The Pros and Cons of the Cry It Out Method

The cry it out method is considered by some to be controversial. It is also called extinction sleep training, or Ferberizing.

The idea is to let a baby cry for a period of time before they go to sleep. Parents who use this method must resist the urge to pick up and soothe their baby… for a little while. There are fans of the cry it out method and there are parents who strongly dislike it.

What is the cry it out method?

In 1985, pediatrician Richard Ferber presented a method of getting children to sleep. It was in his book “Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems”. Ferber never used the phrase “cry it out”. Some parents call his sleep method Ferberizing.

The main idea was for the parent to put their baby to bed. Ferber said that crying is not the goal, but is sometimes an unavoidable part of sleep training. Parents are to allow their child to cry for a short period of time before going in and soothing the baby. The idea is that, gradually, the baby will learn to self soothe after waking up at night, and will learn how to fall asleep.

Pros of the Cry It Out Method:

Some parents find that the cry it out method works for them rather quickly. Yes, their baby cries, and the parent has to resist the urge to immediately rush in. The experience can be horrible, but parents are allowed to go in and soothe the baby after a short period of time.

Eventually, the time it takes for the baby to fall asleep at night on their own decreases. Some parents find that the cry it out method helped their baby to sleep through the night. Poor sleep patterns are harmful for both the baby and the parents, and Ferberizing can result in a good nights sleep for all.

Cons of the Cry It Out Method:

Some parents (and some psychologists) say the cry it out method is harmful to babies. They point out that parents, and other caregivers, who habitually respond to the needs of the baby before the baby gets distressed prevent crying, and are more likely to have children who are independent.

The concern is that disordered stress reactivity can be established as a pattern for life not only in the baby’s brain, but also with their stress response system. Stress can also cause damage to neuronal interconnections.

Related Articles at Families.com:

* Should Both Parents Tend to the Baby at Night?

* Baby Advice Can Become Outdated

* The Sleep Puzzle