Crying It Out

Huh. People feel strongly about their kids and how they and their kids sleep. Very surprising. I’ve spent the spare moments of this weekend skimming through the comments. The best are in the 400+ range where they claim that we deprived our child from love, food and care. Yes. We run a virtual Abu Ghraib of parenting over here.

I never felt an ounce of guilt for sleep training Leta. I never, for a second, felt that letting her cry it out was “wrong” or “bad” or “child abuse”.

I was more worried about Heather than Leta, because after a relatively short period of time (Leta has been alive for 112 weeks, her sleep training took two weeks, that’s less than two percent of her life thus far and that number will diminish as she ages), Leta got over it and she gets the sleep she needs, but Heather was already depressed and anxious, and this rough period didn’t help. Human beings need sleep, including babies and their parents.

Lest you blame the method for Heather’s post-partum depression, I believe that Heather was about to go over the edge whether we sleep trained Leta or not. Leta was colicky. She cried a lot. She was fussy. But the sleep training was the experience that pushed Heather the furthest away from where she wanted to be. To blame sleep training or the method we used is incorrect. The problem was chemical, not that our child had a messed up nursing schedule and wasn’t getting enough sleep. Anything could have done it, it just happened to be sleep training and pacifier elimination.

I don’t expect that everybody agrees with me about the next statement I’m going to make. We are built for sleep and one of the best things I can do is as a parent is give my children the ability to get themselves to sleep on a schedule that makes their lives better with a side benefit that their parents lives will be better, too. Screaming because she didn’t like that it was time for bed? Sorry, but that’s non-negotiable. I don’t want to have a five year old who, when it’s time for bed, does hours of arguing about bedtime because I screwed up and didn’t teach them how to sleep. So hey six-month-old, you just complain all you want. Eventually you are going to sleep. Does that sound cold? Pediatricians and sleep experts say that children should sleep a certain amount of hours. Leta sleeps those hours because we taught her to put herself to sleep. She’s not perfect and sometimes her naps are too short or she wakes up early. But on average, she’s happier and healthier because she gets the sleep she needs and has done so most of her life.

We’ll have to train Leta to use a toilet. We’re training her to brush her teeth. How is sleep different? She cries all the time about a million things. Some of the cries tug the hell out of my heart, but many of them don’t. They just try my patience. I worry about my kid when she’s crying, but when we’re making a point and she’s crying… that’s just complaining. It’s not a plea for a better life or clemency or better food it’s complaining because she doesn’t want to be where she needs to be. In my view, my job as a parent is to look after my kid and help her in life. Sometimes she’s not gonna like it. She needed to learn how to get herself back to sleep. That’s something that is going to last a lifetime, why not start it up right?

Every person we’ve had tend Leta comments on how amazing it is that she goes to bed without a fight. There is value in our home that this is the case. Maybe that choice isn’t one you care about or want to make, and that’s totally fine. It’s your right and your life.

I don’t think it’s somehow wrong to let a six-month-old cry because we’re trying to teach her something she is ready to learn. We know that for our child more than other parents know it for our child and I don’t know what your kids need to learn when. So before you comment, I don’t care what method you used. I don’t care if you didn’t like the method we chose. Our baby sleeps and sleeps well. It’s made an enormous difference in our home for all the people who live here. The baby gets her sleep. Heather and I have time in the evenings to be together, work on things that we like to work on and chill out from the day. We don’t have a huge chaotic night. It’s really nice and helps us face the next day with a sense of renewal. Leta is a happy, rested child. But she’s two, so that means typical two behavior. We know it’s not because she’s tired. Our choice fits us and I hope that we will be able to do it with our next child, whenever that child might arrive. Chuck is also happier as the quiet lets him reflect on his trials with nihilism, Einstürzende Neubauten and Kant.

  • KristieD

    I commented on your wife’s blog as well on this topic. I think that there was absolutely nothing wrong with the way you sleep trained leta. I think it’s ridiculus for other people to critisize your parenting techniques. People differ in opinion in every topic of parenting. In my house, we did the sleep training like you did. We let him cry. And it works. And he sleeps wonderfully and so do we. And that keeps us healthier, happier and saner. So good for you. And everyone who feels the need to be rude or mean should go take a good look in the mirror and stuff it. :)

  • minxlj

    You are perfectly right in how you’ve trained Leta. Anyone who has ever watched Supernanny on TV (British nanny) will see that’s the way she gets children into a sleep pattern. Even horrible, spoiled, screaming, tantrum children who’ve been allowed to have their own way for years. Everyone needs a good sleeping pattern and learning that early will help EVERYONE including Leta. People who disagree obviously don’t have children!

  • Z

    To me, the most important thing to learn is that all kids and all parents and all situations are different and require different solutions. My first child? I let him cry himself to sleep many times. This one? I don’t. The kids are different, I’m different, and my life is different. I don’t think either one is “right” or “wrong” in a black and white scenario. They are both situations that were/are right for my kids and for me at the time.

    Anyone who thinks parenting any child in any situation always has only ONE solution? And that for all parents and all children in all situations that solution is the SAME? Lives in a different world than I do.

    It’s just about doing what’s best for everyone in the family. And its not the same for all families or all children.

  • Ryan Waddell

    I totally agree with you. Everybody and their damn hippy parenting techniques can just go jump off a cliff. If it means that my kid ends up well behaved and actually LISTENS to me? I plan on staying away from the best friend route.

  • Melanie

    It’s incredibly ridiculous that anyone would judge you for giving your child the gift, yes, the gift, of being able to self-sooth. I mean, geez, if people are sending you guys hate mail for that, they need to get a freakin’ life!!! Not only did you guys do what what necessary for your child and your family, you totally don’t owe anyone an explanation for your choices. Screw the negative people.

  • oromat

    I think it was very brave of you and Heather to discuss Leta’s sleep training. So many things we do as parents are picked apart, analyzed and tossed back into our faces to explain why our kids are screwed up. You know what?? There IS no right way to do anything. So long as what you do is with love, it is the “right” thing to do for your child and your family. Congratulations on finding the “right” thing for you :)

  • Jennifer in Kansas City

    It baffles me how many people feel entitled to criticize. I wish more parents set firmer limits (is that criticism? Or just an observation on the direction our society has gone?) – in any event, it strikes me that there was a point in the past 20 years when parenting took a turn to “let the child express him/herself” and somehow that meant “take away boundaries”.

    From a sleep standpoint, having lived with my husband’s sleep apnea, which we had to wait 6 months to treat due to insurance issues (gotta love insurance!), both our sleep schedules suffered mightily, it drove me to a point of nearly breaking – and he was the one with more sleep deprivation. We now cherish being able to sleep because of that. Kudos to both of you & keep up the good work – both on & off the internet.

  • Velma

    I’m always astonished at how much bile people can throw at each other over parenting choices. Epidural or not? Breast or bottle? Sleep training? Attachment parenting? Lets not even venture into the realm of toilet training. Anyway, my point?

    Whatever works, do it. Common sense should prevail. There are times when one thing works and another doesn’t. There are sick times when you park the kids in front of the TV for 48 hours. (Not that *I* would ever do this…ok, ok, we did this just last week.) As long as you love your kid and attempt to meet their needs as best you can, I think it’s good parenting to be able to go with the flow and try what works for your unique family situation.

  • Wayne

    Ryan Waddell, I don’t think Jon was criticizing parents for using what you disparage as “hippy techniques,” and it annoys me, a little, that you fell into the same old ugly trap of dismissing, all at once, a set of choices parents might make for themselves.

    We didn’t do what Heather and Jon did with our child, but that has nothing to do with Heather and Jon. I really appreciate what both of them have written about their experience with Leta, and even though we chose something else, I found their experiences interesting to read. It wasn’t even a matter of agreeing with them or disagreeing with them, you know? It’s obvious that they love their child and are wonderful parents — not, of course, that it’s my job to validate them in that role, because I’m sure that’s almost as annoying as condemning them. Both actions put me in a place of judgment, and why do parents have to regard each other from that place at all?

    That’s what I hate — when parents start evaluating other parents. I hate that some people who chose cosleeping, or whatever, like we did, behaved rudely toward Jon and Heather. And I hate when the retaliation for that rude behavior comes in the form of even more criticism of parental choices.

  • Jerri Ann

    Hey, I wanted to say that we sleep trained our children as well…not the way you did but that is a personal decision. My children personally wouldn’t tolerate the extended periods of crying (we have let them when they tantrum and sometimes they puke, and sometimes..we let know puke or play with knives…it’s a tough choice but I have to make one). My children have very different temperments than Leta and that I know just from reading Heather’s blog (and yours), not frmo the method you guys chose for sleep training. I mean really, is it any different than what you mentioned about training for the potty or brushing teeth or not playing with knives.

    I personally self-published a book about sleep training and it was written specifically for my family and friends and even though my children wouldn’t or couldn’t CIO, I included it in my book.

    You know what I think is more amazing than anything you have mentioned so far (or Heather)? The fact that all that crying didn’t send Heather further into a depressive state. When my children cry (even for not being allowed to play with knives) it cuts bitter in my soul and I can only imagine if I were in a sad state of depression (and I have sufferred for almost 19 years on and off with it) that hearing my children cry so desperately over and over would have sent me over the edge. That is where you have to give big kudos to Heather for being able to handle such as that. No mother (or father) “wants” their child to cry and I don’t think any of us enjoy it, however……..if it is puke, sleep, knives…decisions have to be made.

    Personally we didn’t think puking over needing to sleep was necessary and we trained them to sleep in a different way. People are amazed at how well my children sleep as well and I’ve sold quite a few books simply on that preface alone. My children are good sleepers, period. Leta is a good sleeper, period. That doesn’t mean it has always been that way nor does it mean that the way you or I accomplished it is the way for others to do the same.

    *stepping off the soapbox…not falling over…..slowly*

    Wait one more thing, I knew to move quickly or I’d come up with something else. Is it possible that some people judge or criticize out of jealousy????

    nevermind, silly me!

  • Wayne

    Ryan Waddell, I don’t think Jon was criticizing parents for using what you disparage as “hippy techniques,” and it annoys me, a little, that you fell into the same old ugly trap of dismissing, all at once, a set of choices parents might make for themselves.

    We didn’t do what Heather and Jon did with our child, but that has nothing to do with Heather and Jon. I really appreciate what both of them have written about their experience with Leta, and even though we chose something else, I found their experiences interesting to read. It wasn’t even a matter of agreeing with them or disagreeing with them, you know? It’s obvious that they love their child and are wonderful parents — not, of course, that it’s my job to validate them in that role, because I’m sure that’s almost as annoying as condemning them. Both actions put me in a place of judgment, and why do parents have to regard each other from that place at all?

    That’s what I hate — when parents start evaluating other parents. I hate that some people who chose cosleeping, or whatever, like we did, behaved rudely toward Jon and Heather. And I hate when the retaliation for that rude behavior comes in the form of even more criticism of parental choices.

  • Tina

    I forget who first pointed this out to me, but I work under the idea that babies (and toddlers) cry because they need something. Whether it’s food, drink, attention… whatever it is, if it’s a need that must be met, it’s usually first announced by crying. That said, sleep is a need. Babies sometimes cry because they need to sleep. Problem is, that’s one need that they have to learn to address by themselves.

    When we first started “sleep training” with our daughter, she cried. A lot. As time wore on, she cried less and learned to settle herself down to sleep. The crunchy parenting school that criticizes this method (and the parents that practice it) may have a different way of doing the whole sleep thing, but demonizing those of us who do things differently is both asinine and foolish. I think both you and Heather did what was right for your family and I applaud you guys for standing up for your parenting decisions.

  • Vegas Vixen

    Jon, you and Heather are doing what’s called “parenting”. Parents who prefer to be friends with their offspring aren’t, and they are creating little monsters who will look you in the face and tell you to go to hell. Not the word no, but the actual phrase of go to hell. Those parents are the ones that end up on shows like Super Nanny and Nanny 911. You and Heather will never have to worry about that.

    Carry on, Dooceoblurb! Carry on!

  • joanne

    I agree with what you said, and how you said it. My husband said much the same to me when I was freaking out over letting our babe cry. He said there are going to be a billion things that he doesn’t want to do and he’s going to cry over it, but we’re not going to let him, say, run into the street because he wants to. He was incredibly colicky and has had a rough time of it, and it’s not taking any TWO WEEKS to get him sleep trained but we are seeing slow, steady improvement since we started training like two or three months ago. Some days are better than others. I don’t know why people feel so strongly about it, and why people feel they can comment so harshly to parents that have made different decisions than them, but maybe it’s because there is so much information out there. My pediatrician says that we should put him in his crib, leave him there through his protests, etc. But I know another friend of mine whose ped says that crying it out is cruel. So it’s confusing and maybe people lash out at someone that has made sense of it? I was at a playgroup a few weeks ago, talking about how weird it was that I don’t mind so much when my nine month old cries cause he’s mad, and it used to MURDER me. This other mom who was there, seven months pregnant and with a 2.5 year old, said that she had never let her cry one time. She said she also had NEVER slept through the night! Two and a HALF years old! She said she had no idea what she would do when her new baby came. And you know what else? The kid was a TOTAL and COMPLETE brat. Coincidence? I have no idea, and I don’t want to find out. In the meantime, it has given me great hope that we seem to have very similar babies and that you guys actually get some regular sleep. I thank you both for that.

  • Jeni

    I commented on Dooce, too, but honestly, I think the saddest thing about Heather’s post is not that you let Leta “cry it out” but the response of OTHER MOTHERS/WOMEN to another mother’s personal blog posting about parenting.

    Sure, both you and Heather put yourselves out there by having personal blogs and in some sense b/c you making your living off this writing, but MORE POWER TO YOU BOTH. I’d be amped if I could make my living this way and one day raise a child with a loving partner.

    In short: Uh, mean commenters can SUCK IT. Leta’s lucky. Heather’s a great mom, most people can see that very clearly. You are both fantastic parents.

  • lilybleu

    Personally, I admire how you parent Leta. I have always admired the choices you have made in parenting Leta. She is a very lucky child to have two very devoted and loving parents.

  • Pepius

    I already commented on your big girl’s blog. Amazing how determined are peolple to show the world thy’re better than you (only, they are not). I only hope both Jon and Heather are not feeling bad about this.

  • Gordon

    It’s telling that the majority of the negative comments on Heather’s site spank of the ill-educated and badly disciplined of their age.

    As others have said, you are loving parents who are choosing how YOU bring up YOUR child. Aside from the drug needles, pills and alcohol lying around, what you do is your choice!

    (I’m joking of course… Heather will have drunk all the alcohol before Leta gets to it! 😉 )

    Keep on doing what yer doing. What you are bringing up is a wonderfully inquisitive little mind. Enough of Chuck though, Leta’s coming on fine too.

  • Wayne

    Sorry about the double posting. Oh, and I just spent some time reading some of the comments on Dooce’s last blog. Some were very cruel, almost impossibly cruel, and I felt indignant on your behalf.

    Not to sound like a broken record, but I do hope that we aren’t saying in this comment thread that, in general, people who choose, say, cosleeping instead of Ferber — or whatever instead of whatever — are therefore bad parents who are inadvertently creating dysfunctional families, as Vegas Vixen perhaps suggests? (Maybe I’m reading too much into some of these comments; sorry if I am).

    I don’t think the point was that some parenting styles are inferior to other parenting styles. I thought it was that, you know, families are highly idiosyncratic and therefore no single methodology is going to work across the board. Hell, I have a hard time even thinking of parenting as “methodology” in the first place.

  • omar

    I was nervous about letting my kid cry when he was under 6 months, but now me and the wife have no problem with it. And now at 16 months, our kid goes down with no problem at night. Even for naps, if he doesn’t want to sleep, he may cry for a minute or so, but then he’ll just spend “quiet time” by himself for the hour he’s in there.

    We have friends with kids around the same age who still won’t nap unless they’re being held, or who won’t sleep at all in their cribs.

    I say (as several others have), do whatever works for your family.

  • Win

    I saw a program on PBS last week about parents in Afghanistan who sold their 7-year-old daughter to be someone’s wife.

    I’m thinking letting your kid cry herself to sleep for a couple of weeks because in the long run it’s good for her and good for you doesn’t exactly qualify as child abuse.

    That being said, my parents let me scream myself to sleep for months as an infant. And I totally talk about it with the prison therapist every week.

  • Tracy Manford

    I don’t have kids, so I’m not going to pretend to understand ANYTHING that you parents have to go through. I would like to point out, though, that while we’re all human, not a one of us is exactly like the other. So what works for one kid might not work for another, right? Well then WHY, pray tell, do people feel the need to be hostile and snotty and antagonistic regarding other people’s parenting choices? Yeah, I don’t know either.

    I don’t just see it here or on Heather’s site. It’s all over. A lot of my friends are starting their own families and they are suffering from the same crap. My friend Cecile likes to say “parenting is personal”. I guess the way I feel is unless there is emotional or physical abuse going on, stay the hell out of another person’s parenting business. If they ask for your opinion, give it. But otherwise? Stick to screwing up your own kids, mmmkay?

  • MelissaS

    Wouldn’t it be great if babies came from the womb sleeping 12 hours a night. I think it’s a design flaw really.

    I could not be a mother if my kids didn’t go to bed at 8pm each night.

  • Judilyn

    Hi Jon and Heather –

    Count me on the “support your method” side. My son is 43 years old now, and is still a good sleeper! He slept a long time at night, and took a long nap during the day until he went to school! It made for a happy baby/child and happy parents, just as you are experiencing. He trained himself in this regard, but I would have had no hesitancy in letting him cry if necessary.

    For some reason he did not like a pacifier, and spit it behind the couch as often as possible. I took that as a hint! I breastfed until he was five months old, when I went back to work. The bottle was fine, too.

    I guess he was just an easy baby. Turned out to be a good toddler, and even teenagehood was fairly easy, too. I never understood why some of my contemporaries made their lives a living h*ll by allowing a child to dictate how the home would be run.

    You two seem to have the situation well in hand. Congratulations! ;->

    Judie Ashford

  • nobody

    I don’t read dooce’s comments, because those people are crazy. And long-winded.

    Jon and Heather probably argue about who will get up when Leta asks for water, and are sprinting to her crib before they’ve woken up when she has a nightmare. Loving parents know what their kids need and react accordingly.

    To my mind, teaching kids to sleep is probably best for most kids. But 1) I might be wrong and 2) it’s none of my business. So I share my opinions gently, if at all. Why other people can’t take this approach is one of life’s great mysteries.

  • amy Jacobs

    First time commenting on your blog…way to go Jon for being so diplomatic in your response. You held back way more than I probably would have in response. Speaks volumes to your patience really.

    I hope all this hasn’t upset Heather too much. I know she knows people suck, but it always does get to you when people say some of the hateful stuff they did on dooce about her as a mother. Give her a pat and tell her to mentally tell them to bite her ass!

    I know you don’t care, but we sleep trained too and are soooooo thankful for it. If it didn’t have a few hours at the end of the day just to do something for myself and know I’d get to sleep all night, however long I wanted, I’d be in a looney bin FOR SURE. Maybe those people who don’t care if their children sleep all night have already gone off the deep end…sounds like it to me. They could probably use a good night’s sleep. To bad they won’t get one for YEARS to come, lol. Here’s to them being up all night!

  • Eight Hour Lunch

    “Sorry, but that’s non-negotiable.”

    Jon, that has got to be one of the best things I’ve ever read on your site.

    I hate to think of what my world would be like if I gave into everything my kid cried for.

  • blurb

    I’m certainly not suggesting that the method we used is the only or best method. It just worked for us, that is all.

  • Pete Eisenmann

    We “sleep trained” both of our kids. I just didn’t know what to call it other than not letting babies dictate bedtime for adults. Obviously, I’m not talking about sick, or wet, or dirty, or hungry kids…just resistant and insistent. It was deliberate and loving and firm and consistent. It worked for us.

    The fact is that you know your daughter well enough to meet her needs and yours. That is good parenting.


  • Be Still

    You guys really opened up a psychological Pandora’s Box with this topic! As I said on your wife’s blog, I’ve found that so many people feel threatened by parenting choices that don’t mirror their own. That’s their baggage, not yours.

    I may philosophically differ with you on the CIO method, but ultimately, I don’t have to live your life or raise your child. I’ve got my hands full with a two year old of my own and second guessing the parenting of others is not something I really have time for.

    So who are we to judge others so harshly? Especially those whose lives we only know from a BLOG and a handful of pictures!

  • Ames

    All I gotta say is: AMEN! I’m sick of all the judgement that comes down when talking about ‘sleep’ and ‘crying’ these days….

  • Tracy aka Fuzzball

    “I’m certainly not suggesting that the method we used is the only or best method. It just worked for us, that is all.”

    Noooooooo! Jon, I wasn’t directing my comment at you! I was trying to make the point that people that are nasty to you and Heather need to realize that your way is the right way for Leta, but it might not be the right way for their own children. Therefore there’s no reason to attack you guys, they just need to take care of their own business. I’m sorry that I didn’t make that clear. Yikes! Daylight Savings is screwing with my brain!!!!

  • Sandra Heikkinen

    I think it’s pretty ridiculous for anyone to think they have a clue about what’s best for you, Heather or Leta. And for what it’s worth, I think you’re absolutely right — Leta is too young now (and was definitely too young when you sleep-trained her) to make educated decisions about her life — so you made them for her, as you should. Good for you, for teaching her something that will make both her and you/Heather happier and healthier.

  • rockr girl

    i purposely did not comment on heather’s page, as i do not have children. i am an aunt to 5 kids now, but i really felt as if somehow, because they were not shot out of me, my opninons would not be taken seriously.

    i think what you two did was absolutely, unequivocally the RIGHT thing. i know how hard it is to listen to your child cry, but learning to comfort themselves is going to take them MUCH further in life than just a good night’s sleep. you can’t run to mommy and daddy for a hug when you are 30. i’ve tried. the plane trip is a bitch.

    know that at least someone thinks you are not horrible, heathen parents. you have obviously done a good job thus far – its not like Leta throws temper tantrums all the time (i am positive we’d hear about it), and she is still breating (meaning you’ve not strangled her). in my book, that is good parenting. :)

  • carrisa

    I just find it hilarious that those few people thought this was cruel punishment. She was what? 6 months old when you did this? That seems like the perfect age to me. She was crying because she wanted a pacifier… or she didn’t want to go to bed. It’s not like she was crying because her bedroom was on fire and she couldn’t escape… or that rattlesnakes were crawling into her crib and mommy and daddy didn’t care. This people who come down on you and Heather and call you selfish are morons. Oh and that one chic who talked about procreating in a “family bed”… um did anyone else think that was kinda gross? Like she was saying she has sex with her husband while her kids are in the bed with them. That’s how I read that…

    But I think you and Heather did the right thing where Leta’s sleep habits are concerned. Now as far as the “naughty spot” goes for her temper tantrums… I hope that works for you too. I don’t have kids yet but am trying and I look to others for advice like blogging moms and Super Nanny.

  • leahpeah

    no baby ever cried themselves to death. they get really mad because the rules have changed, they yell about it and possibly puke because THAT is how mad they are and then they learn to get over it. everyone’s mental health says thank you when the hard part is over. being a parent means making hard choices about what is best for you and your child.

  • Heidi

    You and Heather freakin’ ROCK! I love that you share your ideas and philosophies despite the hot-topics. Thanks for sharing!

  • juliloquy

    I hope you and Heather know how much your honest sharing helps other parents. I read your sites throughout my pregnancy, my son’s infancy, and on. (He is 9 months younger than Leta.)

    One of the (many) things I found helpful was the story Heather told about the afternoon when Leta was fussy and no amount of carrying, bouncing, rocking would calm her. You had to leave work early, because Heather was going out of her mind. You took over with the carrying, rocking, etc., but nothing was working. Desperate and out of options, you put Leta down in her crib and walked away for 10 seconds, and she promptly fell asleep.

    That exact scenario would have played out at my house had I not read about it on Heather’s site. So, this is my long-winded way of saying thank you for the service you continue to provide through your websites. With Leta, you’re beta-testing this crazy parenting ride for the rest of us!

  • veg4me

    Wanna know the scariest thing Jon?

    With an 8 and 4 year old under my wing, I look back at the 2’s and think it was a piece of cake.

    Wanna know when I eat that piece of cake?

    When they are in bed every night at 8pm, like clockwork.

  • Kathy B.

    I will comment here the same as I did at Heather’s site — I APPLAUD you for teaching Leta to sleep.

    My daughter is now 25 years old, and guess what — she bears NO SCARS whatsoever as a result of sleep training (hell, I’m pretty sure she doesn’t even remember crying at 6 months old! She knows she is loved.)

  • rivetergirl

    Parenting is the hardest job I have (but the best one, too). As I commented on Heather’s site, I always say to new parents, do what works for you.

    Not sleeping and having a tired, cranky baby did not work for us. Getting her on a sleep schedule did ó and still does.

    I know parents who are still struggling with getting their kids to sleep at age 5. Five years of irregular sleep really puts a strain on a family.

    Letting our baby cry was the best thing we could’ve done for her and for us.

    Happy, well-rested parents make for a much happier child.

  • ProudMary

    Ridiculousness. People have been doing this for eons. Then someone wrote a book about it, established it as a “method” and suddenly everyone goes apeshit.

    But more importantly, did you get (and enjoy) the bourbon?

  • Angela

    I competely agree with you and Heather about this. Not sleeping properly for children and adults has been linked to so many health problems that it is impossible to ignore it’s importance. Humans need to sleep in order to survive. I don’t know why some bloggers feel like they have to attack you and heather about this non-issue. I was very happy heather made that post and I even printed it out so that when I have kids and they are 6 months old, I too can get them on a healthy sleep schedule. My kudos to you both.
    I also agree that this will make it much easier for Leta when she gets older and really can end up helping her education. They have also proven that sleep patterns in children are directly linked to grades.
    Now if we can just get those other bloggers who disagree to shove it. I mean…calling a boycott? Are these people for real?

    Have a great week, Jon.

  • Zazzy

    I think there is a very natural and normal desire to want to go and pick up your child and comfort it when it cries. Many people view not doing that as being cruel and abusive. What you are doing by picking up a child every time it cries is to teach it to manipulate. You want to respond to certain cries, you don’t want to respond to others. I think it’s a very difficult thing for parents to learn.

    As a psychotherapist, I spent the better part of twenty years working with parents who had not set any boundaries with their children when they were small. When they became teenagers and the boundaries were more important than whether or not they put their toys away, they were surprised that the teens didn’t respond to the rules and limits they suddenly tried to enforce. Children want boundaries. Yes, they will test limits and push boundaries, that’s their job, but ultimately boundaries represent safety and security. The key, as with everything else in life, is balance.

    I doubt that you and Heather are perfect parents and not everything you do is going to work the way you intended. It’s clear to me, however, that you love Leta and are trying to give her the best life you can give her. I think that we out here are very lucky to get to share a little in that along the way.

  • karyn

    Dude, I can’t believe you didn’t address the gummy worms.

    Really, though; I didn’t comment on Heather’s blog about the sleep training because it was still too early and I say really dumb things (okay, dumber than usual things) when I’m tired.

    There is one thing that I’ve learned in the last almost 7 years as a parent: I do not have to defend my parenting choices to anyone. Neither do you.

    Sleep training isn’t for everyone. Not all babies need it. Some babies do but their parents don’t feel it’s right for their family. And you know what? If that’s how they feel, then that is what is right for them. But if your beliefs and your family believes that crying it out is what is necessary, then that is completely your perogative, and no one else’s business.

    I sleep trained both of my kids by letting them cry it out and it was a hard thing for me to do because I did feel like I was neglecting to care for them. BUT, when I sat down and went through all the reasons I was choosing this strategery, to quote my commander-in-chief, it made sense.

    My oldest is now almost 7 and my youngest just turned 5. They both sleep well; they both know that we love them and have never shown signs of anxiety that we wouldn’t be there for them. They’re happy, well-adjusted kids who know they have a family that loves them and at this point, that is my only goal as a parent. I’m sure some day 15 years from now my only goal will be for them to get a job, but for now, it’s all golden.

  • southerngirl

    {my job as a parent is to look after my kid and help her in life.}

    And to set boundaries. How else is your kid going to learn what’s acceptable and what’s not in our society?

    Too many parents are scared to be disciplinarians and it’s the reason we have so many screwed up kids today.

  • Jennifer Johnston

    I have a three and a half month old and wow, has she been a lesson in patience. She’s also been the cause of a lot of people giving advice when really, it doesn’t matter what anyone says because I will parent her the way I want. Why people think their way of parenting is the only way is beyond me and I dare say a bit annoying. I wish people would stop reading every damn book about parenting and just listen to their child, maybe a child is crying because they are hungry but maybe they are also crying because they are tired and it’s their way of getting themselves to sleep. All children are different and no one parenting method works for all of them. It was interesting to me that on your wife’s blog many of the commenters who agreed with your way of sleep training were child behavioral specialists. I am much more willing to listen to them than someone who simply opened a book and now call it their bible. Just my two cents. Your daughter is a beautiful little girl who seems to have loving and wonderful parents, I venture to say she’ll turn out just fine!

  • paula

    You and Heather both sound like you’re great parents.

    I don’t remember using any particular method to get my kids to sleep through the night. I think after five months or so of getting up at least twice a night I was finally so exhausted that I ended up sleeping through feedings, not waking up when the baby cried. Terrible, yes, but the end result was that my kids did learn how to sleep through the night.

  • Sara

    I think I was comment number 421 on that post. I feel that, while I would not choose the CIO method, it’s impossible (and incorrect) to apply one’s chosen method to another child and family.
    Even Pantly, in “The No-Cry Sleep Solution”, says that you only have a problem if you are not sleeping and/or you are at your wits end. We didn’t really end up using any sleep training ideas (except “The Happiest Baby/Toddler” books — I highly recommend them) and it’s worked for us. But we are different people with a different child.
    I’m sorry people have assed out and compared you to people who actually abuse their children; that’s just ridiculous. I really don’t get it when the people who claim to be loving and gentle make the most violent comments.
    Thanks for the great writing, I really enjoy your site.

  • KingRO

    hmmm…i had only browsed through the first 140 comments, which were generally nice and supportive so I stopped reading. good thing I guess.

    i have to preface that I do not have kids, don’t want kids (but love your sites and update on parenting!). But I pretty much raised my brother since he came home from the hospital all wrinkly and splotchy.

    You guys are great parent!

    And really soooo many people think it is okay to raise their children without any discipline, to let them be “individuals, to not stifle their creativity, be their friend, blah, blah…” These are the same people whose kids annoy the crap out of everyone else because they are rude, spoiled, wild, and have no respect for anyone. While I over-generalize about such “sensitive” parenting skills, I do think children definitely need structure and discipline and to learn respect, for themselves and others. Which it sounds like you are giving Leta, for her own good.

    Anyway, my point was: crying is good for kids, makes their voices deeper. Such was the wisdom in my home. Worked well for my brother. Not so much for me. Might have been a flaw in their plans, but worked out well for me, since I’m a girl. :B

    Children are resilient, do what works for you and screw the other. Obviously if the meanies have time to rant about “bad” parenting on Dooce, they aren’t minding their own kids, or just wanted lash out in envious jealously of your great family.

    mmm, talking to much. bye!

  • codepoet80

    Dude, I completely agree. I love, I love your parenting thoughts, and I love that you tell it like it is!

  • trublu76

    As parents, we do what we have to do in order to 1) teach our children how to be responsible and contributing members of society and 2) keep ourselves in the right state of mind to be able to be responsible and contributing members of society. Sometimes that means making choices that some will agree with and some won’t. No one outside of my immediate family is effected by my choices regarding my parenting, so anyone who doesn’t agree can bite my ass. These are my kids, I have to live with the consequences of my parenting choices, so it is in my best interest to make the decision that best suits MY FAMILY and MY CHILDREN.
    I commend you and Heather for making difficult choices and for discussing them. I’m sorry the mean internet people can’t accept that the decision is/was yours and yours alone to make, but I appreciate that you both are willing to share with us your stories.

  • Alison

    What you did Deaf people have been doing for centuries!

    Deaf people’s babies are the most quiet babies ever (well at least before flashing gadgety things). Baby learns that crying doesn’t get their parent’s attention, and thus shuts up. Nothing wrong with the kids when the grow up.

    Those who are objecting, are also literally saying that Deaf people are unfit to be parents! Not true.

    As for depression / anxiety, its chemical. If you have a broken leg, cancer, etc, you treat them as genuine illnesses and not blame some external factor. Why can’t people see a) your brain is as much as a body organ as say your liver and b) it is subject to getting ill as the rest of you.

    Are people thick or something?

  • Ms Sisyphus

    Jon, I’m not “a hater” and I agree with you that you have every right to parent Leta in a way that works for you, (so long as you operate within some pretty clear common sense guidelines, which clearly, you do). However, I’m uncomfortable with this post. Not because you sleep trained Leta. Your kid, your choices. But because in defending that action, there’s an underlying sense of judgement in this post that those of us who don’t agree with your methods and chose to do it differently are wrong. I’m a bit disappointed, actually. It’s not the type of thing I’m used to seeing here.

  • http://mihow mihow

    “blurb says:

    I’m certainly not suggesting that the method we used is the only or best method. It just worked for us, that is all.”

    We know you’re not saying it’s the best method. If you were saying it was the best method you’d be saying so on someone else’s blog by letting them know how wrong they are with their method.

  • Wayne

    I didn’t think that Jon was suggesting that one method was the best or only method. And I didn’t think he was judging choices other people make — just explaining the reasons for his choice. I DID start to get a feeling of judgment from a few of the comments that came after, though.

  • Meranath

    Not to worry!

    If Leta gets really screwed up *specifically because of this sleep method*, I will personally fund her treatment/housing/private schooling/bail.

    There. Now all bases are covered.

  • Caitorade

    Hey there
    I read a few of the comments on Heather’s site and, mostly because I don’t have kids of my own, didn’t add my opinion. But now that I’ve seen both of your entries I’d just like to send out some Congrats. I am also in Developmental Behavior (as is one of your more -ahem- “vocal” commenters on dooce) and I see no problem in setting BOUNDARIES for your child.
    Does this person really think that Leta believes you don’t love her? You dedicate world-public posts and share records of her learning to speak! (oh, but you don’t give her gummy bears-i forgot). 😉
    That’s love and devotion. Someday, Leta will tell you that she has the most supportive and caring parents in the world, because you taught and allowed her to become an independent person. NOT, “Mom? I’m 22…could you please stop coddling me and let me manage my own life?”
    Kudos 😉

  • Karen Rani

    I applaud both of you for not only taking a wonderful approach to your parenting decisions (and doing as a team), but for also standing behind your decisions on your sites.

    Visitors to our house (with kids and without) are dumbfounded, and impressed when Troll Baby goes to bed every night at 7 p.m., with little or no fussing. We too, can enjoy our evenings, which includes time with Dylan (our 7 year old), and then time together after Dylan goes to bed at 8.

    Back when TB was between 4 months and 10 months old, I was in the same boat as Heather, fighting PPD and getting very little sleep. We made the decision to let TB cry it out, going back and reassuring him every so often, and within about 2 weeks, he was ‘sleep-trained.’ It was a great relief to my sanity as well. Our theory is “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” Happy Moms make for happy kids – as does sleep, routine, discipline and good nutrition.

    So to all those freaks who want to coddle their kids right up until they flee the nest: GOOD LUCK. See you on Supernanny.

    Oh and to those who feel the need to critisize ANYONE’S parenting decisions, barring real abuse, LOCK IT UP ALREADY.

    Cheers, Armstrongs!

  • dylan

    I’m not a parent, and hopefully won’t be for a few more years, but I do have to say that I think both you and Heather do an amazing job with parenting. Most of the people who post the mean comments on Dooce just don’t understand that can’t always be nice and a good parent. sometime kids need to learn that just because they want something doesn’t mean they are always going to get it there way. I know from reading both of your blogs that you guys don’t do anything that isn’t for the bennifit of all of you. It’s not like you guys locked up Leta and fed her through a hole in her door while sleep training her, all you did was once it was an appropriate time, teach her that she can last an entire night without feeding or waking up. It is not cruel, instead not teaching someone things like good sleeping habbits is the cruel thing.

    You guys are awesome parents, and i see that in *almost* every post i read. (Sometimes Heather makes me laugh so much at dangling Leta from a shopping cart handle or such that who knows what to think) whatever you do, don’t let the few people who refuse to do the research of how to raise children (which you two do so much of) have an impact on you with their opinions.

  • Meretrice

    To Heather and Jon:


    Although I didn’t read any books about “sleep training,” my husband and I basically used the same technique to train our Daughter how to sleep. Basically, letting her cry it out until she fell asleep. Fortunately for us, our baby was a very good sleeper from Day One. In some ways, too good a sleeper, but that’s another issue.

    The people who would tell you that letting a baby cry it out is cruel, uncaring and abusive need to understand a very simple concept. Well, two concepts:

    1) Parents, no matter what they do, are training their child. The parents that go in to their child’s bedroom every time the child so much as squeeks are TRAINING their child that any noise will bring their parents running. And guess what, children are savvy enough to use that information to start crying when they don’t want to go to bed, when they are bored, etc… As a parent, your job is to train them that their time in bed is for SLEEPING.

    2) What is better for a child? A frustrated, sleep-deprived, ill-tempered parent? Or a parent who is refreshed, composed and patient? Of course, a child needs the second type of parent. Most adults need plenty of rest to be at their best. Training a baby to sleep through the night isn’t just good for the baby in terms of getting on a regular schedule, but it also provides the child with parents who will be at their best.

    Good job Heather and Jon. What you did for Leta was what was best for your ENTIRE family.


  • blurb

    Ms. Sisyphus. Stop projecting. Reread what I wrote and my comment earlier (#28). Your discomfort is not my problem, it’s yours. I wasn’t implying any such thing.

  • liznboys

    Didn’t these people’s parents teach them the basic rule: “If you can’t say something nice, say nothing at all” ???!!!

    We didn’t do CIO w/our boys b/c I couldn’t do it…we got the sleep issues resolved w/o having to do this. It was getting close, however to me leaving the house so DH could do it (you do what you gotta do). We did work it out, however and our children (6 y/o and 2 1/2 y/o) are asleep 98% of the time by 8pm. There’s the occasional off night (usually caused by us upsetting the routine of the 2 y/o) and night time waking b/c of a nightmare or wetting. We are VERY lucky w/the sleep issues with both boys…and have learned that parenting is cyclical…as soon as we think we can cruise, they throw us a curve ball and we’re back to sqare 1 (or at least square 2) on some issue (whether it’s sleep, eating or atttitude…).

    There are some issues better off not touched upon, breastfeeding, attachment parenting, CIO, spanking, food (making them eat what’s on their plate and not making anything different for the child)….I could go on and on…

    Keep up the fantastic writing (both of you!)


  • jnapier

    Loooong time reader (both here and Dooce), first time poster. I was too scared to butt in on Dooce…

    I, too, experienced severe PPD after the birth of my daughter (who, incidentally, is only a couple months younger than Leta). Reading Heather’s blog honestly got me through so many tough times in my life. She wrote exactly what I was feeling in my heart. Because of her, I didn’t feel so alone. I knew that I was going to be okay. She was ultimately the reason I finally got off my ass and got some help.

    We let our daughter CIO for the same reasons as you guys did. I was near breaking from lack of sleep. Anyone that knows anything about PPD knows that lack of sleep is one of the biggest (if not THE biggest) triggers of PPD episodes.

    Thank you both so much for being so candid with your experiences. You are both such loving parents. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.

  • weaker vessel

    A couple of months ago, I was doing research for an article that dealt with parenting and child development, so I was reading a lot of clinical journals trying to determine which parenting styles have been shown to have the best long-term outcomes. I can’t remember the exact quote or source, but I was struck by the observation of one expert who said something like, the type of parenting that is characterized by a high degree of sentimentality, idealization of the infant/child, and overt, surface-level “niceness” is often not correlated with the best outcomes. Not to suggest that you should be rude to the little rascals to toughen them up, but yeah, setting non-negotiable boundaries and hewing closely to important values is clearly more helpful in the long-term than always doing what may appear to some to be the “nice” thing in any given situation.

  • Claire

    Dude, Jon! I just read Heather’s post and many of the 400+ comments. I was thinking, “I wonder what Jon has to say.” And found your post. I don’t have children, but I find that you two are doing a fine job. I started to think of all the crying babies I babysat. Whenever I went in, it was worse, not better. Sometimes I think an older child may have to cry it out. I think I saw this on Dr. Phil once, where he told a family that they were enabling their 5 year old by always going in when he crys.

    Anyway, what the hell do I know. If I ever have kids, I will cross that bridge when I get to it. But do know that I will be keeping your success story in mind.

  • UpsideUp

    i don’t believe in letting my children cry, so this one time, when my twins wanted to run out into the street i told them it wasn’t a good idea, but they started crying because they really really wanted to, so i let them do it, because they know what they need and they needed to run out into the street. unfortunately, one of them got hit by a car, so that’s sad. but the other one didn’t and her needs *were* taken care of, so that’s good. also, i really love it when everyone i know (and even strangers i meet at la leche league meetings and whole foods) tells me all the ways i could be a better mom and also all the ways i’m doing things wrong. i don’t know how else i would learn anything. i mean, for real.

  • ImTheFunkyMonkey

    I absolutely completely agree with your decision to sleep train Leta. First, as an adult, who can control their emotions and their reactions, I still get really crazy when I fon’t get enough sleep. I am irritable and emotional and really nutty. No child should have to suffer those types of feelings just because their parents allow them to rebel against getting enough sleep.

    Secondly, I volunteer in a shelter for babies born addicted to drugs and alcohol – and the one thing they try DESPERATELY to teach children is how to soothe themselves back into a comfortable sleep. Babies NEED sleep – it is instrumental to their health. Allowing a child to cry until they cry themselves to sleep is NOWHERE near abuse – I personally believe it is far more abusive to allow a child to be deprived of sleep because you allow them to wake up all night because you are fearful of letting them cry.

  • annak

    you know what is REALLY upsetting about all of this?

    it’s that last night i cried for at least 6 hours, alone, in a cold, dark, scary room full of monsters.

    and jon and heather never showed up.

    i think they must not love me.


    i am a childless 35 year old woman with years and years of day-care and babysitting experience as my only reference point.

    however, i will say without any confusion that it was a wonderful and far too rare have a child that knew how to go to sleep at night/naptime rather than stand in the crib and wail until the parents got home or came to pick them up.

    unless you plan on never having anyone else care for your child, of course. in that case, wake up every 2 hours to nurse them until they are five or whatever.

    but don’t blame the babysitter for never coming back.

  • Leon

    I always figured Chuck as a Wittgenstein man myself. I eagerly await the definitive Chuckles masterwork, the Chucktatus.

    But, I digress…

    I just wanted to offer up a simple and heartfelt thank you to the Blurbodoocery (and all other parents for the that matter) for the painstaking work of child-rearing. Thanks for keeping the species alive, because my wife and I want nothing at all to do with that business.

    We owe you guys, and we know it.

  • Elise

    I see the sleep training post as an interesting experiment in group dynamics – ultimately people can’t seem to resist the urge to destroy each other; so Lord of the Flies. The way the commenters starting attacking each other under the guise of defending the blog owner was pretty wild. The ability to listen to another person’s opinion without judgement, to really hear what someone else is saying and accepting it as their reality, their experience, apparently it’s pretty rare. I think you two practice this principle in your writing, it’s one of the things that keeps me checking in.

  • sharkcutie

    Bravo! Bravissimo! The painstaking and painful work is important now because Leta will be thirteen someday and may become, as my daughter has, the Olympic gold medal winner of eye-rolling!!!! While you are teaching Leta, you are also teaching yourself about how to be a good parent! There is no one way unless you are a repug and a former child star on The Facts of Life. Those people put tabasco sauce on their saucy-tongued children’s tongues!

  • bsl

    i don’t have kids, but i am an aunt, and i really wish my sister would have trained my nieces to sleep. they are 4 and 6, and getting them to sleep is still a chore. it affects the entire family and anyone who happens to be at the house at bedtime. the house has to be dark, a kid-friendly movie put on, there’s rocking, song singing, stories, fighting, etc. if i make too much noise and the girls hear, the whole process has to start over.

    and it is especially crazy since both my sister and i had strict bedtimes growing up…if it was bedtime we brushed our teeth, put our pj’s on and went to bed. no stories, nothing. occasionally we would try to negotiate to stay up later, but only in special circumstances did we ever win. heck, i had an unofficial bedtime til my junior year of high school! i needed to get my nine hours of sleep or i would be a complete bear. so, every night at 9:30, my mom would “suggest” that it was time to go to bed. and i usually did! i am 30 years old and still go to bed by 10:30 on most nights, if i can. and if i can go to bed by 9:30…even better! my friends laugh, but even big girls need their sleep.

  • Kate

    As a still new mom of a one-year old, I can only say one thing with certainty–parenting is the hardest thing I have ever done.

    It is more exhausting, joyful, frustrating, mind-numbing, tear-inducing and hilarious than I ever thought it would be. I believe that whatever decisions most of us make as parents, we do so with the absolute best for our children in mind. We don’t arrive at these conclusions by chance or because they are the easiest option. We labor over them for days, weeks, months and sometimes we still doubt ourselves.

    I will never be able to understand how people will so quickly and so maliciously tear down others, especially other parents who know how hard this is. We’re all just trying to do the best we can for our families.

  • annak

    and i clearly shouldn’t be having kids anytime soon, i’m not even literate.

    that’s what i get for editing too much and too hastily.


  • kelley

    You go Jon! You said it better than I could. I started sleep training my daughter, now nearly 8 months old, at 5 weeks. I got the Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child book on Heather’s recommendation. We have never had to make Alida “cry it out” although I don’t disagree with that apprach. We got Alida on the right track so early that we never had to go through the painful un-learning process. That is my philosophy on parenting thus far: it is much easier to teach a child good habits than it is to undo the bad habits.

  • mihow

    One thing I did learn from watching all of this is that when Tobyjoe and I finally do have a baby, I will never post anything about him or her on line.

    Seriously, a lot of you people (especially the people who have already pro-created and somehow feel as though you hold all the answers because you did so) are kind of scary.

    I live in New York City. Itís a rough place at times. Everyone knows that. Itís also really crowded and there are people of all different walks of life. Itís a lot different from the place I grew up which was a small town (25,000 people). In New York, it’s not entirely unheard of to witness a woman (or man) literally smacking the shit out of her kid on the Subway. If theyíre not smacking their children in public, they say some of the meanest things. (Someday, check out Itís funny and really sad all the same)

    I see this happen at least once a month (most of the time more). As much as I want to go up to the person and kick the living shit out of them or take away their child, I know that would welcome the shit being kicked out of me, too. The weird thing is, everyone else on the train or the platform ignores it or turns their head. Perhaps some of you pointing fingers at Jon and Heather should move here and try and intervene.

    Here, we had a person lock their child up and force her to use a litter box or eat cat food. We had someone lock the nephewís body in an empty clothes hamper. We had women drop her newborn(s) out a window into a trash heap the first one wasnít found until a year later when she dropped the baby girlís brother out there, too. (Both babies conceived through an act of incest. The young girl’s own father was their father, by the way.)

    Iím not saying that your feelings toward the way another person parents donít matter, but I find it so hard to take any of you too seriously when you point fingers at Jon and Heather for the fact that they let their baby cry when they put her down at night.

    (Admittedly, I didnít read the original post. I read only Jonís.)

    P.S. You may commence with the flogging.

  • Herb Fairy

    I am not a mom but I am suprised to see so many people attack this technique. Even if they do not agree with it who are they to judge others that way. Plus that is the technique that I have seen the Super Nanny use several times. Anyway, just wanted to express my support. You both do this great thing of letting us see into your life on a daily basis and if we have differing opinions they should be presented with respect and maturity.

  • Coelecanth

    I, er, gah…words fail me. I wish people could learn how to express contrary opinions without resorting to personal attacks.

    The thing that amazes me the most is that everyone assumes that babies are so fragile. We all survived our parents and their various techniques and the vast majority of us end up fully functional adults. There are as many roads to successful parenting as there are people.

    Oh, and that dog of yours has excellent taste in industrial music. Nothing like a little sheet-metal grinding and German angst to get one in the mood for a bit of empty ball-sack licking.

  • JesC

    I realize that this topic – and parenting – is a loaded subject and sleeping even more so. However, after reading both Heather’s post and yours, Jon, I see nothing but an honest recount of your own experience. Neither of you wrote a step by step “This is How to Get Your Child to Sleep” guide. You wrote about how things worked for you and what, as a family, you needed to do to make things better. I think your honesty is wonderful and appreciated by many more people then you realize. People can be very quick to jump in and defend themselves or sometimes even challenge an opinion different then their own, but I think you both did a marvelous job. You couldn’t have been more fair and time and again you explained it worked for you, but you know it’s not for everyone-

  • http://mihow mihow

    Amendment to my last post: I think the fact that Heather and Jon DO write about their being parents a wonderful thing. I donít want anyone to think Iím saying itís wrong.

    Amendment 2: If a childís life were threatened in any way, I would intervene. Everyone would. And itís heartbreaking to see someone even slap a child in public. Iím not a heartless bitch. Iím just trying to put things into perspective.

    (Perhaps Iím over thinking this. But I worry that what I wrote above might be taken the wrong way.)

  • Wayne

    And it happens again, in comment #44: “What you are doing by picking up a child every time it cries is to teach it to manipulate.”

    What I dislike about this comment, and some of the others I read, is the smug authority of it. Zazzy doesn’t know my child, or me, or my wife, or our collective histories and combined education and experience and temperments.

    Our daughter was a very light sleeper, and my wife and I thought about letting her cry it out. We even tried it once, and we couldn’t do it. We listened to our daughter’s cries, which no one on this thread or even in our real life have heard, and we knew — knew the way a parent knows — that this wasn’t right for her, for us, for our family.

    We ended up finding our own solutions. We have a family bed, and it’s terrific for us, and we all loved it and got enough sleep from that arrangement. We were happy, all in all. This is how our family works. And our daughter is not a brat or a delinquent, now that she’s four — she’s wonderful, independent, imaginative, and happy, just like kids who were “sleep trained” (a term I’m getting tired of, as if my daughter never learned to sleep because we didn’t do CIO). She is not manipulative or bratty or cruel or out of control.

    What does all this mean for other families? Absolutely nothing. I just find it disheartening that, as some people continue to express the support that Jon and Heather deserve, they also say or suggest ignorant things about what other parents do.

  • madge

    WORD. (I always pegged Chuck for a Neubauten fan.)

    I’ll be waiting with anticipation to see how you guys handle the Big Girl Bed. I’m sure it will be with much more grace than I.

    Neighbors from all over the neighborhood can hear me holler, “THIS IS NOT TODDLER TIME!” for about an hour every night. Oh, how I miss that crib. (Don’t do it. Ever. Send her to her to college with a crib if you can…)

  • emens

    Jon, thanks to you and Heather regarding your experiences with Leta’s sleep training. We’ve had many difficult nights with our 9 month old son. I would say that by now I feel like he’s getting old enough to not need us to comfort him back to sleep. And your posts have given me more courage to try the “cry it out” method. What can I say? I’m a softie when it comes to an hysterical baby and if I can help calm my son down it is my instinct to do that. Your point on comparing sleep training to potty training makes great sense. Thanks for your honesty.

  • Abby

    Just another non-parent coming in here, but I do have to say that I think you and Heather are wonderful parents to Leta! :)

    It’s very hard to be a teacher with this same popular ideology though. In the classroom, nothing is ever supposed to be “wrong” and the child is NEVER supposed to feel bad about anything. 😛

    Because obviously if the kid goes out and kills somebody at 19, the judge will just be like “Awww, you were having a bad day. It’s okay, just say you’re sorry and we’ll just move on.” I don’t see how these kids will ever develop a conscience or true sense of self worth if they can’t tell the differences between right and wrong. Just my 2 cents as an elementary education (soon-to-be) teacher.

  • Miss Hass

    I sincerely appreciate your willingness to share what has worked for you. I am not yet a parent, but the more I deal with the children of siblings, other relatives, and friends, the more I am convinced that sleep training is the way to go. The children are happier and healthier and the parents are happier and healthier. My brother and sister are currently doing this with their first baby and he is, thus far, quite cooperative and they are quite happy. So thanks for confirming what I already thought.

  • Carla*Hinkle

    Doing what works is always fine by me; I never sleep trained but have no quarrel with those who do.

    My only caveat is this: be wary of taking too much credit (or blame) for things your baby does. A lot of it the kid was going to do anyway. You may find your next kid doesn’t need sleep training, or that it doesn’t work. Hooray that it worked for Leta. It never did for my daughter (crying until she puked prevented me from implementing the method) and though she was a poor napper her first year, around her first birthday she magically transformed into a good napper. Beats me.

    But I am happy your kid is a good sleeper. Kids who don’t sleep well take YEARS off their parents’ lives.

  • CJ mama

    Bless you. Parenting is both a privilege and a job. Parents have a responsibility to teach kids how to do things the right way. Sure, kids will sleep, but not correctly unless taught how to do it. Sure, kids will speak, but not correctly unless taught how do do it. Unfortunately we learned that after the first toddler F-bomb was spoken–it’s kinda funny until it happens in front of the in-laws. Kids don’t know what’s best for them and that’s why they have parents to teach them. Sometimes it is impossible to know whether the methods one uses to teach their kids is the right one. But I believe that if I make it very clear that everything I do is what I believe is in the best interest of the child and our family, they’ll understand and know that I love them. I’ve witnessed these online battles many many times on pregnancy boards during both of my pregnancies and I think they’re just a hoot. Seriously, if you think the sleep one was bad, have a boy next and blog about your circumcision decision. Then duck and cover. Were you aware that there is a support group for men who were circumcised at birth and now wish they were not? I’m anticipating my son will be a member someday.

  • Anna

    Good. Lord.

    The fact that you have to even MAKE posts like this is ridiculous.

    My ex-husbands family gave me a horrible time about the fact that I wouldn’t let my daughter sleep in bed with us. She was in a bassinet DIRECTLY BESIDE THE BED. I didn’t have to even get out from under the covers to breast feed her, change her and put her back to sleep in the bassinet.

    Finally, when she was about four months old I moved her to her crib in her own room and you’d think that I had commited some horrid crime.

    Now she’s seven and is very independent and reads herself to sleep in her bed every night while her eight year old cousin cries and has anxiety attacks if she can’t be in bed with her mother. So her mother has to sleep in her bed with her!!

    You did what was right for you and your family. I understand that you have a big following here, but really, the sane ones of us understand. The others will never be happy no matter what you do and what you say and even if you stopped world hunger, you’ll still be horrible people.

  • Vix

    I hate to sound nothing more than a sycophant, but as a mother of a two and a half year old who experienced similar problems with getting him to sleep, I too can do nothing but agree with you. We too left our little one to cry it out after unsuccessfully trying the Pick Up, Put Down method for weeks. It took two nights and that was it. He’s slept well ever since.

    My son is loved, adored, content, happy and – above all – knows all of these things. I’m sure that Leta is no different. I wouldn’t change what we did – no, nope, nada, never.

    I’m all for free speech and parental choice, but the people bashing your wife and you are shockingly ignorant of this. I’m so sorry that there are so much assholes about!

    V xx

  • Womanwithkids

    Bravo. You got your kid to do what she needs to do, what she’ll need to be able to do for the rest of her life. You don’t let her run around the house with a loaded gun, play in traffic or otherwise harm herself or others. Ignore the others, they’re just cranky because their five year old is awake at 11 at night, demanding another story.

  • Fog Spinner

    I think it goes a long way to say your child will be well mannered and well behaved as she gets older. Her teachers will love you for it.

    With ours, when we told him to sit, he sat, we said stay, he stayed until further notice. (He learned most of this from watching and participating in our dogs training, so maybe he needed 2 legged friend…)

    His teachers blessed us more than once for his good behavior. Getting enough sleep falls right into that!

    Congrats to you and Heather!

  • Kestra

    Reading dooce’s comments, it seemed to me that certain specific members of the ‘400+ comments’ community weren’t getting enough sleep themselves.

    As soon as I read Heather’s post I emailed my mother to ask what she did when my twin brother and I were babies. Imagine 2 x fussy colicky Leta’s – that’s what my mother had to deal with. But she did exactly the same as you and Heather did. Unless we sounded as though we were in clear distress or trying to bite each other’s arms off, she left us to cry, because apparently she wouldn’t have had time to do anything else!

    I don’t think you can say, “I was taught using the ________ method, and I turned out fine”, because individual children respond to different methods when being taught, and sleeping is no exception to this rule. I haven’t researched alternative methods to teaching babies sleeping patterns because I never assumed there was a dead-set way to do so. Use what works. All that matters is that they learn when the time for play is, and when the time for sleep is. As you said, you can’t spend evenings trying to coax a toddler to “go to your bedroom!”, because that is simply a reversal of what the parent-child roles should be.

    You and Heather taught Leta this at the right age using a method that worked, for the benefit not only of Leta but of both of you as well. What good is a parent to a child if said-parent is sleep-deprived and grouchy all day long? You put Leta first by making sure you both got enough sleep! That makes you truly kickass parents :)

    Our pet would sympathise with Chuck. Jake the snake, had we had him at the time my brother and I were babies, would certainly have appreciated the silence. It’s bad enough he has no eyelids and has to sleep with his eyes open, let alone two screaming children to deal with as well!

  • nixy

    I didn’t notice you or Heather advising other people to do exactly what you did. You said it worked for you.

    I’m bothered by all the posters who seem to think that whatever method they believe in ought to be the one that everybody uses.

    I’m also bothered (why should you care? :-) by the posters who think that ‘failing to CIO == undisciplined child with sleep problems.’

    I have a two-year-old who has never been left to CIO. He has a regular bedtime, a regular naptime and is very smart and well-behaved. My parenting works for me. Your parenting works for you.

  • nobody

    Wayne, as I said above, I think CIO or something like it is probably best for most kids. And while I don’t agree that “you are teaching your kid to manipulate”, if I talked for any length of time about this I would probably say something you found similarly irritating.

    But if I did, it would 1) be an opinion, which could be wrong and 2) one that I can’t _know_ to be applicable to your family. Everything is said, and heard, in such absolute right/wrong terms that any exchange of opinions becomes impossible. Look at Sisyphus’ feeling that any defense of something she disagrees with is some kind of judgment — how is he/she ever going to learn anything with that kind of defensiveness?

    This whole debate just affirms my view that people first decide what they think and then come up with reasons for it, and then start arguing with one another about those reasons. No one can change anyone’s mind because the stated reasons have little to do with the opinion in the first place. It makes any serious discussion pretty much impossible.

    And that goes for pretty much any topic of any controversy.

  • Maiken

    A few years ago I came across the novel idea that feelings are never wrong or right; feelings simply are what you feel. As a parent there are many times I go against advice and books that are out there because they simply don’t always work. There are few absolutes in parenting. So, I go by what I feel is best for my daughter and sometimes I just ignore what others say.

  • bookworm

    Bravo! I was reading dooce’s site this morning, but she had already closed comments. This subject needs to be included with politics and religion for highly controversial. In my family I see a lot of “we can’t do anything that is going to upset the child because we don’t want them to cry, or be inhibited, or whatever”. In other words, the child is in control instead of the parents. I think that you and Heather are wonderful parents, and that Leta is well loved, and will go up to be a person that people will actually want to be around, instead of a spoiled “If I can’t have it my way I’m going to throw a fit about it” person, and all because you are willing to be a parent. Keep up the good work.

  • Painter Beach Girl

    We can all find something to be critical about, over ANYTHING. My ex husband called it “neglect” when I called the “time out chair” the “naughty chair”. He said that I was hurtful towards our children by having them have an hour of quiet time every afternoon since they didnt nap anymore at age 2 1/2, meaning, they listened to children’s music, read books and played with their toys quietly in their rooms so I could take a shower, put groceries away and pay bills. Some people put their 3 year olds to bed at 11pm, mine go to bed at 7:30 because I need my sanity. Abusive? Uncaring? If we as parents dont get sleep, we cant be good parents. Unless you can “go” on 2 hours of sleep. Who says we have to be in our kids’ faces and at their beckon call every two seconds? Otherwise, we will end up with 40 year old children still sleeping in their trundle beds in our houses. Or we’ll end up with self serving children with entitlement issues. Hey, maybe not. But most importantly, we all need to do what is best for ourselves and what we think is best for our children and families and in that, we cannot judge. If it works for someone to be up 10 times a night to breastfeed a 10 year old, then go for it. If you want to train your kids to sleep the night at age 8 weeks (like i did, with the ferber method as well for both kids), then go for it. MY life got better because of it, for sure!

  • Gammy

    Well said, Jon! I really believe that it is cruel NOT to teach a child to sleep at night for all of the same reasons you stated in your post. We went through the same thing with both of our kids and tried to avoid the whole CIO thing but nothing else worked for us (we only used it as a last resort). It didn’t take long at all for it to work (although it was heartwrenching and I coldly put on some headphones until the crying stopped, which was only 15 minutes but man, did it feel a lot longer than that) and now my kids are both amazing sleepers. I’m sorry that you guys are shat upon so much for sharing things like this and it’s too bad everyone can’t just agree to ignore the trolls (as impossible as it can be).

  • Painter Beach Girl

    P.S. I just trained my 3 and 5 year old girls to go to sleep together in the same room, instead of staggering them. You know what I ended up having to do? Well, because they tended to talk and turn on the light and play until midnight, I let them talk for 15 minutes and then would go up and tell them it was time to be quiet and go to sleep. If they got out of bed for a reason other than bleeding, choking or peeing, or I heard from them via “screaming my name” for stall time, they get put in Mommy’s bed to go to sleep. Mommy’s room doesnt have a nightlight. Guess who’s scared of the dark? Abusive? Cruel? Well, guess what, they each got put in Mommy’s bed once, and after that, they have been perfect angels going to bed at night together in the same room. Wahoo!

  • Wayne

    For what it’s worth, I read and liked your original comment, nobody — I wasn’t irritated by it. I didn’t mind that your opinion was that CIO or something like it was probably good for most kids, because you weren’t dogmatic or insulting about it.

    Anyway, I hope it isn’t true that this conversation (why does it have to be a debate?) is pointless. I genuinely got a lot, personally, out of Jon’s post, and also out of Heather’s post. Both were written in what I felt to be a generous spirit of public sharing — they weren’t, to use a word from one of these comment sections, “fundamentalist.” I felt I could relate, as a parent, to elements of their problem, and I admire them both for how they handled it. So, all in all, I profited from that.

    I don’t think that they were ever trying to change anyone’s mind about how to handle this kind of situation. That’s why I found it so strange to read, in some of the comments, that choices I’ve made with my wife are so very earthy-crunchy, that we were spoiling our child who, at six months old, was already on her way to becoming a manipulative sociopath bent on the gratification of her insatiable id, and who would probably grow up and start shooting machine guns at her classmates and setting off grenades in the cafeteria, all because we never taught her, in the proper fashion, how to sleep.

    I guess I’m really baffled about how the conversation gets to that point, you know?

  • sweetney

    These are hard choices/decisions we all have to make, and yours are made with a deep personal knowledge of your own child and circumstances — no two of either being alike — and so the haters and judgers can SUCK IT.

    Yes, SUCK IT. That is all.

  • Darlin’

    i know what you need! another comment from another parent on this topic! but i may as well throw in my 2 cents. i sleep trained my son and it worked well when he was a baby. now he is six and fights like hell to stay up- i think i need to retrain him but it isn’t so easy when they are bigger. i should have stuck to my guns instead of letting his bedtime creep later and later. afternoon kindergartener and a night owl mom = bad six year old sleep habits. now, with our triplets (7 mos old), hell yes i’m sleep training them. not yet though- they were extremely premature and have some special needs. we will have to wait a while for that but i will have to train them to sleep because momma really needs her sleep and 3x’s the wakeups is awful.

    after reading about leta from the time heather announced her pregnancy, i can say with confidence that she has two very caring parents who would do anything to better her life. fuck the haters!

  • Sanya

    I don’t get what’s up with the people commenting on Heather’s entry. I think you two did — and are doing — the right thing with Leta. It makes sense. We need to learn to sleep as babies. Sleep is what makes us happy. It sounds simplistic, but it’s true.

  • Angela

    Jon, both you and Heather had traces today in your posts of being hurt or offended or just annoyed (or all of the above). I am sorry for all those out there that made what could have been a very interesting discusion such a bad experience. To bring up the topic as something we could all learn from and get ideas is wonderful and we all have a chance to learn from eachother, as corny as that sounds. People aren’t always aware of all the “methods” out there and someone struggling as Heather did maybe able to take some ideas at put them to use. It doesn’t have to be sleep training or co sleeping. It can be somewhere in the middle. But it was good to write about because someone somewhere got some useful advice and I thank you both for that. Why can’t people just look at it like that rather than attack eachother?

  • blurb

    Not hurt. Not offended. Not upset.

    People ask all the time about my take on things when Heather posts something like she did, and I wanted to write about my take on Leta’s sleep.

    I adopted a certain tone to make an attempt at steering comments away from certain things and towards certain other things. It mostly worked.

    We tried to share a bed with Leta, but she wasn’t a big lying down nurser and she kept us both up. Plus, we were terrified of squashing her and she hated the bedside crib. She just seemed to do better in the crib (and still does, so no toddler bed yet).

    Just because someone likes something, doesn’t invalidate those who like something else.

  • Irina

    John, I’ve commented on Heather’s blog about this already and was going to comment again today because I felt the more positive, supportive outcry the better, but alas her comments (intelligently) have been locked.

    I don’t think anyone who condemns CIO parents can begin to imagine how difficult (though important) a choice it is to make. I really like the way you articulated the choice though: it is the same as potty training or tooth brushing.

    Children need limits and self-reliance. Teaching them that when they’re ready to know it can only give them confidence to learn in the future. There simply isn’t any way that CIO training can compromise the love and support that parents (let’s assume them to be loving) offer their children on a daily basis.

    Besides, anyone who’s posting comments about CIO leading to mental dysfunction clearly hasn’t read Pinker. Maybe it’s time for them to start.

  • kierewalker

    I am forever grateful that my parents took the time to teach me how life was hard in the little ways. Now I can handle it well when its hard in the big ways (most of the time, sometimes its just plain hard and I suck at handling it, but hey…we all got our shit). The best comments on Heather’s site were the ones by THOSE people, you know the ones: those who still have their 34 year old kid living in their basement because they had to fix it for them every time something bad happened. Letting him cry himself to sleep at night is nothing compared to having to pay his health insurance well into his forties, right?

  • Megan B

    So does ole’ Chuck ever read Nietzsche?

    I am curious as to what the majority of parents worldwide (over the few thousand years that modern man has existed) have done about getting their kid to sleep. Whatever the majority is, though, I will probably use CIO and know that there will be no permanent damage.
    IF I ever have kids, that is. :)

    That’s all for now.

  • nobody

    “I guess I’m really baffled about how the conversation gets to that point, you know?”

    It’s the same thing as the craziness dooce was getting from the anti-CIO types, only from the pro-CIO types. It makes still less sense coming from them because presumably they’re getting more sleep.

  • Wendy Mac

    Jon, good post!

    I wish people would take things more in the vein of: Take advice that will work for you, leave it alone if it doesn’t interest you. I, for one, enjoy hearing stories about Leta, and I do read blogs for parenting ideas.

    My daughter is 7 and we are discussing having a second child. Your blog and Heather’s blog have been fantastic at reminding me what parenting a toddler is like, for I seem to have forgotten most of the hard parts :-)

  • http://Http:// Miko Monkey

    I rarely read comments, so I appologize for not having said this directly on Dooce: I think that you were both entirely justified & doubt that this will score even remotely on the Things That Leta Will Remember When She’s An Adult, let alone Scar Her For Life. My parents certainly did a good deal of “this is the way it is & it doesn’t matter if you cry” so I think that it’s probably a sound parenting tool. It’s better than caving and letting her walk all over you. That said, I don’t have healthy sleep habits, so maybe they should’ve done more of that 😉 As a non-parent, I have to shut my mouth frequently around my sisters because I have no basis to claim that they are being bad. I think, as a parent, you should have the freedom to raise your children as you see fit. As long as there are no bruises & she’s not malnurioushed, I think you can throw the nay-sayers out the window.

  • la_florecita

    I hesitate to comment because I can’t say anything that hasn’t been said already. But to appease my ego, I’m going to anyway. I also only read the first 150 or so of dooce’s comments . . .

    I don’t have kids, but I’ve babysat plenty and kids who have a specific bedtime routine = waaay better to babysit. (Even if it meant I had to pretend I was still Catholic and recite the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be with the kids during prayer time.)

    I just called my mom about her “techniques” with us. I already knew, since I think my dad’s philosophy is STILL “Let her cry it out” and I’m 27. She said that the parenting books in her day said that during that 4-6 month stage when the baby needs to learn to sleep, just go take a loooooong shower.

  • Angela

    I hope I wasn’t misunderstood, so I am going to clarify (mostly for my own benefit). I was just saying that because Heather told her story and then opened comments for others to tell “what they did and how it worked for them” had the opportunity for a good, healthy, helpful discussion. That by sharing your experience someone with maybe postpartum or just general parenthood wareout was helped by the topic. They heard different ways of confronting sleep issues they may not have been aware of. It was helpful and I think you may have saved someone from the “real darkness” that some of us mothers sadly face and I thank you for that.

  • honey bunny

    i’m not a parent, so i guess i shouldn’t really comment about this, but i don’t understand why people invest so much time bitching about how YOU and HEATHER raise YOUR child. i don’t know how you guys put up with it. i’d be all “back off, bitches!” but again, i’m not a parent.


    sorry about your cold. i’ve been suffering from seriously bad allergies. it doesn’t help that we just got a kitten AND the trees are budding out there all over the place. maybe i should get one of those nostril saline jobbies.

  • DDM

    Oof. WHY do people have to attack each other like that?
    People. If you don’t like something you read?
    Don’t. Return. Go. Away.

  • fernypants

    Why do people get their undies twisted over this? Do you remember how your sleeplessness was handled? No. Do I remember how mine was handled? No. Does Leta? No. Why does it need to be such a huge issue?

  • Molly

    Hi Jon,

    I have a question for you. By the way, I love reading yours & Heather’s sites. I was wondering why you and Heather get so bothered by the comments to the site. I haven’t been here from the beginning so I don’t know how vitriolic it was in the past, but the way I look at it, there are a million crazies out there with computers. And typing little sentiments in a box is a great way for them to vent off their stupid, pathetic little lives. There’s a crazy sitting in the White House right now for that matter, surrounded by crazies doing crazy things to the world. Trolls are like flies, it’s hard to squash them all. People often suck. I think most of the comments you get are positive, overwhelmingly. I don’t like the term “thick skin,” because I think being sensitive is a good thing, but I do hope that you and Heather and your readers always see that asinine comments just make the commenters asinine people. Considering my low opinion of humanity, I’d take about 10 per 400 to be a pretty optimistic number. Now, I don’t have kids so I can’t identify with what it must be like to be insulted about how you parent, though I have noticed in general that on the subject of kids the public seems to go MORE freakishly meanly crazy rather than less. I find myself muttering “Fuck off” a lot when reading comments, which helps (then again, I don’t have children within earshot).

    I knew my cynicism would come in handy for something someday.



  • Torrie


    That is all.

  • Garret

    I did not get a chance to comment on Heather’s site before comments were disabled, but I agree with you both on this matter. My son is 14 mths old and if there is one thing I have learned it is that opinions are like a**holes, everyone’s got one and most of them stink. I have talked to several doctors on several issues since my son was born and gotten a different answer from each. Same with parents we have met through my wife’s mom’s group. Everyone has done everything differently and all of their kids are all turning out just fine!

    In this case, we did the same thing you did. We let our son cry it out for a few nights, but just at 6mths old he was sleeping soundly through the night. We found after this that he was happier during the day.

    It was hard, don’t get me wrong, but he is just fine. If he goes crying to his therapist when he is an adult about how we let him cry for a whopping 20 minutes until his body fell asleep I will update you then!

  • Sam Merrill

    I’m just amazed that the CIO method horde so far haven’t invaded this site as well. These people are worse than devout mormons with an Amway franchise.

  • J_Bo

    Ya, just like I commented on Dooce’s site, you did what worked for you- why do people feel the need to say it is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’?

    Now, will the Ferber method work on my dog? My little Pomeranian is driving me nuts with his incessant barking; our golden retriever just looks at him like he is crazy- which I am sure he is. And a ‘pet whisperer’ told us he is hopeless.

    I know, I know…I adopted a pomeranian which is like putting a giant sticker over my ass that reads, ‘kick me here’.

    Thanks for doing what you are doing, Blurbodoocery! I appreciate it!!

  • Tommy from Michigan

    You guys are the only Leta experts. Every little person is different and you are the best people to decide what’s best for her. Any other opinion is uninformed.

  • Zazzy

    Wayne, I’d like to clarify that I was not saying that sleep training was the only method to be used. What I said was “You want to respond to certain cries, you don’t want to respond to others. I think it’s a very difficult thing for parents to learn.” You have learned what cries to respond to for your child.

    I am imperfect. I was responding to the criticism that the method is abusive. It teaches boundaries. Boundaries are good. It isn’t the right method for all children by a long shot.

    Reflecting, my response clearly showed a lot of frustration. It didn’t necessarily make my point.

  • mom of 4

    Wow! I am amazed how passionate of an issue this is!

    All of my children were born with distinctly different temperments, personalities and desires. No one thing has worked with all 4 of our children – whether it be sleep schedule, potty training, eating habits, or discipline in general. We’ve had to tailor our approach somewhat for each child.

    Kudos to you and Heather for standing firm in your commitment to parenting Leta even when it breaks your heart! As if you enjoyed letting her cry…

  • Kim

    You and Heather are my inspiration. Oliver woke up about 90 minutes after going to bed tonight. We decided to let him cry it out. It lasted for an hour but he’s been asleep for a couple of hours and we all lived through it. I know we have a few more nights of this ahead of us but we can do it. I know it’s not right for every parent or every child but I haven’t slept well for 14 months (since I was 7 months pregnant). It’s time.

  • Goingape

    I always tell my clients that they’re the expert on their kid, and i’m just there to help them as a consultant..they’re the experts.

    I think you hit it dead’re the expert on Leta and you make the best decisions you can in that moment in your circumstances with your child. Good work, and don’t worry about the haters.

  • Chair


    My colicky spud was and is very much the same a Leta, just a few months behind. As good a job as Heather did at playing down Leta’s fussing, I can relate to how incredibly difficult it is to have a colicky baby and I’m fortunate to not have chemical imbalances. Theya sleeps so well now -it astounds me on a daily basis that I don’t have to coerce her into bed in any capacity. It was hard work, probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life was listen to her screaming because she didn’t understand that sleep was good. Now I honestly feel that we’ve all earned our excellent sleep and you most certainly have, too.

  • blurb

    I think I’m going to close down comments for tonight. Not because I am upset, just because I want to start fresh tomorrow.

    Thank you all for your comments. Don’t panic.

  • blurb

    Ok. Comments back on.

  • sravana

    Blurb said: We are built for sleep and one of the best things I can do is as a parent is give my children the ability to get themselves to sleep on a schedule that makes their lives better with a side benefit that their parents lives will be better, too.

    As a 48-year-old with no kids, it seems to me that this would be the best gift you could give your daughter. Sorry about the flamers on Dooce – but you know, there will always be flamers. That’s the result of having the 17th most popular blog, and putting controversial things out there.

    I admire you both greatly…

  • Shash

    Jon, you and Heather are doing a great job with Leta. My 4 year old son is in love with her voice and photos. We have to listen to her shoshun! post every day.

    It’s great that you two are sharing your experiences. What a dull world this would be if people stopped doing that because others felt they were doing it wrong. Lets sounds like one happy, loved child, and in the end that is what matters most. Great job, you two.


  • Dr. To You

    I think everyone should do what works for them. Period.

    I am a mom of 2, and some things always bring out the worst in people.

    Breastfeeding vs. bottlefeeding
    Cry it out, versus other sleeping techniques
    Circumcision vs. non-circumcision

    PEOPLE, get over it. Your way is not the only way.

    I have never seen people get more nasty when discussing this stuff.

  • Wayne

    Thanks for that clarification, Zazzy. I appreciated that.

    I also liked what Andrea wrote:

    “People aren’t always aware of all the ‘methods’ out there and someone struggling as Heather did maybe able to take some ideas at put them to use. It doesn’t have to be sleep training or co sleeping. It can be somewhere in the middle.”


  • Anastasia

    “one of the best things I can do is as a parent is give my children the ability to get themselves to sleep on a schedule that makes their lives better”

    I just wanted to let you know that this is one of the smartest things I’ve read in this whole conversation! I’ve had trouble sleeping my entire life, and it sucks beyond belief. I’m still working on my own “sleep training,” at the age of 27.

    Getting enough sleep is like the holy grail for me; it leads to waking up on time to start work at a reasonable hour, being able to exercise, more easily fending off stress and depression, staying healthy. Months when I have extra trouble sleeping are months when I’m cranky, unmotivated, and prone to catch every virus that comes around.

  • babbling

    I’m asking for forgivness ahead of time, as I am dieting and working on a limited amount of calories, which makes me a bit scatter-brained and cranky, much like sleep deprivation can. This is to what I attribute much of the negativity on dooce’s site to. A couple of renegade parents with an inability to have a rational, productive, exchange of ideas and experiences due to severe and extended loss of sleep. Which I would like to call ITHARPEOIAEDTSAELOS. Other than that I need a super spy vision glasses to understand all of the CIO’s and BF’s and DD’s and DS’s and PPD’s and IMHO’s. How I wonder did I ever raise 3 children without this new lingo? What I have learned is this. You don’t know diddly about how to approach each child until you meet them and know them. You can have an arsenal of books, ideas and “plans”. Good luck with that. I’d venture to say blurb, that your next baby will sleep well, through anything. It’s the luck of the draw. I have a son that walked at 8 months much to my dismay, and wanted to use the potty at 1 year. I take zero credit for that. I had an average daughter on all counts and the last baby, didn’t fully potty train until nearly 3.5. However he had the least amount of accidents once he decided it was cool to make the switch. He was just ready. You say you’re not upset by the comments on here or dooce and great. This blog and Heathers is like a little fish bowl of society. I read some of the worst posts on dooce and felt like my head was just cocked to the side with a big question mark hanging over my head. The posts of hostility say a LOT more about the posters than the topic of sleep methods. My last thought is this. Who says the kids are crying because they formulate the thought that the ones they love and depend on for food, nurturing and reassurance have abandoned them in the darkest hour of the night? After three kids I’d say it was more of a “I’m pretty pissed off I’m losing the upper hand here and being encouraged to sleep without manipulating my parents”. I don’t see too many counselors with a shingle out offering “Help for recovery after being raised with the Ferber method of sleep training”.

  • ksgirl

    while it doesn’t surprise me that everyone has a strong opinion on this, what still surprises me (i never learn) is how vehemently commenters insist that THEIR way is right. you and heather share what has worked for you and that is cool. should i ever have kids, i’ll keep it in mind. if something else works or i end up believing in another method, i would never presume that what i believe or what i think is best in my situation is what every other parentt should be following.

    i wish commenters would learn that it’s ok to disagree without insulting people or telling you that you are doing severe harm to your child. she’s your kid, they don’t know her. (and wow does she look traumatized in her pictures! :/) and they don’t know you either, which of course, people tend to forget. you blog, we read, and some readers think they know you, your family, your life, what you should eat for breakfast, how chuck should be walked, and what leta should be when she grows up.

    i love reading your blogs and i am so glad that both of you still write openly and honestly when there are so many people out there who do the equivalent of standing on your front lawn with a magaphone and screaming at you about the horrible things you do. and yet they keep reading. what for? i guess so they can continue to “know better” and do their “duty” to let you know. and i guess people think they are entitled to bash you since you “open your life” to the internet. people sincerely amaze me with their vitriol and sheer insentitivity. does no one think before they type? would they attack someone like that in person, without the safety of a keyboard and anonymity? course not.

    anyway, babbling. sorry for that. meant to be concise but have a severe lack of sleep. hmm, must be a product of however my mom raised me. i’m gonna go cry it out now.

  • Pixie

    Hi there Jon,
    I also commented on Heather’s blog– before things got ugly. I must agree with Wayne- its interesting how there seems to be a debate over ferber VS. attachment parenting….Like the divide between republican and Democrat. CRAZY! I did both with my son and he is a fabulous wonderful sleeper. At 3.5 years old he goes to bed at 8pm- NON-NEGOTIABLE- every single night. (I mean-except those nights when earlier! haha) I did all the AP stuff early on– I wore the baby in a Maya Wrap 90% of the day for his first year. I mursed for ever, I co-slept…yadayadayada… AND I TRAINED Jade to go back to sleep on his own. At 9 months. I let him cry. He waa ready!!! Fortunately (FOR ME- not him-because I felt like he was okay anyway) he had enough security under his belt and he only cried for a few minutes most of the time. I did it when he started going to bed in his crib- I needed to get him off the boob at night. It worked!!! He still sleeps 12-13 hours a night. It saved my sanity. And still does.
    I am shocked that people seem to think you must do one or the other. I institute many different lines of thought into my personal parenting technique. There cannot be a “SET WAY for ALL BABIES”– because– well… aren’t all babies different? In my realm of baby world I am the only one who had a colicky baby. I am also the only one who co-slept. What do you do? That was just my kid- and our experience.
    Leta is yall’s kid- and ya’ll are amazing parents.
    Close minded people breed close minded people.
    I still view the way I parent as more AP than anything– but I am open to doing the best thing for Jade.
    Ya’ll Rock and so does Leta.

  • allikat

    I read both dooce and blurbomat on a daily basis. The thing I found really funny about this was in the beginning I didn’t even know what Heather meant by saying landmines. When I read it, I was like whatever…who would have something negative to say about that? Boy was I wrong. I would have never thought people would have blasted back like that. I have one child that slept through the night at just a few weeks old, the other not until she was two. I never let her cry for very long periods of time, but I understand the logic and sometimes wished I would have been strong enough to.

  • Maniacal

    I couldn’t do it. Well, scratch that. I kinda do it. I let her cry in her crib sometimes. More like fuss. If she’s REALY crying I go in, if it’s more than a couple of minutes I go in. She sleeps through the night, and she’s 6 months old now, I trained her MY WAY….*shrug* I’m not a “crunchy granola” person, I don’t have a family bed (not that there is anything wrong with that, if that’s YOUR THING) and I don’t think that anyone is horrible that they can let their kids cry (within reason). This worked for us, and truthfully I’m kinda scared to say that I DIDN’T use the cry it out system (or whatever it is) because sheesh…people get all sortsa crazy about this sh*t. WOW!

  • Sara

    I agree with how you guys handles it – I plan on doing the same. but even if I didn’t, every baby is different and may need a different approach, whatever works – works.

    I think many people of this generation don’t realize that yes a babies cry means they need or want something but they learn how to manipulate at an early age (“Look! that big guy will bring me back that bottle no matter how many times I throw it across the room!”). As indicated by the families on the Nanny show.

  • William

    Man, I son’t think you guys could have gotten more opinion if you decided to post about Abortion or Dems vs Reps.

    Nver talk about polictics religion and now ferber.

  • scoxsmith

    Wow! All of this over sleep and babies.

    This is why I never discuss with my friends my son’s ADHD (he’s almost 8). Learned early on that everyone has an opinion, and we are never doing things ‘right’ for him. I’ve gotten used to the looks from other parents when I have to speak very sharply and forcefully to my son to get his attention in public. I am intimately familiar with the burning stare of disapproval. I also want to cry every time he is unable to control his impulsivity around other children and is rebuffed for his awkward social skills. He’s my child and I do my best to help him do his best, even if it means doing it in a way that most other parents will never understand or approve of.

    Guys, you have brought upon yourselves the burning stare of the interwebs.

    One word of advice, if Leta ever is diagnosed as ADHD (and no, I don’t think she would be, because I’m not qualified to assess) keep it to yourselves, because that flood of comments would probably disable every sever in the universe.

  • Paul O.

    Anytime you see someone get so adamant about their point of view, you know they’re trying to convince themselves, not you. If some of the more passionate pro-attachment posters on Heather’s site were interested in actually defending their point of view or persuading others, they would have toned it down considerably.

    I don’t even mean that as an insult, either. Attachment has worked for my wife and me. Also, being new parents, we now see WHY it’s so sensitive; you feel so damned guilty and anxious half the time, you just want to do what’s best. Only when you hit that zen moment of enlightenment–you know, when “best” flies out the window and “what works” is all that matters–does the passion and frustration cool off. The rub is that it takes all that passion and frustration to reach that zen state, so–well, this is a long way of saying I both disliked all the hateful posts against Heather and Jon, but I think I understandd the emotional place they’re coming from.

  • jayfid

    Blurb & Dooce…I really admire you two as parents – maybe more than I should considering you don’t even know me. I think it speaks volumes about your parenting that you actually came up with a plan, implemented it, AND had the strength to stick to your guns. I don’t see how anyone could fault you for that. In my exposure to other parents there are so many that talk, try to reason, threaten, and ultimately never follow-through. Those kids walk all-over their parents. It’s sad to watch…

    I’m not proud of this, but I’m not a very patient person (most likely a by-product of my own chemical imbalance). Patience is something I really have to WORK at. But, because of this I rarely will put up with misbehavior. My kids are happy, they know they are loved – cherished even – AND they know that they are expected to behave. That means going to bed when I tell them (in their own bed, in their own room), using good manners, licking my boots (ok, ok I’m kidding), etc. My kids also know that I’m proud of them for behaving because I make it a point to tell them so. I could be wrong but I like to think that motivates them more than me losing my cool. My point here is, although I really dislike this aspect of my personality, I have to own up to the fact that my quick temper has likely been a contributing factor in teaching my kids how to behave. And is that really SO bad? I mean, I don’t recommend it for other parents, but apparently it has worked. (Quick note to ward off the angry posters – when I say I lose my temper I don’t mean in any physical way. I also don’t put my kids down in front of others in order to embarrass them into behaving. I’m talking about removing them from a situation immediately if they’re being disruptive. I’m talking aobut “snapping” at them and/or taking away priveleges when they’re fighting. That sort of thing. Are we cool?)

    Anyway, It’s evident in everything you post about Leta that you & Heather love, cherish and respect her. Whatever your methods, sounds like a good parenting formula to me. Cheers to you both and your happy little family.

  • Darren Conley

    I congratulate you on sticking to your guns, both in sleep training Leta, and in defending your views in public.

    It’s crazy that parenting, one of the most difficult and important jobs in existence, comes with no manual, and is thrown upon anyone smart enough to figure out how sex works.

    Your love for your daughter is evident, and I couldn’t agree more with the benefits you’ve listed in sleep-training her. Although I have no children yet, I’m going to re-read what you’ve written about your techniques when it comes to training my own kids.

  • Kath :-)

    Meant to comment when I first read your post then never got around to it.

    My parents did the EXACT same thing you and Heather did with Leta. My mom gave birth to 5 kids in 6 years. That was a whole lotta crying. But we all learned to fall asleep on our own.

    You guys rock as parents!

  • Gia on Guam

    I have wanted to comment for a couple days now and was trying to figure out how to say it without putting you or your readers off. I am childless but I do enjoy reading about child rearing methods for future reference… a knowledge bank of sorts. I very much enjoy both your sites and find much value in what I read…informative as well as humourous.

    Here’s where it might get rough… I think your experiences with Leta and with Heather’s illness as well as how you (Jon) have been supportive and caring is a testament to what can go right when things go wrong. No one expects to have post partum depression. No one expects to have a colicky baby. No one expects that their child will refuse to walk at a time when most babies do. No one expects that their dog will wolf down a corndog and have the stick come up whole out the other end. But it has happened to you. Instead of being the picture perfect family, you have had difficulties. You have also been brave enough to share it with the world. Your experiences are a possible worst case scenerio, if you will (yes I am well aware that other people have had to deal with a lot more). Through your blogs, for your readers out there, when things don’t go the way they should, we have a reference tool of sorts…”You see, it wasn’t perfect for Jon and Heather either, but they have managed to work it out with love and understanding.” It’s hope for when times seem really dark.

    It doesn’t help me one iota if your lives were picture perfect. This is the pressure that society puts on us. If your child isn’t doing THIS by THIS time…you’re a bad parent. Not so! and you have proven such.

    I hope I have not mucked it up too badly. So in case it may have gotten lost in there somewhere…I thank you both for your blogs, for sharing with the world and for the laughs.

  • PhotographerLori

    I think you guys are great. I only wish you still lived in LA, so I could take your family portraits! :) And some of Chuck and Leta….those would be some fantastic photographs!

  • blondeinthemidwest

    Amen Jon….Amen…..

  • justadad

    Your challenges and choices very much mirror the parenting experiences my wife and I had with our first and third. We used many books for reference, but found the old Dr. Spock book to be the most sensible and useful. 1st and 3rd were premature, and ate smaller meals more frequently, at first. But letting them cry and learn to self-comfort paid off big time. We left the monitor on, and trained ourselves to distinguish the cries and fusses that should be ignored from those that needed to be attended to. Babies are adaptable. So are parents.

    Our second was really easy, except that he wouldn’t take a bottle, so I couldn’t feed him. So I’d get up and do the diaper change and bring him to my wife. I usually took him back to his crib, too. He just naturally took to sleeping through about 8 hours pretty quickly. And stretched the time out on his own.

    For us, an 11 hour nights sleep, plus a short morning nap and longer afternoon nap worked best. I certainly don’t see any adverse affects from how we dealt with the sleep issue. My kids are healthy, happy, active, polite, and respectful.

    Discipline in our household consists of verbal correction and occasional withholding of privileges. Never physical punishment. (My wife and I were both spanked, as kids. We didn’t like it, and won’t do it. Other parents do. We don’t judge. We just do what we are comfortable with.)

    I find as time goes by, parenting becomes easier, and more natural. Now we have two teens, and a pre-teen. There are still challenges, but a little thought, and a occasional referal to a book for information usually do the trick.

    I really like being a dad. I can tell you do, too. I’m unbelievably jealous that you’ve found a way to work from home and spend so much time with Leta. I’m just glad I was able to make it possible for my wife to do so.

    BTW – I’m really nuts for babies and toddlers. They are all about fun. Diapers are no big thing. Diaper changing is an excellent opportunity for silly baby games, and giggling. Babies see the amazing in the most ordinary things. I’ve learned more about the world from my babies than anything else. Amazingly, I continue to learn from my kids as they grow older. I’m in no hurry, but I suspect I’ll really enjoy being a grandparent, too.

    I enjoy watching Leta grow through your blogs. She reminds me so much of my daughter at that age.

  • KelliT61903

    I read (and commented) in Heather’s blog…then read the last few comments. It’s been on my mind all day.

    I kept thinking of various rebuttals I’d have to the insane comments I read…and then came here. You pretty much summed up anything I would have said to those that accused you both of being HORRIBLE, ABUSIVE parents.

    Just wanted to say Amen, and word.

  • Laura

    I can’t comment on sleep training as I am nowhere near having a kid, but I now have a mental image of Chuck wearing reading glasses and reading some Kant by the fireplace. HEE!

  • melmo

    Crying for babies = talking for toddlers. Babies don’t have any words, so they express through crying. It’s heart wrenching to hear, but it’s their way of communicating. We should all keep this in mind.

  • ranzino

    Put me in the camp of your supporters for this method. I cannot imagine what two weeks would have felt like though. With our now 2 1/2 year old we did the same thing at about 6 months. Fortunately, for us it only took 2-3 days (a la the book) and it was over.

    These days we have a happy healthy little boy who sleep from 7:15 at night till about 6:30 am (with a two hour nap in between) and would sleep even more if we let him.

    Bedtime is a fun time filled with stories, songs, and love. It’s one of my favorite parts of the day. I can’t imagine it any other way.

  • kjc

    Bravo to you and Heather. One less kid I’d see in public having a temper tantrum because of: lack of sleep, used to having their way, spoiled rotten, etc. That is… if I lived in Utah!

  • Sarah

    You and Heather don’t deserve attacks! You deserve kudos! You’re actually RAISING your child, which in recent years seems to have gone tragically out of vogue – people suddenly argue that teaching their children manners, how to sleep, etc. will irrevocably harm them.

    Be proud of yourself. You’ve got a wonderful little toddler that you are raising right.

  • mo-wo

    But if we focus on having a child that sleeps well, among other things, how can we martyr ourselves on our parenthood? If our kids are treated as developing humans with needs they cannot anticipate will we not be expected to be interested and engaged parents who might enjoy our children.

  • annepet

    It’s always gratifying to add one’s twopennorth to this sort of thing. We have two children – a neurotic 4 year old, and a determined 2 year old. We seemed to repeatedly sleep train the older one – and, for him, to have left him to CIO would have been traumatic. Instead, at bedtime we did a gradual withdrawal – so from sitting next to him, to sitting by the door, to sitting in the doorway with just my toes visible, to sitting outside the room – and now he’s fine.

    The younger one – yes we did let her CIO – we tried going in after increasing intervals, but she just became even more outraged than if we left her to it. And I reached the stage where I was simply so exhausted that I slept through a lot of it.

    And (cross hat on here) – to those who think that letting one’s child CIO is about the parents getting 10 hours – no, in our case it was more about getting more than 4 broken hours every night, so that we could actually function as human beings (and therefore parents) the rest of the time. For those for whom letting the baby latch on to the all-night milk bar works – great – for us, no it didn’t.

    So put me in your supporters’ camp – we didn’t do exactly what you did, but we did what worked *for the whole family*

  • Karihun

    We sleep trained our now 8 month old in a somewhat similar way. People are amazed when they are over at our house and we just lay him down in his room and walk out and they don’t hear him cry in protest. He does the same thing if we are at someone else’s house also. He is a much happier baby with sleep and I am a much happier and less stressed out mama!!! Heather is lucky to have such a supportive hubby. (When we first start training my son Lucas my husband wanted to just go pick him up he couldn’t take the crying… or Lucas or me the first night.. but when we saw it worked we realized it was the best thing we’ve done for Lucas so far)

  • mindymax

    Wanted to comment on Heather’s blog but then things ‘turned’ and I decided to skip it. But I agree so much with how you are describing the
    reason(s)you let Leta CIO.

    We didn’t sleep train our first and did sleep train our 2nd. We learned from our mistakes and were emphatically determined to NOT repeat the wrongs we made with #1 with #2. My sanity was strained to the limit w/ #1.

    I agree completely with your comments – kids cry. They cry a lot ‘cuz they’re not happy with things a lot. That’s part of being a kid – whether the kids is an infant, a toddler or wherever they are in their life stage. It’s not abuse or cruel. It isn’t in any way a reflection of the parenting skills of the parents. They’re kids. They don’t like being told what to do and when to do it – but they have to be told – and have to be taught so they’ll learn. For their sakes as well as for those around them.

    Keep doing what you’re doing (both of you). Leta’s fine. And while the comments on H’s blog took an interesting turn, I’m still really glad to be able to comment.

    Congrats to you both on becoming an “LLC”.

  • Amanda

    I don’t have kids and don’t have much of an opinion (except that anything that prevents obnoxious, spoiled, “Cambridge kids” from existing is a good thing). But I did want to say the one thing I can’t believe about all the controversy on your wife’s entry is the fact that a certain arguing party blamed HER for letting the argument go “on and on and on.” I’m sorry, unless it is physically impossible for you to comment on a website, you just can’t stop yourself from doing it?

    Although you and your wife unfortunately do not experience this, in my opinion it is not up to the owner of a -blog- to control what the frighteningly aggressive general masses choose to say to each other (as your wit-tempered “paranoid section of the site” attests). It is a not a public forum, and Heather is not a “moderator.” It is a blog where she gets to write about her life and people get to read it. Funny how so many people fail to understand that no matter how many times she says it.