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All mothers parent their children in different ways. Personally I don't believe in CIO - not because I don't think it works, just because I can't do it. My youngest son didn't sleep for the first 21 months of his life. His longest stretch of sleep would be for 45 minutes. It was horrible. I tried everything but couldn't do CIO. In the end he just started sleeping better for no reason at all.

BTW I got the link to your blog from another blog. Bee is on a e-mail group with me :)

Tell your FIL to piss off. That is so none of his business. My in-laws used to give me trouble about making my baby too dependent on me by holding him when he wanted to be held. I finally snapped and told them to stuff it. 12 years later, they make positive comments about independent he is.

Lots of things will "work" in parenting. The question is "will it work for you and your children?" My gut told me to hold my son when he wanted to be held and I'm glad I followed that.

Whatever works for YOU. And your ass.

Me, I'm crying it out just reading about your FIL. Tell him to bugger off.

FIL needs to screw off. You cannot spoil an infant, period. You cannot spoil a child with love, with kisses, hugs, holding, etc. at any age, esp. when they are crying. Your babies cry, you pick them up as soon as you are able.

I did the same thing with my 12 month old DD and she is now able to self soothe at night and is comfortable with other people that she knows. She knows that if she is upset or scared, Mama is coming as fast as she can.

Keep doing what you're doing - you're doing great!


Delurking... and first of all, congrats on your wonderful babies!

FWIW, babies under six months cannot be spoilt, period. Ever wondered why CIO is NOT recommended for kids under six months? After that, they know you're there even if they cannot see you.

I think you're doing the right thing at the moment. Your kids need immediate response at this age.

It's tough enough to have them cry later, you know. It's never nice, never. It always will break your heart. My youngest is 20 months old and we let him cry last night, after two hours of trying to get him back to sleep with other methods. He cried for three minutes. My husband stood in the dark hallway the entire time, listening. David finally realized we didn't plan to pick him up again, and went back to sleep. Little bugger. :-)

So, feel reassured. And darn to hell those stupid commenters. Isn't it strange how one evil comment will outweigh 200 positive ones?

I agree with Jen. You can't spoil an infant. It's just not possible. You are doing a great job with your babies. Your their mother you know them better then anyone else in the world, so go with your instincts and anyone else just ignore(although I could kick your FIL-repeatedly.). Don't let anyone else make you second guess yourself,you know best! It amazes me how many people think they can tell a mother how to raise their babies when they aren't the ones getting up at night feeding,cuddling and etc... personally I think your doing a great job with Adam and Kate.

For the first few weeks of her life, I was so certain that I would suddenly wake up and find that it had all been a dream, that I was afraid to let her out of my sight for more then a few moments. I copped so much flack off insensitive family members who knew nothing about our m/c nor the medical fuck up which nearly took Sophia away before she was even born. I copped even more flack when I moved her cot out of her seperate room back into our bedroom. After Sophia had her big fitting 'attack' I stopped sleeping at night because I would be waking, checking on her, every 15 minutes (you could set a clock by me). This is not an ideal situation because I don't sleep more then 3 hours a night, but it makes me feel better knowing she is an arms length away from me when I am in bed.
I still get the 'Your spoiling her by having her back in your room' bollocks from my sister and it really used to upset me, but then my mum pulled me aside and said quite simply, "It isn't about what J. thinks. You do whatever works for you. She's your child."
So basically the point of my long winded comment. Do whatever gets you through the night. If you don't feel comfortable don't do it. I only did the 5 minute maxium cry when I felt comfortable.I think she was just over 4 months at that stage.
I could have made this comment alot shorter had I just said the last 5 sentences. :)

I have twins and now, at almost 4, they often comfort each other on little hurts (really cute!) and I know that as they get older then they'll need me physically less and less.When they were babies I was perminantly knackered because I hated having them cry so I was always picking them up and I don't regret it at all as those baby days are sooo short no matter how they feel now!
Your FIL is a man...PAH what do they know!! lol! You're doing a great job!

Tertia, I think you are completely right to trust your feelings about letting the babies cry -- if you can't do it, don't do it. I had twins -- they are now 14 -- and one didn't sleep through until he was 4. We tried 'controlled crying' and he just plain beat us -- after nearly a week of crying until he threw up, with his dad and I crying in the hall outside his room, we just gave in and went to him every night. Eventually he slept, and now he is an amazingly talented and gorgeous teenager, and the sleepless nights seem so far away.
I now have another 1 year old who doesn't like to sleep, and I know that eventually the tired times will be over. Meanwhile, if she needs me, I'm there.
Hang in there, Tertia. It *is* worth it.

my dd is 22 months now, and i have never let her cio, i am another non believer, that is for me, now when she is up during the night and its whining whinging, i leave her, but it its actuall crys that something is wrong then i allways allways go to her.

with my youngest child, i finnaly done what others recomended, and got into a routine, which was quiet time at night a bath and then bed, eventually i could put her down wakend, and she would sleep from about 8 pm untill 5 am, however i went to work when she was 4 months the routine was broken and now at 22 months she falls asleep in my arms and then goes down, and still there are nights when she doesnt sleep all night.

its bloody hard to be a mum, regarless to the amount of help you have,its 24 hours 7 days a week,

and i promise as the twins grow things will fall into place, and i still think you are doing a great job

They are tiny, TINY, I don't care how big they may be, they are NEWBORNS for God's sake! They'll have plenty of time to learn parents, family, friends, the world at large are not always safe and present. So what if they're spoilt? Does spoilt mean right now they know someone will be there for them EVERY SINGLE FUCKING TIME they are distressed? GOOD FOR THEM, good for you. We should all be this spoilt as babies. You know, sometimes I feel that many people are against closer contact, crying-avoidance bcs it's too painful for them to say "Yes, I wish that'd been me!".

We're higher primates, we need proximity, especially as NEWBORNS. Newly Born, altricial, nowhere near ready to survive on their own. Do whatever feels right and fuck the smug, jealous, impolite commenters.

You simply cannot spoil a tiny newborn baby. Read Dr. Sears - I agree with him 100% on that issue. In fact, he (and others) say that you are teaching your children independence by picking them up when they cry. You are giving them confidence by making them feel safe and loved. They gain security by knowing you are there for them. Supposedly that makes for a more independent and secure toddler. Worked for me! Plus, you just have to ignore all the well meaning grandparent advice. It has been a loooooong time since they had babies, and lots has changed both in their heads, and in the real world!

I know what you mean about the comments. Here I thought you and Julie were tougher broads than me. I take EVERYTHING to heart. I can't help it. Even when I tell myself it isn't true.

Eh, this baby thing is a lot of work. The good news, the bible says "IT CAME TO PASS". It didn't come to STAY, honey.

If you FIL is anything like mine (was) he didn't mean anything by that. Mine would say all of his gkids were spoiled (all 11 of them) but he'd rather see one spoiled than neglected.

I never let my babies CIO and we all turned out fine, even though I still have my 3yr old in our bed. But with dh gone 2 - 5 nights a week, I don't mind a bit.

What ever works for you is what is best!

You know, someone who leaves a comment on a new mother's blog (and a stranger, to boot) that she "just wants to slap her" *isn't* actually coping. So consider the source.

It's hard to see now, since you're still right in the crucible, but Adam and Kate's needs will change *so* much. Right now, what they really need is for you to be there to comfort them when they cry. Right now, 5 minutes *is* a lifetime! In another few months, things will be different, and they'll be able to wait a little bit. In another few years, you'll be able to actually say, "Not right now. In 15 minutes." Sometimes you'll even be able to say, "No. Go ask your father if he'll play with you. I'm reading my book," and that will satisfy their needs just fine. But now is just now.

Food spoils from not being used. So the only way to spoil your kids is by not touching them enough.

Don't feel guilty or wrong for following your instincts about giving them what they need at each stage. They'll tell you when they're ready to wait a little longer. You're a stellar mum.

(Did you read that article on the BBC website a few weeks ago about how resreachers are studying CIO and finding that it actually increases baby's anxiety levels, even when they're not actually crying? Crying is a baby's coping mechanism. So when it's not responded to, they don't really have more resources to draw from and shut down but retain the anxiety. This "teach him to comfort himself by letting him cry" idea seems to be scientifically wrong, since crying is the main biological mechanism they have to get comfort. They have to be shown how to comfort themselves by having adults comfort them.)

Hi Tertia,

To repeat what others have said, you need to do what works for YOU and YOUR FAMILY. I 'believe' in CIO, but couldn't do it myself. It would not have worked for me. When my daughter was a baby she slept in a crib in my room. Her and I lived with my parents, but at night it was just her and I. I would rock her and sing her to sleep every night, sometimes it would take an hour and I thought "I am nuts and I want to throw her out the window," but I felt worse if I left and she screamed/cried. When she cried in the night to be fed, I took her in bed with me and we fell asleep together.
She came into my bed until she was 5--I wouldn't wake up, but in the morning she'd be there. It worked for us.
When I was seriously involved with a guy, I was able to talk with her about staying in her own bed. She does.
At night, I still lay with her for a bit in her bed after reading, but I leave when she is still awake and she falls asleep no problem at all. That time together is precious to me--we talk and laugh and snuggle. It won't be long before she tells me to stay out of her room, you know?

Every family is different. And as long as there is not abuse, every child grows up just fine. Remember that all the advice books say different things, and if only one way was right, most of us would be completely fucked up adults if we survived at all!
Hang in there, you're doing great!

Another firm NON-CIO parent over here. I can't agree strongly enough - you CANNOT spoil a newborn. Newborns are not manipulative. They are developmentally incapable of manipulating those around them. Your babies don't have "wants" yet, they still only have "needs", and their need to be picked up is exactly that - a NEED. They need to know that someone will take care of them when they need it, every single time. They still have no object permanence. When you're out of their sight it's like you don't exist. Showing them, helping them learn that you do, every time, helps to raise secure, well-adjusted, self-confident children, not the opposite.

Imagine something devastating happened to you at work one day and Marko refused to comfort you or hold you. If instead he told you to go in your room and stay there until you were ready to stop crying and act civilly, that he didn't want to deal with your distress because you might *gasp* come to depend on his support. How hard would that be? Now, how hard would it be for a baby, who doesn't even realize that you're still alive when you're not there... Sorry, this is a bit of a hot button for me...(Of course, when they get to be about 14 or 15 months old and are standing in front of the tv holding a video and demanding "WANT ELMO!" you'll start thinking yup, this one's a "want" not a need... LOL)

I have nothing to say - don't have any newborns here. Never have. But I wanted to let you know how proud I am of you and your venture into parenting. xoxo

I cannot imagine how hard it must be to try to figure what's "best." With everyone giving their two-cents, it has to be both affirming and scary.

Go with your gut - I think maternal instincts exist for a reason.

And your father-in-law? I don't think he's saying anything in a mean spirited way - he's probably simply worried about you and how much work you are doing. He's probably trying to give you "permission" to "relax."

We all know you don't need permission to do [b]anything[/b], and don't we know none of us like that word, RELAX, either!

The time will come where fretting over picking them up immediately will pass. One day you'll notice the subtle change that will come and look back & think - "wow, I worked REALLY hard back then." And you'll feel a sense of relief that they are soothing themselves a tad more, and feeling comforted and loved because of what you're doing now.

[i]And apparently I DID have something to say - hehe[/i]

Kisses darling.

I would be interested to know just how involved your father-in-law was in the raising of his own children, because it sort of sounds like he's never met any up close.

Seriously you can't spoil a baby, especially one that age. I had all sorts of people of other generations tell me I was spoiling my children, that they needed to cry, that it was exercising their lungs, I just ignored them. You should too. Tertia do what it right for you. You are a great mother. You are taking care of two babies, and you are actually putting together coherent posts, which must mean you have retained at least part of your brain. Fuck anyone else who tells you different.

Bingo, Julie.

Lioness, Robin, and so many others are right on about this. I know you don't want a CIO debate, but man, it's so important!

My big question is what people mean when they say CIO "works." Does that mean it's effective in quieting babies? If that's the case, then yes, of course it works.

But in quieting, what has been lost? Communicative ability? The ability to depend on another? Trust? Hope? I think when CIO "works" the baby has given up. I get tears whenever I think of what they go through in getting to that quiet-in-the-midst-of-panic stage (and probably so many of us went through as babies ourselves).

You are doing great, T. You do what you can, and sometimes when you're flying around, trying to take care of everybody and yourself, babies cry. The important thing is that Kate and Adam trust you. Based on that trust, they will learn to put themselves to sleep when they can.

Tertia my dear, in the grand scheme of things your babies are still practically BRAND NEW.

My daughter turns 7 months old this week (excuse me while I go cry in the corner) and she is the most spoiled human on the planet (more so than me, god help us all)

I NEVER let her cry. My Mother would tell me things like "Well, you and your brother slept through the night by now!" or "Let her cry it out!" (this was by month two?)

I knew in my HEART, that she needed me.

Now? She only cries when something is wrong. Right now, she's teething and in alot of pain so naturally I hold her and cuddle her.

I would nurse her to sleep, apparently a big no no. Now? She falls asleep on her own like a big girl. :)

Don't beat yourself up love. Once they hit the six month mark they usually start understanding "cause and effect" and know if they scream loud enough, SOMEONE will come running. Then you can let them CIO.

If you want to do it sooner, that's fine too. You'll know when you need to go get them or not. Check on them occasionally and make sure they're not turning purple from screaming, or bumping their heads on the cribs and doing anything possible to get attention from you.

They're only babies once. Of course they want their Mommy. Children only understand one type of language:


Everything will be ok. It slowly gets easier from here on out.

And this was alot longer than I intended it to be...sorry. :)

P.S - Don't listen to that person who said she felt like slapping you.

I'm a single Mom who lives with her parents and occasionally (gasp) lets my Mother hold the baby while I take a (gasp) break.

And I understood every word you were saying. It IS hard. Damn hard. Don't let anyone tell you any different.

Motherhood is so hard, isn't it? I mean, you can't just leave a bad day "at the office" I was shocked when I had my baby. Shocked!

Until they are older, Adam and Kate do not realize that they are separate from you. They are so much a part of you, and you of them, that they see all of you as one big unit. When you are not there to comfort them, they feel as though a huge part of them is gone. This will change. With your love and support, they will come to see themselves as individuals. The reason their cries affect you so much is because you are hardwired to respond.

You are doing a great job. This time will pass, snt Adam and Kate will be playing by themselves soon enough. Enjoy them while they are small enough not to run away!

I have two children, both adopted from orphanages on the other side of the world from me. My son was in a birthhome for his first two years, and I do believe he was comforted when he cried. My daughter, on the other hand, was not. She did lay there, scared, crying, and not sure if the "person who was looking after you was ever going to come and ‘save’ you.” I know what that effect does to a child. You think fertility treatments are expensive? Nothing compared to therapy treatments for a child who has been neglected, who was never held when they were crying from the heart.

I know that CIO isn't nearly the same as the neglect that my daughter (and possibly my son, have absolutely no information on his prior life) went through, but I spend every waking moment making sure that my children know that they are loved, that someone does care if they're crying, that someone will come to them, that they don't have to depend on themselves for comfort.

I get a lot of crap from my family from how I raise my children. But I always remind them of how long I waited to finally have babies of my own, how long I waited for my turn to come around. And if my children still need me to hold them when they're hurt and sit by their bed while they fall asleep until they're 30 years old, then they'll need to pick a college that is fairly close to my house, because I will do it!

Tertia, you waited so long and went through so much to finally have YOUR babies in YOUR arms. Why should they be any place else, especially if they're crying because they need you (or Marko).


I'm with everyone else and have your back. My mother has commented a few times (and with me, commenting is all she has the guts to do because I will call her to the mat) that Charlie is SO USED to being picked up and if he won't go down I got us into this.

First of all, a newborn baby has gone from being held and rocked 24 hours a day to much less. Even if you were to hold Adam and Kate 12 hours each, that's still a 50% reduction in being held. Which would be sad no matter who you are.

Secondly, nobody ever went to college and had their mommy stop by at 4am to sooth them back to sleep. It's nice if kids can learn to get themseleves down, and there are things you can do to make it easier, but it will eventually happen one way or the other.

Thirdly, sleep begets sleep. They are too young right now to let them get sleep deprived by forcing them into a routine. You can seriously screw up a little one by not doing the things you need to do to get them down.

Fourthly, at some point you'll probably realize that what you're doing isn't working anymore. The babies will be too tied into your rocking routine. You won't be able to get enough sleep. And at that point you can consider CIO or whatever you need to. At this point, you're doing a fantastic job.

Lastly, I think the person who did the "imagine you're scared and lonely" scenario maybe scared you more than they should have. There are absolutely times when babies are scared and lonely and need someone to come for them. There are also times when babies are PISSED OFF. "I'm in this crib and I don't want to be in this crib and somebody PICK ME UP NOW!"

If they have clean diapers and are fed and warm and safe, I'm thinking it's less likely that they are frightened and more likely that they are just wanting company or really not wanting to be in the crib anymore. Which brings on the crying.

I'm no advocating CIO, but Kate and Adam are as likely to cry from boredom or frustration as fear and sorrow. If you can try and think of it that way, that might make it easier to leave them for a little bit longer and trust that they're okay.

I think you're doing a lovely job. Hang in there!

Hey, they're still very little. I don't think they can possibly be spoiled yet, and that's just my opinion. And even if they are, who cares? If you simply hate the idea of listening to them cry for an extended period, you don't have to. Your kids, you get to make the decisions.
I, personally, without attacking or criticizing anyone else, don't believe in using a specific method by which to raise your children. Children are too different, parents are too different- one way of doing it, no matter what that way is, can't be right for everyone. It might be right for some people. But parenting is something that's been done for um, quite a few years now, and it seems common sense, love, and doing what feels right to each family has pretty much worked for a few millenia.
Do what you want to do, I say. You aren't going to raise serial killers because they were held too much as babies.

Everyone has a differing opinion of what works for them. In my child care class, we learned that a 3 mo doesn't know how to manipulate and you should pick them up when they cry - it means something is wrong with them and that is the only way they communicate. Do what makes you feel better.

That should be chanted, over and over again.

Every child is different.

Every child is different.

Every child is different.

I think everyone has covered CIO well- ditto that you can't spoil a 2 month old and that all kids are different and you have to find what works for you/them.

I wanted to address your comment re: going back to work. My son was colicky and screamed for 3 months straight (not just for a few hours at night, but 24/7). I went back to work when he was 4 1/2 months old and I was terrified about it. I rocked/held him constantly while he cried and I worried that a) his day care wouldn't have the patience for it and/or b) he would be traumatized by going from mommy who picked him up all the time to day care where they didn't.

Somewhere around 4 months- about 2 weeks before I returned to work, he suddenly stopped the colic. Also, I found that he reacted very differently to his teachers and seemed to be more patient with them when they couldn't pick him up instantaneously.

My point- I stressed an awful lot about something that turned out to be no big deal. What I didn't stress as much about, and what turned out to be harder, was my own emotional reaction to going back to work.

IMO and IME cry-it-out "works" because the babies learn no one is going to come help them. Why bother crying if no one will come? I guess other people see that as a plus and I used to too but I don't anymore.

In the span of a lifetime they are tiny and needy for such a short time. I do everything I can to ensure good sleep habits but if he still wakes up and needs me....ya, I help him.

I don't know if I agree with CIO or not. In fact I'm not a mother at all and won't be for years so take my comments however you want, but keep in mind that I don't actually speak from experience so this is clearly the highest form of assvice.

In response to the "how would you feel if you were scared and didn't know if anyone was coming back" line of thinking. Maybe you should think a little farther forward. From an adult perspective it would seem that CIO would work because at first you would feel scared and abandoned and you'd cry your eyes out, but eventually you'd realize that you were still warm and dry and sleepy, and as long as nothing is wrong at that moment then who cares if there's someone there to take care of you so you stop crying and go to sleep. Now maybe this is not at all what happens in a baby's brain but if you're trying to rationalize how CIO would feel then I would try to think beyond the first few minutes of fear.

I also thought the comment that suggested you go and brush your teeth or something while they cry was a good one. Give yourself something quick to do that you must finish before picking them up again.

All of that said...I think you are doing a fabulous job. There's no chance you've done anything yet that would screw these two up and I highly doubt you ever will. They are two amazingly cute babes that are so incredibly loved. They'll turn out just fine. If you don't want to ever try CIO then that's your choice and that will certainly work for your family. Best of luck...not that you really need it. You're already a super mom.

I tended to think more in terms of the cry meaning, "Mom, Mom! I need you now!" And you're absolutely right, when the babies were little, I NEVER EVER let them cry any longer than I had to (I sang and sang in the nursery, and did a lot of "mommy will be over to you very soon, sweetie!"). Because you know, when a baby says, "mom, I need you," you go to the baby.

And then they get older, you're more capable of saying, "sweetheart, give this new thing a try. See how it goes. I'll be right over there."

That having been said, I think we in the States at least are bred in the bone to discount each other's emotions. I long ago lost count of the parents whose first instinct when their kid falls and starts crying is to say, "that didn't hurt, stop crying." These are loving parents, not meanies, and I have to fight the instinct, too: to tell someone else how they feel, to tell them how important their pain is. As if that will stop the crying faster.

So I think we as a culture (and you as a culture? don't know enough about the RSA) are trained, at a very fundamental level, to be uncomfortable with tears and grief, and to lack empathy for our kids. Their tears and griefs are so front-and-center, so wild and unconstrained, that it scares us (or me, anyway), because we've trained ourselves to be so out of touch with our own emotions. So we're all inclined to think, "that's nothing, that's not important, those tears are just for show." As if anger or grief or fear or impatience or loneliness are better off being battled alone.

Of course, when you get an introvert for a kid, sometimes they ARE better battled alone, some of the time.

So it's all terribly complicated, and I guess what I'm saying is, whenever I have an instinct to discount my kids' emotions, I doubt that instinct. I question it, probe it, ask around a little: am I discounting their experience? Why? What really is the right thing to do here?

But that's all really a fair way in front of you (nothing like hijacking your comments to work through my issues). For right now, I can only say that we're in perfect harmony on the crying thing. And I think you're brave (and pretty confident of yourself) to invite comment, because I for one didn't want to hear it. I was just that scared.

how terribly rude of that person! I just hate it when people can't say something supportive, or at least affirming, but rather feel they have to better your complaint or comment. 'Oh your head hurts? My pinched nerve is the worst pain I've ever felt!' As if because they have it slightly worse your pain is negated. We all know how hard you're working.

I didn't let my daughter CIO until she was 7 months old and I had the end the middle of the night feedings. I needed sleep and she was sufficiently plump. It was really, really, really hard, but after two nights of hell she started sleeping through the night.

But that's at 7 months, not a tiny baby. During the day and evening and all those other times I never let her cry longer than it took for me to get to her and pick her up. With her I found that she always cried for a reason and once I took care of it she stopped. (This is hugely different from my friend's baby who was colicky and cried for hours for no reason except to drive her mother to the brink of sanity.) I can't imagine it any other way.

Shame on anyone who puts you down as a mother or makes you doubt yourself. You're doing a great job.

I never let my firstborn cry for the same reason you don't let yours cry - I just couldn't do it. I read about 'the 4th trimester' and latched on to that like a leech on a nekkid belly. She was not spoiled and she did learn to go to sleep at night.

I will have to say that there comes a time when you need to force them to tough it out - when they get to high school, for example. I coddled her and let her out of uncomfortable situations a little too long and now she has made a habit of dropping classes in college and it will take her an extra 2 quarters and $10K to graduate and that's not good. I don't, however, think that making her scream and turn red as an infant would have made any appreciable difference in her ability to get through school.

I know this blog is helping you with these early stages of parenting but what I really hope is that you are getting the message that you need to do what works for you regardless of anyone else's experience or sage advice. If leaving the babies to cry hurts your heart then doing it will not benefit anyone in your family, least of all your babies.

btw - those babies are so gorgeous and you linked that first shot of them in Aunty Danae's outfit to her blog and I can't see it and now I am crying and turning red :-(

Also - I wrote my post before I read the assvice from 'I don't have any kids but..'

I do have kids and I can assure you that I'm right and, as acknowledged, she has no idea what she is talking about.

First I have to agree with the previous poster...all kids are different.
When I had my first and he would wake up at night, he would eat and then proceed to stay awake and cry for a few hours...often until it was about time to feed him again. I never got any sleep and wanted to throw him under a truck sometimes.
When my second (6 weeks old today) wakes up at night to eat, he eats and then goes back to sleep. The whole thing takes me about 45 minutes and I am back in bed. I am scared to even write that and send it into cyberworld because the great sleep Gods might smite me down...I should go burn incense or something.
The point is (besides getting an annoying amount of sleep...sorry) that I spent a good part of my second pregnancy seriously worried about the whole sleep thing and hoping that with a toddler to boot it wouldn't send me over the edge. It turned out, so far so good, because EVERY KID IS DIFFERENT.
When my first started crying, if you hurried and took care of it you could sometimes calm him down again, but if you waited even a few minutes (say to finish in the bathroom or whatever) he would really get some momentum going and then there was no going back. So we picked him up/soothed him pretty quickly. When my second starts crying and I can't get there for a few minutes (say because I am helping a three year old in the bathroom or whatever) he often decides it wasn't that important anyway and goes back to sleep. BECAUSE EVERY KID IS DIFFERENT.
I would never to venture to tell you that this always works or this never works. CIO did work for my first son when he was older (or I should say it worked for me since he was going to cry no matter what I might as well be in the other room mixing a Margarita) but may not be what I do with my second. It depends on who they are and where you are. Follow your gut and do what each one needs. (I know, half the battle sometimes is figuring out what that is...You will, don't worry).
Love your blog, Tertia. Keep being so honest!
PS Kidding about the Margarita. Don't send me hate mail! Shots get the job done and are faster anyway!

Tertia, I feel like hugging you. Because no matter what one person is going through it doesn't minimize or trivialize what another is dealing with. Twins are hard, babies are hard, I don't care how much help you have. Even if you had a team of experts there to assist, it would still wrench at your heart when they cried. You'd still wake up, even if someone else did the actual feeding, rocking and changing.

Yes, it is wonderful that you've had help - but there's no reason for someone to make you feel guilty for it.

The biggest mistake a mother could ever make is ignoring her own instincts.
You don't need people to tell you how to care for your babies, you need to do what feels right for you.

I don't believe you can "spoil" babies that are as young as yours. Their brains aren't sophisticated enough to be that manipulative yet.

I just posted to Julie's blog in response to Paul's post about "Detachment Parenting", saying that I sort of discovered by accident that my daughter's inconsolable crying was actually due to being overstimulated, and putting her down and letting her work it out was actually beneficial to her.

Your babies are still pretty young so I would keep doing what you're doing if it makes you comfortable. But keep in mind that getting sufficient rest yourself isn't strictly selfish; it ultimately lets you be the best mother you can be.

At some point in time, (maybe in a month or so), you might want to start experimenting with letting them cry for 15 minutes or so. By then they'll have good enough vision and enough curiosity about the world that they might be able to distract themselves; this is behavior that will eventually evolve into independent play. Also, remember that at this early stage, crying is really the only way they have to communicate with you. This too will change before you know it.

What most people don't realize is that there is no *one* right way to handle issues when it comes to child rearing. Sleep is such a powerful topic, because the baby's (or in your case babies') sleep schedule affects the running of the entire household. My son was a horrible sleeper for the first year of his life - he did not sleep through until he was nine months old and sometimes I felt like I was losing my mind because I was so tired. It was awful. And, even as a newborn, he was stubborn and knew what he wanted. And, what he wanted was skin contact while he was sleeping (come to think of it, he wanted skin contact all the time). So, we started out with him in a bassinet and had a lovely crib for him which ended up becoming large laundry baskets. Trust me, co-sleeping was not what we originally had in mind, but it worked out in the long run and was nice while I was nursing because it was basically a self-serve bar and maximized the little amount of sleep that I was getting. Once, when he was about 10-11 months old, we tried letting him CIO because we were at our wits end...he cried until he began to vomit. I swore that would never happen again...so we tried other methods, and ultimately had to deal with the realization that we just weren't going to get much sleep for awhile. The bottom line is that you and Marko are the ones in the situation and best know your children. I admire the fact that you are so willing to ask for advice and consider other options. And, always remember when things get bad that "this too shall pass". This is the single most valuable piece of "advice" that I received as a new mother. Of course it usually passes into another challenging phase, but hey, variety is the spice of life, right? ;-) Good luck!

It's so hard being a mom, esp. for the first time -- Idon't understand why we women can't be more supportive of eachother instead of so critical. You're a bigger person than I to keep those negative posts around on your blog.

I felt the same way you did about CIO - just couldn't do it with my girls... BUT, then around the time they turned 7-8 months and I was STILL getting up to get pacifiers and reassure them several times a night, we started CIO out of sheer and utter desperation (and exhaustion). Have to admit it DID work, and pretty fast, at least for us. I can tell you though my girls are 18 months and we still have one that will wake up 1 or 2 times a night -- I STILL have a very hard time waiting five minutes to see if she stops - it seems like an eternity. The good news is, she almost always stops crying w/in those five minutes so yes, she has learned to soothe herself back to sleep.

Sorry for the rambling post - I really enjoy your blog and so much of what you're going thru brings back memories of when my girls were very little ... can't help but share sometimes. Do what works for you and what feels right -- if and when you do CIO, you will know it's time to try it!

Self-serve bar! What a hoot!

Instinct as a mother is so much more important than what the books or what other people say. If we want to talk about being spoiled, let's look at other cultures where they carry their baby 24/7 in a sling. There's no CIO there..it's simply a cultural thing. I bet you are a wonderful mother. With strong muscles to carry twins. :)

Okay, I hope no one's going to threaten my life after I make this comment. I'm reporting something I have read.
According the a few different parenting books it is possible to "spoil" (I use quotes because I hate that word but I can't think of a better one) your child from about 6 mo. on. I dont' mean spoil like, s/he becomes a spoiled brat. What I mean is that they become accustomed to getting constant attention. For example, if you pick up your child everything she fusses, she's going to make the connection between fussing and getting picked up. It is at 6 mo. that babies first start to become able to make these types of connections. I'm definitely not saying that picking up your baby is going to make her a bratty kid it will just mean that she expects to be picked up all the time and will get increasingly upset if you don't. I think it's important to try other methods of soothing (when possible). Obviously this would really only apply to fussy babies not screaming-bloody-murder babies.

I also wanted to comment on the CIO strategy. It seems that MOST people are against this and I do understand why. I just want to say that some of the other commenters make it seem that if you let a baby cry without picking it up, you're a bad mother. Even though hearing my son cry breaks my heart sometimes I think he just needs to be left alone. On Julie's site her husband posted about an inconsolable Charlie and how he stopped crying once he was put down. Sometimes my son is crying because he's overtired and no amount of cuddling or rocking will help him. He just needs to be put in his crib with his lovey and the lights out with music playing. He may cry for a few minutes but he calms down and goes to sleep.
Also, on occasion CIO is the only option I have left if I want to retain my sanity. When Riley was brand new he cried A LOT. Sometimes I just couldn't handle it anymore. All I could do was put him down and let him cry...then I would go lay down and cry. Eventually he would fall asleep. i dont' know if this is seen as CIO but for me it was necessary.
Anyways, I hope I didn't piss off too many people. I just wanted to throw out a different point of view.

I love when men of that generation, who had absolutely no role at all in caring for their own babies try to tell you what to do. Parden my language but how the fuck would he know what is best? There is no possible way to spoil an infant. Period.
A baby can't do anything for themselves. They are helpless little lumps.

As far as the cry it out thing goes...5 years ago my friend adopted an 18 month old from the foster care system in the US. The baby was extremely overweight becauase he had been left in his crib all the time and had been fed solid food from the time he was a tiny baby. He never cried out for anyone. It was heartbreaking. You couldn't look at that baby and not realize that for the first year and a half of his life he had learned that when you cry, no one comes for you so why bother. His parents had left a box of cookies in his crib and when he got upset at night he would grab a cookie and comfort himself with food. As annoying as those cries can be seeing this baby who wouldn't cry was one of the most heartbreaking things I have ever seen. Obviously that is not your typical CIO scenario. I don't think that letting your baby cry for 15 minutes is child abuse or anything like that. Just saying that meeting this baby made me change my own mind about the concept, at least for infants, in general.

Eventually you will do CIO. Or you will have to quit your job!!

The very real and very valid point to be made here is that CRIES ARE DIFFERENT.

A hungry cry from a 6 week old is 1000% different from a "I don't want to go to sleep! Get in here and play!" from a 6 month old.

what is your earliest memory?

the reason i ask is because, you can't say "How would i feel if i was scared?" etc. You are an adult with adult emotions and knowledge of your emotions. you are living through Nature. It is the natural response of a infant to cry when they are not close to the mother, smelling her scent, feeling comforted. This is why primate mothers hold their babies until they are able to cling tight or walk. I know a lot of peole these days will argue this but, most of us do not remember anything from our infancy. Any decision you make about their crying will be for your benifit. Yes they look terribly upset, but that is what they are programmed to do by Nature to ellicit a response from you. Whether you react to it is your decision. Good luck.

the reason i ask is because, you can't say "How would i feel if i was scared?" etc. You are an adult with adult emotions and knowledge of your emotions. you are living through Nature. It is the natural response of a infant to cry when they are not close to the mother, smelling her scent, feeling comforted. This is why primate mothers hold their babies until they are able to cling tight or walk. I know a lot of peole these days will argue this but, most of us do not remember anything from our infancy. Any decision you make about their crying will be for your benifit. Yes they look terribly upset, but that is what they are programmed to do by Nature to ellicit a response from you. Whether you react to it is your decision. Good luck.

Just to piggyback on what LizM is saying, (and by the way, as far as I'm concerned your statements are very sensible; not at all lynching material ;-)).

I just want to say that there is a HUGE difference between newborns (which Adam and Kate are) and 6-month-olds. Yes, 6-month-olds are perfectly capable of manipulating people. But I think you'll find that the reasons a 6-month-old baby cries are very different than those of newborns, as they are past the "4th trimester", can keep full tummies for several hours and might even have a sense of object permanance. Crying at six months is often related to a more tangible problem.

21st century mom...I assume your second comment refers to me. If it does then I just wanted to say that I'm truly sorry if I offended anyone or was not as supportive of Tertia (and all mothers and the choices that they make for themselves and their families) as I meant to be. Reading blogs like this one has really hit home the idea that every woman has the right to choose what is best for her and her children and no woman should be criticized for those choices. After reading back over my first comment and T's original post I realize that I may not have been sensative enough to the feelings of women dealing with all kinds of questions about newborns. But I do stand by my comment and hope that my opinion can be respected for being just that...an opinion. Again, I'm sorry if my thoughts hurt or offended anyone. Please e-mail me if you have any further response to my comments as I would hate to fill up Tertia's comment space with all of this.

This is more a response to reb's comment than to your post, Tertia. I've never understood why CIO advocates argue that babies won't remember the experience, as if that makes it OK, as if any distress or trauma never occurred.

That said, I'm not against CIO per se. Every child is different, every family is different, and sleep is important. My son, for example, does well with it for naps -- five minutes or less of fussing and occasionally crying, and then he's out for a couple of hours -- but at night he is one of those who will scream for HOURS rather than relent, so we achieve nighttime sleep in other ways and resign ourselves to the interruptions.

I just think it's important to acknowledge that there IS distress, by definition, when a baby is crying. When I let my son cry, it's for a purpose, and I'm very conscious of his upset, and I trust my own instincts and my knowledge of my son to manage the situation.

I've known some professed AP parents who crucify themselves trying to spare their children even one! second! of distress or frustration. That's just silly, not to mention setting one's family up for an unfortunate degree of dysfunction. And it's not really attachment parenting, in my book, but enmeshment parenting.

But dismissing all distress and frustration in the infant or preverbal child by saying "s/he won't remember" is callous and robs that child of personhood, in my opinion.

Healthy attachment in MY AP style means there's enough room to breathe, so that parents and children experience the ups and downs of life while nurturing relationships of love and support.

All of which, Tertia, is just a very long way of echoing the mantra: every child is different, every mother is different, every family is different. Do what you do out of love, and everything will be OK.

RE: hurtful comments. Remember that nasty commenters are always projecting their own issues onto you -- when you point a finger, there are three pointing right back at you, etc. -- that always helps me with letting unhelpful stuff go by...

I am a big fan of your blog and am sorry that sombody made such a hurtful comment. I feel the same way about crying in general. My ds is 18 mos and I really don't let him cry. If he is being bratty and cries that is fine but I am there with him, I cannot imagine leaving him alone to cry. When he was 4 mos the ped said to leave him crying for 20 minutes at a time at night and after 3-4 days he would sleep through the night. Well he was sleeping through already (7hours) so I ignored him but could not imagine letting him cry by himself for that long. I imagined when he was older he would understand it better, but he is older and I still don't like to do it. I have to admit though he is not a big crier so that makes it easier. Just wanted to say I agree with you.

I never let my boy 'cry it out' either. I really believe that you can't spoil an infant. He went to sleep in my arms until he was 12 months old.

Okay...not the best. I had to teach him how to fall asleep on his own, but that wasn't too hard. I think you are correct in picking up your little ones.

IMNSHO, of course.


I know just how you feel. My trio are just about 18 months now and I just started CIO. Well I must confess, it wasn't me who started it. I went on a quick 4 night vacation to Orlando and my cousin and 2 daugthers came to watch the babies. They asked if they could try CIO since they are so so so so so so bad at sleeping (did I mention they were bad sleepers???) I mean, I had them so bad that they expected to be picked up the second they started crying during the night, which was often! I would have 2 babies in my bed and hand the other off to be coddled. For some reason, my cousin wanted to actually get some sleep during the night (imagine that concept!)

Well, since I got back I've been doing CIO (well, with 2 of them. Anna has down syndrome and I'm just not sure how much she'll comprehend, so I doing it, just slower with her.) And I have to tell you that they're still crying!! Emma cries when put down but pretty much will sleep through, if she gets up once it'll be just for 5 or 10 minutes. Anna slept through a few nights and some nights gets up once (I bring her with me when she gets up.) But John, he'll cry for an hour, 2 hours, 3 hours, 4 hours. It's horrible. We've been doing it a week now and still bad. I don't know if it's because I waited so long (well, I take that back, I do know it's because I waited so long.)

So, the moral of the story is, start soon. Not necessarily CIO but how you want bed time to go for the rest of their toddler years. If you don't want to rock them to sleep every night then don't do it now, etc. I don't necessarily mind rocking (I love it.) but other things I have to adjust and re-teach. And it's hard.

Good luck!!


I'm sorry you took it to heart too Tertia, it was unkind, at best. The last thing you need when you're already feeling overwhelmed and unsure of yourself is someone or something to make you question yourself more.

When my friends, who are just now starting to have their first children, ask me what parenting books, etc. I recommend, my answer is always "none". I don't own any parenting books, and I don't plan on purchasing any anytime soon. The reason for this is simple, I think parenting books can have the effect of causing parents to doubt themselves more than they already do.

We all want so much to do right by our children, and that's admirable, but other than the safety basics, there's no hard and fast rule for the best way of parenting any individual child, of getting any individual child to sleep well, or be a good eater. I think we all have our "preferred methods" of doing things, but our babies may not be on the same page, and if they don't respond as expected, we start to doubt that we're doing the right thing, and that self-doubt doesn't do you or the baby any good.

I also think that making mistakes, and learning from those mistakes, makes us better parents, and teaches our children that it's okay to screw up, and that making a mistake isn't the end of the world. This is a valuable lesson for kids, and for adults. I have made my share of mistakes, and I'm sure I'll make more in the years to come. My kids don't seem to have suffered, and I've learned not to let them cause me to doubt my parenting abilities as a whole.

Oh, and on the crying, I don't leave either of my kids to cry - even the 4.5 year old. At the very least, I acknowledge that she's sad, or scared, or hurt, and give her a hug and a kiss. That doesn't mean I allow her to manipulate me through her tears, just that I think her feelings need to be acknowledged - and that's exactly what you're doing when your babies cry - acknowledging their feelings, whatever they may be - by picking them up and comforting them.

Hi T-

I forgot to add that my daughter only liked to sleep on her stomach. But I didn't figure that out till she was 3 months old because I was too scared about sids. Bash away, from that night on we all got alot more sleep. Hope you're having a nice day!

Let them cry it out? Gee, if a chimpanzee mother did that, she'd be considered mentally disturbed!

I did not allow my children to cry if I could help it, either to sleep or just in general. I cannot fathom how others can allow their infants to cry. To this day hearing my children cry rips my heart out. But even back then, back when they were little babies, they didn't cry much. I believe they knew they could trust me to get there and help them ASAP. If I could hear them fussing, and if it was a fuss that sounded like something was wrong (not to be confused with little baby noises that mimic fussing), I was there for them, helping. They trusted me. It was bad enough that there were three of them and just one of me. How selfish would I have to be to deprive them even more of my love & attention to "train" them to go to sleep on their own? That's just cruel & absurd. My kids learned to sleep according to our schedule because I helped them do it. I got their little bodies & minds habituated to sleeping at certain times each day, without fail. I rocked them, snuggled them, nursed them, bottled them, sat beside them. And they went to sleep, and they still do. As they got older they needed me less & less to fall asleep. These days I'm really not needed at all, just some love & cuddles before naps or night-night. No crying it out. No making myself sick at hearing them panic in the dark, wondering where I am.

If you get them habituated to falling asleep at certain times of the day/night, and if you gradually "wean" them away from your assistance, you will not need to do CIO. And I tell you, the memories I have tucked away of holding my trusting, innocent children in my arms, rocking them in the dark, are priceless and will carry me the rest of my life. Staring at their perfect faces, listening to them breathe, smelling their wonderful & unique smells... I could never give that up, and am so glad that I didn't choose to. There's no TV show worth giving that up, no nothing that's better than that. Holding my precious children in my arms has helped fill up the big hole in my heart dug by the monster that is infertility. Why would I rush away from such healing?

I'm a big girl. I can selectively defer my wants & needs for a few years and put my children first. Everything balances out.


Hi there,
Delurking to reveal our methodology, because I think it might help... with the caveat that I really believe that everyone needs to find the best thing for themselves, so I mean this as no criticism of anything anyone else is doing. We found solace in Penelope Leach. She suggests that there is a difference between babies crying because they're pissed off rather than crying because they're scared. (I'm not sure this is clear with tiny babies, but we did this when our son was over a year.) Her approach is to go in every two minutes without fail but just comfort your child and leave, trying not to stay for more than twenty or thirty seconds. We felt like this way our boy always knew we were there and we were going to come back, that we wouldn't leave him-- but also that we weren't going to help him find sleep anymore. It gave us our peace of mind and also let us sleep relatively quickly, and the philosophy of "Is he crying because he can't have what he wants" vs. "Is he crying because he's troubled or feeling frightened we've abandoned him" has assisted in other arenas. Just a thought.

We tended not to do the CIO thing with Ben. And then, this one time when he was about 2 1/2, my husband was home with Ben and ordered him to stay in his bed and take a nap and don't-you-dare-get-out-of-bed. Can you guess what happened? That's right. He had to poop. He took off his diaper. He pooped on the bed. He walked on the poop. He tracked poopy footsteps all over the bed. And then he laid himself down for a pantsless, poo-crusted nap. My husband went to check on Ben after all was quiet, and found the hideous mess. Me? I was out shopping. Missed the whole thing, including the clean-up. Hah!

Hi T,

First time I comment on your blog, probably high time since I've read it all (took me almost two days to catch up) during the last month. Before I had children I was a true believer of CIO. All I can say about that is ha-ha. When it came down to it, I just couldn’t do it. For me, it just wasn’t worth the heartache. I was told by my very wise sister that children under six months cannot be spoiled. They need to feel loved and secure and certain that someone is going to pick them up if they say so. So I comforted, cuddled, let him sleep on top of me (or my husband), took long walk during the day to make him sleep in the stroller etc. His absolute favourite was to lay on my legs with his head on my knees and his feet towards my stomach while I sat on the couch watching TV. Gradually I got some structure both during day and night, although he still woke up every three hours or so during the night to be fed. Then when my son turned six months I decided to try CIO to get him to sleep through the night. My plan was to let him cry for five minutes, then go in to him and comfort him and give him the pacifier. Then wait for another five minutes and repeat the process. To make a long story short, he did not sleep through until he was almost a year. Once (and sometimes twice) a night I got up and fed him. Gradually he slept for longer and longer periods and suddenly we realised that he had slept the whole night for over a week. Now he sleeps 98% of the nights and the blue area underneath my eyes have disappeared.

And the funny thing is that I cannot really remember that is was that bad, actually I can’t remember it being bad at all. All I remember is a warm, wonderful little baby curling up in my lap and having a wonderful time with his mother. And honestly, I kind of miss it. (Yeah I know, call me crazy.)

Now he is 18 months old and a very secure little boy, who is comfortable with other people, who loves his bed and to sleep outside in his stroller, who is strong willed, funny, gorgeous, bla-bla-bla. And I couldn’t have done it any other way.

However, I must mention that here in Norway where I come from, we have 52 weeks maternity/paternity leave with 80% of our salary paid by the government. That, of course made it easier to tolerate being sleep deprived and I could sleep during the day when he took a nap, and no-one expected me to be a productive employee. And, I only had one baby.

This was a long way of saying “I totally understand what you are saying”. And that you will get there, one way or the other.

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