Putting babies to sleep - do you just let them cry it out?

United States
January 9, 2007 5:15pm CST
I wonder what kind of bed time routine you have for your children? Some parents never put their kids down and don't let them cry at all. Other's I've seen let their kids cry for 30 minutes or more to go to bed. I'm definately somewhere between the two but closer to the first probably. :-) What about you?
3 people like this
44 responses
@missytia (387)
• Australia
9 Jan 07
Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind. I practiced the control crying method with my daughter. When it was bed time, I would put her in her cot. Babies need to learn when bed (sleep) time is and have a set routine. If she cried when I put her down, I would leave her for 10 minutes or so to see if she would settle herself. If she was still crying, I would go in and check. If she stopped when I walked in, she obviously wanted attention. I wouldn't give it to her because it was time for sleep. If she continued crying when I walked in, and picked her up, there was something else wrong so I would address that eg: hungry, dirty nappy etc..... I am so glad that I did it this way because when she was only a few months old I was able to set my watch by her sleeping and eating patterns. Only because I had a strict routine when it came to feed times and bed times. I think If I had another child, I would do it exactly the same way.
@medooley (1874)
• United States
10 Jan 07
I think that routines are the best for children. It doesn't take long for them to learn the way things are going to be. If you are consisent with them it takes no time at all to get the results that you want to see. I think that your description is a wonderful way to teach your child how to calm themself, so they can get to sleep. The line about them stopping when you walked in hits the nail right on the head! Good work!
2 people like this
• United States
10 Jan 07
Thanks for your comments. I don't believe it is "cruel" to help yuor child learn new things and I'm glad you mentioned such a short time limit. I have an aquiantance who will put her baby down and that's it. The child could cry for an hour and she won't get it up until it's "time to be up". My daughter was so different. Once she would get crying she WOULD NOT STOP. For any reason - if she was hungry and I didn't nurse her quickly enough and she really got going she wouldn't eat - she would just scream for an hour or more. She is much calmer and has even been calld "laid back" now but I definately did a much more extreme Attachment Parenting lifestyle with her out of necessity!
• United States
9 Jan 07
I guess I kinda have it easy. I like to sleep and my son does too. We can put him in his crib and give him his favorite stuffed animal (a little frog that sings Jesus Loves Me) and he will stick that thumb in his mouth and go right to sleep. He doesn't hardly ever give us a problem at all to go to sleep.
2 people like this
• United States
10 Jan 07
My son was like that - He would get his thumb, whimper about ten seconds, stick his other hand around the blanket and go right to sleep. My daughter is MUCH different.
• Egypt
10 Jan 07
My problem is that my son doesn't go to bed unless I'm beside hime on bed also, at the same time I usually do some kind of businesses over internet mostly late at nights which gets me crazy to compare between letting him go asleep to wake up early for his baby school and doing my work. IT'S CONFUSING
@crystal8577 (1469)
• United States
10 Jan 07
Well the newest baby is only 2 weeks old so I try to not let her cry very much. She is at that stage where she wants to be held all of the time. I do let her cry but try not let her get overly upset.
1 person likes this
• United States
10 Jan 07
Do you have a wrap or sling? I carried my baby with me a lot in the early couple months and it made a HUGE difference in her attitude.
@jfeets726 (775)
• United States
9 Jan 07
We have a little getting ready for bed routine. Like most others, it invovles washing up, brushing teeth, and changing into pjs. What helps with my daughter is that she goes to sleep with her sippy cup. Our doctor says that this is fine to do. She needed the sucking action to get to sleep. We actually had it recommended to us, as long as it is only water and not a sugary drink, because it is easier to get a child off of a sippy cup than it is a pacifier. We will see though because she is going to be three in a couple of weeks and we and to competely get rid of the sippy cup. Anyways, she usually goes to sleep right away. Rarely does she even drink any of the water. I sneak back in her room though after like a half and hour to get it, just in case.
• United States
10 Jan 07
I'm glad you mentioned water only and only juice. I recently read an article that said sippy cups should only be for water - period. Interesting. I do believe a routine is best as well. We have begun praying with our children each night and find that really helps to settle them and calm them down.
@scottology (1210)
9 Jan 07
imm not sure, about babies as they cry for attention so its a hard desicision
1 person likes this
@anne_143god (5390)
• Philippines
10 Jan 07
It is not good to let the baby cries that long, for 30 minutes, parents should always comfort their child if they dont feel well or sleepy and not to let them cry.
• United States
24 Jan 07
Yeah I definately couldn't imagine letting my baby cry for 30 minutes without trying to comfort them. Although I will say with my daughter there were times she got so wound up her crying DID last more than 30 minutes. We ended up keeping her with us most nights for the first two months becuase her personality was that if she started crying hard she would not stop. So we did what we could to keep her from ever crying that much to begin with!
@thekiwi (588)
• United States
10 Jan 07
I signed up in the H.A.N.D.S program for new mommies, or mommies who need help, they come every week, once a week, and tell you some information that you might want to use... My hands person told me that if you let a baby cry for more than 10 minutes, its neglect. Like if you leave him crying in his crib all alone, for 10 minutes...But if your trying your best, like rocking him, patting him on the back and stuff, and need a break, its fine to take a ten minute break away from the child... I am not trying to start anything here, or tell anyone how to raise their kid, just giving you my knowledge, and to answer the question... My bedtime routine starts with a bath, followed by a book and then relaxing time, if hes sleepy i put him in the crib and he nods off with a bottle, if hes not i rock him in the rocking chair with a bottle and blanket and his favorite snuggle toy. He usually goes down after that.
• United States
24 Jan 07
That's very interesting. Ten minutes is pretty much the maximum I can personally stand to HEAR them cry before I HAVE to do something. *laughing* So that's interesting validation to my personal instincts. I think a big key is having that routine in place and making sure they are winding down for sleep before expecting them to be able to sleep.
• United States
10 Jan 07
I think it depends on the age of the child. I'm not sure if the info is right or not, but I was always told that if a baby 6 months or less is crying you should be holding or feeding or something to get it to stop. At that age I guess it is about the early bonding and letting the baby know that you are there. After that, working on a program to get the child to sleep on it's own is a good idea, even if it means some crying. Otherwise you will be rocking the child to sleep until they are 3. There was a book that we used... But of course I can't remember. Something like The Sleep Doctor or something like that.
• United States
24 Jan 07
I've noticed that at about 6 months, and with mobility, children are learning to manipulate their surroundings and at that point I've seen crying that is much more a demanding cry rather than a genuine "I need help with something" type of cry. Crawling (6 months) is usually when we have our first lesson on coming when called with our children also. :-)
@medooley (1874)
• United States
10 Jan 07
I can only tell you what we did... not it if what we did was correct or not. With our kids, when they were first learning to put themself to sleep we would let them cry for 5 minutes. Then we would go in and tell them they were okay. Of course they would start crying again once we left. This time we would let them cry for 10 minutes. Again we would go in there and calm them down. Then 15 mintues, calm them, 20 mintues... etc. And let me tell you, we spend a couple sleepless nights, maybe three or four. But that was it, they learned to put themselves to sleep and we never really had any problems with them sleep after that. Like I said I am not saying this is what you should do, this is what worked for us. Each kid is different and you have to learn what works for them. Raising kids is a constant job and the questions, and the answers are never the same. Good luck!
• United States
24 Jan 07
Was there an upwards limit? I don't know that I would personally feel comfortable letting my child cry for 20 minutes. I can tell you I think I've done it once and it was a situation where we were in a noisy situation and they kept dozing off and then waking up and crying so there was nothing I could do to help the situation. If my child cried 20 minutes and had already cried 10 and 5 minutes respectively I would assume they weren't ready to sleep and probably let them play in a swing, chair or put them in a wrap and carry them around with me until they were ready to actually SLEEP. I just wondered at what point you "draw the linke" so to speak.
@wmaharper (2316)
• United States
10 Jan 07
Well, with my first one, he was rocked or nursed to sleep most of the time. When he would wake up in the middle of the night, I would find myself rocking him at 2:30 in the morning, this continued for awhile until I decided to let him cry it out for awhile. What i did was, I put him down and let him cry for five minutes, then i would go and check on him, pat him on the back and calm him down. I would leave the room and let him cry for another five and continue this until eventually he'd fall asleep. It took about 3 days and he started to go to bed on his own with minimal crying. With our second one, we put him down when he was starting to act sleepy. We never rock him to sleep or nurse him to sleep and I know with him, if he cries for more than five minutes something is wrong, maybe he's not tired, or gassy or something. I def. learned from my first one.
• India
10 Jan 07
i think we should give attention to the baby when it cries
@clod0327 (817)
• Philippines
18 Jan 07
I'm like the first one. I never let my child cry. I carry her rigth away as soon as she cries and will carry her as long as she wants just to per her to sleep.
@icjackson (186)
• United States
17 Jan 07
Sometimes you have to let them cry it out. If you don't, they will think that they should and will be able to get whatever they want as long as they don't give up crying. That means tantrums will get longer and louder. When you can't say no to a child, you are crippling him or her for life. People are going to tell them no sometimes. God is going to tell them no sometimes. If they can't handle that, they will be emotionally handicapped. And emotionally handicapped people don't function well in society. I.C. Jackson
@burieks (127)
• Philippines
17 Jan 07
since i go to work, i normally carry my baby until he gets to sleep at least to cuddle and spend time with him. or sometimes, i give him milk until he dozes off. i also play a lullaby to put him to sleep.
• United States
11 Jan 07
I think it depends on the temperament and age. I don't think babies should be left to cry for very long. Crying is the only way for them to communicate when something is wrong. From your description in one of your responses, it sounds like you have a boy and girl with very different temperaments and require very different parenting styles. I have one boy (now 10yo). Right away, I knew he was very different than my younger brother and sister that I often babysat growing up. They could cry for maybe 10 minutes and fall asleep. My son is alot more intense. Never seemed to need much sleep in the first place, didn't like going to sleep (I think he was afraid he would miss something), and definately a night owl. When he was a young toddler, I decided I should let him cry it out. He screamed and cried so extreme that he projectile vomited all over the wall, his crib, the floor, etc., in less than 5 minutes of crying. I gave up on the idea for a few months and tried again. He worked himself up in such a frenzy again, that the same thing happened. It wasn't worth it. He moved from a crib to a twin bed with guards as a toddler for the sake of a better sleep arrangement. I would read to him for a bit, turn the lights off, lay with him until he fell asleep. It was much better than the intense screaming and cleaning up vomit all over the place. I don't think I could have let him go on for long anyways. I doubt he would have given up and fallen alseep and like I said.... he was so loud and intense that I probably would have had the police at my door for fear that I was beating the kid. For the sound of him, one sure would have imagined so.
• United States
10 Jan 07
well i dont have kids but my parents would sing me to sleep and alot of my cousins have babies and some of them cry it out and some do something aobut it
@mythmoh (3986)
• United States
10 Jan 07
i know my baby's sleeping time.so usually make her to sleep in that time by putting her in my lap or singing some songs.she will sleep without troubling me.If sometimes if she gets sleep can able to find her body language such as rubbing of her eyes,little bit cry and just trying to lay down etc i will make her to sleep.but anyway i wouldn't allow her to cry loudly for her sleep.
• United States
10 Jan 07
I have to say that routine worked wonders with my two little ones ,we started with my daughter ,she was 3,she refused first but got used to it,my son we started him right after delivery.by 7.00pm we turn the lights a bit down,to prepare them,then7.30 is bath time , then story for 10min,a little song for the little one on the rocking chair,the last chance for oh i want water or I forgot to use the bathroom at 8.00 pm,by 8.30 they're both out.Consistency is the key , and I beleive I was blessed with my little family
@LeslieD (59)
• United States
10 Jan 07
I never let my girls cry. If there was crying going on, there was a reason for it. Perhaps the reason is they just weren't ready for bed! Now that they are older (see the picture?), they go to bed before 9 every night, but my older daughter has a very hard time falling asleep. I don't think her early days of staying up had anything to do with it, I just needed to learn to read the signs her body gave for tired and not watch a clock.
10 Jan 07
My kids have been sleeping through the night since 5 & 6 wks old. Everynight we give them their bath, put on the sleepy time lotion (lavendar... smells so good!), and their pj's, then we cuddle and read a book. As babies when they would get sleepy we'd put them in their crib/bassinet. And they'd go to sleep on their own, neither have ever cried it out... I wouldn't be able to handle that. If they need me that much I'll hold them, they are only little for a very short time! If they woke up in the middle of the night they had no problem going back to sleep because they had already learned how to do that. Now that they are 2 & 4 yo, we do the same routine. It's the same time every night and we don't even have to tell them to go to bed after the book. They just give hugs and kisses and go get in bed. Then my husband and I will go in there and tuck them in. If they cry in the middle of the night we know it's for a reason not just because they woke up and want us to help them go back to sleep. At the first cry my husband is jumping up (he's closer to the door) to go check on them. good luck with your little girl, remember this won't last forever and just enjoy her being little!
• United States
10 Jan 07
crying of children before sleep is so bad experience it makes their sleep uncomfortable with bad dreams