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Do you want more sleep?   Yes! I need more sleep.
Do you want more sleep?   Yes! I need more sleep.
Do you want more sleep?   Yes! I need more sleep.

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  1. Theresa says

    Hi. I am not an advocate of CIO, and spent most of my baby’s infancy doing everything I could to soothe her crying. But I recently discovered ”Tears and Tantrums” by Aletha Solter, and have changed my views somewhat on the whole issue of crying. She discusses the importance of crying in babies and young children for emotional release, however, she advises strongly against ever leaving a baby to cry alone. You can hold your baby, or lie down with your baby as she cries and releases, knowing that she is safe.

    Her advice felt a lot better to me than the option of leaving my toddler to cry alone. And since following it, my baby is sleeping a lot better. Not perfect yet, but much much improved.

    Theresas last blog post..Let it never be said that I am totally thick-headed.

    • Nicole says

      @Theresa Thank you for sharing your discovery! I am going to have to try to check that out!

  2. Nicole says

    @Ingrid Thank you for your perspective. You are absolutely right that if we had a village to help care for our children, we would have a lot more help and maybe not resort to cry-it-out. But, the truth of the matter is we don’t. And, yes, it is unrealistic to expect every mom or dad to get up all night every night for months on end. People simply can not function. But, I still disagree that just because you decide that replacing a pacifier 10 times per night or nurse every hour is not only too disruptive for you, but more importantly, your baby who needs sleep, too, that allowing them to learn a new way to fall asleep will damage them forever. Some would argue that a pacifier itself is not “natural”, either.

    Our relationships with our babies are very complex. There is nothing wrong with my maternal instinct and I resent your judgmental attitude in your comment. My maternal instinct has told me time and again just how important my eldest son’s sleep is. My son NEEDS his sleep to function in the daytime. I learned that very early and our bond is very strong, indeed. He is thriving and loves me to pieces as I do him. You won’t ever convince me that my son has been damaged forever and ever because of something I did for a few nights way back when. I love him day in and day out and am very dedicated to his well-being in all aspects.

    Every family has their own unique situation and I definitely don’t think every situation warrants cry-it-out, but I also understand that there are some that do and it is not up to us to decide for any one family what the right solution is for them. There is not a one-size-fits-all approach that will fit every situation.

  3. Ingrid says

    Also – people tend to be confusing crying, with crying without being held or comforted through it. Crying is not the problem – it’s a natural response to stress/pain/etc…. not being comforted is what’s messed up…

  4. Ingrid says

    The ONLY reason CIO is used in this culture is because we have a culture that doesn’t support the raising of children in general. Moms don’t get paid leave to do this job. We don’t get support from family unless we’re one of the “lucky ones”… we are basically left to do 4 full time jobs back to back all by ourselves. Seriously – if you’re a stay-at-home mom dealing with a newborn by yourself, you are working 4.5 FULL TIME JOBS every week. This is completely unrealistic – for any person to deal with – and so we reach for a solution to give us more sleep/more rest/more time- and sadly that solution comes at the expense of the baby.

    It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that babies cry for a REASON. I don’t care if you don’t like any of the studies that show the long term negative affects on people who were left to cry-it-out. Just listen to your gut and common sense! Or have YOU lost your sense of maternal instinct amongst all your justifications here? Babies want to be held and comforted when they’re crying. This is natural and appropriate. It’s CRUEL and INHUMANE to leave a baby to cry by themselves. It is not at all natural for a mom to ignore her baby’s cries – if you’ve ever tried it and felt pangs of pain, you can see how much it goes against human nature to do this.

    But this happens because we live in a weird world where we are already going against human nature – we don’t support moms and the raising of babies. There’s a reason for the saying “It takes a village…” IT DOES. We expect one person (with maybe some help from Dad) to do it all – 24/7 – and that’s what’s unnatural. And it leads them to do very unnatural things – like ignore their babies.

    Since we have such a messed up culture, we end up with messed up practices like letting our children cry without comfort and crazy blogs like this one where you come up with all sorts of reasons to justify going against common sense.

    Find a way to get help with raising your baby – don’t just stop caring for it. Sad sad sad.

    And btw- if a baby can’t put in their own pacifier – they need your help, not your “limits” – my God. “That’ll teach ’em to spit out his pacifier one more time…” I feel really bad for your children. I think you need to get back in touch with your maternal instinct… you are waaaaay off track, ma’am.

  5. Helen Sands says

    Dear Christina – It is exceedingly common for this age group to go through what you describe. This is by far, the most common age group I consult with. Between ages 3-6 months, baby is undergoing great physical and developmental change. This is usually the time when everything goes awry! You are not alone! I agree on so many levels, with almost all of the comments posted here and it has been very interesting reading everyone’s perspectives . Babies that are sleep deprived will often “appear” to be just fine in the daytime, however they really are usually very overtired and this can manifest into physical symptoms over time. Babies needs absolutely do have to be met and that is incredibly important but often, parents fall into “whatever works” to get baby off to sleep and unfortunately this usually ends up with the application of many different “aids” to get them off to sleep, eg, soothers, swings, Baby Bjorn’s, rockers, strollers, carseats, etc etc. If baby has one or all aids in place, baby doesn’t really learn how to go off to sleep himself. If baby is always placed into the crib asleep, he does not learn how to lull himself into dreamland, but is already there! Then he wakes a short time later, only to discover that he is not in Moms arms any longer and the nipple has gone from his mouth! Imagine how this feels to baby. So, teaching baby to sleep without crutches (or sleep associations) is the best route to take. All the best to all of you! Helen Sands

  6. Nicole says

    @Christina I’m so sorry you’re having a rough time. Quite honestly, I have never had a parent tell me their child’s personality changed except that they weren’t as cranky if they were tired. I’m not making it up. Of course, of the thousands of babies born every day, I only skim the surface of knowing anything about them, but I honestly have never had a parent come back and tell me anything negative in that way. I have had parents (me included) that did not have cry-it-out be a cure-all, though, and still had problems later, but nothing relating to the child’s personality in that way.

    There is a wide range of variations to cry-it-out, so please do review all your options. I can say that many parents fear their babies will cry all night, however, I have yet to see that happen. Usually the parents are pleasantly surprised. Not trying to push you into it if you aren’t ready, I’m just letting you know.

    I do hope you find a way to find some relief, soon! You all need sleep! Just like getting up every 2 hours isn’t easy on you, it’s not easy on her either! Good luck!

  7. christina says

    Reading your website is slowing pushing me in the direction to make a change in our family’s current sleep situation but we keep prolonging implementing a sleep plan. My daughter is 6.5 months and a SCREAMER. Soothing, patting, etc… just does not work. From 6 weeks to 4.5 months, i would nurse her to sleep and she would wake once at 3:30a.m, nurse and go back to sleep. She totally regressed at 4.5 months and my husband and I are exhausted and at our wit’s end. She now wakes every 1-2 hours and will no longer settle with rocking, singing, etc. She HAS to be nursed back to sleep. We want to try the ferber method but dont know if we can handling the wailing ( i honestly think she could cry all night)She has NEVER been a good napper and at 6.5 months is still swaddled at night. She cannot fall asleep unswaddled and seems to think access to her hands means play time. We don’t know where to start and I’m terrified that I will see a negative change in personality. She’s such a sweet baby during the day and I would never forgive myself if that changed because she felt like I neglected/abandoned her. BUT WE ARE SO TIRED!!! Have you met/spoken to many people whose children have changed after trying the ferber method?

  8. Nicole says

    @Emi Thank you for your additional perspective! You make some very good points! I do agree there could be a “right” way and a “wrong” way to allow your baby to cry to help them sleep. I disagree there is never a time to put their need for sleep above all else, though. At some point I do think we get in the way. For example, I’m sure in many cultures the use of a pacifier is unheard of and mothers sleep with baby, nursing all night if need be. But, when our culture uses pacifiers (and not all mothers nurse) and a parent must replace it 10 times per night, that is very disruptive to both parent and child. Of course, all of our situations are unique and we all must decide what course of action we are going to take and what works for someone else might not work for another.

    I do agree we adults have many sleep problems as well, but there is no way to know whether it’s due to co-sleeping, cry-it-out, both, or neither. My husband is a fantastic sleeper (falls asleep quickly and sleeps very well) and his mom never nursed and I’m quite sure both our parents allowed us to cry. I am not as fortunate as my husband to be a great sleeper (I take longer to fall asleep and wake sometimes with my mind running around haha) and my mom doesn’t remember having any sleep trouble with me. So, who knows? 🙂

    Thank you again for your comment and I appreciate the variety of perspectives!

    Nicoles last blog post..Baby Temperament and Sleep Series – Part 2

  9. Emi says

    @Laura- Thanks for your perspective. I agree with you that tribal cultures certainly don’t get everything right by any means. However when it comes to babies and sleep it seems a little strange that at least it seems like so many babies are so wakeful (not all, but many) that it seems to me that it would be a natural and normal thing then- not necessarily a problem to be fixed. So by putting them in another room (which again is something that richer cultures have the luxury of having) we are not doing something that is “natural” or that meets their needs as best we can. In terms of meeting babies needs when they are so young and cry, (babies that are held a lot tend to cry less) normally we are holding then and trying to soothe them. What I object to is leaving babies alone in a room to cry themselves to sleep no matter how long it takes. I do actually think that for many (and again not all because no one thing will affect all children the same way) it is damaging to some extent – how that shows up as an adult, or toddler may vary. I would not say that we (industrialized western culture) in general have particularly healthy sleep habits and I can’t help think that this might have something to do with it. I also think that the foundation for healthy relationships and the ability to develop loving and intimate relationships is tied to our needs being met to some extent as children. Again, I don’t think we are poster children for healthy relationships (romantic or friendships). Just look at the situation through a baby”s eyes- how are they interpreting the situation? I am not discounting a need to sleep – trust me I agree, I just think we place the problem at the wrong feet. It’s not a baby’s problem, its how industrialized society is set up to not really help and allow parents the rest they need during the day. If I could nap when I felt tired, not just when my daughter decides to nap and be able to have help when I need it, being sleep deprived at night would not be such a big deal. But, when you are the primary caregiver and don’t have a lot of help during the day, then sleep deprivation takes its toll.

  10. Nicole says

    @Laura Thank you for your perspective! I agree with you that we pick and choose what to compare against other cultures and there are things we would certainly not agree with in the same culture we might find things we do indeed agree with. Our culture is just that and it’s ever changing. And, I do believe our relationships are very complex with our children that pointing to any one thing isn’t going to prove very much. I do believe we all must find our own way to parent our children and what works for one isn’t going to work for another baby, even within the same family. My Dad certainly could not rely on the same techniques that worked for me to work for my brother. Thanks again for sharing!

    Nicoles last blog post..Baby Temperament and Sleep Series – Part 2