Sleep Trainer shares her view on Cry It Out Loud method as a professional and as a mother

by Alenka

Thanks to SleepbyConnection for sharing this wonderful personal insight in our Sleep Training discussion (see “Crying it out” may damage baby’s brain and Cute parenting technique or child abuse?)
As a retired sleep trainer and now a sleep deprived mother, my knowledge of the brain, years of sleep training, years of working with all kinds of children, and now a new mother, I know deep in my heart that developing the limbic brain is very important. We as adults impose our own needs onto our children without much awareness of the long term effects.
My daughter is very sensitive and I can’t imagine being an ignorant parent so desperate for sleep that I’d let her CIO (Cry It Out) and ignore her communication to me to feel secure, safe, nurtured and heard.
In all my years of sleep training, I never had to let a baby CIO. And in all my years, I’ve never dealt with the temperament of my own daughter. And wouldn’t life have it that way for me! I truly believe that parenting by connection is far more important than sleep. And being able to recognize the gradual steps to sleep training with the combination of temperament in infants and toddlers is so very important. It’s not easy, and it’s a life long process.
In witnessing an array of personalities in babies for the last 20 years, I don’t think that most parents understand how to parent by individual personalities of their children. Instead they look for formulas and quick fix solutions; CIO sleeping training now being the number one solution to allowing the parents to get some much needed rest. It’s sad.
What I don’t understand is that “crying it out” is “training”??? The phrase in itself suggests this- CRY- SCREAM and you’ll eventually figure it out. You must learn 4 month old baby!!! How can anyone call this training. You don’t train for a marathon in JUST 5 nights. Ok run 15 miles the first day, and don’t worry, you won’t hurt as much the second day, so run 20 miles, and on the third day, just run a few more miles and by day 5, you’ll feel great!
Parents are crazy to think that babies don’t remember things in his/her infant stages. As a professional care giver, I’ve had 3 year old children tell their parents about me and their experiences with me as an infant. I know the main reason was because I was sleep training by connection and moving with the needs of each child.
And with my own child, she got bit by a wasp at 7 months on her eye, and 2 weeks later freaked out with a fly in the room. And now at 11 months watches black flying bugs of any size with her keen eyes. She looks up at me for reassurance that it’s OK, and mommy is here. She remembers her experience.

There’s an MD in NY now telling mothers to put their babies (at 4 months) to bed at 7pm and not go into the room until 7am- no matter what. When my friend asked what to do if her daughter threw up, he said, “go in there, clean her up, don’t talk to her, and put her back in her bed, shut the door and don’t go back in till 7am!” That’s abuse! And this is an MD. If you hear a baby screaming in NY, I’m sure it’s a patient of this absurd famous rich MD that thinks he’s just the bomb. My friend walked out.
My personal take from my observations in life- your baby shuts down when you let them CIO. They learn very fast (in 5 days or less) that you will not come. But that baby still needs you to feed them, love them, play with them, and provide, so they connect to you in the morning. And they will love you unconditionally, until more experiences build on the foundation you created. And you have no idea how they store those memories. You have no idea what perceptions they will develop about they decisions you’ve made. Is that a risk you’re willing to take?
EVERY parent I’ve asked about CIO that has done it says the same thing- IT WAS HARD. VERY HARD. Personally I think that’s the parent intuition being ignored.
If a parent can let a child scream that loud for that long, what else are you able to ignore in your child’s communication?
I believe it damages the limbic brain. I believe sleep is so personal, and it’s years before any person realizes they like to sleep alone because they rest better. In most cases, no one likes to sleep alone, thus the double, queen and king size beds. We all need comfort, security, and love while we sleep. It starts at birth and goes for years!
Is this hard? Yes. Will I survive? Yes. Will my daughter have a foundation where she knows her needs are met and her emotional building blocks are all in tack? Yes.


  1. stella

    Greetings from Ireland …. absolutely loved your article on CIO … thirty years ago 32 years when my son was born, We had him in a beautiful moses basket and couldnt understand why he wouldnt sleep …… the creaking noise that the moses basket made when he moved work him up – it also woke me up ! I took him into the bed with us. He remained a light sleeper but at least I didnt have to get out of the bed to feed him – he remained in the bed until he was about four years old and decided one day he was leaving to move into his little yellow bed in the room beside us . I agree totally with you re CIO – I personally think that anybody that ignores a crying baby ( irrespective of the reason they are crying ) is a mean spirited person with a serious lack of kindness in them or they are ignoring their intuition …… If the average person saw someone they knew or a friend crying – would they not rush to comfort them and ask them was there anything they could do to help them feel better ????? I cannot understand why parents listen to people that tell you to let the most precious thing in their life to CIO …. Thank god is all I say to the wonderful La Leche lague that I was very lucky to have been a part of during my mothering days ……. In saying that I am still mothering at 60plus years -this time its my granddaughter and I will NEVER let her CIO.! so well done on your article – I loved every word of it -and you daughter is blessed she has a mother like you … Keep spreading the word … Blessings and love and peace being sent to you and all your loved ones. Stella

  2. Eny

    I’m so glad I found your site and this page, bc our pediatrician gave me a really hard time for not letting my 9 months old baby CIO and fall asleep on her own…. then my husband wanted me to do it….but it just doesn’t feel right for me!!! I just can’t take it. I might be too weak, but it breaks my heart to see my baby cry that hard and desperate….
    So I read you are a sleep trainer….do you write about your version somewhere here on your blog? Can you give me some advice? How do you do it? Where should I start to read about it?
    Thank you for your answer