I am a social worker and parent in Australia concerned about the western practice of a method called 'controlled crying' that is used on infants to get them to sleep. This blog talks about the use of this method and other parenting methods. Search all the information on this site to be better informed about the practice of controlled crying. For any comments or questions, my email is

Monday, July 03, 2006

What is Controlled Crying?

My understanding of controlled crying is anything that involves leaving a baby to cry. Basically it means that a baby is put in a cot and a parent or carer leaves the room, re-entering at increasing intervals of time to ‘comfort’ or ‘reassure’ the baby while they cry, usually by putting one hand on the baby, but NOT looking at or picking up the baby. This usually results in the baby ‘learning’ to go to sleep. Some believe it involves the carer leaving the baby to cry without going in to the baby at all. This has to be repeated night after night until the baby ‘learns’ to sleep on its own, or gives up looking for comfort, care and attention.

A modified technique could be the carer staying in the room, limiting comfort for the child while in the cot (patting or shhing), or picking baby up when they are getting too upset to settle (vomiting or other physical effects of controlled crying) and then replacing in the cot when calm. To me, both ‘softer’ methods still involve leaving a baby to cry and are thus still controlled crying, although probably called something else, but still most likely producing the same result in the babies brain and emotions.

Search this blog in the June 2006 archives to find information and BE INFORMED about the reasons WHY controlled crying seems to work.

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