This widely advocated method for settling your child has fans worldwide. It should prove effective within a few nights.

Method: Leave your baby to cry for increasing periods of time, the principle again being that he will eventually give up and go to sleep.

Before you begin, decide how long you can bear to leave your baby crying initially: ideally, this should be five minutes, but must be at least one minute. After settling him, leave the room and do not return until your predetermined time has elapsed. After resettling him, leave him for a slightly longer period: ideally, this should be five minutes longer than the first time, but must be at least one minute longer. Repeat this until you are leaving your baby for a maximum time of 20 minutes on the first night.

You can either repeat this on subsequent nights, or gradually increase the length of time for which you leave your baby before checking on him. So: on night two, do not go to him initially until 10 minutes has elapsed, extending to a maximum interval of 25 minutes; on night three, do not go to him initially until 15 minutes has elapsed, extending to a maximum interval of 30 minutes; and so on.

Tips for success

  • - Follow the cardinal rules for settling your baby every time you go back to him.
  • - Use a watch to time the intervals before you go to him - it can be very hard to listen to your baby crying, and you may otherwise find yourself going in much sooner than you intended.
  • - As the controlled crying can go on for a couple of hours initially, try to get on with something else in between going in to settle your baby, so that you don't become resentful of the time it.
  • - Do not go back in to him (even if the allotted time has elapsed) if he appears to be settling -a visit from you could prompt him to start crying all over again.

Possible pitfalls

  • - You may worry that your baby will hurt himself through crying. However, there is no research to back this up: in fact, as long as there is no serious underlying cause, such as illness, crying is a sign that your baby is healthy and able to communicate.
  • - Your baby may hold their breath or vomit.