Popular parenting manual says you should let your baby cry until he vomits

Sep 22, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. ET

Whether or not you let your baby cry it out, the recommendation in a popular baby book simply can't go over well with anyone.

Letting a baby cry himself to sleep is an extremely controversial parenting practice, but an excerpt in a popular U.K. parenting book seems to take it to the next level. Your Baby Week By Week: The ultimate guide to caring for your new baby, a top-seller published in 2007, is making waves right now as negative reviews roll in like crazy. The reason? There is a passage about letting a baby cry himself to sleep, and if he cries so much he barfs, just clean up the bed without looking at him, touching him or comforting him in any way.


This is a horrifying recommendation — one that is complete with instructions to make the bedding change go smoothly, including keeping a spare sheet and baby wipes by the crib.

I took a look at the reviews on Amazon UK, where it is indeed a current top-seller in the Baby Development category. I wanted to see if I could determine how the excerpt fit into the rest of the book — was it really representative of the author's philosophies? And as expected, there are scads of negative, recent one-star reviews.

I admit that I wondered if they were from people who had simply seen the inflammatory paragraph and left a review without reading the whole book. In fact, many do seem to focus on that small portion, and other reviews point out that those don't reflect the book as a whole — they also state the entire book isn't the worthless garbage it seems to be. "The fact that it fitted into a single photo in a Facebook post tells you how small a part of this book it was," reads one in particular.

However, I feel that no matter how small the passage was, it does not mean it should be dismissed or ignored. It was written by someone to help them train their baby to lose trust, to ignore a child's cries when cries are all she has to communicate with and to refuse to comfort her when she vomits in her own bed. If that isn't worthless garbage, then I don't know what is.

If an author felt it was necessary to offer tips on easy cleanup that don't get your child's hopes up that he will be cuddled or fed, then I wouldn't want to read the rest of what she has to say. Moms often turn to books for parenting advice, and it's sad they might be tempted to go against their intuitions if they've read this book.

You can't judge a book by its cover, but you can judge a book by a crap paragraph that encourages you to ignore your baby who just puked all over his bed.

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