Why Letting Your Baby 'Cry It Out' Is Really for the Best

I Wish I Had Let My Baby Cry It Out moreI ran into a new, very tired mom the other day and I couldn't help but remember back to when my now almost-10-year old was a baby.

God, she never, ever slept.

But the more kids I added, the more I felt okay letting them cry it out a bit, and surprise, the better they all slept, which led me to believe that it wasn't necessarily her. Maybe my sleepless nights were my own fault.

At the time, I made myself feel better with a myriad sleeping myths we all hear. I'm sure you've probably heard them too:

- Some babies just need to be held and nursed more!

- Some babies don't nap! 

- Breastfeeding babies don't necessarily sleep through the night for a really long time!

- Five hours in a row is actually sleeping through the night!

Sound familiar?

And so, with my very non-napping, non-sleeping baby I did what most of us new moms do, and tried pretty much everything to avoid crying it out. 

There was patting, tapping, rocking. I even had a pretty amazing song and dance number that worked some nights.

Repeat 400 times at the most inconvenient times. Usually in the middle of the night when you're finally deeply asleep.

Finally (and very reluctantly, I might add), I tried letting her cry it out.

Now in my case, it was probably too late. Or as I later learned, it wasn't the right time.

I actually discovered this amazing sleep training book that tells you the best ages for trying the sleep training (whatever method you choose) and when to avoid it.

Pretty brilliant, right? And made perfect sense.

As more kids came along, I realized that at specific ages, they would be okay if I let them cry before running to pick them up after a couple of minutes.

I got so much more sleep. I was so much happier.

The good news is that my oldest daughter sleeps through the night. She even sleeps late. So there's definitely a light at the end of the tunnel.

But I really wish I would have realized that babies are more resilient than we think. And not really that complicated.

Did you let your baby cry it out?


Image via LisaRosarioPhotgraphy/Flickr

colic & crying


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Lilith23 Lilith23


If it works for you that's good but I'm not on the "let them cry it out" train.

nonmember avatar kel

my husband got my youngest son to sleep through the night while I worked over nights. he was never really a.screamer.

my oldest I couldn't stand to hear even whimper so I slept wIth him til he was.two. lol my second I did modified CIO. I put her to bed and went in ever 5-10 mIns just to let her know I was there. worked great

Mrscj... Mrscjones

I did. He ended up sleeping for 10-12 hours woke up 7AM faithfully. My daughter not really but she's the type once she down she's out for the count.

wolfy... wolfybaby

no. its unnatural to let babies cry. cry = bad. cry in the wild [our biology/instincts is young] = dead baby.

nonmember avatar FarmersWife

Not a chance. It doesn't work for me or my child. There is NO right and wrong way. There is only right and wrong for YOU and YOUR child/situation. It seems every single parenting method/choice is right for someone, somewhere. But you certainly can't generalize and say cry it out is better, to Se children and families that need contact it is pure neglect. To babies that don't get hysterical, choking, gagging, etc and are able to fall asleep peacefully- it's perfect.

nonmember avatar SickOfHearingIt

So dramatic. No baby ever died from crying.

IHear... IHeartCake

Why is it so hard for parents who use CIO on a baby to admit that it's cruel?  If you are desperate and losing your mind, fine, use it, but studies show the baby's system is not only flooded with stress hormones during the CIO nights but also for nights afterwards.  I don't believe in it for babies, but if your toddler still has significant sleep problems, I understand it.  However, I feel people should use the most humane method possible.  Stay in the room with the child, singing and periodically comforting them, for example.  If your child stops calling for you because he or she learns you won't respond, that doesn't mean everything is fine and wonderful.  It just means they now think it's normal to be ignored by their parents.  In answer to the question, I did use a form of CIO on my 2-year-old who still had sleep issues, in which I stayed in the room while he cried, because I just couldn't take the sleep deprivation anymore.  But I would never say it's for the best nor be in denial that it's cruel.  It is cruel, and it's not something to just take lightly.  I don't think it's the "best" way to handle sleep problems at all.  It should be used as a last resort. 



JS0512 JS0512

I tried it twice and couldn't handle it either time.  My youngest rarely slept through the night until she was just over 2 (she's 3 now).  There were even a few periods where she would wake up at midnight and be up for 3 hours and I just rode it out.  I work full time and get up for work at 5am, but I made it through.  I knew it wouldn't last & I know they are only little for so long.  I know it sounds crazy, but I honestly enjoyed my time with her.  Everyone else was asleep, it was just me & her usually cuddling.  She's a champion sleeper now.  I have friends who used CIO and it worked well for their children.  It just wasn't right for our family.  It made me more neurotic than the hours and hours of sleep that I lost.

nonmember avatar Mommadeeder

We did a modified CIO with my 4yo and with my 22 mo did a full CIO. Worked wonders for both of my children. My goal was not more sleep for myself and husband, but for more and better sleep for my children!

gogoh... gogohas2babies

"Finally (and very reluctantly, I might add), I tried letting her cry it out.Now in my case, it was probably too late. Or as I later learned, it wasn't the right time."

I think even the writer admitted it didn't work.  I don't think it ever works. Letting a baby cry it out is really cruel no matter what age. But then again we all had babies expecting them to bend over and make it easier on us, right? So we perform cruel "experimental" ways of parenting.

My husband tried the CIO method with our first one time and it was terrible. One of the worst things ever. Never did it ever again.

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