Crying it out Won’t Kill Them

If you want to start an argument in a room full of baby experts, take a strong stand one way or another on sleep training. Baby experts and parents both tend to have very strong feelings regarding how babies should be taught to sleep.

There are many different schools of thought on baby sleep, but most of them fall more or less into one of two categories: attachment parenting or the cry it out method. Attachment parenting techniques require heavy involvement on the parents’ part at all stages of baby development, with parents taking the leading role in helping babies fall asleep by rocking, feeding, cuddling, or otherwise taking care of baby’s needs and wants on demand.

Cry it out advocates, on the other hand, suggest that once babies are old enough to start sleeping for longer periods (usually between 4-6 months of age), parents should begin training their babies (and themselves) to fall asleep and stay asleep by themselves, allowing the baby to cry for limited periods of time until the baby learns to sooth herself to sleep.

Chances are, you are already gravitating to one method or the other. Those who advocate cry it out tend to believe that babies will never learn to sooth themselves or to sleep through the night and will grow up having complexes if they are always coddled to sleep. In the other corner, advocates of attachment parenting tend to think that it’s cruel or mean to leave a baby there to cry for any amount of time.

The truth is likely somewhere in the middle. The fact is that literally billions of babies have been raised using both methods over the years, and most of them have managed to become reasonably healthy adults. Your baby won’t automatically grow up to be a momma’s boy who needs to be coddled when he’s 35 just because you used attachment parenting, nor will she grow up cold, distant, and unable to connect with anyone emotionally just because you used the cry it out method.

You love your baby. And on her own level, she understands that, regardless of which night time parenting method you choose. Make sure that you are consistent, regardless of what you do, and try not to take it too personally when proponents of the “other” night time method tell you all about how you’re screwing your baby up for life.