Cry it out: the real reason for avoiding it when helping your baby sleep
by Heidi Holvoet

Never to cry it out baby with arm to the side

Cry it out as a baby sleep method isn’t great for your baby. It can negatively affect parent-baby bonding, destroy trust, hamper healthy sleep development and cause brain damage due to toxic stress.

To top it off, for many families, results from any form of crying it out are short-term only. 

Lots of parents find they need to do new CIO-cycles again and again whenever a sleep regression comes up. And many report that it seems to get less and less effective (more and more crying). And the question remains what a baby will have learned from it.

The thing is, each of those are good reasons to avoid crying it out and I hold them close to my heart. But they’re not THE reason: if you feel that CIO is right for you and your baby, I’m not here to try and change your mind.

Because that’s where we find the real reason not to do cry it out. It’s all about how it makes YOU feel.

What feels right, is right (but not only because it feels right!)

If you don’t want to have your baby crying all alone.

If the thought of your baby being upset, alone, and feeling you’ll never come makes you feel horrible.

If it breaks your heart even when you’re exhausted and everyone is telling you to try crying it out.

If it’s just not your parenting style.

What you feel is right, and that alone is reason enough, and THE reason not to have your baby cry it out.

Baby girl giving mommy a kiss

But it’s about more than the way it feels. The fact that it feels right means that it aligns with your instincts. And I know, you may not trust your motherly instinct too much right now but you really should. It’s rarely wrong, even if you feel unsure about it. 

And then there’s also the unmistakable power of being truly convinced of something. 

Because no parenting approach ever works if you’re not 100% behind it. And when you allow yourself to do exactly what feels right, what your instincts tell you: that’s when the magic happens.

Because you want your baby to learn to sleep well. Not just for one nap or night, but for a lifetime of healthy sleep. And it’s possible, very doable even, with effective, no-tears sleep techniques and within a holistic approach.

So please know that you never ever have to let your baby cry if you don’t want to. And that he or she will still learn to sleep well: better even, and that the trust and respect between you will stay high as ever.

If that’s you and how you want to help your baby sleep: you’ve come to the perfect place! 🤗

Sleeping well without tears is at the heart of all the work I share here on One example is how I tackle hourly wakings: it starts with solving the causes for the waking. With that, the no-tears sleep techniques become even more powerful.

What are your thoughts? How do you feel about cry it out, or CIO, methods? Have you ever felt pressured into trying it even though you did not feel 100% convinced?

Write a comment with your thoughts below!

With so much love,
x Heidi

P.S. If you’d like more info about the toxic stress I mentioned in the intro, you might find these resources by the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University helpful: Toxic Stress Derails Healthy Development (Youtube video) and Pediatricians Take On Toxic Stress.

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