How to Get a Baby to Sleep– Pros and Cons of the “Cry It Out” Method

Firstly let’s make it clear that how to get a baby to sleep is not an easy question to answer; indeed if it were that easy we would have a lot less stressed, harried and sleep deprived parents around. One way to get a child to sleep is the Ferber Method; what is also known as the “Cry it Out” method.

All of us need to wind down in preparation of sleep – we may read, have a bath, have some warm cocoa… similarly a baby needs soothing as well for how to make a baby sleep. This soothing can be provided by the parent by rocking, cuddling, nursing, or the child can figure it out for themselves.

How to Get a Baby to Sleep

One school of thought for how to get a baby to sleep is to let the child learn to self soothe; this cry-it-out method was recommended for the following reasons-

  • Over time the baby would learn to soothe himself or herself to sleep without requiring parents to be with the child or make the effort to get them to go to sleep. It may be a pacifier, a favorite toy, or the baby’s own thumb that could be the soothing sleep aid.
  • This would help the baby develop a more predictable schedule for sleep; and will help him or her recognize the fact that when placed in the crib or cot, they are meant to fall asleep.
  • If the baby can self soothe, this also answers the question how to get a baby to sleep again after a night time waking. The baby will self soothe and go back to sleep.

The more recent view is anti this method and a lot of cons of Ferberizing are now pointed out-

  • Babies who have persistent personalities may simply not respond to this method and will continue to cry for long periods night after night (though the cry it out method says that the crying will get progressively less as the days go by).
  • Even those that do respond will take several days to ‘learn’ to self soothe and this can be very traumatic for the parents.
  • There is also the risk of the baby losing trust, with this way of how to get a baby to sleep, when the baby finds that he or she cannot rely upon the parents to be there to calm and comfort them when they are either tired, or fed up.
  • Parent and child could lose out on a great bonding experience night after night with this method of soothing. Rocking, cuddling or reading a baby to sleep can be rewarding for the baby and the parent as well.
  • There could be medical reasons why the baby wakes up and these could be ignored or overlooked by the cry-it-out method.
  • When using this method for how to get a baby to sleep there is one more disadvantage – parents may become inured to the baby’s cries. So as and when there is some real distress, the parents may have become less sensitive to the baby’s cries.


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