To leave my 4 month old ds to cry?

(98 Posts)
YorkshireDeb Fri 01-Feb-13 13:12:51

Night times are pretty hard work at the moment. My ds tends to wake up 5-6 times a night. He usually just needs a cuddle & his dummy to settle back down, sometimes he takes a teeny amount of milk (1-2 oz). I can deal with the lack of sleep at the moment but will be back at work in about 6 weeks & don't know how I'll cope if he's still doing it then. So - is now the time to start letting him cry it out? Or using the pick up put down method? My heart tells me it's so wrong to sit there listening to him cry & do nothing. But my head tells me if I don't tackle it soon he'll turn into a little sod who cries if he doesn't get his own way. X

stripyguys Fri 01-Feb-13 13:16:10

He won't turn into a little sod who cries if he doesn't get his own way, he will turn into a sad little soul who has learnt he will be ignored if he cries. His trust in you will be broken, too.

Please do not let him cry it out - it is definitely not recommended under 6 months and there are other ways to deal with his completely normal for his age night time wakings. CIO doesn't teach babies to sleep, it teaches them that they will be ignored if they cry and try to communicate their needs to you so they might as well not bother. Try pick up put down but please do not leave him alone to cry.

valiumredhead Fri 01-Feb-13 13:17:59

No, far too little to let him cry it out. You are doing what he needs - cuddles, comfort and food.

Babies don't cry when they don't get their own way, they cry when their needs aren't being met, there's a big difference.

Babies cry, that's what they do, some sleep and others don't although I can understand you being nervous about going back to work soon.

Nancy66 Fri 01-Feb-13 13:19:49

I'm not totally opposed to controlled crying in older children but your son is far far too young.

valiumredhead Fri 01-Feb-13 13:20:50

I'm not either nancy but same as you, not this young.

Whocansay Fri 01-Feb-13 13:22:41

He's too young. Talk to your hv.

Agree, he won't turn into a little sod. Babies can't and don't think like that.

Also agree that even those who agree with CIO don't recommend it for under 6 mths. Plus you might do it but despite what we are lead to believe it doesn't always work and if it does it doesn't always last. I foolishly tried it with DS1 and it worked for about 2 weeks and then it didn't any more - he went back to waking continually for no apparent reason. Don't make the mistake of assuming it is the end to all your troubles if you only you can last those 3 gut wrenching days until they can cry themselves to sleep. It might work and then you still find by the time you go back to work he is waking up again. The only thing you can guarantee with babies is that nothing will stay the same for long!

I would go for pick up and put down personally, if you want to try something or I would just put up with it. He might grow out of it soon anyway. You have no way of knowing of course which is the hard part.

valiumredhead Fri 01-Feb-13 13:25:14

Do you co sleep, is it something you would consider as it sounds like he mainly needs comfort?

Nanny0gg Fri 01-Feb-13 13:28:14

What will you do when he's teething?

You cannot spoil a baby by responding to his needs. And if he's crying that's because he needs something.

Please don't even thing of leaving him to cry it out.


Karoleann Fri 01-Feb-13 13:41:42

I completely disagree with the other posters, I left my last two children to cry it out at about the same time and they are wonderful sleepers now (day and night). They don't have any seperation issues or trust issues either.

You cannot possibly go back to work having been woken up 5-6 times a night.

They do learn that they will get ignored if they cry - because its the middle of the night and they should be asleep. They still do cry if its something serious or they're really hungry.

YorkshireDeb Fri 01-Feb-13 16:08:26

Thanks for your advice ladies. You've given me the confidence to try for a bit longer & hopefully he'll settle down soon. No valium I don't co sleep. Although I'm not against it - I sometimes being him into bed with me after dp's gone to work in the mornings. X

Jinsei Fri 01-Feb-13 16:26:09

It's exhausting work, OP, and I can understand your concern about how you'll cope when you go back to work. But he's a tiny baby and I think it would be wrong to leave him to cry. I think it's really tough, but you'll just have to suck it up. Can your DP share the load so that you do a night each?

stripyguys Fri 01-Feb-13 16:26:13

Karoleann, I'm afraid you sound rather ignorant about child development! You may want your baby to asleep in the middle of the night, but that doesn't mean he should be. It is perfectly normal for a baby to wake in the night at that age, and to ignore him and leave him to cry because it doesn't suit you to get out of your bed to comfort him is selfish and negligent.

SomeKindOfDeliciousBiscuit Fri 01-Feb-13 16:31:31

It sounds like you're thinking of teaching him that it doesn't matter if he cries, no one will come sad please don't do that. My dd stopped crying when she realised I'd go as soon as she stirred, so she didn't have to cry. We cosleep so it's just a matter of having the video monitor on before we join her at night.
I can't tell you about your baby, I only know mine. But I promise that if it feels wrong, it is wrong. You're designed for this job and not any other, so trust your instincts.

SirBoobAlot Fri 01-Feb-13 18:36:50

Please don't leave him to cry. He is so young, and so vulnerable, right now his only trust is that you will be there for him when he needs you.

Babies are designed to wake and to feed in the night, so that combined with the big sleep regression and development spurt that happens at four months equals complete normality.

You will learn to cope with work, your son's needs still need to be a priority.

And please don't refer to him as a little sod, that twisted my heart a little bit.

MortifiedAdams Fri 01-Feb-13 18:41:35

PIck your times to feed him. If say he wakes befpre 10pm, re settle him with a dummy/ cuddle. First waking after ten feed him. Then again, if he wakes after that but before 3am resettle and after 3, feed.

HearMyRoar Fri 01-Feb-13 18:45:41

If it's any consolation I went back to work when dd was 4.5 months and in the middle of horrific 4 month sleep regression (waking every hour). Work turned out to be rather nice. Yes I was (still am) tired and work can be stressful but it's a different kind of stress to looking after dd all day. I get to have a sit down and a coffee occasionally, and nobody screams when I go to the loo. grin

Fakebook Fri 01-Feb-13 18:49:37

They do learn that they will get ignored if they cry - because its the middle of the night and they should be asleep.


DragonMamma Fri 01-Feb-13 18:50:00

I used pick up put down with DD and ir worked a charm. Took a couple of nights but they got better pdq.

I'd obviously check it wasn't hunger or pain beforehand though - 1-2oz isn't hunger. When I did 'training' I'd medicate at the first wake up so I knew after 15-20 mins it couldn't be teething pain.

Fakebook Fri 01-Feb-13 18:51:04

Sorry pressed enter too soon.

Babies don't cry to get their own way and picking them up won't spoil them. I echo what everyone else is saying. Don't let him cry it out.

JesusInTheCabbageVan Fri 01-Feb-13 18:51:06

Yep Hear, I was thinking 4 month sleep regression as well. OP, I'd carry on as you are for now. If it's still no better in 4 weeks or so, maybe look into sleep training methods - but not CIO! I'm with the majority on that.

I took ds's dummy away around that age as he kept waking looking for it and did a sort of pick up put down to settle him instead. Could it be the dummy that is the problem?

Zappo Fri 01-Feb-13 19:10:35

"You cannot possibly go back to work having been woken up 5-6 times a night"

Actually it is possible. My 2yr old has started waking up (again after 6 months of only once a night)) at least 4x a night and I do manage to hold down a job (albeit part-time). I do co-sleep though which makes it slightly less disruptive. Depends on the job though. You couldn't go in and teach or do brain surgery.

And I do understand that for some people sleep deprivation is torture. I do find it hard and it does affect me but I suppose I've got used to it.

At 4 months it's perfectly common for babies to be waking through the night. As your DS is doing it so much it might be developmental, might be teething, he might be cold- it will probably change very soon. Most babies go through bad patches/sleep regressions then it seems to get better again.

Maybe worth co-sleeping for a bit if he's as easily resettled as he sounds (cuddle and dummy).

quoteunquote Fri 01-Feb-13 19:13:25

I really hate these threads, I hate knowing that there are people out there that think it's OK to leave a baby to cry.

I don't use the word hate lightly, there is very little that I actually hate,

I'm sorry if me saying this annoys anyone, but it is so incredible sad that people have convinced themselves it is a good thing to leave a distressed baby.

You cannot possibly go back to work having been woken up 5-6 times a night.

You can, actually, Karoleann. I'm going back to work full-time, starting Monday, with a baby that wakes 5-6 times per night. Your body adapts.

Don't make the mistake of assuming it is the end to all your troubles if you only you can last those 3 gut wrenching days until they can cry themselves to sleep. It might work and then you still find by the time you go back to work he is waking up again. The only thing you can guarantee with babies is that nothing will stay the same for long!

^^ This. Totally agree BBB. I did both gradual withdrawal (pre-6 months) and CC (post-6 months) with my 'sleep is for cowards' DS. What little effect either had did not stick. He went straight back to his old ways within weeks, sometimes worse than he was, and I felt like shit for having done it. CC/CIO certainly does work for some people, but it's not guaranteed success and it's certainly not recommended for a baby under 6 months.

What do we say Hear? You just gotta ride the mo fo out! grin

peacefuleasyfeeling Fri 01-Feb-13 19:28:41

I didn't go back to work until DD was 11 months old, and she was still waking to bf several times a night, sometimes every hour. She has always been a terrible sporadic sleeper, so I'd had 11 months of properly broken sleep at that point. (She is now 2.7 and slept for 7 unbroken hours for the first time ever last night!)
I was terrified that I wouldn't be able to cope at work (primary school teacher, so physically very dynamic, no chance of a quiet moment, long hours etc). I was astounded to find that, actually, I was OK. I may not have been safe to do air-traffic control or open heart surgery (let's hope neither of these is your job), but I could operate effectively and perform as well as I had previously.
I suppose what I am saying is that it might not be as bad as you think. You might be pleasantly surprised and find that the stimulation of being back at work sort of buoys and energises you in a way you may not expect.
I'm sure it's clear from my first paragraph that I never left DD to cry, and I really hope you find the oomph to follow your instinct which seems to tell you not to go down this route. There is so much research which suggests that leaving babies to cry is very damaging on many levels.
Good luck and enjoy your return to work!

peacefuleasyfeeling Fri 01-Feb-13 19:36:26

Ha ha, Zappo, that made me laugh! (I was still typing when you posted.) Seems teaching is right up there with the best of them!
And actually, co-sleeeping has been a life-saver. I really recommend it, makes it much, much easier for everone.

Zappo Fri 01-Feb-13 19:40:24

Sorry I just know a few teachers who say they can't teach after a bad night's sleep. They get such a bashing on MN generally, I thought I'd put in a good word for them!

SirBoobAlot Fri 01-Feb-13 19:40:36

Quoteunquote completely agree with you sad

DS used to go through phases of crying for hours on end without stopping. DH and I tried everything, driving him up and down motorway, co sleeping, cuddles, extra feeds, you name it. One night we were literally outside his door debating what to try as we were shattered and out of nowhere he settled himself and went back to sleep. We discovered by accident controlled crying as it were. The next time he cried a few days later we didn't rush into him (we gave it about 5 minutes) and he settled himself. Not sure how old he was (he is now 3) may have been around the 5 month mark. Sometimes by stimulating a little one are we are actually keeping them awake? I would not have been comfortable leaving him cry for more than 5 minutes, but from that moment on we didn't rush into him. He has been since a fab sleeper. Please don't slate me!

Also I'm a teacher (again please don't slate me!) Unsettled sleep is something you do get used to. A collegue of mine has not had a full nights sleep since the birth of her DD. She manages fine and has just adjusted to less sleep. The body is amazing at adatpting. x

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Fri 01-Feb-13 20:18:24

I'm another agreeing with unquote.

ScillyCow Fri 01-Feb-13 20:21:40

I have twins. I never ever left either one to cry. DT2 slept through (10 - 6) at 3 months - I had to wake him to feed him! DT1 didn't sleep through until 8 months.

You won't turn him into a non-sleeping sod!!

Fairylea Fri 01-Feb-13 20:26:44

Another one agreeing with quote.

You can't just leave a young baby to cry. They cry for a reason.

I'm not completely opposed to cc in older children done over very short time frames (ie leaving for a few mins at a time, patting and resettling etc) to encourage them to learn to sleep. But young babies have no concept of time or even night and day at such a small age.

I have two dc who are thankfully very good sleepers but I have never left either to cry, even in the baby stages where they were up every few hours... ds still wakes up for the day at 5am. I have also worked full time whilst going through it with dd. It's not easy and I do sympathise. But crying it out was never an option for me and I really don't agree with it at all.

For me it goes against the very nature of what it is to be a parent.

Iggly Fri 01-Feb-13 20:30:03


PleasePudding Fri 01-Feb-13 21:44:54

I agree with NothingByHalveswe were once so completely knackered we hadn't worked out which one was going to haul ourselves out of bed when DC1 settled himself and it did get better. I think some babies do grump a bit when settling themselves whereas maybe others cry only when distressed. I also think there are different cries, like the sort of grumbling, grumping cry when they settle themselves to sleep in the evening might be repeated later in the night but is different from the scared or sad or ill cry.

I can't remember how old DC1 was - maybe about 8 months.

NumericalMum Fri 01-Feb-13 21:53:39

You cannot possibly go back to work having been woken up 5-6 times a night.
Yes you can. Many people do. It isn't easy and it isn't enjoyable but somehow millions of people cope.
I am sure he will sleep eventually. My DC was the anti-sleep but at nearly 5 sleeps through often.

Goldenbear Fri 01-Feb-13 21:57:11

You can't or definitely shouldn't just leave a 4 month old to CIO- it is cruel. This is part if the deal I'm afraid- you have the baby you live with the consequences!

I refused to see one of DP's friends as he would boast about this. They left their 2 week old baby dc1 to CIO. We went around for a dinner and at 7 the mum took dc 2 up to bed at 7 as it was bed time for the 5 week old. Her DH told her to close the nursery door so we couldn't hear this newborn crying. I said what I thought and we've never been invited since- thank goodness!

YorkshireDeb Fri 01-Feb-13 21:58:26

Ok, you've persuaded me it's best to go to him whenever he cries - and I'm grateful for that because as I said in my op my heart tells me that's what I should be doing. I am a teacher & it seems debate able whether that will cause me more of a problem or not - but definitely easier than brain surgery or air traffic control. The comments about co sleeping interested me. I might give it a go & see if he seems to sleep better that way. Oh, and sorry for using the word sod - I love him to bits & other than the sleeping bit he is wonderful & smiley & not a sod at all. I guess it was my tiredness speaking when I wrote it. Thanks ladies. smile x

YorkshireDeb Fri 01-Feb-13 22:01:12

Ps just for the record, I haven't actually left him to cry yet & always go to him straight away if he is upset. Usually when he wakes up he just makes little grumbly noises & that's when I go to settle him. X

Karoleann Fri 01-Feb-13 22:01:46

Posters - I did have a bad sleeper d1 was horrendous and still wasn't sleeping through when ds2 was born. It affected me, him, and my relationship with dh and I wasn't go to let it happen again. I think a strong family unit is absolutely vital to bring up a child well.

I'm not sure why allowing my child and myself to have a decent amount of sleep at night makes me ignorant about child development.

You do not need your body to adapt, you just need your baby to sleep.

I have two prefectly normal children who learnt to sleep through early on. That is good it's is not chilling (you nutter), my children are very happy.

When you have children you expect them to change your life and they do, my children mean the world to be and I am a happy, parent, they are happy sweet children.
They should not take over your life, that isn't good for anyone.

All the evidence points to co-sleeping being dangerous so why do it?

Lambethlil Fri 01-Feb-13 22:06:22

That's bollocks Karolann. You are very misinformed.

apostropheuse Fri 01-Feb-13 22:07:18

You shouldn't leave a young baby to cry. They cry because they have a need that needs to be met. It's how they communicate at that age.

I think it's cruel to ignore a crying baby.

Bottleoffish Fri 01-Feb-13 22:08:08

karolean your children learnt early on that you weren't going to come when they cried. Even advocates of CIO or CC suggest it isn't done until 6 months old, doesn't that tell you something?

All the evidence does not point to co sleeping being dangerous either. Many infant sleep experts and anthropologists strongly recommend it, the benefits are great and extend far beyond a decent night's sleep.

Iggly Fri 01-Feb-13 22:09:54

All the evidence points to co-sleeping being dangerous so why do it?

You're wrong.

EricNorthmanIsMyMaker Fri 01-Feb-13 22:10:16

I agree with everyone else that said don't do it!
If you do decide to co- sleep please look up the guidelines for safe co-sleeping.
Karoleann - co-sleeping is only dangerous if not done correctly.
OP - if its the dummy falling out that is the problem then try a snuggly bunny. Its a cuddly rabbit with Velcro paws that you attach the dummy to so if it falls out they can find it more easily. Worked wonders with my eldest who woke me constantly looking for his dummy.

SneakyNuts Fri 01-Feb-13 22:11:18

I suggest you do your research on co-sleeping, Karoleann

Iggly Fri 01-Feb-13 22:11:56

I have two prefectly normal children who learnt to sleep through early on of course you'd say that! Who ever admits or thinks that leaving their child to scream alone in the dark might not have been a good idea?

My two - could never have left them to scream as they woke in pain with reflux. Imagine leaving them to scream??? <shudder>

Karoleann Fri 01-Feb-13 22:14:52

Okay give me a link on co-sleeping, I'll do a couple too.

How can I be misinformed? I tried not letting ds1 cry and it didn't work.
Then I tried letting ds2 and dd cry and it did work.

If you're going to say something is bollacks you need to say why.

5madthings Fri 01-Feb-13 22:15:31

Your baby is far too young to leave to cry! I voulkd never do it and as far as I am aware its not recommended for babies under one year now.

Your instinct is telling you to go to him for a reason.

If you follow the guidelines then co-sleeping can be done safely, the WHO have safe co-sleeping guidelines you can download smile

Bottleoffish Fri 01-Feb-13 22:16:06

I have to say, a relative of mine almost proudly declares how she left her second son to CIO in his pram at the bottom of the garden, that's what they did in those days she says and apparently it has done him no harm.... he has a history of drug abuse, assault, has been in prison and has multiple children with different Mothers, one of whom he is not allowed contact with.

Ionasky Fri 01-Feb-13 22:16:15

We did let dd cry for a few minutes when she first went down at 7, every baby is different and she wouldn't fall asleep another way. When she woke in the night I'd pop her in the bed to feed happily, and now she's a toddler she sleeps though fine. Try and get some decent sleep in early, then co sleep, you will probably be able to cope at work and be ok. Acting against your instincts is going to be hard to do consistently. You might find they sleep better when at nursery as more tired, hooped that's true for you.

Bottleoffish Fri 01-Feb-13 22:18:17

Karoleann you didn't try not letting your DC cry at all, you said you let them cry from around the same age as the OP's baby, 4 months old. That's not really trying is it, when only half of all babies sleep through for 8 hours some nights by 5 months old?

Tryharder Fri 01-Feb-13 22:19:36

How do people sit in their houses and listen to their young babies scream for hours on end? <shakes head>

I hate threads like this as well.

5madthings Fri 01-Feb-13 22:30:30

Could you take a side off his cot and put it next yo your bed and then you can pop his dummy back in without getting up?

Zappo Fri 01-Feb-13 22:30:53
Karoleann Fri 01-Feb-13 22:31:20

I obviously do occasionally have child in bed ith me having had three but link here, but not little babies, it's far too easy for one of you to roll on them or overheat.

This is why the nhs advice not to co- sleep is partially based on.

There is also a long interview with a the SIDs guy from st Thomas' on mumsnet which has lots of links to studies to back him up.

Iggly - why would I post if I didn't have to normal children, if I had psychologically scarred them for ever I would shut up.

That s one reason I use my name on mumsnet, I woudn't say anything on line that I wouldn't say in real life. Babies need to learn to self settle.

5madthings Fri 01-Feb-13 22:32:53

Leaving them to cry doesn't teach them to self settle, its something they learn over time and at 4mths old the op's baby is tiny and cc is not recommended for babies of this age.

5madthings Fri 01-Feb-13 22:34:52
Zappo Fri 01-Feb-13 22:35:23

Actually midwives are usually supportive of co-sleeping though normally for breastfeeding mothers.

I agree you need to read the guidelines though ( no falling asleep on sofa, covering them with duvets, taking alcohol, drugs etc)

Karoleann Fri 01-Feb-13 22:36:33

For the list of references from dr sears, only one of the papers has been written in the past 10 years, this one

A significant amount of the deaths were babies in parents bed.

Karoleann Fri 01-Feb-13 22:38:14

Smad - it does teach them to self settle, i've done it.

Karoleann Fri 01-Feb-13 22:39:06

Smad - the article you linked doesn't recommend co- sleeping.

elizaregina Fri 01-Feb-13 22:39:51


With dd no 2 i got a co sleeping cot.

I have been fairing really well in the sleep stakes - baby is also just four months.

a co sleeping cot is the BEST thing I have spent money on and first dd is 5 .

She has alsways been right next to me but in her own space - i dont wake myself up too much seeing to her at night = nor wake her up to much. her face nad mine are so close but there no fear of smothering her or anything so i can really relax at night.

it could be coicidenhtal but she is a really really good sleeper she has fallen into our pattern and sleeps well and when wants feeding as she is right next to me - she doesnt wake her self up crying to get my attention - she just stirs a bit and i hear her and am right there.

there are loads on ebay - larger better.

Zappo Fri 01-Feb-13 22:40:58

Just had a quick look but it many of the deaths were to those mothers who smoked or used a duvet- two co-sleeping no nos

elizaregina Fri 01-Feb-13 22:42:45
5madthings Fri 01-Feb-13 22:43:54

It explains when you shouldn't co-slerp is if you smoke etc and tells you how to do it safely. It doesn't not recommend co-slerping but points out when it would be dangerous to co-sleep and tells you how to do it safely.

Many local health authorities give out advice on safe co-sleeping.

bringmeroses Fri 01-Feb-13 22:44:18

Please don't leave your DS to cry it out at 4 months. Listen to your heart.

ClippedPhoenix Fri 01-Feb-13 22:45:56

Letting a baby cry is very wrong and this controlled crying shit is terrible. You do what you have to do, it's that simple.

Bottleoffish Fri 01-Feb-13 22:48:08

Karoleann the article you have linked to discusses risk factors when cosleeping, such as sofa sharing or cosleeping where one or both parents have taken alcohol or drugs. confused

It's well known that in order to cosleep safely these things should be avoided.

elizaregina Fri 01-Feb-13 22:51:44

But if you want the best of both worlds op - simply get a side car cot!

SirBoobAlot Fri 01-Feb-13 22:51:49

Recent studies have suggested that co-sleeping is actually the safest thing to do, and reduces risks of SIDS, as long as it is done safely. IE, common sense. Don't drink heavily, don't smoke, don't do drugs, don't tuck them up under a duvet or a pillow.

CIO and CC produce short term results. And they teach a baby that no one is there for them when they need it. Frankly, I'd take less sleep and a better attached child any day.

Your life has to change when you have a baby. Your child should not have to be deprived of the comfort they need simply because you like your sleep.

And it always makes me roll my eyes when people say ''I did this and my children are fine''. As someone who was in a psych unit, and manages a serious mental health condition with deep roots in childhood, it would amaze you how many people end up finding out that their parents left them to cry during the night, and the stress hormones kicked in young, and have never settled down. And all of their parents thought they were just fine too.

Spice17 Fri 01-Feb-13 22:53:48

People are being a bit judgy on here, every parent and child is different and depends on the extent of the crying.

My DD, who is almost 4 months, does a really tired, feeble cry literally just before she drops off but because I know her, I realise a) it's OK, she's fine and and not upset and b) she'll be content and asleep soon.

I'm a bit sad that the people who shout on here about 'don''t feel judged for ff' or whatever, will (unintentionally or otherwise) make others feel bad for doing whatever they think is best for their child.

<waits for 'this is not good for child shout down' vitriol>

5madthings Fri 01-Feb-13 22:56:06

My dp works with children ineof whom was left to cry if out, at 14yrs old he still doesn't sleep at night and is terrified if being on his own. He has serious attachment issues. Some babies will be fine but you cannot predict which ones. The evidence shows it can affect the development of the brain. They are little for such a short period of time and they will learn to sleep.

elizaregina Fri 01-Feb-13 22:57:35
5madthings Fri 01-Feb-13 22:58:29

spice what you describe is very different from leaving a baby to cry, my ds4 had a grumbky whingey noise he made if I tried to comfort him when he did it he would get cross and upset. He literally did it for a min or two as he was going to sleep. He us now four and still sometimes makes the same noise as he sucks his thumb to go to sleep, its obviously comforting for him.

But Spice17 it's not what's best for the child is it? It's what's convenient for he parent.

I am glad people will judge and speak out against parents who promote a practice which is proven to cause long-lasting damage to children.

SirBoobAlot Fri 01-Feb-13 23:02:38

Couldn't agree more, HouseofMirth.

Zappo Fri 01-Feb-13 23:04:25

We are not talking about the little cry they do before they go to sleep. Believe me mine screamed and screamed as she fought sleep when tired with me dutifully walking back and forth with her in sling or pram till she dropped off.

Most babies cry a lot when they are tired. Crying is a release and not a bad thing in itself. Crying in arms/parent's presence is not an issue.

We are talking about proper sleep training for a 4 month old to get them to sleep through at night.

DD1 would cry a bit before going off in her moses basket but I would put a soothing piece of music on and stay in the room where she could see me ( until I discovered slings)

What most people on here won't advocate is leaving the room and letting them cry at a young age.

For those who like a bit of evidence this article is interesting.

ClippedPhoenix Fri 01-Feb-13 23:14:15

All babies are different and all their needs are different, therefore if a baby cries then that's the signal for mummy at that age and to ignore it is ridiculous and cruel.

SirBoobAlot Sat 02-Feb-13 00:22:49

Have seen that article before. This is one of the most chilling bits:

What does 'crying it out' actually do to the baby and to the dyad?

Neuronal interconnections are damaged. When the baby is greatly distressed,it creates conditions for damge to synapses, network construction which occur very rapidly in the infant brain. The hormone cortisol is released. In excess, it's a neuron killer which many not be apparent immediately (Thomas et al. 2007). A full-term baby (40-42 weeks), with only 25% of its brain developed, is undergoing rapid brain growth. The brain grows on average three times as large by the end of the first year (and head size growth in the first year is a sign of intelligence, e.g., Gale et al., 2006). Who knows what neurons are not being connected or being wiped out during times of extreme stress? What deficits might show up years later from such regular distressful experience? (See my addendum below.)

Disordered stress reactivity can be established as a pattern for life not only in the brain with the stress response system (Bremmer et al, 1998), but also in the body through the vagus nerve, a nerve that affects functioning in multiple systems (e.g., digestion). For example, prolonged distress in early life, resulting in a poorly functioning vagus nerve, is related disorders as irritable bowel syndrome (Stam et al, 1997). See more about how early stress is toxic for lifelong health from the recent Harvard report, The Foundations of Lifelong Health are Built in Early Childhood).

Self-regulation is undermined. The baby is absolutely dependent on caregivers for learning how to self-regulate. Responsive care---meeting the baby's needs before he gets distressed---tunes the body and brain up for calmness. When a baby gets scared and a parent holds and comforts him, the baby builds expectations for soothing, which get integrated into the ability to self comfort. Babies don't self-comfort in isolation. If they are left to cry alone, they learn to shut down in face of extensive distress--stop growing, stop feeling, stop trusting (Henry & Wang, 1998).

Trust is undermined. As Erik Erikson pointed out, the first year of life is a sensitive period for establishing a sense of trust in the world, the world of caregiver and the world of self. When a baby's needs are met without distress, the child learns that the world is a trustworthy place, that relationships are supportive, and that the self is a positive entity that can get its needs met. When a baby's needs are dismissed or ignored, the child develops a sense of mistrust of relationships and the world. And self-confidence is undermined. The child may spend a lifetime trying to fill the inner emptiness.

Caregiver sensitivity may be harmed. A caregiver who learns to ignore baby crying, will likely learn to ignore the more subtle signaling of the child's needs. Second-guessing intuitions to stop child distress, the adult who ignores baby needs practices and increasingly learns to "harden the heart." The reciprocity between caregiver and baby is broken by the adult, but cannot be repaired by the young child. The baby is helpless.

Caregiver responsiveness to the needs of the baby is related to most if not all positive child outcomes. In our work caregiver responsiveness is related to intelligence, empathy, lack of aggression or depression, self-regulation, social competence. Because responsiveness is so powerful, we have to control for it in our studies of other parenting practices and child outcomes. The importance of caregiver responsivness is common knowledge in developmental psychology Lack of responsiveness, which "crying it out" represents. can result in the opposite of the afrementioned positive outcomes.

The 'cry it out' approach seems to have arisen as a solution to the dissolution of extended family life in the 20th century. The vast wisdom of grandmothers was lost in the distance between households with children and those with the experience and expertise about how to raise them well. The wisdom of keeping babies happy was lost between generations."

Basically - whilst you may think they should be left to cry because they need to sleep, babies don't know that. They don't know that's why they're being ignored, they just know that the person they trust the most isn't responding to them. So they learn not to trust people.

Heartbreaking, really.

Lyrasilvertongued Sat 02-Feb-13 01:32:22

If you don't fancy co-sleeping try a crib/hammock next to the bed. DD has started waking again through the night after a few weeks of sleeping through, but doesn't need fed, just a small stroke of the cheek/swing of the hammock/replacement of the dummy (!), enough to know she's safe and not alone really. Takes me seconds to reach over and re-settle her and she and I fall back asleep straight away. Not ideal to have disturbed sleep but much better to know she's happy and feels loved than worrying about her and I usually manage a nap in the morning when she's having hers if I'm really tired

Karoleann Sat 02-Feb-13 08:25:59

the house and sir boob - have you actually read any of the references she cites as evidence? There's no mention of controlled crying in them at all. That author hasn't done any research of her own.

Interestingly her first article she cites:
Blunt Bugental, D. et al. (2003). The hormonal costs of subtle forms of infant maltreatment. Hormones and Behaviour, January, 237-244.
Has a lot of evidence on how maternal stress post and prenatally can have an affect on the neuronal developement of a baby. Lack of sleep and a grumpy tired baby aren't going to help your stress levels.

I do not in any way advoate letting a little newborn cry, but at 4 months the majority of babies are big balls of blubber and do not (usually) need feeding in the middle of the night.

Any baby who is waking 5-6 times in a night is waking during the lighter sleep phase of their sleep and just needs help to self settle.

A 4 month old has very little concept of itself as a person, complete levels of conciousness don't come til nearly 18 months. At 4 months they do not have the understanding to think mummy isn't coming if they are crying, they just learn to self settle, they still do cry when they need something.

I think its much worse to do it later, when they are older and they have a much greater awareness of who they and you are.

Iggly Sat 02-Feb-13 08:57:40

at 4 months the majority of babies are big balls of blubber
What a horrid description.

And re night feeds - again you're wrong.

elizaregina Sat 02-Feb-13 08:59:09

"but at 4 months the majority of babies are big balls of blubber"


Kalisi Sat 02-Feb-13 09:19:11

I'm assuming karoleann that your babies were left to CIO in a moses basket next to you?
Seeing as you are so quick to quote the "safety guidelines" against co-sleeping, I'm guessing you must have followed them to the letter and also insisted on having them in a moses basket in your room for the first 6 months? Must have made the process very difficult for you hmm

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Sat 02-Feb-13 09:25:06

Oh Karoleann, you just need to stop. The things you are posting are so ill informed.

You are making absolute statements you can not possibly back up - how on earth can you possibly know why 'any baby' is waking up? A paediatric sleep specialist wouldn't know that until they had conducted considerable information gathering and met the baby in question.

JesusInTheCabbageVan Sat 02-Feb-13 09:27:43

Karolean jesus. That's too harsh. You can't just make a sweeping statement like that - ANY baby who is still waking at 4 months is doing it for no good reason. Anyway - isn't needing reassurance a good reason? What about thirst, or illness, or as-yet-undiagnosed health problems? 'Blubber' is no protection against any of those causes of crying.

Karolean I agree with you that the research into CC/CIO being 'harmful' for babies is poor and inconclusive. But one of the reasons it's not advocated for babies under six months is because they still might definitely need feeding during the night, especially around the four month mark.

I'm not one to make a blanket statement that letting a baby cry is evil or cruel as every family's situation is different, every parent's ability to cope is different, but I do think that all other avenues of sleep training need to be exhausted before any kind of intervention involving crying is attempted. You also need to enter into it fully aware that it might not work, and the affects might not last, leaving you to have to repeat it with every cold, teething episode, thanks. Too devastating for all concerned. Safe, part-time co-sleeping is how we're managing it now, and from having initially being terrified by the danger of it and completely against it, I now love it and will probably be quietly sad once he's sleeping full-time in his cot.

(Ball of blubber? Really? sad)

SirBoobAlot Sat 02-Feb-13 10:05:07

You're vile, Karolean, and I feel sorry for your children if that is the level of affection and awareness you have for them.

Fairylea Sat 02-Feb-13 10:07:43

Feeding and comfort are closely interlinked for babies. A baby waking looking for feeding also wants comforting. And vice versa..

Waking for comfort is just as good as anyfor seeing to your baby.

Mosman Sat 02-Feb-13 10:09:57

If you know he's not hungry/wet/dirty/cold then put the dummy in his mouth and tap gently on the end of it to sooth him back to sleep without picking him up, but doing nothing shouldn't be an option tbh.

mrsbunnylove Sat 02-Feb-13 10:17:03

recipe for a beautiful world:

ingredients -
loving parents
extended breastfeeding (to four, or six, or eight years, whenever they stop)
co-sleeping as above

method -
mix together and hug gently for many years
return to base for hugging etc for decades.

outcome -
beautiful young people. who get together and make more...

and no-one, no-one at all, ever, no matter how young and vulnerable or old and lonely, has to cry until they sleep.

JesusInTheCabbageVan Sat 02-Feb-13 10:21:29

Add wine and simmer slowly.

YorkshireDeb Sat 02-Feb-13 10:36:24

Sounds wonderful mrsbunnylove. X

Thumbwitch Sat 02-Feb-13 11:07:47

YorkshireDeb, my DS2 is a week shy of 4mo and only wakes usually once or twice in the night, but that, I believe, is because we do co-sleep. Just me and DS2 - DH sleeps in the other bedroom. DS2 usually falls asleep around 9pm, when I put him to bed - I usually end up going to bed around midnight, and sometimes he'll wake then, sometimes an hour later, have a quick feed and then go back to sleep. He may then wake again around 4am but as often as not he's going through until 6/7am before he wakes again. We've had a couple of really muggy nights (we're in Australia) when he's been awake every couple of hours but that's understandable - it's very hard to appropriately cover him, given the ambient temp, and he gets thirsty as well.

But please note that he has, as often as not over the last couple of weeks, gone through from 12/1am until 6/7am. That qualifies as sleeping through, and while I'm not at all boasting about it, I am saying that I believe the co-sleeping helps with that because he knows I'm there.

Co-sleeping is perfectly safe if done with all the relevant safeguards, by the way. I don't drink, don't smoke, don't take drugs; it's just me and DS2 in the bed; no duvet over him, no pillow near him; I sleep with my arm out above his head so that I cannot possibly roll onto him; he cannot fall out (he's not rolling yet anyway); and I did it with DS1 with no problem until he was 5.5mo when he moved out to the cot because we were starting to interfere with each other's sleep.

Good luck, however you decide to deal with it - but I would agree with the vast majority that he's just too young to ignore his needs at this stage.

Even the health visitor who advocated CIO on DS1 acknowledged that babies might need to feed during the night up to the age of 6 months. I don't think anybody should be expecting a 4mth old baby to stop feeding at night. You are lucky (not a good parent, it is luck) if they do sleep through before then but it isn't at all surprsing if many of them do still need to feed especially when at 6mths their feeding could go awry with the introduction of solids.

This article pretty much sums up my view on the subject. I deeply regret trying it on DS1 and I refused to do it on DS2 (thankfully DH was in agreement). As I said earlier on in the thread, with DS1 it wasn't a permanent solution anyway, so why would I do it again? All that anguish for nothing. sad It wasn't even true that a well rested baby was a happy baby as my HV kept telling me. DS1 used to ignore me after I left him to cry. He was miserable in a way I hadn't seen him miserable before we tried to leave him - he was far happier being responded to.

And another myth that I don't think this article tackles, is that it is good for the mental health of the parent to get the baby sleeping through the night. In an article supporting CC it admitted that extra sleep made no difference - parents of babies who slept through the night are no more or less likely to suffer from mental health issues or to be any more or less happy than those whose children didn't sleep through. So, if you aren't doing it for your own mental health, which is often the reason parents give, and you aren't doing it for your baby, because they aren't getting anything out of it other than a lot of upset, then why would you do CIO at all with all the anguish it causes? confused

Babies learn to self sooth by themselves when they are ready. Much as I hate the use of the 'my child did x,y or z' as 'proof' of anything, I will just say that like almost all children, my two did eventually learn to sleep through the night all by themselves. They didn't need me to neglect them to learn how to do that and DS1, after the failed attempt at CIO finally slept through at 10 months and DS2 who had not sleep 'training' at all slept through at 8 mths. With DS1 was even a very dramatic switch from waking 4 or 5 times a night to not waking literally overnight. Miracles do happen.wink

I don't get why we in the Western world want to throw out the evidence of centuries, and from the rest of the world that babies aren't meant to be independent and self contained. They are meant to need our company and flourish on our responsiveness and care for them. Why have we suddenly got the idea their dependency on us as parents is a bad thing? It makes no sense to me.

And just for the record, I didn't have any balls of blubber at 4mths, 6mths or any of other time. I had 2 healthy, happy, chubby babies who grew just how they should have been growing. Calling a child a 'ball of blubber' makes you sound like you don't like children very much at all.sad

Osmiornica Tue 05-Feb-13 18:24:01

"Posters - I did have a bad sleeper d1 was horrendous and still wasn't sleeping through when ds2 was born. It affected me, him, and my relationship with dh and I wasn't go to let it happen again. "

I also had a terrible sleeper which is why I also decided not to let it happen again - I decided to cosleep with my second and yes, she did wake in the night but as she was in bed with me I have no idea how often as I would just wake feed then fall back to sleep - no stress unlike with the first when we thought we should put her in her own room at 6 months when she just wasn't ready.

My children are perfectly independent and I didn't make a rod for my own back and they didn't end up being permenantly attatched to me.

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