If someone uses the “cry-it-out” method of sleep training, leaves a baby in a room at night, and doesn’t come back until the morning, is this just as bad as leaving a baby home alone overnight?

If someone uses the “cry-it-out” method of sleep training, leaves a baby in a room at night, and doesn’t come back until the morning…

… they are not using the “cry-it-out” method of sleep training.

The cry-it-out method means you sit outside the infant’s room (which is probably your own bedroom, since it’s an infant), and, AS SOON AS THE BABY CRIES, you go in, comfort the baby, settle it down according to your routine, and leave. You do this over and over and over again, until the baby realises that you are not abandoning it, and will always come if they cry.

The process might take an hour a night, for a week. That was certainly my experience. My routine involved a bath, a fresh nappy, singing songs that I’d sung while pregnant, a feed, and watching In The Night Garden, bed, signing “sleep”, more singing, kiss, Night-Night. When he cried, I went in and spoke quietly to him, signing and singing again until he settled, kiss, Night-Night.

He was a very placid baby, though.


Should I allow my 13-year-old daughter to wear a bra?

I’ve been wearing a bra since before I was 9. I was a C-cup at 10.

If your daughter needs to wear a bra, as I did, get her a damn bra. She’s probably in secondary/high school, and getting changed for physical education means she’s exposing her bare breasts to her classmates. Don’t put her through that.

If she is a late developer with no breasts yet, she’s still getting changed for PE in front of other girls who are probably making her life miserable by mocking her for her lack of breasts. Don’t put her through that either. There are plenty of bralettes and training bras she can wear for now.


Why don’t we tell kids where babies come from? Is it more about protecting them? Or do we just don’t want to talk about it as adults? What potential harm are we concerned about if we told them?

IIRC, The Mighty Offspring has known from a very young age that he came from the hospital. Later, as it occurred to him to wonder why he was at the hospital, he was told that he was in my tummy and needed to be got out – c-sections were explained, although we did say that wasn’t the normal way for babies to come out. It took a while for him to wonder how babies normally come out, so that was explained, too. So on and so forth, mostly led by his own questions and theories.

He is, however, an enquiring child and much given to theorising about the world, so it’s been relatively easy to be guided by him. He’s been more or less fully clued up since the age of 8, including knowing about periods. It hasn’t destroyed his innocence, just satisfied his curiosity.

He’s 11 and still thinks girls have cooties.


What stops people from stealing babies abroad and pretending that the baby is their baby when they get to immigration?

Babies don’t require a passport to travel. Doesn’t this just mean that you could potentially kidnap babies from other countries bring them to your country illegally?

I needed a passport for my 6-week-old son in order to bring him from one part of the UK (Birmingham) to another (Belfast) for my parents’ 40th wedding anniversary.

I was taking him to another country (Irish Republic), but not having to go through a manned border, I didn’t need a letter from my husband saying he knew about it and agreed that it was okay for me to take our child out of the country. There’s no way I could have just nabbed a baby and taken it between Birmingham and Belfast, much less any other part of the world.

What do you say to your parents when you have your period?

“I’ve got my period.” (1976 onwards. We’re not a shy family)

Occasionally, to my mother (mostly): “Where are the sanitary towels/tampons? My period’s just started.”

To my father (mostly) “Where have you hidden the painkillers this time, you great hairy eejit? I’m having wile bad cramps.”

(Both of them had a bad habit of taking things from where they should be kept, and leaving them somewhere stupid).