Is screaming in the middle of the night an anti-sibling baby plot?

As Maggie notes, how much nighttime crying is considered “normal” varies across cultures… but I haven’t read that book myself so I can’t really comment on its veracity.

I’m totally with you on not wanting to go through that kind of sleep deprivation again. I have twins, and they usually weren’t on the same sleep schedule. It was like living in that bunker from Lost where an alarm would go off every 108 minutes.

I can’t say anything about the study, except that it seems dubious on the surface. However, if you have a young child that is waking up multiple times at night, you might want to consider supplementing with formula.

My wife exclusively breast fed for the first three months, and those were hell. She would be up multiple times each night feeding. And when the twins came…

Anyway, for all three kids we noticed the same thing. A bottle at bedtime lets them sleep through the night (until they get bigger and a single bottle isn’t enough anymore) and makes for a much happier mommy. You can still breastfeed during the day, but at night I highly recommend the bottle. For all three kids the first day they slept through the night was the first day we gave them a bottle.

What most books don’t tell you is that it’s a lot more work for the kid to get the milk from the nipple, and they will often give up before they’re actually full, so an hour later they’re hungry again. A bottle is much much easier and they’ll actually fill their stomachs before passing out, giving you several hours of uninterrupted sleep.

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The evil little bastards.

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I have nothing but agreement with this.

What exactly happens if you ignore a midnight-screaming baby, say with the aid of earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones? It seems unlikely babby would starve to death. But obviously I am not a parent.

You feel like the worst person on earth. The issue is that you are not alone, you typically have this other parent with you that has to share your shame at letting your little DNA strands wail and cry in order to teach them a lesson that they don’t really comprehend yet.

If you have the fortitude to look each other in the eye the next morning and still consider yourself good parents for letting a little person (whose very existence depends solely on you) “cry it out” then you are stronger than we are. After a while it’s just not worth the anguish you’re all going through. You just pick them up and try again a month or so later.


Another thing that most books don’t tell you (because if they did they wouldn’t have any ‘magical solutions’ to sell) is that babies/kids aren’t all the same. Variations in patterns, needs and behaviours DO exist. One person’s magical cure may not work at all for another so you often have to figure out what works best for your own kid with trial, errors and instinct.

Our daughter didn’t sleep full nights until she was nearly 2. Ever since she popped out, she was extremely alert and never slept for long periods. We tried and heard it all. First, people told us the bottle could help: Nope. Then co-sleeping was advised: No luck. Then, they said the first solid foods would fix it: Nope. Then they said her crawling and walking would make her more tired: She was walking by 9 months and still no sleep. Then there were people saying that we needed to cut naps while others swore by the fact that more naps were necessary: No and no…

Things got better when we finally stopped looking at it like a problem and started accepting that this was simply her natural pattern and energy level. It was still challenging but our attitude made it more serene for all of us. We no longer felt like we were all defective- us in our parenting and her in her sleep habits- in some way and had to ‘fix’ things.

She’s nearly 4 now and maintains an astonishing amount of energy (and still feels that sleeping is the most useless, boring thing on Earth). But she is healthy and thriving so giving up on all the tips didn’t seem to have hurt in any way.


If there is one thing I could tell every parent ever it’s that they’re doing fine and not to worry about this so much. If you worry about being a shitty parent in some way then you are actually doing it right.


I reckon some little screaming person is worse than I am. I’m not bothering people and waking them up. Viking parents most likely did not put up with that nonsense. Throw that baby in the fjord.


It’s true that babies are all different, even ones from the same family, but this is definitely something to try if your little one isn’t sleeping through the night. If it doesn’t work then it doesn’t work, but it was dramatic for me.

Eventually you’re so tired you pass out for eight hours solid from sheer exhaustion, at which point the spawn realises that screeching will no longer work. Or that’s what happened to us anyway.

Oh boo hoo, we decided to squeeze some monkeys out of my wife’s ass. Own it.

EDIT: My understanding of human physiology may be incomplete.

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They learn to not bother to cry to get help. They learn they can’t trust that when they need something, someone will actually come to help them.

For an extreme example, look into Romanian orphanages.

A little bit of learning that it’s OK if their world isn’t fixed immediately is healthy and necessary, but it has to be developmentally appropriate. Crying for a few minutes is fine.

Cock blocking is the only real relevant argument here. Well, vulva blocking. In my experience nursing an infant every 3-4 hours does not preclude conception. Twice. Meaning, as long as you get enough calories you will ovulate, the critical aspect is the presence or lack thereof of sperm in the Fallopian tubes to meet the ovum.


A lot of people do let their babies cry and it seems to work for some kids and not others. To be clear, I assumed we were talking about kids who were more than a few months old, since otherwise the whole “preventing siblings” thing wouldn’t be much of an issue.

I’m glad the “like” button is a heart. I only wish it were bigger.

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Yeah, that’s why I said “developmentally appropriate”. What works for a 9-month old is not the same thing as what works for a 9-week old…even if we’re talking about the same person at two different stages of their development.

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That’s exactly what parents need to hear more often instead of a constant barrage of advice. Most are well-meaning, but it can quickly get excessive, contradictory and eventually completely disorienting. In the same breath, you can hear that the yuppy parents up the street AND people in grass huts in the savanna are all getting their kids to sleep/behave/eat their veggies just perfectly and you can’t. There quickly comes a point where you feel like you’re an utter incompetent, ruining your own kid for life no matter what you do.


I took a survey that, among other things, asked about whether I had changed my parenting habits in the past few months. When I said yes it gave a huge list of check boxes for what sources of information I used to change those habits. Television, magazines, the internet, friends, family, physician, and on and on.

I ended up checking “Other” which had a box next to it to fill in what source of information I used. I typed in “My child.” I only wonder how many people designed the survey, and how many people answered it, all buying into the implicit idea that parenting it all about following one well-documented strategy or another, rather than about having a personal relationship with your children, reacting to them as they are, and figuring out what works for you.


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