Controlled Crying. Cry it out. Don’t cry it out. Soothe your baby. Co-sleep. Don’t co-sleep.
The advice is endless and talk to one expert, say your baby’s doctor, and she will say one thing. Talk to another one and he might say to do the opposite. Read this book or that book and it’s likely to say yet another thing.
Recently I was quoted as one of three experts in Hudson Valley Parent in an article called Let Them Cry or Rock-a-Bye. One of my quotes reiterates how I believe all families and situations are different, so there isn’t just one solution. After you read it, make sure you comment on what your philosophy is as a parent.
What is the difference between Controlled Crying and Cry It Out?
In my experience, when people think of “Cry It Out” they think of not going back in the room once they put their baby down for sleep at night. Controlled Crying is when you go in at intervals to check on your baby. You may put a time limit on how long your baby cries each interval and in total. I do find many people consider Controlled Crying the same as “Cry It Out” and don’t want to do either.
Everyone seems to have a slightly different definition. Some people think of Cry It Out as not even going in to feed or change a diaper while others recognize that they are not looking for a 12-hour straight sleeper or baby sleeping through the night, necessarily, they just don’t want to go in there every 1-2 hours to replace a pacifier, breast-feed, bottle-feed, or rock their baby back to sleep all night.
The Baby Sleep Site Philosophy on Controlled Crying or Cry it Out
For those who are new to The Baby Sleep Site®, my philosophy is that there is not one method for everyone. All families should find their own path and even different babies within the same family may take a different path. Do I think controlled crying or cry it out works? In many cases, yes. Is it the only thing that works? No. Do I think it always works when used? Nope. Do I often recommend controlled crying or cry it out? No, not usually.
I start with no-cry (or limited crying) methods 90% of the time unless the parent has already decided to pursue controlled crying or cry it out and just has “what if” questions. And, then, whatever method they actually take I support that parent through and through. Why do I start with no-cry methods? Because I am a mom, not a doctor, who knows that your baby crying is one of the last things you want in the whole wide world, that’s why.
I am not philosophically against crying methods, but there are quite a few things to try between soothing your baby all the way to sleep and putting him down, leaving the room, and letting him cry. Many families can make a lot of improvements without controlled crying or cry it out.
How to choose between controlled crying, cry it out, no-cry, or soothing to sleep
Your baby’s temperament, your parental philosophy, and level of patience are key components in whether you decide to try controlled crying, cry it out, a no-cry method, or decide to continue soothing your baby all the way to sleep each time. Take some time to read a few other articles that may help you find your answer:
Baby Temperament and Sleep Series
Is Co-Sleeping a Solution for Baby Sleep Problems?
Teaching Baby to Sleep with No Crying
How Crying Can Lead to Babies Sleeping
Cry It Out Defined and Age to Do It
Are You Sleep Training a Tortoise or a Hare?
Knowing When You’re Done Sleep Training
I hope this article helps you find the solution that is right for your family. You might be surprised at what that solution really is. If you are too bleary-eyed to make sense of it all and come up with a plan, let us do it for you. Check out our Sleep Consulting Services, where we’ll help you make a plan YOU can feel good about. You can read a few Parent Stories here too!