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Is Sleep Training Child Abuse?

February 12, 2015 |  by  |  cry it out, featured, parenting
is sleep training child abuse

I try not to court controversy because I don’t actually see parenting as all that controversial. A wide range of parenting decisions are totally OK and there are many approaches that can work like gangbusters. Parents all over the world are happily and lovingly caring for their children by breastfeeding, bottle-feeding, co-sleeping, crib-sleeping, baby-wearing, etc. There is no one right way, there are many right ways and without exception, I’ve found my readers reasonable, loving parents who are extremely good at figuring out the right answer for themselves.

So I stay out of the so-called Mommy Wars because I like to believe that we’re not at war. We’re all on the same team and from what I’ve seen on the Precious Little Sleep Facebook Group, we’re overwhelmingly supportive of each other in all the flavors of parenting that we’ve adopted for our unique families.

But despite the vast number of kind and thoughtful parents in the world, there are sadly, a few outliers. Parents who like to yell at people who don’t adhere to their personal philosophies. Which is their right (free speech and all that) I guess.

But the problem with the yelling is that it quickly turns into parental bullying. Telling people they’re bad parents. Shaming other parents to tears, claiming they are permanently injuring their children, calling them ignorant, heartless, selfish.

This “you’re doing it wrong” bullying often terrifies people who are struggling miserably, by telling them that they must sludge on no matter how bad it is for all involved. And as every parent who has ever felt a bit low or insecure (read: all parents) knows, getting yelled at never makes anything better.

A recent post on sleep training is a particularly harsh example of parental bullying. I would ignore it, as I’ve ignored the similar yelling articles that have come before it. But it’s getting a lot of undeserved publicity and making loving parents who I care about feel shitty.

So let’s talk about the yelling article (referred to as “Ol’ Yeller” from here on out). I want to discourage you from reading it because every time someone reads it a fairy loses its wings. However if you insist – and I strongly suggest you don’t – I’ve linked to it at the bottom of the post.

It’s Wildly Inaccurate

It starts by describing an imagined bizarro-world sleep training scenario with parents who presumably look something like this.

evil parents

These parents are quoted as saying, “But we are in charge. We are the parents. He’s got to learn his place.” Do you want to know how many sleep training parents talk about their babies like this?

Exactly zero.

I have personally interacted with many thousands of families who have sleep trained their children and can say with full confidence that the fictional depiction in the Ol’ Yeller article is total bunk. Nobody is ever teaching baby to “learn his place” nor are parents cavalier about things. Parents who use sleep training (in all its various forms) are thoughtful, caring, and mindful of the how critical healthy sleep is to their child’s health.

It’s Full of Alarmist Unsubstianted Statements

Following is a selection of the many harrowing statements made in these articles:

“Due to the mechanism of self-preservation, his body shuts down his conscious self and falls into a forced sleep.”

“Over time, they learn not to signal to their caregivers as the bonds of attachment fray.”

“CIO teaches them to panic silently and detach from those whom nature intends for them to trust.”

“A growing catalogue of peer-reviewed studies clearly assert that CIO harms normal brain development and damages a child’s capacity to develop secure attachment bonds — essential to the cultivation of empathy, pro-social behavior, and future, healthy long-term relationships.”

“This leads to the “underdevelopment” of receptors for serotonin, oxytocin and endogenous opioids – chemicals essential for our experience of happiness. In particular, the neural pathways formed by oxytocin released in our infancy remain with us and continue to impact our adult physiology.”

“While it may be true that some professionals who advocate CIO are traumatized individuals, I prefer to think of them as simply misinformed.” (Thanks, I guess?)

Boy that’s a lot of very scary statements presented as fact. Essentially the message boils down to:

  • CIO doesn’t teach babies to sleep, it forces them into a stress-induced fugue state.
  • CIO destroys the relationship you have with your child.
  • The damage has lasting and permanent consequences.

Ol’ Yeller concludes with the following statement:

“Research is clear. The school of thought regarding infant/toddler sleep known as CIO (in all of its forms) harms the most precious and innocent among us. To knowingly harm babies and children is wrong. Period. May we work for a day when CIO is looked upon like the ancient practice of Chinese foot binding is today: archaic, harmful and best relegated to the pages of history.”

What research is clear? Where is it? And how for the love of all that is good in the world can you possibly suggest that CIO is on par with foot binding? How does any reasonable reader come to such a concluding statement with any response beyond simply this?

It’s hard to step back from these inflammatory statements and not respond on a purely emotional level (although I want to, I really do). But if there is, as the author says, “A growing catalogue of peer-reviewed studies” concluding that “CIO harms normal brain development” we would all want to know about it. The article frequently alludes to research to support its claims (such as the ones I quote here), so let’s dig in.

It Misrepresents the Science

Ol’ Yeller doesn’t cite any specific research but instead makes vague references, so I’ve made my best guess as to the specific science it’s drawing upon to make its conclusions.

This article (like many others) claims this study proves that sleep training destroys parent/child bonds. But that is not what this study measures or concludes (the study is also full of flaws which are described nicely here). Researchers followed 25 infants (4-10 month olds) over a 5-day extinction sleep training program in a sleep lab, testing the mother/child cortisol levels at each day. The mothers and babies had elevated cortisol levels on day #1 but Mom’s cortisol levels decreased when the crying ceased, while the child’s cortisol levels remained elevated. I don’t want to get too far down the path of picking apart this study but it in no way demonstrates that the parent/child attachment has been damaged. A more reasonable conclusion is that having nurses (aka strangers) put an infant to sleep in the context of a sleep laboratory is stressful for infants. Also while “elevated cortisol” sounds like cause for concern, it’s not. It’s a normal and healthy response to new things (such as having a new caregiver, which in this case was a qualified lab nurse). “Elevated cortisol” does not constitute a toxic-stress response which is when a child experiences severe and chronic neglect or abuse.

firefly

Ol’ Yeller repeatedly mentions an article called Baby Bonds quoting, “According to their research, 40 percent of 14,000 children born in 2001 lack secure attachment bonds formed by “early parental care.”” However Baby Bonds is specifically about significantly underprivileged families in the UK who are at much greater risk of neglect, abuse, drug/alcohol addiction, etc. Baby Bonds cites this meta-study on attachment disorders which concludes that about 15% of children in middle-class US families have an insecure attachment, most frequently associated with drug/alcohol use, chronic maltreatment, or children with neurological disorders (e.g. autism). The logical conclusion to this research is not that cry it out causes attachment disorders, addiction does.

Ol’ Yeller also mentions a rat study looking at different rat mothering behaviors (high degree of licking vs. low degree of licking) and the impact low-licking has on the development of the rat, namely that rats that get licked more are less fearful later in life.

Now if that was is as far as you went with it you might come to the conclusion, “I had better get back to licking my little rat because I don’t want him to grow up fearful!” But bear with me with the rat licking stuff a moment longer (if I have to slog through rat research, you do too!).

The conclusion the scientists come to is not that low-licking rats are neglectful parents who are damaging their pups with chronic maltreatment, but rather that low-licking behavior is a form of adaptive programming that helps those animals thrive in their particular habitat. More simply, fearfulness is a necessary survival trait for those specific rats.

So does this science support the idea that sleep training is harmful? Nope. Is it even remotely related to sleep training? Nope again. Further, none of my readers are low-licking rats.

Ol’ Yeller makes allusions to research on attachment (more rat research? why yes thank you!) indicating that when rat parents are cuddling, nursing, and being responsive to their pups, both the parent and pup brains produce happy chemicals (or if you prefer fancy talk endogenous opioids, oxytocin, and
norepinephrine). People produce these opioids too which help give you warm fuzzy feelings when you hold your baby. The research finds that rats who are put into isolation (and thus don’t get the neural support of these opioids) end up depressed and fearful.  But once again, sleep training is not remotely akin to newborn rats being placed in isolation. Parents who sleep train adore their children and attentively care for them throughout the day. These children – YOUR children – have plenty of opioids to support healthy brain development. Removing “45-minutes of bouncing on the yoga ball every night at bedtime” is not the same as putting a 2-day old rat in isolation.

Ol’ Yeller also draws upon research to imply that parents who utilize sleep training view their infants as manipulative and/or are less-fit parents due to depression or unresolved negative feelings related to their own childhood. Once again this takes research entirely unrelated to sleep training and misrepresents its conclusion. The study asked pregnant first-time mothers (meaning they had not yet given birth) to watch videotapes of infants crying and describe the crying as either manipulative or simply communicating.

Unsurprisingly, the pregnant women who had a history of depression or difficulty in emotional regulation were more likely to view infant crying as “manipulative.” So a reasonable conclusion from this study would be that people who struggle to manage their own emotions are going to have a harder time handling the negative emotions of babies. This study has absolutely nothing to say about parents who sleep train, nor does it suggest that parents who sleep train are “bad people” who view their children as “manipulative.”

TL:DR

In short, none of the research presented says what Ol’ Yeller claims it says. It doesn’t remotely substantiate the alarming and frankly ridiculous proclamations peppered throughout the article. Ol’ Yeller simply bandies about vague and misconstrued generalities from unrelated research to provide a veneer of legitimacy for what boils down to nothing more than the author’s personal opinion on the matter.

tumblr_nihe0b7vUX1s21kcxo1_400

Worse, it entirely overlooks the overwhelming body of direct scientific evidence that outlines the importance sleep and sleep training. Research that maps out the significant and lasting impact of chronic sleep deprivation and the negative impact of ongoing disjointed sleep on the well-being of the family. And research showing, in test after test after test, sleep training has been found to be effective, safe, and beneficial.

(Note: Stay tuned for a follow up post discussing the body of scientific evidence on sleep and sleep training.)

The bottom line? No parent wants their child to cry, just like nobody wants their child to wake up 8 times a night, take 20 minute naps, and be miserably overtired all the time. Cry it out is definitely the last approach parents reach after all others have failed. Many people find other methods to successfully help their child learn to fall asleep independently with little or no tears.

But parents that resort to letting their child cry in order to learn how to sleep have not failed. They’ve simply come to the difficult conclusion that the range of so-called gentle methods are not working for their child and that to continue on the current path of chronic sleep deprivation is not conducive to the health of their baby or the family. For those children, sleep training is the appropriate answer.

But sleep training is not child abuse – full stop.

This has been a long pretty heavy discussion so let’s end with this little bit of happy palette cleanser.

Ol’ Yeller Articles which are not to be read (if you value fairy wings) can be found here and here.


97 Comments


  1. We let our son cry-it-out when he was four months and in just a few nights he was perfectly happy sleeping through the night without making a peep. The stirring and noise was less and less every night. The first night is the worse and then the crying tampered off very quickly and easily. He’s a very happy and healthy baby and we have a very close bond. I wouldn’t have done this if I didn’t feel confident of a good outcome.

  2. Hi there! I’m super new to this blogging thing so forgive my inexperience. I stumbled on a way to help a newborn to 9 month old sleep through the night. I have read quite a few of your posts and love them. So I thought maybe I could get your opinions. Inspiration struck while my baby girl was in the NICU. I’ve used it with both my babies, I didn’t tell anyone about it for 6 years because I am not a pushy person and didn’t want to offend anyone. My little sister got pregnant so I gave her one to use with her fussy little guy. When she had success and other friends and family had success with it, I thought maybe I should talk about it with people who are struggling with their littles sleep. Would that be ok?

  3. I’m totally with you on this: I can’t really imagine how someone can even think that teaching children to sleep can be considered child abuse! I mean do they honestly think that having a child that hasn’t had enough sleep, that is irritated and tired is the best alternative here?

  4. Hi Alexis,

    Thank you for your well researched posts, I find myself always coming back to your blog because that means I don’t have to do the research myself! Partly because of your blog, my husband and I decided to sleep train our 2nd child (we co-slept for 3.5 years with our first which was the right solution for our family at the time). We decided to hire a sleep consultant to help us (or keep me from caving in…) when our 2nd daughter was 4 months old. That was a little over 2 months ago. I thought it was going to be easy, because our daughter was already sleeping 10 hours straight through the night, most nights (after I nursed her to sleep and transferred her asleep to her crib). We decided to sleep train though because I knew (thanks to your blog…) that this ideal situation would not last! Sleep training has not been easy and we still experience crying every single time we put her down for a nap or at bedtime. The only time she doesn’t cry is after night feeds (which are quite seldom, they tend to happen if she has a cold or something bothering her). I’ve been as consistent as possible. I avoid car and stroller naps as much as possible (but they still happen about 4-5 times a week). We have a solid pre-nap and bedtime routine. She sometimes cries for just a few minutes (victory!!!) but it is often more like 10 minutes. Sometimes 20 minutes of screaming. We are no longer working with the sleep consultant, and my husband will not agree to hiring someone again due to the lack of success (in our eyes…) of sleep training. I’m wondering if someone can give me some insight: Is this amount of crying considered normal? Best case scenario is just a few minutes of crying, average is probably 10 minutes. Bedtime is usually 15-20 minutes of crying (yes, that’s right, we have less crying before naps). I’m becoming a hermit. I try to stay home all the time, I avoid having friends or family come over because of the crying and I don’t go over to other peoples homes because I would never dare put her down in a play pen for a nap and have her scream at somebody’s house for 20 minutes! I’m wondering if the continued crying is due to some minor inconsistencies. We were instructed to do 10 minute checks with our daughter. We skip the check if she appears close to falling asleep. So sometimes we check at 10 minutes, sometimes we don’t… I never imagined still having over an hour of crying a day (combined) after 2 months of sleep training! Do you think we may have still have some “work” to do, or do I need to just accept this as what it is and get on with my life?

    • My first born usually cried for 10-15 min every time she went for a nap or bedtime too. Even after she was old enough to sleep through the night. This continued until she started to talk. Then she started talking to herself for 10-15 min. Now at 4years plus she’s quiet (I think) but I don’t have a monitor in there so I don’t really know. I decided that this little girl at least, just needed to let off some energy and unwind.

      That’s not to say nothing can/should be done with your daughter. You should certainly observe and think. But sometimes crying just happens and you can’t control it.

  5. Shortly after birth, my LO was diagnosed w severe reflux and to help her better, we used to kangaroo her vertically for 30-60min for her milk to digest via gravity before putting her to sleep which was also v short in those newborn days.

    But as she grew we realise that her naps and night sleep is v bad and no matter how much we rock, cuddled, kangarooed, baby wear, gym-balled, etc etc she just either can’t sleep well or long.

    Soon we arrive to the cruel decision to let her CIO. Everyone I know bombed me w the brain damaged theory and etc and everyday as I do it I feel so guilty. Her night tm routine was v successful.. I think after 1-2 nights she sleeps in her own cot without needing is to cradle, cuddle, gym ball bounced to sleep and it had been like this ever since. She did it in her 8th week.

    However… Naps is anther prob. She can’t sleep long and well and I also use the CIO method. And she is still crying today as I type it. So I have tested it: carry her the moment she cried. Bad day for the entire day becox insufficient sleep and catnaps spoilt her mood. Another week I let her cry. And she cry sleep cry sleep and managed to clock in 1-2hr sleep. Wake up happy, refreshed, alert and makes all sorts of cute sound and do amazing stunts. No bond broken and dun seem damaged.

    But she is still crying during naps. And I feel so bad letting her cry. She hasn’t gained same success like night and has been crying for past month still. But it almost always guarantee good sleep and happy child. But all the website on google had made me feel v lousy about it and i was this close to stop the CIO for naps… Till I read this… I hate to hear her cry. But I hate it as much that my dearie can’t sleep well. Seem more damaging to her brain to me than cortisol…
    Ur article may address mums who let her kid cry only at night and when they are older.. I must be v bad to do it since week 8 and allowed her to cry during naps for nearly a month.. Still it brings tears to my eyes reading as I’m so confused whether to carry on or not

    • What do your instincts say? Does anything work? My son was colicky and it broke my heart hearing him cry so much…it tears you apart. We found the only thing that worked was co-sleeping. He calmed at being close to his dad and I, and was able to nurse quickly. I ended up getting 8+ hours of sleep each night because he calmed down so much just being close to us and being able to breastfeed on demand. We don’t regret it at all, and we’ve since never had to let him CIO because that was too hard on our hearts and went against our parental instincts. As far as napping during the day, I just put him in the carrier…. He would either sleep for 15 in his crib by himself, or 1.5-2 hours in the baby carrier while I did housework. There’s no shame in doing that. Do what you think is right, not what people tell you, and when people criticize you, just tell them to shove it 🙂 best of luck to you!

  6. My baby decided all of the sudden, at four months, that no amount of swaddling, rocking, feed to sleep, cuddling would put him to sleep anymore. Feeling like a bad mother to put him in his crib crying, I still did try and he fell asleep on his own after five minutes. Since that day every nap and nighttime is the same. He is not crying like crazy, just fussing and protesting to have to go to sleep, I can see when he is tired: fussy, red eyes, bags under eyes… I lay him down and he fusses and after 1 to 3-4 minutes now he is asleep. He will not sleep in his car seat anymore either. He has to be own his own bed. Cry it out was the only way for him. I would never let him cry longer that 5-10 minutes. Sometimes he does that at night and his cry is different, he is still hungry. I give him another feed and put him back in his crib and he is good for the night. Maybe I was lucky that he naturally streched his night overtime he never wakes up untill 5 am now at 5 months. You know what is best for your baby. Don’t let anybody tell you your a bad mother for doing Cry-it-out (my definition is to go back to the baby if she still cries after 5-10 minutes not let her cry forever)

  7. Thank you for this article. My husband and I have been working with a local sleep consultant on a CIO approach to helping our daughter sleep, and it’s been a tough few days so far, though with some promising progress already. A few months ago, I read an article similar to the one you critiqued in this post, and its claims have been haunting me throughout this process, making me feel in the back of my mind that I’m some kind of monster for being selfish enough to let my baby cry in the pursuit of a good night’s sleep. So thank you again – I wish there were more safe places like this on the internet for parents who are interested in sleep training, because as it is the term “sleep training” is a total Google nightmare.

  8. Just wanted to say we sleep trained our son at seven months (after co-sleeping and nursing to sleep for those first seven months) and it was the best thing we could have done for him and for ourselves. It’s nearly a year later now, but we have friends with children the same age who still are dealing with sleep issues. Thank you, Alexis, for inspiring us and writing such practical and well-researched posts. Good luck to all the parents out there trying to get a good night’s sleep! You can do it!

    • Hi Katie,

      We are looking at sleep training our almost 7 month old baby girl, we are currently co-sleeping (cot beside bed joined and sometimes she’s piggy in the middle. I have just discovered this fantastic website but am also confused by the difference on opinions all over the internet. Could I possibly ask your advice? I would love to know the strategies you used to get your boy sleeping soundly. I’m definitely not opposed to sleep training and would be grateful for any words of wisdom. At the moment I am keeping a diary and am making a point to try change from feeding her to sleep to using other methods, to test it out an hour ago I put her in the Manduca and walked her to sleep, I’m hoping that maybe this can lead to me eventually just picking her up for a quick cuddle and putting her in her cot but who knows!

      Thanks!

      Elyse

      • Hi Elyse,

        Of course! We cried it out as per Alexis’s instructions on this site–we did not go in for checks or reassurance as we thought that with our son it would make it worse. He had been sleeping in between us in our bed and our goal was to have him fall asleep on his own in the crib. We picked a night to start and were consistent. The longest he cried was 50 minutes on the first night. After that it was 20 or less. And on the 9th night there was no crying at all (good thing I kept a journal about this). No one likes to hear a baby cry, but we felt confident that it was for a good reason and it was.

        I’d recommend choosing one (or max two) websites you trust on this matter because constantly trolling the Internet for information about this might drive you crazy. I liked Alexis’s approach–she seems sensible, and a friend who is a mom of two had told me that was the sleep advice she had used. And it turned out to be very effective. Throughout last summer my son woke to nurse several times a night, but after a particularly hellacious stretch of waking, nursing and not wanting to go back down, he started sleeping through the night–12 hours in a row!

        Anyway, I think you need to decide what your objective is and work from there. I wanted him sleeping in his own space and to be able to get to sleep on his own (which, honestly, after a certain age every parent should want!) and I wanted to do it before he started standing in the crib and crazy things like that! It was also important for me to have my nights back–to know that putting him down for the night wouldn’t depend on my breasts!

        Once we started sleep training we made sure the last feed was at least 20 minutes before bed time and kept a consistent bedtime routine of washing up, changing, story, song and good night. But you can find all that advice on this site. Also, he was still sleeping in our room for this–if we’d had the space at the time, I probably also would have put him in his own room. We were putting him down hours before us, though.

        I hope that helps!

        • Thanks Katie, this is extremely helpful, what you wanted is exactly what we want Olive to do. And you make a great point to do this all by the time bubs is able to stand in the cot! I’m practising this sleep training right now for the first time as at night she has her big sister that might be woken with her crying. Did you practice this with naps too? I’ve just feed her and noticed she didn’t settle but it’s very tired so I thought I’d put it to the test! She’s grizzling at the moment but not full on crying just yet. I remember doing this with get big sister too but she was 9 months old, Olive is a bit more “spirited” when it comes to bedtime!

          • Yes, we did more or less try it on naps (or a modified version), though we tackled naps after we got the nights sorted. Good luck!

  9. Can anyone give me some advice? My husband and I have put much thought into this, and we have decided sleep training is the next best course of action. We have tried everything, and nothing else seems to work. I’m a FTM, we are living with my SO’s parents, and having to share a room with my 9 month old. Up until I started working again about 2 weeks ago, our daughter had a beautiful schedule. 2 naps a day, both an hour and a half to 2 hours long, 4 bottles and 3 meals. Bath at 8, in bed by 8:30 and asleep by 9. Clockwork, followed that routine everyday. Now it has all gone to hell. No amount of coddling, feeding, co-sleeping, etc., will help. She will scream for an hour. Wrote falling asleep for 10 minutes, and then wake back up again to do the same thing. Here’s the biggest issue with that; we live with her Grammy and grandpa, and they absolutely hate it. They will go in a get her out of the crib without asking us, and bring her into their room to play with her. Which isn’t a big deal, if we weren’t try to teach her how to sleep on her own!!! Because even then, when they are ready to go to bed, they will hand her off to us, and the same process will begin all over again. And if we let her cry, they will reprimand us for the method we are using, and make us pull her out. They completely disagree with sleep training, and make it sound like we are using abuse. I’m at my wits end. It is very stressful, and very exhausting. Please help!!!

    • This isn’t a sleep training issue, it’s a parental boundary issue.

      Let’s take an extreme example. What if your rule was “no guns around the baby” and Grandpa took baby with him to go target shooting. Would this be OK? Of course not. But also because Grandpa wouldn’t be respecting your rules about the care and wellbeing of your child. This is no different.

      You are the parent. You are in charge of your child. The grandparents MUST respect that if you are going to successfully share a space with them. I would talk to them about this issue. IF they’re going to undermine your parental authority you guys might have to decide if you can successfully live with them. Because this issue is going to come up in a wide range of parenting situations, not just independent sleep.

  10. Our little one is 9mth old and we hired a consultant that my friends had success with and its been 5 nights day 5. They use a ferber approach, gentler approach. Staying in didnt work so we moved to leave the room, 10min checkins. First night he cried 40mins but since then, he’s been crying 60-90mins. This is lot longer than I thought and driving me nuts. I felt like checking in made him more upset and we suggested cio but the consultant is against it and recommended 15min checkin. It is a 10 day program and I would follow it but just to check, success of sleep training looks like they’ll learn and stop crying or at least on most of the days right? She said he may still cry more than an hour even after the profram but if he falls asleep and sleeps through its a success. What do you think? I disagree. If my lo cries everynight 1hr that is not a pleasant evening for us. Not crying or less than10mins cry to me is more like a successful training. Would we get there eventually? Pls share positive thoughts thanks

    • Hey Michelle, we followed Alexis CIO plan on this website and it took about 2 weeks but it worked. She now falls asleep on her own and cries for only 5 min before she knocks out. The first night was the hardest about 40 min of screaming but every night the crying got shorter and shorter. We tried the Ferber method and she would get even more upset and cry even longer so we desperately tried CIO. Follow Alexis plan she is a miracle worker!! With our second one we started him on the Alexis plan as soon as he was born meaning swing, white noise, right awake time and he is 6 months now and falls asleep on his own in his crib no CIO necessary.

      • Thanks Heather For your first one how old was she? I guess much harder when they are older than 6mth I regret not starting earlier, more challenging as he can cry standing up now.
        Consultant made some changes so doing 15min checkin now. At least the good part is once he sleeps, he slept 11hr without waking up last two nights. Thats a progress right? Its just the protesting/crying part. Was 1hr yesterday. Hoping it will be 30mins today. When you said it took you 2wks, did she protest all along and then at 2wks mark, she stopped crying and fall asleep shortly? Its the crying part that makes me hard to bear.. tonight is night7 so I guess we just have to push thru and it should also work w us by week 2right? Pls pray

        • The crying/protest are the worst it’s so hard to listen to them cry. My daughter was about 8 months when we started. After two weeks she still cried but just for 2 minutes of like fussing crying. Hopefully it keeps getting better for you!!

          • Thanks Heather
            Question, did you do nap training together or just bedtime training? Their training does both and its been so harsh for me and my lo. So i decided to quit nap training, just help him to nap and focus on bedtime training. I read that you can tackle bedtime first and I really dont care putting him to naps. Pls advise if you did both or if you were successful just doing bedtime thx

  11. Hey Michelle, we followed Alexis CIO plan on this website and it took about 2 weeks but it worked. She now falls asleep on her own and cries for only 5 min before she knocks out. The first night was the hardest about 40 min of screaming but every night the crying got shorter and shorter. We tried the Ferber method and she would get even more upset and cry even longer so we desperately tried CIO. Follow Alexis plan she is a miracle worker!! With our second one we started him on the Alexis plan as soon as he was born meaning swing, white noise, right awake time and he is 6 months now and falls asleep on his own in his crib no CIO necessary.

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