I've been reading a lot about AP versus the BabyWise style of "cry-it-out" parenting. My husband and I are looking to start a family soon so we're considering which style (or combination of styles) might be best for us. My sister has done BabyWise (though not to a T) and swears by it, but in reading more about it, I find some of it a bit disturbing. On the other hand, there are aspects of AP that seem a bit extreme as well. Is there a balanced approach out there (and any balanced books as well that would be helpful)?


Thanks everybody!

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We decided to pick and choose the aspects that worked best for us.  We don't CIO but have also learned to decipher LO's cry so we know when we don't need to run over and soothe.


What I found most important for us is to not schedule feedings like Babywise does (we BF on cue) and babywearing.  With research and trial you will find the balance that works best for you.

Thanks, Jessica!  :o)


I've been reading a bit about babywearing as well and I really like the concept. I've heard that slings (especially the Moby Wrap and others that keep the baby extra close) can make a baby too hot, and of course there's that big scare about them (which I think they're probably blowing out of proportion). Any you'd particularly recommend?


Thanks again!

The scare about them was from a recall of a specific type of sling that didn't give baby good posture and prevented proper breathing.


Done right babywearing is great.  It saved my sanity during colic periods, help alleviate reflux and helps LO sleep when nothing else works.  It's the only way that we get to grocery shop uninterrupted!


My personal favorites are the Ergo and the Baby K'Tan.  The Ergo is hot outdoors when using the infant insert but the Baby K'Tan Breeze is perfect for outdoors in Florida as it breathes very well and prevents LO from overheating.


Everybody has different carriers that they prefer, you may not like these and find others you love.

My daughter loves the Moby wrap. She'll cozy up in it and go to sleep; people are always amazed at this :).  But every baby is different; some babies prefer other carriers...it just depends on his or her preference.

Okay, I haven't read baby wise, but I did read the 5 pages (yes, you read that right...only 5:)) in a book called _The Moms on Call Guide to Basic Baby Care: The first Six Months_ by Laura Hunter (LPN) and Jennifer Walker (RN, BSN).  The chapter I'm referring to was in Section three: Routine and it was called " Getting your baby to sleep". It only takes THREE nights and then you'll be done. For me, I was not interested in the least in letting my daughter bawl for a week or even a month as I've heard some do. Besides, I've heard that long term 'cry it out' has been linked to ADHD, ADD, etc. But 3 days...especially with the first day being the worse generally, is humane, I feel. And there are scenarios where they say that you should intervene....they break down when in the few pages.


You might also be interested in _Bed Timing: The 'When-to' guide to helping your child sleep_.  It was published in 2009, and is a MIRACLE. Because all these other books tend to ignore the fact that, from the standpoint of research and science in developmental psychology, there are flat out bad times to sleep train. If I hadn't read this book, I would've been confused as to why some people swear by 'cry it out' and other people say that this method - or some other one - didn't work and NOTHING could get baby to sleep through the night. The fact is, a lot of people for whom 'cry it out' or some other method worked just so happened to sleep train their child within the months that were best for sleep training. I've heard parents let the baby cry it out for a month, and if they'd just have bought this book, they would've known that the reason the baby STILL can't sleep through the night is that they are sleep training the baby at the absolute worse time developmentally. If you buy no other book, by this one. In case you can't get ahold of the book, here's the breakdown:


2.5-4 months = good for sleep training (but authors admit this may still be too early for some babies

4-5.5 months= bad for sleep training

5.5-7.5 months= good for sleep training

8-11 months = bad for sleep training

12-16 months=good for seep training

17-21 months=bad for sleep training

22-27 months=good for sleep training

28-3yrs old=bad for sleep training

3-3.5 years=good for sleep training

3.5-4 years=bad for sleep training


I cannot possibly type out all the reasons the explain in the book that psychology has proven which are good times and which are bad, but you can buy it or borrow it from the library if you want the full explanation. I think that explanation is really helpful to read. It's written by Dr. Marc Lewis who is a professor of child psychology and neuroscience at the University of Toronto (Canada's most prestigious research university) and Dr. Isabela Granic who is a research scientist and studies child behavior problems at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. They are both parents of twin boys.


The three day method I mentioned first worked for me. My daughter only whimpered for half and hour, though, so she never actually cried really. But no matter if you want to let the baby cry it out or use an AP method, the second book I talked about in this response is a Must.


Good luck :)

Ooooh, thanks for this, Marci!  I actually just heard a talk on a website called Familylife.com by the authors of "The Moms on Call Guide..." and it was really good.  They also reiterated the 3 night rule, which I must admit sounds too good to be true, but it still sounds good!  :o)  That combined with knowing when is best to start sleep training sounds excellent.  Thanks so much!



Thanks, Jenn!  I've come across Elizabeth Pantley's books as I've been looking into this topic and The No-Cry Sleep Solution is definitely on my list of must-reads!  :o)  I will also have a look at some of the wraps you mentioned.  Do any of them have 2 straps like the Moby?  With my back I know I'll need something that balances the weight over both shoulders instead of one.


Thanks again for your input!  I really appreciate how helpful everyone has been.  You ladies are great!!



Ah!  Got it.  Thanks!  :o)

 Any method can be taken to the extreme and even in AP--it's only "natural parenting" if it works for your child/family. Example, if your baby is unhappy being worn a lot and you still insist on doing it b/c thats what the AP books say then that IMO IS NOT natural parenting b/c it isn't taking into account the MOST important thing--the needs of the child.


Any one method that promises to work for all babies all the time needs to be thrown in the trash. All babies are different and no one thing/method will be effective for all babies. I found that the more I tried to train my babies the worse their sleep got. However, when I followed their lead they would naturally fall into a sch that worked w/their circadian rythyms. My 14 YO & 5Yo were both great sleepers. Napped well, in bed early every night. Still to this day they both go to bed fairly early & wake up bright eyed ready to go. My 1 YO not so much. He likes to stay up late & will sleep til 9 in the morning and he is not such a happy baby in the morning, takes him awhile to wake up. My Mom thinks it's funny...she says I was the same way (to this day I am still a night owl & HATE mornings...) So any method/book that doesn't account for differences in natural body rhythms is based on faulty theories.


My advice, pick & choose what works for you and your baby.   Once my kids have developed object permanance I encourage them to sooth themselves to sleep (notice I said encourage not force). I will let them fuss, never scream, for while and 90% of the time they go to sleep on their own. However, since I always nurse my baby's to sleep we almost never had any issues getting them to do so...I also co-slp so middle of the night feedings for us were no big deal, we nurse & nap all night :-) When he does wake up to nurse (yes he still does at around 4) I put him in bed w/me & we nurse & nap rest of the night. I don't have a prob w/this so it works for us. I have done this w/all 3 kids (w/ small diff for the needs of each kid but basically same way) and so far it has worked--no training involved. No specific cookie cutter method used.


Before you decide to do Babywise check out this link. It is actually VERY bad for kids--as a matter of fact the developers are estranged from their children and have been excommunicated fr their church...not the best end result for ppl promising you they have the best way to parent your kids



Hi Sara!  Thanks for sharing what's worked for you.  Yes, I have heard plenty of disturbing things about the Babywise method as well as the authors themselves and have no intentions of following their recommendations.  I do want to start encouraging a routine with our kids from the start, but not so much a schedule, if that makes sense.  I'm hoping that all of this will just seem natural and "right" once we get going and that we'll know what's best for each individual child/baby.


You mentioned that you started to encourage your children to soothe themselves once they had developed "object permanance."  Can you delve a little deeper into this?  I'm curious as to what you mean exactly.


Thanks again!  This is really helpful!

Your welcome. I LOVE routines. I thrive on them. So do my kids. We fall into a routine that takes ind'v diff into account. And you are so right that it will seem natural and right.

I have a BS in Elementary Education and had to take 60 hours of Child Development. The knowledge & experienced I gained has really shaped my parenting. I "filter" everything kids do through my knowledge of child development. So, about object permanance & why I feel its relevant in AP/CIO discussion...


Ever heard the saying "Out of sight, Out of mind?" For very small babies that is literally true. If they cannot see it it does not exist. Babies do everything they do based on instinct, b/c they don't have the brain power to preform "cognitive" functions. **Human babies brains are very underdeveloped at birth. This is necessary b/c if brains were fully devp't their head would be too big to fit through our pelvis. Other mammals don't have the same issue because the don't walk upright.**  They cannot recall or form any images or details of things that they are not looking at. They cannot "want" or "cry" for something that they cannot recall, imagine, OR preform an even higher cognitive function--predicting effects of their behavior on their environment (I don't want to be in bed, if I cry someone will come get me out of bed).

Basically, this means when they are screaming in their beds or crying to be held they aren't crying for "Mommy" or trying to get out of bed or resisting a nap...they can't DO any of those things yet. They are simply acting on instinct--they have a biological need (instincts only exist in things that are innate) and are crying to get it filled. If this need is simply to be removed from the bed and/or be in someone's arms then that biological need was for physical, cognitive, & emotional attention/stimulation. This is imperative in the health, growth, & devp't of an infant. If an infant gets too little of this attention-extreme cases--it can cause devl'ptal delays and one that gets NO attention/interaction will stop growing and die. This has happened in Russian orpahanages and helped theorists realize how biological the need for being "loved on" really was--it provides the stimulation the baby's brain needs to develop the neurons necessary to eventually be able to have higher cognitive functions. 


As they begin to mature, about 4-5 mos, they are still acting on mostly instinct to get needs met but are able to recall the ppl closest to them, usually primary caregiver/s. And know that THAT is how they get their needs met :-) They can begin to remember that Mommy person (or whomever closely cares for them) they know they want you but they believe that since they can't see you you no longer exist--you have disappeared. It is not suprising they cry when you leave the room--as far as they know you no longer exist--poof that person that always takes care of me is GONE.


Object permanance is when they develop the ability to remember/recall things that they cannot see and know they still exist. They know that you didn't disappear, that you are in the other room. They usually develop this concept around 7-9 mos. You will know if they have devlp'd this concept when you can take a toy, put it under the blanket w/them watching, and they pick up the blanket looking for the toy. They know it still exists even though they can't see it.  


When they develop object permanance they know that I am in the next room. Since, I always respond consistently & contientiously to their needs they have a secure attachment and KNOW I will meet always meet their needs (look up John Bowlby's Theory of Attachment for info on this). Now, they can also begin to understand that their behavior affects their environment. So, now they can start to develop "intention" in their behavior. They don't want to be in bed and know that if they cry Mommy will come and get them out. (This is also when they start to expiriment w/what all crying can get them--they will cry for things they want and protest w/crying if they can't have it. They are both communicating, expressing a need/want and learning how much of what they want crying can get them.


When you say some AP can be extreme...this is usually where opinions diverge. Some AP parents don't believe that they should be left to fuss at all. If they want out then respect their needs & get them out.  Others believe its OK to fuss a little but for limited time and never if they are very upset. CIO parents believe that they will learn what is expected of them--what they really learn though is that since it doesn't get a response from caregiver it is ineffective so they stop trying to communicate their need.


We find a happy medium. We let them to fuss a little once they have reached this stage and gradually decrease the intensity of our responses to match their level of understanding. If they know what nite nite is & what it means and they know that I am in the next room and will ALWAYS respond to their needs...then they can understand that b/c it is bedtime they won't be left to be afraid, hungry, thirsty, or uncomfortable or be abandoned until morning. BUT they also will not be allowed to get out of bed & run around, play, watch TV, be interacted w/ (other than to nurse). That's not what we do at nite. We gradually decrease our interaction w/them upon night wakenings until they no longer need it. Anytime they scream or are upset or are just not going back to sleep we always get them up.


The developmental theory behind this is that kids w/secure attachment will naturally assert/gravitate towards independance based on their developmental level, and their cognitive & emotional development/stage.  


Look up Jean Piaget & Erik Erikson. Piaget is the theorist behind object permanance & Erikson talks about the social stages of development. I am interested to see what your thoughts are about what I've said.  

Sara, that is really helpful!  Thank you!  I just read it to my husband and he said, "That's a fantastically well-rounded response!"  :o)  Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!  This has given us a lot of food for thought as we look ahead to the birth of our baby.


One of the big arguments against AP that I come up against is that AP parents don't get any sleep.  I would have to say that I am somewhat concerned about this, particularly for my husband as I can nap during the day but he can't.  Any thoughts?


Thanks again!  This has been hugely helpful!!!  I will definitely be looking further into this subject.  Now that you mention the object permanence, I vaguely remember studying this in one of my college psych classes as well and it really makes sense.  Have you come across any parenting books based on this concept?


Sarah :o)



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