• Ashley

    My kids started off sleeping fine, but when my son moved to a “big kid” bed he had a relapse. He started coming in to our room and either wanted to get in bed with us or wanted me to take him back to bed. It could happen up to 4 or 5 times per night! In a desperate attempt to break the bad habit, I made him walk back to his bed – by himself. He screamed the whole way, screamed himself back to sleep. It was a rough 2 weeks, but he did it! We did it!

  • http://www.ninjapoodles.com Belinda

    Eh. Lazymom here. We just did the co-sleep thing from day one (first with an Arm’s Reach co-sleeper, then between me and the wall), and I couldn’t even tell you how often she nursed at night or anything, because it didn’t disturb me enough to interfere with my rest. She slept with us until she weaned at 2.5 years, and even a while after that, because, well, it was just easy (Lazymom, remember?). And we have a huge bed.

    As soon as we got in the new house and set up her toddler bed (converted from the never-used crib), Bella was just tickled to go sleep in her own bed at night.

    Maybe we’re lucky, but other than a late sleep-wake schedule brought about by my OWN late sleep-wake schedule, we just haven’t had any sleeping issues. I always felt a bit like an outsider among new moms who were so exhausted all the time…I never had that, and never knew how to sympathize.

    But before you’re all ready to lynch me, we’re certainly having our challenges now with Little Miss Hardhead. It’s not all rainbows and lollipops!

  • http://monkeyswithfezzes.blogspot.com Varla

    It really bothers me that people would tell you how to parent your child, or that you would feel nervous about posting what’s going on in your life because of internet trolls. I’ll kick their ass. ;)

    I adore your blog, and your photos. Thanks for making me laugh almost every day.

  • http://mommylogue.blogspot.com carson

    I sleep trained my daughter after 11 long months of sleep problems. I was a militant Dr. Sears devotee before I was a mother. But my daughter didn’t like the nurse to sleep routine, she thought it was a nasty trick. (If I fall asleep, she puts me down. MUST. NOT. SLEEP.) Life was miserable. So one miserable day, with no naps in it, we started the “put her down, check on her every 5 minutes” without reading a single book. I made my husband do it. I went to the bookstore & bought those same 2 books, Ferber & Weissbluth.

    With my son, I had read The Baby Whisperer, which gets really hard knocks from some people, who lump it in with Ezzo. I wonder if they’ve read the book, because it seemed to me a very balanced approach, that is as child-centered as Sears, but with a dash of reality, a la Ferber & Weissbluth.

    Some of the comments wonder why mom’s sleep is (to quote one) “just so damn precious”. I’ll tell you: when you are responsible for a little one, falling asleep at the wheel is not acceptable. A few tears are. And it’s not a few weeks, it’s months. My daughter was 11 months old. The problem I have with the APers I’ve talked to is that very few of them are able to acknowledge that there are some kids that don’t respond well to it. With the AP methods, my DD wasn’t getting enough sleep. She was horribly grumpy. Her moods are directly related to the amount of sleep she gets, and even though she’s still not a good sleeper by anyone’s measure, she at least will sleep.

    And the whole breastmilk/formula aspect: Kids get hungry again faster with formula because it takes longer to digest. As in, it takes longer to get the nutrients out of it. They eat more of it at a time. But I don’t think that early weaning makes (in general) a big difference to the amount of sleep. Both my kids nursed a long time after they slept through the night.

    And tonight? Neither one wants to sleep.

  • libby

    Anytime the topic of a second child comes up, I think “I have to have another, for no other reason than to put to use everything I learned from our first child.”

    We practiced cospleeping with my daughter, now 18 months.

    (talk about a landmine)

    When she would stir I’d nurse her back to sleep. So many people were unsupportive, would say “you’ll never get her out of your bed”, etc. Well, she eventually did get out of our bed, and she is able to get to sleep without nursing. I have no regrets. I actually quite enjoyed having her nestled next to me. And she slept like a champ from the very beginning. More importantly, it let ME sleep. I really believe that those first few months post-partum are traumatic enough for a new mother, certainly for me. I didn’t see any reason to compound that with sleep deprivation and a pissed-off baby. When the time finally came to wean and sleep train her, of course there were tears. But by then, I was emotionally prepared for them.

    Congratulations on following your heart on what’s best for your child. That is one of the hardest parts of parenthood.

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

    Hi Heather -
    I’ve been reading your blog for a while but am always too intimidated to comment. But when I saw this at BlondeMomBlog, I had to share:


    Look! Elmo and ‘crap’! How could I not think of you?! I mean, not that you have anything to do with ‘crap’, but only because of your willingness to share your inability to do it often . . anyway . .

  • http://lawyerish.typepad.com lawyerish

    That this would be considered Land Mine Territory is equal parts fascinating and disturbing to me.

    I don’t have kids, but when friends and family members started having them in the last couple of years (I’m at That Age), I was surprised to learn that there was all this controversy over How to Get the Baby to Sleep Through the Night. The Ferber method vs. the Co-Sleeping vs. the Loud Shushing. And of course each camp is appalled by the other camp’s approach and takes every opportunity to note how harmful the other thing is to the kid and how THOSE kids will suffer grave psychological damage due to their parents’ misguided tactics.

    When I used to babysit, 15ish years ago (DEAR GOD, has it really been that long??), making $3 an hour to get clobbered in the head with Tonka trucks all day and then watch MTV after the kids went to bed, the default procedure at bedtime or naptime for every family I worked with (and endorsed by my mom, the Child Development World Leader) was to stick the baby into its crib, do something soothing for a few minutes (like rub its back), and then leave. And never come back, no matter the screams or the violent crib-shaking that might ensue.

    So I’ve always thought this was The Thing to Do, just what people did. It’s cool that people have come up with other theories or methods, but there is no question that you HAVE to do what works for you. The baby is a baby and will adapt; you are a grown human being who has to function and Get Shit Done in the world.

    But my main question is, given the landmine remark and your hesitation in discussion this when it happened, how can people judge each other over stuff like this? Especially moms vs. other moms – I don’t get it…women need to support each other in this crazy world – why we gotta be such bitches to each other?

  • http://www.robyncharles.net craftyone77

    so, no comment ability on the entry where leta says her abcs.

    and i listen to this, turn to my boyfriend and quietly say, “i want babies!”

    he gave your website a dirty look. keep up the good work!

  • http://thispieceofwork.blogspot.com Amy

    My first baby slept all the time with no help from me. I really congratulated myself on that one. Then came my second. I tried everything with her, including that healthy sleep habits book, which traumatized me since it basically said if your baby doesn’t sleep enough her brain cells will rot and she will become a diabetic emotionally scarred adult–and NOTHING I DID would get my daughter to sleep. As she got older she gradually got better and better and yet still at 11 months old she was waking up once or twice a night to nurse. Eventually one morning when she woke up at 4 am per usual, I had hate it and just let her scream. Which she did for 2.5 hours. SCREAMED! I thought the neighbors were going to call the cops, and they are friends of ours. Anyway, the next morning she screamed for 45 minutes. The next morning it was 20 minutes, and that was basically it. Now she sleeps about 11 hours per night (depending on when her brother wakes her up) and takes a 2-3 hour nap every afternoon.

    I do think the sleep discussion is so charged because every baby is different and responds to different strategies differently.

  • toddlermama

    I have a 5.5 y.o. daughter and a 1 y.o. son. My daughter has always been healthy, happy, and big, and, with little exception, slept well. She shared our room in her crib until she was 9 m.o., at which point she moved into her own room and was easily “ferberized” in only 3 days. My son, however, is different. He has reflux and is quite small for his age. At age 1, we finally decided we have to try the Ferber method, and he’s been sleeping in his crib in his room for about a month — but has only slept a full night twice. I can tell based on his cries whether he’s crying because he’s mad or lonely or when he’s actually hungry, in which case I nurse him. So I’m doing “Ferber lite,” I guess. I tried the “No Cry” solution to no avail.

    In any event, I am always tired, but, in my opinion, that comes with the territory of parenting — and, fortunately, children do grow! I am encouraged to hear that the majority of you posting have children who eventually sleep well. That said, I want to advise strongly — especially for the sake of the parents-to-be who are reading — against assuming that every child should be left to sleep 12 hours after any certain age (some books say 4 months, some say later). My son may be a year old, but he is dangerously little, and he does need to eat during the night sometimes. Not responding would be cruel. As his mother, I trust my instinct, and feed him when I know he needs it — there is no book that can teach any of us that.

    The other thing I’d like to add is that BREASTFEEDING IS NOT THE SOURCE OF SLEEP PROBLEMS. Several posts suggested that somehow giving up breastfeeding will improve sleep. But if you read through all of these posts, you’ll see just as many bottle-fed babies with sleep issues. The benefits of breastfeeding for your child’s health, even if only for a short while, outweigh any costs, as every doctor on earth will tell you.

    Thanks to Heather for opening a discussion on this difficult issue… The only issue I know that’s harder to discuss is about the decision to stay-at-home or to work! Opening up the comments helps us to know that none of us are in this alone, though, and certainly helps us to share ideas. So thanks!

  • http://www.zahlaway.com Jon Z.

    I got four hours of broken sleep last night. My eight-month-old daughter was up at 4 a.m., and we left her in her crib till 5:30 a.m. She didn’t stop crying, whining and hollering for more than .3 seconds. Her almost-three-year-old brother rises daily at about 5 a.m.
    They go to bed between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m.
    We tried the “Let them cry it out” thing, but we apparently didn’t have the wherewithal to follow through to a successful conclusion.
    Twelve hours of consecutive sleep every night?
    I imagine the sensation I feel while envisioning such a thing is similar to the craving a reformed heroin addict feels when thinking about smack.

  • http://madamemeow.typepad.com Madame M.

    I lucked out with my little guy so far.

    *knocks on wood*

    He’s been sleeping 8 hours a night since the day before his 2 month birthday (I remember the blessed day well). We just figured that the baby had a need to cluster feed until he was full; and as it happened, he decided to star falling asleep at around 10 pm. Three time zone chanefs later, he’s still going strong.

  • annabanana

    Wow. Little people are scary – mine arrives in less than two months and kicks me every two minutes to remind me of this. Hopefully he picks up a sleep schedule quickly (and stops kicking me) because I doubt I could be as proactive about regulating his schedule as you and Jon were with Leta. Thanks for sharing.

  • http://hmckillip.blogspot.com Heather

    I let all three of mine cry it out, and it worked wonders. My first born slept on me during the day for the first 2 1/2 months of his life! (At night he slept in his crib, who knows why?) Anyways, I couldn’t take it and we let him cry it out at about 3 1/2 months, and it worked. All three of mine cried for just under an hour the first night. It was horrible! My secind child is still my worst sleeper, because I had my third just 19 months after having her, we never let her cry a lot during the night because we didn’t want her waking up her big brother or her little sister. My youngest is by far my best sleeper, but I think that is a combination of the fact that we let her cry it out and she is a thumb sucker. My first two kids napped well into age 4, and I’m so glad they did. I love your blog, Heather! Keep up the great work!

  • salee

    Oh so good Heather – a lovely post. Dr. Wisebottom became our favorite as well. So much of what he writes was, for us, counter-intuitive.

    We had been keeping the baby up in the hopes that she would get really tired and sleep longer – all wrong, wrong, wrong. We now put her to bed at the same time each night and before she is exhausted. This resulted in some screaming episodes, but now she curls up and looks forwrd to the restful time in her cozy nest. She sleeps 10.5 hours per night and has 2 naps per day. Her parents are so very happy and well-rested.

  • Fog Spinner

    I guess I was totally luck with my son. He slept through the night from day one. I was too young and dumb I guess to even think of feeding him through the night. Why mess up a good thing right?
    He’s always been a sound sleeper, who when tired puts himself to bed anywhere, and I mean anywhere, we are.
    I have always felt you need to do what works for you with your child. Mine didn’t see a non PBS TV show until he was 5, we didn’t even have cable. He had “momies” (movies) to watch.
    Good luck with Leta. She’s yours to do with as you please (sounds like slave labor), and do what works for you and her. Don’t let outside forces rule you. Man it’s hard to do sometimes though.

  • Brandon

    Our almost 13 month old sleeps at most about 3 hours at a time right now. A month ago she barely slept 1 or 2 and my wife would essentially nurse her all night long. In a lot of ways this is a result of how we chose to parent (“attachment” parenting as they say). We nursed our first two daughter until they we 18 and 24 months respectively. About 3 weeks ago we decided it was time for a change with our current little one. Now, it is soley my job to put her to sleep at night, first by walking around holding her until she fell asleep, then trying to lay her down without waking her up. Just in the last few days, I have been able to put her in her crib awake, and she flops and crawls around for about a half hour or so, then falls asleep. At first, I would go get her if she woke if it was before midnight. Now that she is sleeping a little longer, I get her if she wakes up before about 2 or 3 a.m. It’s working. Slow progress, but progress, and there has been no crying involved. Thanks for letting me share our story, and thanks for sharing yours.

    Was this comment too long?

  • http://saturna.thinkhead.com lorin

    we cosleep and still nurse so we sleep through the night, it is the getting to sleep that is at issue, sometimes.

    generally it works really well the way we do it, for us. most people i tell that we do this are completely aghast.

  • libby

    We practiced cospleeping with my daughter, now 18 months.

    (talk about a landmine)

    When she would stir I’d nurse her back to sleep. So many people were unsupportive, would say “you’ll never get her out of your bed”, etc. Well, she eventually did get out of our bed, and she is able to get to sleep without nursing. I have no regrets. I actually quite enjoyed having her nestled next to me. And she slept like a champ from the very beginning. More importantly, it let ME sleep. I really believe that those first few months post-partum are traumatic enough for a new mother, certainly for me. I did see any reason to compound that with sleep deprivation and a pissed-off baby. When the time finally came to wean and sleep train her, of course there were tears. But by then, I was emotionally prepared for them.

    Anytime the topic of a second child comes up, I think “I have to, for no other reason than to put to use everything I learned from our first child.”

    Congratulations on following your heart on what’s best for your child. That is one of the hardest parts of parenthood.

  • Anna

    We did the “pick up, put down” method with my daughter, at around four months. I picked her up when she cried and put her down as soon as she stopped, eventually moving to patting her, then edging out of the room progressively. It worked for us, she went from 10-20 minute naps throughout the day, to two 2-3 hour naps plus one shorter nap, and from waking up ALL NIGHT to once a night. It did take a long time to get rid of that one waking, sometime after she was a year old, but I found that manageable.

    The lack of sleep is the thing I was most unprepared for, and my husband and I always say we were practically hallucinating, we were so tired. I would have done anything to make it stop.

  • mm

    I have a four year old little girl. For the first few months of her life she refused to eat more than 1 ounce every hour. I remember vividly sitting on the edge of the bed, having not slept for weeks, crying “Please….let’s just sleep for four hours!” Thankfully it didn’t last very long. We still struggle getting her to go to bed at bedtime (I guess we need to be more of a hard-ass). It’s slowly getting better. I think being strict about it is the key….now if I could just follow through….

  • meandthekid

    I only had the patience to read through about 40 comments, so forgive me if someone else has written about the same thing.

    I have a wonderful 17 mo. old son. I am a single mother, and until I finish my degree (in the fall) I live with my parents. This has great advantages and horrible disadvantages – including the fact that we do not agree on how to get my son to sleep. I am a believer in the cry to sleep method because to me, it just makes sense. They know you’ll keep coming in and picking them up if you do it once, because well it worked before. They’re counting on it. My parents (whose bedroom is just down the hall from my son’s – I’m in the basement and have a monitor), do not believe I should let him cry it out. Even after confirming with my doctor that he would be okay, and that I could let him cry for 25 minutes without checking on him first, don’t pick him up, tell him its okay, leave the room, go again for another 15, repeat. I do think that crying it out altogether instead of the quick check ups is best, but I relayed my doctor’s message. Boy did that go over well. I got accused of thinking that my parents were horrible people, that I didn’t trust them, and that they were bad parents because they believed something other than what I did. I left for two weeks after a big blowout about sleeping, and it got better for a while.

    Now every once in a while, like now, he stays up and screams. My parents get up early and need sleep, and even though I explain to him that if I’m consistent about it for a few days (letting him cry it out) that he’ll be fine and he’ll start going to sleep easier, quicker and without screaming. But I can’t get the few days in. My mother has even gone into his room to rock him after I’ve told her not to. I feel like I don’t have a choice right now because I do live in their house and I’m not paying rent, but I also feel like they are disrespecting me and my opinions on how to raise MY son.

    A rock and a hard place, I guess. Until I am able to move into our own place, I take all the crap they give and just keep telling myself that it will all be okay soon. Sometimes it makes it a little easier.

  • simon

    you shouldn’t be worried. like you said, whatever works. mine is 16 months now and has been sleeping the night since one month. we were really fortunate that she just did it on her own. occasionally she does get fussy and wakes up in the middle of the night or just won’t go down. in those cases we do the very same thing and just let her cry it out. rarely does it go past 5 minutes before she gives up and goes to sleep. be tough! don’t let them take advantage of you! :)

  • ecobabe

    OMG, all these crying babies! It really does beg the question – what do they want? They want security and the only person who can give them that is the mother, followed by the father. It’s called mothering.

    I find the idea of leaving a baby to cry very distressing. Call it empathy, but it distresses me greatly.

    How do we know “CIO/CC doesn’t do any damage” to our kids, do you know what’s going in your child’s head, or in their future adult head? No we don’t know.

    I also question why mothers so readily believe that their sleep is just so damn precious? If the baby’s hungry or needs comforting then get out of bed and attend to it, or even easier – sleep with the baby and then you don’t have to get out of bed.

    I have a 17 month old daughter. She comes to our bed if she wakes during the night where she will BF and go back to sleep. If she wakes again she may have another feed or she may snuggle in tighter. She rarely cries and we never leave her to cry in her cot. This is how we have lived together since she was born. I think she feels secure in her family environment. She spends 12 hours a night in bed, sometimes has a feed midway through the night sometimes doesn’t.

    Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night feeling a bit hungry and I’m too lazy to get out of bed to have a snack. It must be sheer heaven for a baby to wake up in the middle of the night feeling a little hungry to then have a boob popped straight in the mouth, the hungry feeling is quickly satiated and then back to sleep we go. Now I call that security.

    This is how we live our lives. It is not a prescription for how others should live theirs.

    But man oh man, all these crying babies must really want something, and I think what they want is much more important that Mum’s sleep.

  • Tara

    Heather, so glad you wrote this. We just recently resorted to a version of “cry it out” with our 11-month-old son, with good results. He wasn’t getting up more than once or twice a night, but when he did wake up, even nursing him wasn’t enough to get him back to sleep (this used to be my failsafe method!). After a few weeks of dealing with him waking for an hour or two at a time, a couple of times a night, a few days a week, we were desperate. Clearly our son is old enough to sleep through the night without nursing or any other intervention from us. I thought about trying the “No Cry Sleep Solution,” but when I read that the NCSS fall-back plan is whatever you used to do to put your child to sleep (you know, my failsafe that wasn’t working anymore??), I knew we had to go another route.

    So we let him cry. An hour and a half the first night, an hour the second night, maybe half an hour the third night, and nothing more than occasional whimpers since then when he awakens briefly before falling back to sleep. It was a brief hell, thankfully, but it is still hell to listen to your child screaming at the top of their lungs for that long. I dreaded going into his room that first morning, until I saw that my son was none the worse for wear–in fact, he’d gotten more sleep than on the nights we went to him and tried to soothe him down, so he was happier and more rested than usual. And he certainly doesn’t seem to be any less attached to us, or less trustful.

    I swore, before I had a kid, I’d never try the “cry it out” method. I also said I’d never have my baby in my bed, but we ended up cosleeping the first 2 months because my son was dead-set against the bassinette. The biggest thing that parenting has taught me is that no one approach has all the answers, and you have to do what works for you, regardless of what others might think.

    Now that my son’s sleeping consistently through the night, I need to work on naps. (as in, getting him to nap on the weekends without me sleeping right next to him) Wish me luck!

  • http://www.bayoubebe.com Bayou Bebe

    my 11 month old still doesn’t sleep through the night.
    i exhausted myself with ferber, babywise, and dr. sears no cry. i guess it’s time to try again, eh? :/

  • http://twinklelittlestar.typepad.com Lisa Ferris

    I was alone with twins and the first thing I had to do was hire some help. The second thing I had to do (and some people told me how awful this was, but it was the only way I was going to survive) was to put them on a strict feeding/sleeping schedule from the start. For the first two months, it was three hour shifts. Wake them, change diapers, feed them, play for a bit if it was daytime, or right back to bed if it was night time. Then I made myself lay down when they did, even if I/we didn’t sleep. Slowly, I tried to keep them up during some of those three hour shifts during the day, and make night time feeding as quick, quiet and painless as possible. By month three we were at four hour shifts. By month four we were at four hour shifts during the day, and on demand (2 and then one time a night) at night. By about mid month 5, they were sleeping through the night.

    They still sleep 12 hour nights and 2 hour day naps, just like Leta (they are 15mo.) We lost the pacifier after the first month. I kept getting tired of having to go and put them back in their mouths every 3 minutes. We may live to regret this, because now one is a finger sucker. But I rather he has his finger right now than that damned pacifier.

    Because I kept them on such a tight schedule, they never seemed to need to cry it out much. but I do remember several times when I was at my wits end, when they cried the entire time between feeding and next two hour feeding while I went and buried my head in the proverbial sand. It wasn’t often, but it did happen. And that is the secret that happens to every mom that no one will admit to. SO many mothers confessed to me that they let their babies scream on ocassion after I had children. No one ever said that to me before children.

    My babies were/are well fed, rested, and happy. They won’t remember the few times they screamed for a couple of hours. They will remember that mom stayed sane enough to keep them and not leave them off at the fire department!!! I think the mom’s that never let their kids cry it out sometimes are either on really good drugs, or have really good nannies/relatives releiving them.

  • http://bigdlittledmistatruffyandme.blogspot.com Karen Rani

    I’ll probably get flogged for this, but if I had to things over again, I would have weaned from nursing around 3 months at the latest, if I even started at all. My babies were huge and starving all the time. Life sucked then. Both kids slept through the night by 5 months (Dylan) and 10 months (Thomas). Both kids’ sleep patterns were a result of letting them cry a little, then going in every so often to reassure them we were there, and we felt their pain, but not enough to pick them up. Now we enjoy 12 hours a night from both of them, most of the time. Bliss.

  • CJ mama

    Oh how I wish I had a crystal ball and could see that the next day, next week, next year, etc. that my kids would be just FINE despite the fact that I let them cry a bit, because they always are. I have two kids (4 and 1) and I know they’ll be fine and yet I still will hold my pee until I put the littlest down for her nap because I don’t want her to cry while I run to the bathroom. All kids should be so lucky that their parents love them so much.

  • http://www.xanga.com/SallySchilling Sally

    You know what? I would really like to sleep 12 hours AND take 2 hour naps. Does someone have suggestions on how to train my kids how to make that happen for me?

  • blogger101

    For whoever doubted that there was a study showing long-term psychological effects. There was a Harvard study (from the department of Psychiatry) that showed that children who are left to cry themselves to sleep suffer long-lasting damage to their nervous system. As a result, they are more susceptible to post traumatic stress and anxiety disorders, including panic attacks.

    here is a link to a discussion in the Harvard gazette about the study. http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/1998/04.09/ChildrenNeedTou.html

    AS one of the researchers noted: “Parents should recognize that having their babies cry unnecessarily harms the baby permanently,” Commons said. “It changes the nervous system so they’re overly sensitive to future trauma.”

    I’ll see if I can find the actual study itself.

  • Monica

    I’m a behavior analyst by training (Ph.D.), and what you did with Leta can be explained by behavior analysis.

    It’s all about reinforcement. It seems that in this case, Leta really liked getting fed/attention. It could have been that when she cried, often times, you went to her and comforted her (i.e., gave her attention). This is of course, normal and of human nature. So in terms of learning, Leta figured out that if she cries, she gets attention.

    When you tried to decrease the amount of attention she got, you were putting her crying behavior on “extinction”, and what she was going through when you took that attention away is termed an “extinction burst.” In extinction (which is a horrible term by the way), you basically take away the reinforcer or reward from the environment that was maintaining the problem behavior. In an extinction burst, this is when Leta was testing you. In a burst, when the behavior that typically produced the reinforcer (like attention) is no longer producing the reward, then she’ll try other forms of behavior or just try for longer periods of time. (Just think of when we put a dollar in the soda machine and nothing comes out — in addition to pressing the button once, we might press it faster, several more times, or even hit the machine). When you didn’t come in right away to comfort her, she was probably thinking, okay, if I cry a little more, maybe she’ll come. And when you didn’t come then, she tested you more, and more, until she finally learned that her crying wouldn’t get the attention she wanted, and she gave up.

    You did the right thing. Many parents make the mistake of enduring the crying for a long time, then giving in, which makes it worse because now the child knows that if he/she just persists, then he/she’ll get what she wants. Good job.

  • SweetLucy

    At some point,and this is me pontificating because I’m not a mother, but I have been a nanny, but at some point you have to train your kids to realize that you cannot be manipulated by tears and tantrums. And it is hard. But better for all parties in the long run.

    But yes. It is painful to hear your kid cry like that and know exactly how pathetic and sad they look with little tears leaking out their eyes. But they learn, and at this point in their lives? Won’t remember this experience, but the learning part of it will stick.

  • http://coolbeansmama.blogspot.com coolbeans

    In comments 220, 329 and 338, “noodlebugs” said everything I wanted to say but 1. couldn’t articulate and 2. didn’t have the guts to.

    I appreciate that parents use the same information to reach different conclusions. I understand why parents want to hear other parents came to the same conclusion because it is reassuring and validating. Does it mean we can’t be friends if you let your baby cry himself to sleep? No. But we probably can’t be friends if you can’t allow me to say, “You know, that didn’t work for us and this is why I didn’t do it that way.”

    Meredith said: “The No Cry Sleep Solution is absurd, because the author basically admits to being human pacifier all night long. And we’re supposed to listen to HER? And screw those martyr types who brag about “attachment parenting.” As if I’m NOT attached.”

    Do you see? The judgment? It comes and goes both ways.

  • http://foxyj.blogspot.com FoxyJ

    I totally believe that each individual child and each family gets their own answers for things. My daughter has never been particularly “high needs” and didn’t cry much as an infant (crossing my fingers about the next one that’s popping out in 11 weeks). But, she didn’t sleep through the night until I weaned her at 1 year old. I probably could have done more to get her to sleep, but at the time it wasn’t a big priority for me. For the last year and a half she’s slept about 12 hours at night and takes a nap for 1-2 hours during the day. It’s awesome. I think for her several big keys were taking away the pacifier at 5 months and teaching her to suck her thumb and getting her on a regular routine and early bedtime. Some family members give us a hard time because she’s almost 3 and sucks her thumb, but I don’t care. She can self soothe when she needs it, and it was a big help in getting her to sleep better. Also, I’m a firm believer that babies and parents need early bedtimes. She does so much better when we put her to bed earlier, and I crave my alone time in the evenings. I think you have to do whatever works for you and your child. My husband and I didn’t feel comfortable with letting her cry it out, so we didn’t do it. With this kid, I’ll probably be much more interested in getting them to sleep through the night much earlier. I don’t want to be a zombie for the next year or so.

  • http://jody2ms.com/ jody2ms

    Sleep?? Umm. What the hell is that?

    I have 4 kids, the oldest is 11. I think the last time I slept through the night was in 1994.

    You get used to it after 12 years.

    I recently saw a button on Mrs. Fun’s side bar (http://jbyrdsgirl.blogspot.com/) that read:

    “Coffee! You can sleep when you’re dead”

    Coffee anyone?

  • Flambo

    Wow. I’m so glad you had the balls to venture into this minefield, because I did a month ago and there were casualties. Well. Specifically, casualTY, as in, I’m now down one friend. One friend that I admired and trusted, and she has chosen to cut me off because I wrote a post about sleep-training my child.

    I like what one of your posters said – “Why we gotta be bitches?”

    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.

    I say, whatever works. It worked for me. I can’t say it was easy. But ultimately, I believe that continuous sleep is healthy for both child AND parent, so a couple of nights of crying are a small price to pay for long-term rest and health. Just my opinion.

    Heather….you ROCK for your honesty. Thanks for your site. I really look forward to reading it every day.

  • kawaface

    so, i don’t have a baby. but i have a dog! and he’s an attention whore! and he whines and whines and WHINES if you don’t pet him. constantly. and i keep trying to not do it, but my god, i don’t know how you can withstand the noise. and a baby crying has to be WAY worse than the damn dog whining. in my defense, though, it’s this throaty HORRIBLE noise, not like other dogs.

    how in the world did you not start digging in your ears with things just to MAKE THE NOISE STOP?!

    i always give in. i should never have a baby, if i am this bad with the *dog*.

    anyway, i envy your eventual willpower.

  • http://www.mallorygrace.com mw

    My daughter will be 13 months old tomorrow and I can count ON ONE HAND the amount of nights she has slept 8 hours in a row. We tried a variety of techniques including the baby whisperer and the no-cry sleep solution and ferberizing although I never made it beyond 10 minutes so I accept full blame. Currently she goes to bed slightly drowsy at 8:00. If she wakes up before 4am – no nursing and if she wakes after it’s fair game.

    While I’ve never read anything about this, she appears to be on a 48 hour schedule with her patterns (yes, there was documentation, graphs and pie charts involved). About 50% of the time she will go down for a nap without fuss and sleep for over an hour. She dropped her second nap around the time she started walking.

    The plan was to lengthen the cut off time from 4am to 5am, etc…after a few days she reverted to waking multiple times. We’ve just accepted the 4am wake-up call as normal.

  • http://sieue@sieue.net Sieue

    What worked for us? Ferber.

    How long did it take? About three weeks, and then every time she got a cold we had to do some refresher training.

    How does she sleep now? She’s 9 and and she goes to bed between 8 and 9, then she sleeps through until I wake her up for school in the morning. On the weekends she gets up at 7.

    Being able to sleep is the only thing that gave me the strength to get through the day.

  • Jenn

    Brilliant Heather. My husband and I did the same with our son Isaac – who is just 2 months younger than Leta. He too sleeps 12 hours a night and takes a 2 hour nap.

  • http://www.dorkalie.blogdrive.com Coralie Lynch

    Wow. I thought I was the only mean mom out there. Thanks!

  • JGT

    Mmmm… not as many holier than thou comments as I would expect. We hired a sleep consultant (The Sleep Lady) out of desperation at 6 mos (she’s got a book out now, Kym West) and she was the best. She espoused what everyone else is saying, that kids have different temperaments and you have to roll with what works. Anyways, we were in the attachment-parenting, cosleeping camp until 6 mos when our child was waking every hour AND couldn’t go to sleep unless we were doing deep kneebends with her in our arms, bouncing rhythmically, in the bathroom with the shower on. You may think I am joking. I am NOT. Anyways, since we were basically practicing what we liked even then to call Attachment Crying with our colicky, reflux, undiagnosed allergy baby, we decided to try the Pantley No Cry methods to see if they worked. Turns out our kid is just as stubborn as her parents (!) and it ENRAGED her that we would be nearby and not doing as she CLEARLY was communicating (pick me up, nurse me, and then START BOUNCING). The Sleep Lady found this very amusing, the karmic joke of the laid back, Sears-lovin’ bfeed on demand, slingwearers breeding a child craving Hitler’s train schedule. But life is life. So we did what they call extinction — shut the door, don’t come back. It happened to be Halloween, so I passed out candy to little kids on my front porch sobbing that night, also hushing them if they got too loud! But I was lucky, my daughter cried only 20 mins that night and maybe 1/2 hour the next and that was IT. Naps she was a little grumblier about and took until after 9 mos until the right sleep hormones kicked in, and she’s never been a LONG napper but we get between 1.5 – 2 hrs/day even now at 3. But she didn’t sob about naps, just complained. Every child’s different, and in general, I feel like unless you have a difficult/sensitive child, it’s hard to recognize that a)a lot is just hard wired and has nothing to do with parenting ie if they’re good sleepers they will sleep and b)we all feel MUCH better when we’ve gotten enough sleep. I guess that’s in response to the age old back and forth about this issue. Let other people parent their children; we’re all trying our best (otherwise why would we be analyzing different sleep methods?!) and you are not morally superior just bz your child happens to respond better to one parenting method over another. Also, to tie it right into gummy bears, if your child wanted to eat 100 gummy bear vitamins (which we love but your dentist might not) you would flat out say NO no matter how much she cried bz it might kill her. Not sleeping enough might not kill you but it don’t make you grow up strong and healthy. Oh, and I don’t think the above posters want to seem this way, but saying “I hate this method but I had PPD” is just a little bit of a cop out. Come on, folks, let’s agree just to say — parent how you see fit. And if you are traveling and want a quick blackout, they sell blackout cloth at Country Curtains and you can bring a roll of painter’s tape with you. Plus, white noise machines really *are* the best. And routines. And, apparently, the fact that our bfeeding-on-demand monster (12+ times a day until weaned after 2) would never take a pacifier despite our desperate best efforts. Thanks so much, Heather! You truly throw it all out there, so honestly. Appreciatively…

  • Heather Twin Boys

    I fell in the trap with both my boys that if they cried we would pick them up but it got to the point it was being an issue.. so i finally started putting them to bed at 7pm or 8pm and let them cry and they would sleep till at least 6am or 7am, which is good cuz im up at that time anyway. Letting them cry helps!!!!

  • textimage

    first rule of fight club, is don’t talk about fight club. ARE YOU CRAZY?! im all for talking about taboo subjects but some things are just sacred… like my sleep.

  • Talon

    I have a policy, regarding people who have children. (and obviously who do not abuse them…woman what are you thinking, not letting her live on gummy bears?)

    What ever works for you and your child is the BEST solution. Period.

    We co-slept until she was past two…when one night, she decided that she wasn’t going to settle down, and through the threats, and the frustration, I finally yelled, “Do you want to sleep in your own bed????”

    She replied, “Yes.”

    And she went to her toddler bed, and has been sleeping on her own ever since.

    Now, we’ve had some trouble keeping her in bed (she’s 6 now) not with her coming to us at night, but her getting up and playing in the middle of the night…which we resolved partly by our good night to her. “Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite. I’ll see you in the morning. I love you. GO TO SLEEP!!! Good night!!”

    I’m not a fan of Ferber, but then I didn’t have a baby like Leta. :) So kudos for sharing it with us.

    Now give that poor starvling child some gummy bears you heartless momster!!

  • http://worldofvickee.blogspot.com/ Vickee

    Whatever works for your family is the best answer.

    We slept with ours until we’d had it. Then we did cry it out. And I was the one crying on the other side of the door.

    Now they both sleep for 10-12 hours a night, no problems. We also read and rock for a long time. Or we do family read if one parent is out of town, and then rock each child in their room. I will rock my sons until it’s their feet pushing the rocker.

  • Charissa

    I may not have been able to get my son to sleep the way you got Leta to sleep,but I really respect your honesty about how difficult it was. I can’t stand it when experts or other moms try to make it seem like the easiest thing in the world to make your child sleep (or get them to eat, or poop, stop climbing on stuff,whatever).

  • http://www.xanga.com/gora_kagaz Gora_Kagaz

    I can only imagine–wait, I CANNOT imagine what parents have to go through with their children. Every time I hear or read something like this, it puts me in awe of the amazing nature of parenthood. I agree with the “whatever works” method of getting things done, and I think it’s absolutely acceptable to let the child scream–because you HAVE to do it in order to remain sane. I can see where people might think it’s cruel, but I think that in some [most] cases, it’s necessary.

  • http://biggaysam.com Sam Merrill


    It always amazes me how some people feel it’s more important to be right than show compassion or be considerate.

    Thanks for once again turning this into another drama about you.