Letting a baby cry themselves to sleep

Alexis - posted on 12/09/2010 ( 186 moms have responded )

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Do you think it's ok? I personally don't. A kid yes, but a baby no.

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Jennifer - posted on 12/10/2010

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ah, and i would like to add (because i forgot) that sleep techniques all greatly depend on the family. what works for one, certainly wont work for all. i rock my son to sleep because i can...it isn't perfect and has its own drawbacks. my son and i have such a routine that he is so used to that my husband can't help out at all with nighttime stuff because my son is so used to me doing it.



one thing that really, really bothers me is when someone posts asking for sleep advice and she gets tons of idiots telling her to just let her baby cry. most people that recommend crying techniques have no idea how they are actually supposed to be used.

Sarah - posted on 12/10/2010

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What Krista said! hahaha!

Really though, just because I've used CIO, doesn't mean I don't attend to my kids needs.
My eldest was a TERRIBLE sleeper, we tried EVERYTHING, rocking, singing, co-sleeping (on the couch), stroking her head, everything! The only thing that eventually worked (at nearly 7 months old) was using CIO. 3 nights of minimal crying, and she was set!

My youngest was in our room until she was 6 months, and she actually slept really well from the word go to be honest! So we never really had to do CIO.

Both my girls are great at going to bed and sleeping all night, I think that's the main thing, however you go about it, as long as baby (and Mum!) are happy and well rested, then it's all good!

Krista - posted on 12/10/2010

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Oh, one more thing I wanted to add (shut up, Krista): for those of you who always rock/pat your little one to sleep, that's fantastic that this is what works for you.



However, my job requires for me to be away from home, either in the evening or overnight, once or twice a month. Or, once in a blue moon my husband and I go out or go away overnight, leaving Sam with his grandparents.



Where my son doesn't need to be rocked or petted in order to fall asleep, it DOES make life a lot easier on those occasions when Mommy can't be around at bedtime. We still have our little routine -- he has his music player on, and his favourite lovies, and a drink of water, but those are pretty simple for Daddy or Nana or Papa to provide. But if Sam needed an hour of Mom rocking him every night in order to go to sleep, then it would be absolutely hellish every time I go away.



Not that you want your baby to be all Joe Independent, but there IS something to be said for them being able to fall asleep relatively autonomously.

Tara - posted on 12/10/2010

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My apologies to those who spell whine as whinge. I did not know that it was one of those words that are spelled differently in another country, and I'm surprised it is British, because Canadian English an British English are often the exact same, rarely have different spellings.
So I do apologize for my whining about the word whingeing. lol
Carry on...

Jennifer - posted on 12/10/2010

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i am definitely not comfortable with letting babies cry, but my story is similar to Ebony's. when i was still in the hospital after giving birth, i had an aunt telling me that if i didn't use CIO at the earliest possible time (she recommended 8 weeks!!!), that i would never get any sleep. i didn't have a computer at the time, and i was very uninformed about different techniques. i can honestly say that the first few months of my sons life were extremely stressful because my head was telling that i was ruining my son by rocking him to sleep. it wasn't until we got a computer and i could do my own research that i became confident in what my instincts were telling me.



letting a baby cry is just unnatural to me, and i trust myself enough now to know that if it feels unnatural, then it is. whining is one thing but for brand new little ones, whining very quickly turns into crying and needs tending to. the best parts of my day are rocking my 13month old to sleep for his nap and bedtime ♥

Krista - posted on 12/10/2010

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One thing to keep in mind as well is that some of us who use CIO are not "married" to it. When my baby was tiny, he slept in a bassinet in our room, and I was there to attend to him if he so much as squeaked. That was what worked for us at the time.

As he got older, I got to "read" him better, and could better differentiate between his various cries. That's when I started sometimes letting him go for a couple of minutes before going to him, if his crying was one of those tired-sounding cries with no real insistence to it. And that's what worked for us at the time.

Now, he goes to sleep very easily. I sit him on my lap and rock him for a bit while he has a drink of water, and when he starts squirming, it's time for his crib. So I put him in, and he talks to his doll and his bear for awhile. And once in an odd while, he might fuss a bit, but very rarely do I have to go back upstairs to him. But, if he's sick or teething, and really wants his mommy, then I will gladly rock him for an hour or more if that's what it takes for him to go to sleep.

Basically, it's about knowing your child and meeting his needs, whatever they happen to be at that time.

Bonnie - posted on 12/10/2010

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No I don't think a baby should be left to cry it out. You can't spoil a baby!

~♥Little Miss - posted on 12/10/2010

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The only time my infant is in the CIO position would be in the car while I am driving. She is not a fan of the car. Otherwise I absolutely hate CIO. I hate it when I am in the car with her and there is nothing I can do but sing to her...sometimes that helps. I used to pull over to soothe/BF/give toy...but yet she would still cry. At home, I do not let her cry needlessly. She is crying cause something is wrong, or she is lonely..etc.

Sarah - posted on 12/10/2010

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I still can't bring myself to let my 14 month old CIO. I rock him to sleep & pat his back, etc until he is asleep. Usually he goes to sleep just fine, but other times it can definitely be a challenge. I don't see anything wrong with letting a toddler CIO (it's just hard for me, because my son gets REALLY upset). I'll probably start using a modified version of it with my son in the next few weeks once we move & get all settled into our new place. But, I would never let my younger baby CIO!

Sara - posted on 12/10/2010

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There are different forms of English, btw. It's not all American English, as Cathy has pointed out...anyway, back to topic





After a certain point, there is no evidence that it negatively impacts a child to use an appropriate CIO method. Of course, it should not be used on babies before 6 months. But no one can say empirically that it harms babies, there's just no proof of that. There has never been one longitudinal study on the effects of appropriate CIO methods used and it's impact on a child's development, period. It really all just boils down to your child's temperment and what works for your family, IMO.

April - posted on 12/10/2010

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that spelling of " whine" bothered me too (Tara, I share your OCD with words, you are not alone!) , but i am used to people from all over the world having different ways of spelling things. I figured it was the correct spelling in some country or another...lol.



Anyway..to answer the OP...I don't believe in CIO at all for MY child. He does not have the "personality" for it. He would cry for hours upon hours if I left him to fall asleep on his own.



As for other people...I am okay with whining...as long as there are no tears because my definition of CIO is that they are actually crying.



How long to whine? Definitely less 5 min. IMO...if it's longer than that, something else is going on. Maybe your child is sick (or in Krista E's example, her son dropped his sippy cup). One needs to be careful about taking things for granted...children (yes children, not just babies) don't always know how to verbalize their thoughts and feelings to us.



*edit to add-- i used to be one of those that believed even leaving your child to whine for a short time wasn't good. HOWEVER, i do think there is a such thing as a Mom's presence over-stimulating a child and therefore delays sleep.

[deleted account]

CIO is forceful i find. When a parent needs to teach a child to sooth themselves to sleep. I would rather teach my child a positive way to sleep then forcing her to negatively. Crying puts people in a bad mood. When you go to sleep in bad mood, you dont sleep as sound. Causing more nightly risings. Whos to say just because the baby stops crying she doesn't wake up in the middle of the night wanting something. Maybe CIO is so effective because they learn that when they do cry, no one is going to come.

Tara - posted on 12/10/2010

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What Krista E. said. lol
A young baby should not be left to cry unless it is unavoidable. There are a number of reasons this isn't good for a baby.
An older child or older baby (6 months and up) being left to cry or WHINE (sorry the misspelling of that word just jumps out at me and I can't help my anal self from correcting people. So sorry so very sorry for my minor OCD with words.) is so different than leaving a little baby alone to cry it out.
Although I still say that if a child or older baby is crying uncontrollably for too long, it is unfair to continue to let them continue to cry without comfort. I'm talking a wailing, shrieking, screaming baby, not a cry for a minute, whimper, cry some more, whimper, snort, whine, whimper, cry etc.
I'm talking "WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA" over and over without a break to the point of hiccups. lol That's not cool in my books.
Tara

Krista - posted on 12/10/2010

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Everything that Sarah just said. Before 6 months, no. After that, there is nothing wrong with letting them fuss a little bit. My 15-month old was doing that just last night. He was crying steadily, so I went in, to discover that he'd dropped his sippy cup on the floor and couldn't reach it. So I gave it back to him and rubbed his back and hummed to him for awhile until he was calm again. After i left, he was quiet. But then he'd cry for about 10 seconds, and then he'd stop. Then he'd start again, then he'd stop. I let him be, because I knew that he was only crying because he was a bit overtired, and if I went back in, I'd only be making it worse. Within 5 minutes, he was fast asleep.



When talking about CIO, we really, really have to differentiate between people who let their baby wail or shriek indefinitely, and those who will let their baby fuss or whinge for a few minutes instead of attending to them right away. The former is neglect, in my eyes. The latter is not.

Sarah - posted on 12/10/2010

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Depends what you mean by "baby", anything before 6 months, and I would say "No" it's not fair or useful to let them cry themselves to sleep.

After 6 months, it depends what you mean by "cry themselves to sleep" I wouldn't leave my child crying their eyes out/screaming their heads off until they fell asleep. I would however leave them to whinge and cry (if it's not at a desperate level) to settle themselves to sleep.

I think there's a HUGE misconception when it CIO sometimes. If it's done correctly, it can help everyone to get a good nights sleep.

I used my own little version of CIO with both my girls, and I genuinely believe that it didn't do them any harm, and helped them and me get the sleep we needed. :)

Meghan - posted on 12/09/2010

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Ahhh, there it is. This is one of those beating the dead horse topics lol

Nikki - posted on 12/09/2010

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I think it depends on the baby and the situation. I rocked my daughter to sleep until she was almost 12 months, because it's the only way I could ever get her to sleep. In the end it took longer and longer to get her to sleep, I am talking up to 2 hours each time. It wasn't a good thing for either of us. I tried other sleep method's first, they didn't work, so I used a version of the CIO and pick up put down method. Luckily my daughter isn't much of a crier, so it's not like she has ever screamed herself to sleep. Usually she talks and plays, if she starts to cry I leave it 1-2 minutes then I go in, pick her up, settle her and put her back down. Sometimes this takes 2 times other days it takes 10 times. It worked for us and I feel that my daughter handles it well emotionally, I was concerned she would have attachment problems at first and feel insecure but that hasn't been the case, if anything I really think it has improved things for her, she sleeps much better now therefore is very happy and settled throughout the day.

Nelly - posted on 12/09/2010

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when my children were babies I wanted to protect them and make them feel safe. Why would any one let a baby or a child cry itself to sleep and not feel secure or protected by their parents who they love unconditionally

Amber - posted on 12/09/2010

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I do not believe that it is okay to let a baby cry themselves to sleep. When babies cry, they obviously need something, and going to a crying child lets them know that they can rely and depend on your consistency.
BUT: That is MY OPINION. I do not think poorly of those who do choose to let their babies cry themselves to sleep.

Jodi - posted on 12/09/2010

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Definitely not a young baby. Fidgety, yes, but crying, no. They are too young to understand. Once they got a little older I did - they do reach an age where they do it to manipulate you, but babies don't manipulate. You know your own kids, so you DO know if they are doing it for a reason, or if they are doing it as a stunt, by the time they reach a certain age.

Meghan - posted on 12/09/2010

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A young baby no. An older baby yes. I had to with my son-otherwise he would still be sleeping ON me. It worked for us and if you do your research on the topic (its not about letting your 3 month old scream and cry for hours), you and your family are on board, and you feel your child has the personality to handle it, it can work.

♏*PHOENIX*♏ - posted on 12/09/2010

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A long time ago…I believed you should (because that is whatt I was told by family at a young age and believed it)…Until I educated MYSELF and agreed with the information that I found…that its NOT OK. And I feel bad for the babies who have to go thru that. Somewhere right now babies are crying their self to sleep and its sad…they just want comfort :-/

Becky - posted on 12/09/2010

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No, I don't think it's okay. I don't think that babies are able to understand that we are doing this to try to get them to go to sleep. All they understand is that they are alone and sad and scared, and nobody is coming to comfort them.
Occassionally, I will let my almost 3 year old cry it out at naptime, when I know he's just throwing a tantrum because he's overtired.

[deleted account]

No, i think that it would be very neglectful on my part if i allowed my daughter to cry herself to sleep. I would comfort her rock her and lay down with her when she got sleepy, now i just lay her in the crib she rolls over sticks her thumb in her mouth, and her blankie up.

Johnny - posted on 12/09/2010

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No, I don't. For a great many reasons that I have no doubt that others will list in this thread. It may work for some parents, but I've never really thought that it is good for babies. Kids, I don't think it is really a problem.

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