Huggies Forum

Huggies® Ultimate

Learn More
  1. home
  2. Baby Forum
  3. Baby
  4. Sleep & Settling
  5. Controlled crying or uncontrolled screaming??

Controlled crying or uncontrolled screaming?? Lock Rss

My son is 8 months old he knows how to settle himself and is perfect to put down for two sleeps a day of an hour to an hour and a half. At night time he is a different baby, he'll put himself to sleep, at 7 pm, I'm doing a routine wher he has what is called a dream feed, at 10.30 pm, which is where he is fed without waking him up, but he still wakes at between 2 and 3.30 where he cries and needs to be settled by me to go back to sleep. He then only sleeps on and off til 6.30 am. I am very tired and have been told to let him cry it out so he learns to resettle himself til morning. we tried this and he screamed for 2 hours in the night, I'd go in after 10 minutes offer him a drink of water, wind him as he always gets bad wind, then lie him back down wher he would slowly build up to a scream again. I felt like a terrible mother, and although he eventually went to sleep I am already dreading to night. Has anyone actually had success with this controlled crying? I'm told to continue this process for a couple of nights to let it work, and I don;t think i could handle another night like the last. Is anyone in the same boat? How can I make it easier on both of us without taking a step backwards? I am exhausted and depressed as I'm isolated with no support I am finding it harder and harder to deal with my little one in the day. Any suggestions would be of great help

Liams Mum,NZ,14mth boy

Hi there,

I found it to worked really well with my son, but it does take a few nights. It is hard at first, but when they get through those first few nights, it is so much easier to cope!! Do you have someone there with you?? I found my husband to be really valuable while using the controlled comforting technique as we had each other to lean on when we were finding it hard. There is heaps of information out there about this technique.. a book that I found really helped me was 'Silent Nights' by Brian Symon. One point that was made, was to try to settling bubs in the cot instead of picking them up and that sometimes it helps if someone else settles them, so that they do not smell your milk if you are breastfeeding. You will find that there are variations to the technique, but I think that the important thing is to find a balance of them that you are happy with, and try to stick to it.

Also if you do use the technique, make sure that you persist with it for a few days - some may take longer than others to learn to settle. I know that there was a point during the technique that I read a lot of people saying negative comments about it, which just made me feel like crap, but I decided that if I stopped in the middle of it, then it would all have been a waste, and I would feel even worse.

So with Riley, it took a few days and occasionally he would have a bad night, but he is a great sleeper now!!! He is 12mths old and lays down in bed and waits for me to tuck him in!!! He sleeps through until about 7am most mornings and is a very happy little boy!! He definately knows that he is loved and I know that the controlled comforting did not have any negative effects on him. It is just hard to hear them cry as it is a parents instinct to comfort them. If you know that there is nothing else wrong with them and you do go in to comfort them at intervals then know that you are being a good mum.

The book I mentioned before, points out that we all have triggers to get us to sleep... like we brush our teeth and get a drink of water and have our snuggly pillow... So if for example we had our pillow taken and given another one, then most of us would have trouble getting to sleep as easily, but after a while we would become used to it, and then would not have any trouble. So our bubs just need to be reprogrammed to go to sleep a new way. If they go to sleep in your arms, then that is where they always want to go to sleep. If they adjust to going to sleep in bed, then they find it easy.

This is just my opinions and experiences with the technique as I am sure that you will get many other opinions, it can be a bit of a hot topic. Just look inside your heart and do what you think is the right thing smile

Linda - mum to Riley 13.04.04 (#2 Due 29.12.05)

Linda - I read your above post. Thanks for your thoughts - I was beginning to think I was a bad mother after reading other forums here on this as you said "hotly debated" topic.

Cheers - I know I'm doing the right thing!

Hi Liams Mum

My son went through a similar thing when he was about 7 months. It could be separation anxiety - most babies experience this to some degree between 8 & 9 months old. I would keep going in and reassuring him every few minutes like you have been doing - I wouldn't leave him just to cry it out by himself though. I agree with what Linda said about giving it a few days for him to learn to settle by himself. I used settling techniques as taught by Karitane (a sleep clinic) and it's very much hands on - they don't recommend that you leave your baby crying for long periods of time. They have a website with all the techniques outlined :

If you click on the 'Survival Tips for Parents' link you will find all the info there. I found it worked really well for us - and the thing I liked most was that it didn't involve leaving my son to cry for long periods of time. It does take most babies a few days to learn to settle. Do you have a child health nurse or midwife you can call or go and see for advice and support. They should be able to put you in touch with a sleep clinic. Another person who could give you some advice is Maree Viotto in the General Topics section on this site.

I hope things get better for you soon.
Daniel, 6mths, 7mths in 2 weeks has just started controlled crying and has taken to it really well. We stopped bottle feeding him to sleep and just placed him in his cot and let him cry. It started out taking 15 minutes and now he has it down to 5 minutes. (within 3 days). He was waking sometimes at about 3am and crying for an hour, however we worked out he was hungry and cold. So, we make sure he's full before he goes to bed and now put him in a sleeping bag so he can't kick the covers off, because he doesn't have any. I found starting the controlled crying during the day when someone else is home as well as you is the best because you can handle anything during the day and you'll have someone else to help you. I put the timer on for 2mins, go in, put his dummy in, stroke his cheek and leave, then at 5mins I do it again and usually by the 10mins one, he's asleep. We also refuse to feed him before 5am, hard I know, and yes you do feel awful but you have to remember, it's the best thing to do in the long run. We also have a aquarium on his cot which has a wave sound which puts him to sleep as it sounds like the 'sshing' I used to do. Goodluck and I hope this helps, please let me know!

Lou, WA, 2yr old & due in December

my son had been waking a bit during the night for the last two weeks but i know now it was he was cutting 2 molers(hes only 10 months) but i was just wondering have you tryed not giving him that dream feed??? i know your probly think oh he might get hungry during the night. well i think maybe he might be getting a tummy ache, i dont think at that age they really need a dream feed. let him wake you if hes hungry. at least then hes waking cause hes hungry offer him his feed then he will probly feed then go straight back to sleep. my son woke for a feed through the night till he was 8 months now he sleeps from 6:30pm till 7am.
he might be in a great deep sleep then you are disturbing that sleep giving him a feed. i hope im some help here and i really think its worth a shot as you have nothing to loose. also he maybe teething and that can cause lots of sleepless nights.
i hope it works out for you! good luck


Dear Liam's mum

I am writing this a couple of days after you asked for advice, so you may have already made your mind up on this one ... but, to be the dissenting voice here [and no doubt upset a few] I really think the title of your post makes clear the doubts you were having about CC. And I think you should stick with those feelings. Controlled crying is bad for baby - and parent - so I am hoping that you did not have to carry it out.

I have only recently joined this forum and already I am quite disturbed by the apparent numbers of mums doing CC with their babies - some even under 6 months of age. I have gone on and on in a couple of posts so won't do it here, but will direct you to them.

Newborn>Sleep&Settling>Sleeping at night 2 there]

Newborn>Sleep&Settling>Is it meant to be this hard?

The bottom line is that, because of the known dangers, controlled crying/controlled comforting is no longer condoned by the experts [go to AAIMHI and read their position statement].

I know that there still many midwives and health professionals advocating this method too, but the more recently trained are educated re' attachment parenting and do not encourage it - and some older practitioners are being retrained so, hopefully,soon all will reflect the current recommendations.

Remember, too, that 8 months is the classic age for babies to suffer separation anxiety when they cannot see their mum - maybe a reason for this night waking?? if he doesn't sleep in the same room??

Hope all works out for you soon

Hi Liams mum

the advise youve been given on getting bub to cry it out is not neccessairly CC - are you following the correct CC steps? 2 mins in - 2 mins out 4 in 4 out etc?

it does get easier but the first few nights are always the hardest

Its also a good idea to have a quick gp check up ifirst to check for ear infections etc etc just to make sure you aren't ignoring something painful.

and also if you are going to do it try and have someone supporting you through it so that you dont quit half way through as that makes everything harder.

Good luck


Steph VIC Mummy to one gorgeous boy

Sign in to follow this topic