How Long to Cry It Out (CIO)

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Cry It OutThis topic “How long to cry it out?” has come up a few times in the last few weeks in one way or another, so I thought I’d talk about it this week. I always preface any discussion about cry it out by making sure that everyone understands that I’m not a “Cry It Out Pusher” and I’m very much NOT an extremist or a hard-core “sleep trainer”. I try to be realistic and just know that all babies are different and all family structures are different and what works for one won’t work for everyone. I even debated Elizabeth Pantley, author of the No Cry Sleep Solution, about this very topic, because while I think she has some good ideas, they simply will NOT work for all challenging baby types…at least in time before you go crazy from sleep exhaustion. I also don’t recommend cry it out for long-term co-sleepers, either.

If you are adamantly against cry it out, please do NOT do it! It probably won’t work and you’ll just feel bad about it. At all times in my sleep consultations, I work with parents on helping their baby sleep with as few tears as possible. Why? Because who wants their baby to cry? We all do what we can to limit our baby’s tears and as your sleep consultant, I understand that. My son’s sleep struggles are still very near and dear to my heart and I pretty much relive them every day in every consultation, so I very much remember where you probably are right now.

So, how long do you cry it out if you do choose that path?

First, make sure your baby is at an appropriate age for cry it out, he is no longer swaddled, and if you are feeding baby on a schedule that you have set a realistic schedule. One thing that I can’t emphasize enough is that my philosophy is that some parents might use cry it out to fix sleep problems, but please don’t make your baby go hungry if she still needs night feedings. One thing that really does make my skin crawl is hearing about letting a two month old cry throughout the night to avoid two feedings, which is hardly a “sleep problem.”

Another reason I recommend exhausting all other methods before trying cry it out is that you must be 100% committed to cry it out for it to really work. So, typically, I recommend that you feel like you’ve “tried everything” first. If you let your baby cry for a set length of time and then you “give in”, you have basically set a precedent and he will cry that long (or longer) next time (if there is a next time). Many babies respond well to non-crying methods (highly depends on your baby’s temperament) and only a small percentage of my clients really have to go full blown cry it out, so make sure you’ve truly given it your all on the other methods.

Once you 100% commit to cry it out, there really isn’t a length of time that you really stop, when you’re working on nights (though you want to limit nap time crying). The goal is for your baby to fall asleep without said sleep association and every parent will need to decide what is “too long.” I recommend deciding that before you start, if possible. Having a plan (do you visit or not, how long between visits, do you stay in the room, etc.) is of utmost importance so everyone is on the same page and will stick to it. Once you decide to stop said crutch, it can’t really be an option to change your mind, otherwise, you go backwards and might even make things worse.

Many people against cry it out will paint a picture that cry it out is cruel because a baby can’t communicate what she needs. This is true, to an extent, in that you can’t ignore all your baby’s cries and I would never recommend that. That’s irresponsible parenting. My argument is that if you give your baby a pacifier ten times per night and that’s all she “needs” then you know why she’s crying. Does that mean you give your baby everything just because she cries? Not to me. If it had, my son would not have sat in a car seat for his first year of life. Your baby only thinks she needs a pacifier to sleep because that’s all she’s known. It doesn’t mean she can’t learn a new way to sleep. Enter…the parent.

Down the line, after initial “sleep training” is over, does this mean you never go in to your baby at night? ABSOLUTELY NOT!! We all do pretty crazy things to get our baby to sleep, but when you’re ready to make a change, it’s important to commit to your plan of action. Whether you succeed in finding a no crying sleep method or try cry-it-out, babies are destined to change. Cry it out is NOT a cure-all and it doesn’t mean your baby won’t need you during an illness, when she’s getting new teeth, growth spurt, etc., so it doesn’t mean never go to your baby or use your instincts. It also doesn’t mean that cry it out “didn’t work.” because your baby needs you at night for something.

In my opinion, there is a right and wrong way to approach “sleep training”. If you’re doing cry-it-out, it might take you a few nights or a couple of weeks, but please expect things to pop up and change on you, because they will. Just remember, that cry it out won’t change your baby’s personality, there is no proof that cry it out is harmful, not even by Harvard, it’s not always clear when you’re done sleep training, and being a mom is an every day challenge.

How many days did cry it out take for you and your family?

 

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Comments

  1. says

    I successfully used a “cry it out” technique with three of my kids, and it worked like a charm.

    Of course, it was critical to be able to distinguish crying from real need versus crying from perceived need – such as in the case of needing external soothing. A child’s real needs must be met, no question about that.

    Also, it was important to let the child know that just because mommy and daddy didn’t respond immediately every time, we were still here. So for ours, we expanded the time between initial cry and response by five minutes for each episode, per night – until eventually the child went to sleep. In as few as three nights, our children had learned to sooth themselves to sleep without developing any new signs of insecurity.

  2. Lily says

    Nicole, CIO is a very intimate and important learning lesson for me as a mom. It was what turned me to your website in the first place when I was searching for answers. One thing that I finally learned after 2 to 3 days of crying is that it gets better. The 1st time it took 4 days but now just 2.
    BUT (a big one)… like you said CIO or any sleep training is a constant effort. After every sickness, flu, cold, teething, time change, travel, etc. you start all over again. My doctor said each time gets easier (I am pretty sure she meant easier for the parent). But the point is that there will always be a next time, another night when you wonder … why is he crying so much? shall I CIO?
    I agree with Tom in that you have to know the needs.

    There’s another factor which I really depended on too. Temperament — I agree CIO is very highly determined by temperament. I am lucky that I have a relatively easy baby so your series on temperament is inextricably linked to CIO training. I would strongly urge reading the temperament series and then talking to Nicole who knows how to customize sleep training for each child with each age group (they are all so different)!

  3. says

    @Lily Thank you for commenting. Although your doctor said it gets easier, I had a really hard time letting my younger son cry much at all, even though I went through it with my first. His sleep was just never “that bad”, I guess. :) Thank you for letting people know about The Temperament series. I think it really helps to understand your child’s personality.

  4. Stephanie says

    I am trying the CIO method with my 7 month old who is strickly breastfed with only 3 tablespoons of rice cereal at diner. Am I in the wrong to let him cry it out to go to sleep and in the middle of the night but feed him after 4 hours of first going to bed? I am so tired during the day it is effecting my partenting skills with my 3 yr old and my 7 month old but i am a single mom so i cant nap.

  5. Jennifer says

    I am going to have to try to let my daughter CIO in the middle of the night. She is 9 months and for the last 4 nights, wakes at 12:00 and wants to nurse, but once on only holds it, won’t take her soother, just want to hold my nipple in her mouth till she falls asleep. Same at 4:00. I let her CIO last night for the first time. It was really hard for me, but I just couldn’t console her anymore. Finally I went in and calmed her by singing to her and she fell asleep on her own. This seems to be starting at nap time today too. I am so lost. This didn’t happen with my first child. This child is so different. Very stubborn. :) I hope CIO will help, although I don’t know if I am doing it right. Wish me luck

  6. LuLu says

    I have tried the Sleep Lady Shuffle method of Sleep Training. It is supposed to be more gentle. But I have to say that it did not work for my 7 month old. After a month of being fully committed to it, bed time became much better (only 20 minutes of intense crying) but night time wakings were and remain to be horrible. The training was intense and there were two weeks of hours and hours of crying per night. Three hours of crying was standard. I tried starting the method over, wondering if I missed something or I was too distracting when I was checking in on him. BUt it never got better.

    I started to pick my son up again during night wakings a week ago because he had a cold and all the crying was leaving him with snot all over himself and the sheets. I felt terrible letting him cry when he was all stuffed up. To my great relief he fell asleep within minutes of walking and singing to him. However, now that he is feeling better, I tried to go back to the sleep training and he cried for 3 HOURS last night. (I checked in with him every 15 minutes with soothing words, a bum pat and gave him his softy froggy.) I finally went in and picked him up to calm him. I can’t believe I have to go in and retrain him after the cold. I can’t believe he cried for three hours again after having “learned to put himself to sleep.” I just think with some kids sleep training does not work. I hear moms sing the praises of CIO, and I tried to be tough and consistant hoping it would be successful if I did the methods to the letter, but still my son cries for hours. I guess I have to find some middle ground. Something that helps him learn to put himself back to sleep if he wakes but that does not involve so much crying.

    BTW the Sleep Lady says that the only times CIO does not work is if parents aren’t consistant or if marriages are rocky. Ha! No mention that some kids just can;t be trained.

  7. Ally says

    My husband and I thought we could co-sleep the first three months (easy breastfeeding – she is exclusively breastfed), and then happily transition our daughter into her crib and all would be well. HAHAHAHAHAHA.

    I followed the Eat, Activity, Sleep routine, which balanced itself out to three daytime naps, an evening nap, and then bedtime with us at about ten. For all naps, I would rock her or walk her to sleep, and then put her down in her bassinet in the livingroom (naps) or just lie her down with us (night sleep). She would feed before sleeping at night, and then by two months was waking up to feed at about 3.30am, then back to sleep until 5 or 6 to feed again, then sleep again until 8 or 9. By three months, she would wake up to feed at 3.30 and then sleep until 7.

    At three months I started having her daytime naps in her crib, in her own room. Again, I would rock/walk her to sleep then put her down, and she would sleep for 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours. Even before making the transition to having her sleep in her crib as well, she began to take longer and longer to rock/walk down. I would end up with her going to sleep on my chest on the lounge, then waking up around 2 to take her to bed.

    After reading LOTS of literature, I decided she was overtired, and that the evening nap had to go, and she needed to go down earlier for her night sleep. I had not really had a nap ‘routine’ before this, just rocking/walking her to sleep, so we instituted a short one for daytime (less than 10 mins) and I began putting her down drowsy, but awake. This seems to be working – she will cry a little, but then go off to sleep. I lay her tummy down – she can turn over, and seems to sleep longer on her tummy.

    Night time is a big problem. The night routine is simple, not overly long, I feed her, then stand and rock with her until she is drowsy, but awake, and then put her down – at which point she fully wakes up, arches her back, and cries and cries and cries. I wouldn’t mind continuing to rock/walk her to sleep, but as soon as I put her down – even if she seems deeply asleep, she wakes up and we start all over again.

    A couple of nights ago, we thought we would let her cry it out. I had been going through the ‘rock to sleep, lay her down, she wakes up and cries’ routine for two hours (9pm-11), and my husband finally said, “This is getting ridiculous, you’re just going to have to put her down and let her cry herself to sleep.” I agreed. I am not against ‘cry it out’ at all. I didn’t realise it would be as excruciating for me to go through as it was, but I could put up with it, because I know it is for her own good.

    She cried straight for TWO hours before finally falling asleep exhausted. It was HORRIBLE. I tried ‘controlled crying’ where I would go in and pat her and shh etc etc, but that just made the crying worse!! I had to feed her at midnight, and then finally I just let her cry on her own for the last hour, until 1am, when she finally fell to sleep. She woke for her 3.30 feed, and when I put her down, she cried a couple of times, and then back to sleep until 7. Great! Naps the next day were fine.

    Night two of cry it out, I knew she wouldn’t ‘magically’ have worked it all out, but I did expect the crying to be a little shorter. She again cried for two hours straight (9-11) which was again, HORRIBLE, before falling asleep exhausted. On the plus side, the crying wasn’t as extreme, even though it was for just as long. She woke for a feed at 12.30pm, went back down fairly easily (a couple of cries) and then slept through til 7. GREAT!

    Both mornings she woke happy, without holding a grudge (which I was kind of afraid she WOULD do)

    Night three of cry it out, we went through the bedtime routine, and then through feeding, she was feeding and feeding desperately, like she was trying to put off the inevitable laying down in the crib. She was really panicky, and crying before I put her down. The crying this time was almost worse than the first night. I started reading stuff online about ‘cry it out’ to try to block out the crying, but then I read that you shouldn’t use ‘extinction cio’ until at least 6 months! I can’t use controlled crying, because our presence only makes it worse! So my husband went in and got her and brought her back to bed with us. First night back with us was fine – took her ages to calm down, but then she slept until her 3.30 feed, and then through til 7. Day naps again were great, although I could’t keep her awake, and she again had an evening nap.

    This brings us to last night, when she went to sleep in my arms around 9, I put her in the crib, and of course, she woke up, arched her back, and cried and cried. We all went to bed then to try and get her bedtime earlier, but of course she was awake and laughing, and didn’t sleep until 11. Not only she she wake for her 3.30 feed, she woke me again at 4, 5 and 6 trying to feed, and then cried because I wouldn’t let her. She and I got up at 6, I fed her at 7, and she went back down for a nap at 8, and slept til 11 (when she usually wakes up from her morning nap- usually beginning at 8.30 or 9).

    She went down for her nap at 1, with a bit of a fight, but not so bad – I just rocked her until she was drowsy, put her down, a few cries, and then sleep. Which brings me to now.

    Any ideas? Did I give up too soon on cry it out? I’m still not against it, it just seemed a little extreme for her to cry for 2 hours both night, and then see the panicking in her the third night before the routine began again. Is she too young for this? I’m at a total loss. Like I said, day naps are great. Generally at least 2 hours in the morning, 1 1/2 to 2 hours in the early afternoon, and 45 mins to an hour in the late afternoon. How do I get her to go to bed in her crib at night? I don’t mind getting up to feed at all – an 11/midnight feed and a 3.30/4 feed are fine with me. It’s the getting to sleep part that’s not working.

  8. lulu says

    Ally, this sounds similar to my experience, only I gave it a month. There was no end to the crying and my son started to get very anxious when the bed time routine started. Crying, clinging, whining. During the day he was smiling less, laughing less and was not playful. This was NOT ok with me. I realized it the CIO was not for him. At least at this time.

    We dropped the CIO and tried to read his tired cues better. We walk him around and make sure he is totally asleep before putting him down. Two weeks later he wakes only once to nurse more times then not. I had to come to grips with the fact that at this time my son is not going to sleep for “12 hours straight” like my friend’s babies. He is not a robot, he cannot be made to go to sleep. He needs to be close to fall asleep.

  9. says

    @Stephanie We all have to find the solution that works for our families. I do not know all the details of your situation, but in general, I believe it is ok to break sleep associations by allowing some protesting while still feeding at night. My philosophy has always been to break sleep associations, but not make a baby go hungry if he can’t comfortably get through the night. Many times there are steps before cry it out that you can take, but in the end if you’ve decided that’s what’s best for you and your family, have confidence in your parenting as you know your baby best. Good luck!

  10. says

    @LuLu I agree that cry-it-out does not work for every baby and I absolutely do NOT like that the Sleep Lady once again blames parents for babies who struggle with sleep. Grrr! We moms (and dads) put enough guilt on ourselves without someone trying to lay on more. I also think some babies get way more riled up with being “teased” every 10 or 15 minutes. Have you tried staying with him while he falls asleep yet not walk him around? He might surprise you! There are a lot of things between walking/rocking/feeding to sleep and cry it out. It’s mostly just about finding what works for your baby while still changing their sleep association. 3 hours is certainly on the LOOONG end of most parents I talk with and after a month or more, I’d definitely change strategy. Good luck!

  11. says

    @Ally I’d recommend making a plan to break things up into more manage-able pieces (this is what I help people do in my consultations). Don’t fix the schedule and the sleep associations and stop co-sleeping and all of that all at once. It’s too much change and it’s hard to know what’s working or what’s not. Break it up into pieces and she will probably be more accepting of small changes. Good luck and hang in there!!

  12. Mandy says

    My 4 month old wakes often at night and I think I know some possibilities of why she’s doing this. She sleeps in her swing. I know it’s our fault and if we have a third baby, he/she will be in the crib from day one. She won’t sleep in her crib for more than 30 minutes (on the dot) and this week at daycare she has refused to sleep in the crib at all! She cries and cries until she is in her swing and then passes out. At night we don’t have the swing on, I think she just likes the incline, and she would wake 2-3 times at night. But last night was awful, she must have been up at least 6-7 times and wouldn’t settle down on her own. Here comes the other issue: she likes to nurse to sleep. So the only way I can calm her down during the night is to nurse her. Since she is nursing a lot, then she doesn’t burp, and gets gassy so she wakes up gassy at like 4 or 5am. It’s a cycle. My husband and I are exhausted.

    She is only 4 months so I am not comfortable letting her CIO yet. We didn’t do that with our older daughter till closer to 8 months. And I don’t mind getting up 1-2 times at night to nurse her. But 6-7 is excessive. She goes down for the night around 6:30 or 7 and is up for the day around 6am. Any ideas? I’m so tired!

  13. Ralf says

    Just wanted to give people some hope, and some insight as tonight was the first night of sleep training, and it went rather well.

    I have been reading a lot about sleep training and your posts have helped me think through it, but what happened was surprising.

    For some perspective about us, my wife and I have not let our son cry for more than 5 minutes ever, and he is almost 2 years old. B

    To accomplish what seems like a miracle, we did stroll him to sleep for almost a year until that did not work for the last 4 months he has been co-sleeping with my wife. Instead of sleeping he is “playing in the room” for hours, and sometimes he will be up at 1am or 2am, and sometimes we carry him to the car for daycare still asleep in the morning. Something had to be done for his sleep and our sanity.

    We have been discussing sleep training options and after some delays I started tonight.

    So after dinner, I did his usual routine, bath, moisturizer, and low key hanging out in his room. He came to be with like 6 books which we read, and then I got a bottle of warm milk and gave it to him and he asked to be placed in the crib (wow!). Now previous to today we had the crib in the master bedroom, and he was able to get in and out and play in the crib. So he took the bottle and layed on the pillow and I sat in the nursing rocker which was still there. He drank the milk and jumped around and I responded low-key when he talked to me. After about 20 mins he was asking to get out and I said “it’s sleepytime, let’s go to sleep” a few times. Quite soon he started fussing and lightly crying, and asking me to lift him out. I got up once and layed him on the pillow and tucked him in and as he understood that I wanted him to sleep there he started crying harder. He threw everything out of the bed and his crying got intense. Every few minutes I would say “it’s sleepytime…”. I did give him water and wipe his face with a cool damp cloth. After about 20 minutes I saw him watching me and stopped reading my iPhone and put it on a “fireworks app”. He was interested and immediately stopped crying. After about a minute I wiped his face and looked at him and said “it’s sleepytime son, and dada is tired”. He went over to the pillow and layed himself down, and I covered him. (Wow!) He did not cry again but was awake for another 15 minutes, he was bouncing one leg on the mattress. I did respond low-key when once in a while when he said “baba”. I had to use the bathroom, so I said I was going to do that, and he said “bye-bye baba”, so I closed the door and I never went back in, but quite often listened and realized he was awake for another 20 minutes plus because he was bouncing one leg.

    Now this is not how I expected it to happen. I did sit in the room for over an hour, but he only cried for 20 mins. He is strong willed, but I think the preparations such as having him help move all his books to his room and also staying in the room with him helped him cope with this new situation.

    I feel positive that it will not take more than a few days before there is no crying. Tomorrow I intend to put up glowing stars on the ceiling with him. I think if we continue to do some fun activities in his room, he will want to sleep there.

  14. Emily says

    Help! My baby girl is 9 months old and has been waking twice a night for milk feeds for as long as I can remember. She settles back to sleep immediately after her milk and so I have been getting enough sleep to see me through my day. I am due back to work soon and need to try and break her habit of waking up.

    I am on my first night of CIO and she has been crying on and off for 2 hours, it’s now 5am. When I go in and pat her she settles quickly and falls asleep but unfortunately doesn’t remain sleeping once I have snuck out of her room. She has also managed to settle herself a few times but it doesn’t last and she wakes up again a few minutes later. Is this normal? It seems to me that she is trying to settle herself and is getting frustrated but how do I know whether I am on the right track? Could she genuinely be hungry or do you think that by now she should be able to get through the night without milk?
    She is a good eater and had plenty of milk and solids throughout the day.

    Any advice would be much appreciated.

    Thanks
    Emily

  15. Emily says

    Hi. Well, I hope I’m not counting my chickens too early, but since my last post 3 days ago, we have had SLEEP!! The morning after the first night when my baby cried for 3 hours, we both fell asleep at 5.30 and woke at 8.30. Amazingly she was in a wonderful mood all day, which I didn’t expect. I did not bother with her usual 9.30-10.15 nap and put her down for a sleep from 12.30-2.00. She then went to bed at 7.00 as normal and we had quite a bit of fuss getting her to sleep, she woke twice in the first hour and was very upset, but then slept until 4am woke up and chatted to herself for half an hour or so and then put herself back to sleep until just before 6.00.

    The second day I stuck to her routine with her morning & lunch time naps (I’ve been following Gina Ford’s routine for 9 to 12 month olds for the last 2 weeks) and again we had a bit of fuss at bedtime. It was worth it as she slept until 4am and again put herself back to sleep until 6.00.

    It’s now the morning of day 3 and we are celebrating as she slept 7pm to 7am. I have no idea if she woke up during the night or not, she certainly didn’t wake me up and was asleep when I woke up my usual 3 times a night!

    I think my top tips are (a) making sure I you gave her as much food as possible during the last couple of hours before bed and (b) putting her down for her day time naps awake so she practiced falling asleep on her own during the day.

    Fingers crossed this continues. Now can anyone tell me how I can train myself to sleep through?!

  16. Robin says

    I have a few questions about CIO after the first week. I am on week 3. The first 3 days went just as everyone has discussed. Day 1 he was really tired and slept well waking up only once and crying only 20 minutes or so. Day 2 he caught onto my plan and was really mad. I found that going in to check on him only added to his frustration, and so I decided to listen for pauses in his crying and if he was pausing (listening to see what I would do) then I wouldn’t go in. That worked great and he started sleeping 10-11 hour stretches. Last week, he started waking at 4am crying and not stopping. I decided to wait until 5 to go in and pick him up and feed him. (We are putting him down at 8pm). Last night he woke at 10pm hysterical. I went to pat him, and he was so upset, arching his back, rolling onto his stomach, seeming in pain. I picked him up, breast fed and then put him to bed. He slept from 11-5, then ate and slept till 7:30
    Well, it’s started tonight. After a great day, wonderful mood, 2 good naps, he goes down to bed. 10 minutes later he’s screaming. He cries for 20 minutes, goes to sleep and is back crying 30 minutes later. Any suggestions…..am I dealing with starting over?
    Am I doing something wrong?
    Oh by the way, my husband is about to go to China for business for 2 weeks and I REALLY want to do this right so I can get some sleep!

  17. says

    @Ralf Thank you so much for sharing your story and to give others hope. I find that many times it’s the fear that it will be horrible that stops many parents from even trying. It sounds like you waited for when you were all ready and it sounds like it went great! Continued luck to you!

  18. says

    @Emily Yes, it sounds like she was genuinely hungry. This does not mean she can’t go all night without eating, it just means she’s used to eating at night. Typically I recommend night-weaning slower to avoid the 2 hour marathons. I’m sure you’re done now, so I hope she’s sleeping through the night by now!

  19. says

    @Emily That’s great!! (The way I view comments are in date order across the whole site, so I got your update just now. :D) It takes time for you to get used to sleeping all night, again. Sad, but true. Enjoy! Thanks for coming back and updating us.

  20. Heidi says

    My daughter is almost 1 year old. Sleep has been a challenge since the second night of her life. She has been a breastfed baby exclusively, always falls asleep breastbeeding. She had something like colic for the first 5 months. I got only got about 3 hours of sleep a night those first 5 months. It would often take 3 hours to get her to sleep. Many times I had to lay down with her and sleep on the couch because putting her down meant she woke up and it would take me hours again to get her to sleep.

    Finally at about 6 or 7 months she started doing much better and I could put her down and she’d stay asleep for about 4 or 5 hours. I eventually got to the point where I could put her down awake and with patting and shushing for up to 30 minutes, she’d go to sleep and only get up once or twice a night. Then came a nearly 2 week trip after which it took me 6 weeks to get her back to sleeping well again. Then about a month later, we moved, she learned to crawl, climb stairs, refused to eat baby food any longer etc. We also put her in the crib for the first time. So, I gave her a break and went back to putting her down asleep. I did this for about 6 weeks until she started waking up 6 times a night.

    At this point I was getting 4 hours of sleep a night again and was getting desperate. So, my husband and I decided to try the “Sleep Easy Solution” only when we would go and check on her in 5, 10, 15 minute intervals it made her cry hysterically. We’re on night 12 of CIO and it’s been all over the map. The first night wasn’t bad, second, not bad, third horrible then it leveled out and now it’s bad again. A couple of nights ago she was falling asleep in 2 and 3 minutes. Last night it was 71 minutes and 50 minutes tonight.

    Is this normal? I don’t think I’m doing anything wrong. We’ve been doing a bedtime routine since she was a couple of months old and I follow it to the letter. The only variable is what time I put her to bed and that’s based off of whether she gets an afternoon nap or not (which often after an hour of trying to get her to nap, she decides she’s done trying and gets up).

    I’m just not sure what else to do. I HATE the cry it out method but I have tried everything else that I know of and now that she’s mobile, the methods I used previously seem to not work.

    HELP! Is this truly ever going to get better?!

  21. Kimberly says

    Hi Heidi,
    Yes, it can and does get better. I would say that if your current methods aren’t working then you might want to consider getting some customized sleep consultation help from Nicole. She can help create a strategy based on the specifics of your situation. It may be that there are just a few spots where you can make some changes in your current sleep training and be on your way to better sleep soon! You can find more information about her services here: http://www.babysleepsite.com/baby-toddler-sleep-consulting-services/

  22. Emma says

    My daughter is almost 9 months old. She is a horrid sleeper and always has been. She doesn’t just wake up alot during the night, she refuses to sleep at night. She wakes up and doesn’t want to eat, just wants to play and play. Nothing will put her to sleep except for hours of playing. I rarely get more than an hour or two of sleep before 4 am the last two nights she has kept me up until 8 am. When she was a newborn she slept for the entire first three months of her life, I was nursing then and co-slept with her out of convenience. However, She really can’t sleep in our bed. Her dad rolls all over her, and she has climbed out of bed. I have tried various things and she will sleep for about 6-7 hours and then after a few days just stops cold turkey and is back to her normal routine of no sleep. I have decided to cry it out. I was told that her crib needs to not be in our room, so we moved it out of our room and tonight is the first night. It took her only 30 minutes of crying at first, she woke up an hour later and it took an hour of crying. She has been asleep for 30 minutes now, so I will see how it turns out. What I am wondering is for nap time, do I do our bed time routine and then let her cry? Or do I just bounce her to sleep like normal? She is getting too big to swaddle and bounce. I was kind of hoping I could get her to sleep at all at night before I tried not swaddling her and ditching the paci. Is that realistic?

  23. Emma says

    I forgot to mention that her dad has a serious snoring problem. I am trying to get him to go to the doctor for sleep apnea because it is SO bad. I have learned to sleep through, for the most part, but I know he wakes her up. For the last week or so I had been making him sleep on the couch, not that it helped so we could get a wink of sleep. Tonight he definitely woke her up. I stayed up for an hour nudging him every time he got too loud, but eventually fell asleep and she woke up. I don’t have the means to get her farther away from him at night and we have an air purifier running in her room for white noise. Will we ever be able to sleep with his snoring?

  24. Kimberly says

    Hi Emma,
    I think you have a good start here especially with moving her crib out of your room not only for the benefit of your sleep training but because of the tendency for her to wake due to your husband’s snoring. It is generally recommended to work on the nighttime sleep first and then tackle the naps/daytime sleep. Often you will see quicker results with nights and it can take longer for nap changes to occur. Please feel free to post back and let us know how it’s going. Another option would be to consider Nicole’s sleep consultation packages for specific help for your situation. You can read more about that here: http://www.babysleepsite.com/baby-toddler-sleep-consulting-services/

  25. Vivienne says

    Our 17th mth old son was wonderful sleeper. He would ask to go to bed in the evening. Naps were never a problem, always short, but never a struggle.
    We recently moved and he has had some changes and for a few weeks his nap routines were interrupted. For the last 2 weeks he screams when we try to put him to bed for nap or night time. He has begun waking at 4.30-5am screamin every morning, and screaming to get up. Cried for 2hrs last night when we put him to bed. We have tried everything. Today we left him cry for 1hr at naptime but he wouldnt sleep, and then as soon as we go out in the stroller he fell asleep.
    We thought he was trying to get rid of the morning nap becuase that was when the resistance period started. So we stopped putting him down for his 9.30. But now he missing is noon nap too becuase he refuses to sleep.
    Any suggestions? 7am used to be his normal wakeup time,like clockwork. But this week he is screaming from 5 till 6.30 am when we just give up and get up with him. My problem is we have to get up for work so is he now aware that we will lift him after this amount of time, so is it pointless litting him cry. We’re very confused. Same with the nap time, today we left him cry for an hour and then lifted him becuase everywhere says no longer than 1 hr at naptime.
    Any advice or experience gladly welcomed!

  26. Kimberly says

    Hi Vivienne,
    It could very well be that he’s still adjusting to the changes. It’s going to be a matter of being consistent with him about limits and when it’s sleep time, it’s time to sleep. However, he may just also need some reassurance from you to get used to his new home. He also needs some reassurance from you with regards to his schedule returning to close to what it was before. And consistency will be key with that. Have you looked over this post about toddler schedules? http://www.babysleepsite.com/schedules/toddler-schedule/
    If he’s not napping at all then, he at least needs a quiet time during the day of 45 mins to 1 hour but you’ll need to work on extending his wake up time to 7 am. And you are correct, it’s generally not recommend to try to get him to nap more than 1 hour. Mostly, I’d work on giving him reassurances and lots of cuddle time as a move can be a big disruption for a child and depending on their temperament, it could be more stressful for some babies than others.

  27. Stacy says

    We are trying to sleep train our 9 month old, and it’s not going well. He was 5 weeks premature and tiny, and because of that we’ve always been careful to make sure he gets enough to eat, including night feedings. He wouldn’t nurse, but I pumped milk until he was 6 months old, and then we switched to formula without incident. He used to wake up 2-4 times a night to eat. At 7-8 months he seemed to be only waking once a night, which we were ok with, but then a few weeks ago he starting getting up 4 times a night again. As my husband and I both work, we needed him to learn to sleep through the night. We spent the past week weaning him from night feeds by diluting the formula in his night bottles, to the point where there was just a trace of formula. He did fine with this and he didn’t seem to get hungry or wake more often, so last night we switched him to a bottle of water. He was fine with it for his first waking at 11pm (he goes to bed at 6pm easily, like clockwork). But at 2am he woke again, drank a bit of water, and couldn’t fall back asleep, even being held and rocked. Though we hadn’t intended to start CIO yet, after an hour I put him down and began the process, because my holding him wasn’t working. He fell asleep after a half hour of crying. (I also found that going in every 5-10 minutes just made things worse, so I eventually stopped, and that’s when he fell asleep.) But he woke again an hour later, at 5am. When he wasn’t asleep by 6am, I got him up and fed him a bottle for “breakfast,” and he immediately fell asleep for 3 hours. However, now it’s nap time, and he seems terrified of his crib and screamed for almost an hour before falling asleep. Nap times were never previously a problem. I’m worried that we’re making him frightened of his crib. Thoughts? Advice?

  28. Kimberly says

    Hi Stacy,
    I know it’s been a couple of weeks since you posted so hopefully things have improved for you all. It could very well be that he’s still needs at least one feeding at night to get through the night. At this age, babies still need 11-12 hours of sleep at night but that can be a long time to go without eating for some babies. If the nightwakings haven’t improved yet, then you might want to consider a one on one email consult with Nicole to help you come up with a sleep plan that address the issues specific to your son.

  29. says

    We started CIO when our son was 8.5 months old. We chose to do extinction because periodic check-ins seemed to egg him on.
    The first night he cried for 55 min, 45 the second night, 35 the third, and so on until he got to 10 minutes of crying. He has cried for 5 to 20 minutes every night since then.
    He is now 9 months and one week. How long will this last? Will he soon start going to sleep without crying at all?
    We have a routine – bath, PJ’s, books, breastfeeding and then I turn on the white noise and turn down the light. I’ve recently started rubbing his back for a minute or two before leaving the room, but he still stands up and cries the second I walk away.

    Anybody have encouragement for me? It’s so sad to still be hearing him sobbing like that :(

  30. Mae says

    I am not a single mother, but my husband works away from home for months at a time and in the 4 months since we’ve had our daughter, he’s been home for less than a month in total. I also have temporary custody of my husbands 8 year old brother, who started living with me about a month and a half ago. So, basically I am a single mother of two.
    My DD is such a wonderful happy baby when awake, but has always fought sleep since day 1. I’ve kept her swaddled with a paci until about 2 days ago, when I’d had enough of getting up in the middle of the night to replace the paci 10+ times every time it fell out (she’d wake instantly when it would fall out). It’s very hard to do this all on my own, especially because I am also being woken up by the 8 year old who sleepwalks with night terrors (whoooole other issue).
    I decided to go cold turkey with the paci and swaddle (I keep her loosely swaddled, but arms out) and, boy, did she ever hate it.
    I was initially against CIO, but it all kind of went with letting her fuss about the paci. By letting her cry about not having her paci, I was also teaching her to soothe herself. Here’s how the last 2 days have gone so far:
    Night #1-regular routine (bath, pjs, loosely swaddled, bottle, lullaby) BUT no paci. Then a kiss goodnight and down in crib. This was at 7 pm. She cried for 10 minutes before she fell asleep. She woke at 11:30; cried for 5 mins, then again at 2 am for feeding; cried for 30 seconds when I put her down, again at 4:30; cried for 1 min, again at 6:30 and it was time to get up.

    So all in all, not the best night, but not horrible.

    The next day was harder with naps. She really did not like going down for a nap without the paci. But I stuck to my guns and she never cried for more than 5 mins until the last nap of the day when she cried for nearly 20 mins (P.S. I check on her every 5 mins and tell her “Mommy’s here” while I pat her bum).

    Last night (#2)-regular routine again with no paci. She fell asleep right away with no crying until 4:00 am! Then was starving obviously, so I fed her and put her down awake….I was prepared for the worst, but not a peep! She slept until 7:30 am (I was up at 7!) Could this be it?

    I figure she was exhausted from her crappy naps the day before, so I’m not going to get too cocky here, but I hope that this works.

    I just put her down for her first nap of the morning, and she did cry, but only for 2 mins. Fingers crossed…. :)

    It’s definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do; her cry makes my stomach hurt and every fiber of my being wants me to go in and pick her up. I’m going to stick to my guns here, and hope for the best.

  31. Erin says

    My son is 17 months old and has generally been a good sleeper. I was in the routine of rocking him to sleep at night and putting him in bed when he was completely asleep. About 2 weeks ago he started immediately waking up as soon as his body hit the crib. After hours of rocking only to have him wake up when he was put in the crib I finally started laying down on the floor with him and he would sleep on a blanket on the floor. Sleeping on the floor was obviously not a good solution so I decided to let him cry it out. I have let him cry it out in the past and it has worked to get him to sleep through the night when he was about 9 months old. So the first night was 1.25 hours, the second night an hour and the 3rd night 20 minutes. He went to sleep right away a few nights, regressed and cried for an hour on night 7 and so far so good sense.
    BUT getting him to go to sleep is no longer the problem. For as long as I can remember my son has fallen asleep for his naps in the car on the way home from the park. I have taken him from the car to the crib with no issues and he would sleep for 2-3 hours. 3 days ago he started waking up as soon as he was put in the crib. The first day I let him cry for 25 minutes before getting him. Day 2 he cried for an hour before I got him. And today he cried for an hour and a half. I went in because I couldn’t take it anymore. As soon as I picked him up he put his head on my shoulder and fell asleep. I waited 10 minutes and tried to put him in his crib and he woke up again. So for 3 days he hasn’t taken a nap and has screamed bloody murder. At least at night I can tell he starts to give up. During the day it is gut wrenching screaming. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  32. Debbye says

    Hi Erin-
    I’m sorry you are having such a rough time! Sometimes naps are harder for babies/toddlers sleep. He knows how to sleep on his own, but just seems to be putting up a heck of a fight. I would recommend that you try some nap sleep training. It sounds as if you have tried leaving him to cry, so maybe you could try a more gentle approach.
    Have you read the free nap guide? http://www.babynapschedule.com/
    You can try putting him down for his nap a little earlier, so he is not over tired, and try put him in his crib drowsy but awake. Stay with him and comfort him and see if it helps him stay more calm.
    I hope this helps, and good luck!!!

  33. Liz says

    Augh–It is 530am–we have been crying it out since 330am now. This has been two nights in a row and I say “we” because I am ready to cry it out from lack of sleep. I feel anger at myself for doing this to her and my very strong willed daughter for not just giving in! I mean, isn’t she even a little sleepy. Now, in 30 minutes I will get her up and she will be so sleepy that it will throw her naps off. grr so frusterated

    Its not that I don’t think it works–I know it does, but I can’t do this many more nights let alone weeks!

  34. Debbye says

    Liz,
    I am sorry things are so hard right now. I really hope the last nights have gone better, and please know that things WILL get better! Try not to think about the days or weeks ahead, just get through today!
    Best wishes…