Sunday, November 21, 2010

10 Alternatives to Crying it Out

My sister soothing Sydney
I see it all the time on facebook pages and  message boards - moms lamenting the torture of listening to their babies cry it out.  Nine times out of ten the mom is hating it.  Sadly, I occasionally see a mom happy to say the CIO worked and baby is "finally asleep."  What tends to happen is that most moms I know hate CIO, but eventually it seems to work.  Baby seems to cry less and less when he is left in his crib.  And to an extent the trick has worked.  Baby has slowly learned his crying won't work to draw his mom back in the room.  He's been conditioned to understand his crying won't elicit the attention he needs or wants.  He has learned helplessness.


There is a myriad of reasons parents resort to crying it out.  Some have been taught it's best for the baby.  Others are pressured by family members.  A lot of moms just want a good night's sleep.  Many are told their baby needs to learn to sleep.

Anyone who has cared for a baby for a 24 hour period should know they already know how to sleep.  What babies don't know how to do is sleep on a schedule, but babies are not adults and should not be expected to sleep for long stretches at times deemed appropriate.  A baby's one and only job is to grow and develop, and they are born knowing just how to achieve that.  Eat, sleep, and endear themselves to a care provider who will provide warmth, nourishment, and security.  The baby alerts their parents of these needs by crying.  It's important to remember babies need more than a diaper change and a feeding.  Maybe they are in pain from teething or have gas or are scared or want a warm body, but sometimes all they need is you.  Babies do not cry without reason.

Occasionally, crying it out is the result of babies who cannot be soothed despite a care provider trying their hardest to calm them.  If this goes on for an extended period or continues for several days, it would be wise to seek the advice of a family doctor.  As I stated before, babies do not cry without reason.  I'm not trying to fearmonger, your child may be going through a particularly rough developmental period or is on the cusp of a major milestone like getting her first teeth or beginning to crawl.  When these periods of crying continue it can be difficult as parents to cope.  Our brains are wired to be stressed when our babies are stressed.  It's a survival mechanism.  It ensures our continued existence as a species.

Thankfully there are alternatives to crying it out that can calm, soothe, and/or help you and baby cope.  Will they always work?  No.  Are they worth trying?  Yes.  Even when it seems like an attempt to calm your baby seems unsuccessful, you are sending an important message:  I am always here for you.  You are secure.  You are safe.  You are loved.


1. Dance together.  There is something soothing about dancing with your baby for both parties.  Put on some music and sway slowly, spin slightly, dip, whirl.  Dancing is a favorite calming activity in our house.  I often combine it with number 4!
Photo credit: sdminor81 (flickr)
2.  Wear your baby.  My number one happy baby trick of all time is a baby sling.  If you don't wear your baby often ask a friend who does for help learning the ins and outs of babywearing.  Babywearing creates a womblike atmosphere for many babies that allows them to relax and return to the safety of that experience. I call it my baby reset button, because it removes them from the stimuli and stresses that can overwhelm them day by day.  Babies who are worn cry less.
3.  Go out.  So maybe it's 2 a.m., but no one ever said you can't go wander the aisles of the 24 hour grocery store.  Babies are people too and sometimes a change of scenery is exactly what both parties need.  Don't forget for some babies a car trip is magical.
4.  Sing your baby's song. Do you have a special song you sang to your baby in utero or a melody that you hum to him or her?  Sometimes this is all it takes to soothe a baby - the sound of a lovely, familiar melody lovingly sung to them.
5.  Swaddle and shush. My husband's best baby trick is a great swaddle combined with a rhythmic rocking and shushing in the ear.  The trick from The Happiest Baby on the Block has been his number one way to calm our babies during their early months.
6.  Offer the breast. If you are a nursing mom, sometimes baby wants to nuzzle and suck even if she isn't hungry.  Breasts are nature's pacifier, after all.  Yes, this can make you feel like a giant boob sometimes, but remember your nursing time with your child is fleeting.  Don't get caught up in timing feedings or not letting baby nurse for comfort.  The desire to nurse for comfort won't spoil your baby.  It's just another biological means to ensure babies get what they need - the action helps stimulate and maintain milk supply.
7.  Check for pain, fever, or illness.  Ok, it sounds obvious, but don't forget pain or discomfort is a common reason for crying.  While you may not be able to do anything to relieve the pain but offer teething tablets or infant tylenol, your presence does a lot to let baby know they are safe and secure.  During times of pain, this is a paramount need for infants, and for care providers the act of trying to soothe is often less stressful than listening to a child cry without intervention.
8.  Let your baby sleep with you.  If you are a breastfeeding mother, it is safe to co-sleep with your infant as long as you follow simple safety guidelines.  This will not ruin a baby's future sleep behaviors nor will it spoil them.  It simply meets a need they have at this moment.  You will be able to leave your children overnight as they grow old enough to enjoy solids and as long as they are with a sensitive care provider.
9.  Get silly.  Maybe all you want is baby to go to sleep and all they want is to play.  This conflict of interest can be frustrating.  Or maybe baby really needs to channel energy and frustration somehow and its coming out as crying.  So put on your silly face, do something outrageous - get baby to smile or giggle.  Pretty soon all that crying will be laughing.
10.  Ask for help. At the end of the day, if you are lucky enough to have a partner, ask them to take the baby and give it a try.  Take turns and give each other the support you both need.  If you are a single parent, reach out to another mom, family member, or friend.  There's a lot of people who want to help you and they'll be happy to lend a hand.

Let's face it, crying it out doesn't feel good for either party, so listen to your instincts and your baby and try something else.

75 comments:

Carla said... [Reply to comment]

Wonderful suggestions, though I wouldn't recommend giving tylenol to babies (Guggie Daly has the best info on that: www.guggiedaly.blogspot.com)

Cammille said... [Reply to comment]

LOVE GUGGIE!!!! And great suggestions..I love happiest baby on the block!!

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

The feminist undertone of this article is sickening to me as a single father who has raised his amazing and lovely daughter her entire life.

Almost every point on here is aimed at a "mother-child" only activity. It wasn't until the end where its finally said "Oh, and daddy can help too!"

Perhaps I'm reading too much into it. After all it IS an article on a female website.... but still. Way to further the storytype and bash all males as bad fathers.

Amber said... [Reply to comment]

this was great! and anyonymous, don't get offended so easily. kuddos to you for raising your daughter alone. i have no doubt you are an amazing dad. fact is, babies are biologically designed to be primarily with their mothers in those first years/months. it's not "stereotyping". just like babies are designed to be breastfed. it doesn't always work out and that does not mean they have been parented by bad parents. we all do our best with what we have but sometimes life throws curve-balls.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

Can I ask what happens when you try all those things and nothing works? I CIO with my son because that was the only thing that woorked to get him to fall asleep on his own. There is nothing wrong with teaching your baby to self soothe at all. 9 times out of 10 nothing was wrong with him, he just didnt want to go to sleep or wanted to be rocked to sleep. Was CIO fun? Not at all! However, parenting is always "fun" is it?

Jenn @ Connected Mom said... [Reply to comment]

@anonymous dad, clearly I am writing as a mother, but many of the suggestions were compiled from my husband and I. Bravo to you for doing a great job w/your daughter. I'm happy to say, my husband has never let our children cry and he uses all these techniques except the ones that explicitly utilize breastfeeding. The fact is that of my 400+ facebook friends, half of whom are male, I have never once seen one post about CIO but see at least one mom a day post about it, hence the intro. However, both parents can use these techniques - partnered or single. Best of luck.

@anonymous 2, you mention that nothing worked and baby just wanted to be rocked to sleep...it sounds like baby gave you a great easy alternative to CIO - rocking. I hope you give him that attention he's asking for instead of leaving him to cry.

Jenn @ Connected Mom said... [Reply to comment]

@Carla, with the recall of Hylands, I know a lot of moms are turning to tylenol and I know there are concerns about it, but for the life of me I can't find a good informative article to link to even from Guggie. Do you know of one? When I search her, it just comes up with a piece on vaccines :(

kelly @kellynaturally said... [Reply to comment]

Thank you for this great analysis of Cry It Out & the suggestions!

My 1st baby was colicky, and on the (unfortunate) advice of her pediatrician (and lactation consultant, can you believe), we tried allowing her to "cry out her frustration", which only resulted in a more upset infant and two parents who felt awful and a baby who woke up in as upset a state in which she fell asleep. We quit that "experiment" pronto, and discovered cosleeping & side-lying nursing. :)

There are always options to CIO!

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

Think Daddy needs to get the chip off his shoulder. Where's mom? Drive her off with your high priced lawyers?

Heather said... [Reply to comment]

Awesome article! I've honestly not had any trouble cosleeping with my babes and we have a happy family bed that is the most wonderful thing to climb into at the end of a long day.



And wow, Anonymous at 6:08, that was uncalled for. There's a good chance that Anonymous Dad is a widower and has suffered the trauma of losing a wife on top of suddenly becoming a single dad. In fact, history supports that as the most likely scenario.

Liz Ditz said... [Reply to comment]

Now I'm a grandmother: here's another thought:

Light control.

If you are putting your baby down for a nap or for the night, how much light is in the baby's room? Some folk (including babies) can't settle to sleep if the ambient light is too high.

About 10 years ago I had an AHA! moment, when my daughter was a pre-teen. We were on vacation in a hotel, and her room was really really dark -- she slept for 10 hours a night and she was a different, and much more -- well sunnier girl during the whole vacation. I installed light-blocking curtains for her east-facing bedroom, and [shazaam!] life was easier for all of us.

So I wonder -- do babies sleep more deeply during the day if they are sleeping in very dark rooms?

It isn't hard to acquire light-occluding shades -- online vendors have them. The shades aren't very expensive and they aren't hard to install.

Mama Mo said... [Reply to comment]

Thank you for this list. Sometimes it helps exhausted moms and dads to have a concrete idea to try next. My premature twins were colicky, and they cried for hours while I got more and more frantic trying to calm them. I would have these marathon nursing sessions because that was the only thing that seemed to work. Eventually we discovered the Happiest Baby on the Block book and implemented some of those strategies, many of which dad could help with. It was a relief to have new ideas to try!

Jenn @ Connected Mom said... [Reply to comment]

Interesting idea Liz...definitely worth a try!

Organic Mama said... [Reply to comment]

All homeopathics have not been recalled, just the teething tablets so there are other remedies to use. It is so worth picking up a book on homeopathy for babies and children(like Dr. Feder's or Dr. Neustaedter's books) and a few key remedies. Herbs work wonders as well. A mom should never have to suffer through colic or teething with their babies. There are effective remedies.

Always remember, babies are little for such a short time. They need to be loved and nurtured and have their basic needs met. I always think "you're gonna miss this!" whenever I am lacking sleep or feeling frustrated with parenting(:

Shannon said... [Reply to comment]

We are using the Sleep Lady method - Not sure if that is condoned here or not- but it is working amazingly for us. When L hit 18 lbs and I was having to walk her around our house for 30-45 miuntes (for naps and sleep), my back couldn't take it any more, and she cried the whole time. We are in the middle of the proces now, but there has been no crying, maybe a little whining, but no all out crying. Plus, I am right there with her if she needs me! :) Now she just lays, stares at me for a few minutes and is asleep with in 10-15 minutes.

Renee said... [Reply to comment]

One of the best things that worked for us was bringing DD into the shower. It was relaxing for me to get in and the water felt good for her. The white noise helped too, and we'd always stay in long enough to nurse too.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

I used a form of CIO, and my daughter is fine. She cried, because she wanted to be up late. But that would mean cranky mornings, irritable days, and a whole whack of other problems. So it wasn't a cry worth caving on. I have nothing against mothers who rush to their babies side, and as such, I think that mother's who have used the CIO method deserve a little more respect then offered. Seriously, offer your tips, but don't let the undertone of dissaproval for those who don't conform to your ways taint your article so thoroughly.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

Both of mine (now 8 & 6) 'cried it out' and both slept through the night from the ages of 3 months on. I find it hard to believe that taking a baby (who DOES need to know that at 2 a.m. he or she should be sleeping) to a grocery store is going to help that child in the end. And, getting silly in the middle of the night is just absurd! Many of my friends who tried other methods have 2, 3 even 4 year olds that are still not sleeping at night...and still sleeping with their parents, which just opens up a whole new can of worms...

Jenn @ Connected Mom said... [Reply to comment]

I'm sorry you feel that way, but it is psychologically and biologically proven that CIO is damaging to children emotionally and developmentally. We strongly discourage methods of parenting that are detrimental to the development of children and I stand by expressing that disapproval in the post. The entire point is that there are other methods that don't have negative repercussions .

Furthermore, children like adults do not sleep through the night. All sleep is done in cycles. Your friends whose children come to them at night have created a bond that child naturally seeks out upon waking. Personally, I believe the time my children will spend crawling into cuddle with me is too short, but I strongly encourage the family bed, too.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

You don't think that showing a young infant that it's ok to play in the middle of the night might have negative repercussions?!
My children seek that natural bond upon waking, IN THE MORNING, and we enjoy cuddle time then. We bond throughout the DAY, but never in the middle of the night, unless they are sick. My friends who have had issues because they, too, loved the idea of the family bed, are now completely wishing they had never done it.

Jenn @ Connected Mom said... [Reply to comment]

I think comforting a crying infant is always the right thing even in the middle of the night. I do not believe there are negative repercussions to comforting an infant ever. You can't spoil a baby.

Julian@connectedmom said... [Reply to comment]

@anonymous 3:52

Thank you for your warnings. I would love to know how you know about all the nasty future effects of parenting my child throughout the night if, as you said, you haven't done so yourself? Your friends may be ready to give up the family bed, that is a natural part of the co-sleeping relationship. That does not mean that they do not appreciate that part of their lives (though I could be wrong about that) and there are gentle solutions to peacefully end that part of childhood without resorting to a CIO method.

My husband and I also chose a family bed, and while I am not always enthusiastic about nursing my toddler down in the night, I know that neither of us are willing to eliminate that part of our relationship... especially if it would mean forcing my son to 'self-soothe'... Parenting is a 24 hour job, whether we like it or not, and it will be for years and years to come. It has been my experience that trying to cut corners or short cut around the biological NEEDS of my child never work out in anyone's favor.

I WOULD like to add however, that as much as we attachment parents strive to be connected and responsive to our children at all times, it is important to know your limits. Unfortunately I cannot say that I have ALWAYS been responsive. there HAVE been 2 occasions where my son was left to cry in a safe place for a few minutes because *I* needed to let *MYSELF* cry.

No matter what your parenting style, if there is no one in the immediate area to help you, allowing a baby to cry for 5 minutes is absolutely a better alternative to loosing your cool.

I think there is a post in my future with tips for keeping your patience throughout tough nights and/or trying days!

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

@Jenn - yes, you can spoil a baby.

@Julian - you're right, I haven't done it myself, as I mentioned, many of my friends & family have, and they've told me that this has caused the 'nasty future effects'. When I let them 'cry it out' they weren't crying for hours on end, and I certainly didn't go far and I'm proud that I taught my children how to sleep without needing to be in a shower, or needing to be in someone's arms, or needing background noise or no background noise or needing to be at a grocery store.
I think it's unfair to share with new parents these 'other' ways without also sharing that they will be creating habits that will be very difficult to break any time soon.
I think we could go back and forth on this one until the cows come home, so I'm done, and certainly won't suggest this site to any of my soon-to-be mom friends...

MaybeKatie said... [Reply to comment]

My mother let her first child CIO and my now 45 year old sister still has major attachment issues... issues she didn't speak about till she was 25. She has always felt abandoned from my mom even though my mom was a very loving sahm. My mom did NOT let anyone else CIO and my other sisters and I do not have any of the issues that my oldest sister has. To everyone that is saying "my child is fine" I sincerely hope they are but you won't know for sure till they are adults.

Jenn @ Connected Mom said... [Reply to comment]

@Anonymous, if that is your philosophy than this site is not for you and you may want to steer clear of gentle and natural parenting sites because we don't believe you can spoil a baby by loving them or that you can train an infant. Hopefully, your soon-to-be mom friends will find our resources through other more open-minded resources.

Lauren Gamet said... [Reply to comment]

I loved this article and agree wholeheartedly with Jenn@Connected Mom. My 6 month old daughter is a pretty good sleeper (usually 8-10 hours at a stretch with occasionally one short nursing session in the wee hours. I cannot even stand to hear her cry for one minute let alone several minutes or even hours in order to go to sleep! I am just so in love with her, and if she needs me...I'll be there. Just as others have said, these moments will be gone all too quickly so I plan to appreciate every one of them, even if my back is sore or I lose a few hours of sleep. Thanks for this very helpful article!

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

I know that a lot of people who disagree with the notion that CIO is bad will be offended by this article. To those of you who are offended... there really IS a huge difference when you do things differently.

I had my first two children fairly young (I was 19 and then 20). I listened to family members and such, and thought my milk dried up after about a month. I let them CIO. I left them to sleep in a crib in their own rooms. The list goes on and on of what society told me I "should" be doing. I did it all.

Ten years later, I decided to have another baby. This time, I have been an AP mom. I have bed-shared from the very first night. I have worn her in wraps and slings and backpacks. I hold her all the time...and she's still nursing at 20 months old (well, 20 months in 2 days). The difference is like NIGHT and DAY! She has such a sweet temperament! She is so loving and affectionate...independent...intelligent...and she is great at expressing herself without crying. I never knew that things could be like this with a baby. I only wish I had tried these techniques with my boys, instead of listening to what was expected of me by society!

Give it a shot! You'll be AMAZED at how well your baby responds!

mommytobe said... [Reply to comment]

I love this! Great tips, I'll definitely have to keep some of them in mind. We had been struggling really badly with waking a million times in the night. My won would wake as soon as I lay him down after nursing him to sleep. A few days ago we discovered effective co-sleeping and I haven't had a better night's sleep since before pregnancy! He woke only once, and it was to nurse very shortly, then right back to sleep!

I wish I would have discovered this sooner than him being 5 months old but glad I'm finally able to sleep! I agree that one day soon I will miss this snuggle time so I'm taking full advantage of being there for him 24/7 whether I find the need for his cries to be rational or not. Babies don't understand training or logic, simply what's natural. And that's for mom (or dad) to be there when needed.

So to keep it short, I agree 100% with everything you've said and think you offer GREAT Advice. Thank you!

I enjoy knowing that I'm givingy baby my all to help him develop into the best person he can be :)

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

take your kid to the grocery store at 2 in the morning.... Give me a break! If you have more than one kid at home that is impossible.

Jessica said... [Reply to comment]

In my experience, having a check list is a life saver. Thanks for the ideas. I'll take what works for my family and leave the rest.
As a first time Mom, my goal was to parent by instinct for the first 6 months. My pediatrician (father of 7) told me Newborns needs are actually the same as their wants and it is my job to listen to my instincts and respond to those needs and wants as best I can. It's called PARENTING. By the time my son was 6 months old, I was so in tuned to what my son needed that I knew if he woke up crying at 4am, he was crying because he was teething. Ignoring him because it wasn't time to wake isn't very "parental" of me.

On the other hand, I think a lot of people don't understand the definition of Cry It Out. It doesn't mean to put your baby in a crib, shut the door and let him cry for hours on end. (which was the advice I was getting) Ferber intended it to be a way to train your baby when he is physically and emotionally ready, usually sometime between 4 and 6 months of age. He recommends following a warm, loving bedtime routine and then putting your baby in bed awake and leaving him (even if he cries) for gradually longer periods of time. Parents are instructed to pat and comfort their baby after each predetermined period of time, but not to pick up or feed their baby. The suggested waiting time, which Ferber charts in his book, is based on how comfortable you are with the technique, how many days you've been using it, and how many times you've already checked on your child that night. After a few days to a week of gradually increasing the waiting time, the theory goes, most babies learn to fall asleep on their own, having discovered that crying earns nothing more than a brief check from you. Again this is for babies who are physically and emotionally ready.

Kelly said... [Reply to comment]

I'm a strong proponent and practitioner of AP. My husband and I co-sleep with our babies, nurse well into the preschool age, baby wear daily, attain a high-touch, high-response relationship with our kids, etc... But I do not believe it's detrimental to allow your older baby to learn to self sooth to sleep, and yes, that may mean some controlled crying. With frequent, reassuring check-ins from mom and dad, a child can gently learn that night time is for sleeping. Sure, it may mean you don't follow Sears or Pantley in this area of your parenting, but it does NOT mean you and your babe are not attached to the extent of any other AP family.

Let me be clear: I am not suggesting anyone let their newborn or young infant cry alone. But I AM suggesting Connected Mom readers parent beyond the judgment of others, and if they feel it's right for their family at that time, RESPECT YOUR CHILD'S NEED to learn to sleep and help them do so.

@ Jenn- your quote "but it is psychologically and biologically proven that CIO is damaging to children emotionally and developmentally" could be true if the child is left to scream until "extinction," but perhaps you should consider that not all CIO is created equally. With responsible, frequent checks, the amount of cortisol released in the brain during a brief (5-10 minute) protest fuss or cry is less than when your little one takes a tumble or experiences frustration when learning how to manipulate a toy. The repercussions of sleep deprivation and the establishment of negative sleep habits, however, DOES have a negative, lasting, and dare I say- dangerous effect on the developing brain. Things like acting out, suppressed immune function, delayed function in the parietal lobe (speech and motor centers) of the brain are quantifiable and are all directly correlated to lack of quality sleep.

Ask a parenting blogger about natural parenting ideas, ask (an AP) pediatric neurological specialist about sleep and the child brain.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

I agree completely with this article and, as a fairly new mother (of an 8 month old), @Anonymous 4:58 I didn't choose to AP because of what websites said. I chose to AP because that was what my instincts told me is right. I can honestly say that I personally have little respect for anyone who can let their child CIO and then convince themselves that it is not damaging. All you are doing is teaching your baby they cannot depend on you when they need you. CIO advocates are ignorant and downright selfish. I have only let my son CIO for maybe 10-15 minutes a handful of times because I just needed a break before I started screaming too. I would NEVER advocate that CIO is the right way to raise a child. It goes against every instinct a good mother or father should have. You should be ashamed of yourself for being so selfish.

Jessica said... [Reply to comment]

Oh and my breastfeeding son has slept through the night since he was 3 months old and at 13 months he now sleeps 12 hours at night and takes two one hour naps. We never "sleep trained" I just followed his cues and he is a well behaved, mild mannered, independent child.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

Wow... So much negativity from the non co sleepers!!!
In our house the family bed works. Before I had kids, I thought I would be a CIO parent too. Turns out... My heart breaks to hear my kids cry!!!

The way I see it...
They won't be babies forever! I'm going to enjoy this time I have with them being little and wanting to be around us!
My kids are sooooo affectionate and happy kids!!!! His cousins were all CIO babies... And what a huge difference in temperment!!!
At the end of the day, I go to sleep knowing I've met all their needs in a loving and positive way. And there's nothing wrong with loving your child.

CIO is old fashioned and studies are now showing that it does affect babies and children in a negative way!!!!! Research it.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

Obviously those that are annoyed by this article something is striking a cord. I mean, why would a supporter of CIO read an article that speaks of alternatives to it!
I think that they may be bothered by it somewhere (probably subconsciously)...
Makes me wonder........

Cmgc said... [Reply to comment]

Love the list as well as the many comments encouraging me to continue parenting the way I feel is appropriate as well as is peaceful for us. Dr sears is a great reference for all things as well as how to sooth your child. He's got a good website- askdrsears.com. I have seen my sister use different parenting techniques with her 7 kids as she was evolving into her own parent and not following the way we were raised. The difference is amazing! She is trying to find a way to reconnect with the eldest who was totally unattached :( any thoughts on how to make up for lost time?

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

Clearly you never have had a true non-sleeper. This post is absolutely laughable if you had.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

I am in no way a fan of CIO, but wonder what suggestions folks have for daycare providers who are trying to help a child who has only ever been held to nap learn to nap in a bed. I am in no way equipped to sit and hold a child for an hour in the morning and an hour and a half in the afternoon while he/she naps. There are five other children who need my attention. The child can be snoring in my lap and be limp, but the second I gently place him in his crib- the screaming ensues. I can then stand and sway, etc to which he will fall back asleep and then when I put him down, the same thing. If I believed that he could go without a nap and remain pleasant and calm then I would gladly let him, but he has consistently proven me wrong there. We started this process when he started coming to my care (mom admittedly never put him down for a nap- held him the whole time every time). So, we started with the bouncy and rolled up receiving blankets on either side to simulate a more cozy feel and then moved to the swing. Then he could no longer sleep in the swing because he threw a fit and threw himself around in there and I couldn't sit immediately in front of him to ensure no falls. I am a very sensitive and caring person, but have been tested to my limits on more than one occasion by this child. Also- I do not feel that holding your child while he/she sleeps is in any way wrong. People have to do what works for them, but I can't imagine setting my child or my daycare provider up for the mess that obviously will occur when he/she enters care if they are never set down. This child now 11 months old, weighs 25 lbs, and I am 5 months pregnant- so wearing is not really and option. He still has to CIO every Monday and then typically by Friday, he doesn't even wake when I put him down.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

What a timely post! Two nights ago my child was waking up every hour, crying, practically inconsolably. The only thing that would soothe him (if only for a moment) was nursing him. I KNEW that he was in pain and to leave him in his bed to cry would have been almost abusive. The next day I took him to the doctor and sure enough, he had/has an ear infection.
There ARE nights were I am tired and I just want him to sleep in his own bed. When I get frustrated, it's best if I put him in his crib for a few moments so I can relax. If he's still crying after a few minutes, I will pick him up. It may take longer than I would like, but he does (usually) fall asleep and I can put him in his bed without him waking up. We do co-sleep but if he can start in his crib, I am a better mom in the morning. =)

Aida N said... [Reply to comment]

I enjoyed this post.

I think it's always helpful to give suggestions and offer alternatives for people to try. I certainly do not believe in CIO or sleep training a child. I think it's ridiculous to imagine that a baby or child will never learn to fall asleep on his own unless you 'train' them. People sleep because they are tired. It's physiological and developmental. If we didn't sleep we'd die (or the child wouldn't thrive).

The issue is whether the parents are sensible enough to allow the child to develop his own rhythm and sleep pattern. And A LOT will depend on each child's unique temperament too. People believe that life should go on as it did before they had kids. But it doesn't, it can't really... Parents need to adapt to the child and not the other way around. I understand being tired. I do. But, it's only a very short time in your life. It will pass. It's a small sacrifice to make for your child to be healthy (physically and emotionally).

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

We tried CIO with my first DD, and she would scream until she threw up. No way was I going to continue that. I never thought I would be a co-sleeping mom, but found out that I loved it. Nothing better than snuggling with your sweet baby or toddler. We had NO issues transitioning my ODD to her own bed when it was time. We got her a big girl bed with princess sheets and she happily made the switch practically on their own. So the idea that you are training bad habits into them by co-sleeping is BS. Most studies on co-sleeping not that these kids transition on their own when they are ready. In fact we had less problems with her than my friends with similar age children who did CIO. No problems with nightmares, no need for side rails and no bedtime battles over going to sleep. With DD2I went pretty much straight to co sleeping once she had outgrown the cradle, and we've definately had even less problems with her. Probably because I was more confident in what to do. I actually get more sleep by co-sleeping because I can night feed her right then, and go straight back to sleep. If I had to wake up, go to her room, pick her up and nurse her, i would be awake for at least 2 hours after she had already gone back to sleep.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

I want to be the best mom I can be. I want to be all AP and not CIO. I also want to say that I am struggeling right now. I am preggers with number 2, and number one is 18 months. Still does not always sleep through the night. Can't co sleep because Daddy does not support that. I think I need a new bed for me and my babies. I am at a loss as to what to do. I am so tired and overwhelmed that I feel near my breaking point way too often. Help!

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

I wouldn't call it Learned Helplessness, I see that as when someone gives up and knows someone else is going to do the task for them. I think it is more just giving up knowing that someone isn't going to help you.
CIO is about the nuttiest thing I have ever heard of. I am a grandma, no babies for a long time, but, I never let my kids CIO, and they are fine. So are their kids. What a bunch of hooey.

Nanna with an M.Ed

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

I was left to CIO and I am a wreck.

Mike and McGee said... [Reply to comment]

All of these are great suggestions to try during the day or perhaps when it is bedtime. They are pretty unrealistic for the middle of the night. I've done just about everything on this list for my daughter. She had colic and acid reflux and was a very fussy baby and a poor sleeper. We did showers - sometimes several a day, I wore her, we took long walks with her in the shower, we danced, we played music I listened to during pregnancy, we sang songs. My husband even walked the halls doing lunges with her because it took the screaming down a notch. I nursed and nursed and nursed. We ended up cosleeping because it was the only way anyone could get any sleep, but even that had limited effectiveness, as by the time she was 8 months old, she was nursing for a few minutes every half around all. night. long. I don't like that we eventually let her CIO, using the Ferber methods, but we had run out of options.

Our son, on the other hand, is a much easier baby. However, he is now 13 months old and is still cosleeping and waking 4-6 times a night EVERY night to nurse himself back to sleep. He's developed this sleep association, and he will not go to sleep without nursing. I'm willing to nurse, but frankly, I'm frustrated that I'm nursing MORE often at night at 13 months than I was at 3 months. At some point, I think we'll likely use some of the Ferber techniques with him too because letting him stay in our bed until he's 3 and in a "big boy" bed isn't an option.

I think it's great that you're giving suggestions, but frankly, when we've done everything on your list and it doesn't work, there aren't a lot of options left.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

Thank you for the suggestions. My son is 13 months, I still breastfeed and we co-sleep. Unfortunately, he is still up every few hours. I have not had more than three hours of sleep at a time since he was born and I am EXHAUSTED!!!!!!It feels like we've tried everything except CIO, we do NOT believe in CIO. He is non-stop during the day and everyone always says with the amount of energy he has he sure should sleep well (he doesn't). Any other suggestions?!

Acorn Oaktree said... [Reply to comment]

Thanks for the great tips!

As a parent of a 22 month old, I have been struggling with all the labels of parenting styles. I do not fit solely in any of the categories and do not believe in labels anyway.
I am just a parent who loves her daughter intensely and only wants the best in life for her.

I would like to say that I love what Kelly said in post #31, she practically took the words right out of my mouth (or i guess in this case fingers!)

My daughter had a severe case of touch hunger (oooohh busted! i don't like labels remember!)
http://www.bflrc.com/ljs/breastfeeding/touchhgr.htm
and spent the first 4 months in my arms (believe it or not she did not like my sling, carrier or wrap!) i mean i rarely ever put her down and when i did she made sure to let me know she wasn't happy.

I co-slept with her and comfort nursed her (i never made enough milk for her so she got mostly but not exclusively formula) until she was 18 months. From birth she was never a sleeper ( i like to think it was because i starved her for the first 5 days of her life and she didn't sleep much because she was soooo hungry)

up until i put her in her own bed at 18 months she would wake up atleast 6-12 times a night to the point where i was about to lose my sanity...i mean i was unable to properly function and even my fine and gross motor skills were starting to slip. at 18 months i knew she was able to understand the things i was saying to her and i let her CIO and all it took was one night of 30 min of crying with me checking in on her every 10 min or so. since she has been sleeping in her own bed she only wakes up once a night.....is much much happier and so am i and our relationship has gotten so much stronger and all because we are both getting the sleep we need.

like kelly i do not believe one should let an infant cry it out, but it is up to the family to decide what is healthy for them and CIO worked for me!

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

Hmmmm, is there a way to be in the middle?! I do NOT agree with CIO however I think there should be limits put on what exactly you will do to get your baby to sleep... also, what age are these children we are allowing to CIO or take to the grocery store... For example, my son is now 17 months old. He has been weaned from the breast for a short month now (only because we are pregnant again and BFing became too painful and tiring) and when I put him to bed (in his own bedroom in his crib) he will not go down nicely unless I rock him, sing to him, snuggle him and put him in bed just at the sleeping point... however when daddy puts him to bed, he takes him into the room, tells him its time for bed, asks if he is tired says "gimme a kiss" goodnight angel, lays him down and without a peep our son goes to sleep for him... btw this makes me 'angery' cause it is so darn easy for him...

Anyways, I think my point is, Some people do not agree in CIO some people do... Yes, it is PROVEN CIO causes nasty effects later in life, and the people that feel strongly about write articles and such, people that agree with CIO, don't need to be so offended and upset, every parent does things differently, and thats why we have so many different types of people in this world. I really do not think we need to 'hate' each other so much about it. Let parents parent their children however they feel it is best for their lives...

Just a thought, if we put as much time into finding alternative ways to parenting as we do into standing our ground on our parenting prehaps we could all continue to help each other become 'better' parents... we are all doing the same thing, we all want the same thing... moms, dads, caregivers.... everybody wants their children to be safe, happy and healthy... lets support each other in doing this, not find ways to degrade on another.

Mrs. Obie said... [Reply to comment]

My oldest daughter was a hard one. She had her days and nights mixed up until she was 4 months old. I was a wreck mentally and emotionally from my relationship with her father, and while I tried to be there for her, it was hard. But I STILL never let her CIO, I never tried to sleep train her (though some of my friends insisted that I should), I just let her take her own course...eventually, we got on the right track and she has been a fantastic sleeper since then and she's almost 5. She RARELY wakes up in the middle of the night, and has been like that since we got her nights/days switched to the right way. I co-slept with her until she was one, and I had no problems moving her from my bed/room to her own room. And I love the fact that some mornings she still comes and snuggles with me before getting up.

My second daughter is almost 3 months old. I'm in a much better place mentally/emotionally. My husband has been for bed-sharing, and we have done so since day one and she's been sleeping through the night for about a 3-4 weeks now. The only time I have EVER let her cry is when we're in the car and I physically can't do anything to help her.

There is a time and a place for CIO. Young babies NEED their parents comfort and support. Recently, I had heard on a baby forum of a mom who let her month old baby CIO. That is MUCH too young. And our babies need us, and they should learn that they can depend on us for comfort. And no, holding your baby till they fall asleep, or co-sleeping, isn't "spoiling" your child. That's probably the biggest load of crap I've ever heard.

Marion said... [Reply to comment]

Loved your post. I always find it very strange that we as a society are prepared to condone behaviour towards children that we would not condone towards adults who are also dependent on others for their care. Would we let an elderly person who wakes in the night cry themselves to sleep or not respond when they need help in the night?
I think it helps to remember that babies are born with the same needs they have had since we were living in caves and also that CIO is only used in a very small number of Western societies. Most cultures think it is bizarre.
It is very sad that people choose not to meet the needs of their child because of fear of the future "bad habits" which seems to often be the result of unmet needs being expressed in unhealthy ways.
My daughter has always woken a lot at night and she would not accept CIO. She knows she needs me and when a breastfeed works without either of us losing any sleep then it seems silly to do anything else. It helped me to read about sleep development and have realistic expectations of infant sleep.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

I do not believe in CIO but my baby cried her lungs out every time she was in her car seat when she was an infant.. We would go somewhere that take 30 minutes drive and she would start crying the minute we start driving until we arrive at our destination... Where I'm from (Korea) car seat is not required it is encouraged. But I live in America so I couldn't get her out of her car seat and I had to just let her cry... My question is.. People say letting your baby CIO will damage her.. Should I be worried about my baby because I let her CIO in her car seat? And what should I do with my other babies because I'm currently pregnant with my second.. What if my second baby is the same way and absolutely hates the car seat? Should I just stay home all day every day? Please someone answer me!!

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

My daughter was never left to cry (rocked in a sling or fed to sleep) and now at 2.5 yrs of age she goes to sleep on her own after being tucked into bed. We don't hear from her until the morning. There's no need to 'teach to sleep' in the ways that some people suggest (CIO, controlled crying etc.). When they're ready to do it, encourage some independence but keep supporting them (patting on the back etc.). Yes, it's a hard road and you don't know when they won't need you to get them to sleep, but that's parenting! CIO and controlled crying are absurd, and border on child abuse as you are neglecting your child. End of story.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

My one year-old is waking up about every half-hour on average. We co-sleep, but recently moved her to a crib for a portion of the night because she has become a very violent sleeper and we are being abused in our sleep.

I have tried EVERYTHING, and CIO is not something I agree with at all. When I clicked on this article I thought there would be some answers for me, but there was nothing. We have tried everything and have never ignored her cries. We have taken her to the Dr. twice, actually HOPING that something was wrong with her so we could fix it.

PLEASE - I am at my wit's end. If anyone has ANY advice, I'd love to hear it.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

Maybe try: making sure she's had enough to eat during the day; trying to increase her daytime nap/s so that she has enough sleep during the day; giving her a bedtime routine; infant massage. If she's not walking yet, she might have disrupted sleep because she's on the verge of doing so. Hope you find something that works.

Guggie Daly said... [Reply to comment]

I'm very sorry, I haven't transferred my Tylenol/glutathione document to my blog yet. It needs to be tidied and I need to make sure the links are "alive" first. But I do urge parents to research Glutathione, a component of the immune system created by the body that helps break down toxins in the liver, and how acetaminophen (Tylenol, Paracetamol) can quickly deplete all of the Glutathione.

Acetaminophen is also related to mitochondrial disorders.

This means acetaminophen is suspected as aggravating two things that cause autistic symptoms.

Researchers also recently discovered that giving Tylenol with vaccines makes the vaccines less effective:

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/10/16/health/main5388197.shtml

"Giving babies Tylenol to prevent fever when they get childhood vaccinations may backfire and make the shots a little less effective, surprising new research suggests."

This is a sign that it is burdening the body and impairing the immune response.

Please avoid all acetaminophen as much as humanly possible. Fevers are not evil and comfort can often be achieved through other options such as a lukewarm rag on the forehead or comforting herbal teas.

As for the comments on this piece: remember that we are discussing the treatment of people. Our primary focus should NOT be to use what "works" for us, but to ensure that we are respecting and loving the little people we brought into this world or accepted through adoption. Ignoring a child's needs, no matter what age or stage, might "work" depending on how you define that word, but that shouldn't be our goal as parents.

If my child woke every hour and cried for me, I would respond to her everytime. At the end of the day, or perhaps the beginning of the morning, what matters is that I respected another human being. I loved her. I was there for her. The lesser issue of conforming to societal expectations of how to sleep and for how long are not as important.

Ask yourself: if your child died in the night, would you feel happy knowing he died alone and crying for you? Or that at least he knew someone loved him and would come running to him just to hug him and hold him?

What really matters in this life? You can only be with them one time. Make it an extraordinary experience.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

Love this article. Thank you for reassuring that I'm doing the right thing for my little one.

Heather said... [Reply to comment]

I believe in CIO to an extent. I am 21 and STILL have issues sleeping, and I blame it on my parents who DID in fact take me out at all hours of night, drive me around in a car, have music turned on everynight. Now the only good sleep I get is when I'm in a car with music!

I find that to be absolutely ridiculous!

@Anonymous #38 - I am in a similar position. At my center I have 10 babies and 7 in which are all non-sleepers. They have to be in a swing or rocked. By law, they can not be in a swing and seeing as I only have 2 arms, I can't rock them all. So yes, we have to let them cry a little while sometimes. If I know that all of their basic needs are met, other than comforting, I have to let them cry. Other babies are hungry and need to be fed. No way I can rock the sleepy one and let the others starve. So I support CIO to an extent!

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

Love the suggestions just unfortunately nothing new (and some only apply to up to 3 m olds, eg swaddling). I am doing all of the above. Could I add a few from the "No cry sleep solution": minimize breastmilk eating at night, make the crib a happy place, introduce a lovey (although that has not worked for us).

Am falling asleep... 9 months without more than 5 hours of sleep at a time, I am a zombie.

GypsyMomma said... [Reply to comment]

I've done both. My first baby CIO and my second and third were always rocked to sleep. You know what, all three learned to self sooth and slept almost all night at about the same age, 18-21 months. And I did not have the separation anxiety issues with the latter two and I was less stressed at bedtime. Also I did the family bed with the youngest, and room shared with the other two. My two year old and four year old need no rocking to go to sleep and yes, if they arise in the middle of the night they come to us in our bed but I like that. If they get up they need comforting, either a bad dream, to go pee or other things that are easy for mom or dad to fix. I became a parent to nurture my kids, not just during daylight hours but anytime they need me. Just my opinion but I have been on the other side of the fence too and can say I've seen firsthand the damage CIO and training an infant can do.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

I wish parents would realize & remember that this time in their lives is temporary. This is a stage; it will pass. You WILL sleep again. And guess what? Your baby will sleep all the way through the night, in their own bed, ALL BY HIMSELF. You don’t have to work at it, it’s just going to happen. Believe that and let it happen when it’s meant to happen. It’s inconvenient and exhausting to have a baby – that’s part of the deal. If it were easy, everyone would have 500 kids and we’d have some major problems on our hands. Before we know it, our kids grow up and don’t want anything to do with our breasts or our beds or snuggling in the middle of the night. They become independent because they are confident and secure. They’re confident and secure when their needs are met as babies. It’s not any more complicated than that. Learn to operate on little sleep – I did, and I’m stronger for it and can look back and see how silly it was for me to be stressed about something that would eventually work itself out all on its own anyway.

Please, please don’t let your babies CIO. Make the sacrifice for a couple years and then watch your child sleep peacefully on their own. And when they do come in to join you at night as they get older… welcome it and savor it. Life is short and children are only babies for a blink of time.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

GypsyMomma – so true. Between 18-24 months is when my son night-weaned and started STTN all on his own. I’ve heard from several other moms that this is when their babies did also. DS still wakes on some nights, and joins us in our bed… but he goes right back to sleep. Some nights I don’t even wake up, I just wake up with him snuggled up to me. I love it and so does my husband (who used to be totally anti-co-sleep, but recently told me he will miss having him there one day!)...

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

Okay, I must say that I personally think this article is a little ridiculous. What are you supposed to do when your baby has their days and nights mixed up and also have a toddler running around? I can't just nap during the day because baby #2 was up all night! I think it's ubsurd when I hear people talking about their 2,3,4,5, or even 6 year old sleeping in the bed with them... doesn't it negatively effect the relationship between mother and father? Also I agree with the previous post, how do you take a child to the store at 2am when you have other children at home? There is ABSOLUTELY nothing wrong with letting baby cio sometimes. Children of all ages need to know how to self sooth sometimes, what happens when your child starts school or daycare for that matter? Parenting is a 24hr a day job but there is nothing wrong with having your baby sleep in their own room in their own bed. My children are 5 and 2 and had I done all the things I would probably still be struggling to get them to sleep through the night and I would have two very cranky children on my hands. Also I have had friends try these methods and never with good results. But for each their own, not everyone is going to agree but I say do what works best for you, baby and daddy and dont let other peoples persuasion effect how you feel comfortable raising your child/children!

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

I find it interesting that how a mother or father chooses to put his/her child to bed equals how much he/she loves the child. Find me a parent who enjoys listening to his/her child cry. Regardless of how I stand on this issue, there is no reason to assume that parents who CIO don't love their child or that it doesn't break their hearts when their children cry.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

I would *never* assume that a parent who let their babies CIO loved them any less than parents who don't. Not ever. What I would assume is that they feel - and are having difficulty overcoming - social pressure to ignore their instincts to answer their babies' cries. We have to shift as a culture for there to be any real change here. As it sits now, we are a culture that does not - DOES NOT - put children first. Anyone who argues that does not have thier eyes open.

Crunchy_Conservative said... [Reply to comment]

Children grow and change so quickly, and as they do, their needs will change also. The way you parent your newborn will not - and SHOULD NOT - be the same way you parent your toddler. I have used many of the ideas on this list when my children were newborns. As they grew older, I was more willing to tell them no - to set boundaries and schedules for them - because they were more able to deal with it. Sometimes that meant they were angry, sometimes that meant that they cried. As their mother, I knew the difference between a temper tantrum and tears that meant they were frightened or lonely. Take the advice that works for your child's stage of life, and be willing to change as their needs (and yours) change.

I am astounded by the commenters who say that such and such a child never slept and it's his parents fault because they had a family bed. I am equally astounded by the parents who say that their children are happy and sociable and it's all because of AP parenting. Each child has his own bent, her own temperament, and many other influences in his or her life. Comparing a child who is naturally high needs against one who is naturally easy-going is completely unfair. I know children who have thrived on both ends of the parenting spectrum. Our parenting certainly has an influence on our children; however, we are not the sole determiners of what our children are going to grow up to be.

Finally, my biggest concern about AP philosophy is that it is easy for mothers and fathers to believe that they need to sacrifice everything for their children to feel happy and loved. One of the things I like best about my children getting older is that our relationship is becoming more of a two-way street. When my daughters were infants, I nursed them on demand. They were infants; they needed milk; it was not developmentally appropriate to deny that need. However, as they became toddlers, I was able to teach them nursing manners, to set limits, and to shorten nursing sessions when I needed to do something else or when I wasn’t feeling well. I got to evaluate my own needs and to try to balance them against the needs of my three children. I know too many moms who are killing themselves trying to be "perfect" attached parents. When I think about this, I wonder what we are teaching our daughters about what it means to be a woman and a mother if they see us burning ourselves out trying to be "perfect" parents. Do I want my children to learn that a "good" woman is one who gives every bit of herself away for the benefit of others? No! I want my daughters to be aware of their own needs and to love and respect themselves enough to feed themselves, physically, mentally and emotionally. That means I need to do the same for myself. It's a balancing act, and I won't say that I have it all worked out. In the end, it doesn't matter what any parenting “experts” say. What matters is that I am sane, my children are healthy and well-loved, and I feel like I did the best I could in my mothering.

What does all this mean in the argument for getting our kids to sleep? I guess I’m trying to say that these tips are great when your children are infants. As they get older, you can set more limits. For our family, the goal of no tears was not realistic, or even particularly helpful. However, that was for our family, and it was with older children, not newborns. As parents, each of us need to find what works for our own children, be ready to change our parenting as they mature, and try to meet some of our own needs along the way.

I wish the best of luck to all my fellow travelers on this parenting journey.

Cheers,
Sarah

Crunchy_Conservative said... [Reply to comment]

I have to smile when I hear people ask "doesn't it negatively effect the relationship between mother and father?" Translation... does that mean you don't have sex anymore? Well, nearly every family I know that has a family bed has more than one kid, so yeah, we still find time to have sex. You just find more creative places to do it, which, frankly, can be a lot more fun!

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

I fell everyone needs to just calm down and try not to be so critical of others. Every situation is unique and every baby is unique. Peace and good sleep to you all!

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

@crunchy_conservative... when I said "doesn't it effect the relationship between mother and father negatively" I wasn't referring to sex. I was referring to quiet time, conversation time. I know before me and my love go to bed we can talk for hours before we ever fall asleep. It's our own space, about the only space we have left to ouselves. So, get your mind out of the gutter. p.s.you can have sex in creative places regardless of where your bed is located :)

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

Anonymous 67, I hear what you're saying and DH and I used to do the same thing, talk for hours and laugh and stuff... now we just do that on the couch, snuggled up under a blanket, before retiring for the night. Our son falls asleep in our bed and sleeps fine there by himself, then we go and join him when we can't keep our eyes open any longer and we're done having our alone time. :) It works great for us; we get to have our special time, and then go sleep with our wonderful son snuggled in between us.

Jamie said... [Reply to comment]

Great post! After I read about what letting a baby cry does to their brain development, etc..., there was just no way I could do it. My kids did learn to fall asleep on their own eventually, but honestly, I wish they would still let me rock them (or at least my oldest). I miss those moments.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

While these are all very good ideas in theory, sometimes they just don't work. I understand the undertone of this site, and for that reason I am not going to try to say what should or should not be included on this site, because obviously there's a theme here. I would however like to interject my two cents here about "crying it out". The idea behind CIO is not to just abandon your baby and let him/her cry/sob hysterically until they cry to exhaustion and fall asleep. That's NOT the idea at all. There IS, however, such a thing as comforting your child without picking up/feeding/dancing/playing/shopping. Your baby can know you are there and be comforted by your presence without being danced around the house or wheeled around the nearest Wal-Mart at 3 a.m.

My oldest is now 12 years old, a straight-A student in middle school, very well adjusted, very intelligent, socially undamaged, and loves me to death. She learned to self-soothe. I am doing the same with my youngest, currently 5 months old, and expect similar results. Both of my children started sleeping through the night at 6 weeks, and sometimes they cried for a couple minutes, sometimes they just drifted off. CIO doesn't mean that the children will end up with psychological issues or less intelligent or less adjusted than those children whose parents ran to them every time they whimpered. There are times, when the baby is fed, changed, warm/cool enough, etc, that they don't actually NEED anything. My daughter, at 5 months old, fights sleep. I know she is fighting sleep because she is fine and HAPPY up until the moment we reach the end of the bedtime routine, and she knows that the next step is bed. If I danced with her and took her to WalMart, yeah she'd EVENTUALLY fall asleep, but as it stands right now, on nights that she does fight sleep, she cries for a couple minutes and then drifts off. She sleeps sometimes 8 hours, sometimes as much as 12 hours, and wakes up smiling and happy EVERY SINGLE TIME. I fail to see how the system we use is failing us.

Everyone has their methods, everyone has their beliefs of what is right and wrong, and the creator or moderator of this website apparently seems to believe there is something medically wrong with a baby crying. My whole point is everyone sees things differently, and there are many people who also believe there is something medically wrong with leaving a baby boy's foreskin intact. Many people think it is acceptable to poke holes in their baby's ears as soon as they're born because "it's pretty". Everyone's got their ways of doing things and what works for them and doesn't work for them, and what they see as right or wrong. I'm not going to get my undies in a bunch about the undertone of this website because I can choose to visit or not to visit the site, and there are many other sites I can go to out there that more closely fit with my beliefs and parenting methods. I just wanted to contribute my two cents to the discussion, I don't know, in the hopes that maybe someone might think twice before being so harshly judgmental toward someone who doesn't do things the same way you do.

DillyJ said... [Reply to comment]

I would just like to state that babies can and do cry for no reason. It is called P.U.R.P.L.E. crying, and they can do it right up to 5 mths of age. It is a great thing to get out there, because once I watched the 5 min video on this crying I was able to relax and not get worked up or frustrated when I couldnt shush my daughter. The video and information is being put out there by the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome to help prevent shaken baby syndrome. I highly recommend checking it out.

omahonyfamily said... [Reply to comment]

Lovely tips - unfortunately, there are many moms who have done ALL of these and the baby still can not fall asleep (that'd be me). My LO does not want to be touched when upset, does not want stimulation at all. Quiet and dark is it. I would love some suggestions for parents that CIO is the LAST resort and ONLY thing that worked, but wished there was something else. Oh, and DD never could fall asleep co-sleeping, only being held in a certain way, which meant I couldn't sleep - and at some point, mama does have to sleep, even for an hour or so. Sigh. I HATED CIO but my LO goes to bed happy and wakes up happy, and when I've tried other things, she's not. Any thoughts or suggestions?

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

There is not enough scientific facts that prove sleep training is bad for the child after 6months of age. If you read Dr Sears reports carefully he never says that sleep training hurts the child it's LONG extensive crying, so if your child only cryies for a short time and it only takes a few days for the CIO method to work there is no scientific proof that it will hurt your child.

Amy P said... [Reply to comment]

It might be helpful for parents to remember that each child is different. My first responded very well to CIO, but not as well to other methods (maybe I didn't try enough of them, but there's only so many weeks in her toddler phase!). It took a short time and she quickly became a better rested, happier baby.

My son is not like that. My rare attempts at CIO have always backfired majorly. So I am trying alternative methods for him. I do disagree with stimulating your child too much at night though - that can't help them learn healthy sleep habits! And while I agree you can't spoil a baby...you most certainly can spoil a toddler or child. It is possibly to be both 'attached' and firm in your decision to help them learn to sleep.

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