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Why I can't recommend Ferber or Weissbluth

I do not think cry it out is an appropriate way to teach babies or children to sleep, whether it is a graduated method (like Ferber) or full-on let 'em scream until they pass out extinction (like Weissbluth) or until they vomit and beyond (like Schafer), I'm not on board. There are some people who have been reading my blog for a long time and consistently express their dismay at my anti-cry-it-out posts. Recently, a few more people have chimed in on my blog and on twitter with their disappointment at my closed-mindedness on this issue.

Let me try to explain why I can't recommend them.

I cannot recommend a book or a system that has great suggestions but concludes with a last resort that I consider to be wrong, because ultimately a lot of people will be looking for the easy way out and will take the documentation of that last resort as permission to go ahead and use it.

  • I wouldn't recommend a marketing book that suggested lying or spamming as a last resort if other techniques don't work.

  • I wouldn't recommend a financial management book that suggested cooking the books a bit if you don't think the real results will please shareholders.

  • I wouldn't recommend a book on getting out of debt that suggested robbing a bank as a last resort.

  • I wouldn't recommend a book on how to write a good term paper that suggested buying it off the Internet if you don't have enough time left to do it properly.

  • I wouldn't recommend a weight loss book that suggested anorexia or bulimia was an appropriate step to take if healthy eating and exercise doesn't let you lose 50 lbs in 5 weeks.

There are books that I own and would recommend that include some things that are not 100% my cup of tea, but that I do not think are wrong necessarily. Those books I will happily recommend with the caveat that I am not 100% of the same mind as the author. But cry it out is something I do think is wrong and I will not recommend any book that includes it even as a last resort.

I also cannot recommend a book that includes a cry it out method when there are other alternatives that are less likely to be damaging in any way:

  • I wouldn't recommend that someone buy bottles with bisphenol-A (BPA) in them when there are stainless steel or glass alternatives available.

  • I wouldn't recommend that someone formula feed if they are able to breastfeed.

  • I wouldn't recommend that someone drive drunk if they can call a cab.

  • I wouldn't recommend hitch hiking if public transportation is available.

  • I wouldn't recommend burning your old tires instead of recycling them.

  • I wouldn't recommend using the morning after pill or abortions as regular birth control instead of planning ahead and using other types of contraceptives.

Perhaps there are people who feel they cannot or choose not to use those alternatives for whatever reason or that have decided that they don't work for whatever reason. There are plenty of other people that will tell them that it is okay, so I don't need to compromise myself by recommending them on my blog.

I know there are people who are disappointed in me for being so closed minded on this issue. While I think that is too bad and it saddens me to disappoint others, it would sadden me even more if I compromised my beliefs and disappointed myself.  You do not need to make the same decisions that I do or come to the same conclusions that I do and I will not call you a bad parent for making different choices that I do.  But I will not change my position on this.  I do not think it is appropriate to leave a child alone to cry to sleep. Period.

Image credit: Ernesto JT on flickr.
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Reader Comments (150)

How can people ask you to recommend or blog about issues that you don't personally agree with??!!

September 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRosanna

I don't think it is wrong of you to feel this way. I feel this way about co sleeping. I can not and never will be able to say it is a good idea or that I can recommend it. I get "flamed" for this all the time. But for the exact same reasons you blogged above it is my opinion. I respect your opinion on this. Don't bend just because people give you a hard time.


September 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLee

I agree completely. I tried CIO 2 days when my oldest was about 10 months old. He'd barely been sleeping during the day for months, had huge black circles under his eyes. I was desperate to help him get some sleep & everyone on my very mainstream message board was saying how "great" CIO was. On Friday, I tried Ferber for 1 hour. B just got more & more upset, so I took him out & nursed him & he went to sleep. On Saturday, I decided maybe Ferber was too extreme, Baby Whisperer's PUPD supposedly wasn't CIO, I'd try that. 45 minutes later, B was absolutely hysterical. It took me 2 hours to calm him. I was against CIO before I tried it, but I was desperate enough to ignore my instincts. After seeing it, I'm not only against it, I'm firmly of the opinion that it's child abuse & that people who promote it should be charged. I avoid, as much as possible, people who I say that they're doing/have done it & think it's great & I wish I were brave enough to tell people who are promoting it what I think of bullies who not only traumatize their own children, but encourage others to do the same.

September 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

I lhttp://www.phdinparenting.com/2009/01/09/cosleeping-benefits/" rel="nofollow">ove co-sleeping of course, but I wouldn't expect you to recommend it if you are not comfortable with it. ;)

September 2, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

If everyone agreed, it would be such a boring world. it's just when people get ugly and completely judgemental that the world does fall apart. You don't do that. <3


September 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLee

and now you will get the nit picky "I can't belive you would compare this with THAT" response in a couple hours......... but I AGREE!!!!!!

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNaomi

I absolutely 100% agree with you and have blogged on the issue myself. Crying it out is taking the night off as a parent. Parenting is a 24 hour job. You just can't "clock out".

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterm a m a :: m i l i e u

i guess you knew i'd show up. :)
i'm reposting what i just posted back on the other page the thread that may have started all this begins.

before i do so, i will happily make naomi's prediction come true! you create a very flawed argument and discredit yourself by comparing ferber to "cooking books" and "robbing banks", etc. this is a classic slippery slope fallacy and is not a valid argument.

you're welcome naomi!

here's what i wrote earlier about some points phd made in our thread:

“Cry it Out”
• ferber is about crying-it-out

“if you create a healthy sleep environment that children will become healthy sleepers… ”
• ferber is, in fact, about creating healthy sleep environments

“… without intervention.”
• ferber is not an intervention

“It may not be at the pace that parents (or society) want and it may require more parental involvement than parents want (and more than society deems “normal”).”
• we are parents that have plenty of time and spend it all with our child, we very much agree and practice attachment parenting (of course i’m likely to be accused of doing no such thing because of ferber). my wife decided to take 1 year off her career and now only works about 2 months a year. we do not need or use alternate child care. when she works i care for our child. we do it all ourselves. we also take the time to be fully committed to cloth diapering. my wife still breast feeds our child and has no plans on stopping soon.

“I think it is either unrealistic expectations, societal pressure, or reluctance to do the other things required to create a healthy sleep environment.”
• none of the above apply and don’t necessarily apply to someone who has read many books and simply chose one that they felt, after much research, would work for them.


i completely respect your choice, but not your position, because it assumes a lot and is making judgments about other people’s choices.

i have not read your full post on your blog but will now have a look at it. i wanted to write this before i did read it.

here i go. will likely post a comment but glad that this dialogue has created a healthy discussion.

btw. after bath time tonight. i read my daughter 4 books (she loves the mole sisters so much) then she looked at me and said “papa, bed” and pointed to her bed (due to creating a healthy sleep environment). she stretched out and grabbed her bear and she said “nighty night”. i said “i love you.” closed the door. i will see her in the morning rested and ready for a great day. this scenario has been repeated every night (except for some of the heavy teething spells) since we created her healthy sleep environment with ferber’s many suggestions.

would you deny these types of common results to other parents struggling with sleep issues and having to deal with the havoc the lack of sleep can create in a family, a child, at work, etc.???

this is the result of a doctor’s decades of research in sleep and this is what constantly gets demonized by people.

(added for this post)
of course, it does not and cannot work for every child but arguments like yours, i believe, may scare some people away from it that might in fact benefit from it. that's my issue with this negative propaganda about ferber.

with light


September 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdustyz

Oh gosh! You are absolutely allowed to feel whatever way that you do! And Since this is YOUR blog- you can choose to put whatever you want on it! Why would you recommend something that you wouldn't do yourself?! Great Blog BTW!

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterShauna

My response to your critics is "Duh, she doesn't agree with CIO, therefore she won't recommend CIO."

I haven't done much reading on the subject, but I know whenever I read or hear about parents employing CIO it makes me feel stressed and anxious for the baby. I imagine my own daughter crying all alone and I know I could not physically restrain myself from going to her. Not to comfort her would go against my basic mothering instincts. I don't criticize parents out loud, but I always wonder why so many people think a baby needs to sleep thru the night. Why do they believe a baby would not still need to be physically close to mom or dad? I don't understand it.

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterOlivia

Oh, I also wanted to ad that I've read parents' accounts fo their babies crying for 4 or 5 hours, and I just can't fathom how they live with that. Do parents really let their infants cry for hours or are they just exaggerating?

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterOlivia

I pesonally think CIO methods are cruel. I could never use them on my child and I cringe when I hear of other people doing the same. If I could change it, I would, but its one of those things that falls under that sacred category of "personal choice." I'm sure there are those out there that shudder when they see me constantly holding the Birdie, nursing on cue, and co-sleeping (but not necessarily bed sharing.) It works for us and we've got a happy four month old baby that can be put in her crib when she's drowsy and she'll go to sleep on her own because she knows if she makes a peep then someone will be there for her.

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterShotgun Mary

I don't think I discredit myself by making those comparisons. I am saying that I don't care good a book is and how great its suggestions are if it includes a chapter or section that includes something I think is wrong. I think cry it out is wrong, just like I think the other things in that list are wrong. Other people think cry it out is great, just as there are people who think starving yourself is an acceptable way to lose weight (and people who think all the other things on that list are acceptable). It isn't about what you think is right or wrong. It is about what I think is right or wrong. I cannot recommend a book on my blog that includes something I think is wrong, no matter how much "right" stuff happens to be in the same book. I don't see why that is not a valid argument.

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

I did read the Ferber book and am simply not a fan. Although, I do recommend new parents read the first sections which discuss the physiology behind sleep and explains the vast differences between a baby's sleep and an adult's sleep (I then tell them to skip the rest of the book!) I have saved several friends from heartache by explaining that a baby sleep cycles are 45 minute increments, whereas we adults have 90 minute sleep cycles. It helps to know that a baby is probably not really done with his/her nap after 45 minutes, he/she simply woke up between sleep cycles and just needs help getting back down.

However, I am adamantly against crying it out - before I had children, it just seemed cruel and after I had my own baby, I read The Science of Parenting by Margot Sunderland. That book was the "proof in the pudding" for me. After seeing all of those brain scans and information, I firmly believe that leaving a child in a prolonged state of distress is harmful. Sure, CIO works because the child simply gives up after awhile, not because he really learned how to comfort himself.

Overall, I hate the word "training" and bristle at it being used in any sort of parenting method - including potty training. Bleh.

We still co-sleep with our 2+ year old and almost 4 year old. At this point, we have no plans to "kick" them out. It kills me when folks infer that co-sleeping is the "easy way out". I think of it as the "better way out". That is all. To each their own.

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commentercagey

I think the reasoning behind the "battle" about CIO vs. non-CIO is because some parents just have easy kids who form good sleep associations at the beginning and never really do cry. To those parents, they think "CIO = no big deal" because for their child, the crying was maybe a couple of short sobs, a few whimpers. Or maybe 2 minutes in the car seat before the child settles/sleeps while driving. But other kids need a lot of help falling asleep. My son, my first child, was like that and is still like that. He joined us in bed at 4:30am (he is now almost 3 years old). Co-sleeping, rocking, holding him, helping him sleep are all very important to him. With my daughter, around 8 weeks old she would fall asleep on her own with some rocking. Or she would nurse to sleep. Right now she's sleeping in her crib happily at 1.5 years old. There are times when she cries out around 10pm. Maybe a couple of sobs or a moan. By the time I walk upstairs to her room she's already back asleep. Time elapsed: 1 minute. A little crying for her is no big deal.

So really the answer here is that each parent should follow their baby's cues and meet their own baby's needs. I would never advocate CIO to any parent but if a parent is questions "is CIO okay?" then most likely they DO NOT feel it is okay in their gut and that is a sign they should be listening to their child's needs rather than listening to what other parents or books are saying. I wish new parents could be infused with more confidence that they know what is right for their child.

If new parents had never been around any other parents and never read any books and simply followed their own instincts... they would, of course, respond to a baby's cries. The reason parents don't is because they have read somewhere or heard that they "shouldn't".

Annie, I am glad you stick to your guns on CIO. A blog is very personal thing. This is not babycenter where the writers are supported by ads for certain products and it must appeal to the masses. This is YOUR blog and it represents YOUR views and opinions.

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAlina

FYI - Other authors like Elizabeth Pantley (No Cry Sleep Solution) also have wonderful information about sleep. That is why I would recommend her books over anything by Ferber or the others.

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

I'm very glad I'm not babycenter!!! Last night when I was looking up stuff on Weissbluth I was not surprised to find numerous articles on his methods with big huge formula ads smacked on them. Ugh....

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

I don't think you need to explain yourself. You hold the beliefs you hold, and you don't have to apologize or justify that to anyone.

I will say that every baby is different and some things work better for some babies than others. While i agree that leaving a baby to scream does not seem right to me, there are parts of sleep training that make sense to me and that babies in my experience have responded well to, resulting in a better rested baby and parent. And i don't need to defend that belief, just as you shouldn't feel you have to defend yours.

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterzchamu

I respect your opinion, and your freedom to express it. No one should expect you to change your opinion simply because they don't like it and have their own opinions. I am not disappointed that you stick to your beliefs. I applaud it! Never compromise your beliefs. However, I hope you don't mind if I share my own opinion and the experience that formed it - not in an attempt to change your opinion, but simply to throw in my own two cents.

Although I think CIO is not ideal, I have a hard time saying that it is "wrong" in all situations - every parent - child dyad is unique with their own needs.

With my daughter I tried Pantley, I tried Karp, I tried Sears... I absolutely did not want to do CIO, because, like most people who consider themselves attachment parents, I felt that it was "wrong". However, all the no-cry sleep suggestions resulted in hours of crying and attempted soothing, ending up with a baby who would only sleep on my chest for short periods of time. She wouldn't sleep beside me in bed, only on my chest - neither safe nor conducive to a good night's sleep for either of us. So, as a "last resort" I tried my own form of CIO - not Ferber, not Weissbluth, but a version that I could handle - I decided that if she cried for too long or became too upset or hysterical, I would go and get her, attempt to soothe her, let her play a while and then try again later. If she was protest crying, similar to what she does when I change her diaper or put her in her car seat, I would let her cry. After 20 minutes of protest crying the first night and 10 minutes the second night, she was asleep. And she sleep for hours at a time and was much happier in the daytime.

So which is less damaging? Hours of crying and limited sleep using "no-cry" techniques or 10 minutes of crying and hours of sleep using CIO? I wouldn't trade my happy, well-rested baby for anything. I did read Bed Timing by Lewis and Granic and wonder if the relatively short period of crying was because we did this in one of the ideal "developmental windows"... No way to know.

So, is CIO right for everyone? Definitely not. Is it wrong for everyone? Definitely not. It was definitely right for us (though I will admit that our experience is highly unusual). Would I ever suggest it as the first place to start? Definitely not. I really do feel it should be a last resort.

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBecca

>>we very much agree and practice attachment parenting ... my wife decided to take 1 year off her career ... we do not need or use alternate child care. when she works i care for our child. we do it all ourselves. we also take the time to be fully committed to cloth diapering. <<

What do cloth diapering, taking a year off from a career, & not using other care have to do with attachment parenting?

If you're going to attempt to discredit arguments, its best to make sure your examples are relevant. Attachment parenting isn't about cloth diapers or work status. It is about creating a healthy bond & attachment through breastfeeding, bonding, babywearing, sleepsharing, balancing needs. It is about honoring your baby's cries as a form of communication, NOT using baby trainers to systematically tune out your baby's needs at night in order to train them to a parent-dictated schedule.

As far as your example of how ferber's "healthy sleep environment" has created an easy bedtime/nighttime ritual for your family. There are alternate ways of creating "healthy sleep environments" conducive to independent sleep (if one feels that is valuable in a baby or toddler) that don't include ignoring a baby's only method of communication (crying).

There is NEVER a valid reason to leave a child screaming alone in bed until they pass out from exhaustion or loss of hope of comfort.

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterkblogger

Fortunately my husband and I are on the same page on this issues, but I have had to defend our opposition to CIO to more than one relative. Our son has never cried himself to sleep and he is a great sleeper. We had more than one person tell us that he would never learn to put himself to sleep if we didn't let him CIO. He started sleeping through the night because he was ready to, not because we forced him to. We did lots of other things to encourage good sleep, but honestly he's had a bedtime routine since birth and that is what makes him a good sleeper. I'll never forget when we were visiting family and people seemed shocked that we would do things like swaddling, bathtime, rocking, and baby massage as part of our routine. I was even more appalled that several family members (young and old) seemed to think that CIO was the only way to get a baby to sleep. I'm not sure how CIO would help me get more sleep because honestly I'm not sleeping when he is crying.

One of the biggest things that is keeping us from leaving our son with my husband's family is this issue. I will not leave my child with anyone (family member or daycare provider) who practices this method. I know they think I'm being closed minded, but I'm willing to hurt family members' feelings over this issue. I'm not sure why people expect you or any other person to endorse a method you don't believe in. Our pediatrician doesn't endorse CIO. Our daycare provider doesn't endorse CIO. Even the hospital where he was born offered a class on sleeping that was centered around baby massage not CIO. You could argue that all of those places are much more likely to be "compelled" to represent a variety of perspectives and if they don't don't endorse it (and frequently opening condemn it) that should tell people something.

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDon't Pat the Belly

You can't learn to parent from a book. You are raising children, not navigating software. Each author and each book can give you more grist for the mill. You must sort out philosophy and techniques and you must be endlessly flexible as you see your child's responses.

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSouzzann Zink

CIO breaks my heart. I may be exhausted sometimes but my son is a happy baby (notwithstanding recent teething issues). I hate hearing how "we HAD to Ferberize him" from parents who previously used gentler methods to parent their children to sleep. I hate reading how "you have to let them cry it out" about breaking night-waking habits. I hate hearing how "you will change your mind when you have another baby" because I choose to help my baby fall asleep. My tongue hurts from biting it when I hear these things; I'd appreciate it if those who disagree with me would bite theirs.

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterbambam

amen! i have triplets and everyone was constantly trying to push me down the cio road, saying i'd deeply regret it if i got them used to being rocked and snuggled at sleeptime. i have never regretted those choices. my babies were and still are (they are 4 now) great sleepers and hubby and i have wonderful memories of time spent cuddling them and singing to them. they grow up so very fast.

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMonica (peapodsquadmom)

my examples were simply used as preemptive, because every time i defend ferber the first thing i hear is that we must be parents that don't have the time to spend doing things right which was actually brought up as a reason for using ferber. i using those things to show that we do in fact have the time and did not choose ferber as a quick fix.

ferber does not ignore crying. you must be another that never read his book but ready to pounce. and your final statement confirms that.

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdustyz

ferber does not say, EVER, to leave your child crying for 4 or 5 hours! that is irresponsible and dangerous.

read the book.

i guarantee you that everyone here posting their unfounded reactions to ferber have never even read the book.

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdustyz

excellent! someone who has read the book.

but... "I firmly believe that leaving a child in a prolonged state of distress is harmful."

ferber never says to do this, EVER.

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdustyz

couldn't agree more!
but blogs are places for dialogues and this is simply that. nothing more. i've mentioned several times that i respect annie's choices. i love her blog. and most certainly ferber does not work for every child. i just don't like seeing unfounded comments about ferber that might draw someone away from the book that might actually benefit from it.

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdustyz

Weissbluth does though and I referred to him too.

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

This is my understanding of the Ferber approach to graduated extinction (http://www.parentingscience.com/Ferber-method.html" rel="nofollow">from this page):

On the first night of training, parents put their child to bed and then stay away for 3 minutes. After a brief check (during which the parents take care not to pick up or hold the child) the parents leave again—this time for 5 minutes. Subsequently, parents wait 10 minutes between visits until the child finally falls asleep.

For each night that follows, parents gradually increase the time between checks. For instance, on the second night, parents might wait 5 minutes before the first visit, 10 minutes before the second, and 12 minutes before all subsequent visits. On subsequent nights, these intervals might stretch to 20 minutes or more.

I understand he recommends doing a lot of other things first, but if that suggestion is in the book anywhere, I cannot recommend it.

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

Weissbluth says close the door and do not go back in. Period.

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

For me, "ignoring crying" is exactly what the extinction method of cry it out is (which Ferber illustrates in his book). How is putting your baby down awake in bed & leaving baby to comfort himself in room alone with gradually increasing amts of time, not ignoring baby's cries?

A baby cries to COMMUNICATE not MANIPULATE. When you leave baby to cry, even for a few planned minutes, you are ignoring their attempt at communication with you.

There are ways to create healthy sleep associations & bedtime routines that DO NOT involve crying. Crying does not lead to peaceful sleep. I don't need science or a book to tell me that - I know it from being a HUMAN.

When I cry, I become more tense, not less. It elevates my stress level. It makes it harder for me to breathe as my tissues become inflamed. Its not a state I want to be in when sleeping, and I'd give nothing less to my children.

It isn't difficult to treat your babies with dignity, compassion, and empathy - to help them sleep the way YOU would want to be treated in sleep. Simply imagine being unable to walk or talk, and trying to communicate with your caregiver that you are unhappy or uncomfortable or scared or cold or hungry, and they walk away & close the door.

I'd never want that for myself, so I'd never give that to my children. And that is why I have never used CIO.

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterkblogger

"Simply imagine being unable to walk or talk, and trying to communicate with your caregiver that you are unhappy or uncomfortable or scared or cold or hungry, and they walk away & close the door."

why would i imagine something i would never do?

and what you do is draw a correlation to ferber and that's absurd.

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdustyz

I wish I knew what to do about this sleeping issue. My 10-month-old daughter is having sleep issues (suddenly won't nap at daycare, has trouble going down at night and wakes up every few hours to nurse). I'm exhausted. I don't want to do CIO, though my husband is starting to suggest it. I just want to have a happy, sleeping baby!! I've read bits about Ferber (though not the actual book itself) and CIO has just never appealed to me. Thank you for your book recommendations.

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterThomasin

i'm not discussing weissbluth. :)
and i'm in no position to, whether i agree or not, because i've never read it.


September 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdustyz

Thomasin: If your daughter was sleeping well and is suddenly having more problems it is usually due to:
A change in routine (e.g. later bedtime, new care provider, etc.)
A new food that might be making her irritable
A milestone she is working on (e.g. learning to stand up, walk, etc.)

In terms of books, I have a number of recommendations in http://www.phdinparenting.com/my-parenting-library/" rel="nofollow">My Parenting Library. I also have compiled a list of http://www.phdinparenting.com/2009/02/28/gentle-baby-and-toddler-sleep-tips/" rel="nofollow">Gentle Sleep Tips for Babies and Toddlers.

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

No, I haven't read the book (and I'm not interested in it, see my comment above, CIO doesn't feel right to me). As I wrote in my comment, my question comes from reading parents' accounts on blogs or in comments, and I wonder if they really leave their child crying continually for that long.

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterOlivia

Wouldn't that depend on your definition of "prolonged state of crying"? To me, more than a minute or two in which the baby is not actively being soothed by a caregiver is prolonged. So, waiting 5 or 10 min, or longer fits into "prolonged crying".

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterOlivia

You drew the connection to Ferber, absurd or not.

In my original response, I didn't mention Ferber, I opposed your examples of attachment parenting and stated my opinion that given the variety of ways there are to create a healthy sleep environment without crying, expressed my opinion that there is never a reason to leave a child to cry it out.

You responded with reference to Ferber and stated he doesn't recommend ignoring crying.

I opposed that by explaining why I believe the extinction method of CIO is in fact ignoring a baby, and further defining my opposition to cry it out.

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterkblogger

i just reread this post of mine. wow. talk about putting your foot in your mouth!
i said:
“Cry it Out”
• ferber is about crying-it-out

i meant to say • ferber is NOT about crying it out

i obviously need an editor!

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdustyz

In my opinion, graduated extinction is a form of cry it out. Are you saying that there is no graduated extinction in Ferber's book?

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

I'm delurking here to hopefully offer a small amount of reassurance to you about what you write. Our daughter slept through the night starting at about 8 weeks old and kept it up until she was 7.5 months old. Then she got ear infections and her first teeth and outgrew her bassinet (she's always been pretty small) such that we needed to move her to her crib. Consequently, she started waking at night. At her 9 month doctor's visit her pediatrician gave me the whole speech about CIO and I listened. Against my husband's better judgement, I tried our pedi's advice that night. It involved putting her in the crib, but me staying next to the crib without looking at her so that, in his words, "she would get mad, but not scared." About 1 hour in, she was hoarse from crying so hysterically and my husband put a stop to it. I am so glad he did. I was completely traumatized by the experience and feel guilt about it to this day. The next day, he and I got online, found your blog and found reassurance that it was ok not to CIO and it made all the difference. Currently, at 13 months, she goes down in her crib (which is still next to our bed by the way) at night and sleeps there until she wakes around 230 or 3 am at which point she comes to bed with us. It's a system I would not trade for the world. I am personally very grateful that you have your opinions about CIO posted to this blog, and to know that we aren't the only ones that feel this way about those practices. To give the benefit of the doubt, I am sure that there are some people and some babies that CIO has worked for without excessive trauma or else they wouldn't persist as practices, but there are a lot of other babies out there that it won't work for and that needs to be taken into account too.

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSamantha

Thank you for your comment Samantha. I really appreciate it.

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

no. but my child responded very well and barely got upset. which is why i keep saying that it might be the answer for people out there that are afraid of approaching it. i also, as one of your other readers pointed out, learned a lot from ferber about sleep in general and specifically my own sleep patterns. 30 years of research from a distinguished sleep specialist must count for something.

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdustyz

i am a believer in the cio method. when it works. my oldest child was the one it worked on. i did the ferber method. it took one night. he's been a perfect sleeper since. and he is now almost 14.
my younger 2...nothing worked. my daughter, who is now 11, is a great sleeper but she was 3 1/2 when she started sleeping through the night.
my youngest is 5. i let him cry it out for a couple of weeks. to the point of vomiting. and then, i stopped. because it wasn't working. nothing worked with him actually. i have a collection of books of varied school of thought. he's his own person. i figure he'll eventually stop screaming for me...someday.
i believe that a parent has to do what works for them. co-sleeping, cio...whaever.

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermelissa

Personally, I could never let my kids cry it out. I just couldn't do it! People would tell me to use the Ferber method but I just could not follow the rules.

For me, the only book that helped me with ideas to get my boys to sleep was Elizabeth Pantley’s The No-Cry Sleep Solution.

My babies are now bigger boys and sleep is no longer a problem... remember, this too shall pass!

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commenteramotherworld

Melissa, I strongly disagree. Parents need to make lots of decisions for their children - and they are the ones to make them (not their doctors, child care providers, or the grandparents). At the same time, they are being irresponsible if those decisions are based only on, "what works for them." It is a parent's responsibility to understand their child's current developmental reality and to do what is truly best for the child even when it is painful or difficult - for the parent. For most children under 2, to one degree or another, anything outside their vision and hearing no longer exists. To leave them, in distress, is abandonment. At the same time, to not do everything you can to help them live independently is as soon as they can is intrusive and disrespectful. Someone asked earlier what parenting full-time (vs. having other regular care providers) has to do with this discussion. It has everything to do with it. If parents are too tired, it is next to impossible to choose the behaviors that will best serve their children.

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSouzzann Zink

Love the last comment, this too shall pass - so true.

My son, now 8 never slept. Now he does. Sleep deprevation seems like toruture when you have a baby...but I think you should remember that sleep is a privilege not a right!

They are only tiny once...and it's for such a short time, don't waste it by letting them cry!

We all sleep now...and sometimes I miss the nights with them!

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMommy X

Baby sleep is a big issue for most parents. It's also a touchy subject and like many, I tend to be scared to comment about it.

I think more people have to back dustyz up :) After reading the comments above, I can see he is totally outnumbered! The CIO method worked for us. I was initially against the idea but am now a true believer. It is a good option so don't be afraid to try it. 6-7 months is a good time to start sleep training since a lot of babies can't crawl yet - so that makes it easier. I also think it will not work for every child since all babies/parents are different.

As parents, we need to respect other parents opinions/views and try not to be so judgemental. It's hard to not be judgemental but we just have to. Parenting is hard and we're all doing our best.

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermommyingaround

That's sick. And neglectful.

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAshly

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