OT: To cry it out or not? my LENGTHY update now posted!

dh and I are sitting here discussing whether or not it’s okay to let a baby “cry it out”. As many of you know–my new little one is not a sleeper and as is standard when you are a new (or second timers in our case) parent, everyone has their opinion on how to make a baby sleep. I welcome the advice–if nothing else, I think it’s interesting to hear what others think…

The two most prevailing opinions we hear are that of the pro-attachment parenting person who feels you should wear your baby and have a “family bed”. The other is the opinion that babies don’t know how to fall asleep so you must put them down and let them cry it out in order for them to learn that “it’ll all be okay”…

What do you think?

That’s a tough one. I was never able to just let them cry it out, especially at that age. I spent a lot of time singing and patting, knowing that eventually they’d learn to sleep. But, since you’re planning on going back to work, you do need to get him on a regular sleep cycle so you’re not up half the night.

I don’t have an answer, obviously, but I do understand your dilemma. :hug:

Give the kid a shot of Jack Daniels and it’ll sleep like a …

Irma Bombeck used to say that a shot of Scotch helped a lot.

After she had one, she didn’t care if the baby slept or not. :teehee:

My dd was a premie and as such followed what I’ve heard most premies do…they don’t fall asleep on their own until they are at least a year old. My pediatrician said since she was a premie, many premies are wired that way. Trying to let her cry herself to sleep only made her go into a crying fit that would escalate until she was SO worked up that it would take divine intervention to break the cycle. Needless to say, I did a LOT of bouncing, dancing, and coddling until she fell dead asleep and placed her in her crib once she was. After she was about a year old, she figured out how to fall asleep on her own. Believe me, I could have used the sleep during that first year…I’m a Jr. High Teacher…but she finally figured it out and I was able to stop getting up a few times a night. I know what you are going through and wish you all the best. :hug:

Okay, my lil guy is 16 mos old, and I’ve only got the one, but here’s my parenting take:

Every family is different (and not in a Anna Karenina way!) and every child is different.

You know your child best, and what works at one stage might be totally wrong at another.

We said we weren’t going to sleep with the baby, we did, for a while.

We said we weren’t going to let him use a pacifier, and after waiting six weeks, I gave in, but we took it away with no real fuss (on HIS part… it was MY crutch by then) before his first birthday.

We said we wouldn’t let him cry, but we find that after our bedtime routine, unless he’s already passed out from crankiness, he will cry for about 5-10 minutes and then go to sleep and stay asleep until morning. Longer crying that gets more intense means he’s not ready for bed, and we need to go get him and calm him down before trying again once he gets sleepy.

We only started doing this after he started sleeping through the night consistently (no nighttime feedings at all). At one month, I wouldn’t recommend this, instead I’d advise the hand on the back method. Stand at the crib and put your hand on the baby’s back or body and go “shusssssssshhhhhhhhh” long and medium loud. Check out the baby whisperer’s site for more details: www.thebabywhisperer.com. While I don’t agree with everything she says, I do agree with her that moderation is the key.

My mom says I am black and white, but as I get older I see the value of balance and shades of gray.

My opinion: one month is too young to “let them cry it out.”

Every baby is different, and you know yours best. Go with your gut.


I don’t think that a one month old should cry it out. CiO is for children who are deliberately trying to manipulate into a later bedtime. Before about a year, the baby doesn’t know how to do that, he’s all id. If you need a break to stay sane, that’s perfectly fine, but I would go back and pick her back up, or move the crib within arms reach of the bed, or co-sleep. This baby might need that.

Again, I’m über crunchy when it comes to early childhood, so maybe not the best choice.

Dh and I already have our own opinion–I’m just curious what other’s think.

Our conversation started b/c my dad was over earlier and he said that the problem was that the baby didn’t know how to fall asleep b/c we hold him all the time. I found that really funny b/c when I had dd–he told me that letting babies “cry it out” was child abuse! LOL! My dad’s funny like that…

I didn’t let dd cry it out until she was 18 months old–I did it for three nights in a row and on the 4th night she slept through the night for the very first time!!!

I also said I wouldn’t let dd sleep w/ me but I did–I said this one wouldn’t sleep w/ me and he does from 6 a.m. until we get up (basically, once dh leaves, Aaron joins me).

Keep the opinions coming–OH!!! and about the baby whisperer…my pediatrician just told me about all of that last week. Honestly–we’ve tried the shshing and so far it does seem to help some. We’ve started to swaddle which I didn’t do w/ dd and it also seems to help a little. I’ll have to check out the website–I didn’t know there was one!

I’m in the camp of don’t let them cry it out. The baby is in the trust learning phase. They cannot learn it if you don’t meet it’s needs. And the baby is used to being warms and held close. The crib is big and cold. You cannot spoil a baby with love and attention.
My son could never sleep with out being near us. And he didn’t sleep through the night till he was 5. Of course that was probably because he wet the bed till he was 5 and in woke him up.
My daughter though would just go to sleep when we laid her down. But she was fed and rocked first. And if she cried in the night we took care of her right away. She slept through the night before she was a year old.
But to this day they are both very different. Son is a bit needy and high strung. Daughter is mellow and self sufficient. But neither one got to be the way they are by crying it out.

“The No Cry Sleep Solution” by Elizabeth Pantley is fabulous, IMHO, I recommend it to people all the time. It has sleep solutions for all styles of parenting. I wished I had read it before DD2 came along because there are a lot of things you can start doing right away to establish sleep cues – but we started a few months in and it was really helpful.

I’m not staunchly anti-CIO (I really think it depends on the child) but our two were sharing a room so we really needed to find a way to get the baby to sleep without crying, or we all would have been up all night! :wink:

I’ve got two sons. With baby #1, I thought that CIO was what everyone did! Seriously, I had no idea otherwise. He really was a very good baby though so it wasn’t really a huge issue, but there were times that we’d let him cry a bit and he’d fall asleep faster than if we didn’t. Around 4 months old we got into a rut of him needing his pacifier to be plugged back in many times during the night. He’d go instantly back to sleep with it so we kept doing it, but it was exhausting for all of us so that’s when we decided to let him cry. He cried for about 20 minutes, then was quiet for about 10 minutes, then cried about 5 minutes more and that was it. He slept till morning. The second night we heard him wimpering a little bit but that was it and he is now 5 years old and unless sick, he NEVER wakes up during the night.

Baby #2 :zombie: :teehee: . Oh my gosh, what a different child. Very needy, cried a lot, made us tear out our hair. Oh, I forgot to mention that when #1 was probably 8 months old or so, I discovered the babywhisperer and I’ve been a forum member over there at www.babywhisperer.com for about 4.5 years already! Like the previous posters have said, BW promotes patting, shhhhhing, and NEVER EVER letting your baby cry. So with baby #2 I was bound and determined not to do CIO. I did everything else - we slept with him, we tried to feed him to sleep, tried to get him hooked on a pacifier :oops: , and I don’t know how many hours I spent bent over his crib patting him while he screamed his little head off anyways. I just couldn’t take it, it was driving me to insanity it felt like, AND I had a 20 month “baby” to take care of as well. So in the end, we did go the CIO route. I didn’t want to but it felt like the only way. It was within just a few days that his nighttimes AND his naps drastically improved. It was like he thrived with less intervention on our part.

I was really torn about it, and still now I’m not sure exactly if I think it was the right thing to do. The other way wasn’t working, and this worked, so maybe in that way it was the right thing to do for our sanity at the time, but it still doesn’t quite feel right. I dunno. I’m just glad I’m not having any more babies!!

About sleeping through the night, which someone mentioned, that’s a Western idea to get the baby into the habit of a long night’s sleep and awake during the day as much and as soon as possible. It’s convenient for the parents, but there’s no reason the baby will be better off once it begins to sleep for longer through the night rather than on and off.

It’s always different for us at the computer while you have got a REAL LIVE SCREAMING BABY WHO WON’T SHUT UP but I think I’d ignore the bub only if it is crying a ‘not really hungry or sore but want cuddles’ kind of cry, otherwise they’d learn it gets them attention. You can probably tell the difference between ‘I’m hungry!’ crying and ‘Mummy pick me up’ crying, the second one doesn’t get much from me.
I think we’ll be interested in hearing what approach you are choosing and how you think it worked?


IMO a one month old child is too young to cry it out. It’s just too young to learn the world doesn’t revolve around them. It takes time for their bodies to adjust and at 1 month they are still a tiny infant still learning who mom and dad are what the world is like.

It’s going to be tough, but I’d wait till he’s 8 mos old or later if you really feel the need to help him along. :heart:

I’m not and will never be a mom, but orangutans sleep in their mothers’ nests until they’re past 2 and usually more like 4 or 5 I think.

I feel bad for humans in comparison. except the ones that get rolled on top of and smothered.

LOL, well here we are up at 5am, been awake since 3ish…we don’t cio here. And we family bed. With both kids. Most nights its fine. Some nights, like last night, its terrible but I would much rather lose some sleep (and by ‘some’ I mean a ton…I have a 3 year old and a 23 month old the youngest has never slept through the night) then make them cry for their mama at night. I look at it like this, I don’t turn in my mama card at a magical hour at night and I would not let them cry for me during the day so it makes no sense to allow it at night. Just because they don’t know that the rest of the world likes to sleep doesn’t mean they should have to suffer.

I lost my mom when I was 15 and always wondered if that played a role in my parenting style (AP) and I read once that it was very common for motherless mothers to be extrmemely opposed to CIO for a simple reason…we know what its like to cry for your mama who never comes and would never wish that on our own children…no matter how tired we are.

Both of my babies had colic, but my last one (DD) was worse than my first one (DS). I had a very hard time letting them cry it out. Even after the colic was over, my DD was not a good sleeper. She’s 9 now, and to this very day she will sleep walk and talk in her sleep and wake up in the middle of the night. She slept with us for a while because I desperately needed sleep. I’m the type of person who cannot easily go back to sleep once awakened, so I did what I had to do to survive at the time whether it was right or wrong or popular or unpopular.

The thing is, my kids are 15 (almost 16) and 9 now. They are both very well adjusted. They sleep in their own beds. :slight_smile: Everything worked out in the end.

I don’t really have an answer for you except to encourage you to do what works for you and your family. :hug:

Hi Christy,

I have to admit that those baby days are a dim memory for me now as my kids are 8 and 12.

Looking back at it all now, every little decison seemed so important – at what age do I wean, do we co-sleep, do we cry it out? But really, infancy is a stage that goes by in a blink (even though the sleepless nights may make it seem like forever!) And then the challenges in front of you change and you are dealing with issues like how much time do I allow my son in front of his game cube before his brain completely fries and just how many Beany Babies is one young girl allowed to own in a lifetime?

I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer (although my answers always lean to the left!) It really has to be what you and your family are most comfortable with despite what everyone around you tells you.

I was one of those AP (attachment parenting) moms for both of my kids. I am an admitted baby wearing, co-sleeping, long term nursing mom. It worked for us – but I still say that you have a 50/50 chance with your kids – when they are 30 and sitting in front of their therapist and complaining “I would be completely sane if only my mom had _______ (fill in the blank here) – a) weaned me earlier or b) let me nurse til I was 17.)”

We make the best decisions with the information we have at the moment. Trust your instincts even though there will be plenty of people around who will tell you that you are wrong!

Enjoy this time when they are small because it goes by faster than you think.


First off, I don’t believe in a “family bed”. To give your children the best possible start you need to nurture your marriage. A family bed can interfere with that.

Crying it out is sometimes necessary. Babies know how to go to sleep. They just don’t want to. Sometimes they are overstimulated and can’t. Crying it out helps them to learn to self soothe, which is a valuable lesson.

As someone with an ECE background my advice would be this: Before going to bed-check everything. Full tummy? Dry bottom? Burped? Room the perfect temp? Baby actually sleepy? Good, then lie him down, say the SAME THING everytime, turn on some music or something soothing and leave him alone. Following the same pattern every time will become part of a routine that helps him understand its time to go to sleep. If he cries, let it go 5 minutes then go back in to make sure he is safe. Don’t touch him. Just say the same thing you did earlier and leave again. Then give it 10 minutes. And repeat increasing by 5 minute intervals until he is asleep.

Basically you can’t “spoil” a baby under the age of 6 months. This is a bonding time when they learn that you will be there to have their needs met. Sure, they have preferences and most perfer falling asleep in your arms.

Part of what makes peek-a-boo fun is that babies actually think that when you “disappear” that you actually cease to exist. Thats what makes it so shocking to them when you reappear. There fore, when you leave the room, all that exists in Aarons world is what he sees and what he is touching. Those thngs need to be comforting to him.

Its around 12 months when babies get the concept that the world is bigger than their immediate environment and that when you disappear, you are actually somewhere else existing without them. Thats when you get the clinginess. Its best to have extablished the ability to self soothe long before you get to that point or you will have a rough time getting out of the house to do anything.

My dh and I always said “Having a family bed is why God created guest rooms!” :teehee:

My daughter had problems sleeping at night in the beginning, as it turned out from trial and error. She didn’t like the openness of her crib. We actually, belted her in her little car seat and set that inside the crib and she slept through the night at 3 weeks, from 9pm to 9am without fail. It wasn’t until about 9 months that she was ready to transition to her crib, even then we used one of those wedge like things to keep her on her side and and give her the feeling of being embraced.