• http://blogs.salon.com/0002504 AnitaBonita

    We used Pantley’s No Cry Sleep Solution. It has mostly worked. We went from waking up every hour to sleeping 11 hours in just a few days.

    Of course, then came teething and colds, etc. etc. and we’ve had to go back to the process using the No Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers.

    The whole cry it out thing is a landmine.

    However, my new belief is that sleeping is a born trait; either they sleep well or they don’t. And then parents have to decide how to handle the situation if they don’t sleep well.

    We opted for the No Cry Method. Good friends have opted for the CIO method. We all have healthy children.

  • http://www.bedlam911.blogspot.com/ Haiku Girl

    I wish I had the strength to Ferberize. My mom, who is a THERAPIST, said I would forever traumatize my children if I didn’t run right into them when they cried. That they were learning to trust that their needs were being met when they were babies and that if I let them cry it out it would numb them to the world. Do I think this is true? Hell no – I just am susceptible to guilt, when it involves my mom. My kids each seemed to have a different sleeping temperament. Baby #1 wanted to nurse 2-3 hours around the clock for 6 months; two babies that followed went down without a peep. Seemed like part of their personality to me. Wish my hero Jo Frost had been on TV then – I recently took her counsel to help me get my son out of our bed by bringing him back to his bed over and over until he finally gave up – it worked in 3 nites. I’m now, after 5 years of sucky sleep, getting at least 6 hours at a stretch.
    She’s my savior.

  • http://rosiejoshandashton.blogspot.com rch7279

    My now 14 month old son sleeps 12-14 hours a night with usually 3 hours of napping during the day. I know that I am extremely lucky. I had the same pacifier problem that you did in the beginning. When Ashton (my son) was 4 months old he started rolling over really really well. There was no way to keep him sleeping on his back, he could amost sit up on his own and any attempt to get him sleeping on his back he would just roll over in a few minutes. Once he started this and sleeping on his stomach often he slept through the night from about 6 months on.

    Part of me wishes that I did take away his pacifier then and tough it through the rough nights. He has gotten old enough now that he doesn’t at all need it but instead is emotionally attached to them. I need to get him off of that but I feel so bad doing it. He loves them.

    Every baby is different, I can’t complain about Ashton’s habbits.

    The one and only baby book that I live by – my baby bible is called “The Happiest Baby on the Block”. The techniques in this got him to sleep withing 3 minutes until he was old enough to fall asleep on his own. I would recommend it to anyone.

  • http://www.esmon.net Nichole

    Twelve hours?! I didn’t realize that was possible. My seven-month-old sleeps from about 8pm-4am, then about 4:30-6:30. We’ve tried the let-her-cry method to cut out that 4am wakeup, but one of us always caves in. This post was encouraging; maybe we’ll try it again. I have found, though, that teary-eyed pleas do not work on babies. But I’m sure I’ll be trying that again, too.

  • ChrisBL

    My son is 1 year old and has been sleeping through the night since he was 9 weeks. I read the Weissbluth book, too, but was very lucky not to have to get to the “cry it out” stage. But from the time he was a few weeks old, I followed to the minute Weissbluth’s advice of getting the baby to sleep after he had been awake for two hours — and getting the baby to bed on time. He just seemed to progress naturally from there; as his alert time got longer, so did his naps. (And when he hit that stage of getting up in the middle of the night at about 4-5 months, we worked to soothe him back to sleep instead of feeding him.) Now he sleeps 11 hours overnight with two two-hour naps. We have worked very hard to respect his bedtime, and it has paid off.

  • ksquared

    My oldest slept with us until he was almost two. Then we did CIO and he is a great sleeper and a healthy, happy, confident, smart, sweet little boy. He will be 7 in July.

    We learned our lesson the second time. Our daughter didn’t spend a minute in our bed at all. She was put in her baby bed when she started showing sleepy signs. She is an exceptional sleeper now. We didn’t have to do CIO with her because we never set up a situation where CIO was needed. She is 4 now and goes to sleep in her twin bed in her own room at 8 p.m. and happily gets up at 7 a.m., ready to go to preschool.

    And it’s pure poppycock that CIO children aren’t happy and trusting and all that. It’s just garbage (responding to posters above me, not to Dooce).

  • letajoy

    I read one sleep book and it made me feel like the worst mother on the face of the planet, so I said the hell with sleep books, we’ll just do what works for us. We were sooooooooo lucky. Our daughter slept what I considered “through the night” for an infant at 2 weeks. She would usually get up about 4 or 5 am, nurse and go back to sleep for a few more hours. We had bad nights where she was up every few hours, or wouldn’t go back to sleep. But for the most part I nursed her to sleep and later on one of us rocked her to sleep. The negative was, she didn’t take a daytime nap until she was 6 months old. She would only nap in the swing or if I was holding her.

    This worked until she was about 1. Then she started staying up later and later, and one of us was up until about 10 or 11 with her. That summer I was working part-time and decided when I was done working we would sleep train. But my husband and I were worn out, so we decided to go ahead and give it a try. She was 13 months old. The first night she cried about 5 minutes, the second night about 3 minutes, the third night 2 minutes. By the fifth night she wasn’t making a whimper. We were so prepared for it to be absolutely horrible that we couldn’t believe how great she did. Now she is 21 months. She goes to bed at 8:30 pm and usually sleeps until about 8:00 am and takes a 2 hour afternoon nap. She will tell us “nap” when she is tired. It is unbelievable.

    We have always used a small fan for white noise and towels over the windows for darkness.

    You always tell it how it is, Heather. Its one of the many reasons I read your blog. Keep putting the truth out there.

  • MeganCA

    I did what I had to do. Everyone is different and everyone has a different tolerance level for sleeplessness, tantrumming, whatever. I’m sure if I had to do it again I would do some things differently but I can’t, so I occasionally relive moments and beat myself up about it but then I do something that works well and I feel like super parent. My kids are good sleepers (3 yr old twins that sleep 11 hours a night and take 2 hour naps) and I can’t recall exactly what I did to get them to be that way, but I remember my pediatrician telling be that letting my children fall asleep on their own was the best thing I could do for them. I’m getting a lot of good ideas from reading comments posted and I feel an affinity with the community you’ve created here. Thanks.

  • http://lifeandtimesofchantel.blogspot.com Chantel

    My children are now teen-agers and thanks, (I know I don’t look a day over 25)..
    Anyway. I was a single mother of two very young children. They were only 15 or 16 months apart, I barely remember those days. From day one the kids had to accomodate my schedule. I had to to back to work two weeks after they were born so I still had to get up at the crack of dawn, feed them, bathe them and get myself ready for work. I will admit after a couple of weeks they were totally cooperative.
    They went to bed at the same time every night, I fed them and changed them and they were put to bed. The only time I went in is if they were crying, if all checked out then I left again. The first few months were a bit rough because I was a new mom and I thought I was harming my children but there was no way I could take care of them if I never slept or If I died because I fell asleep at the wheel on my way home from work.
    As they grew older they knew that Mommy’s bed was off limits. Sleeping with mommy was a treat like ice cream but it was not a refuge for scared, crying or sick children. There was no television or radios in bedrooms either; bedroom were for sleeping or playing only. There were a few times that they were scared and I found them asleep on the floor next to my bed but because of the boundaries I set early on I was able to get some sleep. I simply did not negotiate, ever! and there were rare occurances when the boundaries could be broken.
    Like now when they come in willingly and want to talk – I can’t beleive my teen-agers still talk to me.

  • noodlebugs

    to clarify: I never said Heather said her way was superior. She was respectful and tactful, and asked for others methods-which shows she is open to other options.

    But there are comments to the point of that this is the only way cause it’s what worked for me. Or, hooray that this worked for you, it will also work for me, can’t wait to try it, thanks for saying that I’m ok for doing it. Heather, while really cool, is no baby expert, I doubt even she’d say she is. It just doesn’t make sense to parent based on what works for someone else.

    No one single method is going to work for every child. That is why you have to do the research, try different things, really think about what you are doing and the short and long term effects of it.

    ****FOR ME****, there IS something wrong with letting my baby cry. Crying is her means of talking, and by not responding to her cry, I am essentially telling her i do not care what she is trying to tell me. That what she is telling me is not important, that my own needs/wants are more important. FOR ME, 12 months is too young for her to be told that. I want her to understand that, although there are limits (and yes, there really are), I am going to listen and respond to her. Even if she is telling me that she is too scared or lonely to be left alone in her bed. Am I supposed to tell her “tough cookies, kiddo. You’re going to have to suck it up and get over it because I am tired!” I can be tired for a few weeks. In the span of her life, what’s a few weeks (even 52) if it means that she learns can come to me with her needs and they won’t be ignored?

    oh, and fwiw…we don’t even have a family bed. never have. We aren’t THAT AP.

  • http://alithinks.typepad.com Alison

    You are right about the blocking mechanism that leads us parents to the “fuzziness of memory.” My kids are now 8 and almost 11, and I can’t really remember how we got them to sleep through the night.

    I just want to tell all the new/expecting parents out there that every baby is different. You just have to do what is right for your baby and your situation.

    And if things are bad, just know that it does get better.

  • http://trancejen.diaryland.com TranceJen

    My son was up literally every twenty minutes for the first month of his life. I had to stop breastfeeding after a month because I wasn’t producing enough milk, and that solved most of the problem, but even after switching to formula, he woke up very frequently because he was constantly starving. This kid could suck down a bottle like you would not believe!

    My pediatrician told me, “An infant with a full stomach will sleep.” When my son was three months old, he had me start him on cereal, and the child has slept twelve hours per night ever since. No crying, no drama, just zonk.

    Bliss, I tell you.

  • rachel Bowser

    i predict you get 7 gabrillion comments on this post, because the thing about trauma, psychoanalytically speaking, is that it begs for the presence of a witness. and there is nothing untraumatic about getting yoru child to sleep at night.
    we more or less let our duaghter scream it out too. our problem was less frequent wakings (at first) and more waking as soon as we put her down in her crib, and requiring 3 hours opf attention before she settled in for the night. once she figured out how to put herself to sleep, THEN she started waking all night. we also did the gradual time extension thing, and I probably only started the process because of all the guarantees that it would work itself out in 3-ish days. 22 motherfucking days later, our daughter slept for 10 consecutive hours. that was around 6 months old. now (8 months) she sleeps anywhere from 9-12 a night, btu naps are real spotty. she is, by all accounts, a totally lovely infant.

    i’ve recently decided one of the reasons that process was so hard was that so much of the lessons of new parenting are about trusting your instincts. and for better or worse, when i listened to my daughter scream, i had to suppress every instinct i had to rush in and scoop her up.

  • Andrea

    Don’t have any kids of my own, and my parents don’t seem to complain too much about my sister and me. However, I’m sure horror stories will come out of the closet once I have my own kids. I know for a fact that my sister and I were not the best of sleepers. Heck, I wasn’t a good sleeper until I was in college (and I’m still not perfect), and I think my sister still has problems.

    Anyway, I think my parents just didn’t take any crap from us. If we needed to come in and sleep with them, we had to sit outside their door and scratch on it (just a little bit, as my mom was a light sleeper) so they would let us in. I know there were some nights when we just fell asleep at their door, and other nights when we went back to bed because they didn’t get up and hanging out in the dark hallway was just too scary! Having a fish tank in our bedroom was a nice touch, so that we could watch it if we wern’t able to fall asleep. I do remember (at 4 or 5) watching the fishtank until the sun came up.

    My parents also found that playing music at night helped. For a while there we often went to sleep to the sound of whales. Of course, the side effect of that was that I had issues sleeping without music (unless it was completely silent, which it never was), and so I wound up sleeping with a discman until I moved in with my boyfriend (and then had to adjust to sleeping with someone else in the bed, who always seemed to move JUST as I was about to fall asleep).

  • Phoebe

    I wish I had read this method when my son was a baby. He would wake up crying every night at 3 AM for no particular reason and did this until he was two and a half years old. I never thought to try to do something to stop this (I was 17 when I had him so I didn’t really know much of anything!!).

    The night that he stopped was when I was so tired I put my second pillow over my ears hoping that he would just stop crying, which he did, 20 minutes later. He slept through from that night on.

    He is now turning 15 years of age and he has since been a great sleeper and never fought me when it was bed time and now tells me between 8-9 PM every night that he is tired and going to bed. It shocks me that he doesn’t try to stay up later, but I should count my blessings. In October I will be having my second child and my husbands first(what the hell am I thinking!!). I will have to keep the books you mentioned in mind and this technique!! Thanks :-)

  • tk

    You so did the right thing. It’s hard to do but definitely is the way to go.

    I remember when my boss and his wife had their first one. He kept coming in to the office and complaining about how tired he was. I asked him if the baby was crying alot at night. He said “no, he just does not go to sleep”. His diaper was fine, he was fed, he just wouldn’t go down. I told him that as long as baby’s clean and dry and safe, just go to sleep and he’ll eventually go to sleep too – otherwise that baby will figure out that you guys are total suckers and then you are totally screwed. Well, he did not take my advice, and they were totally screwed. Even when the kid was more than a year old he would not sleep through the night…

    There’s nothing wrong with litting the baby cry. As long as they are clean, dry, fed and in a safe place, let them “vocalize” as they need to and they will eventually get tired of it and fall asleep. It works.

    Anyway…. glad you shared and kept comments open.

    LOVE the new haircut! Looks absolutely fabulous on you. And those photoshopped kids books were hilarious.

  • http://www.hippestkid.com/ Be Still

    I used a co-sleeper crib next to our bed. I’d had a caesarian and developed anemia from a surgical complication. So getting out of bed was pretty much out of the question.

    When our little guy would wake up, I’d just scoop him into bed with us and nurse him. Many times we’d just fall back to sleep together.

    We started putting him down in his crib when he began creeping and crawling. By then, the feedings were down to one or two a night. If he cried at night, I’d just go get him and bring him to bed with us. Every family is different but we didn’t mind him sleeping in our bed. Hell, our dogs were already in there too!

    Now that he can get out of his crib, we’ve moved his mattress onto the floor of our room and are currently teaching him the concept of the “Big Boy Bed”. If he rolls out, he’s only 5 inches off the floor. If he gets scared, he just crawls in with us. We’ll eventually move him back to his own room once he masters this stage. I certain that he’ll be sleeping in his own room sometime before he turns 13!

    I have learned that some women aren’t secure with their choices. Parenting styles that differ from theirs are perceived as some kind of threat.

    As such, I pretty much avoid talking about my parenting choices with casual acquaintances unless pressed or in “safe” company.

  • http://www.thelazywife.com Lazy Wife

    Let’s see, who else sleeps 12 hours a night plus a two hour nap during the day???? Oh, wait….ME!! Your child gives me hope that my own spawn will inheirit my slumbering habits!

    After all this is the season of hope!!

  • Lora

    My son (now 4) has always been a great sleeper…we were very lucky! He had a pacifier but, although he needed it to fall asleep, he didn’t seem to notice when it fell out of his mouth at night. It was harder to get him not to use it all day, every day, right up until he was 2+ years old and I finally cut the nipples off them. Once he was cognizant of a routine, as long as he had his “mok” (the same word he used for milk) and a baby washcloth in each hand he was happy. He always slept 11-12 hours a night and, until he was just over 3, he took a 3-4 hour nap every afternoon. Oh, how I miss the naps! He still sleeps about 11 hours a night and I can definitely tell when he’s not getting enough rest. He has allergies and before we knew that and started him on medication he wasn’t resting very well and those were some terribly grumpy weeks. I think the biggest factor in our success was having a definite schedule and sticking to it, no matter what. He sleeps so well because he knows what to expect…the same bedtime every night, the same routine – and we rarely vary it, even if it means leaving parties or cutting short a road trip so we can check into a hotel and put him to bed. I’m so thankful for his schedule when I hear friends of mine talk about how their kids never want to go to bed, stay in bed – what do they expect?

  • http://biggaysam.com Sam Merrill

    You know. I’ve read and reread this post and I can’t find one instance where Heather claims her method was superior to any other. She clearly stated that this is what worked for her. Not every situation is the same. Not every child is the same. I’ve read through the comments and found parents that use different methods for different children. If Heather decides (heaven forbid) to have another child she may find that what worked for Leta may not work for her second child. Heather is intelligent enough to figure that out.

    My mother always said that child rearing is an ongoing learning process. A learning process without textbooks or cliff notes. Everyone is winging it. So, to me, the general consensus is that there are several methods and they all work depending on the child. Just like a toolbox you have to find the right tool for the right job.

    Another thing. Reading through the comments it seems there has been a controversy raging over the different methods. So far it seems nothing has been resolved regarding which method is better. That being said, why is it important to bring that argument here?

    It’s just common sense folks.

  • Galatae

    If only you had war stories about how to get the toddler out of the crib… talk about a land mine issue.

  • http://kassig.squarespace.com/ Kassi Gilbert

    I’d also like to add for those that do not agree in letting your child “cry it out”…as long as the child isn’t hurt, then I think that this is the only viable, and healthy way to go…for the parents and the baby. What people who are against this are failing to realize is that in order to be fully functioning and effective parents…we need our sleep. Otherwise, the stress is likely to target the children in one form or another. I think that ‘crying it out’ is a much better alternative…and a good nights sleep makes all the difference in the world on how you view your role as a parent.

  • http://www.periferal.com Periferal

    Oh god, the sleep issue. What parent hasn’t thought long and hard about it?

    I had no idea what I was getting into when I had Finn. The hardest and worst part was the sleep issue and no book prepared us. I figured we’d be up a few times a night for a month or so, then he’d start sleeping and life would go on.

    Boy, was I in for the biggest shock of parenthood.

    Finn was up every 1-2 hours in the beginning. I read “The No Cry Sleep Solution” and told myself it would be over soon and I could handle answering his cries. Fast forward three months; same no-sleep schedule. The lack-of-sleep was making me crazy! I never had more than four hours of sleep in a row. I decided to branch out and read “Healthy Sleep Habits” and “The Baby Whisperer”. I created a hybrid meathod of letting him cry sometimes and going to him when I thought he was hungry.

    Of course that just made it worse.

    When we finally decided to bite the bullet and let him cry, he cried for ten minutes and fell asleep. He still wakes up once a night, but I’m willing to deal with it now that I’m getting at least EIGHT HOURS OF GLORIOUS SLEEP IN A ROW.

    You have to do what’s right for your family and I knew that I wasn’t a good mommy when I was resenting my baby for keeping me up all night.

  • http://deepinyoureyes.blogspot.com Jeff, the film prof

    We ferberized out son a little on the early side, around four months or so, I think. Oddly enough, he took to it RIGHT away and has been a relatively peaceful sleeper ever since. (That is, until last week, when he started waking up at 6:30am instead of 7:00am. Rather than worry about this, we realized that daylight savings time will bring him back to 7:00 on his own, heh heh. Good thing we don’t live in Indiana.)

  • http://www.paisleysea.blogspot.com paisleysea

    With our first we used a little bit of advice from the Dr. Weissbluth book, some co-sleeping and lots of time. Our second is a different story completely and even the duct tape and sedatives have not worked so well.

  • http://kassig.squarespace.com/ Kassi Gilbert

    My 9 year old daughter didn’t sleep through the night until she was 1 year old. I didn’t know about Ferber or anything like that. We were stationed in Japan, and pretty much away from anything “normal”. So I essentially decided that I would feed her before bed, and if she woke up in the middle of the night, wanting a comfort nip, I wouldn’t oblige. It was hard ignoring her crying, but eventually she learned that she had to wait…and it worked out okay.

  • Shaye

    We used essentially the same method with my now 6 yo son. I had watched both of my sisters try the co-sleeping method, and it didn’t really work out well for either of them so I decided to just put him in his own bed and anytime I went in to feed or change him at night I kept the lights dim, didn’t speak to him, and just took care of his needs and left. Later on we had a few nights of crying it out, but it wasn’t more than a week, and it wasn’t bad because we started so early. I wish I had thought to put foil over the windows though. He has always been one to be up with the sun. That’s brilliant!

    I have to add that I think you are wonderful parents, and you should be proud of the job you’re doing. Leta will have a strong sense of who she is, won’t be afraid to be different, and will always know you’ve there for her if she falters. Bravo!

  • noodlebugs

    re: keeping the comments civilized.

    To Heather, yes. No one has attacked her.

    To those of us who don’t support the idea of CIO:
    “You do realize that Dr. Sears and his AP disciples have probably taken out a hit on you. They’re also probably studying every pro-CIO poster here and listing names.”

    As one of those people, I don’t consider that comment to be very civilized. It was not the only comment along those lines.

    I have been there. I’ve had a high-need baby who cried all day long and never napped. I CIO’d him. It tore my guts out, but it “worked”. He DID learn to sleep, but I am still not sure of the cost. He’s still high-need at six, and at four, we found out that he has sensory integration disorder. There was a reason he was so high-need, and that reason remained a need unmet.

    I tried CIO with number two. It did not work for him. The longer he cried, the more upset he got. He did not “extinguish”. Ultimatly, he and we survived just fine, and at 4 sleeps well and still takes naps several days a week. He is very well adjusted and independant. I don’t remember their being that much struggle over sleep once I gave up on CIO and just let him tell me what he needed.

    Now that I am on child #3, I have done a lot of research. CIO doesn’t make sense to me on a cerebral level anymore–and I used to argue with my AP friends FOR it. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as AP with my first son–but then I read about it, and it makes sense to me. I think that babies have needs to be met. The time to teach independance comes later. My dd is now 1. We are slowly working toward sleeping through the night and we are all very comfortable with the pace. None of us are crying.

    More then CIO, i think the key is not to let them get into the habit of falling asleep at the breast.

    Thanks to blogger101 for being braver then I. THank you for your voice of respectful dissent. I’m a chicken.

    And, btw, AP is not a “new and modern” thought. It’s how babies were raised many generations ago, and still are in more primitive areas of the world. Do ya’ll think that there are babies CIO in the rainforest tribes? Somehow, I just don’t see it.

    Just because your mom did something and you “turned out ok” doesn’t mean it’s the only way.

    I think parenting is a journey. Often with your first, you revert to the only thing you know–how you yourself were raised. What’s important is that as a parent you continue to try to learn and develop your own ideas and find what fits best for you and your children. Make your own choices, but make them educated ones. If you are doing the research then more power to ya. If CIO makes more sense then a more AP approach, I am not going to be throwing any stones. But I’ll shine up my slingshot for someone who has not researched all angles, brags their way is the only way, and knocks down ppl on the other side.

    Don’t do drive bys on ppl who think/parent differently. Even if they are AP Sears disciples.

  • http://spoonfighter.com spoonfighter.com

    My wife is about to squeeze out our first child and I have to say that I’m *extremely* disappointed that you Parents-Who-Have-Gone-Before have failed to develop a consensus on how to get babies to sleep. It seems grossly unfair that I, having wisely held off having children for the first 10,000 years of recorded human history, should be in no better position than a Cave Daddy in 8000 BCE. Shame!

  • amy

    Wow, kudos to you on your bravery. As a mom-to-be I appreciate it so much when people share their honest experiences about parenthood.

    I’ve read the Weissbluth book and the Baby Whisperer book and a couple of others. I don’t buy into Attachment Parenting but I did read those books just to get that perspective – as I thought, it went counter to everything I know about kids from years of babysitting and nannying, so we won’t be using any of those methods.

    I appreciate that many people think cosleeping is a great thing but the experiences I’ve seen with it aren’t positive. My aunt started out cosleeping with my cousin from birth. Seven years later, my cousin still sleeps with my aunt and uncle. My cousin has a bedroom, done up with pretty pink paint and a canopy bed and all kinds of neat girly things, that she only goes into to play. Not only does she HAVE to sleep with my aunt and uncle, she HAS to have the lights and TV on, or she can’t sleep. From minute 1 my aunt felt like the main thing was to make sure my cousin didn’t have to cry to get to sleep, and you can see where that’s gotten them now. Basically everyone in the family gets crappy-quality sleep because my cousin never learned good sleep habits or how to self-soothe. If they attempt to turn the lights or TV off at night, my cousin sits straight up in their bed and SCREAMS until they turn everything back on. She’s SEVEN. I can just see it in 10 years, when she tries to explain to her freshman roommate that no, the TV and lights cannot go off, EVER.

    My little munchkin will be here in about another 4 months and my husband and I have already vowed to follow the Baby Whisperer’s advice to “start out how you mean to go on” and follow HSH-HC and the Baby Whisperer’s recommendations from the beginning so we don’t end up having to deal with breaking bad sleep habits later. People can say what they want about CIO – it’s cruel, it traumatizes kids, etc. etc. but here’s what I’ve determined, after reading about a zillion sleep books:
    - Most child development experts recommend some version of CIO if a child can’t learn self-soothing on their own. There are only a couple of people who say CIO is horrible and their academic credentials really don’t make extensive reading, compared to Weissbluth, Ferber, Brazelton et. al. who recommend CIO or modified CIO.
    - Almost everyone I know was put to sleep using CIO because for a really long time, that was the only method parents knew. Most people I know are happy, functional adults and don’t seem to have buried trauma memories of being made to cry to sleep.
    - CIO works for a lot of kids for whom nothing else works. This I know from experience. You can try shushing, rocking, nursing, white noise, etc. until you’re blue in the face and exhausted, but for some kids, CIO is the only way they will learn to sleep. And it is very important for kids to learn to sleep, for their own health and the health of the family. When mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy and I don’t know many mothers who are at peak functioning after a year or more of broken and poor sleep. Yes, it’s important for kids to feel happy and secure but it’s also important for parents to feel they are rested enough to be able to parent and work to the best of their ability to support the family and keep things running.

    So bravo, Heather, for sharing your experiences so candidly. Not that you need anyone’s validation or approval, but you are an inspiration to many because of the obviously wonderful job you’re doing with your daughter and I really appreciate your honesty and willingness to share your experience.

  • Chair

    At the advice of another Mommy Blogger and good friend Ada, I went with the ‘Healthy Sleep Habits…’ book.
    My daughter was colicky and we had a number of issues with her sleeping and I was always concerned that it was her colic bugging her so I was hesitant to let her scream -it seemed so incredibly cruel and I hated myself. But once she was 7 months old and seemed to be over the worst of the colic, I forced myself to endure her screams and after a week or so (The books say a few days: dirty liars, they are) it was over and she learned to ‘self soothe’. It was amazing how different she was -much calmer, happier, brighter.
    She’s now 17 months old and has learned to appreciate how wonderful sleep is, to the point of pointing at her crib and saying “eep!” in the middle of her stories if she’s tired and doesn’t want to bother with the routine. I can’t even begin to describe how awesome this is to me. She recognizes that she’s tired and she knows that sleep is a good thing.
    She sleeps 12-14 hours through the night and has a 2-3 hour nap every afternoon.

  • http://li57RFTV3lxNqPXOyaFU ninas3boys

    Um, we don’t really sleep. Still now even.
    We have 3 boys- 11yo, 3yo, and 15 months. With each we tried numerous things, none worked.
    None of them are great sleepers, even still now with my 11yo, he is wrestles.
    Granted, the let ‘em cry route was one we did not take. I don’t know why really, I have no problems with this solution. Maybe we just felt we’d lose less sleep to get up for 5 minutes & make a bottle (or offer the boob in the 11yo’s case) than to listen to them screaming. I suppose I could have taken 2 weeks vacation to try the method, but I suppose I saved that for when they were sick (haven’t had a REAL vacation since the 1st was born).
    I give you & anyone who is successful with this method big credit. Too late for us now; I assume they won’t be good sleepers until they themselves have 3 children who wear them ragged.
    Or again, as my mother likes to point out, this is my punishment for living in a house with 4 penises.

  • Susan D.

    Amen, Sister!

    I survived 9 months of feeding every 3 hours with my first child. At almost 2 1/2 he still cries every night before falling to sleep. He doesn’t cry long, and he sleeps until 7:30 each morning. (Probably longer if I’d foil his windows. Genius!!)

    My second child is just 5 months old. I’ve begun having “the talk” with him (sleep is your friend! go to sleep!) – and as soon as we get the pedi’s OK at our 6 month appointment I’m going to introduce him to my friend Dr. Ferber.

    Thank you for having the courage to say what the rest of us wish we could. My first son cried it out, and he’s not psychologically damaged at all! He still loves me best. :)

    So here’s a high-five from another Ferberizer. You have nothing to be ashamed of!

  • Angela

    To Megan: I agree with you in so many ways. Breastfeeding is so important and this is what I meant by “Revised Ferber”. I didn’t want my little porker to be wanting to nurse all the time. (he latched on to the breast about 5 min. after he was born and literally didn’t quit until about a month and a half)I wanted and needed some sort of schedule and to create that I only allowed him to nurse at specific intervals. Now let me explain, My youngest son was a Porker. At 8 months old he still nursed ever 3 hours during the day. But I weened him at night. My milk didn’t go away and didn’t dry up. My body learned the schedule as most women’s bodies do. I don’t want people to think nursing is too difficult and decide not to do it because they think they have to choose between sleep and breastfeeding. You can have both, I did and still do. Please don’t scare people off from nursing. This is the basic reason so many women sadly choose not to nurse. It is the most wonderful, close bonding experience. It is something that can’t be truly put into words and no mother should be scared from doing it. Thank you for your perspective.

  • http://www.xanga.com/chicafish Janel

    I breastfed for the first four months and for those four month I slept with Amy next to me so that I could just pop my breast in her mouth if she woke up hungry. When I started working I pretty much stopped nursing, Amy moved to her crib and my husband and I made a terrible decision: we introduced her to a pacifier. After that we went throught pretty much exactly what you did, Heather. She would wake up throughout the night because she would spit it out and couldn’t find it again. Both my husband and I were working full time and we just couldn’t deal sooo we took away the binky. I think it took her about a week to get over it. After that she became a wonderful sleeper, much like Leta, sleeping 12 hours a night and taking two 1 hour naps. Now she’s three and she still sleeps 12 hours a night but takes no naps.

  • Lori

    We all have to do what works for our families and particular situation, but I don’t know why everybody gets stressed over a baby not sleeping through the night, especially an infant. I have been reading your blog for quite some time, and you seem to be very good parent.
    Dr. Ferber is not a sleep expert, he is a preacher. I really don’t know how intelligent people accept this Ferber “method”. The Ferber method does not benefit children. I don’t claim to be a great parent or an expert, but most babies don’t sleep through the night. It’s a natural process and we shoud enjoy the moment. Soon they will be sleeping through the night on their own. I personally don’t think it’s worth the heartache to let a baby scream in her crib. It’s cruel and unusual punishment in my book. My two year old did like to come out of his bedroom every two seconds, and I did take measures to stop that behavior–but an infant–no way. Love your baby, let your baby have the nourishment and attention she needs at night. She has no idea of the adult world we are living in, and doesn’t have a clue that mommy needs her sleep. I nursed both of my kids and got up with them several times a night and they both slept through the night eventually (around 8-12 months) and gave up the pacifier on their own. I cried for the first couple months with my both of my children. It’s emotionally and physically draining, no doubt. It all goes by so quickly, so I believe we shouldn’t stress ourselves or feel like we are being robbed of our sleep.

  • Suz

    I couldn’t let my kids scream. I always went to them when they cried, and I would take them in the spare bed and sleep with them when they woke up. I gave them a bottle or pacifier, whatever they needed to get them back to sleep the quickest. (My husband couldn’t sleep with them in our bed.) I knew they would eventually grow out of it. We had a couple of speed bumps when it came time to give up bottles and pacifiers, but they did eventually sleep better on their own(around 2 years old.) I still go sleep with them when they wake up from bad dreams. I don’t mind, I like the extra cuddle time, especially since my youngest one is almost 4 and I see how fast they grow and how short of a time they need us in that way.

  • denisevonminden

    Thank you for such a timely post as this same issue is something that I struggle with off and on with my 11 month old. For me I can’t stay strong enough to let her cry once she begins to cry while gagging and nashing her teeth against the crib. I try and then my stomach starts to turn and the sound of her cry wreaks havoc on my mind and soul.
    The hardest thing is that she can be a really good sleeper and has consistently slept long stretches since about 4 months old. It is those times when she is teething or sick or thrown off scehdule that everything is fucked. Damn those pediatricians that say teething doesn’t cause sleeplessness or runny noses! I have proof otherwise!
    What I struggle with now is that I know she is tired–she is full and not wet and yet she screams bloody murder when I set her down for a nap–only to be rocked or bottled to sleep easily once I pick her up. She will sleep for long periods once asleep–it’s the whole getting her to sleep that I struggle with.

    I commend you about writing honestly about the struggles of parenthood. It reminds me a bit of Ayelet Waldman (wife of author Michael Chabon) who went on Oprah and talked honestly about how she views her relationship with her kids versus her husband only to get a grip of mommies assailing her on a later show. We need an outlet that let’s us know that it’s a fucking hard thing to do and that although we don’t always do the right things–we are trying!

  • chumbot

    i don’t have a baby of my own, but i do have a niece that refuses to sleep in her own bed and will not go to sleep without a movie being on. she’s 3. i have seen that my sister-in-law always gives in because she doesn’t want her to cry/scream/wake the sleeping 1 year old in the next room. (although to be completely honest i think that she doesn’t take serious action because she doesn’t want to feel like a “bad mother”…) and maybe that works for her, who am i to judge? but i am very happy to see that you did what was difficult not only for leta but for you as well (harder for you really, because she will never remember those rough nights and you’ll never be able to forget them). i hope that when i have kids of my own i will keep in mind what is best for EVERYONE and make decisions that make sense for the “long term”, not just “right now”. that’s what you obviously did.

  • Angela

    Ok, so we used a “Revised Ferber” method with both our boys. Our first son,Ethan, can now sleep through anything. He goes to bed and naps like a champ. He does wake up occasionally and we go to him (he is almost 4 and has horrible nightmares, he walks in his sleep and sometimes it takes him several seconds before he even recognizes his father or me). Our youngest Seth(almost 2) sleeps wonderfuly as well, the only thing that wakes him is the sound of his brother having fun. This is strange because he can sleep through fireworks going off right over his head, but Ethan giggling oh so quietly wakes him immediatly. But this is kinda cute because it is an example of how well they get along and never want to do anything without the other. (Not looking forward to when this will inevitably end.) I admire your truth and willingness to talk about this, even so long afterwards. I had several friends that gave me little comments about how it doesn’t work and it is just damaging to the child. Funny how my kids sleep and theirs don’t…Strangly one night when one of said friends had a Navy Ball to attend she had me watch her son. He NEVER went to sleep easily for his mother and she told us to just let him stay awake till she got done and she would put him to sleep herself. I think she thought she was saving us the effort…but she wouldn’t be back until after midnight and my husband and I are parents, and tired, and we never stay up that late so waiting was out of the question. I used what I knew and had worked on my boys, and what do you know, he was asleep in under 45 min. He put himself to sleep and he stayed that way. I was actually kinda pissed, this kid did it in one try and my kids it took several. She was so against even trying it that she had missed using the one thing that would work for him and her. She now uses it…I guess after she could see that he wasn’t damaged and he was ASLEEP that maybe she would be more willing to try it. Try to make it work for you, be consistant, that is what we did and it worked.

  • JustBreathe

    Thanks for sharing, particularly because it is such a landmine issue. I’m pregnant with our first and it is so hard to get people to share their experiences because they are afraid of being judged.

    Congrats on the sleeping success and good luck with the gummy bears!

  • karenw

    Heather, this post could not have come at a better time for me. My son will be one next Tuesday and he is up at least 2x a night but stays awake screaming for an hour. I admit, I go in, lay him down, rub his back and lately, just really to make him STOP ALREADY give him a bottle. Clearly not the best move. After reading this post yesterday I decided to let him cry. Now, I don’t know if I could have done this if he was 6 months old but knowing that I am being manipulated by a toddler made it a bit easier…that and he is my second child. I’m not sure why that makes a difference but it does. So, when he woke up at 4am I let him cry. And cry he did. He SCREAMED. But I just listened instead of automatically responding. He was not sad, he was PISSED. Which made this much easier. He cried for 45 minutes and then conked out and woke up at 8am. So, I am going to do it again tonight and I’m hoping for continued success. I think this post is excellent!

    And to the haters? Go read another blog.

  • http://www.emotionaltoothpaste.blogspot.com tracie

    My parents went with the “let them cry” method for both me and my sister. I didn’t even know there was another method. If I ever had trouble sleeping, my parents put me in the car and drove around the block, and that did the trick everytime. And I took 2 hour naps (and sucked my thumb full time) until I started first grade, and the only reason I stopped was because I had to go to school all day at that point.

  • http://www.amichellebaker.blogspot.com Michelle Baker

    When Maggie was 2.75 years old, and STILL not sleeping through the night, using a pacifier, etc. we resorted to drastic measures.


    It worked.

    She decided she didn’t need that damn pacifier anymore. Afterall, she was no longer the baby.


    Have another baby!

  • veg4me

    Thanks for bringing back fond memories of hiding in the basement night after night with the TV turned up to deafening decibels, while I could hear my 12 month old screaming 3 stories above my head. I soaked an entire couch with my tears.

    It never worked for him. The only thing that got him to calm down was when I placed the shirt I had worn that day in his crib and he could cuddle it.

    His sister came along 4 years later and never had an issue with sleeping. I nursed them both the same, pretty much on demand until they were 18 months old. Every kid is just different. People told me that and I always doubted it.

    Just remember, different doesn’t always mean better. Your next child might be the polar opposite of Leta and it will rock your world because you’re used to dealing with her.

  • http://www.iprettymuchhateeverything.com Torrie

    Some people think it’s barbaric to let a child cry.

    I think they don’t realize that if you invest in a few nights of crying, it sets a life time of good sleep habits.
    My mother-in-law is a lunatic. She believes that you should never let a baby cry. EVER. When my husband was a baby he never had a “bed time”. When he was a toddler he would walk around the house until he literally fell over from exhaustion (usually around 11PM). Now, as an adult, he still has trouble putting himself to sleep, and I believe it was because he was never taught how to do it. He will still be puttering around the house at 11:30PM when he needs to wake up at 5:30AM. I have to yell at him to go to sleep and he gives me the “I have to wind down before I can go to sleep” excuse. Meanwhile, he falls asleep about 2 seconds after his head hits the pillow.

    I think what you did with Leta was the right thing.
    Those few nights of drama you went through have resulted in many peaceful nights and a well rested child.

  • http://mrstalkington.blogspot.com Amybobamy

    Every child is different, so what worked for Leta may not work for the next one. My son and daughter are opposites and things I hate with one, I don’t have to deal with on the other etc.

    My son needed to scream himself into exhaustion, then sleep. As he grew he needed specific routine or would not sleep.

    My daughter (at 3 1/2) wakes up when she has a nightmare, and for no other reason. Training her to sleep was easy and I felt like I could have 5 more children because I had some sort of knack for it.

    Later I realized that I was talentless and simply blessed the second go round of child rearing.

  • http://lepistol.org kristen

    I work at a preschool with infants.

    I wish, I mean really wish, that some parents would just get a clue and do the cry it out method. Not only would it make my job a bit easier when I have 2 hands and 3 babies that have to have a bottle to go to sleep. The youngest of these babies is almost 3 months old, so I can understand that, but the oldest baby that still has to take a bottle to sleep is almost 9 months old. One oz and they’re fast asleep.

    And all the mother of the 9 month old complains about is how she can never sleep at night or how her husband has to stay up at night and feed her. And Ive suggested, made hints, etc etc she just doesn’t catch on.

    all i have to say it, oy.

  • http://brewerburns.blogspot.com Jennifer

    Well, I don’t have kids, but I still applaud your honesty. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re a bad mother because you did the thing which was better for you and Leta, even though it was hard.

    I know that my mom did the same thing. We went down at bedtime and she let us cry ourselves to sleep. My sister, who has a two year old and a week old baby let the oldest child sleep with her and her husband until the new baby was about to be born. Talk about traumatic for my oldest niece. Now, not only does she have to sleep in her own bed at night for the first time ever she also has to contend with an attention sucking younger sibling. I’m thinking this will be a very hard time for her.

  • harper

    i hit a wall with breastfeedng and lack of sleep at 8 months. I just did the Dr. Cohen “cold turkey” method. His theory, is that they are securely atttached by six months and only night feed to comfort themselves. I put H in her crib at 7pm the first night and she cried for 3 hours. I drank vodka on the rocks and sat on the other side of her door and wept. The next night she wailed for only two hours. The third night…40 minutes. Since that time she has slept from 7pm-6am and still takes a 2 hour nap each day. I think we, as a whole, project our worries about how “sleep training” might damage our children a bit too much.

    You have to do what works for you. I hit a wall. That was the only sign I needed to begin the sleep training process.


    If mamma ain’t happy-ain’t nobody happy.