posted with author's permission
"Crying it out" seems to be the easy way out "trend" that is sweeping over America. A newborn (or under six months of age) infant should never be left to cry it out, even for just a few minutes of time. They are so young it is their only way of telling you that they need something. Whether it is they are hungry, wet, in any kind of pain, or just need some love. A lot of parents will sometimes interpret a fussy baby's cry in the crib as "just being spoiled". This angers me beyond no end. Babies this young and older can suffer short and long term damages if left to cry it out too long or too often. Scientists and doctors have been researching and discovering the negative sides of letting an infant cry it out for some time now, and have come to some pretty ugly facts, it is true that excessive crying could be harmful to babies according to science.
Suffocation can even take place such as hyperventilation or choking on vomit. At times the infant can get so worked up with stress and anxiety they have a very hard time breathing and at that point are just crying for mommy or daddy to come help, they do not understand why anything is happening. Brain damage is also a very frightening and very possible outcome of crying it out. The lack of oxygen to the brain when so worked up, and constant short, hard breaths can kill many brain cells. The adrenaline and cortisol stress hormones are flooding to the brain, thus leading to neurological effects by the nerves that will not form connections to other nerves and will potentially degenerate. Research has also shown that babies who were "cry it outers" were ten times more likely to have ADHD as a child, as well as school performance being very low and antisocial behavior among their peers.
In conclusion, we can only pray that the responsiveness, comfort, nurturing, and loving care of a mother to her infant will take place when the infant is calling out for whatever it is they may want or need. The responsiveness of a mother to her infant is the most important thing in developing a child's intellect. Do your research before listening to others out there who chat about how it "worked so well for them" and brag about their parenting expertise.
Figure out what works for you and your baby without stressing yourself out too much and without harming the child. Parenting is not supposed to be easy and every child is different, a thing most parents do not really take into consideration before having a child these days. Taking the easy way out may seem less stressful right now but will make it harder later in life if the negative side effects of it take place. Plus, bonding and showing love to your baby will not only show the benefits later in life but also be a chance to be closer to your little one now, even if it means waking up every 3 hours at night. They are only a baby once and it will pass leaving you wondering how they grew up so fast, and besides, their only way of telling you they are hurting or need something from you is to cry. So say farewell to crying it out and remember, it will only get better if you stick to it.
For more on sleep training, crying it out (CIO) and controlled crying, see resources on this page.