How Much Crying Is Okay?
I want to sleep train but I'm not sure how much crying I should allow...
Some level of crying is pretty much inevitable when we shake up our child’s sleep expectations… but how much crying is ok? There are no official crying guidelines, and every family and child is so different.
While I don’t have a concrete answer, there are some important things to consider when thinking about sleep training and crying.
1) We can minimize and unnecessary tears! There are many ways we can do this, starting way before the first bedtime put down even happens. It’s okay to allow your child to protest the big changes you’re making… It’s not okay to start sleep training without ensuring you have set your child up for the best possible independent sleep scenario.
2) We should always sleep train fairly. By this I mean not rocking/feeding/holding your child to sleep at bedtime, then letting them cry it out during a night waking. It is unfair to ask a child to learn independent sleep in the middle of the night because we are fed up with their wake ups. Sleep work should always begin at bedtime!
3) It’s important that you feel comfortable with the sleep training approach. There are different methods of sleep training and variations to each method are possible as well! You don’t have to leave your child to cry during the process if you don’t want to, being there to respond to your baby can be a part of your plan! Parents who attempt to sleep train in a way they are not fully comfortable with are almost never successful and failed attempts often lead to increased crying the next time around.
So, if you’re wondering how long you should let your child cry for, my question back to you is:
“Are you following a plan that you’re comfortable with, or are you just figuring it out as you go?”
If it is the latter, I strongly suggest that you hit pause to map out a plan of action to sleep train fairly, successfully, and in a way that you feel good about.