Hi there!

I'm Tracy 

I'm the founder, writer and advocate behind the award-winning blog, Raised Good - a guide to natural parenting in the modern world.

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Discover the Lost Art of Natural Parenting


Is “Cry It Out” The Tip Of A Dangerous Parenting Iceberg?

New Zealand is a safe country: police don’t carry guns, threatening wildlife is nonexistent, healthcare is free and the people are relaxed. So, when a yellow-bellied sea snake washed up on a North Island beach recently it became the top story on the national news – after all, the locals have never seen a snake on their own soil before.

But, many peculiar things are happening. Record-sized marlin, tuna and never before seen tropical fish are being seen in New Zealand’s waters. Spring bulbs are sprouting in autumn and I swam in the ocean in early winter as if it were the height of summer. Nowhere is safe from the grip of climate change, even these innocent islands bobbing in the South Pacific.

With our oceans slowly warming, it terrifies me to foresee what other once strange happenings may be considered normal in my son’s future. Yet, for decades we’ve been debating whether climate change is even real: whether we believe in it, as if it’s a religion. It’s inconvenient to change our habits, and those who profit from our global warming obsessions wildly protect their interests.

But, even if climate change weren’t real, where is the harm in behaving in a caring and responsible manner? In treating mother earth with the respect she deserves, ensuring she’s healthy for future generations and all living things. Where is the harm in being kind and gentle with our planet?

It’s a human trait which mystifies me: attempting to prove something isn’t really that bad, so we feel justified in our actions, which deep down we know aren’t right.

It reminds me of a recent study by a group at Murdoch University in Australia. The study  has reignited the debate around the long-held recommendation of ignoring babies, giving them no option but to cry themselves to sleep. The practice, known as cry it out (CIO) or controlled crying, has been freshly examined to determine whether it has long term effects upon mental and emotional health of children.

The authors claim their results prove the practice is safe, doesn’t cause chronic stress nor result in attachment issues later in life. In short, the study gives doctors and sleep trainers a green light to continue recommending the practice to desperate, sleep-deprived parents.

Many suggest, and I agree, the conclusions drawn and statements made in the media are grossly misleading. What concerns me most is the real aim of this study is to use science to encourage parents to carry out a practice, which a dash of common sense, humanity and thousands of years of evolutionary biology tell us is not only harmful and unkind but also dangerous.

Blaming parents is short-sighted. Sleep deprivation is a killer, especially when we’re trying to keep up with the demands of modern life. Parents are seeking a solution to what they’re told is a problem and when paediatricians, who have a responsibility to know better, assure them ignoring their baby is not only acceptable, but unavoidable, it’s a convenient truth believed with little resistance.

The real problem is a phenomenally unrealistic expectation about what normal infant sleep looks like combined with a culture doing very little to support new parents. Mother nature designed newborns to wake every two hours, feed, seek comfort and go back to sleep: she didn’t do this as a cruel joke to harass or torture parents. She did it to protect babies, to keep them safe as they learn how to breathe and to nurture an unshakeable connection with their ultimate protectors.

Parents inevitably feel like failures when professionals mislead us by suggesting young babies should sleep longer or more deeply than nature intended.

CIO has been sold to parents for over a hundred years as a necessary tool to “teach” babies how to sleep. It has become ingrained as a rite of passage for new parents with well-known paediatricians asking parents of eight week old babies if they have the “guts” to do it. Forgetting for a minute, that this is, excuse my French, a load of bullshit, what are the repercussions for our babies and society if we believe this misguided advice?

In the referenced study perhaps the most concerning statistic uncovered was only 58% of the six-month old babies were securely attached to their parents, and presumably vice versa. As a parent, this is unacceptable and as a member of society, it’s terrifying. What kind of a community are we shaping when even our youngest children don’t feel connected to their parents? And why are we voluntarily having babies if not to care for them in the way they need?

Babies who learn early in life that their needs don’t matter are predisposed to experiencing insecure attachment, which often leads to a myriad of negative mental and emotional outcomes. As parents, our babies are given to us as blank canvases, as clean slates. We have the responsibility to care for them in a way which encourages a rock-solid parent-child connection, in a way which protects their growing minds and in a way which honours and nourishes their innately kind souls.

It saddens me to think of the number of babies who will cry alone tonight in dark rooms. And I’m disappointed for the parents who will miss out on the soft intimacy and intense bond conscious parenting brings. If we believe the myths that babies’ cries can be ignored without consequence or they are somehow trying to manipulate us, we poison our relationship with them for the rest of our lives. Children are born innocent, craving only love, attachment and respect.

If we accept this truth we set the stage for a lifetime of joyful connection. If not, we create a lifetime of struggle.

Our children are babies for such a fleeting moment in time and speaking personally I want to look back on this experience as one where, despite sleep deprivation, I took every opportunity to comfort, snuggle and honour my baby’s needs. We get one shot at parenthood and attempting to take short cuts at the expense of our children’s emotional well-being will surely come back to haunt us. Parents need society’s support, not judgement. And babies need compassion, not coercion.

I feel incredibly passionate about opposing cry it out not only because of the harmful aspects of the practice itself but because it is the tip of the iceberg of a multitude of disengaged parenting advice. If we can bring ourselves to ignore our most vulnerable babies, where does it end? If we harden our hearts at such an early stage of parenting, how will we engage with our teenagers when we’ve already severed our parent-child connection?

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” Frederick Douglass

Hi there!

I'm Tracy

Hi there! I’m Tracy - the founder, writer and advocate behind the award-winning blog, Raised Good - a guide to natural parenting in the modern world. Based in Vancouver and originally launched in 2016, I’ve been overwhelmed by the positive response and the global community that’s developed. 

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  1. Ryan P says:

    So powerful. My wife and I often feel like we’re alone. All of our peers CIO, brag about sleeping through the night, and parent ‘part-time’ via daycare, and other means.

    It’s refreshing and reassuring to see that others have chosen the same path that we have.

    Thank you

    • Tracy Gillett says:

      Thanks so much Ryan and very happy it resonated with you. Stand your ground my friend and follow your instincts – you’ll reap the rewards of a strong connection with your child which I am sure you already are. I don’t know many people in real life either who follow the same path so it has been incredibly reassuring to me as well to find a community online. Thanks again.

    • Ruth says:

      Follow your instincts. Listen to your gut. It does not lie. We know how to parent. But we have been brainwashed in this modern world. No one in their right mind would leave their baby alone all night crying in a room till they are so exhausted there’s no other choice but to sleep. The thought alone is heartbreaking.

  2. Michelle says:

    Another great post. When I finally accepted that my baby has his own needs regarding sleep and stopped expecting some imaginary societal ideal of sleeping through the night, I relaxed and followed his lead instead. We are both much happier.
    I’m fortunate to live in a country with generous maternity leave (Sweden) which allows me to make up for missed sleep during the day. I don’t think CIO is very common here because we have a system that respects the fact that babies need their mothers at home in their first year of life. When pressure is put on moms to go back to work several weeks after the birth of their child, it’s more understandable that desperation for sleep is severe and that leads to the irresponsible practice of CIO.
    Thank you for a beautiful website, I always look forward to reading your thoughts.

    • Tracy Gillett says:

      Thanks so much Michelle, happy you enjoyed it! SO good to hear you followed your own instincts – I can’t agree more that the main problem is a wildly unrealistic expectation about how babies SHOULD sleep. What we’re told about babies sleeping through the night is completely false and does a lot of harm to parent-child relationships and I’m sure it makes a lot of parents feel like failures, when they’re not at all. A lot of adults I know don’t even sleep through the night! Canada is wonderful for maternity leave too – we got a year off and I’m in a flexible job which values family so I’m lucky. The world could learn a lot from Scandinavian countries – you guys have so much right! So good to hear CIO isn’t common in some parts of the world. Parents need more support and society needs to be more realistic and empathetic. And thank you for your kind words – I really appreciate it – keeps me going! Excited to hear from you again xxx

  3. Suzan says:

    I don’t get this sleep deprived, don’t have time to shower, or do anything, parenting model. The only time I was even remotely “sleep deprived” was if my kids were sick enough to keep me awake. We Co-slept, sleep nursed, and my big day was when can they eat laying down yet. I returned to work after my first was 7 weeks old with my DH staying with her until she was 18mo. Meanwhile we refinanced our house and reduced my work hours until we were living on his pay and I quit when we had our 2nd. CIO is BAD, very bad. I hate it.

    • Tracy Gillett says:

      Good on your Suzan for following your priorities and refinancing to be able to stay home with your kids – we’re looking at something similar as it’s so hard to find a balance with work and kids, and I just love being with our little guy. I’m lucky that I have flexibility and can work odd hours but it does take its toll and then I end up sacrificing exercise and sleep. Balance is key hey. We still co sleep and breastfeed and I am sure it has helped incredibly – our son has NEVER cried during the night and it’s helped us get more sleep. Nature designed babies to cry as an emergency but the problem is we’ve ignored nature’s handbook and out our babies in separate rooms so they cry for help – and so parents don’t sleep, so sleep trainers then tell them to ignore their babies. It seems insane to me. Thanks again for reading xx

  4. Jennifer says:

    Oh, I love this!! Right now, I’m in the thick of a one year old who needs his mommy constantly. The only thing that makes it a little easier is that his older brother (almost 3) is now a great sleeper and is as independent as they come. I’m convinced that one comes with the other. My kids know that I will be there for them whenever they need, and will eventually need me less. And less…

    But they’ll never get too big,right? Right??!!

    • Tracy Gillett says:

      Thank you Jennifer! Very kind of you to say and I’m thrilled you enjoyed it. I understand what you mean about your one year old and there’s no better security than a Mum or Dad. I agree, one comes with the other and it can’t be forced, they need to get there in their own time and loving and supporting them is the best way to make the feel safe and encourage it. And no, they’ll never be too big!! I’ll miss it so much when my son doesn’t need me so much xx

  5. R says:

    I enjoyed this article but felt very disheartened by Ryan P’s comment. Those of us who use childcare are not parenting “part time”. It’s great that your family doesn’t need to use childcare but please don’t shame those who do. I would love to stay home all day everyday with my daughter but I can’t. I miss her and it’s damn hard working (part time) without having other parents have a dig at you unnecessarily.

    • Tracy Gillett says:

      Thank you for reading Rachel and I’m happy you enjoyed the post. I’m sorry the other comment made you feel like it was having a dig at you – parenting is full of choices and all very personal ones. I am lucky at the moment my husband and I both have flexibility with our jobs and can share caring for our son although it is stretching us to our limits and we are realizing we’re doing too much, affecting our marriage, our health and fitness. Finding a balance is so difficult. We’re looking for a nanny to help us a couple mornings a week now to see if that works for us. Don’t worry what others say – you know what’s best for your family and know that what you are doing is in a loving way. We all need to work to survive and give our kids what they need. It’s great you can work part time so you still have time with your daughter. I know what you mean about missing her – when I’m away for half a day I miss him. I was supposed to be working this morning and my son wouldn’t let me go! So I’ll be up late tonight working – we do what we have to do hey. We haven’t used daycare and the judgment is still there – we get judged for NOT using it! How is he going to be social we get asked? How do you do everything? How will he be ready for school? People just like to ask and judge – its human nature I guess, unfortunate but true. Own you own decisions and go with it. I’d love to see you back again and hope that helps. xx

  6. Lisa Chin says:

    I feel like you took my thoughts and put it on paper. I hold my tongue often when I get my friends and other daycare parents who CIO with their kids. I have learned long ago that lecturing or opposing someone is not effective but sharing information like this article has a better impact. I especially like your connection of the impact on Mother Earth. Parenting has a tremendous ripple effect on our children. It is not an isolated incident. While I have to have my child in daycare, I make sure that she has a strong attachment with me, still breastfeeding at 2 and cosleeping. What’s funny is that these “techniques” take a little more time now but will pay off greatly in the long term. Parenting is the long game and people don’t seem to get that. Thanks for writing this and giving me a little space to let these thoughts out!

  7. Tien says:

    Thank you so much for this post! Everyone (including my own parents) told me to CIO. I’m so glad I ignored their advice. It goes against every instinct to let a baby cry. I just don’t understand how some parents do it, especially breastfeeding ones. My baby girl would wake 1-4 times a night. I hated it, but knew it was normal. At 15 months, she miraculously starting fully sleeping through the night (7:30 pm – 6:30am) on her own. Sleep is a developmental milestone. I wish more parents knew this. Thanks again!

    • Tracy Gillett says:

      My pleasure Tien and thanks so much for reading and for your lovely comment. You can’t go wrong if you follow your instincts. I find it bizarre how other people try to push CIO on new parents – it takes courage to stand up and say you’re doing something kinder (especially when other’s perceive it as weakness when it is the exact opposite). Thanks again. xx

  8. Anna says:

    As a parent who is very much against Controlled Crying and CIO I’m sorry to say your article does contain a major mistake and lacks facts and references I would love to see to be able to recommend it as a reliable read (eg where did 58%come from?) The most importantly CIO and Controlled Crying are two different techniques. It’s an emotional read but not good enough to convince any of the parents against Controlled Crying (that the research was actually about, not the error from headlines calling it CIO) I personally would rather refer to the research itself pointing out that the reference group was very limited (below 50) as to the fact that the cortisol level was measured next day noon instead in the time of the distress….

    • Tracy Gillett says:

      Thanks for reading Anna and for your thoughtful comment. I write a variety of post types and this one is more emotive, instinctive and from the heart. If you’d like to read an academic post on this study I have referenced Tracy Cassels post on Evolutionary Parenting within my post (“Many suggest and I agree” hyperlink). She dissects the study in great detail and it’s an informative read. The 58% came from the study referenced and linked to within the post. For the purposes of this post the technical difference between CIO and Controlled Crying are irrelevant – both are unkind, inappropriate and disengaging parenting practices and I oppose both equally. On my site one of the first posts I wrote which won an award for the Most Persuasive Post on Smart Blogger was Cave Babies, Cry it Out and Ruffling Feathers – have a read, you’ll enjoy it. I delve into the history of CIO and why it’s not appropriate to treat our babies this way. This is a topic I am passionate about so will no doubt be covering again and again. Hope to see you back.

  9. Lisa Greenwood says:

    Great article. I work on the principle that, if something feels counter-intuitive, then it probably is.
    I co-slept with my eldest and co-sleep now with my toddler. It works, and makes sense as I’m breastfeeding. I don’t understand why we’re conditioned to push our children away so soon.

    • Tracy Gillett says:

      Me neither Lisa – I don’t understand it at all. We work so hard to bring our children into this world – why not nurture them as much as we can? And it nurtures us too, makes us softer and kinder and the world a better place. Hardening our hearts can’t lead to good things. Thanks so much for reading xx

  10. Sam says:

    I have twins. One cries whilst I feed the other, I have tried tandem feeding bit this gives me mastitis. I can’t sleep with them both in bed with me as one wants my boob in his mouth all night and his brother will not sleep facing my back. I sleep with the one that wants my boob all night but when I get up to feed his brother (every 2-3 hours) he cries…it breaks my heart to think that this is damaging him. I would sacrifice all my sleep to resolve this, but can’t see an alternative. It’s sad that propel think those who let threat baby cry are selfish or pushing their own agenda. I’d love things to be different but can’t find an alternative. Any suggestions?

    • Tonia Jodis says:

      There are supportive community groups for people who specifically have twins out there. Not that you need one more thing to do, however it could be worth looking up on Google (support groups for parents with twins in your area) Or call a local Midwife or birth center for suggestions.
      I had two children close together but no one knows what twins are like than other parents going through the same.
      My “suggestions” would be to have a loose schedule in mind for feeding during day & even through the night~one on one off~ and keep both babies to their “own turn” at feeding and time next to you. You can verbalize this by saying “it’s your turn” They will get used to your “Flow” Once you decide how it will be. Babies do cry for many different reasons, if all their needs are met sometimes we can’t make it perfect for them all the time. However we can keep them close to us while they go through it, and show them consistency for what to expect, that will be a comfort to you, that you are following your plan and doing all that you can and ultimately translate to comfort for them that their needs will be met, when it’s their turn. Remember you are a great mother, and you need your turn too☆

  11. Lauren says:

    Love this article. I cosleep with my one year old who continues to breastfeed at night. He would be perceived by some to be a ‘clingy’ baby because he likes to be with me all the time and at the moment, held a lot of the time. But I am confident that by meeting his needs now I am sowing the seeds for future independence.

    I am extremely fortunate that my mother can care for him while I work part time. She was an attachment parent when it was less written about and received a lot of criticism for it. I know she meets his emotional needs when I’m there the way I do. Anyway usually when I pick him up after work he cries and reaches for me (and immediately stops crying once I am holding him). However yesterday he remained in my mother’s arms, smiling and chatting to me but not crying for me. He stayed there while I made him lunch and was very happy. I felt like I was reaping the rewards for parenting as responsively as possible – he was secure enough about me and as a result has formed a good attachment with my mother too. He felt safe to stay with her because he is knows I am always there and he is secure in the knowledge that if he’d reached for me, I’d have been there.

    When we go places he is so confident, runs around by himself with other children – just checking in with me from time to time. It was hard especially with people always saying “so when will you let him just cry, he’s just doing it for attention” all the time. Of course he is doing for attention! That’s why I’m giving him attention!

    Still now I’m told I should do cio, that he should be sleeping through. I don’t give my thoughts on the method as people don’t want to hear it. However I’ve found just saying “no, that’s not for me” invariably leads to defensive responses of how their children are very happy thank you very much” – which suggests they know in their hearts that cio is wrong.

    I’m hoping one day cio will be seen the same as spanking and most people will agree it’s a bad idea.

    The other thing I hate is people think to parent this way is to sacrifice yourself. It’s not. My son has cried while I do things I need to do quickly. I’ve found myself getting frustrated plenty of times. I need space from time to time. But it all comes back to the fact, and it is a fact, that meeting their needs as well as you can leads to happier more independent children, and later, adults. I chose to have a child and therefore their needs have to come first. I don’t understand why people have children if they aren’t prepared to put them first. This doesn’t mean ignoring your own needs – just not prioritising them above your child’s!

    • Tracy Gillett says:

      Thanks so much for your comment Lauren and it sounds like we’re the same parent! I have always been responsive to my son and followed my instincts – I can’t imagine doing otherwise. Why would we ignore our children? Why have children if not to care for them in the way they need?

      Good on you for ignoring those why suggest to CIO. It says more about them than anything else. I worry about our society and about how unkind we’ve become.

      You sound like a wonderful mother and your son sounds just like mine. He’ll gradually gain his independence and it will be solid rather than shaky if he’d been forced into it. Our son still co sleeps with us and he’s three. We didn’t know how long we’d co sleep and we still don’t know how long we’ll continue but there are three of us who will make that decision – my son, me and my husband. When it feels right it will change but for now I don’t worry – it feels right having him in our bed now. And as a result he’s never cried as he’s secure and knows I’m arms length or less away if he needs me.

      Keep following your instincts and remember all that matters is your little family. So amazing you have your mum so close and can help out the way she does. It’s so beneficial for your son to have another person to be so closely attached to. Good on you and so happy you found my blog, hope to hear from you again xx

  12. Tonia Jodis says:

    I fully agree with this article!
    I was a young mother and was advised often to place my child in a room away from me to sleep and if they cried to let them. This went against everything I felt as parental instinct and common sense.
    I would ask those giving me the CIO advice if they “would do that to new born puppies?”
    Everyone of them said “No!” Even as a pet owner if I had a dog with a new puppy and would separate it from it’s nursing mother, the puppy would have behavioral problems, attachment disorders and could die. It seems we live in a society that is more conscience of what an animals needs than how to raise our own children.

    • Tracy Gillett says:

      Couldn’t agree more Tonia and you’re so right – often a change in perspective is all it take for people to realize how inappropriate and unkind their actions can be – especially if it’s ingrained in society. Thanks so much for reading and for your thoughtful comment.

  13. Stefania says:

    I completely agree with your post. I have this ongoing struggle between what is expected and what feels right. My baby is 8 months old today and she sleeps with us in a cot that’s has been adapted to become a co-sleeper. She was suffering from separation anxiety and crying desperately at night because she was missing my touch and warmth, even though she has always been in the same room as us. So my husband adapted the cot and she sleeps at the same level as our mattress often rolling over to be on my side of the bed. I love this arrangement. It feels right and nurturing, putting her needs before our own. On the other hand family and friends keep asking “is she still in your room?” With the underlying understanding that she should be in her own room… I feel I should justify my decision but I don’t want to. It’s our choice and we value the intimacy with our baby girl and our nighttime connection. She is now outgrowing her little cot and I want to move her larger one into our bedroom even if it means rearranging all the furniture… I sometimes doubt what I am doing and wonder if she would sleep better in her own room. But I know this would involve a lot of crying in the short term at least and I feel that to be too cruel! I am so glad I found your blog and can find support in your writing! Thank you!

    • Tracy Gillett says:

      Thanks so much for your comment Stefania and I know how you feel. Keep doing what you’re doing, trust your instincts and forget everybody else- easier said than done, but this is YOUR family, this is YOUR decision and this is the relationship you’re creating with your daughter for the rest of her life. Knowing you are there for her and that she can turn to you rather than an inanimate object is setting the scene for life that she will know she can come to you for anything when she’s a teenager. Our son STILL sleeps in our bed and he’s three years old! We’ve thought before about putting the mattress on the floor and putting his unused mattress next to ours but it’s never happened. We’re just buying a new double bed for his room which I’m guessing will be mostly for guests in the short term but eventually we’ll migrate him into there when he’s ready and I can sleep in there with him to get him used to it, but we’re in no rush. It’s such a short time and already three years has gone so fast. He wakes in the night and tells me things. There’s never been any crying. When we wake in the morning he gives us hugs and kisses and when there’s a thunderstorm we hide under the covers together. It means so much to our family to know he feels safe. If more people understood what a joy it is I’m sure more would do it. And remember a lot of people do it but are just too scared to admit to it so it’s important to talk about. Thanks again for reading, for your lovely comment and lovely meeting you xx

  14. Krista says:

    Thank you for this! What a breath of love, logic, and fresh air! I spent more time nesting than contemplating the gift that I was about to painstakingly deliver into the world with my first…..and I wish I would have spent that time praying about parenting over nursery decor!

    This trend of CIO is a painful, damaging one. I, like you, had conflicting instincts — why is my baby crying? He just need me to hold him, rock him, love him, nurse him, BE HIS Momma! I believe those baby cries get under our skin because it’s their God-given way of communicating their distress in this new world.

    For what it’s worth, our firstborn just turned four and is still in our bed. At night, I have two pairs of tiny legs poking over mine, and two sweaty bodies as my heater, with my husband taking whomever needs his firm chest in various rounds. And y’all, we sleep! And y’all, we bond! I have to slow down, savor, sniff, and love on these precious ones…what a delightful duty! Thank God for your blog and your courage to be bold and kind to these next generation of full-blown humans! I am so grateful I stumbled upon your blog!! Keep on loving — our love will undo hurting, detached, lost souls because our children will respond with LOVE. (At least, that is my prayer!). God bless you!

    • Tracy Gillett says:

      Oh, thank you for such a lovely comment Krista – it means a lot to me. It makes me so happy to read comments like this and I really appreciate you reading.

      It is so sad that we have become such a time poor society, such an adult centered society that it feels like “work” to just be with our babies. They need us – it should make us happy but instead we fight it for some reason. Hopefully the more we talk about it the more people will feel confident just being responsive to their babies needs, day or night.

      Thanks again! xx

  15. Catherine O'Blenes says:

    It is so wonderful to read comments from other parents who understand the importance of co-sleeping to the emotional and physical health of infants and young children. Crying it out or the Ferber “method” or whatever people call it is misguided and unnatural. Your posts hopefully will help to show many parents this. Thank you for this important work!

    • Tracy Gillett says:

      It sure is Catherine and thank you so much for reading. We love co sleeping with our son – it’s such an incredible opportunity to connect as a family. Very happy my posts resonate with you. xx

  16. Catherine says:

    I’ve written before about letting my twin boys crawl into bed with me when they need to. One of the twins in particular was never happy being separated at night. I could see that CIO was not going to work with him. So I went and slept in his bed or let him come into mine whenever he needed it. The other one often did also. Now they are 6.5 years old. They have never had their own bed but sleep together on a large fouton on the floor. I put them to sleep by lying down in between them, they crowd up to me on each side, with one an arm around my neck, the other with a leg over me. They want the comfort, and it is blissful. Although I can’t sleep as well as I would if I were alone, feeling their comfort next to me is worth the lost sleep. I told a friend about this and she thought it was wrong as does my mother. The friend said that I need the boys’ physical comfort because I am single after getting divorced. Nonsense! That is insulting. In hunter-gatherer societies, most children share a bed with siblings or parents up until age 9-10.

    • Tracy Gillett says:

      Aww so lovely Catherine! Sounds amazing and like the same path we’re headed down too. You’re so right about looking to how our ancestors did things. I’ve learnt a lot recently from Peter Gray’s book Free to Learn about hunter gatherer societies and it’s so helpful to appreciate how we’re designed to parent/live rather than how we’re told to today. It seems we’ve forgotten so many of the wonderful practices that make being human fun and tender. Sleep is about so much more than rest in our house and I just love it. Don’t worry about your friend or mother – sounds like they’re the ones missing out. And you may like my latest post Let’s Nurture Babies Why Won’t Have to Recover From Sleep Training. Thanks again for reading! And sweet dreams xx

  17. Samantha says:

    This article touched my heart! Ever since 4 months old, my now almost 9
    Month old, has been getting up ever 2 hours ( sometimes less ) and usually goes back to sleep as soon as I nurse him. At 6 months our pediatrician suggested ” sleep training” and I told him that I wasn’t a supporter of that and would not be doing it with my son. There have been times people make me feel like something is wrong with my son and that’s why he’s such a frequent waker. I hope not ! I think he just wants me near him. Thank you for this article ! It has reiterated what I already believed. I honestly don’t know how parents can CIO, even being sleep deprived, I still cannot go against what my heart and gut tell me.

  18. Maiangi says:

    Thank you so much for all your wonderful, heartfelt and brave articles that speak the truth! I wish I had found them before I had my now 17month old darling, but in a way it’s the perfect time because I’m now confident enough to say yes, she sleeps with me and I wouldn’t have it any other way! But I feel sad looking back on those precious precious early months with my angel, feeling like I had to lie to my midwife/plunket/doctor or whoever asked that yes, she slept apart from me, and all the expectation that she sleep ‘better’ or more than she was when actually it was normal and perfect! There was always those lurking thoughts that I should improve or change her sleep habits in some way. From birth I know my daughter absolutely needed to be close to me, on top of me! And why not, she had been within me all that time. And why would I, indeed how could I not respond to her cry – even before the cry I knew she needed me close. Why would you reject the love of your life?! Our children need our love and it’s an absolute honor to be in this position. Our children ARE love.
    I’m just glad that I just followed my heart and that my stubborn streak came in handy haha as I just went with the flow of what my darling needed until here we are, happily sleeping together, and those background voices are banished for good.
    Wholeheartedly agree with all you share about the dire effects of the crying it out travesty, I mean it’s not rocket science is it! How could that kind of treatment lead to anything positive!? And all it reflects of western society, the patriarchy etc, it’s so telling.
    Bravo to you for all your work, vulnerable parents need you, the future of a healthier, more loving society needs you!
    Kia kaha,

  19. Christina says:

    I love the idea of not letting my baby CIO (we have 3 kids and the baby is 7months old). The only thing is, he sleeps less than 2 hours at a time. He wakes up anywhere from 20 minutes after going to sleep (I breastfeed him to sleep) to sometimes sleeping for 2 hours before waking up. I’m all for being there for him and not expecting him to sleep through the night, but his current sleep patterns can’t be natural. I’m wondering if he is now used to me nursing him whenever he partially wakes up, so now instead of just drifting back to sleep, he is incapable of that and relies on nursing to go back to sleep. I’m ok with being there for him in the middle of the night, but every 20-40 minutes is, in my opinion, too much. I’m EXHAUSTED and so is he. I’ve read several articles on this website, but none tell me what TO do, just what NOT to do. Please help!

  20. Dana A. says:

    I stumbled upon your site and I must say that I agree completely with everything that you have written. Cuddling with my almost 9 month old son is my favorite thing to do. I feel our connection gets stronger with each cuddle and midnight waking. It shows him that I will always be there to protect him and that he can always count on me.

  21. vickie Smith says:

    Wonderful article. As a mom raising 8 kids I can attest that CIO is not in their best interest. I did this with one child and he is so different than the rest. I was forced to take that route due to our circumstances at the time and regret it terribly. Now helping my daughter who is a single mom raise my darling grandchild. This little one is so social and she is so loving and patient. Glad she gets it and while we look for better sleep practices, CIO is NOT one of them!

  22. […] But all you can do is move forward…and hope this advice reaches a new mom wrestling with the same decision: Baby Wise and cry-it-out? Or Attachment and Gentle Parenting. […]

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