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.