn’t survive with another sleepless night back then, I would now give up a few hours of sleep to hold my squishy babies again any day.” This. Exactly this. I have been struggling in a big way with the fact that my sons are now 8 and 5. They are far from babies. And there will be no more babies. I have so many regrets when it comes to things like sleep training…we did CIO with my oldest, good ‘ole Babywise, and it WRECKED me, but we stuck with it. He slept like a champ as a baby and he will still sleep through anything. We were a little more lax about it with our second…but we pretty much stuck to it. My biggest issue was knowing that I was returning to work after 12 weeks with each of them, and that although I love my childcare provider and think she’s wonderful, she would not be able to hold them and rock them to sleep. And I didn’t want them getting used to that and then screaming at daycare when they were put down for a nap. I guess I did what I thought was best at the time. But what I wouldn’t give to have a do-over and scoop them up when they cry… 🙁

    • October 27, 2016 / 2:32 am

      Yes! I know exactly what you mean! Thank you for sharing!! You’re doing a great job!

  18. October 26, 2016 / 1:01 pm

    Yea I totally get that! We did CIO for a while, when my son was an older infant. It got him to learn to sleep while we cleaned up the kitchen and packed lunches and did all that stuff we had to do in the evening. But then it stopped working, and he wouldn’t just calm down after we left the room for a few minutes. Toddlerhood kicked in hard and stubborn. So yea now I just hold him at night when he wakes, we snuggle together, we have our special time and get more sleep. Bad habit? I don’t know. Don’t really care at this point haha.

    • October 27, 2016 / 2:33 am

      It’s such a special time for sure! And so short!

    • October 27, 2016 / 2:33 am

      Yes! I know I felt differently then and just wanted them to go to sleep without me but I cherish the snuggles now!

  19. kage2015
    October 26, 2016 / 8:13 am

    Wasn’t sure at first where you were going with this but yes I agree motherhood is hard but so worth every moment so soak it in.

    • October 27, 2016 / 2:34 am

      Yes! Thank you for reading all the way through!!

  20. Heather
    October 26, 2016 / 7:38 am

    Melty heart. 💜

  21. Lili
    October 26, 2016 / 7:26 am

    Now with my second girl I realized it too. With our first one, my husband is the one that said that we should let her cry it out until she falls asleep and it was sooo hard the first times, but the worst is that I can’t believe I got use to it, except for times when she reeeeally cried harder. With my second one (only a year later) things were different and not because I wanted to, it just happened. Maybe because I’m staying home now instead of working, “maybe” I’ve read more parenting things now or just because. But I did rock her until she fall asleep while my husband would think that I’m spoiling her because he can’t put her to sleep. But then one night we put her in bed and she just started falling on her own. So I’m glad I enjoyed those extra nights, and still do when they wake up and I bring them to our bed while she touches my hair and I can smell her morning breath.

    • October 27, 2016 / 2:35 am

      I can relate to every word of this – except the staying home part. I think my new mom hormones have worn off, though, because I now think their breath stinks in the morning but I remember loving it. LOL

  22. October 26, 2016 / 5:59 am

    Yes girl I totally agree …..I remember sitting at night with them thinking i would die if i had to stay up any longer and now especiallly that Im havng a hard time getting pregnant with #3 I so miss those long nights so now that mine are 6 and 9 I still get in the bed and snuggle them 🙂 because i know someday they will be off at college and married with their own families and my house will be empty 🙁

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