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Too Young to Cry it Out?

Young baby crying in bed

Lately I’ve been getting a lot of emails and comments asking about “cry it out” (CIO, the Ferber method, Ferberizing, etc.). Also cry it out was pretty much the only thing anybody wanted to talk about at the new baby playgroup I spoke at a few weeks ago. I tried to steer the conversation to who has the cutest pediatrician (I do OBVIOUSLY) but they kept going back to cry it out.

This is a BIG TOPIC. There are lots of opinions about cry it out however they’re all wrong unless they happen to agree with my own opinions, in which case they are totally on the mark.

Cry it out is the tool of last resort. Nobody comes home from the hospital with their precious new baby thinking, “A year from now we’re going to let you cry and we’ll all feel terrible about it. Welcome home baby!” They try lots of other things, get ground down into a sleep-deprived pulp, and eventually concede defeat, settling on cry it out as a sleep strategy when all other avenues have been attempted without success.

There are definitely circumstances in which I believe CIO is the right answer. Although it’s not the right answer for EVERYBODY. And there are definitely times when I believe it is a mistake. It can be done right. It can be done wrong. And when it’s done wrong it tends to be an ugly ineffective mess for everybody involved. Almost everybody wants to know the same things about cry it out.

What You Want to Know About Cry It Out

  • WHEN should you try this?
  • WHY should you try it?
  • WHAT are the alternatives?
  • HOW do you do CIO the right way?
  • WHAT should you expect?

All good stuff that I promise to get to in good time. However since I don’t have time today so I’m going to briefly address what has come up a bunch lately.

When is Baby Too Young to Cry It Out?

Apparently some pediatricians are recommending parents try cry it out at 3-4 months of age. As they are pediatricians and I am not, this puts me in the uncomfortable position of disagreeing with a pediatrician. But personally I think this is too young.

Why 3 to 4 Months is Too Young for Cry It Out

1

They genuinely need you.

When a baby is young (<6 months) they haven't developed self soothing skills. They can't settle themselves when they cry. They may not be able to fall asleep without help. They can't go for long periods of time without food. It may not be a reasonable expectation that they simply fall asleep on their own.

2

You have other options.

There is an inverse relationship between baby age and the number of options you have to successfully help them sleep. Another way to put it is when you are struggling with a baby under 6 months of age who isn’t sleeping, you still have a lot of tools at your disposal. When your 1.5 YO refuses to sleep your quiver doesn’t have so many arrows in it.

3

It can be rough.

As younger babies have less self-soothing skills the amount of crying involved tends to be greater than if you wait until they are older. It’s not a guarantee that CIO for a young baby will be a long painful ordeal but in my experience it’s significantly more likely.

If your baby is under 6 months old and you’re thinking about cry it out or you’re worried that you’re “spoiling your baby” by picking her up every time she cries, I would suggest that you try to commit to some other techniques first. Do whatever you need to do to keep your baby from being awake too long. Make sure you are taking advantage of swaddling and loud white noise. Maybe your baby isn’t ready to sleep in the crib, your newborn may respond well to sleeping in a swing.

I’m not suggesting that these things are easy. Swings don’t magically solve all your baby sleep issues. If they did I would be selling them on this site for $1000 each. Keeping an older baby swaddled can be challenging. If your child is chronically sleep deprived you may need to FORCE the issue (take her for a car ride/stroller walk, whatever works) for a few days to get her sleeping. You may need to forgo beloved playgroups or coffee dates with friends to make sure she isn’t awake too long. It may take a week or two before things start to get easier (and in the meantime you may feel like they’re NEVER going to get better).

But they will. Billions of people have figured out how to get their kids to sleep and you will too. And if all else fails, at a certain point, maybe for your family, cry it out is the answer.

Cry it Out VS. Testing the Waters

There is a big difference between cry it out and leaving your baby alone for 5 minutes to see if she’ll settle herself back down to sleep. While I’m suggesting that under 6 months is too young for cry it out, I am DEFINITELY a fan of occasionally putting babies down awake for a few minutes to see what happens (set a timer for 5 minutes and don’t go back in – they will often surprise you). Similarly when your baby wakes up at night make sure they REALLY need you before you pick them up. Stare at the clock to make sure you aren’t rushing in to get them 20 seconds after they wake up (20 seconds can seem like an eternity when your little one is crying). Wait a minute or two and see what happens. Even if you just tried this a week ago and it didn’t work, try it again this week. Newborn babies are developing at an unimaginable pace so you want to check back in regularly – what didn’t work last week may very well work great this week. Letting your baby fuss for a few minutes is NOT cry it out.

{Photo Credit: I should be folding laundry}


148 Comments


  1. Hello Alexis,
    I’m after some advice on cry it out. I have 5 month old twin boys. I started them out sleeping in their swings with white noise and swaddle and the swings were great during that crazy newborn phase, however despite my best efforts I could not get them to fall asleep in the swings at bedtime! They would sometimes fall asleep in them at nap times, otherwise I would just rock them to sleep and then put them in the swings.
    Since I never could get them to fall asleep in their swings at bedtime I just decided they may swell be sleeping in their cots. And they sleep just as well as in the swings, once they are down for the night. Still have the white noise and swaddle. My problem is that my husband does night shift 2 weeks every month and bedtime has become a nightmare for me. I cannot rock two babies to sleep at once. I end up rocking one, while the other cries in his cot for 20 mins, then I put the sleeping one down, pick up the crying one to rock to sleep and then the other one wakes to cry and this can go on and on! I have had my mother and mother in law to sleep over a couple of nights a week when my husband is on night shift ( they both live an hour away) but this can’t go on forever.
    This is long, but basically is it too early for cry it out and do you think it would work?

    • Melanie, I myself had twin girls and I also nursed and rocked them to sleep never letting them do the job themselves. Dad wasn’t around to help at never very often. At 8 months I couldn’t take it any longer. I had zero time to myself to even eat! I bought 2 books. (Can’t remember the names) but one basically said to keep checking on them every so many minutes. ( Just t reassure them you weren’t coming back! LOL.) I think it was Ferber.
      The second one went sort of like this. Put them to bed awake, leave the room the way they normally sleep, poor yourself a big ole glass of wine and go outside. The latter worked like a charm. It look over 45 minutes the first night but low and behold after 3 nights, I put my children to bed at 7:30, awake, and they literally “slept like babies”. I had the evening to clean up and get ready for the next day. AND, a bit of time for myself! My girls are teenagers today and have always slept beautifully! Take my advise if nothing has worked so far. It hurts to hear them cry but……

  2. I have been anti cio until 6 months and have been successful until today. He went to sleep in my arms, I put him down, he woke up SUPER alert. I tried everything to put him back down. I didn’t even interact with him for the first twenty minutes as I tried to keep him in the nap time zone. I then tried putting him in his swing, bouncer, etc, but the kid thought it was a great playtime. I tried holding him, but he kept screaming as he was overtired and wanted to play. I left him in bed happy. He then started screaming after ten mins. By this time, he had slept a total of ten mins in FOUR hours. I finally just let him scream for five minutes. I felt HORRIBLE and went back after five with tears streaming down my face. But he went in my arms and was asleep in two minutes flat. I’m so afraid that I destroyed his trust or something. What do you think?

    • Do I think that you destroyed his trust by “abandoning” him for 5 minutes? Well let me turn this question around – do YOU think you did?

      Attachment theory is quite clear – parent/child bonds are not fragile things that dissolve with brief bouts of crying. I understand you were having a rough nap day and are feeling terrible about what happened. But I’m quite confident that from his perspective this was no big deal.

      When I read your story I’m not thinking that this is a child who is neglected, but I am thinking that this is a Mom who’s batteries are running on empty. Your kiddo is fine and his relationship with you is fine too. But maybe you can carve out some time and energy to care for yourself?

      Good luck!

  3. He’s 4.5 months

  4. We had to leave my first born to CIO, because NOTHING else worked – he hated rocking/patting/shushing/bouncing/the car etc etc etc. we realised that it was us continually going back in to “comfort” him that was just stimulating him even more and getting him worked up. So, when we knew he was just tired because he’d been fed/changed etc, we left him to it for gradually lengthening periods of time. He started actually self soothing, stopped getting so angry and worked up and eventually at 7 & a half months began to sleep more than 2 hour blocks. He now sleeps soundly through the night (with the help of a toddler clock). My 3 month old unfortunately had no choice but to be left to cry as I am at home with them in my own for days on end and as such can’t physically hold her whilst bathing him/changing his nappy/getting him ready for bed etc. she soon learned to self soothe, and sleep through the night and can settle herself down for sleep. She’s a happy little baby, and totally fine, though it was a harsh few days for her whilst she was left for the short time it took to get my son ready for bed. No regrets for CIO here!

  5. Hello, I would like some advice. I have a son who is now 5.5 months old. He was born prematurely at 35 weeks, so corrected age he is just over 4 months old. He is a large baby …he is following the 50th percentile for weight for his uncorrected age. He has reflux and was a motion lover so we have had him sleeping in a swing. However, he is outgrowing the swing and is now able to roll front to back and back to front inconsistently. We have recently started to try him in his crib. I read your post on moving to a crib from a swing…. The swing is non-moving and beside his crib in his own room. In the swing he goes down at 7pm, falls asleep on his own, then wakes at 1-2am and 4-5am to eat. We are breastfeeding. Then up for the day around 6:30-7:30am. When I put him in his crib he will fall asleep on his own but then wakes after 40 min, then 30 min, then an hr, etc. crying hysterically. The only way to sooth him is to pick him up and pat his back. Then he will go back down to sleep, until myself or my husband cave and we put him back in the swing for the night so we can all sleep. We have tried a crib wedge, flat crib, putting him on his back and tummy (I know this is not recommended but he did sleep 3 hrs straight on his tummy when we tried it). Do you think it is ok to try CIO for the wakings he has outside of his typical feed times? Is he old enough to try CIO? Any other suggestions? TIA.

    • Most swings go to 25-30 lbs and my own little refluxers (who were mammoth babies) were in there for 10 and 13 months respectively. So my first thought is, “is he really outgrowing the swing?”

      I ask because refluxing kids tend to do better with a slight incline to their sleep. HE’s still young (I count him a 4 month old) and you’re telling me he’s miserable in the crib. So my first thought is – why force it? Why not wait?

      • Thank you for your reply. I can leave him in the swing for now as ours does go to 25 lb. But doesn’t their increased mobility make the swing unsafe? He tries to bridge in it now, lifting his bum out as soon as the harness comes off. When will I know he will be ready for the crib? When should I try it again?

  6. Hi Alexis,

    It has been great reading all of this advice. Thank you so much.

    I’m worrying that I’ve ruined my second child’s sleep completely 🙁 she was really good at self-soothing in her bedside cot until about 6 weeks (with a but of help from white noise) but then she caught a lingering cold from my 2 year old and just would just cry when put on her back… Then I ruined it and brought her into my bed as it was the only way she would sleep.

    I now just cannot get her to go back in her cot and she feeds off me 3-4 times every night 🙁

    Can you advise? Worried I’ve made a rod for my own back…

    Thank you!

  7. My son is three months old and when he was born I took my moms advice to lay him down in his crib to sleep. Problem was, even when I’d comfort him he’d scream his little head off. So I started putting him in his swing. He was fine up until recently. Now he screams no matter what I do, holding him, laying him down, everything. I’ve just been rocking him to comfort him a bit. But the second I lay him down he wakes up. I’ve read so many things online but nothing even remotely helps.

    Today I pretty much let him cry it out (more like screaming) while I stood next to his crib and held his hand. After 25 minutes he finally stopped and fell asleep. But he was awake a few minutes later. Then he put his fist in his mouth and started cooing. He acts like he just slept for hours (he ended up falling asleep again though). He never has slept for very long either. He pretty much always naps for only an hour. Even when he was a newborn he wouldn’t sleep as much as I was told newborns do. He has pretty much slept through the night since he was a month old too (8PM-5/6AM). His doctors told me that was wrong. But I’m going to follow what he naturally does.

    • Hi Summer
      Did you find something that worked for you? I am in a very similar situation – my 4mo has never slept as much as he is ‘supposed’ to – 2 or 3 40min catnaps through the day and about 12 hours at night with a couple feeds. Until recently I was able to rock him to sleep (with difficulty, but we eventually got there), now as soon as I bring him into the room he starts howling and carries on until he is completely exhausted, about 9 or 10pm at present. If I do get him to nod off earlier the slightest disturbance will wake him straight up again. Would love to know how you dealt with this.

      • I think my little guys problem was that we lived in a house with lots of people and that I had no idea what I was doing. I was living with my parents and few siblings at the time I wrote that and they were usually pretty loud. I usually just let my baby sleep with me or on me though. Looking back that was probably not a good thing to do. But it worked and we got through it. When he was 8 months we were able to move in with my husband and once that happened he slept pretty good by himself. Although, it wasn’t until recently that he falls asleep on his own.
        The biggest thing he hated was his crib so we just put his mattress on the floor and removed everything but his toys and our mattress from the room. He’ll play with toys when he wakes up or before he falls asleep, and usually he’ll fall asleep while playing. We just move him to his bed and he sleeps for 9 hours about. He doesn’t have a set bedtime or anything.
        I know what I’m saying isn’t exactly advice. Every baby is different though. Some like space while sleeping and others seem to love cuddles. Whatever you’re little man wants should be the way to go. He may want you to sleep next to him or be close by while he sleeps.

  8. Alexis

    I have a 6mo daughter. She has always been a very finicky sleeping. My wife keeps her in bed at night. Currently she works 9pm-1am and while I am watching her I cannot get her settled after I put her down. She falls asleep on me with no problem and will stay asleep for hours. The second I put her down she screams. If I let her go for more than 5 minutes or so she starts to scream so hard that she chokes. That is the point where I usually cannot help myself and I pick her up. She then falls asleep on me again and we start over. Lately she fights sleep and is not easy to keep asleep.

    Long story short, I am looking for advice. You had mentioned that you have a nak for finding sleeping solutions. Again, any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  9. Hi Alexis,
    Let me tell you your nap guide saved our lives when our daughter was small. I need help now! She has learned to crawl, wriggle and roll and is an incredibly active baby. She is almost 7 months and wakes around 10-4 a.m. and wriggles and rolls and turns and crawls around and his her head on the crib, she’ll sit up and not be able to lie back down, also, and cries and cries and yells and gurgles until we re-swaddle her and leave her with a bottle, and she will go back to sleep. Then she breaks out of the swaddle at some point and starts over. Unfortunately, usually around this time she also has a poopy diaper, so I feel awful letting her run around the crib and cry it out with the dirty diaper. I know we need to break the bottle/swaddle thing and we have before for periods of time and she slept great for months until now, with the added mobility and poopy diapers I don’t know what do do! Help!

  10. Hi!

    My 4 month old is extremely resistant to napping. No matter how little awake time I do with her she starts to scream as soon as I start to initiate a nap. Holding her and rocking her and bouncing her down take the edge off, she continues to scream. I use a tight swaddle, loud white noise, a dark room, a pacifier, and a swing. No matter what I do I cannot seem to get her the least bit drowsy without nursing her – all my efforts just amp up her screaming and she seems to almost jump out of my arms. Is it possible that CIO could be what she needs, even at this young?

  11. HELP! How many does should CIO take? My 6 month old was waking every 30-45 mins. She always goes to sleep/back to sleep easily but she wakes up ALL the time. We’ve been trying some sleep training methods and things are getting better. First we started with Ferber, going in and soothing periodically, but she would just get so upset, arching her back and screaming we thought it would be better if we didn’t go in at all. So for the past week we’ve been doing CIO. It is getting a little better. MOST of the time she whimpers and puts herself back to sleep, but sometimes she will scream for an hour. I feel like a monster not going in and picking her up. My question is: is there a certain time period to try CIO before admitting defeat? Also, she sleeps better at night on days she is at daycare (where she doesn’t nap as well). So should I only let her take short 30 min naps at home if that really is helping??

  12. Hey Alexis, I am back again – this time on a different post. Listen, you are awesome & I hope you know this. And I am saying this even when I haven’t actually tried any of your techniques ‘YET’. I am sending advance apologies for the long drama that’s about to follow. I keep reading your articles/blog & comments from fellow moms/dads everyday just to keep my sanity intact. Sometimes I read twice, thrice just so I know the lines by heart. Also, my daughter slept surprisingly well on that lovely day when I first landed on your page – so I thought you were a kind of good luck charm that sent my daughter to sleep-land. You know what I mean right?
    Synopsis:
    Talking about sleep-land, I am in a trouble zone. My sweet little daughter did not know how to sleep from day 1 at the hospital. We put ot down to less feed because I could feed her only 6 hours after I delivered. Add family pressure + engorgement to this, and spent most of the time in the hospital fighting & crying so as to determine why our newborn wasn’t sleeping per norm. We resorted to swaying, rocking and co-sleeping as desperate new parents. Since she is our firstie, we almost had and still have our doubts & fears. Especially, Me the Mommy
    The Trouble Zone:
    I live in India. No, that’s not the trouble. The shortcomings are that there are no such things such as disciplined traffic where you can take your baby for a ride, there are no house gardens where you can have a swing. And, there are no households that support baby-rearing the way it’s done in the other countries. So, the sweet little peanut that I delivered is a week shy of turning 3 months (she is running 82 days at the moment). Like I said, I have been rocking (dancing and swaying involved) her to sleep from day 1. After I solved the lactation issues, I am now able to sufficiently feed her and sometimes she nurses to sleep. But, rocking has been the main sleep driver. Also, she is a very very light sleeper. The next door neighbour snores, SHE WAKES UP. The cat mews, SHE WAKES UP. We talk softly, SHE WAKES UP. Somehow she has settled into a nighttime mild routine where I struggle on a bouncy bed and do my wild sit ups or walk madly like a tribal dancer and then past 11 P.M. she sleeps until 3 then wakes up for a feed (she fidgets in sleep moaning and whining to give me the cue). Then she is up every two or three hours for a feed. Until 7 A.M after which all glory is lost and she goes into what you call the crap naps. (This is a famous name in my family now, lol). As I write this, I am petrified she’ll move her sleep time to 1 or 2 P.M (or being awake all night) like how she was on more than five nights. Phew!
    The thing is her naps are totally unstructured (I am waiting for the Alexis-suggested 3 months) to change this but what worries me more is the fact that she won’t sleep for more than 20 minutes if we are not around. She hates the swaddle thing, hates the pacifier too and outside noise is definitely more than white noise in our place. We have something called the ‘Thooli/Palna’ in India which is similar to a swing but she needs to be constantly swung in the same for her to sleep beyond 20 minutes. Yesterday, we were on a car ride and I had to rock her within the car all the two hours plus at the houses where we stopped so she would stop crying and sleep. The whole family gives me a poor-thing look and I end up feeling lost, especially since darling husband comes over only during weekends. So, last night in order to cut down on the rocking, I shifted her bath time to 7 P.M, minimal lights, nursing then a little bit of rocking. As expected, she woke up in half hour flat the moment I put her down. I couldn’t do another rock-a-baby so I sent parents out of the room, put her in my lap, patted. She cried for a good 3 minutes, slowed down then cried for 2 more minutes again & slept for an hour before waking up to eat (it was feed-due). This morning I let her whimper/ cry for a while before I picked her up and got her to sleep with fluffy pillows at the sides (I am monitoring her though). Anything to make her sleep beyond 20 minutes. I sincerely don’t approve of CIO, and I know we haven’t got anywhere with just one day of trial but I would like to know if you approve. From rocking I want to move to patting or nursing (when the feed is due) for naps and for bedtime just patting and transfer to bed with pillows because she is anyway going to sleep with us in the same room. She isn’t very happy with swing / paci / swaddle and I am already giving her colic drops on fussy evenings so I am at my wits end to make something work out. Mind you, she is a very frequent nurser because she likes to nurse for a while, drop off and come back soon. It’s like having growth spurts every day. Am I letting her cry too much? And while she cries, I am crying too so it’s like unhappy evenings all over the place. I lock myself with her at 7 P.M every single day, unfailingly.

    I am staying with my parents currently and will move to one more place before I can settle down at my husband’s in three months from now. I know these are too many movements too soon but can’t help it buddy!
    Please let me know if I can continue to let her cry and keep patting plus transferring to bed with pillows. Or should I go back to the swing where I don’t have the fluffy pillows to mimic me. Oh I forgot to tell you, mine is a baby that too much Moro reflex until before few days

    P.S. My fingers are aching from having typed this essay on a small smartphone but not as much my back did when I rocked her the last two days in a jumpy little car.
    Oh btw, I love my little one everytime I look at her, and it’s making me weepy every day 🙂

  13. Our nighttime routine with our 3 month old consists of getting him changed, nursing him, and then rocking him to his lullaby music. Then I swaddle him in a sleep sack, leaving one arm free so he can suck his thumb. I place him in his bassinet and he is sound asleep for 3-4 hours. Then when he wakes up at night, I pick him up, offer him a breast, and then cuddle him until he falls back asleep. However, when I go to put him back in his bassinet, he wakes up and get so upset! He kicks his legs and gets so agitated and cries. As soon as I pick him up, he stops crying. Usually, he isn’t even hungry when he wakes up. He just wants comfort. When I put him down and he cries, should I be picking him back up to comfort him again and again, or just let him fuss? He will cry for 2 minutes perhaps, before he starts sucking his thumb and falls back asleep. Is this cry it out or just him fussing to figure out what he needs? Why do I feel guilty about letting him cry and why do people make me feel guilty when I tell them I let him cry for a couple minutes? Am I denying him his needs for extra comfort? Should I just let him sleep on me and not let him fuss for those couple minutes alone in his bassinet?

  14. My daughter only cries at night between 9pm to 1 or 2 am. She doesn’t cry all day. After 6 weeks, I had had enough. I wasnt able to perform at work or spend quality time with her because I was exhausted. I let her cry it out for a week and she then was crying from 9am to 12. By the second week she was a sleep by 11. By the third week it was between 9pm to 10 pm witching hour… I cradled my first daughter for 6 months. It was awful. My wife would not let me let her cry it out. She finally gave up and let me take over and my Sofia was sleeping through the night in three weeks. Don’t listen to fools who tell you crying it out is bad. Is it awould to go through? Of course. But if you’re going to take care of your baby, you have to take care of yourself. You need sleep. Let them cry, that is their exercise. Also, there is a difference between cry it out and neglect.

    • babies at that age need to feed every few hours…not sleep through the night. Sure its great for you, but their stomach does not hold enough food to go more than a few hours without their blood sugar dropping. Sleep training is useful and effective, when your baby can hold enough in their stomach to be comfortable all night. That usually doesn’t happen till 4-6mths. Crying it out isn’t bad, but theres a reason it took your daughter so long to adjust…cry it out when done right should only take 2-7days to take effect

  15. I need some serious advice. I’m a first time mom, and my little guy is three months. He’s been sleeping through the night since 7/8 weeks and usually has no problem going down. I should also mention that he sleeps in his crib and has pretty much since he’s been born. However, the only way he will sleep or nap during the day is on me. As much as I try to do all the things we do before he goes down for the night (bottle, swaddle, rock in the chair, sound in the back ground), he wakes up within minutes of putting him down for a nap. I’ll try again, and again, and again. If I hold him, he’ll easily sleep on me for an hour to two hours. This is what I’ve been allowing him to do because I’d rather him get sleep during the day than be cranky. I’m so confused how he can be such an awesome night time sleeper on his own, but can’t do it during the day? I’m really hoping that you can give me some insight or tips on how to work through this.

    • Hi Kathryn! Did you find any solutions? We’re approaching the same issue with my almost three month old. Good night time sleeper (though hard to get down at bedtime) but will not nap unless held the entire time. Even if I wait 30-60 minutes before putting him down he wakes up within ten minutes. I’ve read they don’t learn to consolidate naps till somewhat older but shouldn’t they be able to sleep somewhat during the day? Let me know if you figured anything out 🙂

  16. I don’t think anyone will respond since this is an old post but my baby who is 2 months old his whole life he hysterical cries when he is hungry. Sometimes I just can’t move fast enough especially in the middle of the night. Sometimes he gets that way i give him his pacifier and he falls back to sleep. I don’t pick him up right away. Then I go heat up his milk. He sometimes cries that entire time and during his changing. I’m scared I’m torturing him and he is hating me for letting him cry. I kind of feel like it’s the test the waters idea you said and it made me feel better, but I still feel bad. Also he doesn’t love being held all the time. I think it is his reflux he prefers to be up right or in his bouncer. I just hope we are bonding and I’m not putting any strain on our relationship because he goes from 0 to 60 in 2 seconds.

  17. To Thank you: my baby was going 0-60. He is8 weeks today. Just last week he started at daycare and they feed him so much more- 4oz bottles instead of 3. He instantly stopping going 0-60. Even in the middle of the night he is much more patient. I think going from about 20oz a day to 28oz made the difference. He has so much to eat in the day he doesn’t feel the night is as important. My lactation consultant approved trying to drop a night feeding and going 5hrs without a nighttime feeding. I am trying to get him happy with that now! He is much easier!

  18. HI Alexis,

    I have similar concerns as all the other mothers who commented. It would do us all a great deal of help. If you answered the rest of the posts. Then you can disable new posts because almost all of the issues are already addressed. Thanks for the support.

    • Huh?

      I don’t answer all comments because site-wide I get too many. I’m not sure which issue here you’re referring to so not sure what you’re looking for. I could turn off comments entirely but haven’t because a) sometimes people answer each other and b) I do occasionally chime in on comments. Even on old posts.

  19. My daughter is a little over 6 months old and was a fantastic sleeper…until about 2 weeks ago. She went from being able to go down at 730 after having a bottle and sleeping until 6 am to still going to bed at 730 (we have maintained the bedtime routine), but then waking up around 10 pm and not being able to get back to sleep. We were going in there to hold her, feed her, etc and then put her back down again, at which point she would sleep for another few hours and wake up AGAIN (maybe 3-4 hours later). Usually she doesn’t need a bottle in the night although sometimes we give her one. It doesn’t take her long to go back to sleep after her wake ups but I would like to eliminate them completely. We tried doing cry it out last night and she screamed for over an hour, even with us checking and comforting her, as soon as we put her back in the crib she would start up again. We tried just staying next to the crib and patting her chest/head and soothing her with words, or even picking her up for a minute and putting her back down, but nothing worked. She even was trying to self soothe by sucking her thumb but was too upset to even quiet herself, after a while. I am not sure what we did wrong. The only thing that got her to stop was, around 11:30 pm, feeding her a bottle (which she ate with vigor) and putting her to bed at which point she actually slept until I woke her up at 630 for the day. So, maybe she was hungry but since she had been sleeping through all night I didn’t think she was. What are we doing wrong? Is she too young for sleep training yet? Is this a growth spurt that is just extra long? Thanks for your help everyone

  20. Wow, so many posts with situations quite similar to what we are experiencing with our first child, a 4.5 mo old girl. Some of the stories here are identical to our own.

    Fellow exasperated parents: I feel for you. It can be tough, especially for the tougher sex, you ladies. For my wife, it’s emotionally and physically draining especially as a newbie parent and I’m sure it feels like Groundhog Day to her. I honestly think it’s more difficult for the parent than the child many times because we parents don’t want to see our children upset. As parents we have our mental checklists we run down when meeting our children’s needs and if we’ve checked all the boxes to no avail that’s where the frustration and self-doubt begins.

    Fact: no one wants to hear their baby cry–we’re hard wired to deplore the sound of it. We want to help them. Next fact: EVERY baby cries. They are all the same in that regard.

    While my wife and I feel 4.5 months is too young for our little girl to just cry it out, we are noticing that she is gradually becoming more and more self aware and willful as her personality and mind develops. Eventually some of our baby’s needs (rocking to sleep, car rides, swing etc.) will become baby’s wants and at that point, our child will have to learn to soothe herself to sleep. It’s maturation step that they all have to do sooner or later (when they’re ready). After all, we can’t co-sleep with them til age 18. Mom and dad have needs (and wants) too!

    Hang in there all, it’s going to get better. Funny that tough times drag on, but how fast do the hours go when your child is all smiles for you?

  21. I was curious what others opinions were on this.
    Someone said this was CIO, but for me it really didn’t feel like it. It felt like “testing the waters”, and I guess I was just looking for some verification of that.
    LO is three and a half months old, and would sleep great at night. So no issues there. Her naps were a nightmare, and would only sleep in a carrier on me, which was taking its toll (as she was over nine pounds when born). She wasn’t even letting me sit in the rocker anymore. Had to be up, and moving.
    Finally, I couldn’t take it. So with advice, I started putting her in her bed once she nodded off. Then go into her and carry her to help extend her naps. Then after a week, started putting her down drowsy, and hand on chest and paci, helped shush her to sleep. Then rocked when she woke up half an hour later. Then she surprised me and slept an hour and a half without a peep.
    So now, I put her down for her naps after routine, and there’s a few minutes of crying (depending on the nap) maybe a cry as she moves from one cycle to another, but she’s sleeping in her bed, and she’s so much happier now than when she was sleep deprived doing short naps in the crib (I did attempt to back track just to get her to sleep, but she didn’t want to sleep in the carrier anymore!)
    We did have to take the pacifier away, because it would fall out and she’d wake up. She has discovered she has a thumb and uses it quite often now.
    Was that CIO, or testing the waters? I can’t tell. It didn’t feel like CIO, because I didn’t break down crying, and she never cried for more than five minutes straight….

    • That is not CIO. I hope nobody is making you feel guilty over it, because it sounds like you did a great job, and your little one is responding to the changes really well.

      • I had two people tell me it was CIO. I had one person pretty much say that I was a monster for making my three month old baby suffer, that they’re not capable of learning to self soothe at such a young age.
        Sort of, what I’m doing is akin to the babies in orphanages who’ve learned not to cry because no one will respond.
        Which is why I wanted verification.
        She uses her thumb and massages her musical doggies ear while she goes off to sleep.
        Even at eight weeks, she seemed to soothe herself by rolling her head from side to side in the middle of the night (again, used to do that as a kid when I had trouble falling asleep)

        I’m trying so hard not to cry, (probably because I’m sleep deprived) but also because the thought of anyone (even a complete stranger) thinking I just let my baby scream and cry until she passed out from exhaustion makes me nauseous to my stomach.
        It’s resulted in some back peddling, as I was in there picking her up and calming her down for her nap. As a result she spent thirty minutes falling asleep instead of ten.

        • Ugh. I’m so sorry that other people are making you doubt yourself. The thing is, that many babies are capable of self-soothing at that age, and you know this, because yours DOES self-soothe! And your baby’s situation is nothing like an orphanage. She might cry a little before sleep, but I have no doubt that you spend the rest of the day taking care of her and loving her and showering her with affection. (Off my soapbox here. I hate it when people try to pile guilt on parents for doing what they believe is right…)

    • Who cares what you call it? She learned a new skill BEAUTIFULLY, you identified what WAS and WASN’T working, you made appropriate changes, and everybody is better off.

      The label “CIO” is meaningless really (we just recorded a podcast on this exact topic) – kids cry sometimes because they do. This is not a tragedy. Learning how to fall asleep independently is an essential life skill. You and she nailed it. Heather is 100% right – you did a great job.

      • Thank you for taking the time to respond. I know you get tons of comments.
        It really means a lot that you took the time to verify this.
        I guess when I hear CIO I think of hours of hysterical screaming. I wanted to “train” her asap so I wouldn’t have to cope with that later on.
        But three months is that maybe-maybe-not age.

        I’m a FTM, and every where I turn I feel like I’m doing everything wrong. So it’s nice to know “No, you did not just emotionally scar your child because you let them cry for four minutes.”

  22. Hello,
    My 4 month old (18 weeks, to be exact) has decided that 5:00am is going to be his new wake up time for the day. He used to sleep till 6 (sometimes 7!!) but now he’s up at 5/5:30 and ready to party. I’ve tried treating it like a night feed – keeping it dark; no interaction but he is legitimately awake and ready to start his morning and won’t go back to sleep. I think it MAY have started when I moved his bedtime a little earlier (from 7:30/8 to around 6:30) but last night I put him to bed at 7:30 and he woke at 5 still. Any advice?? (I still have him in our bedroom at night btw – am planning on transitioning to the crib/nursery at night in the next few weeks.)

    I moved his bedtime earlier, by the way, because he’s still taking 4 naps a day. He can’t go longer than 1.5-2 hours without a nap, so rather than giving him a late afternoon/early evening nap, I moved his bedtime up. I’m not sure if that was the right thing to do or not — and I’ve read so many conflicting things on how long between naps a baby this age should be awake – some even saying 2 1/2 hours between naps is good.

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