when is a good age to let your child cry themselves to sleep?

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C. - posted on 01/10/2010

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Carrie, I have to say that you have been misinformed. ONLY when you leave your baby to cry to exhaustion, red in the face, screaming to high heaven for the neighbors to come and get you b/c your parents won't.. THAT WILL cause brain damage from the stress on the brain when crying. If it is a simple cry, it won't do any physical harm. If that was the case we would ALL have brain damage from when our mother had to run to the bathroom and we cried as an infant b/c she left the room!!! Please read the unbiased sites as well as the ones you personally prefer.

Ashleigh - posted on 01/10/2010

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Never!! I never let my baby girl cry herself to sleep. I think its quite cruel to be honest. Some children end up with alot of phycological problems. What if they were crying because they felt ill or something else was wrong?? Bad idea in my opinion.

Carrie - posted on 01/09/2010

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Never. What message are you sending to your baby by ignoring his/her cry? You won't establish trust that's for sure. And why it is that leaving your infant to cry for 4 hours at 2pm is neglect/abuse by anyone's standards, but at 2am we're supposed to believe it's "sleep training" and "is in the child's best interest"? I call BS!
It's also been proven that young infants who have been left to CIO actually suffer brain damage as a result.
If in order to be a good mom you need longer stretches of sleep than your child is giving you, then one book to look into is The No Cry Sleep Solution.

[deleted account]

My daughter (now 19mths) would cry and so I tried the cry for 15 min. and then give a cuddle but it didnt work. In the end I gave her a glow worm that lights up and plays music and then turns itself off after 10 mins. My daughter loved it and I have never had any troubles since. Jade now goes to bed after a story book with some warm milk and she falls asleep by herself. Give it ago, at least you tried! Good luck

Megan - posted on 01/09/2010

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I am having trouble getting my son to sleep in his crib, so I use to be totally against letting them cry themselves to sleep. But I have done it a couple times but I have a 10 minute rule and won't let him cry for longer that that and sometimes give in before that. He is one that after 5-1 minutes he will let me rock him right to sleep and them put him down......the other night he was being crabby and I could not make him happy...walking, rocking, feeding, putting him in his crib, swing, ect so finally I put him in his crib and let him cry. I think he cried for 20 minutes and finally fell asleep and I went in there and felt so bad because he was having those after cry sounds or sniffling and whimpering..: ( I am a softy so I got him our and rocked with him while he slept....lol....I am a stay at home mommy so I can spoil him and do this but with my daughter I couldn't but I never really let her cry herself to sleep either. I have just alway been a rocker. i always rock my babies to sleep and then put them down....it is just that some days they have crabby and bad days where they don't let you do that. If you baby lets you rock her to sleep keep doing that and then put her down. it is the best thing to cuddle now because the older they get the more they are independent and don't want mommy to help them...:(



Also going in the room when they are in their crib and patting their back or but comforts them and use to always work for my daughter when she would wake up and want me. I would just pat her back or but and maybe sssshhhh sssshhhh ssssshhhh her or humm a tune and she would go right back to sleep :)



I also have one of those music machine thing on the side of the crib, that plays music, has lights and bubbles and my son loves it...He loves it so much that it doesn't play long enough for him and when it shuts off I am running back to his room to turn it on before he realizes it and wakes up! lol the things we do to make out babies happy! We also got him a mobile that light up starts and moons on the wall and crib and he loves that also, I think it just relaxes them!

April - posted on 01/09/2010

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well personally it all depends on how strong you are and how long you can stand to listen to your child scream and cry i have many personal experiences with that field and i will tell you that if your child is spoiled to being held or something like that then the best way to break them from it is to let them cry until they realize that your not going to pick them up and when that happens then they will stop and the same goes for when its time for them to go to sleep

C. - posted on 01/09/2010

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It's not recommended until 6 months old, and even then you shouldn't let them cry to exhaustion. If your baby is older than 6 months, try waiting about 5 minutes and if they don't settle down, go in and comfort them. They need to know that you are still there for them when they need you, and even if they don't, but they eventually need to learn that they need to go to sleep on their own as well. My son slept through the night by 3 months ad when he met his Dad, he didn't start going to sleep on his own until about a year old. After my husband deployed in September, my son has been more clingy. He is 18 months old and for the last several weeks (his Dad wasn't able to contact us everyday like usual due to specific reasons and ever since, he has been wanting Mommy more) has been waking up at odd hours of the night just to make sure someone is there. If your baby is at least 6 months, you can try the cry it out (CIO) method.. Like I said, don't let them cry more than 5 minutes w/o comforting them b/c they still need to know you are there and just go with the flow.. If something is different than when they started sleeping on their own, they may wake up periodically and do the same thing.. 5-10 minutes (depending on age. I personally would say 5 minutes for 6-9m and 10 minutes for 9m-1yr and up), go in and calm them. Reassure them that you are there.



I noticed that someone said they let their baby cry for hours.. Never ever, EVER let your baby cry for hours and hours!!! That is certainly not healthy for them. I would think after the first 10 or 15 minutes it would have been a tip-off that they needed someone to reassure them. I think when parents disagree with the CIO method, it's for reasons like that.. Some parents take it to extremes. As long as you are not letting them cry for more than 5 or 10 minutes (like I said, depending on the age), there shouldn't be a problem. It's when you go for hours on end w/o checking on your screaming baby that it can turn dangerous. Yes, they can vomit and choke on their vomit, bang their heads on the crib, throw things.. You are not supposed to let them cry so long that they are physically ill and frustrated. I would think that classifies as something similar to neglect when you are knowingly and willfully allowing your baby to get sick just b/c you want them to CIO. I am not trying to make that mother feel like a bad mom or anything, I just think that if a baby cries for more than 10 or 15 minutes, that should be a huge sign that they need something. I don't recommend more than 10 minutes, but some mothers consider that the maximum time limit. I have never heard of anyone (that I personally know) allowing their child(ren) to CIO for hours on end. It's just not right. No wonder this mother isn't a big fan of the CIO method.. Please, don't ever leave your screaming baby in the crib w/o at least just going in the room for more than 10 or 15 minutes.. If they are crying and screaming, throwing themselves against the crib, banging their head on the crib, what have you.. They obviously need someone there to reassure them that everything is alright.



Remember that throughout their young childhood, there will be phases of when they won't sleep at night. Sometimes it's due to a huge change and when they get between 18m and 2 years+ they try to test you to see if you will follow through with what you say you'll do. Good luck to you.. And please, if your baby is old enough and you want to use the CIO method, don't let anyone call you a bad mom. Just please, PLEASE don't neglect your child! Oh, and it helps if you stay in the room for a few minutes the first several times you do the CIO method.. Lay your baby down and stand in the room a few minutes. Before you out your baby in the bed, be sure that there is no bright hallway lights shining through the open door (if your baby is old enough to have the door closed) that way the sudden change from light to dark won't startle them since it would be much more gradual. I am a huge fan of little night lights for a baby's room. Plug-in lights are great for infants that cannot climb out of the crib and for toddlers that know not to play with them, however the age in between would require a safer light that they cannot knock onto the floor if they climb out of bed and cannot pull the plug-in light out.

Debbie - posted on 01/09/2010

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When you are ready. You will know when you are frustrated and feel like your present situation isn't working. It will take at least 2nights. It is difficult not to feel guilty or cry yourself. Put them in their crib with a favorite blanket. Leave the room after your bedtime ritual. Reading a book is a great way to spend time and educate your child. Leave the room and be prepared to go in and reassure your child and pat their back for a couple minutes. Leave again. Each time let your child cry a little longer. This is a great way to teach your child to sooth themselves with their blanket. It's should not be viewed as cruel but rather teaching your child it's okay to sleep alone.

Katherine - posted on 01/09/2010

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Okay, so obviously I will be the minority here. When my son was 8 months old I asked his doctor if he should be sleeping through the night. The doctor said there was no medical reason he could think of that would stop him. He suggested I choose an amount of time I felt would be reasonable (10-15 minutes) to let him cry, then I was to go in say I love you and goodnight give him the pacifier and lay him down again. Then wait 5 minutes longer than the first time and do it again without saying anything this time and continue with that cycle until he fell asleep.
It was super rough. I cried, he cried. This went on for almost 4 hours and then...sleep!
The next night I was to do the same thing but hold out even longer between. Again it was heart breaking but he went to sleep in 2 1/2 hours.
The next night it took 1 hour.
The fourth night he went right to bed. I had many people telling me what I was doing was cruel and that I would hurt my relationship with my son. I feel the exact opposite happened. In less than a week we were both able to get sleep. He has never had any issues going to bed himself ever since. In fact he enjoys going to bed now. I am so glad I made it through those few nights of sadness for the outcome I got. Even the people who were the most outspoken against it had to agree it was well worth it.
Before you do anything be sure to ask their doctor if they are old enough and make sure medically they are able to do it.

Firebird - posted on 01/09/2010

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CIO is something that just doesn't work with all babies. My daughter slept through the night since she was 5 weeks old until she was about a year and a half. I let her CIO at that time and she cried for 10-15 minutes usually then went right to sleep. I would never have let her CIO any younger than 1 year though. Honestly, I think a lot of people are too impatient to have their babies sleeping through the night. One woman wanted to let her baby CIO at 6 weeks old. To me that's just ridiculous. Yes, I understand the importance of sleep for mom but I believe an baby's needs are more important. If my next baby doesn't sleep for more than 3 hours at a time until it's over a year old, I'll suck it up and keep getting out of bed.

Dawn - posted on 01/09/2010

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None really, however, that being said, I would say only when you feel comfortable leaving your child cry itself to sleep. For me, my children gave in after about 15 minutes. I hope this helps.

Cheers

Dawn

Renee - posted on 01/09/2010

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I would also have to have to say never. With my first child everyone kept telling me that I was going to spoil him by going to him everytime he cried. I didn't listen, it just didn't feel right to leave him to cry it out. I did the same with my second child, although with her it was much harder, she was up every couple of hours for the first two years! But I always went to her and soothed her back to sleep. You should do what feel right to you.

Renae - posted on 01/09/2010

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Sorry, just wanted to add a couple more things.



For many babies, when doing CIO, they are better off being left alone to calm down than to have a parent with them. It is true that some babies get less upset if a parent is there, but the majority get more upset (levels of stress hormones in their brains increase).



This is especially true with control crying. Which is why I am an advocate of CIO and yet I completely disagree with CC. Any method where you go in to the baby in intervals usually distresses the baby far more than if you didnt go in at all. This is because when you go in, you have to leave again and it is when you leave that the stress levels increase, then just as the baby calms down, you come in and then LEAVE AGAIN and again increase their distress. Anyone who has tried CC might have noticed that their baby cries harder when they leave.



It also might be helpful for you to know what is normal as far as sleep goes. The majority of babies behave as follows:

1-12 weeks - feed 3 hourly (can be 2-4 hourly) and sleep max 2.5 hours at a time.

8-12 weeks - start to sleep one longer stretch usually of 5 hours from midnight to 5am

4-6 months - start to sleep a stretch of about 7 hours

Over 6 months - sleep a stretch of 8-10 hours. BUT many babies continue to need to be fed after about 6 hours until 10-12 months.

50% of babies wake once during the night until 12 months old.



75% of babies will automatically sleep longer at night as they get older regardless of how they go to sleep.

25% of babies will never sleep longer than a couple of hours until they learn to go to sleep on their own (it is thought that having a parent patting or rocking them to sleep over-stimulates them).

Most babies sleep better at night if they get the sleep they need during the day (keeping them up too much during the day usually means they wake more at night - its backwards I know).



Hope all of this helps. :)

Nancy - posted on 01/09/2010

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I think it all depends on the schedule you set in place. For us, it was before i went back to work after maternity (2 months). Our opinions was the baby needs to learn how to sleep through the night prior to me going back to work. We found different methods. We would read, lay, relax, talk with them on the couch until they couldn't keep their eyes open. Our goal, 10pm. (oh and change & feed of course).By 7 weeks, both of our children were sleeping through the night at 7 weeks. We were lucky though, so dont' ever give up. read more!

Renae - posted on 01/09/2010

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It all depends on the circumstance.



First I just want to make sure you know that there are several methods for teaching a baby to go to sleep and/or to sleep through the night. Some of these ways do not involve any crying at all.



Crying methods are, in my opinion, only appropriate as a last resort, such as when the baby is suffering such sleep deprivation that it is effecting their development, or mum is suffering depressed from sleep deprivation, older children are constantly tired at school from being woken up all night etc. In these sorts of cases I agree that the faster the baby learns to sleep the better it is for everyone, including baby. However, in many normal cases crying it out is not ever necessary.



If you do however decide that CIO is appropriate for your situation, I strongly recommend you do some research on cry interpretation (or you are welcome to contact me for info) so that you know how to tell a distress cry and you will know if your baby needs you. A baby should never be left in distress.



However, I haven't actually answered your question! So I will answer it for you.



CIO can be done whenever the baby is physiologically ready to sleep through the night which is usually around 6 months (feeding the baby during the night is detrimental to CIO and makes it either take longer, or not work at all).



Control Crying or Ferber method (or any graduated extinction method) are supposed to only be used for baby's over 12 months but many sleep clinics use these methods from 6 months (although I haven't read Ferber's latest book to see what age he is currently recommending - it might now be 6 months).



No-cry methods can be done at any age but are more effective when the baby over 12-14 weeks old, simply because newborns (under 3mo) usually fall asleep feeding so it is difficult to be consistent with the method, if you happened to have a newborn who was awake after feeding then you could do it any time.



You are welcome to contact me for more information on anything I have said.

Johnny - posted on 01/09/2010

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I personally would say never. If they are going to cry themselves to sleep, they should at least have the comfort of a parent's presence. That being said, most CIO experts say that a baby absolutely not be left to CIO before 6 months. I must agree with the 2 previous posters however.

[deleted account]

I tried to let my 15 month old "cry it out" & it didn't work. She cried for hours until she vomited & started banging her head on the crib. If you wouldn't let your child cry for extended periods of time during the day, why would you do it at night? I'm just not a big fan of it. Some kids just aren't good sleepers. My 1st daughter who is 22 months just doesn't sleep well & has night terrors, my 3 month old is a sound sleeper, all kids are different. I do let my girl cry a little, but if it goes on for over a minute I have to check on her or forget it she is just going to go nuts & get herself so worked up that I will never get her back to sleep. As adults most of us wake up at night, so I don't know why we expect our little ones not to. I think it is an urban legend that young babies sleep thru the night.



Right now I'm am trying the no cry sleep solutions with a little better luck. If you do some research it says that most kids don't sleep thru the night until they are about 3 or so.



Good luck, I know it is hard, but it is just a phase. One day you'll be wondering how to get your teen up before noon!

Jenna - posted on 01/09/2010

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personally i say never, but thats just me i hate it when my kids cry i feel bad. how old is your child and can i ask why your wanting your child to cry themselves to sleep. He or she doesnt go to sleep with a bottle or by you soothing them to sleep...rocking ect? if this is an older child say like 5 and up then i say that is an okay age to let them cry themselves to sleep but i dont know maybe im to nice i just think thats to mean to let your child cry themselves to sleep. bed time is suppose to be a nice time who wants to go to sleep miserable.

Jenna - posted on 01/09/2010

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personally i say never, but thats just me i hate it when my kids cry i feel bad. how old is your child and can i ask why your wanting your child to cry themselves to sleep. He or she doesnt go to sleep with a bottle or by you soothing them to sleep...rocking ect? if this is an older child say like 5 and up then i say that is an okay age to let them cry themselves to sleep but i dont know maybe im to nice i just think thats to mean to let your child cry themselves to sleep. bed time is suppose to be a nice time who wants to go to sleep miserable.

Jenna - posted on 01/09/2010

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personally i say never, but thats just me i hate it when my kids cry i feel bad. how old is your child and can i ask why your wanting your child to cry themselves to sleep. He or she doesnt go to sleep with a bottle or by you soothing them to sleep...rocking ect? if this is an older child say like 5 and up then i say that is an okay age to let them cry themselves to sleep but i dont know maybe im to nice i just think thats to mean to let your child cry themselves to sleep. bed time is suppose to be a nice time who wants to go to sleep miserable.

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