What every parent should know about Crying It Out
trying it out ...)
Author: Heidi Holvoet, PhD
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.
Crying it out (CIO) is loaded with extreme
from cruel to
the only way
to help baby sleep well. With all babies and parents
different, there is no unique answer. What counts is that you take YOUR
decision for YOUR baby after considering all your options.
parents find it very hard to hear their baby cry.
Our instincts tell us we should comfort a crying baby.
crying it out
is the single most common advice I see on parenting
forums online. Not to mention some pediatricians and sleep
it is so easy: you can advise to have baby cry it
any baby in any situation, without any effort.
At least, it's easy if you don't care about the possibly negative
impact on baby and parents, or don't worry about the short term effects
of the method.
Also more elaborate methods (ferber
method, baby wise,
controlled crying, sleep clinics ...) suggest sleep training through
cry it out. These are often supported by pediatricians and many parents
report success with them. They differ in how long they let baby cry,
and whether baby is left alone to cry or not.
Pros and cons of crying it out
Apart from the possibly harmful effects on baby's physical and mental
health as well as her parent's - traumatizing makes many babies sleep worse during and after a crying it out phase - an important practical problem with most cry it out methods is that it is
mostly a short
- even a simple cold, a surge of baby separation anxiety, teething or a
nightmare - is enough to stop her sleeping and can force you to go through the whole crying it
This can become a very serious sleep issue that may continue through childhood and even later on
as an adult.
I personally do not advise crying it out as I strongly believe it is not
right for the majority of families and
I experience daily that it is not necessary.
There are always other ways to
help a child sleep. The succesful techniques in No-Tears
Self Soothing prove this nicely.
These may require a bit more patience
but are definitely worth it: being able to sleep well and have a
positive attitude towards sleep is a valuable lesson your
child will benefit from throughout life.
About Baby Crying
There are so much
more advantages of not
letting your baby cry. To name
just two: we know from research that a baby who is quickly soothed from
crying in her first year, will cry
less in her second year.
comforted and feeling secure helps with bonding too, another
important development for baby to go through.
Both the less crying and the bonding are protecting mom and dad too.
Young moms are at risk of post
depression (baby blues).
deprivation is one risk factor, but a crying baby also influences mom's
mood a lot. Being able to comfort her baby (without being made to feel guilty!),
makes a mom feel
better. Bonding with baby
has a positive effect on mom as much as it
has on her baby.
Of course, no need to judge
any parent who takes the well-considered
decision to use a cry
it out method. Sleep deprivation, health concerns, family,
work and social life are all factors of life that influence how you
guide your child.
You know your baby, family and yourself and that makes you the person
who can decide what is best for your baby. As long as you
have considered the safety guidelines, having your baby cry to
make her sleep can be
And in some situations, especially in older babies, it can be a shortcut to more sleep.
Even if it may only be temporary, it can bring some very
welcome relief to sleep deprived parents.
Do check when
cry it out is clearly disadvised and when it can work.
If you want to avoid crying it out
Whichever your situation, if you're not convinced that cry it out is
right for you,
it's good to realize that there are always other ways
to help your baby sleep.
All tips and
on this site support a true no-tears approach that helps teach
your baby to sleep well consistently, and happily.
baby sleep through the night: the basics and specific help
for sleeping through
sleep problems: how to deal with colds, teething, ...
and guidance: helpful sleep info and "must-know" facts