Vindication August 20, 2011


I have often worried about what I am doing to my children’s psyches by allowing them to cry a little bit as they learn to sleep through the night. That said, I know what it does to their psyches to have a deranged, sleep deprived mother, and I think that it is worth it. Plus, my anecdotal evidence tells me that the better my children sleep the happier, calmer and smarter they seem to be. I am glad to have some scientific evidence to back me up — it turns out that the cortisol levels are actually lower in children who have uninterrupted sleep, so we are doing them a huge favor by weaning them from sleep props and night waking habits.

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  • Amy B

    Thank you for sharing this!!! We have just completed two nights of letting our baby “cry it out”. It has been much easier than I had dreaded (we never had to do this with our first), but I have wondered many times if we are doing the right thing. I tell myself that learning to sleep is as important if not more important for young children than a healthy diet, and this is why we let the baby learn to put himself back to sleep. Now I have more reassurance. I refer to his book often, but hadn’t read that quote. Thanks again, for tonight we will press on once again!

  • Anonymous

    Okay, so on the topic of sleep…Why is it that the earlier my children go to bed, the later they sleep, and the later they go to bed, the earlier they wake up the next morning. They rarely sleep in, even when, like last night, we’re up until a couple of hours past their bedtime at a pool party.u00a0nDoes anyone else have an older child (my son is 7) that wakes up very early every morning? C is up before 6, or by 6:15 at the very latest, every morning, and has been like this his whole life. Is this normal? Something he will grow out of?u00a0nWe normally have very early bedtimes because of this – everyone is in bed between 6:45 and 7:30 – but this is hard to sustain when sports practices begin.


    The study says that those lower levels were found in children 1 to 3 years old…. does anyone know the stats on babies under one?

  • Anonymous

    Amen!!!u00a0 Not to mention a sleeping baby makes this mama want more children, be nice to the other children that I have, and generally run a more managed happy home.u00a0 When people ask me how I do it, my new answer is, “I don’t do night-time parenting, unless, or course, a child is sick.”u00a0

  • Anonymous

    Oh, and can I just add that the picture you posted is really cute, and makes me excited for our newborn to arrive in January.

  • Kate E.

    I was going to ask if that was one of your kids as a baby, I couldn’t guess who or a random internet baby. Super cutes.nKat0427…I don’t have one older then 7 but my kids are on the same schedule and they do the same thing. I think when they go to bed late it just disrupts their normal sleep cycle enough that they get up earlier…also usually staying up late is because of something where they are physically, emotionally, or sugar-ly stimulated or all of the above 🙂 so I think that they tend to have disruptive sleep because of that. My older guy gets night terrors, more occasional now, but usually I can peg that night they will happen…summer time, stayed up 1-2hrs past bedtime, big party or event, lots of running around with friends, maybe spotty eating…boom night terror.nnWhen Jack turned 5 it looked like he might have gone a little later (likeu00a0 7am) but then his little sister started getting up closer to 6:15 and he just gets up when she does.u00a0 As the littler one gets older I think we may enact a stay in room and read policy for the weekends until 7am. In the summer it’s a bummer but I think I don’t mind it in general. School starts earlier and earlier as they get older here and we never have to rush too bad in the morning if we are all up.u00a0 Besides a 6:30-7 bedtime means Mom and Dad get a good 3 hours of alone time before we hit the sack.nnSo I’m trying to think of the early risers as a gift, it is awfully hard on this sleep in loving mom.u00a0

  • Texas Mommy

    Kat, We have the same issue as you and Kate. The early bedtime precludes us from participating in a lot of things like homeschool soccer, b/c we can’t practice until 7 when bedtime is 6:30-6:45. And if we miss bedtime, YIKES!u00a0nnWe do enforce a stay-in-your-room until 7am and play quietly or read during the summer and on non-school days. On Tues/Thus/Sun, they can come out a little earlier for school/church. I do think this is the most natural rhythm for them.u00a0nnI also think that many children are sleep deprived by late nights and early mornings. But I don’t have an answer as to how to balance later activities with the need for early bedtimes.u00a0

  • Texas Mommy

    And ditto all the adorable baby comments!

  • JMB

    After my fourth child was born, I briefly attended a local LLL meeting because I had a very difficult time breastfeeding my 3rd child (at the get go), ended up with a few bouts of mastitis and I wanted to avoid getting off to a bad start with the new baby.u00a0 When I say I attended “briefly” it is because I ended up getting into a heated (fueled by new mom hormones) argument with the leader when I told her that I was going to start sleep training her at 8 weeks, and hopefully, have her on a night schedule by 10 weeks.u00a0 Never mind that I did this with 3 previous children, and managed to breastfeed exclusively for at least 6 months which each baby, finally weaning each child around 12-18 months.u00a0 She was adamant that it was impossible to get a breastfed baby to sleep through the night.u00a0 I kept saying that it wasn’t true in my situation, nor in my mother’s (who taught me how to do it) situation with her eight children.u00a0 nnOf course, every mom and baby is unique, but to have someone in “authority” dismiss a reality that one can sleep train a baby, to me, is lame.

  • Jennifer Julius

    Ugh. This whole post just makes my heart hurt. Babies are not meant for such things. Toddlers, yes, babies, no. I shouldn’t have read it. And no, I don’t think the study backs you up, ages 12-36 months!!!

  • Amy B

    Dr. Marc Weissbluth has been studying sleep in children and adolescents since around 1985.u00a0 He does not suggest that parents MUST use any certain method of parenting (attachment parenting, the Feber method, and everything in between).u00a0 He actually talks aboutu00a0getting sleep with the family bed.u00a0His book (and I am guessing website) gives parents information on how sleep evolves in human beings.u00a0 That being said, if you don’t want to “sleep-train” your baby, you don’t have to.u00a0 The important thing is thatu00a0babies/toddlers/adolescents are getting “good” sleep.u00a0u00a0If you want to rock,u00a0nurse, sleep with your babyu00a0so thatu00a0he/she is able to get the sleep the required to grow andu00a0develop properly, than by all means do it.u00a0u00a0I think the point being made here, though, is that sleep is very important for ALL members of the family and it is unrealistic to expect a mother (especially those with multiple children to care for)u00a0to be able to answer every want or need that her baby has.u00a0 Sometimes my baby has to cry because I have to take care of my other child.u00a0 I am sure that many of the Builders will tell you that this gets more difficult with more children.u00a0 I would caution judging other mothers for “sleep-training” their children though.u00a0 This is a very personal decision that should be decided by each family based on their circumstances.u00a0 n

  • Mrs C

    My 11 week old is sleep trained. She sleeps through the night – 11 hours. And the crying it out phase lasted only a small number of nights over 2-3 weeks. I can totally believe the results of this study.u00a0

  • Mary Alice

    Once I figured out what I was doing (that is, after my first, who was still in and out of my bed at 15 months and no one was sleeping), my children have slept through the night, mostly on their own without much crying it out, around 12 weeks.u00a0 For us, it was as much about day training as it was night, to make sure that there was a routine and that enough feedings were happening during the day, and an early bedtime.nnMrs. C, I would imagine that you agree that a decent night’s sleep changes everything!n

  • Mrs C

    I completely agree – the mom’s emotional wellbeing (and sleep health) is important too. Like you, we also found that for Baby C much of it was getting her day routine down. She now coos herself to sleep easily during the day – and at worst grumbles a little but doesn’t tend to cry. I think that “crying it out” and “sleep training” gets a much worse rap than it deserves. u00a0u00a0