My post on controlled crying has been one of my most popular so far this month and that tells me that the sleep deprivation is troubling a lot of parents out there. I don't think I'm alone in feeling controlled crying is one of the last resorts, it's pretty unbearable to hear your child distressed yet knowing you shouldn't really comfort them. My heart and head were completely torn during those first few days, I had to figure out what worked for us by myself as I just couldn't see many posts out there offering some helpful tips, perhaps it's because controlled crying is a little more taboo than most methods.

I understand it isn't for everyone, but we need to have some tips and tricks other parents can access if they feel this is the route for them. I'm aware a lot of people disagree with it and shun it, just this week alone I've had people sharing articles on why you shouldn't practice it - firmly aimed in my direction and that's ok. I am confident enough in my choices as a parent to know what we choose for our children is the best for us. If you'd like to read our reasoning on how we came to the decision to try controlled crying then make sure you check that out, if you're in a similar predicament I would recommend it, I'd most certainly take the same steps if we ever had another child. But of course, I've learned a few things that definitely helped or hindered the situation, of which I'm sharing with you so you can learn from my experience.
  • Adjust time settings. A lot of controlled crying intervals start at one or two minutes, for me this was simply too long. But guess what, there isn't a rule book so feel free to bend the guidelines to suit your family. For Patrick this began with a thirty second interval, and we'd increase by twenty seconds each time if needed. Quite often though, he settled really well before we reached that minute mark.
  • Don't stop. My Nan visited us after about three weeks of controlled crying, everything was going really well. The first night she stayed life continued on, but the second Patrick cried the next night, she immediately wanted to pick him up which I do understand. She's very much from an era where you deal with your lot and don't need to sleep train, so I let her do her thing as I knew hearing him upset was upsetting her. Huge regret. After the five nights she stayed it was even harder to re-start as he had become familiar with 'a cry means I'm picked up'. Push on once you start, going back only makes things ten times harder.
  • Illness = exception. If your little one is poorly and I'm talking cold, flu, cough, then you can throw things out of the window slightly. I'm enough in tune with Patrick to know the difference between his cries, from a nightmare to a painful cry out, I've kind of got him on lock down, I have no hesitation to run in and soothe him when he's is feeling off. Don't fall into the trap of making excuses though, if your little one is teething and has had calpol, there isn't much else you can do so try to keep going.
  • Ignore others opinions. I'm incredibly thick skinned, when it comes to parenting I really don't mind or care what others say about me, as mentioned above I'm pretty confident in my choices. John is the only person I have to answer to and your partner is the only one you have to, too. If Kelly on Twitter is telling you controlled crying is cruel, exercise that block button or just smile and nod at the ignorance, Kelly isn't going to be up all night trying to settle a baby with a sleep association, then drive to work on an hours sleep is she? No, unless someone has stood in your shoes, just bat it off.
  • Get busy. During those intervals whilst your baby is trying to self soothe, you can anticipate they might cry hence the name 'controlled crying'. So keep yourself busy. I spent the first two days stood outside his door, which is a huge no-no as the seconds tick by like hours. Utilise your time. If that means you can strip the bedding from the beds or quickly clean the loos, then do it. Being busy will most definitely take your mind off it all - just set a quick timer on your phone.
  • Timer. Another mistake I made the first time was just judging the time, I felt as though I'd waited 5 minutes, when in fact it was 32 seconds. Your mind can play tricks on you so I would say grab your phone and get using that stopwatch.

I hope these tips can help in some way, and if you're trying controlled crying, chances are it's a complete last resort like it was for us. Good luck and I wish you all of the sleepy vibes.


  1. Controlled crying has been getting a bad rep at the moment. But it worked so well for me. Your tips are super helpful too, and that I didn't even think of.

  2. I think people should realise that different things suit different people.
    The same goes for parenting, what suits one baby won't suit another.

    The tips are great, very helpful <3

  3. Each parent parents differently! These tips are great for someone that wants to try controlled crying. It never worked for us, but different things work for different parents and I'd never judge anyone for trying controlled crying. Great post x

  4. I don't think I practise controlled crying, but I do understand benjamins different cries and if I know he's tired and needs sleep and will go off on his own within a minute or two then I leave him to it in his cot (currently in the same room as us still). It's whatever works best for you and your family at the end of the day. x

  5. I remember you talking about this a while back and I think it's the word that scares people. When done correctly I have heard mums in baby forums say it's amazing. Like u said before having a stop clock makes it easier while your waiting.

  6. Each to their own isn't it.. We've never needed to do controlled crying thankfully, but I'm not one to run to either of mines cries after a few seconds! Fab tips - definitely agree about sticking to it, as you've got to keep that routine going xx

  7. Reading this in case we ever have to go down this route ourselves at some point, although touch wood we arent doing too badly at the moment! I definitely think CC works, but I just dont have the heart for it. That said, I'when I was stuck in traffic recently listening to the littlest crying in his car seat before eventually self soothing and falling asleep that its practically no different. The same could be said for nursery and all the crying that happens there these days too so actually we might do ok with CC!