"Cry It Out" or "No Cry" Sleep Methods?

Michelle - posted on 03/23/2010 ( 41 moms have responded )

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My son is 3 months old right now and my husband has been insisting since he was only a few weeks old that we need to let him cry it out in order for him to fall asleep. I told him he was too young but I do agree that we need to do something once he is 4 months old. Does anyone have opinions on the Cry it Out and the No Cry sleep methods? I am not sure what I want to do but I do want a full night sleep soon!

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Jennifer - posted on 06/16/2010

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I've read not to let a baby cry it out till 6 months. Most, especially breast fed babies still need to eat through the night. With our oldest son, he was a great sleeper, then he went through sleep separation anxiety. We ended up using "super nanny's" method of cry it out. With her method, you start with a solid bedtime routine. And by that, I mean you're at home at night for weeks so that they understand the routine and come to expect what's coming. So no going out to friends on Sat night for a while. Ok, so after your routine, you lay them down and leave; they cry, you let them for 2 min. You go in and comfort them just until they stop crying, then you leave. If they cry again, go back in in 4 min. So just add 2 minutes every time they start crying. Then the next night do the same routine, but this time if they cry, don't go in till 4 minutes. So each night, you add 2 minutes to the start time. The book said that the baby would learn to self sooth and sleep within 4-7 days. With our son, it was 3 days. We used this method for naps and night sleep and after 3 days he's cry for 10 seconds then be fine and sleep like an angle. After a week there was no crying at all. Good luck, listen to your Mommy instincts, over any of our advise. Not every baby is ready to be sleeping through the night at even 6 months and that's hard for some people to understand, but we're not all the same as adults when it comes to sleep, why should babies be! So listen to his cry and trust your instincts and go from there. He may be ready and able, but he may not be and you don't want to do more damage then good right?

Belinda - posted on 06/16/2010

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Personally I wouldnt let my daughter cry it out untill 5-6 months and then it would only be for a maximum of 20 mins before i would try to settle her. However she has silent reflux and her throat is red raw so letting her cry it out is not an option at all yet.

Maggie - posted on 06/15/2010

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We've tried letting him cry it out while I stand by him, talk, rub his back but he'll cry and cry for hours until he is picked up....Most babies will eventually grow out of it, but he could just be a "arms" baby and love his cuddles. I'd take them while he's offering, give him a few years and he wont want them.

Mandy - posted on 06/14/2010

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my daughter has slept from 8pm till almost 9:30am since she was two months old she is now six months and wakes up half an hour earlier. some people tell me to wake her up to feed, my opinion she will wake up when she's hungry. gives me time to get everything ready for that day.

Mandy - posted on 06/14/2010

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I hate using this method but it does work I have been doing it for about a month now ( daughter is 6 months old) she will cry for about 5 mins sometime full out screaming but then she settles down and falls right asleep if I do go into her room I slowly creep up to the crib peek in trying not to let her see me and I don't say a word just for my own piece of mind.

Gina - posted on 06/13/2010

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I Used To Go Down The Line! If He Has A Clean Diaper And Has Had A Bottle Then He's Just Crying To Cry!! I KNOW IT'S HARD BUT Let Him Cry For 10-15 Min. Remember HE'S FINE!!! My Son Is 6 Months Old Now And I Started Putting Him In His Crib At 3-4 Months Now He Doesn't Even Cry At All When I Put Him To Bed! He Just Goes Right To Sleep!! After About A Week Of The Cry Out He Stoped And Has Slept A Full 7 Hrs. Wakes Just For A Bottle The RIGHT Back To Sleep For Another 3-4 Hrs. He Had Colic Really Bad When I First Had Him So My Doctor Also Told Me That Putting A Baby On A SET Routine Will Help You BOTH!! It Makes The Baby More Comfortable PLUS You Get Some You Time!! :) My Son Is In Bed By 8 EVERY Night And Wakes Up At 7 For A Bottle Then Doesn't Wake Up Again Till 10 Sometimes Later!! I STRONGLY Agree With Crying It Out And A Set Bed Time!!

Andria - posted on 06/13/2010

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I did it with my son at 6 months and it worked great. He was waking up every hour prior to it, the first night he slept 5 hours which was excellent for him. My pediatrician told me to start it for my daughter at 4 months but she really faught it, had developed a routine of waking up every two hours, and was not going to change. I am going to try again in a couple of weeks. I did hear that it was easier to try it at 6 months because there more open to change then between 3-5 months. But try a few methods, find what works best, and don't worry too much about everyone else's opinions, people can be pretty judgemental.

Aneta - posted on 06/12/2010

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Ladies, dont be scared of cry-out! Its not smth horrible, it mainly takes just 3 days, which comparing to all my sleepless months is survivable! Before my baby used to "sleep" with pacifier and I would never understand whether she cried 'cause she really got enough of sleep/nap or she lost the pacifier! Her daily schedule was never more or less steady, since i would never know when she would wake up or fall asleep. Now that she learnt how to fall asleep by herself and without pacifier her daily schedule became predictable and she wakes up happy and rested. In addition now that i know how long her naps last I am able to go out during her naps while my husband stays at home...
I put my baby in her crib with her favourite toy and "good night" music, i sing a lullaby and leave her room. Normally she plays a bit with the toy or her feet, talks to herself and falls asleep within 15-20min. :-)
Last thing to add: I follow a strict daily routine and time-schedule!

Aneta - posted on 06/12/2010

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12 hours non-stop?? its not possible - up to 9 months they need to eat once at night...My daughter sleeps at 8pm, then at 11pm i wake her up to eat so that she sleeps till 6am....

Caroline - posted on 06/12/2010

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oh, there is an english version of this page, just clikc the english flag!!!

Caroline - posted on 06/12/2010

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You dont need to let them scream to make them sleep... :)

for great advice on how to teach your child to selfsooth at 3-4 months see www.annawahlgren.com
if you follow her non screaming techniques, you will have a baby that sleeps 12 hrs a night by 4 months...
My 2 boys are living testaments to that fact!!!

Good Luck!!!

Heather - posted on 06/11/2010

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I dont let my kids cry it out at all. I have known people that this works for, but I co-sleep. She nurses when she needs to and I can still sleep. It works for us. We snuggle and sleep relatively well!

Cecily - posted on 06/07/2010

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Hmmm isn't dr Ferber a man? How do moms listen to a man? Moms have different instincts than dads. And before all these training books were written, what did moms do? I don't believe in cry it out. Babies cry for a reason, even if it's just attention. Studies show that cry it out leads to brain damage as well as damaged trust. But every mom and baby is different. Do what you feel is best!

Aneta - posted on 06/07/2010

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up to 4 months i used to put her to sleep with a pacifier. At 4 months i had the cry out done. The first 3 days are the most difficult. Training is a continuous process, baby needs time (sometimes 1 - 2 months) to be able to put himself back to sleep when he wakes up. Naps are more difficult that night sleep For naps you should use "1 hour rule" - for instance if your baby woke up in 30min you let him cry out the rest 30min. In a while he will start having consistent naps. Make exceptions if your baby is teething/ had vaccination/ or if its very hot in his nursery. But consider possible re-doing the sleep training afterwards.

Kerry - posted on 05/03/2010

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hi my daughter is 21 weeks old and i found that leaving her cry was the best thing to do as when you go to them all the time they are going to cry even more

Tameka - posted on 05/02/2010

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I've read most of the responses here and it is amazing how different people look at the two methods. I have a 4 month old who flatly refuses to go to sleep during the day without at least 2-3hrs of screaming prior (very draining!). I have looked into all the methods on how to get your baby to sleep (and stay asleep!). What has surprised me the most is that these baby sleep experts have changed their way of thinking when it comes to babies. Alot of them now discourage the 'cry it out' method. The reason behind this as studies have revealed that a child under the age of 14 months isn't able to hold a picture of their parents in their mind so when a parent puts their baby to bed they instantly start to cry. According to the baby's immature mind their parent has fallen off the face of the earth and magically reappears every so often. The parent then drops off the earth again causing the child continued distress. Eventually the child realises that Mummy or Daddy will pop up out of the blue now and then so all hope isn't lost. Not only that, babies and small children's sleep patterns change constantly so this technique will need to be repeated several times until the child is around 2 years old. I quizzed my girl's paediatrician on this and he said this is right and went quite in depth about it.

In my house the 'cry it out' method won't be used. For this very reason. Not only that our daughter's cries greatly pulls at my husband's heartstrings. I believe that a baby cries for a reason. They don't know how to manipulate you until they're around one. And if you think they are, give them the benefit of the doubt just in case you're wrong (unless you're out of bed for the 19th time in the last 20 minutes for the same reason and you're greeted with a cheeky grin! :D).

Courtney - posted on 05/02/2010

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We ferberized our baby and it worked like a dream. It's hard, but once you give your child the opportunity to learn to comfort themselves back to sleep, you both benefit. I would have NEVER tried it until our pediatrician reccomended it. Our baby didn't sleep through the night for almost a whole month and everyone was miserable. We took her to the dr and she's healthy, and that's when we discussed ferberizing. The thing to understand is that it's not about letting your baby just lay in there and sob. You put them down and if they cry, come back in 5 minutes. Check them, pat their belly, tell them you love them and leave. If they still cry, go back in 15, thn 30, etc. The idea is to teach your child that ad long as their fed, dry, and not stuck under something, all crying is going to get them is a brief visit from you. "breif and boring" are how your checks should go. We'd tried the no cry but it just led the baby to want o be held ALL THE TIME. The cry it out isn't nearly ad bad as it sounds if you really understand it, most parents (like I did) think it sounds awful but it'll help them be more independant sleepers. Plus, you do respond to their cries, just not exactly thr way they want, so you're not emotionally abandoning them or anything. And eventually they need to learn they can't always get whatthey want :)
I say talk to your pediatrician before trying either, mine was super helpful and supportive. Good luck!!
(and sorry about any typos. I'm doing this on my iphone and I have total sausage fingers lol)

Emma - posted on 05/02/2010

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oh poor you hannah, i think every babies different, i suppose ive just been lucky with my 3! my friend has a baby the same age as my twins and he still wakes twice in night for bottle so every baby is different! her first slept through from 2 days old which is very unusual but lucky! hope he gets better for you soon hannah :)

Hannah - posted on 05/01/2010

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I miss a full night sleep- I tired the cry it out... even the mothod on this site for letting them cry it out- My son is almost 5 mo now and just cried all night, didnt really phase him... i made a small bed the hieght of my bed and put it between my bed and the wall.... that way he can see me and sometimes he goes right back to sleep. Kind of weans him from your bed to his own (i had mine sleeping with me) i've been trying to get him on his own since he was 3 mo old.

Emma - posted on 05/01/2010

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i do believe that if the baby is just having a little moan and not hysterical or anything wrong you should let them cry it out as if they really want or need something they will let you know by shouting louder ive found this effective with the twins and they settle great of a night now at 4 months old! i dont think i cud run up the stairs every second when they are just having a little moan but not properly crying as i have 3 of them i would drive myself mad it is aready very hard with twin girls and a 3 year old! my health visitor says this is fine! my partner thought this was the right way to do it and i didnt agree first but we tried it one night and they settled themselves and now they go to bed no problem as they feel comfortable going asleep themselves and dont feel the need to be rocked etc but this is just my opinion everybody brings there children up differently and i respect anyone that decides to approach it differently than i do!

Mary - posted on 04/17/2010

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i've let my son cry for 15 minutes straight before and it was the first and last time i did it. he just got more and more upset that by the time i picked him up he was nowhere's near ready to sleep.

what i do is i wrap him in a miracle blanket. then i pat his back and hum to him for a minute or two. then i nurse him for 5 minutes til he's nice and relaxed. then i pick him up and burp him and that wakes him back up. then i put him down and bc he's relaxed from the feed (but not sleeping yet) he can fall asleep on his own within 5 minutes.

and sometimes, i can skip the nursing part and just wrap him, pat him/hum for a minute, and put him right to bed. i only nurse him if he's over tired and fussing,

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Babies are developing trust in their world. If you don't respond, they learn that they are not worthy of care or response by the ones who love them most when they feel most vulnerable. If your spouse closed the door and let you cry it out if you couldn't sleep... where would your trust go? The moments of parenting my children to sleep are some of the most precious.

Kellie - posted on 04/09/2010

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my son was really bad at going to bed awake. i would have to cuddle him to sleep everynight. at 3 months i stopped. now when he getting tired i wrap him in hes blanket sit him on my knee until hes very calm then put him to his bed. at the start i would sit outside his room while he cried, and time his crying to 5 mins then go in calm him down put him back. this took a week to get him into the routine of going to bed awake and now i think its the best thing i have ever done for my son he is so happy all of the time as hes not fighting sleep anymore.



so i think letting them cry for a short time will do no harm. it does take about a week to get them to come around to the routine but once done you will have time to yourself and fun time with your baby without dreading nap time

Belinda - posted on 04/06/2010

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Well done. You are creating a child of compassion when you give attend to there cries.

Belinda - posted on 04/06/2010

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Each child is different. Some sugguestions work, some books work. But all I can say I've tried the crying out and my little girl met me on the playing field on this one, took the book and tore it into millions of peaces and left me crying in the middle of the field. All I can say is you are a mother for a reason, trust your intuition not the books or even your partners advise. You are privialged to have a baby, ask those who having been trying for years for a baby wether they would refuse to console their crying child. Hold your baby in your arms and assure him with your embrace that you are there for him and that all you have for him is love. He'll settle down. Just enjoy putting them to bed and holding them. Read the books, listen to advise and then make your own path, it's a journey and the little ones do have something to teach you, honour them and they will honour you. When you are at peace with your desion, they'll sleep. But it won't happen until you know from inside how to respond to your child. You'll do the right thing when you you stop doubting yourself and not even your baby will challenge you on that.

Rachel - posted on 04/05/2010

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my doctor told me that babies can cry up to 10 minutes and they are smarter then we are.....if your baby has been fed and has a clean nappy then it is ok to let them cry it will not harm your baby in any way :)

Michelle - posted on 04/05/2010

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While I was pregnant I realized I had 9 months to make a healthy baby. So I ate right and exercised, took time when I needed it. Now I figure I have small amount of time to let my child realize there are people in this world you can trust. When my baby cries for me I respond as fast as I can. I want her to know that no matter what, even if she doesn't seem to "need" anything or if she seems "spoiled" she can rely on me. I did this with my son and he's 7 now. He's independant, self assured and when he has a question he asks me. Needless to say I don't let my babies "cry it out" they are only babies for a little while and I only have a small window to ensure her trust.

Emma - posted on 04/05/2010

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i give my twins there last bottle at 7ish at night and they are now on 7oz! they have there nappys changed , have a cuddle and we put them to bed, we want them to know that bed time is bed time so if they cry and we have done everything that they need bottle etc and there not ill we leave them to cry for around 10 to 15 minutes if there still crying after that or there hysterical then we will get them up and soothe them but i have found they have a little winge because they dont want to go to bed but if we leave them for a short period of time they fall asleep and the reason is sometimes there overtired etc but ive found this way very effective and that way they wont cry and then assume this is the way to get picked up i just have to cry, it worked with my eldest daughter who is now 3 and she knows that bed time is bedtime and also think you have to do this if you have multiples otherwise you would drive yourself crazy picking them up everytime they cry!

Allison - posted on 04/04/2010

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Another book to read on the subject is called 'Babies in Mind'. It speaks about the psychological damage of letting a baby under a year "cry it out" as well as other psychological developments of babies and their relationships with Mother. There is a reason that a young baby cries! It's not possible to spoil an infant. Babies need unconditional love and support from their caregivers. "Tough love" can come later once they are older. It's a different story when you are talking about toddlers who are developing/testing/exploring their will and ego. Remember a baby is a helpless little being who experiences the world through us and doesn't know in the first few months that Mother and he/she are separate. The first months-year of a baby's life is a foundation for them to develop from. If as a mother you have a little less sleep because you have to care more for a needy baby so be it. You only have one chance to raise that little one and before you know it, you will be laying down the boundaries and pulling out the tough love. I cringe at the thought of leaving a tiny 3 month old to "cry it out". Shame, poor baby!!!

Jaime - posted on 04/02/2010

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The "cry it out" method is an idea by Dr. Ferber. You really need to read his book. Many people just hear "cry it out" and think they know what it's all about. It's not about just putting the baby in his crib and then leaving him alone till he cries himself asleep. You should NEVER do this to a baby younger than 6-8 months, actually. During those first few months, they develop trust in the world around them and by leaving them alone you just teach them the world is not a safe place and his parents are not going to be there. The baby is not manipulative. He is crying because he needs something.

Really, read the book before you do this!!

Jessica - posted on 04/02/2010

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From 3months is fine, any earlier isnt practical.
I went to tresillian, heres what they said:
(Feed, play & sleep "routine")
if bub is fed, not too hot/cold, and has a clean nappy, wrap and put him down.
Listen to his cry.
If its a grizzle that stops and starts and doesnt sound to worrying, leave it as long as you can bear, ie go do some dishes or hang out some washing, then come back.
As long as you can handle it, leave him (unless hes seriously crying of course)
If u cant handle it or hes distressed, then go in, without making eye contact and put a firm hand on his chest or tummy and/ or stroke his forehead and "shhhhhhh" him. once hes calm, walk out again.
Keep repeating this as long as you can. Even if its been an hour, if hes not distressed theres not point getting him up, he might have been just about to go to sleep!!
If hes not getting near sleep or you dont liek the crying, get him up for a 10-15 min break, then check his nappy and pop him back down. as long as hes been fed and isnt uncomfortable (too hot/cold) hes only crying becasue he doesnt know how to go to sleep by himself.
a 3 month old will be awake for 1-1 1/2 hrs at a time. once you see hes tired get him ready for bed. once hes 4 months this averages 1 1/2 hrs,and then they should go to sleep for 1 1/2 - 3 hrs if possible. once hes6 months it will be roughly up for 2 down for 2.
tired signs=
clenched fists
glazed eyes
uninterested in play
not making eye contact
grizzling
yawning/rubbing eyes
and finally crying (you want to avoid this as he will be much harder to settle once hes this over tired!)
I followed this method for 4days & nights, and my 4month old is now catching up on milestones she missed while being tired, and is sleeping all night through and is generally happier while awake!
Good luck with everything, and if u have any questions, just ask!

Sharee - posted on 04/01/2010

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I have a 2 1/2 yr old as well as a 3 mo old. I have used the cry it out method with both of them according to the Babywise method. I started my 2 yr old at 8 weeks but he was sleeping 6 hours from the hospital, 9 hours when I started letting him cry for a few min at night. He sleeps in his own bed and NEVER wakes up at night unless he's sick! My 3 mo old was a different story-colic, 3 hour nights,etc. I waited until he was 11 weeks before I started with him, he now does 10-11 hour nights and is a roly poly happy baby. Falls asleep within 3 min of laying down and crying it out, if he cries at all. They have to learn to self regulate sleep or you will never get any!! Read On Becoming Babywise if you want to learn more. I 100% believe in crying it out! =)

Christina - posted on 03/24/2010

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Crying it out only lasts for 5-10 minutes withmost babies.After that time you can go check on him and he will either still be mad or have fallen asleep.If he's still crying you can restart the music/mobile replace the paci if he uses one and that tends to have them fall asleep.I know its heartbreaking to let your child just cry but it gets easier, after a few nights he will fall asleep without crying at all.Just be consistent and you will be okay.

Michelle - posted on 03/24/2010

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Yes, I had read 4 months was the earliest so we decided to wait till then. Thanks for the feedback.

Natasia - posted on 03/24/2010

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by the time he is 4 mts old he would be ready to try the cry it out method but it doesnt work for every one and it doesnt work for all babies. me son is 3 almost 4 mts I have ocassionally let him cry it out when he was just being fussy and fighting going to sleep but i usually lay him down and then i time 10 min from the time he starts crying usually he is fast asleep in about 3-5 min but if he is still crying after 10 min i go check on him make sure he isnt now hungry, dirty, ect. i hold him for a few min to calm him down if he doesnt fall asleep we start over. it usually works the 2nd time.

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Your child is not developmentally ready at 3 or 4 months to soothe himself. He needs your love and attention. They're not spoiled and you won't be spoiling them. There is a real reason he is crying, even if he just wants to be held, he needs it. Try swaddling him at night to help him sleep better.

Erica - posted on 03/23/2010

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I have heard that you should not try the crying it out method until they are about 4 months old. If may need that he needs to eat, so it depends at what times he is crying. Many babies are going through growth spurts at this time and may need a small bottle in the night. With that said... the method we tried which seems to be working is this: if the baby starts crying we wait 5 minutes, go in to his room very quietly, sooth him, give him his pacifier, but do not take him out of the crib (unless he has a dirty diaper), stay less than a minute, then leave. If he starts crying again, we wait 10minutes and repeat the process. The book I said to do this again at a 15 minute interval then start again back to 5 if the baby is still crying. It is hard and takes quite a bit of patience. I do not let my baby get completely hysterical with his crying though. If the crying increases I usually give him a small bottle and put him back to bed. He just went through a growth spurt, so we did small feeding for about a week. Now he's back on track again. Per my pediatrition - babies don't learn to self-sooth themselves back to sleep until around 3-4 months. Good luck!!

Michelle - posted on 03/23/2010

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I know, he only cries for a few secs and I am running to get him. I am worried I will cave as well and will have let him cry for nothing in the end!

Amy - posted on 03/23/2010

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My boyfriend is exactly the same as your husband. I don't like the method, but I have heard it can work. I have tried it a few times and it has not worked, but I might have caved to early. I have a hard time listening to her cry.

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