• noodlebugs

    Did I do CIO? Yes
    Do I support it? No, not anymore. It doesn’t make sense to me anymore now that I’ve read about the other side.
    Did CIO work for me? Once yes, twice no.
    Am I afraid to be jumped all over for a “troll” if I express why I don’t support it? Absolutely.
    Do I love this blog? Resounding Yes!

    Honestly, I have more comments on your commenters then I do on your post. That being the case, this is not the forum for it. I’ll go put that over on my own blog sometime.

  • Mar99Aug01Jan06

    As a mother of three I have learned that there are times in a mother’s life where you just tell people to kiss your ass, this being one of those times. It kills me when I come in contact with the soccer mom (no offense if any of you are soccer moms) that did everything “by the book” as they sometimes put it. First of all where in the hell is this book because seriously I want to read it. You do what you have to to keep yourself sane and in the long run not screw your kids up so bad that they need therapy. People are quick to judge about what methods so and so uses and how it is so wrong or so evil that they would never do that with their kids. My kids are loved, clothed, fed, educated and spoiled so freakin rotten it is disgusting. Until the day that I become a malicious child abuser who starves my kids and locks them in puppy cages bound by duck tape, beating them daily, as far as I am concerned all those “perfect parents” in this world can kiss my ass!

  • misty

    Essentially, it has gone like this with all four kids:

    –first feeding to go was the Right Before Bed one

    –get up w/baby up until it was one night feeding and *at a specific time*. The time thing was/is key. Once it was every night at 3 am for a week or so, it was routine–not hunger. Between four kids with very different personalities & needs, it has always hit right around 4 to 5 months without fail.

    –let them cry it out at that time. longest it took was four nights, shortest two (depending on kid)

    We also have a very “bare bones” bedtime routine, no elaborate schedule for it as some do.

  • http://www.duofilia.blogspot.com Duofilia

    Twins, baby. MY doctor neglected to tell me that my TWIN girls could sleep through the entire night. They were SEVEN MONTHS OLD when she told us. Sorry I’m yelling. I must still have issues about this. I think I’ll blog about it.

  • http://www.crazymadmomma.blogspot.com DDM

    We used the book, ‘The Baby Whisperer’. Well, we specifically used the E.A.S.Y. method that she explains, tweeked a bit to fit our life. Our son was a couple months old when we started, and it was the best thing we ever did! Still, he didn’t sleep through the night until 9 months old. At 9 months of age, I’d had it with the night stuff, and we did a form of cry it out. When he’d wake, I would go in and comfort him without picking him up, then leave. Let him cry for 5 minutes, repeat. Let him cry for 10 minutes, repeat. I only had to do it for about a week, and he never cried more than 15 minutes before falling asleep again. Now, he’s a champion sleeper. 12 hours a night. Our first clue that his brain malformation is causing him discomfort, is a ‘ripple’ in his sleep pattern. I do however, miss him napping during the day. He gave them up at about 3&1/2, and I cried myself through that one.

  • MissMeaMea

    I don’t normally post once, let alone twice, BUT…

    It’s a shame that since Heather opens posts so rarely on her site, there are still major dramas going on in here. Then again, it’s also heartening that a post on such a controversial issue could have such little drama. The CIO approach and its dissuaders is about a hot a topic as spanking is…hmm, I wonder where CIO and anti-CIO stand on spanking and if there is any correllation?

    My first instinct when reading the anti-CIO comments, and the reason I signed in to post, was to say “get over yourself” and the stories about how they tamed their children with nothing but love and a pat on the back, how they coslept for 10 years and now their child is a Mensa candidate, etc (PLEASE NOTE: I also cosleep, so don’t jump on me too much). There is no Parent of the Universe award, you know? But then, saying something like that is a bit on the hate-y side as well, and I agree that if you’re just stating an opposing view, you shouldn’t be attacked for it.

    Having said that, why is it that so many anti-CIO people are so – yes, it’s true – SMUG about their choice? Yes, it’s hard to let a baby cry. It’s hard to make any choice as a parent that goes against a child’s wants. Yet there are plenty of times in a child’s life when the parent has to do something that the child does not like, for the good in the long run. I’m not saying specifically that letting a child cry themselves to sleep is for the good – but, teaching them to put themselves to sleep is. Teaching them about limits – such as bedtime – is, as well. Whether you teach them with your supremely awesome non-cry parenting skills, or by letting them cry, is a matter of choice and no finger-wagging will change that.

    It’s my opinion that accusing Heather or anyone else who says using the CIO method is child abuse, is being histrionic; it also strikes me as devaluing the issue of actual child abuse.

    Again, every child and every family is different. Just as there are plenty of children for whom the CIO approach will not work, there are just as many children for whom reasoning, time, and every trick in the book will not work, and CIO becomes the only option. So don’t pass judgement on people who use a method that you wouldn’t, because you have no firsthand knowledge of the situation.

  • lmmom

    I meant to share my wisdom when you asked for comments about Stay at Homes vs Workings, and here it is now:

    Every Family Gets A Different Right Answer.

    We all have different kids, needs, pressures, priorities. We do the best we can, and we rely on each other.

  • sandienotsandy

    Wow, Heather. Thanks for sharing that. But, you shoud feel lucky that Leta is a girl. Then we might be faced with the ultimate of little baby boy landmine discussions… CIRCUMCISION!

  • kelley

    At 5 weeks old my daughter woke up to the world and decided napping was overrated. I didn’t give sleep a second thought until this happened (she’ll sleep when she’s tired, just like me!), and then I remembered your post about Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. I ran to the bookstore and immediately began putting it into practice. It took a few very painful weeks of getting her to sleep even though she fought it like hell and it took total devotion on my part, to not let anything else take priority during that period.

    She has been a phenomenal sleeper since, sleeping 8+ hours at 2 months old, going to sleep on her own in her crib and soothing herself back to sleep when she woke up. She’s now almost 8 months old, goes to bed at 6 pm, wakes at 6-6:30 am and takes two good naps per day.

    This is entirely because I have made her sleep a priority, not because I lucked out and got “the sleeper” as the others in my birth class like to say. Their kids are all fatigued, sleep in mom & dad’s bed, wake every hour or two and nurse off and on all fucking night long. They have no idea what they are doing, and I tend to keep my mouth shut. When we first started putting this into practice, I told them all about the book but everyone brushed me off like I was full of shit. It was a very hard, exhausting few weeks while we got her straightened out, but the result is incredible. Much like many aspects of parenting, I imagine.

    I never “Ferberized” because I think I nipped the problem in the bud, starting her on the right track at 5 weeks. I’ll do the same method with the next baby as well.

  • Bearsmama

    Had to respond to one other particular thing here. AMYL-You really are making LOADS of assumptions about my parenting. Am I a member of a club I didn’t know about?Am I striving to be part of a “cult” b/c I have a specific viewpoint and opinion on this one topic? I am amazed, again, as others have said, that with the forums we have available and the kind of intelligent people who read and post comments here that we can’t have a discussion. Or allow others to have a different viewpoint.

    I am also amazed that if I am clearly in the minority in this here, why, oh why, am I so threatening to you and others, AMYL? Shouldn’t I be the one who feels threatened by the majority’s opinion?

    Thanks again for letting this debate linger on and on and on and on, Heather.

  • Don’t Panic

    We did just what you did, with perfect, wonderful, restful results, and now I have a second who is 4 months old, and I’m so scared because I know we have to do it again. It was so painful.

  • IncaMama

    For those of you who practiced CIO with your children…I wonder…while you were listening to your babies scream in their own rooms in the dark at night…some to the point of vomiting…did you cling to your spouse? did you long to hug someone as you sobbed thinking about your poor baby crying? you’re grown adults. you knew what you were doing, you thought it was “best”. you knew WHY you were doing it and you knew you still loved your babies. yet you still cried in pain. and were able to cling to someone in that pain – something you denied your babies.

    so now imagine how your babies must have felt. they DIDN’T know what you were doing. they DIDN’T know that it was “best”. they DIDN’T know *why* you were not answering their desperate cries for help and comfort. you had the benefit of cognitive development, the benefit of age and “wisdom”, and yet you STILL cried. you STILL clung to each other as parents, something that you denied your infants. and you STILL seek affirmation YEARS after the fact on a blog site. do you really not see the hypocrisy and cruelty in that? if you *truly* don’t see that, then dealing with the “negativity” of some of us anti-CIOs are expressing is the *least* of your problems.

  • Carli

    WIth the first baby, we tried after 3 months to get her to sleep in her own bed. I was going back to work and had to get out of the “sleep when she does” cycle. After a few weeks of me being too tired to fight with her or wanting her to hate me for being gone all day AND torturing her at night, I finally relented to putting her down in her own bed at 8 pm, then when she woke up (around 11), she just came in with us. Somehow, I still got pregnant again, and was only able to get her out of our bed at 12 months, when her big toe got painfully stuck in my belly button. Out with the old kid and in with the new. By this time she was 13 months old and could sleep through the night. Kid #2 was out of our bed at 6 months, but also in during the night. Finally we got the kid to sleep in his own bed when we moved into a new house and told him it was the new rule. He was 14 months old, and still woke up in the night a few times a week, but went right back to sleep. With kid #3, she still wakes up about 3 nights a week, becasue she is a VERY light sleeper and can’t find her binky to save her life. I never gave this one a chance to sleep with us, and didn’t “rescue” her as much as I had with the first two. Tough life lessons that I wish I knew before I had any kids.

  • http://www.xoxo.nu Jenn

    What can I say? We were spoiled rotten by our now 17 month old.
    When she was born, she slept four to six hours at a time for the first two weeks. Mind you, her “bedtime” was at 7 or 8 in the morning, so while I was getting sleep I was dazed and fuzzed from sleeping and rising during the same day (and during daylight), but it was something, at least.

    I began turning her around (waking her for feedings, stimulating her to keep her up, etc.), and by one month of age she was going to bed at 1-3am, and sleeping for five to seven hours.

    By two and a half months of age she was going to bed by 1-3am and sleeping 9-12 hours a night, and taking one or two naps during the day.

    Now it’s the same, only about three months ago we started getting her down at a more reasonable time – 11pm-1am rather than 1-3.

  • http://www.soapywater.blogspot.com molly_g

    Reading through these comments makes me wonder who are the people who ARE judgemental about how a child sleeps/nurses/eats/goes to school (or while we’re at it whether mom works or not, right?). I’m honestly so sick of hearing about these so-called “Mommy Wars.” It seems like most reasonable people know that the only real expert on any given child is that child’s parent(s)!

    So, right on, Heather. I’m glad that you are enjoying the fruits of your hard work with Leta. I couldn’t endure the crying, and my son slept in a cosleeper and then in a toddler bed next to mine bed for three years. He’s six now and sleeps fine in his own room. Whatever works right?

  • megan

    I’m amazed that in this day and age, of countless viewpoints and innovative forums for which to discuss said viewpoints, respectful voices of dissent are catergorized as “hating”. Do we all have to agree in order for this to be a good discussion?

    I was one of those who said I could never do CIO because it just feels wrong to me. On that same note, I’d like to point out that most of the people here who did CIO said it felt wrong to them, too. But they did it anyway. Heather herself even said… “Getting Leta to sleep through the night was what sent me over the edge. I was coping somewhat before we decided to take away her pacifier, but after those two grueling weeks I lost it. My first piece of advice: be prepared for some trauma, on your part.” It didn’t feel right to her, either, people. Sure it worked, but at what cost? And I don’t even mean at what cost to the child… but at what cost to herself? I’m not trying to shame anyone. Rather, I feel horrible that we are actively encouraged to squelch so many of our instincts as parents, especially as mothers, because we read in some book that our kids should be doing something that they are obviously not equipped to do unless we force it upon them.

    And I’m not here to try to win anyone over to my “side” (whatever that is.. ???) but I do feel strongly enough about this topic that I feel compelled to point out that even though it worked, so many of you didn’t feel it was right. If everyone felt it was so right, no one would have cried in their vodka or wept outside the bedroom door or had to leave their own house while they trained their child. People did that because they knew it was wrong… even if it produced the desired effect.

  • http://spaces.msn.com/andreinaspace Andreina

    I think I consider myself and expert when it comes to knowing what every of these books talk about. The first book I bought was Dr. Sears and I have to say that I got brainwashed. My daughter has been a poor sleeper from day one. I nursed her until she was 10 months and she slept thru the night for the first time when she was nine months old. I read Dr. Ferber’s book to bee “in good” with my husband, but never agreed on the “cry it out” technique. I just could not handle it even though I was going absolutely crazy sleep deprived. My daughter has been sleeping with us since she was about 4 months, and I started sleeping better. She is going to be a year this week, and I do not regret having her with us. I feel very close to her, and when I am not around during the day, I feel like we make up for the time. I know that it’s going to be hard to get her out of our bed, but It can be done. So far, we like sharing our sleep with her, even though it requires some other sacrifices.

  • EnigmaticZero

    De-lurking for the first and maybe only time…

    Whenever I read your essays and the 450 comments , I think about the 45,000 people who read and don’t comment.

    So to speak for one ‘non-commenter’: I’ve thinking about becoming a first-time mom soon, and I’ve had depression issues since I was in my teens. When I think about this child-to-be, I can go from excited and confident, to competely terrified, and back to overjoyed.

    I believe that if I get to be a parent, I’ll be a better one because of you. I won’t blame myself as much, I won’t be as afraid to ask for help, I won’t think all hell will break loose if I make a mistake, and I won’t ever feel like I’m alone.

    Even if I don’t get to be a parent, I’ll still live in a world where tens of thousands of kids have better parents and families–for the same reasons–because of you and Jon.

    I guess I just want to say ‘Thank you’ for your honesty, bravery, and humor.

    I know this isn’t really about crying and sleeping. I don’t have a fully-formed opinion yet, except that ‘basket-case crying-on-the-floor mom’ isn’t the right choice.

  • http://www.dorky.typepad.com Dorkette

    Okay, I see the land mines starting to explode here, so let the Bad Parenting Accusations begin, huh?

    Here’s the thing: Applying the Ferber method is not “bad parenting,” just because you disagree with it. And doing something that ensures your child will have better sleep in the long run is hardly akin to spanking or hitting. I have not done any research, but I would be interested to know of any long term studies that corroborate claims of psychological damage strictly due to the Ferber method. Clearly, Leta is a happy and healthy child, with very loving parents. Can we expect to see otherwise healthy individuals who do something questionable as an adult using “Ferber Method Syndrome” as a defense? This is comical.

  • toddlermama

    Follow-up question to my earlier post:

    Who says that Attachment Parenting and the Ferber method are incompatible?

    I co-slept for as long as I could with both of my kids (probably 4 months, then in the same room for 5 more months with the first; a year with the second), continue to hold my 1 y.o. for most naps and “wear” him often, still breastfeed on demand — and I still believe that Ferber can be a useful tool in my parenting arsenal. As I said before, I’m doing “Ferber lite” with my son, responding to cries for hunger on the nights when he needs to be fed because he’s so very small yet — but both he and I are definitely more rested since the move to his crib, so I’m glad we’ve made the break and, gently, ferberized. We’ve been at it for a month, and he probably still wakes to feed once per night 30% of the time — but it’s so much better than incessant night nursing just because it’s there and available! And I DO consider myself a believer in AP, still.

    Oh, and to those out there who are “hating” — I’m ashamed to be posting to the same blog as you. Can’t we share ideas without being rude? I thank God for people like Heather who are able to share their stories of PPD and what worked or was needed to help them get through it. I’d rather read discussions of the merits of crying it out over news accounts of women with PPD exacerbated by fatigue snapping and hurting themselves or their kids — don’t you agree?

  • Lolajb

    You evil cow!!!
    Naaahhh…. I’m just jackin’ yah.
    I wish I had the guts to do it as early as you did.
    My eldest woke up every 2 hours or less every single freaking night of her life until she was 2 and a half … at that point I also had a newborn and I thought! THAT’S IT!
    Read “Healthy Habits Yada Yada”, realized the advice could be boiled down to “Let her cry, she’ll eventually stop”.
    After 4 nights of Hell, she became an OK sleeper – not great, but whatever! I’d take 3 hours or more in a row.
    I waited til my youngest was 10 months, and like Leta, I can’t even go into her room at all, because she takes that as some indication that it’s time to party and is REALLY pissed if I leave again, so we just let her go at it. She eventually stops.
    Unless you’ve been through it, you don’t know the kind of hell a nocturnal child can put you through.
    Salut to you for being smarter than I am, sooner.

  • http://mamac-ta.com Mama C-ta

    I wish I could say what worked for us but at 8.5 months old we still wake up many times a night. Cricket is breastfed and we co-sleep but at this point I’m not willing to do any sleep training. He’ll sleep when he’s ready. Too bad I’ve been ready for 8 months now.

  • http://happy-green-tea.livejournal.com esther

    i have a friend who told me her six+ month old still sleeps with her and her husband. i was surprised since a) i don’t have a baby and no nothing of child raising etiquette and b) the only things i know about babies i read on here and you had gotten your baby to sleep 12 hours straight at 6 months! but you already knew that. yes, everyone’s different, but if i ever have children, you will definitely be the example by which i live.

    p.s. did you take your baby out in public when she was a month old? i have another friend who just had a baby and she and her partner refuse to expose it to the light of day lest he catch a deadly disease and wither away to dust.

  • http://jaycee.typepad.com/semantics/ Jaycee

    I figured out when my baby was six weeks old that if I didn’t get his sleeping sorted out I was going to end up doing something really drastic. It changed for the better but I was still doing a feed at around midnight until he was about five months old. Then I thought I’d try a rollover feed before I went to bed and let him sleep through the night.

    He was on solids at this stage and I knew he was getting enough to eat so I wouldn’t feed him till he woke up the next morning (after the rollover feed). Details are fuzzy for me too but I know it wasn’t easy sailing (and I was all on my own) but it was worth it for me.

    That’s the key, doing what works for you. Now he’s nearly five and he’ll go to bed when I tell him. He might read for a bit but he’ll eventually get HIMSELF off to sleep without hassling me. It means I’ve got a heck of a lot more freedom with going out and putting him to bed in unfamiliar surroundings.

  • Kristi W

    I also used the first book you mentioned as well as “The Baby Whisperer” by Hogg and “Babywise” by Ezzo. Since then I have been pointed to a website that does a poor job of explaining why Ezzo’s methods are child abuse (taking sentences out of context etc). I thought it gave a great overview along with the other two books. It was great for my daughter (now 27 months old). We went throught some horrific nights where I questioned my sanity, but she finally slept through the night at about 8 weeks and consistently at about 3 months (though she had a few occasions since then with night terrors and power struggles). My son slept through the night at 6 weeks…consistently. I have to say, my son has been SO much easier on every level, than my daughter was. On another note, I have had little luck with Ezzo’s “Potty Training 1-2-3″. I guess my daughter is very advanced in the potty training area for her age, but has not gotten it completely (like telling me when she has to go at home or going by herself – she has no problem telling me when she has to go when we are out). I think it is a power issue maybe. I would guess that you would not be a fan of Ezzo as he has a religious twist to his “Babywise” books that actually are a secular version of his “Growing Kids Gods Way” Christian series. Despite the horrible things people say about him, his methods have worked for us and if he’s a jerk, well I’m glad I’ll probably never have to meet him!

  • Bearsmama

    BTW, I think I’ve only ever commented on a blog once before, so this is obviously something very important to me. I have to say that I am not trying to “win people over to my side”. I don’t even know what side that is. Obviously the majority of people here don’t see things my way, and THAT is precisely why I posted. I posted b/c I wanted to share MY view. Isn’t that why this post was left open for comments. My post was really coming from my heart. Seriously. I am amazed all the time that I am in the minority on this one. I also wanted to share that there ARE other ways to approach the sleep issue. Listen, anyone who says the have parenting all wrapped up is bullshitting you. I truly believe that most of us are winging it. But perhaps YOU have something that you feel strongly about in your role as a parent. Something that you wished would have been a discussion point before you had children. Well, this is that one for me. And to TWINMAMA-I did have a colicky babe. A reallllllllllly colicky babe, who I really thought would break me. But I chose to do something different to address our sleep needs as a family. Nothing is easy. If my post came off SMUG, I’m sorry. I feel strongly about this one and I will not apologize for my opinion.

  • Tess

    My son is 22 months and he’s never had a problem sleeping through the night. I think it had to be this way or I would have gone mad since I had to get up at 430 every morning to get ready for work. His schedule is sleep from 9pm-730am and nap 12pm-3pm. The one downside is that he’ll only sleep in his crib.

  • mirenis

    I was 20 when I had my son, and I didn’t have any books, but I knew if I was going to keep any part of my sanity, he would have to sleep through the night. He wouldn’t fall asleep unless he was being hed, and walked, and rocked… We finally said enough and stopped going in when he cried. We would sit outside on the porch with the baby monitor for hours, listening to him cry. It took weeks to for him to sleep through the night, but once he did, I felt a little more human.

  • http://www.dorky.typepad.com Dorkette

    Hell yeah, I see the land mines. I’m with you: do whatever works. As long as someone isn’t harming their child, I say more power. And if people disagree? They can suck it.

    My daughter, now 5, had the same problem as Leta. Only I didn’t summon up the cajones to not pick her up when she started howling. And boy, did I PAY FOR IT. Noelle did not sleep through the night until she was ONE MOTHERF-ING YEAR OLD. I think it did her more harm than good – she got less sleep than she should have, and would have if I could have seen through more logical eyes. But where’s logic when you are a brand new mom with little help and no experience? IT’S IN A POOPY DIAPER, THAT’S WHERE IT IS.

  • http://bronnie.org Bronnie

    Raising a child can be the most rewarding, yet toughest thing you do in life!
    I don’t think you have anything to worry about! :)

    Leta’s ABC’s were gorgeous! Very cute.

  • http://marshamlow.blogspot.com Marsha

    We did pretty much the same as you did. It was horrific at the time, but worth it in the end.

  • http://www.myspace.com/holycrapbrittany BrittanyGifford

    We did the Cry It Out method sort of like what you did but with less agony. We also played him music while he cried so that he would have something soothing him. He gave up the pacifer on his own at 3 mos. He’s been sleeping a 12 hr night since he was 4 mos. The first night our son slept through my husband and I were both so thrilled. It’s an amazing feeling.

  • blogger101

    well, I guess I’ll have to be the first one to say it…

    I think Ferber and his training method is terrible and traumatizing to babies. Just because something “works” doesn’t mean it is good parenting to do it. Spanking or even beating your kids might work to make them stop their misbehavior, but it will have long term impact.

    I truly believe that letting your baby scream bloody murder (or even as Ferber says, crying to the point of throwing up repeatedly) to teach it to sleep is a long term mistake, with potential short term pay off.

    that said, obviously if the choice is between PPD or even complete exhaustion and the bad parenting that flows from that, then I understand trying this approach out. but there are other alternatives that don’t cause the unwanted psychological effects.

    also, the ped that thought babies should be routinely sleeping through the night at 4 months is off his rocker. Likely many of his patients formula feed, which makes sleeping through the night easier because the food is so dense. But when you are breastfeeding the reality is they need to feed more often.

    anyway, I love your site and am not a troll, I just happen to strongly believe Ferber etc. are misleading parents and I am saddened to think of how many people are about to go out and buy this book after reading about it here.

  • Amy L.

    Well, we did have a good discussion going…

    I just want to say something to the anti-CIO posters out there.

    I realize this is a sensitive issue for you and you’re appalled by the attitudes you see, etc. etc. However. If you want to pull people over to your side, and convince them to see things your way, you’re going about it COMPLETELY the wrong way. I see this with so many pro-Natural/Attachment Parenting people. They seem to think that by doling out heaps of:
    - shame
    - guilt
    - anger
    and judgment, they will somehow persuade people to come over to “their side.” It doesn’t work that way. I will just tell you, y’all are pushing it way too far if you legitimately want people to adopt your style of parenting. You’re making the same mistake radical feminists did in the 1970s and 1980s – developing more and more rigid and stringent views and creating a circle of acceptance that keeps closing in on yourselves, tighter and tighter. Eventually you guys are going to be like cult members – the qualifications for membership in your club are going to be so exclusionary you won’t be able to persuade anyone your views are worth sharing, and you’ll end up alienating more people than you convert.

    If you REALLY want to help people make decisions and share your point of view, I suggest using:
    - inclusion
    - acceptance
    - compassion
    and sensitivity rather than what you’re doing now, which is none of those things. If there’s one thing people can say about Americans, it’s that they don’t want to be told what to do. That goes double for new parents, who are under enough pressure. People don’t like it when other people make them feel bad for their choices. They don’t like people who are smug, judgmental or self-righteous. That’s not How to Win Friends and Influence People. You hardcore NP/AP parents are pricing yourselves out of the market, so to speak – eventually people are going to decide that the lifestyle and/or personality compromises they have to make to be “Truly AP” aren’t worth it, and you’ll find yourselves very isolated. What’s more, you’re creating a backlash against your own philosophy by behaving in such a way that people will not adopt your views just because they don’t want to be like you. Every vituperative or judgmental post is just as likely (or more likely) to push someone away from your philsophy, rather than bring people around to your way of thinking, which is what I assume you try to do by posting. If you truly care about trying to persuade people, you might want to examine your mechanisms of persuasion and try to pinpoint why your views generate such opposition and hostility. I can guarantee you it’s 5 percent about what you’re saying and 95 percent about how you’re saying it. Just some tips from someone who tries to influence public opinion for a living.

    Again, mad props to Heather for her courage and honesty, and to other posters for their forthrightness and their sharing of raw emotion.

  • TiaJen


  • LadyDee

    You are so brave to open this up to comments – I’ve seen this discussion turn ugly more times than I can count.

    Our daughter will be 11 months old in a few days and I can say that we’ve done a little bit of everything. The key for us is to be flexible – what currently works for us wouldn’t have worked so well 6 months ago. We co-slept full time from the time she was about 3 weeks old until she was 8 months old. I nursed her to sleep for every nap (THE HORROR!!!) and she would nurse frequently throughout the night.

    At 8 months old we started tranisitioning to the crib. I started with naps and much to my surprise she took to it right away. No fighting, no crying, just pure bliss for me – being able to put her down drowsy/awake and her just drifting off to sleep all on her own.

    Nighttime was a different story. She wasn’t having any of this crib business after dark. We added a little bit of CIO to our routine at that point. I would let her try to get herself to sleep for 10-20 minutes and then go in to help if she was still carrying on. After a few weeks, she was going down without a fight and we had completely phased out the co-sleeping with minimal trauma to baby and parents.

    She’s not STTN yet and I’m OK with that. I get up to nurse her at least once during the night (unless she’s teething!) and that is currently working for us. I can see the end in sight as the number of hours she sleeps before waking continues to stretch out.

    That is what works for our family. I think we totally would have decided to do something different if I would have gone back to working outside of the home.

  • The Bold Soul

    I’m not a parent, so I can only imagine how difficult that must have been for you and for any parent who is trying to get a child to sleep. What I have observed, however, is that whatever methods or tricks you end up using, the START of being able to solve the sleep problem is when the PARENTS decide they’ve had enough and they take firm steps to change the situation. Once the parents give themselves permission to do whatever they need to do, the rest seems to fall into place after that.

    I saw this with my friend and her two youngest (she has 4) both of whom had difficulty going to sleep in their own cribs if mom or dad wasn’t in there with them (they didn’t put their kids to bed until 9:30 or 10pm, and let their kids sleep in their bed if the kids wanted to, or they would sleep on the floor in the kids rooms if the kids couldn’t sleep… I never agreed with that but kept my mouth shut). My friend seemed to agonize over not wanting the child to be upset or cry a lot at bedtime, and I think it was her ambivalence that was the problem. Once she, as the mom, got on board and made up her mind, those kids got with the program amazingly quickly. And now everyone sleeps fine.

    In my sister’s household, in contrast, neither of her kids ever once put up a fuss about bedtime, and I think that was a combination of their own personalities (they have the “cooperative at bedtime” genes) PLUS their parents being very firm about bedtime. Bedtime was always about 8 or 8:30pm when the kids were young (so they’d get that 10-12 hours of sleep, plus naps, like Leta). They also rarely, if ever, let their kids sleep in their bed… the kids had their own crib/bed and their own rooms and that was that.

    Even as a non-married non-mommy, I always enjoy your writing, your photography and especially your candor. Never censor yourself because of the critics out there. Until someone has walked in your shoes they have no right to judge.

  • http://www.slolane.org Twinmama

    Last thing: I just came across this little tool today that might help new moms figure out their little ones’ sleep issues/habits. It was featured on parenthacks.com.

    Check out “The Sleep Telemetry” section: http://www.trixietracker.com/tour/sleep

    (Lord I wish this had existed three years ago).

  • http://melinor.blogspot.com MelanieinOrygun

    Well, I didn’t know until today that the different ways to get your kid to sleep in their own bed, through the night, had names. Apparently, I am a CIO mom, myownself. I learned it the hard way when my firstborn was almost a year and a half old. She was already talking in sentences, and would break my heart with the tears and sobs and “Please mommy… I want mommy… I love you mommy” coming from the other room, but we toughed it out, and thus my sanity was saved.
    Worked for me and my little family, but I think it really is different for each kid and each parent. The real bitch-on-a-stick is when two parents in the same household can’t agree on the right approach (that was Kid # 2, and I am still scarred to hell and back from that scene).

  • http://www.slolane.org Twinmama

    Please forgive me for this, Heather.

    Ecobabe, Bearsmama, ‘thatsjustnotright’: It must be really nice on your smug, judgemental little planets. May your next preganacies be triplets, all with colic.

    (BLAM! go the landmines).

  • Lolly

    no kids of my own, but i was the full time nanny for a little girl, now 2, from day one. her parents couldn’t stand to let her scream, so gave in to having a family bed instead. nothing wrong with that except they complained they didn’t like the situation.
    so when i was there in the evening they would turn to me for bed time. i’d put her down and she’d cry for about 2 min and be out, seemed like a easy child. but neither of her parents could stand to be “the bad guy” and walk away when she was crying (and she knew it)…since i wasn’t there that often in the evening that beautiful child is only recently sleeping the whole night in her own bed.

  • http://chitlinsandcamembert.blogspot.com/ chitlinsandcamembert

    This is my first comment, Heather. I just found your blog a few weeks ago, and am addicted. I’m an American mom living out in the middle of nowhere in the French countryside, and love having your blog for companionship!

    Max is 5 months and is sleeping through the night thanks to Dr. Ferber (as interpreted by Michel Cohen in his book “The New Basics”, which I love for the most part). Max had SUCH BAD COLIC the first 3 months that letting him cry for 5 nights (the amount of time it took to work) didn’t seem all that bad.

    He sleeps 11 hours per night, so I shouldn’t complain, but now it’s naps that we’re having a hard time with. Max only sleeps 20 minutes at a time 3 times a day. And I don’t think it’s enough because he will sleep on and off for a few hours if I’m driving around and is much more cheerful when he does.

    I tried to “Ferberize” during the day, but he just cries hysterically. He starts with his new child-minder tomorrow for 1/2 days. Maybe she will have a trick that will work.

    (And 393, I hope you were kidding. If not, you’re a total putain-de-merde, as they say here.)

  • http://marlespo.livejournal.com/ Marlespo

    My 2 year old son Philip was the exact same way when it came to screaming: attending only made it worse. He is still like that, as well. No cuddles or feeds or rocks or play or anything helped, and we had some crying-i-out as well. I think sometimes women who have non-screamers really just don’t get how some other babies are genuinely born with other personalities. They are born with the ones they’ll have when they are 40, for the most part. Loud, likes or hates physical contact, likes or hates personal space invasions, likes or hates independent thought… and so on.

    Anyway, we used the Baby Whisperer technique of dream feeds. He woke up like clockwork, at 3 months old, at 1am and 5am. At midnight I’d wake up and go feed him in his sleep. He never woke up, there are specifics in the book on how to accomplish this. I did that for a few weeks until he had gained a few more pounds, then stopped. He was old enough and fat enough to sleep through the night (her rule was 10 pounds and having around 30 oz during the day) and so by feeding him in his sleep for a little while, and not much mind you, only a few ounces, it was enough to trick him into sleeping through. He didn’t wake up because he wasn’t hungry, and for HIM, that was why he woke up.

    Also, we REALLY encouraged thumb sucking. We had his pacifier for 2 months and went through the same thing about waking up all the time when it fell out etc, but he wouldn’t sleep without sucking. Once he could *physically* such his thumb again (we’rd how they can do it in the womb but then they forget or something) we encouraged the hell out of it. Putting his thumb in his mouth for him, things like that. THAT was the big kicker. When he woke up in the night, he could soother *himself*, and started sleeping 12 hours.

    Now that he’s 2 he sleeps 10-11 hours like a dream, and I have thanked my lucky stars to havea thumb sucker no matter what anyone else says.

  • seppukuqueen

    393, you’re a jerk. Child abuse is a serious thing, and you’re making light of the situation by making a libelous statement. Appalling is starving your child. Appalling is beating your child until it has to be hospitalized. Raising children is a stressful, insanity inducing job sometimes, and what right do you have to criticize someone else’s parenting methods? If the child is happy, well taken care of and loved, who are you to say boo about it? Do you think time outs are appalling too? Maybe you should go report someone who sternly speaks to their child. The horror! You should be ashamed of yourself for taking away from the severity of a very serious issue and trying to cause mom guilt. Shame on you for the mom guilt!

  • Juniper

    Wow, reading this takes me back to sleep training my child, which sounds like a remarkably similar process to yours, although, we played the ‘replace the pacifier’ game up until she was 8 months (and then had to actually cut the end off the pacifier so we wouldn’t cave – it was a scary, relationship defining moment).

    We weren’t even trying to Ferberize our child, and were going with the “Baby Whisperer” method, which recommends consoling a crying baby but then letting the child fall asleep on her own, as soon as she is consoled. Of course, the author fails to point out that once you take away a child’s main form of soothing (pacifier, nursing to sleep), she is INCONSOLABLE and it turns into a cry-it-out session anyway. Very hard on the soul, but so, so worth it.

    One thing I’d reiterate that you said is that going back in when she was crying just made it so much worse. It took a long time for this notion to make it into our thick, sleep-deprived skulls, but eventually it did. She just turned 2 and, like Leta, has been sleeping 10-12 hours/night ever since that harrowing experience.

  • Bullywoolly

    I went cold turkey with both my daughters — the first when she was four months old and the second when she was two weeks(seriously — I am the archetypal bad mother). It took both of them two nights to adjust, and every day I put $5 into a therapy fund for them for when they’re older.

    Hi, first time I’ve commented although I’ve been reading for a while now. You’re funny :)

  • ryansmom

    Hi Heather,

    I just found your blog the other day and I love it. I only wish I would have known about it 2 1/2 years ago when I had my first son. I am due any day now with my second child and am terrified of going through the sleep issues again! I also used the HSHHC book and now my son is a model sleeper.

    Anyway- I remember when I was going through the tough times someone said to me “your childs’ life is so long so in the grand scheme of things, 9 months to year of sleep deprivation isn’t that bad. Soon they’ll be heading off to college and you’ll miss those days when they needed and wanted you.” My response?……


    Side note- her child is 37 and still co -sleeps.
    Just Joking! ;-)

  • that’sjustnotright

    I am seriously considering reporting you to CPS after reading that entry. That is the most appalling account of child abuse I’ve ever read. You should be ashamed of yourselves for abusing a child in such a way.

  • http://agategal.typepad.com/ Tonya @ Kingfisher Cove

    A friend of mine had to deal in a similar way with her (stubborn!) 18-month-old boy who constantly would climb out of his crib and come to wherever they were. So for two solid nights, she and her husband took turns — whenever Kyle would climb out of his crib, one of them would silently pick him up and put him back in it and not say a word, just turn around and leave his room. Many times he’d immediately climb back out and even BEAT them back down the stairs! Calmly, the other parent would then pick him up and take him back to his crib, again without saying a word or giving him any attention. Over and over and over and over again. It had to be so frustrating — and they went through stretches where they really thought it wasn’t going to work at all (the kid truly IS stubborn). But after the second night of this, Kyle finally stayed in his crib. Of course, then they had to go through it all over again when they put him in a twin bed six months later. (What, no bars? That must mean I have PERMISSION to climb out whenever I want to!)

  • http://www.chocklate.blogspot.com/ Meepers

    Wow… I’ve just read every.single.comment – and all I can say is:

    SO DOES THIS MEAN YOU’RE THINKING ABOUT HAVING ANOTHER ONE? and also…I’m so, very, very sorry for asking that incredibly personal question, please ignore it. Leta’s just so damn cute, she makes me think, “Hmmm, I wonder what a little brother or sister would be like for Leta.”

    About sleeping: As a baby, I woke up “every hour on the hour” …until I was two. My mother would let me CIO… for hours at a time. I’ve never, ever, ever adjusted to the notion that my mom was a bad mother for trying to get me to sleep on my own. I’ve just had insomnia my entire life, there was no way I could communicate that as a baby. When I started speaking in complete sentences (under a year) I’m sure some of the first things I said were, “Don’t wanna go to bed!” and “Not Tired!” Fortunately, the two sisters after me were much better about sleeping!

    You and Jon could never be mistaken for anything other than concerned, loving, fun parents. I’m so glad that most of the comments today have been positive. You deserve support for raising Leta the way that works for all of you!