Thursday, June 23, 2011

Crying It Out (Chana Lew's Personal Rant)

By Chana Lew 
Chana Lew is a mother to 5 sons, 2 daughters and 1 husband - and working on growing up herself. Loves: self-respect, all things birth, informed choice & fresh, clean food. More at



I'm continuously disturbed by parents who allow their children to 'cry it out'. For those not familiar, this is a method used for teaching babies to sleep. Baby is placed in the crib and kissed good night. Lights go out, doors are shut, baby screams. There are different variations that include parents coming back into the room after 5 minutes, then 10 minutes, 20 minutes, etc. Baby usually is asleep by the time they reach an hour. The second night takes 1/2 hour, the third night (or so) baby knows that crib means sleep and doesn't fight the process. Some parents actually stay in the room but will not take their babies out of the crib.

This method doesn't actually teach babies to sleep. It does teach them to submit. It teaches them that nobody will respond to their cries (and they wear themselves out and fall asleep). It doesn't teach them to sleep independently. It teaches them that they can't depend on anybody. It teaches them to fend for themselves.

Independence is healthy. Being unable to depend - unhealthy.

It's hard to be a parent. Especially so when there are lots of others that need us. Especially when there are so many deadlines, appointments, commitments, etc. You can see the results of a neglected house, but the long term effects of a neglected baby, while far reaching, are hard to pinpoint. It is normal for a baby to be fussy every now and then. Having a fussy baby should not allow us to become desensitized to our child's cries. Allowing a baby to cry it out does just that. It desensitizes our parental intuition. We crush our natural instinct to reach out and comfort a crying baby. When we crush our instincts and our intuition we fall down a slippery slope of self-denial, self-doubt and insecurity. We continuously question ourselves and our ability.

Being left alone to fend for ourselves carries on to our adult lives. We lose our faith in mankind. We feel that we can't depend on anybody. We don't know how to trust. We tend to do everything ourselves. We suggest that others are too busy. We consider ourselves capable through desperation. We become martyrs or victims. We use the pretense that "others won't do it as well," and then label ourselves 'perfectionists'. Where does all this lead us? We are essentially crying it out.

Let's make an attempt to regain our faith in humanity. Let's right this wrong. Let's allow ourselves to be vulnerable. Let's ask for help. Let's allow someone to help us for the simple reason that we ask them to.

Go ahead and pick up your baby for the simple reason that she put her hands up. Don't wait till she's crying. I certainly don't want to beg for help. Do you?

6 LadyMama voices:

Rivki @ Life in the Married Lane said... [Reply to comment]

I know that this is a very hot-button topic, as are most parenting choices.

I would appreciate it if you supported your stance with some studies, links to journals, or other sources. That would help strengthen your argument.

Also, I would respectfully suggest that a delineation be made between sleep training and mothering a fussy baby. Parents who choose to utilize a CIO method can be (and are) warm and nurturing no matter their child's temperment.

Also, making the leap from being a CIO baby to becoming an adult with deep dependency issues borders on the fantastical. There are so many other factors that can come into play into one's personal development that blaming it on CIO just undercuts your argument.

Anyways, for those parents who would like not to subscribe to a CIO method, I highly recommend the No-Cry Sleep Solution.

And hatzlacha to us all in raising our children the way we think is best.

Emily said... [Reply to comment]

Thank you for this post, it is lovely to near people speaking up for babies and their needs.

Becky said... [Reply to comment]

Starting off your piece with "this is my rant" and then finishing off with "Let's right this wrong" is very misleading. "This is my rant" means I am stating my own opinion. "Let's right this wrong" is passing judgment on every single mother out there.

While I believe neglecting a child and their own personal needs is, neglectful, I cannot express how much I disagree on your main points in this article.

Let me see if I have this right. You are saying that the fact that a parent who nurtures their child, feeds them, gives them what they need, loves them, bathes them, takes care of them when they are sick and then kisses them good night and closes the door is teaching their child that there is no one they can depend on?! Just because they want to teach their child a valuable lesson of life called self soothing, they should be put into such a harsh light?

Who are you? Who are you to lump a group of mothers who care for their children and their children's needs, but draw the line at being a slave to their child into a group of neglectful mothers? Who are you to tell ME that the fact that I teach my child the importance of self soothing is doing something detrimental to their personalities? Where are your sources?

Yes, we all do try to be the best mothers we can all in our OWN way.

While I certainly appreciate your opinion, it is just that, an opinion. Your "rant" is based on assumptions and you should not write so harshly to the mothers who feel the opposite of what it is that you feel. Everyone has a right to their opinion, but to judge mothers who think differently than you so harshly based on zero fact aside from your own thoughts is just flat out mean.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

you really ought to read this article. this women disagrees with you and says your view in life will cause your children to end up in therapy. I really think she bases it on scientific research while you need to do your own based on facts not opinions before you make a statement.
here is the link:

Sarah said... [Reply to comment]

You really need to use facts to base your claim when making your views public. here is someone who did make an official study said children who were overly nurtured ended up in therapy later in life because of co-dependency issues. here is the article:

4ron said... [Reply to comment]

Sarah and Anonymous
As the parent of a 6 week old I am not one to have a definitive opinion on this topic. However I do know how science works and there is nothing in the Atlantic article that even resembles "scientific research" or an "official study." Anecdotal evidence that "this is what she sees in her practice" is not science.
For the record as you pointed out Chana Lew has no evidence to support her claims either.