When You Let A Child “cry Itself To Sleep”, Are You Showing That Child That Nobody Cares?

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Isn’t this notion of “just let the baby cry” an insensitive, lazy approach to parenting?

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30 Responses to “When You Let A Child “cry Itself To Sleep”, Are You Showing That Child That Nobody Cares?”

  1. I have 2 children 13 yrs apart and they are now 3 and 16 yrs old. My pediatrician told me not to do it when my oldest was a baby and if I felt I should try it to make sure she cried no more than 2 minutes. My son was born prematurely and I was told not to do it at all under any circumstances with him.
    I never did, thy both around 12 months went through a period of wanting to wake up to play in the middle of the night and I set up a cot near their cribs and after a week with my daughter and 2 weeks with my son when they would wake up I would make believe that I was sleeping they learned that it was sleep time.
    No crying and no disrupting Daddy.
    The notion of you have to let a baby cry is so old fashioned/out dated and wrong. They have proven that the more a baby cries the easier it is for them to be likely to get high blood pressure when they grow up as well as other anxiety disorders.
    Neither of my children cried unless there was a serious reason and neither are spoiled they just know that when they need me or Dad we will be there for them. They have security and feel safe in our home.

  2. AudreyMa says:

    I think it’s the responsibility of every parent to make sure the child feels secure. Leaving a child to cry relentlessly is adding to the insecurity of the child. I believe that the parent should practice laying down with the child, reading a bedtime story, praying with the child and holding them close until they fall asleep. Then put them in their bed. That creates a very secure child. Then as they get older and feel secure they will just go to bed on their own. A child can never feel too loved or too secure. I have use this method as a parent and the secure child that resulted was well worth the extra time spent.


    Not babies crying themselves to sleep i dont care what they say about teaching the child to self soothe it self that is showing neglect in my book, my 6 yr old hates bedtime for school and he cries and carries on for quite awhile every nite but he is within listening and he is within eye shot and we tell him we love him and he knows that and goes to sleep he just wants up and playing and it wont happen but with a baby there is a reason they are crying and dont just let them cry that isnt right…

  4. Moneymak says:

    no you are allowing your child to learn how to ‘self sooth’… in other words, how to put himself to sleep.

  5. Melissa says:

    It’s showing the baby that they can get to sleep on their own. I did this with my daughter. We have a bath, then read a story, and then we give her blankie, and put her in her crib, sleepy, but awake. She would cry as soon as we put her down, but we would go in after 1 minute and pat her and tell her she’s okay. Then I did 3 minutes, then 5 minutes, and she was asleep a few minutes later. The first night I did this she stopped nightwaking, and in 3 nights when it was bedtime just laid down and went to sleep. She woke up really happy because she was well rested.
    A baby is supposed to be at least 6 months old first, because by then there is no nutritional benefits to eating in the middle of the night. You are not supposed to just let the baby cry for 30 minutes and ignore them either.

  6. Sandy says:

    I do not and have never believed in letting a child “cry itself to sleep”.
    I will repeat verbatim a question, and my answer which I published in the August Issue of the Moms Home Safety Ezine:
    What is Sleep Training?
    This, to my mind, is a rather unpleasant practice. A baby or toddler is left to cry and scream itself into exhausted sleep, night after night, until he or she just doesn’t bother to cry any more (the child now “knows” that he or she will be ignored), whilst the parents blissfully believe that their infant is now sleeping through.
    Personally I believe that this practice must surely lead to psychological problems, related to rejection, later in life.
    Your child deserves to be made to feel secure and loved at all times, even during those exhausting nights when he or she wakes up several times a night for no apparent reason
    PS: My eldest son did not sleep through until he was five years old. My daughter was born when he was three, and his younger brother was born when he was five; as a result, I only averaged about four hours sleep a night for a total of seven years. It didn’t cause me any harm, but it did provide my children with lasting security (I worked full-time as well).
    I hope that this answers your question
    Look after yourself and be safe

  7. organic1 says:

    I don’t think it is necessarily a lazy, insensitive approach to parenting, but it depends on the parents and their motives. It also depends on the baby. People do what works for themselves.
    Personally, I like to try and nurse my nine month old to sleep, or facilitate a cry-free bedtime, but it just doesn’t work for him. He’s a high energy go-getter and doesn’t like to stop for anything. I am forced to let him “cry-it-out” so that he will sleep. I hate it, and it breaks my heart.
    Check out a book called: “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” — Weisbluth I think is the author’s name
    Such as in my case, some babies only get stimulated by having someone there and can’t fall asleep. If they become overtired, it makes the care-givers’ and their own lives miserable and takes away from their learning/enjoyment potential while awake.

  8. bo bunnis says:

    For the first couple of months its best to respond as quickly as possible to their cries. You need to do this so they learn they can trust you. Babies go through a phase where they think once you leave that you will never come back again. (Separation anxiety)
    All babies will cry even w/ all their needs have been met. As they get older I feel its okay to let them cry for awhile. After ten minutes or so, go into their room and reassure them by patting them on the back or singing a song then leave again.
    You are the parent and you know whats best for your little one!

  9. Estrella says:

    No. Letting the child cry all the time and not pay attention to it is neglecting. But many babies don’t like going to sleep if they’re not in somebody’s arms, at first. They have to understand that they can and will have to fall asleep in their bed (crib).

  10. Ron Burgundy says:

    I personally do not agree with ignoring a babies cries.The baby is crying for a reason whether it be loneliness,hunger,sickness or needs to be changed.If you were in need and crying out for someone and no one came,how would you feel?

  11. no, it is not lazy. Letting a baby cry it out is parents trying to teach children to be self reliant and self soothe. Personally though, I totally disagree. As a psychology student, I realizet that babies are helpless they are laying there screaming for someone to come and be with them, to feed them, to comfort them. A helpless baby crying and no one coming causes the infant to panic. It is not good for the infants feeling of security and trust. This can follow them through to adult hood

  12. mayasmom says:

    Actually, sometimes when a child is overstimulated it cries as a way to tell mom to leave them alone, they are done playing and ready to sleep. While it is preferable to not have your child cry to sleep, it is sometimes a needed learning tool.
    Even books who site studies saying that crying causes emotional damage will tell you that this happens only after repeated bouts of prolonged crying throughout childhood. Allowing your child to cry to sleep for a few days so that they learn to self sooth is not insensitive or lazy. It is actually much easier to let your child crawl into bed with you, or rock them to sleep, which is why so many 5 year olds have 3 hour bedtime routines and do not get enough sleep…..which by the way leads to behavior problems and learning delays.
    I am not saying that you have to let your child cry to sleep. But you do have to help your child learn to self sooth, and this is a tool that works, and works quickly for many children.

  13. Button says:

    No. As long as at other times you play, feed, cuddle and tend to the needs of the baby then there is no problem. A baby NEEDS to learn how to put himself to sleep, for his sake and his parents sake. We had a rule, when he was a newborn and if we knew he was burped, fed, clean, etc. and was trying to go to sleep and he cried – we let him cry it out for about 3-5 minutes (depending on the intensity) and then checked on him. I NEVER rocked him to sleep except when he had stomach problems. He was always put down wide awake unless he fell asleep while eating. He was cuddled plenty when he was little but since he was 2 weeks old he had independent play time on his mat and was not held all the time. He was also breastfed the first couple of months. The result? I had a healthy baby boy that started sleeping through the night at 6 weeks, didn’t have to be held all the time, could entertain himself and now at 20 months, he’s loving, still independent and is still (as always) sleeping through the night.

  14. not at all! you need to teach a baby to be able to fall asleep on their own, to self sooth. This will also help if your baby wakes briefly during the night, they can get back of to sleep themselves without needing to be fed/rocked/sung to etc! obviousley wait untill they are 6 months old . its worked for my daughter!she sleeps from 7;30pm to 8;00am

  15. my4ccoa says:

    No it is not insensitive, or lazy. With that said, most infants under 3months are not capable of soothing themselves. You might also keep in mind that the physical and mental state of a parent has a HUGE impact on the security and attatchment of a child. If you as a parent are walking around in a sleep-deprived stupor, you are no help to your baby, and they know it. Babies who can self-soothe are calmer, more relaxed and all around less fussy. If done correctly, it can be a blessing. Maybe you should actually read up on this particular parenting method before making snap judgements. I believe it’s called the Ferber Method.

  16. EC Expert says:

    It’s teaching the baby that the world cannot be trusted, and most particularly, that the people he counts on the most for security cannot be trusted either.

  17. ~Jen~ says:

    I personally could never do that with my kids. It made me feel terrible to let them cry. Not to mention I feel like I created a closer bond with them when I rocked them.
    So I always say, do what your heart tells you and don’t listen to everyone else

  18. ? says:


  19. piggey81 says:

    No. It helps to teach them that when its time to sleep they don’t have to be held. Plus it helps with lap collic. I did this with all 3 of my kids. It works.

  20. asmerrie says:

    some say no but i wont do it to my kid

  21. Dj says:

    you’re not supposed to leave the child completely alone, indefinitely. After certain intervals (there’s a book about this somewhere) you go in and soothe your child in comforting tones so they know you haven’t left them, but you’re also not going to pick them up. This teaches them they can’t just cry and you’ll drop everything for the rest of your life and pick them up, b/c one simply cannot live life that way.
    A good parent knows the diff b/twn their baby crying b/c of a need, and crying b/c they’ve already learned it gets them what they want….and they *will* continue to do this for as long as it works.
    Also, this applies, I believe, to a baby at least 6 mo, b/f you try the leaving them alone thing. This was never meant to be used for a 2 wk old, left to fend for themselves for hours! Of course not!

  22. N2jazz says:

    There are two sides to this….
    If you let the baby cry it out for a few nights, they will learn to go to sleep on their own and be less needy when it comes to bedtime. This is better, I believe, for the child and the parents.
    The other extreme is that you run in everytime you hear a peep. The baby learns quickly that whenever they want you to come in and cuddle and play with them, they can just cry. And that is the baby controlling the situation instead of the parent. This leads to sleepless nights, difficulty weaning, difficulty sleeping in their own bed, and a whole host of other problems.
    I know it may seem insensitive, but you don’t let the baby scream for hours. You go in every 10 mins or so to make sure they are ok, then lay them back down.
    Babies cry, it’s how they communicate, and it is up to the parents to decide what they do when the baby cries when you lay them down.
    For me, we let him cry it out at 6 months, and he has slept through the night ever since. Best thing we ever did. And it only took a few days for him to learn the new behavior.
    Hope this helps! :-)

  23. Kate says:

    Absolutely not! By six months of age, your child can begin to learn to put him/herself to sleep. Sure, you shouldn’t let your child cry for hours on end but letting your child cry himself to sleep is in no way insensitive or lazy. Both the child and parents can benefit from teaching a child to put himself to sleep.

  24. no its not lazy and insensitive…when you let your baby cry itself to sleep your helping him or her learn to be more independent and as they are crying they are developing lung power which will help be less likely to get ashma…i’ve done it with all the kids and within a week they were putting themselves to bed…i went in, placed them in the crib told them goodnight with a kiss and that was it…it was WONDERFUL!!!!

  25. roxy says:

    i dont let my children cry themselves to sleep, but I lt them cry for a few minutes so they learn to self- soothe. If you come running everytime your baby crys then they will learn that, but if you let your baby fuss a little they will develop on their own how to comfort themselvs and they will be better off.

  26. iamhis0 says:

    I would not call it lazy parenting, maybe misguided. People seem to think that babies need to learn how to “self-sooth”, that it is their job to make them learn to be independent. While it seems like a good idea, it is really flawed. Forcing a child to be independent will only make that independence unstable. Allowing a child to find its own soothing tactics on its own, and allowing a child to discover its independence on its own allows that child to be more secure in their independence.
    People are so focused on making a child grown up way to fast. I nurse and rock my 9 month old to sleep every night(and during the day to). My 3 year old sleeps in bed with us and we cuddle and sing him to sleep. We are perfectly happy and feel this is the best way to raise our children and that they will be more healthy and secure emotionally in the long run.
    *And the idea that it strengthens their lungs is a proven myth…its sad that people still think that!

  27. grahmcrk says:

    No! It’s teaching the baby to be self sufficient in a sense. Obviously if something is wrong, such as the baby is hungry or in pain that is insensitive. But, if the baby just doesn’t want to go to sleep etc. then it’s really the best option.

  28. johnjaco says:

    Are you kidding? Every time you want something, do you get it? From the moment a child is born they start learning, and if you teach them that you’ll jump every time they cry about something, they’ll cry about everything. It’s better to let them go through a little suffering when their young, then to coddle them, and then have them learn that mommy and daddy aren’t always going to be around.

  29. kleighs mommy says:

    no its not its showing the child they are capable and able to be put to sleep on their own. babies need to learn to self soothe or you will have a forty year old adult child still breastfeeding and needing to be rocked to sleep. i knew someone like this

  30. karaday says:

    I completely agree with Melissa. I don’t have any children of my own, but I do childcare in my home. I’m watching a little 15 month old sweet girl. Her parents normally rock her to sleep, but sometimes she refuses to sleep because she’s overtired. I let her play on her own until she starts rubbing her eyes and crying. Then I’ll give her one of her favorite toys and her blanket and rock her until she falls asleep. If she doesn’t fall asleep right away, I put her in her pack n play and let her cry while I’m sitting nearby. If she stands up, I lay her back down and give her the blanket and paci again. If she keeps communicating, but won’t sleep when I hold her, I turn on the monitors and lay her down then leave the room. She usually falls asleep in five minutes or so. If she doesn’t, I pick her up and try letting her play a little longer. Sometimes they just need to get tired enough to sleep.

    Melissa Says:
    June 30th, 2009 at 1:46 am
    It’s showing the baby that they can get to sleep on their own. I did this with my daughter. We have a bath, then read a story, and then we give her blankie, and put her in her crib, sleepy, but awake. She would cry as soon as we put her down, but we would go in after 1 minute and pat her and tell her she’s okay. Then I did 3 minutes, then 5 minutes, and she was asleep a few minutes later. The first night I did this she stopped nightwaking, and in 3 nights when it was bedtime just laid down and went to sleep. She woke up really happy because she was well rested.
    A baby is supposed to be at least 6 months old first, because by then there is no nutritional benefits to eating in the middle of the night. You are not supposed to just let the baby cry for 30 minutes and ignore them either.

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