Jan 29, 2009
nature vs nurture - the CIO challenge!

I've always said having twins is an excellent study of nature vs nurture, and here is yet another example.

To all the "experts" who think one can train a baby to sleep through the night, or to sleep in a nursery vs in the parents' room, you are sorely mistaken. And yes, maybe having twins doesn't exactly make me an expert in the field, yet I still say that this is simply not so.

Take Leigh and Lucy as an example. Not once did I "train" them to sleep through the night by not responding to their needs. I have never allowed them CIO (cry it out); I have not moved their bassinet closer and closer to the door, plotting my eventual escape; I have not used the "pick up and love but don't feed" technique, nor any one of the many techniques I have read about.

I haven't done these things, because all these methods have one thing in common that I wonder if anyone has noticed - the babies all eventually "learn" to behave as the parent wants, around 4-6 months. Amazed parents say, "It took several weeks, but around 5 months my baby "learned" to stop waking up at night and now sleeps 8-10 hours through!"

Did these parents ever stop to consider that five months is the natural time frame that a baby might sleep through the night on her own? But because some self-proclaimed baby "expert" came up with a half-baked idea to sell a book and profit on new parents' desperation for sleep, they have let their baby be miserable for nothing?

Lucy and Leigh both started sleeping through the night between 3-5 months with no help from me, at different times (they aren't identical twins, after all), and completely on their own. Nature one, nurture zero.

I realize some babies simply refuse to sleep through the night or even nap longer than an hour or two, and to those parents, I extend a moment of sympathy silence. All the CIO in the world won't help these babies, and in turn might make them even more insecure and fussy.

My twins sleep in separate rooms. Lucy is in the nursery, and Leigh is in the bedroom with us. Did I train Lucy to sleep in her crib? If you call laying her in there a few times for naps to get her used to the crib, then yes, I "trained" her. However, I did the same for Leigh, who absolutely refuses to sleep in her crib.  She wakes up after 20 minutes, senses that parents are not nearby, and cries. What do you know, babies are distinct individuals, with individual needs, and sleep habits.

I'll continue to introduce the crib to Leigh until it becomes familiar to her, but never will I abandon her to let her CIO night after night until her will is beaten down. (Yes, I realize it's for increasing minutes at a time, but that can seem like a lifetime to a desperate baby!). I simply don't understand parents who can do this.

Nature two, nurture zero.

Posted at 04:54 am by lisachu

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