Is it REALLY OK to leave a baby to “Cry-it-out”? How to get your baby to sleep

Is it REALLY OK to leave a baby to “Cry-it-out”? How to get your baby to sleep

By Lauren Paris

Block your ears peeps or stock up on ear plugs.
For it seems we’re about to be hit with an influx of screaming babies, left to cry on their own, in their cots, while parents happily ignore them.

Media outlets around the world are publishing headlines such as:

“It's OK to let your baby cry himself to sleep, study finds”
“New research says 'Cry It Out' baby sleep method doesn't harm babies”

“Parents Shouldn't Feel Guilty About Training Babies to Sleep”

Media outlets are claiming ‘Cry-it-out’ is OK; that letting your precious baby cry itself to sleep causes no harm, after the American Pediatrics journal published results of decade-long Flinders University research.

“Dr Gradisar said the 43 participants were retested for salivary cortisol 12 months later, and again researchers couldn’t find any harmful effects on children’s behaviour or emotions,” according to Adelaide Now.

“He said that mothers of children who didn’t sleep well were at a two-times greater risk of developing maternal depression, and improving sleep through controlled crying could actually outweigh the stress some parents felt when conducting the method.

Precious babies. Love, cherish, respond to.

“While Dr Gradisar advocated ‘bedtime fading’ as a gentler sleep method, he said controlled crying should definitely be available for parents.

“Dr Gradisar said more research was now needed to see if the results could be replicated and parents could further rest easy.”

Such studies are fascinating for parents. The research findings are very interesting/ good to know.

I can understand why and how Controlled Crying may work for some, however, my real concern here is the media’s focus on “cry-it-out” instead of “controlled crying” and that the research relates to babies and toddlers aged from 6-16 months. Not younger than 6 months.

There’s a HUGE difference. 

Consider how many sleep deprived mums are now seeing headlines pop up in their news feeds suggesting it’s OK to just leave their babies to scream until they pass out from exhaustion, with their needs unmet. Well, that really doesn’t sit well with me.

CIO = leaving bubs to cry themselves to sleep to enforce a strict routine (when baby could be crying due to hunger/ wind/ wet nappy).

CC = parent checks on bub at intervals, for example, 1 min, 2 min, 5 min, 8 min to reassure them and then starts process again.

Even the researcher in charge of the study (Dr Gradisar) advocated “bedtime fading” as a gentler sleep method. NOT CIO!


It’s a shame that many people are encouraged to program their babies, these precious little humans, into becoming robots who feed and sleep at set times.
Instead of, I don’t know… FOLLOWING their needs, responding to their communication – which is in the form of crying because they can’t talk yet - and watching for their tired signs so they can tell YOU when they’re ready for sleep!

 If they’re crying, it’s usually because they’re wet, dirty, hungry, thirsty, or in need of some affection. 

What if I told you, you CAN have your baby sleeping well using a GENTLE approach!?
It worked for us. We had our second child sleeping through from around 4/5 months old (and was still demand breastfed in awake times) and our twins from 5 months (they were also demand-tandem breastfed).
No leaving babies to scream. Ever.

Breastfed to sleep and happily/gently transitioned into self-settling in their cots so they could sleep through from 5 months.

“Bedtime fading is the more preferred technique parents choose when provided both options. … It’s a gentle technique that works quickly,” Gradisar told Fox13Now adding that the university’s website has instructions on how to carry out both sleep training methods.

What’s more, the study offers an alternative to letting babies cry it out.Dr Gradisar advocates a gentle approach, however the media are running with the ‘let your babies cry’ line without any concern regarding the huge impact this will have on many mothers around the world, who are already vulnerable in their sleep-deprived haze, and may not realise the age range (the huge impact CIO or CC could have on babies younger than 6 months!) and the differences between CIO and CC.

In her book ‘Sleeping Like a Baby’ (extract on author Pinky McKay, an International Board certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) specializing in gentle parenting techniques said controlled crying and other similar regimes may indeed work to produce a self-soothing, solitary sleeping infant. 

However, the trade-off could be an anxious, clingy or hyper-vigilant child or even worse, a child whose trust is broken.

“In teaching a baby to fall asleep alone, it is due to a process that neurobiologist Bruce Perry calls the ‘defeat response’. Normally, when humans feel threatened, our bodies flood with stress hormones and we go into ‘fight’ or ‘flight’. 
However, babies can’t fight and they can’t flee, so they communicate their distress by crying. 
When infant cries are ignored, this trauma elicits a ‘freeze’ or ‘defeat’ response. Babies eventually abandon their crying as the nervous system shuts down the emotional pain and the striving to reach out,” Pinky’s book says.

“One explanation for the success of ‘crying it out’ is that when an infant’s defeat response is triggered often enough, the child will become habituated to this. That is, each time the child is left to cry, he ‘switches’ more quickly to this response. 
This is why babies may cry for say, an hour the first night, twenty minutes the following night and fall asleep almost immediately on the third night (if you are ‘lucky’). 
They are ‘switching off’ (and sleeping) more quickly, not learning a legitimate skill.”

Sleepy cherubs.

A parenting educator I am friends with raised a valid point:
“Who benefits from CIO system? Yes, sleep training practitioners. 
And what other impact is there? CIO is not conducive with a strong breastfeeding relationship; so who would benefit if breastfeeding is interrupted? Just saying? Why the push all of a sudden with lots of publicity?”

Apparently the real winners here are formula companies and sleep trainers such as one who advocates leaving your baby to cry even if it vomits.

To the rest of the mothers struggling to digest this new information that goes completely against your natural instincts, I say, follow your gut and respond to that baby a thousand times.

Love them, hug them, cherish them, nourish them and reassure them.

This ‘sleep deprived’ state won’t last forever, there ARE alternatives to CIO or CC (you can have your babies sleeping well by using gentle techniques I used on my own babies).

(We started putting our bubs down if they were drifting off to sleep during a feed. Soon they were able to happily self settle and could peacefully transition through sleep cycles without the need for a ‘sleep association’ - such as breast or bottle - and could sleep through. 
Though they do suck their finger/ thumb.)

Go to your baby, love your baby, comfort your baby. They're not babies for long.

My happy twincesses were able to sleep through using a gentle approach.

What are YOUR thoughts?

Lauren Paris is a multi-award-winning journalist and former magazine editor who juggles working as a business consultant/ social media manager/content producer/ parenting coach and breastfeeding educator as well as life as a mum to her 4 young children (including 2-year-old twins who were happily demand-tandem breastfed until their 2nd birthday and were HAPPILY sleeping 10 hours each night in their cots by 5 months old using a GENTLE approach). 


Breastfeeding twins - Celebrating 2 years!

Personal best - 18 months of breastfeeding twins

What helps my twins sleep through the night?

Creating a rod for your own back...what's so wrong with feeding your bub to sleep?

This is how we do. How we became accidental cosleepers

Secret garden: Great Gold Coast park - RACV Royal Pines Resort

Secret garden: Great Gold Coast park - RACV Royal Pines Resort

By Lauren - Gold Coast Mum

My family and I have been visiting the fenced children's play park within the RACV Royal Pines Resort in Benowa for a few years now - and we LOVE it!

We were there visiting friends who were staying at the resort yesterday.
After sharing a pic on the Gold Coast Mum Facebook and Instagram accounts, there was a great response so I thought I'd share more details and pics here.

We regularly have friends and family members visiting the Gold Coast and they choose to stay at the Resort due to the fab location and facilities (multiple restaurants, golf, 5-star day spa, gym and more - all of which we have been fortunate enough to enjoy on multiple occasions).

(Before we moved to the Gold Coast from Sydney, and before we had kids, I visited the Resort for work events. 
When I was a magazine editor, I was flown up a couple of years in a row to attend a Women's Tennis Tournament held at the resort - and it was a great chance to also visit my family who moved up here around 10 years ago.)

During our second year of living on the Gold Coast (while we were figuring out where we wanted to live permanently), we rented a home within the Royal Pines Estate for 12 months  - which was fab as we could hear/ see the Metricon Stadium and could hear/see fireworks when special events were being held.
It was a beautiful community and we thoroughly enjoyed our time there.
The fenced park is a huge hit with my kids - all aged 6 and under 6.
And, best of all, it's somewhere I can actually relax a tiny bit and engage in conversation, knowing the kids are safe.

There's climbing equipment, slide, swings, bouncy things and, a jumping pillow!

The park area features picnic tables and plenty of space to set up a picnic rug.
The kids love running up and down the pathway surrounded by the gorgeous landscaped gardens.

For toilet breaks, you walk back into the resort. 
I always ensure we leave the restrooms looking clean and tidy for the comfort of other resort guests (eg my way of thinking is I don't want conference delegates or golfers to get annoyed by kids throwing paper towel everywhere - which can sometimes happen with my 4, so I make a point of keeping tidy).

Off one of the Resort's restaurants and terrace area (where we've also enjoyed lunch/celebrated birthdays before) is the pool area.There are slippery dips and 'beach' areas as well as plenty of deck chairs to relax and unwind.
The new aqua zone for kids looks fabulous!
New water features and water slides, and secure little zones where parents can put their feet up while little ones can play right near them under their supervision.

(I can totally picture myself there - cocktail in hand! OMG, paradise, take me therrrrrre! Who needs a holiday when a 'nearcation' is calling my name?!)

 Mr 4 enjoyed checking out the water play equipment.

Perfect place for kids to frolick!

  Mr 4 REEEALLLY wanted to spend some time enjoying the facilities.

This little zone looked perfect for toddlers and parents to enjoy.
Glass fencing help to enclose the area so little ones can't run off - though it's not completely cut off from the other areas, so there's still opportunity for little ones to 'escape' and/or for bigger kids to come back and forth between enjoying the bigger kids' area/ water slides.

The main pool and Terrace area.

There are signs at the park indicating it is for the enjoyment of guests only, however, the park can be hired for functions and the public is welcome to dine at the restaurants etc.

It's also handy to grab a coffee or drink/snacks etc from the Golfer's kiosk/cafe and take to the park as outside food isn't permitted.

To get to the park:
* Park under the resort.
* Lift up to reception area.
* Walk past reception/gym and get lift down to ground level.
* Exit lift and follow signs/ walk way outside to the children's play park. Stairs and ramp walk way available, so suitable for prams/ wheelchairs.

Location: RACV Royal Pines Resort, Benowa (off Ross St, Ashmore/ Benowa/ Ashmore Rd/ Currumburra Rd round-about. Near the new Coles and Benowa Village Shopping Centre).

PS: This post totally isn't sponsored. Just wanted to share a fab place my family, friends and I love!

(I'm looking forward to spending some time at the Resort in September for the ProBlogger 2016 Conference - where hundreds of bloggers from all over Australia (and some international guests) will congregate to immerse ourselves in all things blogging, social media and more!)

Have you been there before?
Do you have any special parks/places on the Gold Coast for families/ kids to enjoy?



Other things to do on the Gold Coast:
Day trip to Gold Coast's Love Heart Waterfall - Killarney Glen

Top 5 child-friendly Gold Coast suburbs

One on One with Queen Elsa From Disney On Ice presents Magical Ice Festival

One on One with Queen Elsa From Disney On Ice presents Magical Ice Festival

Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Sven and Olaf the snowman are headed to Queensland for the FIRST TIME EVER with Disney On Ice! 

They will joined by Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy, as well as Belle, Ariel, Rapunzel, Flynn and more!  Disney On Ice presents Magical Ice Festival opens in Brisbane on June 23 this year and will feature the magical winter wonderland of Frozen. 

The 2016 ice spectacular will also present the enchanting adventures of Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Tangled and Beauty and the Beast, presented by popular hosts Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy! 
One on One with Queen Elsa

What is your name?
Queen Elsa of Arendelle. It’s very nice to meet you. And may I ask your name?

Do you have any hobbies?
Well, being Queen does keep me busy but I do really enjoy exploring my new found snow and ice powers. There’s a fountain in our town square where I like making ice sculptures for everyone to enjoy.

Do you have a favourite food?
I’m going to guess that if you asked my sister, Anna, she would say chocolate. I would too. We have that in common.

Who is your best friend?
My little sister, Anna. We were very close when we were little and are even closer now.

How important are your friends and family to you?
My parents were always so careful to make sure Anna and I felt loved and safe; their example is what first taught me how important family is. After I was able to truly let go and embrace who I was as an individual, I was able to appreciate them even more. You see, what makes family and friends so important is the fact that they are always there for you, even when you pull away.

We know you and Anna are close, what are some of your favourite things to do together?
Do you mean besides eating chocolate? Well, I’m teaching Anna to ice skate and I really just love getting to do all the things we couldn’t for so long.

Can you tell us your favourite part about living in Arendelle?
I think it’s the people. They’ve shown me so much patience and kindness, even when they had every right not to. Their example is truly inspiring.

What is it like living in a castle?
While I do like the castle Anna and I live in most of the time, I also love spending time in my ice palace in the mountains. There’s something so satisfying about making something yourself and then enjoying it. I don't think there’s a view of the Northern Lights like it anywhere in the world. 

We know Olaf’s favourite season is summer, what is yours?
I do like winter very much; There’s so much calm and quiet – and time to be close with the ones you love. I just feel at peace in winter. But of course I think part of what makes winter so great is how much it helps you appreciate summer. Now that the castle gates are open, summer brings such fun festivals and I love to see how happy that makes everyone.

Disney On Ice presents Magical Ice Festival

Brisbane from June 23 to 27 (Thursday to Monday – first weekend of school holidays)

Brisbane Entertainment Centre. Tickets start from $34.50 on 132 849 or

Are you going?
Who are you/ your little ones most looking forward to seeing?


[Gold Coast Mum will be attending opening night so keep an eye out for a review/ snaps on Facebook and Instagram!]

Maternity leave - just a holiday isn’t it? Perfect time to put up our feet & work out our goals in life… “Meternity” author ruffles some feathers.

Maternity leave - just a holiday isn’t it? Perfect time to put up our feet & work out our goals in life… “Meternity” author ruffles some feathers.

By Lauren – Gold Coast Mum

Want to hear something funny?
There’s a lady suggesting maternity leave is the perfect opportunity for women to spend time on THEMSELVES and, though she doesn’t have kids/ isn’t pregnant, she wanted some of this ‘maternity leave’ action too.

A thirty-something magazine editor - plagued by stress and deadlines (cry me a river, been there, done that) became sick of pregnant colleagues 'taking it easy at work', according to the Mirror, so she decided to have a 'meternity' - with all the perks of pregnancy without the hassle of child birth.

"Yes, I had always dreamed of marriage and motherhood, but I still wasn’t ready.
"I wanted - needed - some time off to figure out exactly what I really wanted to do with the rest of my life.
"A moment to breathe and create, rather than continue on the burnout track."

In desperation, according to MSN, this woman turned to her best friend, who said: “You know what you need? You need a me-ternity leave.” 
The result: a book.

About her own experience, the author told the New York Post: "It seemed that parenthood was the only path that provided a modicum of flexibility.”

Erm… How about having a chat with your boss or take some annual leave? 

You know what’s not cool, missing out on your kids’ school awards/events because of the LACK OF flexibility in the workplace, coupled with missing out on Friday drinks at work, AND the promotion you deserved, because you were busy picking up the kids from long daycare/ not around to put yourself forward for opportunities that may further your career?

According to the author: "There’s something about saying 'I need to go pick up my child' as a reason to leave the office on time that has far more gravitas than, say, 'My best friend just got ghosted by her OkCupid date and needs a margarita' - but both sides are valid."

While I totally get your friend’s ‘major life issue’ tops your list at this stage in life, I think attending to your child – our actual responsibility and people we love with all of our heart and soul – would be the top of most parents’ list.
Your friend’s ‘issue’ can wait. Whereas a child, or their carers (who are also waiting to get home to their friends or families), can’t.

me time, meternity, maternity leave, work life balance, me-ternity leave, parenting, motherhood, mummy blogger, flexible workplaces, pregnancy, pregnancy in the workplace, child free, childress, fatherhood, career, mummy guilt, mommy guilt, career after babies, returning from maternity leave
May have 4 little people to feed, dress, clean, educate & entertain. But hey... let's take this 'time off work' to focus on MEEEE? ;-)

Parents have to bust their ass at work – and are notably super-efficient – because we know we HAVE to complete our work within our work hours so we can get out on time to pick up these little people (who rely on us to, you know, SURVIVE) – without being judged.
It goes both ways.

If you ask me, the whole thing is ridiculously immature and mocks those of us with the serious responsibility of raising children (and, for many of us, also trying to juggle career demands AS WELL).

me time, meternity, maternity leave, work life balance, me-ternity leave, parenting, motherhood, mummy blogger, flexible workplaces, pregnancy, pregnancy in the workplace, child free, childress, fatherhood, career, mummy guilt, mommy guilt, career after babies, returning from maternity leave, new book, controversial book
Maternity leave. Clearly so much free time just to focus on ME!

Mums (and Dads) feel huge pressure – more often than not - when asking to leave work ON TIME to collect kids - before they’re charged $30 a minute they are late - or when heavily pregnant, taking a couple extra loo breaks each day when they have, you know, a HUMAN resting on their bladder.

Whilst pregnant, and when I returned to work after having each of my children, I was still expected to perform. 
If anything, mums go above and beyond to prove their worth in case they don’t have a job waiting for them when your mat leave is up - or find your position has gone to some intern happy to do the job for less the pay.
I’m all for having annual leave/ personal leave days and some time out for you - but to refer to it as ‘maternity’ where you’re focusing on yourself is a bit far-fetched.

I know when I was child-free, despite the everyday concerns such as paying the mortgage and working long hours/ meeting deadlines, my down time was the commute to work, coffee/ too many wines with friends, attending to their ‘major events’ such as break ups and eating/peeing in peace.

Now as a mother – and proud career woman striving to successfully juggle both – I, along with many other mothers, are here like ‘hey we’re just dealing with REAL issues such as raising humans AND, in many cases, juggling work and the guilt that comes with it’ as we try to please everyone.

Aaah maternity leave. It sure does look relaxing, don’t you think?

The issues don’t disappear when you have kids/ that continues as well as the pressures and responsibility of raising children and keeping a roof over their head. 
And while we’re trying to keep our heads above water, let’s also try to maintain romantic connection with the husband, when it feels like you're ships passing in the night, or co-owners of a childcare centre when the only chance you get to discuss things involves topics like, ‘What was the consistency of his poo today?’, ‘What time did she have her antibiotics?’

ME time? What is that? When we get the luxury of going to grocery store on our own in peace?

Myself, and many other mothers I’m sure, are in desperate need of some ME time and this holiday/ time to focus on myself and reflect on life, that you speak of (without dealing with sleep deprivation, stitches in my perineum, haemorrhoids, or milk squirting from my breasts). 
Sign. Me. Up.

As a parent, our sick days, as an employee, are no longer banked for us to use when we’re sick, but to use when our children are sick. When a parent is sick? Well we just HAVE to soldier on. There is no down time.

Sorry lady, come back to us when you’ve pushed a human out of your vagina/had MAJOR abdominal surgery (and the associated recovery time) to safely bring a bub into the world, and whilst recovering (WHOOPS, SORRY, I mean, 'enjoying' this 'time off work'), then had to keep another human ALIVE – and had said baby human on your lap at the same time as trying to hold an ice pack on your swollen and sore nether regions whilst also trying to remember the last time you ate something that wasn’t just pre-packaged as you walked through the kitchen with screaming human over your shoulder.

It’s all rainbows and butterflies isn’t it! ;-)

Maternity leave. Perfect chance to focus on ME!?

I dream of my 12 hour days in the office – it was paradise!
But I certainly wouldn’t trade it for the 24/7 role I’m now in, as the payment – LOVE – is worth far more than I could ever have imaged! <3 

What are YOUR thoughts?

About: Gold Coast Mum editor is a mum of 4 in 3 years (including twins), who were all breastfed 15+ months (after beating various obstacles such as tongue ties/ mastitis/ silent reflux/ colic and more), AND, amazingly, she now juggles her young family AND work demands as a permanent part time worker and freelancer, following more than a decade working full time as an award-winning journalist/ magazine editor/ magazine news editor and communications professional.

Still waiting for some ME time, but I guess that’ll happen when the kids are 18, won’t it? Hey, a trip to the loo counts as a holiday these days. ;-)

Linking up with Essentially Jess for #IBOT :-)

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