Why I Won’t Be Using the Term CIO Anymore – EP 15

January 18, 2017 |  by  |  cry it out, parenting, Podcast

I’ve been using the term CIO or Cry It Out for years. I’ve never liked it. It’s pejorative. “Oh…you’re one of those CIO parents. Whelp I’m not, because, y’know, I’m a good parent.” It’s largely meaningless. And in some parenting circles even the faintest mention risks getting you banned from the group.

CIO parents

It also doesn’t really mean anything. I’ve tried to define CIO or minimally bring some clarity to the discussion. But even with millions of readers annually, CIO remains a vague ill-understood concept to most people.

And it’s ugly. It’s plain ugly.

In case it’s not clear, I’m not a fan. And going forward, I won’t be using it anymore.

Sleep Learning Independence Plan

In this podcast we delve into the history of the term CIO, unpack some of the baggage related to the term CIO, and how the ambiguity of what it means muddles our thinking about sleep and parenting.

There is a better option than CIO and we discuss it fully in the podcast. Hint: it’s this. What it means and why it’s the new cool thing is covered in greater detail in the podcast.


Further Reading

First use of the term CIO from The Care and Feeding of Children (written in 1894.)
What sleep training is.
What other parents have to say about it.
No sleep training is not child abuse, not even remotely.
Yes there is a book. It’s not quite ready, but almost.

Take a listen, let me know what you think. And I hope you’ll join me in embracing SLIP. SLIP into bed, SLIP into sleep, see how nicely it rolls off the tongue?


  1. SLIP : I love it!!!

    • Cheers – me too! It wasn’t easy to come up with a “better term”
      (maybe someday I’ll share the list of terms that were bandied about during brainstorming HA) but I’m fully committed and hope to make “SLIP happen”

  2. Love it!!! So much nicer and more true!! Night 7 of ST here and my 9mo lb SLIP’d right into sleep in one minute!! Night 6 he SLIP’d into sleep and stayed there for 12 whole hours with one little nurse in the middle!! Bliss!! All down to you!!
    My hubby is sick of hearing ‘But on Alexis’ website it says…’ But hes loving the sleep!!!! Ha!!

    Also i think there should be a warning at the top of your website about potential accidents for women who havent done their pelvic floor excersises!!
    Ill just drive past the house to keep the baby asleep and take a small jaunt to Canada… Bahahaha! So funny!! And i never thought id say that about a baby sleep webpage!

  3. i totally agree — the humor is what drew me to Alexis oh so long ago. We take all things baby SO seriously. babies be babies and they will grow up, and we can all accept the torture of some parts of the early years a bit better with some humor thrown in!

  4. Great podcast! Yes, it’s so true the confusion surrounding CIO. Your definition and explanation on CIO was so helpful to me. I hope the new SLIP term becomes a hit! Thank you again for all your work and research!

  5. Part of me wishes the new term was something like Getting Independent Nightsleep so that when people ask me how my kids sleep so well I can tell them I used GIN.

  6. I used the “slip” method, before it was wonderfully titled so, when sleep training my 6 month old and I’m using it again now during her 18 month regression and it’s gone extremely well both times. Both your site and The “Ferber” methods somewhat combined into my own mix really worked well for us. Keep up the good work and good on you for seeking to abolish the CIO term and all it’s misunderstood negative energy.

  7. For the love of your child, PLEASE sleep train the tyke!!

    My spouse and I had wonderful parents who NEVER let us cry due to various valid reasons; we didn’t sleep through the night until 1 and 2 years old, and now we suffer terrible sleep problems. Spouse can’t go to sleep and I can’t stay asleep. So we sleep trained our baby.

    Do you know how SICK it is when your baby goes to bed with a smile and a peep, sleeps 13 hours straight — and you sleep just 3 hours because every little sound keeps you up?

    Do you know how bad it feels to try to cry it out at 30 years old instead of 4 months old? Because you can’t cry it out at 30 years old!!

    I can’t even tell my other parent friends about this, because I want to keep them, and no one wants to hear how f**g well my baby sleeps.

    Yes — I’m seeing a counselor.

    • HA!

      Well failure to establish good sleep habits doesn’t guarantee you sleep issues in adulthood, but I AM sorry to hear that you guys have sleep issues. Because that hella sucks.

      But it IS awesome when your kiddo goes to bed and sleeps for 13 hours – HAZZAH!

      • Haha thanks Alexis.
        Yeah we can’t blame our parents. ūüėÄ
        It’s just our dad- and mom-somnia.
        Hopefully we will figure it out.

  8. I’ve followed you, Alexis, since my first child, which was years ago. He’ll be 5 next month. I had such a hard time getting him to sttn. I finally messaged you on FB asking for help because we were trying the Ferber method but we weren’t the most consistent with it. You gave me the kick in the butt I needed and suggested we go full on Weissbluth method in which we did and it worked! He’s a happy healthy almost 5 year old.

    Second child comes along and it’s time to learn how to sleep on her own. Back to Weissbluths method and it took 3 days. Worked like a charm! She’s almost 3 now and sleeps amazing!

    Third child comes along and is currently 8 months. He had severe colic early on and is still to this day quite a fussy baby. We try so hard to get him to sleep on his own but he will not sleep in his own space so he ends up next to me in bed waking up several times a night and can only get back to sleep by being nursed back to sleep. We desperately need to get him to sleep on his own. Since having done this two times previously, why am I having such a hard time with the thought of using SLIP on him even knowing he desperately needs it and knowing first hand it works?!

    I’ll say my biggest fear with this little guy of mine is that he cries so hard, and when he cries he doesn’t stop. He’ll cry so hard he gag and dry heave because of all the flem that builds up from the lack of breaks for swallowing. I’m afraid of aspiration from vomiting because he cries so hard and could vomit or choke on his flem. These may be silly fears, but they’re real. And I remember fearing this with my older two but for some reason this fear is even worse with his being my 3rd. He’s actually my 4th child, but really my 3rd living child as we lost our 2nd son during my 3rd pregnancy. So may having gone through losing a child is causing this fear of going through SLIP with my 8 month old. I do desperately want our room back and I desperately want my baby to learn how to sleep on his own, because at this point he still sleeps a few hours a night in a rock n play right next to our bed and then once he wakes I bring him to bed and nurse him back to sleep where we cosleep the rest of the night with him attached to me nursing if he even stirs. It’s exhausting but I know he needs to learn how to sleep. He’s never even been in a crib to sleep so I know that experience will be tough on him as well.

    I guess what I’m looking for is maybe some words of encouragement because you’ve been such a great help in the past. I need that swift kick in the rear to get over it and just do it. Tell me it will be fine!!

  9. My almost 5 month old still loves to be swaddled but I’d like to start SLIP. I read in one of your posts that it is “even better” if your infant is still swaddled, but I feel guilty letting him cry without being able to self-soothe with his fingers/hands. Should I wait to CIO until I successfully transition out of the swaddle or can it really be beneficial to the sleep training? TIA!

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