To cry or not to cry? That is the question.

We're having a slight dilema in our household.  Should we let Lea cry... or not?  For the first four months or so of her life, we never let her cry.  The first sign of distress and we were there to the rescue.  Even at night, if she began to squirm or fuss, I would immediatley run to her and nurse her back to sleep.  This actually worked great, believe it or not.  She was always a great sleeper and would only wake once, around the same time, every night and sleep until well past 7 in the mornings.

Our pediatrician said there is no physical reason why Lea should still be nursing in the middle of the night.  He also said she should be placed in her crib awake but drowsy at bed time.

So, we've tried putting her to bed awake.  It works ok... some of the time.  Sometimes she will play a little, then fuss, then fall asleep.  Sometimes she will go right to sleep.  And sometimes she will scream and cry.  I've also tried to avoid nursing her in the middle of the night a couple times.... MUCH more difficult than putting her to bed awake.  If I don't nurse her, she will scream and cry until we help her back to sleep.  Then, an hour later, scream and cry again.  And, an hour later, scream and cry again... the entire night.  Needless to say, I have continued to nurse her at night.  I am, however, only nursing her for about five minutes, hoping she will wean herself from midnight feedings.

Now that you know the background... here's my problem...  While I have heard and read that a 6 or 7 month old should be able to put themselves to sleep and shouldn't be eating in the middle of the night, I have also heard and read that babies do just that because they are babies and it's ok for the caregiver to assist them in getting and staying asleep.  Everything I've read says the most important thing is to be consistant.  no matter what you decide to do, just be consistant.  How can I be consistant, though, if she isn't being consistant?

Perhaps I am just trying to talk myself out of letting my baby girl scream and cry.  I can't stand to hear her upset!!!  When she cries, my heart aches.  I hear her cries as if she's saying "MOMMY! MOMMY! PLEEEEASE HELP MEEEE!!!"  Now, you tell me how I am supposed to ignore that?!  It seems impossible!  But, is it?  And is it in her best interest to let her cry herself to sleep?  Is there really such a thing as "sleep training"???  And, what's so wrong with me wanting to comfort my baby?

Please let me know your thoughts.  I am seriously at a crossroads.


  1. I didn't let either of my girls cry BUT that doesn't mean that my way is the right way! We made the right decision for them and it has worked out well...although I didn't really sleep through the night for 2 years.

    Some may argue that it will hurt her to cry, some will argue the opposite...I don't really know what's best other than we made the decision that was right for OUR family and OUR girls..ya know?

    It's a mommy decision and one that only you can make...I wish you the best of luck in such a tough decision ;)

  2. Ok...You gotta do what feels right and what works for you and the baby. If she's only feeding once during the night and it doesn't bother you, then I say go with it. She'll grow out of it. I know lots of moms who did that for a while. Sounds like putting her to sleep awake may be working itself out, so I would keep at that, but again, if thats not working don't stress about it. The one big thing that I have learned about being a mom and my kids is that everything is a phase and my the time you figure somehting out, they move on to something else. I think it's easier to sleep train a 2 yr. old than an infant. I've had to do that and it's awful but over after 3 nights. I have trouble letting an infant cry it out..but that's just me.

  3. I could not stand to let Keira cry it out until she hit about 8 months. And I still have issues! And guess what? She is completely weaned during the day and is STILL waking up TWICE a night to nurse. And seriously, there can't be anything in there! We have both tried everything and the kiddo still will not sleep through the night. Now that she is older I don't feel so bad letting her cry. Now that she is totally weaned during the day, we are working this week on weaning those night feedings. We would hit major milestones with CIO, but then she got sick, cut teeth, etc. and we had to give extra snuggles and she went back to her old ways. It's hard but you can do it! (I am telling myself this too!) But don't feel bad if you want to wait until she is a bit older until you are more comfortable.

  4. Oh dear Jessie!!! My heart is aching for you!! However - you know which side of the fence I come down on! Here's my two cents worth - (1) only YOU know what's right for your baby! (2) what I thought was right for MY baby was.... to teach her how to sleep on her own. I strongly believe that Abigail would never have learned how to put herself to sleep if she didn't have to- If i nursed her to sleep or rocked her or drove her around in the car, that's how she would learn to sleep. However, now after we did the few weeks of crying herself to sleep - she knows how to get back to sleep on her own. I have watched her wake up in the middle of the night on the video monitor - be wide awake, roll around, make little talking noises, and get back to sleep without crying. She routinely falls asleep for naps without crying or if there is crying it is maybe 2-3 minutes tops. (and I feel like those are times when I put her down when she was a bit overtired and already fussy.) It was hard to do, I CRIED!, and it was worth it. She is not scarred, emotionally troubled, but the happiest little baby girl you've ever seen!! (And I thinks she's happy because she's rested!!) This is a constant dilemma for parents - and I strongly strongly urge you to read Healthy sleep habits, happy baby - it really helped me. Most moms I have talked to that do not "sleep train" with crying it out do not have babies that sleep through the night until they are older toddlers- around 2. It may seem like the wrong thing to do to let them cry, but I really believe that it was the right thing for me to do for Abigail -to teach her how to go to sleep on her own. Also - if you make the decision to do the crying it out, you should prepare yourself for it to get worse before it gets better - Abigail had to figure out that I wasn't coming in to pick her up and once that pattern was broken, it got better. I know all pediatricians will tell you something different, but mine was very clear that waiting longer to do the sleep training meant that they would be stronger and able to cry for longer periods before giving into sleep. Good Luck, Jessie!! Whatever you decide- Lea will be OKAY - she will grow and be happy and love her mommy!!

  5. I know this is hard. When we hit about 7 months, Aidan started to do pretty well sleeping. But I would still go in a few nights a week with a bottle (of water). Our pediatrician said that if we only did water and not breastmilk that he might realize it wasn't worth waking up for.

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  6. Go with your instinct. Doctors will only tell you what most babies SHOULD be able to do. That doesn't mean your baby will. B is 8+ months old and she still nurses at least twice a night. She does fall asleep on her own in her crib at night and at naps. Have you read the Sleep Lady book? It has worked for me for getting both my kiddos to sleep. Here's a tip though, try to get her to learn how to go to sleep on her own before she learns how to pull-up on her crib rails. Miss H fell asleep standing up one night!

    But long story short, go with what your Mommy instincts tell you is best!


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