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March 20, 2005


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cam c.

I feel for you... we're at two months here, and although her sleep habits seem to have sort of worked themselves out, neither my wife nor I feel comfortable letting her "cry it out".

What I've found often works though is if you put the baby in the crib, with the lights out, and shine a flashlight on the ceiling and wall around the crib... my little princess shuts up right away most of the time (provided I move it slowly and don't try to simulate one of those Pink Floyd laser light shows they used to do at planetariums). I keep it moving for about five minutes, then shut it off, and then hold her hand for a bit... more often than not her eyes start to slowly shut after about another 5...

My theory is that it's ok to let them cry a little if you're nearby... but to be honest, I think our baby is actually on the quiet side, despite what our neighbors probably think. (Lately she's been a bit cranky as she just had her immunizations, so I've had a bit of a taste of what my parents went through with my own colicky ass, though.)


I don't think I ever let any of my 3 older kids cry it out at 6 weeks. And I am even more against it with this newest (my fourth, my hubby's first). If I remember correctly, my kids all started on their own to settle down to sleep regularly around 5 months. With DD1 I had to leave her alone long enough for her to wind down on her own (independent thing). She wouldn't really cry, although there was some babbling, whining to start the settling-in process. With DD2, I just put her in the bed when tired and she would just drift off like a little angel. With DS, he was a routine/scheduled kid. As long as we did the same thing every bedtime, we were good to go.

I haven't figured out the baby's (she's 7 weeks today) temperment yet. But I am quick to pick her up when fussy. Can't stand to hear an unhappy baby when something so simple as holding her can keep it at bay.


Our son is three now. He never cried it out to sleep. He rocked, nursed, or we danced him in the sling. We live in Seattle. This was always strangest to people when we to visit relatives back east. Most of our family lives in New Jersey.

He falls asleep now without the rocking or nursing or dancing, but he does sleep in our bed. He never cried himself to sleep alone. He did of course, cry. Nothin can be done sometimes, and it is not our job as parents to stop all crying, just to let them know they are safe and protected.

There were nights when we would hold him and having tried everything we could think of, we would just hold him, or lay down next to him, with him crying, until he stopped and went to sleep. Ugh, there were a couple weeks where this kept happening, and then...it just stopped. But I would never leave him alone crying, unless it was because I was losing my ever-lovin mind and needed a moment's break. Not as a parenting choice. That is my family though.


Good for you! Pick that baby up! At 6 weeks they really don't have the coping mechanisms in place to soothe themselves (look for that around the 3-month mark, our pediatrician told us). Our boy HATES to fall asleep on his own, so I nurse him to sleep--which works now but may get tricky when he's no longer a breastmilk baby. When your little one gets a little older, pay attention to her eyes--her eyelids will get all puffy (a la college freshman the morning after a drinking binge). Put her in her crib as soon as the puffiness appears, rub her belly a little and she should conk right out.
But in the meantime, enjoy her tiny warm body in your arms.


It's all about the swaddle. During the first three months with our little one (she's 6 months now), it was colic hell. The only thing that soothed her was when we swaddled her in the hospital blanket that we inadvertantly stole. If nothing else works, wrap her up and shhhh right into her ear. And pour yourself a few shots of Jack while your up. A little Jack makes screaming babies a lot more tolerable...


Mine is 10 months now and in the first few months, I never did any crying it out. She most always fell asleep when she was nursing, so that helped. She started going to sleep on her own around 4 or 5 months or so. During hurricane season, we had to put boards up on our windows and we figured out that the dark helped her sleep. So we keep her room dark and have a small fan for white noise and she would just know when we walked in the room that it was time to go to sleep and she'd lay her head on me and I'd sing to her for a minute and then lay her down and she'd go to sleep on her own. The only time I've done CIO is when she got bigger and on a trip we took she quit sleeping through the night (around 4 or 5 months old) and she was 8 months old and another trip later and still not sleeping through the night, so I decided to try CIO. The first time she woke up during the night, I let her cry for 5 minutes, went in and sang to her and left the room. She cried 5 more minutes, went back in did same thing. Cried 5 more minutes and then stopped. The next night I tried it again and she only cried 5 minutes. The next night, she only cried 3 minutes. Then no waking up. I had to do that for about 3 or 4 waking up times per night and now we are down to one around 5 am, and I don't mind that. I guess I'll get rid of it by the time she's one. For naps, I'll let her cry for maybe 5 minutes or less and then pick her up and when she is calm try to lay her down again.


I held my first constantly and let my second cry it out. They were pretty close in age, and I just couldn't take sleeping with either of them anymore. I was completely exhausted. After a week or two, the youngest was sleeping peacefully through the night. It took the older one a little longer to get on the schedule, but she did and they now both sleep together, snug as bugs and mommy and daddy get to sleep too and everyone seems happy. I figure that I ought to be fully coherent when I play with the kids when they're awake, so for the love of GOD, let me sleep.


I STRONGLY urge you not to hold your daughter to comfort her all the time!!!! You have no idea what you're signing up for!!!! HELP!!! Someone call 911!!!
We did exactly what you're doing, and 14 months later we are still paying the consequences: she just cannot nap in her crib. From the time she wakes up in the morning, until bed time, we have to be with her constantly, even when she naps. She got used to sleep in our arms, and as I write this, my other half is in her bedroom with our little one in her arms napping. It is exhausting, and I don't think is good for her. I'm sure she'd be more comfortable napping by herself. Anyway...


I think that your child's personality and temperament will determine if you should keep holding him/her until s/he falls asleep or if you ought to let her/him cry it out. Some babies seem to have a difficult time adjusting to their crib/bed if they're held all the time while others seem to be okay and others fuss only a bit before settling down while others cry for hours.

Jennifer State

I have a 10 month old girl with sleep issues galore. After nearly six months of being up 3 to 6 times a night and only 30 minutes of nap time during the day, I got Dr. Ferber's book "How to Solve your Child's Sleep Problems". It has some "crying it out" in it, although you check on them for increasing increments of time each night. She was sleeping through the night in less than a week. I didn't believe in CIO either, but I became a believer in gentle and short crying so the baby can learn to fall asleep on her own. Now I don't want to throw my baby out the window.


Ferber has "some" crying-it-out in it? I mean, whether crying it out is right or wrong or whatever, is one thing, but let's call it what it is. Ferber is THE "crying it out" man. He talks about letting babies fall asleep in vomit, banging their heads against the rails of the crib (perfectly normal, he assures us). Mostly Ferber advocates that you don't respond, lest you show the baby that vomiting or banging is the way to get your attention.

I am not saying you took it to that extreme, but this is what the man talks about.

Gentle and short crying alone for an infant? How do you know how long that felt to your baby? The CIO was for you, so you wouldn't want to throw your baby out the window. Fine. But, if that's the case, say so. I am glad it worked, and that both you and the baby got your rest.


Crying is one of the ways babies communicate. Obviously, when they're crying, it means they want something...and it's usually you. I never let my kids "cry it out." Two are now in their 20's and one is in high school. They are among the most regular, substance free people in this stress crazed world that you will meet. Two have gone to college and one is in high school. They are all extremely bright and free thinking. We carried them everywhere, slept with them until they were ready to be out on their own, and basically, did everything that felt right. We did not let books or "experts" dictate how to raise our children. When school didn't feel like a good thing, we took them out. People look at us like we're from Mars when we tell them how we raised our kids, but no one really asks. Usually, people would ask us how we raised them when they were younger because they were very easy to be around. We had some people say we must have inflicted harsh punishment on them because they were so well behaved.
Think of it this way, most of the child rearing books you read are very ethnocentric; and look at how our society is going!
I am a teacher of learning disabled students. Most people have no idea that I'm not, "by the book." But, when kids have difficulty at school or at home, I just have to wonder how many of their parents took the advice of experts instead of following their own gut intincts. We need to trust ourselves and our children.


We tried filling her bottle with Mylicon, we did the "Safety Dance" for her and even "moonwalked" but the only thing that seems to get her to go down is "Project Runway".

Ok, sure, I'm drunk.

Cynical Mom

I would never even suggest CIO at such a young age, but who knows how you might feel later. At six weeks, two months and four months, I also did not want to try cry it out. I respected others' choices and didn't care what they did for their own kids, but it just wasn't something I would be doing for mine.

At seven months, I hadn't slept more than 3.5 hours in a row since he was born (that is not an exaggeration), and usually got about 7 hours a night total, plus I work full time.

I was falling apart and resenting my son. So we tried cry it out. By 8 months he was sleeping 6pm to 7am, sometimes as late as 8:30am. He's now 21 months and is still a great sleeper.

I rarely let him cry much anymore because now he does cry only when he truly needs something, but if it's obvious he's crying because "don't *wanna* sleep" instead of something being wrong, we'll let him cry. He's also a wonderfully cheerful, happy toddler who loves naps.

I'm not suggesting that you will definitely follow the same path... just keep an open mind. This is a hotbutton issue with a lot of people, but CIO (alone :-) doesn't make you a bad parent.


I have 6 children ranging in age from 2 to 12. What we did was follow our hearts/personalities, and flexed for the individuality of each child. We mainly rocked and nursed and such to get people to sleep. At times it has been inconvenient, but I've also known people with tight sleep schedules that had to drop everything and leave social situations in time to have their baby home in bed by a certain time or else the child would start screaming and be all messed up on their schedule. *That* always looked worse to me than what I have done. Parenting is both easy and hard. I think when you are thinking and caring and loving, you will generally make a good call for your family, and what mistakes you make will likely be overcome by all the rest of the good you do.

Good luck!

david parmet

Of our three - one slept through the night right when we got her home from the hospital and has been doing so ever since (nearly three years now ... knock wood). The oldest slept with us until he was two and a half and the other still gets in our bed now and then but not all that often.

The time went by fast and now for the most part all three of them go to sleep when it's time and my wife and I have our bed and our nights to ourselves.

I have no problem with this because ... they're our children and we signed up for this and our duties as parents don't end at night. Ferber is evil and anyone who tells you to just put them down and let them cry doesn't have to deal with the consequences.

And trust me, this too shall pass and before you know it the kid will be out all night with his friends and you'll still be up all night!


I was blessed with a quiet happy baby. I always held him, and rocked him and carried him around with me in one of those baby snugglies, against alot of people telling me I shouldn't do this or he would get spoiled. What I ended up with was a baby that didn't cry. Are these things related? Maybe?

Tom N.

The suggestion for swaddling tightly is a good one. And of course, what works and what doesn't will vary from baby to baby. That being said...

I don't remember what exactly we did with our daughter at that age (she's 12.5 months now), but we did not let her cry it out - we'd go get her, and try to soothe her. No, crying it out waited until she was eight months old, when it became apparent that she wasn't truly distressed - she just wanted to be held. Hrm, that doesn't sound right.

When she was tiny, she didn't know any better. The world is probably a strange and sometimes scary place for the first few months. But at eight months, they're really getting familiar with this whole world thing. We didn't plan on letting her cry it out, but when she would cry up until the instant we picked her up, then cry as soon as we threatened to put her back down, and would do this every two hours though the night, our patience gave out. A couple of nights of crying it out made dramatic improvements in her sleeping schedule (and ours too!), which helped her during the daytimes too.

So, it depends on the baby, and in my opinion, anything under 4 or 6 months is too early. But if the baby is still driving you crazy all night after the first half year, then trying the cry-it-out method can help a lot.


our whippersnapper has just passed the year mark. i breastfeed and she sleeps with us in our big no-sex-please-we're-parents bed. i'm not good with schedules so she goes to sleep when she's tired by getting nursed down. i'm not sure how this will work when talk of weaning turns to action, but for now, it suits us. she's very happy, fat, and confident. it may not be the most convieient way to go, but it certainly makes the most sense to me.

Queen of Ass

I can't just drop my baby in a baby bed and let them cry. Seems to heartless to me.

My son and I used to lay down together, sing songs (softly) and read books. Even in infancy. He loved the ones with brightly colored pictures best. Sometimes they didn't have words - just like textures and stuff. I'd help him touch them and things. Then we'd snuggle and he was off to sleep in no time. Yes, he was on a schedule, but bedtime was something that we just gradually eased ourselves into.

JJ Daddy in Savannah's Baby Momma

Fire up the flames....with our 4 1/2 yr old and the almost 1 yr. old twins, we're firm believers in BabyWise. Yes, we used it with CFS, and no, we never let our children scream for hours. (Don't bother flaming me until you've actually READ the book, not just heard how *evil* is is from the attachment-parenting crowd). Our kids are well adjusted, we're well rested, and while we watch our friends spend hours trying to soothe their children with glassy eyes, we simply put ours in the crib, close the door, and voila -- sleep.

The problem with all the extroadinary efforts is this -- when do you stop? I've got friends sharing their family bed with their 6 year old daughter because they could never decide when to put her in her own bed, because, heck, she might cry. No matter what you do, when you stop doing it, the kids going to cry a little. So better let them be safe and comfortable in their own bed, and they can go to sleep when they're done.

My baby daddy says we're just blessed with kids who like to sleep, but I swear by the schedule this book lays out (eat, WAKE, then sleep). Mine have never cried for more than 5 minutes and that was just for a day or two when we got them on schedule. While it may have seemed longer, I timed it.

I don't completely buy the theory that EACH time the baby cries she is trying to communicate with you. After having this passle of kids, I've identified the hunger cry, wet cry, need to be entertained cry and then the just crying because I need to let it our of my system cry.


When she was born we decided to create routines instead of a schedule. We *try* to keep a schedule, but that is not always possible. For bedtime the routine goes:

- 15 min warning. (To let her know it's coming. When she's tired, as soon as we say "bath" she says "ok, towel)

- Bath (not a "washing bath", that is in the morning before her first nap)

- Baby Einstein DVD while being held on the couch. (This is absolutely one of my favorite times of the day. Liberty will lay on top of one of us -usually Mom- and watch the DVD. As she's gotten older it has become much more interactive, she counts when there's counting and names all the animals when they cross the screen. But, eventually she'll mellow out and be ready to go upstairs by the end of the DVD.)

- Upstairs to the family bed. Justice always goes to bed with Liberty. Sometimes she gets up and comes downstairs, but she's always there to put Liberty to sleep.

This works without fail for us, it has for the last 22 months. It's not always easy (we're not always ready for bed at 8pm...) but, for the most part Liberty sleeps through the nite. It also works when we travel. We cart along a couple of Baby Einstein DVDs and a laptop.

I don't know if there is a *right* way to do it, but this works for us and as a result we have a very happy little tyke!


We rocked our little guy until HE decided he didn't need it anymore. My hubs would normally rock the little guy to sleep. Well, one night I had to do it. The kid would NOT fall asleep. I looked down at him and said "Well, let's put you in your crib sleepyhead." I put him down and he fell asleep. Mind you, he was 6 months old. From that night on we'd give him a sip, a story, and then right into his crib.


Poppa Large, I feel your pain. Without getting into the debate of attachment parenting v. ferberizing v. babywise, I’m just going to tell you what worked for us. At six weeks, MetroDad and I responded to the Peanut’s cries all the time, except the occasional moments when I was by myself and had to go the bathroom. The two best things that helped us was 1: The Happiest Baby on the Block DVD (it’s a godsend. I can’t stress this enough. It’s so magical!) and 2: Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth, it’s a dry read but it’s all CFS. The book basically tells you that babies need to rest. If they’re overtired, they can’t sleep. So you always need to look out for their drowsy signs. A better rested child, is a less cranky child.

We basically did what your friends are doing. Every evening, we had the same routine: bathtime, feeding time, burping time, and then down for the night. She was usually in bed by 7pm We would soothe her to sleep by singing lullabies to her and rubbing her back, and/or making shhhhh-ing noises. We never rocked her because we didn’t want her to get too dependent on the movement to get to sleep. Over time, she started to go to sleep a lot quicker and now, when we put her down, she just goes to sleep after we say good night. No crying.

As for the middle of the night, at six weeks, I fed her anytime she woke up. But by 10 weeks, she was getting up only once a night. At 12 weeks, the ped said she could skip the 4am feeding. So we were going to let her cry it out. It turned out the ped was right, she didn’t need the 4am feeding. The most she ever cried was 5 minutes and she fell right back to sleep. I was prepared to feed her if she cried longer than 5 minutes. After a couple of nights of waking at 4am, she started to sleep through the night. Now, the Peanut wakes up at 6:30 am (11.5 hours!) and she’s well rested and happy.

Obviously you should do what works for you, Sam and L. Just remember, you DON’T have to strictly be a proponent of one theory v. another – just whatever works for L. And don’t worry, the 6-week fussy period will only last a couple of weeks. Enjoy her first smiles and the cooing!


By the time my son was ten months old, I was so sleep deprived that I could barely tie my own shoes, let alone get to my day job in one piece. The bedtime routine was taking TWO hours, which was our entire evening together. I figured a week of tears that resulted in a sane mother was worth it and better for my son in the long run.

The first night? He cried for twenty minutes then zonked out.
The second night? I plopped him in his crib and he waved up at me and said "bye bye", turned over and fell asleep and pretty much hasn't shed a tear at bedtime since. I only regret not letting him CIO earlier.


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Sometimes the sleep thing does work itself out. When our daughter (now two) was six weeks old, she did just start sleeping through the night - and trust me, we had NOTHING to do fostering that. We carried her a lot and some times when she woke in the night, we were so lazy, she'd spend the rest of the night in our bed. We were never able to let her cry it out. I mean, she's a baby. Crying is the only way they have to communicate. If they need something, they cry. It may not be the most convenient thing for us as parents, but sine when was parenting about convenience?

You're ok!


Sometimes the sleep thing does work itself out. When our daughter (now two) was six weeks old, she did just start sleeping through the night - and trust me, we had NOTHING to do fostering that. We carried her a lot and some times when she woke in the night, we were so lazy, she'd spend the rest of the night in our bed. We were never able to let her cry it out. I mean, she's a baby. Crying is the only way they have to communicate. If they need something, they cry. It may not be the most convenient thing for us as parents, but sine when was parenting about convenience?

You're ok!


I'm a bit confused. I have read quite a few books on this, but I'm not sure exactly what cry it out is. Our baby is 9 weeks old, for at least the last 4 weeks, she's been difficult to put down. She fusses in her crib and makes couph like crys once in a while, but it's not constant. I usually leave her a bit to see if she is just winding down. If it goes on longer than about ten minutes, I'll go and check on her and try to reassure her. When she cries really hard, I stay in the room and rub her belly and make shhhhing sounds. We have let her cry hard for about 5 minutes before after which she just drifts off to sleep. Is it possible that some babies just need to unwind a bit or are we really letting our baby cry it out. She always has slept in her own crib starting on day one. Mommy and daddy's bed is for mommy and daddy. If your child sleeps with you for 6 years, they will get no siblings for 6 years!

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you love her but if she doesn't love you the same way you'll eventually find out wehtehr she's interested in more with you or not. It may be that she has self-esteem issues and doesn't feel like she deserves better than what she has. If that's the case, good luck.


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