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Do you let your baby cry it out at night?

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Letting Your Baby 'Cry It Out' Doesn't Make You a Bad Parent

Posted by Andrew Kardon on February 12, 2013 

Babies cry. It's a fact. Next to pooping and sleeping, it's what they do best.

Why they cry can be anyone's guess. They could be wet, hungry, tired, scared, confused, sick, or just need some attention. They can't talk yet, so crying is the closest thing to a language they have.

For the most part, it works. You hear your baby cry, you quickly try to figure out what's wrong and rectify the problem. Crying baby = bad. That's what we're instinctively taught.

But at what point do we stop listening to our instincts? When babies cry all night long unless you're holding them, should you be comforting them or do you need to give them some tough love?

When our oldest son was a baby, he was a terrible sleeper. I'd easily give him an F. My wife was very into breastfeeding so she'd end up nursing him almost the entire night. We'd put him in his crib and maybe he'd last an hour. Things got so bad at one point that he literally woke up every 45 minutes. That's just not healthy for anyone.

The baby would be tired and cranky. My wife would be beyond exhausted the next day, which doesn't do her or the baby any good. And I'd be wiped too as I headed off to work. Though at least I could pass out under my desk when the boss wasn't around.

No, something had to be done. And when my wife and I started discussing the Ferber Method, we knew it was time to give it a shot. Ferberizing involves putting your baby down for the night and letting him "cry it out." It's done slowly over a few nights.

I still remember that first night of just letting him wail for five minutes in his crib as my wife and I sat on the living room couch staring at each other. Believe it or not, five minutes is an excruciatingly long time when you're listening to your child scream bloody murder.

As soon as the clock hit five minutes, my wife BOLTED down the hall to pick him up, comfort him, and put him back in the crib. Then we'd wait 10 minutes and repeat, adding five minutes on to each round. I think we got up to 30 minutes that first night before he finally fell asleep for good that night. It was certainly a long night.

The second night was slightly easier. It was still painful to sit there listening to him cry, but by the third and fourth night, we saw a massive improvement. He'd still cry but only for about five or ten minutes and then fall asleep. We were shocked. It actually worked.

Now it wasn't a perfect science and he didn't magically just sleep through the night from that moment on. But going from waking up every 45 minutes to falling asleep in 10 minutes and sleeping for a few hours at a time was a big win in our book!

Ferberizing truly taught us the phrase, "This will hurt me more than it will hurt you." It was extremely hard to do -- you need incredible patience and a strong will not to run into your baby's room the second he or she starts crying.

It may sound completely cruel on the surface. Your baby's crying and you're just ignoring him? He may think you've completely abandoned him, the poor thing. He could be terrified! Yeah, all that ran through our minds too. But we realized that letting your baby cry it out does not make you a bad parent.

If you run to your kids every single time they start crying and simply comfort them, how are they ever going to learn how to soothe themselves? Sure, every kid is different and will learn this on their own at their own pace. So it's up to you whether you want to try the cry it out method or not.

All I know is that when this kid becomes a teenager who sleeps until noon every weekend, I cannot wait to wake him up at 7 a.m. just for kicks.

Do you let your baby cry it out at night?

by on Feb. 12, 2013 at 3:36 PM
Replies (61-70):
by on Feb. 12, 2013 at 5:23 PM
Thank you.

Quoting Wonderwoman1432:

Awesome! I'm definitely a firm believer! here's a good website to check out. :) 

Quoting lovinglife0682:

Oh and I spent the last hour look into this philosophy. I really like it.

Quoting lovinglife0682:

This is something I can absolutely agree with. Thank you for describing in better.

Quoting Wonderwoman1432:

You can soothe your baby by being present while they cry in their crib (cry not scream) gently rub their cheeck and let them know that it's going to be okay. In that way you are helping them to understand their own rythm and that they don't need rocking or anything else in order to fall asleep.They don't have to be in your arms in order to soothe them. It's best to get them used to falling asleep on their own when they are infants to avoid problems later.

This is how I did it when I worked at the childcare facility....

Staff babies were the easiest because the company I worked for payed for us all to be trained in the R.I.E. philosophy and as we practiced it in our classrooms and began to see results so we carried that into our parenting.

Most of the babies started in my room when they were 6 weeks old. They were not old enough yet to become accustomed to any type of sleep routine be it rocking, swaddling, singing etc. etc. So when I noticed them rubbing their eyes or crying their tired cry I would let them know I was going to pick them up and place them in their crib so that they could nap. I would wait until they calmed down before I placed them in their crib and if they continued to fuss...I would stay by their side and calmly talk to them. Eventually they would stop crying and go to after day I would do this and eventually they learned the routine. That when they got tired I would put them in their crib to fall asleep.

When I got older infants new to the program it was a different story. They were used to however mom put them to sleep and it was my job first to gain their trust and second to make them feel comfortable seeing as daycare can be a scary place for a baby or child. I would put them to sleep however mom had gotten them used to going to sleep and then I would slowly ween them off of that need. If mom rocks baby to sleep every night, that is what baby will want and feel they need. Infants really don't need to be rocked or anything like that. Instead they need to understand that when they are tired the natural and best  thing to do is to fall asleep.

As parents we do all sorts of things that are well intentioned but aren't necessarily the best for our children.

One example is interfering in our child's learning process like their conflicts with other children...trying to "teach them" when the best thing to do is to guide them. I could go on and on and on...

I honestly would have thought the cio method was a load of cr*p too if I hadn't seen the results first hand and had so much training in child development.

What I don't believe in is just letting your baby cry for hours and hours and ignoring it...there is a point when you have to step in...too much emotional stress can be damaging to an infants brain and psyche.



Quoting lovinglife0682:

While there are good parts of the philosophy we have since learned through research that babies learn to self- sooth by being soothed by their parents.

Quoting Wonderwoman1432:

This is another case of mothers judging a parenting practice they really know nothing about and haven't tried out fully. I worked with infants practicing a philosophy called R.I.E. all the babies in my classroom went to sleep on their own without crying, played for hours without needing me, and interacted with the other babies without needing much interference from me. Babies come to think they need whatever they become accustomed to. If they become accustomed to going to sleep on their own then they will go to sleep on their own.




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by Mrs. Tennant on Feb. 12, 2013 at 5:23 PM
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by Anonymous 7 on Feb. 12, 2013 at 5:24 PM

if baby is over 3mths old and is not sleeping through the night. than yes i would leave baby to cry - checking on baby quietly and quickly. 

but never ever remove that baby from the crib in the night time if they are crying. Lay baby back down, and leave quickly. No talking no nothing. 

by on Feb. 12, 2013 at 5:27 PM
They have to learn to self-sooth at some point. Kids are WAAAAY too coddled these days, IMO.
I may be bashed for saying that, but I don't care. After a certain point, cio is just fine. Not all the time, of course, but occasionally.
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by Silver Member on Feb. 12, 2013 at 5:29 PM

Ummm, no. First, I was very lucky, my kids all slept 3-4 hour stretches from day 1, so I never had to try anything. Unless they were sick, they slept fine. Secondly, it just sounds like a mean thing to do. We don't give birth to mini adults, but babies!

by on Feb. 12, 2013 at 5:31 PM

No. I never needed to though. We co-slept and weaned them in to their own rooms at 11 months old. Never had a single crying night from either of them.

by on Feb. 12, 2013 at 5:39 PM

No. And it does make you a shit parent IMO. That baby is dependent on you and you're basically saying, "Not my problem, I don't care, I care more about myself and my own comfort or pleasure than your needs" when you ignore its cries.

by on Feb. 12, 2013 at 5:42 PM
1 mom liked this

 No way!  I get up and see what they need.  I would feel too bad.  I can't just sit there and let them cry.  I love them too much!

by on Feb. 12, 2013 at 5:42 PM

No, never, not with any of them.

by All the makeup on Feb. 12, 2013 at 5:44 PM
I bed share with dd. She fusses sometimes when she doesn't want to sleep but rarely cries. I tried cio and I couldn't do it. This was just easier and I honestly like sleeping with her over my snoring dh!
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