Important: the goal of this page is to offer general information on alternative approaches. Heidi's approach differs from this one, and she does not support any form of crying it out.
When is Cry It Out not safe at all? Does it ever actually make sense? At what age? In which situation?
It Out methods, sometimes called
are not safe for newborn, young or sick babies and
successful at that age. On the other hand, there are very specific situations
where you could
consider it (in my opinion only if other methods are bothering rather than helping, see example below).
Having looked at the
and con's of crying it out
, you may decide
to giveÂ baby sleep training a try. To make the most
check the two
: when is crying it out a clear no-no and
it actually work.
When is Cry It Out a no-no
Sleep training your baby with a
It Out method will not work and may even be harmful
your baby when:
Your baby is a newborn (!!)
Your baby is under 6 to 12 months, depending on
maturity (see below)
Your baby is ill, whether seriously or just
having a cold or teething - read the
pages for help
You know your baby is in pain, is afraid or
Your doctor has disadvised crying it our for
You, as a parent, feel lightly or seriously
depressed (post natal depression/baby blues)
You don't believe the crying will
help your baby sleep better
The reason for
trying letting young babies cry to sleep
- apart from they
not strong enough mentally and physically - is that before six months
their sleep patterns are just not mature enough to be
Erratic as they may seem, the
of baby sleep patterns
is crucial for your baby to reach good
sleep habits. In this case it is not
sooner the better
Allowing the natural sleep patterns to develop, with guidance but
without forcing, is most effective.
When could cry it out work?
At 2 years old, I
realized that my daughter was not settling at bedtime, for no 'legit' reason at all. She was totally fine,
did not need night feeds anymore and had learnt to soothe herself to
sleep quite well since she was eight months old.
suddenly refused to go to bed and we spent hours before she would
settle down for the night. It was so clear to me that our presence actually made things worse. I was so certain of that, that I decided to let her 'figure it out' one bedtime
(hoping she wouldn't cry much!).
I made clear rules about bedtime and routine, gave her all the hugs and
attention in the world. But I was firm: time for bed meant quiet time
in her bed.
I think my determination must have been clear: she only fussed a bit
the first night and then went to bed with a smile every night after
This is a situation
crying it out could be an option to consider
When your baby is old enough and
that she's not crying because she's afraid, in pain or
It can be a very thin line between just being cranky or over-helped and
really having a problem. But as a parent, follow your instincts to
decide when and if crying it out is right for
before cry it out
, you will want to have
A baby sleep schedule
A safe sleep environment
rules about when and where baby is sleeping.
Without these, you can't really expect your baby to sleep well.
Heidi Holvoet, PhD, is the founder of the Baby Sleep Advice website and movement, an award-winning author, baby & toddler sleep consultant with 14+ years experience as well as a certified lactation counselor.
Over the years, Heidi has received several awards inluding a Mom's Choice Award (MCA) and National Parenting Awards (NAPPA) for her Baby Sleep Advice website, programs and books.
She is also a member of the Association of Professional Sleep Consultants of which she was one of the earliest contributors. She obtained her PhD degree in physics at the University of Ghent in Belgium.
Heidi is passionate about helping babies and their parents sleep more and better, with her trademark approach that has been proven and praised time and again by parents worldwide to be effective and truly no-tears. Respect for you as a parent and your baby, is at the heart of Heidi's warm and kind support. Her approach always keeps in mind a baby's needs and abilities at any given age, is based on pediatric science and the most up to date knowledge in infant care and sleep science.