with child's sleep: no cry, some cry, or let cry?

It's a constant issue in conversations with fellow parents when it comes to their children's sleep; do we never if at all possible let the child cry, or just some, or do we have the child cry it all out and be done with it. What do you think? What works best for you, in your experience? Should the child be trained to self-sooth so as to fall asleep on his/her own? Or should we expect to be there for the child's sleep, even if it implies driving for-seemingly-ever to help the child nap. And is it ok to have your child collapse at night in your arms while you're watching a movie, because frankly, you're not feeling much like putting the child down for bed (especially if it implies lying there for a good hour or so).

Since becoming a mom two and a half years ago, sleep has been a constant thing on my mind. How do I get my baby to sleep? And then to stay asleep? How do I find enough sleep? How do I handle this with my husband? And so on and on. I launched my current book project, The Sleep Question,  a collection of interviews with fellow moms (and some dads) of young children about their experiences with sleep a year ago or so, and I'm still looking for more stories. I've conducted in-person interviews with people I could reach, but would love to hear from more people, near and far away.

If you'd like to contribute your story, please feel free to respond either in the comment section to this post or via email to agsabo[at]gmail.com. I'll change all names in the final manuscript, but feel free to leave out or change names yourself in what you submit to me.


  • Please state the ages of yourself and your child(ren) and say a little bit about yourself (especially as you might find relevant to a discussion about the way you sleep/nighttime parent)

  • Did you have any preconceived ideas about the child’s sleep (sleep arrangement) prior to birth?
    [Had you thought about how you thought things would be, had you planned where the child would sleep?]

  • How did it go? What did you do? Naps, nights (where and when)
  • Then? Now? What have characterized different stages? Nap and bedtime routines?
  • Did you ever feel like a human pillow for your child’s naps? If so, under what circumstances, how often, for how long?
  • Have you nursed your child, if so, how has that affected your sleep arrangements? If you have not nursed, how do you think that has affected your sleep situation?
  • Has your child ever struggled to sleep (falling asleep, staying asleep)? If so, when and for what reasons, do you think? How long did the difficult stretch last, what helped you and the child get through and over it?
  • What different strategies did you try?
  • How has your own sleep been (from before pregnancy, through it, till now)?
  • How has the relationship to your spouse or co-parent been? Do you feel you can share the responsibility of sleep parenting?
  • How have you or how do you intend to balance work/staying at home/child care and how do you think that has or will affect your sleep parenting (has or will someone else be putting your child down for naps, night)?
  • What books have you read about this topic, and have they been helpful or not?
  • If you have two children or more, how have experiences with your first child affected the sleep arrangements with your other child(ren)?
    • Did you change anything?
    • Do the children seem to relate differently to sleep? If so, how?
  • What would you do differently (or the same) if you have another child?
  • What do you like, dislike about your sleep arrangements?

  • Do you remember the first time you paused to think about your child’s sleep?

Originally posted in http://www.quizzicalmama.com/ on Jan. 6, 2011.

Quizzical mama, aka Anne Sabo, Ph.D., is a writer, speaker, public educator and owner of the online resource center, LOVE, SEX, AND FAMILY, "for the sexual wealth and well-being of all in the family." Her blog Quizzical mama is an educated and personal approach to the politics and philosophies of parenting, often addressing controversial issues, and often reflecting on different cultural values and practices in the US and her native Norway.


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