Crying it OUt
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Crying it OUt
I would like to know when you considered it OK to let your
baby ''cry it out''. I have a 5 month old (plus a 2 year old and a
3 year old) and I am getting tired of nursing or rocking the
baby to sleep. It just isn't practical when I have two other
kids to take care of. I really want him to fall asleep on his
own, but I don't know if he is too young to cry it out. He is
also still waking up 3 times a night, so between the baby and
the other two kids I am up constantly. I am already aware of all
the different sleep methodologies (over the last 3 years I've
accumulated just about every book on sleep) - I would just like
to hear personal stories about how ''crying it out'' worked for
you. Do you think 5 months is too young? or is that a good age
to start? (please don't respond to tell me that you think it
is ''cruel'' to let a baby cry). Thanks so much Berkeley Parents!
Mom of three
I can't even begin to imagine how little sleep you must be
getting. I have personal positive experience with the ''crying
out method''. We let our now 3 1/2 yr old boy cry it out, when he
was about 1yr. The first night was pure torture - he cried for
2 hours straight (I went out and did night gardening just so I
wouldn't have to listen to him). The next night, he cried for
30 minutes, the next night 10 minutes. So, basically, if you
endure the 3 or so nights (for some it takes a wk), then you are
home free. That was 2 1/2 yrs ago and since then our son has
been able to go to sleep by himself at night. We keep the light
on for him and leave the room while his eyes are still wide open
and he puts himself to sleep. The thing is, you can't cave in.
Because that reinforces the behavior that if he cries long
enough, then you will come and get him. I did go in and check
on him during the time he was crying, but I didn't take him out
of the crib. I suggest doing it sooner rather than later,
because once they can talk or get out of the crib themselves, it
is much much harder.
I now have another child - a 5 month old, like you. And from the
very beginning, I have tried not to nurse him to sleep. I put
him in the bassinette wide awake and let him put himself to
sleep (I happen to be a strong subscriber to the eat-wake time-
sleep- schedule (Babywise), which allows one to be pretty
accurate in predicting when it is time for him to sleep -
therefore, if he does fuss a bit when I put him down, it is
never for more than 5 - 10 minutes because I know he is tired
and will fall asleep). Just in case you are wondering, my 3 1/2
yr old was breastfed until 14 mos and my 5 mo old has been only
breastfed until this point. Best of luck to you - I think the
best mommy is a well-rested mommy, and even though it might be a
little rough during the transition, the best thing you can do is
get your little ones to be able to fall asleep on their own.
I think five months is old enough to let a baby cry it out. My
first was sleeping through the night at that age, so I think
they are certainly capable physically. The other equally
important part of this equation is when are *you* ready to let
the baby cry it out. If you are up for it, then give it a try.
And shame on anyone who would make the mother of a 3yo, 2yo and
5mo feel guilty about trying it.
wanted to let you know that we let our daughter cry it out at 6 months and it
worked beautifully. After one awful evening (1.5 hours of crying) she slept through
the night. The second night she cried for 20 minutes and then after that just a few
minutes or none to fall asleep. At nearly 2 years old, she is a wonderful, well-
adjusted child and I have absolutely no evidence that ''crying it out'' traumatized
her in any way. In fact, I'm convinced that learning to get a full night's sleep was much
better for her. In retrospect, I would have done it a month sooner. I think you should
try it now. With three little kids to care for, you need your sleep!
This mom supports you 100%
You are pretty amazing to be a Mom right now to that many babies-
give yourself a hand. I only have a 1 yr old, and the sleep
thing has been the most difficult and frustrating thing for both
me and my husband. You know alot about kids by now, so just
trust your instinct about this baby. Our guy just was not ready
to sleep through the night until he was around 11 months old. It
was really awful, because I work part-time doing physically
demanding work and my husband works full time and has to be up
very early and we both really need our sleep. However, our son
did not seem to realize this! We tried all the books, all
the ''methods'' and the ''crying it out'' thing. We just ended up
trusting out instincts, too, after a while. We would go through
the bedtime routine, kiss him and his stuffed animals, and place
him in the crib with his nightlight/music. He would cry almost
every time, but it depended on the sound and length of the cry
as to what would happen next. If he cried for more than 10 or so
minutes, or if it became that frantic, hair-raising crying that
they can do, we immediately went in and picked him up and let
him fall asleep with us, primarily because we really couldn't
mess around anymore and miss our sleep. At about 9 months old,
he started to cry for only a few minutes and get to sleep in the
crib about 80% of the time. At 10 months, he went to sleep
almost 100% of the time with only 2-3 minutes of crying and he
needed much less rocking, nursing, etc to be successful. At 11
months, something in him matured, so that we can cuddle, nurse,
read for 5 minutes, put him in the crib fairly awake, and he
will play for up to 30 minutes with his stuffed animals and then
go to sleep on his own without any tears. I think that each baby
has a particular personality at birth, and this influences the
baby's sleeping patterns more than most parents realize. Other
parents have criticized us for rewarding our guy for crying by
allowing him to come into bed with us. But you know what, he is
our son, and there is no way I would let him cry alone in that
crib feeling totally deserted and alone. The first year goes by
so quickly, and now, we have a loving, secure and very outgoing
toddler who loves his crib and falls asleep easily. Good luck to
you, it is so difficult, but the end result is way worth it!
We started at 4 months, trying to get down to only 2 wake-
up/nursings a night, and then went cold turkey at 9 months. If
I had to do it over again, I'd wait till about 6 months and go
I am the mother of twins, and was anxious to use the CIO
method with my kids in the hope that they and we would get
some sleep and be saner!! The books say to wait until 6
mo., but we tried successfully at 4 mo. The first night was
terrible, because I was listening to them cry in there. After
about 35 minutes (going in at the pre-determined times to
comfort briefly), they went to sleep. The next night, it took 20
minutes. The next night, there was no crying! They have
been great going-to-sleepers ever since (with the exception
of when they are sick, or once when we traveled). I have
friends who didn't have it so easy (it took many more nights,
and a lot more crying), so prepare yourself! Personally, I
think it is an important skill for children to have, and not cruel
at all--makes them (and parents) much more well rested
and better able to learn and play together. I can't imagine
having a go-to-bed battle every night. In our house, once
they are in bed, they either go to sleep immediately, or
occasionally they will play quietly for a few minutes because
they aren't quite ready to sleep yet. I think we tried much
earlier than if we only had one child--twins are quite a
challenge--but hopefully our positive experience will give you
courage to try now. Two keys: be very consistent--don't
chicken out and pick your child up; and have a consistent
bed time routine (ours is bath, bottle, book, bed). Good luck!
CIO OK Mom
Five months is a fine age to start the ''crying it out'' method
which I assume you are meaning the ''Ferber'' method. It is
important to remember that it is not prudent to attempt this
before the baby is 12-15 pounds and a minimum of 12 weeks
(adjusted if your baby was a preemie).
I run workshops for new mothers of twins and also have a
consulting service that helps parents teach their babies good
sleep habits, and I nearly always employ Richard Ferber's
method. You will have success if you properly understand his
methodology and commit to following it. If you don't have his
book, you should get it and read it before starting so that you
know exactly what ''crying it out'' means. That is the first step
Good luck and pleasant dreams!!!
Our doctor gave us some advice when our little one was only a
couple of months old (she's now 18 months) -- 20 minutes on, 20
minutes off. When your 5 month old goes down, spend 20 minutes
doing everything that makes him happy and comfy to try to have
him sleep. After 20 minutes, let him try on his own. This may
mean crying it out. If he's still crying after 20 minutes, go
back in for 20 minutes and do everything you can again...and
continue this pattern. I had a hard time going the full 20
minutes off, at first, so I'd do what I could and build up. We
learned that if our daughter was still really upset after about
12-15 minutes, she wouldn't go down, so we ended up doing more
of a 15 on, 15 off. We have almost never gone in more than
twice since she was a few months old. Good luck!!
You say you have every book...did you read ''Secrets of the Baby
Whisper...How to calm, connect and communicate with your Baby''?
I found this book to be the most helpful for me in teaching my
daughter to fall asleep on her own.
better than crying it out
Advice for the mom who wants to know if a 5-month old is too
young to ''cry it out.'' Nope, that's a really good time to do it
as it only gets more difficult the older they get. We did this
with our 5-month old in May and I am SO VERY glad! It was hard
and I felt guilty, but now I am well-rested, my son goes to sleep
without crying and our entire family is happy & sound sleepers.
I HIGHLY recommend you do it!
well-rested & happy now
We started our baby on a sleep routine around 3 months and let her
start crying it out at 4 months, essentially following the recommendations
laid out in Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. This worked for us. The
first week our daughter cried for about 45 minutes before going to sleep.
The next week 20 minutes, now it she usually cries for 5-10 minutes.
This was a life saver for me as I was spending three hours or so rocking
her to sleep every night.
You can let your baby cry it out at 5 months. I am also a
mother of 3 (9 months, 2, and 4), and have also read
obsessively about this. Every pediatrician I've talked to says
that when they weigh 12 lbs, they can make it through the night
without eating. With our first kid, we waited for 9 months
before going through this. With our second kid, we got her
down to one night feeding at 6 months, and sleeping all night
at 11 months. With our 3rd, there was no fooling around! We
let him cry it out at 5 months. It's just a few bad nights
(less than 4 in each case for us.) There were a few ''tune-ups''
after the initial success, but even those nights were better
for me than the regular getting up and nursing.
You just have to change the way you're thinking about it. With
our first, I was a sap. ''oh, she's scared, it's dark, she's
lonely, she wants me, I'm breaking her heart.'' Similarly with
our second. But with our third, I had come around to the logic
of ''you're giving your baby a gift by teaching them to soothe
themselves.'' Also, after the first two, I realized that I
would eventually have to let them cry it out, and everyone
agrees that the sooner you do it, the easier it is. Last, but
certainly not least, you need a good night's sleep. True with
one, truer with two, absolutely essential with three.
Now all 3 of my kids are great sleepers, our whole family is
better rested and happier, I'm much nicer than I was when the
baby was waking up at night. It's a Win-Win-Win.
My daughter is almost 3 (years old) and I still don't think it's
OK to ignore her needs and let her cry out.
I know that the original poster made it clear that she wasn't
looking for a discussion of whether or not the CIO method is
desirable. However, one respondent wrote that ''after the first
two, I realized that I would eventually have to let them cry it
out.'' I wanted to point out you don't have to choose this
method to teach children to sleep, though you may wish to. My 2
1/2 year old daughter never ''cried it out'' and she sleeps
through the night just fine.
I think that there is a discrepancy as to what people think
''crying it out'' is. Crying it out does not have to mean letting
your child scream their head off in the bedroom while you try to
ignore it in the living room. I let me daughter cry it out when
she was 11 months old, but not by leaving her alone. First, I
weaned her from evening nursing. I still kept the morning, but
nothing more. The first night, I told her it was time for bed and
laid her down in her crib. She stood up and screamed. I stayed
with her the entire time and just kept lying her back down and
gently saying ''It's time for bed now, lay down''. I never got
excited or angry. I kept the same even tone of voice and every
time she stood up, I laid her back down. It was awful, but I was
there with her, helping her to get through this. When she finally
didn't stand up anymore, I patted her back until she fell asleep.
The first night, she cried for 2 hours, the next night, 20
minutes. For about a month after that, I sat in her room for
about 10 minutes while she fell asleep (she didn't cry). Now, she
sleeps from 7:30pm to 7:30 am with a 2 hour nap during the day at
The other thing I think this helped was that she stopped waking
up in the middle of the night after the first night! I think once
babies learn to fall asleep by themselves, when they wake up in
the middle of the night, they are able to put thenmselves back to
sleep without having to cry for ''help'' falling back to sleep.
We just started sleep training with our 6 mo old by doing a very modified
version of CIO. When she cries and it is not feeding time we go to her,
pat her, rub her back or just say ''you are ok''. We do not do this
constantly but only every few minutes or so and we also do not leave the
room. We sit right next to her crib but don't make eye contact or really
engage with her. This is so that she can learn to soothe herself. We do
the same thing when she goes down for naps and cries at first. We have
gotten great results with this and each time it is getting better. She feels
secure but is really learning to self soothe with less and less intervention
from us. Leaving her alone in the room felt too disconnected for us and
we found anytime we went back in she just escalated so this seems to
be the best way.
Hi, we have been letting our 6 month old cry at bedtime for the
past 4 weeks (and in the past week, also at nighttime wakeups)
according to a Ferber-like program (cry for 5 min; go in and
pat/reassure; cry for 7 min; repeat comfort; cry for 10 min,
etc.) The first 2 nights, he cried for about an hour, then the
3rd night for 20 min, then the next night for 5 minutes or so
and that's where it's remained ever since. The good news is
that he's going to sleep on his own (rather than taking about 3
hours to get to sleep!)and his sleep has greatly improved
(sleeping 4-6 hour stretches rather than 1-2 hour stretches
with frequent middle of the night wakeful periods of 1-2
hours). We feel like we're on the right track now although it's
obviously been quite hard to hear him cry. My question now is
when will (if it will) the crying stop??? I keep waiting for
this supposedly peaceful process to kick in but instead, he
without fail begins crying the second we bring him into his
bedroom and doesn't stop until he's asleep. He is a pretty
intense, physically active little guy and I realize the process
might take longer for him than for some others (it already
has). Even as a newborn, he ''fought'' sleep, not even falling
asleep at the breat but almost always needing to be vigorously
bounced, rocked, etc. But I'm starting to feel anxious about
how much longer it's going to take. FYI: His bedtime routine is
bath, massage (which he loves), into jammies, then into bed
(Books are totally overstimulating to him right now so that
doesn't work). We have an older child who was an easy sleeper
from the get-go (with little to no intervention... certainly no
CIO)so this is all new to us! Any similar experiences
Hoping for a Happier Bedtime
Five minutes is fine. I always think the little guys like to decompress
a little. My girls both did it for what seemed like forever (my
18-month old stills serenades me with about ten minutes of crying every
night. She doesn't think that she should ever have to go to bed.).
Don't stress. I usually go onto the back patio and drink a glass of
wine while she is letting me know how mad she is -Jan
We have a 6 month old daugther, and, like your son, she is very active
and ''awake'', and almost never fell asleep while nursing. So we had to
let her cry, because nothing else seemed to work.
We're at the point where she goes to sleep around 6.30pm.
crying, sometimes there isn't. And sometimes she wakes up crying after
45 minutes of having felt asleep. I don't worry about this anymore...I'm
just happy she's sleeping better (also doing longer stretches at night),
and I guess I just got more used to her crying (the complaint- cry,
different from the I-am-hurt-crying).
If you haven't read it, I would strongly recommend the book by Dr.
Weissbluth, ''Healthy sleep habits, happy child''. It talks about night
sleeping but also about the importance of naps. In the end, it does
recommend the ''cry out''
method, but it
makes you understand your child's sleep patterns and needs much better.
I know some people say it's a bad habit, but I breastfeed or give my
seven-month-old baby a bottle of formula (can even be as little as 2oz)
before his naps and bedtime. He has a similar temperment to your baby,
but this has worked really well for us.
He was a horrible sleeper and napper until we trained him using the
ideas from Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. Now he takes two or three
naps a day (45 min to 2 hours) then sleeps from 7 to 6 straight through
almost every single night. There was some crying for a week, but I was
amazed at how fast he clicked into the schedule. He still resists going
to bed and cries when I put his PJs on, but as soon as I turn out the
light and get him nestled on my lap (or his dad's or grandmother's lap)
he closes his eyes, eats, relaxes and either falls asleep there or in
his crib with little fuss. It's heaven compared to the days of an hour
bouncing him on that darn yoga ball.
Don't give up!!! We too did the Ferber method for our daughter when she
was about 8 months old after many sleepless nights. She did the same
thing crying for an hour the first few nights, then going down to about
5 minutes. I thought too that she would stop crying all together at
bedtime, but it took 2 months for her to just lay down and not cry.
That's right 2 months! Then about a week after she stopped crying
daylight savings time happened and she went back to crying for a few
more days. And even now at 14 months if we go away for the weekend or
she spends the night at my moms, anything out of her routine she will
regress to crying, but it usually only happens for one night. And now
even that happens less frequently.
In my instance I have found Ferber to be an ongoing method. I think the
most important thing you can do is stick to your bedtime routine as much
as possible and don't cave in. It's hard it broke my heart hearing her
cry. In our case we did ferber at naptime and the middle of the night.
There were times I wanted to quit, but am so glad now that I didn't. I
can now lay my daughter down for naps and bedtime with no fights, she
sleeps through the night, and most importantly she is happier. I
realized that the sleepless nights were affecting her too. And now that
she sleeps through the night and takes good naps she is much less grumpy
during the day, and I am a better mother since I am rested too. Good
PS On a side note there was one night in particular, that I was ready to
quit. She was screaming her head off and I couldn't take it anymore. I
went outside where hubby was, crying hysterically myself, telling him I
was done. He told me he would support whatever decision I made, we went
inside, me still crying and what do you know, the baby had stopped
crying, and I still was! To me this was my epiphany that I was doing the
right thing Ferber lover
I don't know if this is helpful but my 18 month old boy cries himself to
sleep 90% of the time and always has. He started sleeping through the
night at 7 weeks and has always been a great napper. He'll go down just
about anywhere and usually falls asleep in just a few minutes - it's
just always preceded by crying. I'm hoping he grows out of it at some
point but for now this seems to be what works for him and I can't argue
with the 12 hours of sleep at night he's getting!
cry baby's momma
Your baby cries for 5 mins and then falls asleep? I don't see the
problem. That sounds pretty great to me! Maybe the baby just needs to
let off steam at the end of the day.
We started sleep training our child 6 months ago and some days she still
cries for up to half an hour when we put her in her crib. Five mins of
crying is a good night for us.
It sounds like the system is working fine for you anon
My daughter was very similar to your son. We used the crying it out
method using Healthy Sleeping Habits, Happy Baby, which doesn't use the
gradual approach you did. However, we also ultimately had the same
results. In the book, the author said there is a very small portion of
babies, for reasons unknown, that resist sleeping all the time until
they are around one year old. Sure enough, at 10 months, my daughter
just stopped. No difference in routine or anything else. It will
happen. Just take comfort in that your son is sleeping so much better
now. I questioned myself once or twice because of my daughter's
resistance. BIG mistake. Trying to rock her asleep, have her sleep
with us, etc. just made her sleep less and made for a miserable baby
I think this is intirely the norm and this too shall pass quicker than
you think it is different for each child, yes. I have a 3yr old and a
9mth old and she will still not sleep alone at the bedtime feeding (I
nurse to sleep then crib)and I am not even prepared to attempt that
untill she can sleep regularly thru' the night(she still awakens 2 -3
times and I nurse her twice a night I am slow on weening) she will wake
and cry on and off for 5 - 10 mins. Though it was of course longer at
It is hard I know but you are doing the right thing, we never sleep
trained our son - we did the atachment parenting thing and he still will
not sleep at night with out his dad staying in bed with him and then at
some point in the night he will inevitably come to sleep with us - don't
get me wrong I love him being with me as I get some sweet time ''alone''
with him and this will not last till he is 13 (I hope!) but it would be
good to be able to, you know, have some privacy and some room too.
So stick with it go with your gut instinct and if it feels right then it
is right for you Kelly Bahamondes firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm sure you'll get a million replies saying ''five minutes?
honey, that's nothing!'' I know it's hard to listen to your child cry.
(Five minutes is probably the maximum time I've let my daughter cry, so
I'm no CIO vet.) All that said, it's been helpful to me, and maybe it
would be for you too, to remember that small children cry for a lot of
reasons, as it's their primary mode of communication and emotional
release. I remember reading somewhere that sometimes children cry to
let off steam, and that was a helpful insight for me. Your son may not
be feeling abandoned or neglected or anguished in anyway--he may just be
sending out a big energy release from his busy, exciting day so he can
then relax and fall asleep. I'm no expert, but I would guess his crying
will gradually dry up over time. Hang in there!
Help! We had been lying down next to our 2-year-old (she in her
crib, we on the floor) to get her to sleep but were growing
increasingly tired of the whole process, which took close to
two hours. We always follow the same routine -- bath, teeth
brush, bottle. To make matters worse, she was sick for more
than a week and during that time required us to give her
additional bottles and rock her to sleep, so now lying down
next to her to get her to sleep no longer works. Instead, she
demands more water. I don't think she's really thristy. She
just wants mom and dad to hold her and give her the bottle.
This is increasingly difficult for me when my husband has to
work late because I am 5 months pregnant. We decided after
talking to our pediatrician and reading ''Healthy Sleep Habits,
Happy Child'' and Ferber's book to let her ''cry it out.'' The
first time we did the Ferber method and she cried starting at
7:30 and was still crying at midnight! We decided it wasn't
working. Our pediatrician thought perhaps going in to check
per the Ferber plan was setting her off so we tried again
without going in (although listening through the moniter to
make sure she was OK) Again she was still crying and fussing
at midnight and we went in to get her to sleep so that we could
sleep. During the whole process, she actually cries a bit and
then it's silent for a few minutes so she doesn't seem to get
tired. In all the examples in the books, no child cries more
than 3 hours. Has anyone had this experience with the cry it
out method? Will she eventually go to sleep? Will it be worth
it in the end? We don't know what else to do.
dear frusterated parent,
we too read the same book, healthy sleep habits...when our daughter was
we were desperate to sleep through the night. we let her cry it out on
and returned her to her bed at least 75 times within 2 hrs without
eye contact or speaking, at the end of 2 hrs. we closed her door to
from happening anymore and she eventually went to sleep. Night 2 was
same but decreased in half and by night 3 she was going to sleep on her
with the door ajar. She still sleeps with us when she's sick though. It
incredible and we couldn't believe we hadn't done it sooner. With all
the same methods doen't work for every child and personality type. I
consider setting a limit of days you felt comfortable with to see if
technique works for you. We felt comfortable with trying it by the book
week max b/c it is torture to listen to your child wail. Best of luck
to you! Jss
I think the older the child is, the longer it is going to take to
teach her to go to sleep on her own. Try the book ''Secrets of the
Baby Whisperer, et al.'' By Tracy Hogg. She has a book for both
Babies and Toddlers. I suggest you read both (they're relatively
easy reads, and she ads some british humor)so you understand her
style fully, and then take what you need from it. It may take you
several weeks to get your daughter to go to sleep on her own, but
if you don't stick to it, you won't have accomplished anything.
My almot 13 y.o. still needs something (parent, TV etc.) to go to
sleep and my almost 3 y.o. doesn't b/c I read these books.
You sound like such caring parents! This can be a very vexing
problem, because children are so intimately in tune with
parental energy that they ''work'' us. Your child has had
experience, recently, that you will continue to give energy at
the going-to-bed time and so is continuing to ''milk'' this
situation. In my experience, you *must* allow her to ''cry it
out'' in order to get back on track, where she goes to sleep
without turning you and your husband into ''pretzels.'' One of
the things I have done is to explain to my child (no matter how
young) what I will be doing and why, then stick to the plan
without fail! Any deviation from the plan you set out will only
make the process take longer. Friends who lived communally
several years ago had a child who could cry up to 4 hours (he
had been ''trained'' by having various adults go in to check on
him when they ran out of patience listening to him cry). On my
suggestion, all the adults explained to him what they were going
to do, then followed the plan. The first night he cried for 6
hours! Within a week, he was sleeping peacefully and going to
bed easily. My best.
I had your experience with CIO too--although I didn't stick it
out even as long as you did. I speed-read Weissbluth's book, only
went in maybe 2 times in 3.5 hours, but at midnight, I went in
and got my son. Like your daughter, he cried in spurts, but every
time I went to check on him, he wasn't lying down, but sleeping
standing up, with his elbow hooked over the side of the crib!
--and then he'd wake up and cry some more for me. Weissbluth has
an upper-limit on time for CIO, but only for younger ages. He has
NO limit for older ages (starting at 2, I think). I decided CIO
doesn't work for our family. I strongly believe that it works for
some families and not for others.
One thing that did work for our family after this was a very set
routine--stories (books), 3 specific songs in specific order
while rocking, then down for bed. It worked very well (but not
100% of the time), for a while, then things changed & I had to
change the routine.
You might check into ''Secrets of the Baby Whisperer for
Toddlers''. I think there is another non-CIO sleeping book.
A funny note: during this period, I got childcare and went to one
of the seminars at Bananas with Meg Zweiback, hoping for some
good advice. I nearly cried when someone asked a sleep question
and Meg answered that we wouldn't be covering sleep questions, as
that was too vast a topic. I got some good ideas on other topics,
but was SO upset by that answer!
Good luck; that was a very hard time for me.
Jennie, a single mom
My child doesn't do well with the ''cry it out method'' either. He
will cry for four or more hours like your child. It's frustrating
to read the books when they say that your child should be asleep
after an hour or so. That's just not the case! We've tried doing
all the things they say like putting them to bed while they are
awake to teach them to fall asleep on their own, etc. But it's so
awful when your kid is coughing and crying for 4 hours or so.. it
feels so abusive even if the experts say its not. I used to get 3
or 4 hours of sleep and that was it! (and I'm a full time
teacher). My son is now 16 months and we still deal with this. We
decided it was easier to have him fall asleep with us than
screaming in his crib. We just rock him to sleep with a great
lullaby cd, then put him down while he's asleep. He used to not
transfer very well, so we had to rub his back. Alot! When he wakes
back up after a few hours we rock him again. On the good nights he
doesn't wake up. That's about 50% of the time. I'm not sure if
this helped at all, but at least you know you're not alone!! If
you want a recommendation for the cd, email me. He has listened to
it every night of his life and loves it!
Wow -- I feel for you. I will be interested to hear from others
who have struggled with similar issues with a 2 + year old. I
have had these struggles with younger children only. However, I
do have a friend who is working on similar issues with a 3 +
year old and thought I might chime in a bit. I'm wondering if
Ferber and Weissbluth systems aren't more suited to younger
(prelanguage) children. I'm intrigued that your child is crying
and not yelling for you and/or getting up (is she still in a a
crib? that's a help, I think). That suggests she is tired and
is trying to get to sleep. What you might try is a more gradual
approach with lots of talk about what is happening (you're a big
girl now, etc. --- apeall to whatever vanity she has). For
example -- mommy will lie here until you sleep tonight, but
tomorrow she'll just llie here for a few minutes and do that for
a few days or a week and then mommy will sit here for a
moment...etc. You may have already tried this kind of thing,
but I thought I'd offer it for what it's worth. I haven't read
it but people also rave about the ''no cry sleep solution'' by
elizabeth pantley. (not sure of spelling). Please don't feel
criticized -- I've let all three of my kids ''cry it out'' so I'm
not judging you, just trying to help you find something that
Instead of letting our daughter *cry it out*, we tried a method
recommended by our pediatrician. First, we did the bedtime
routine and then laid her in her crib. She was old enough to
stand up, so as soon as we laid her down, she would stand back
up. I spent hours the first night laying her back down as soon as
she stood up. I would say ''It's time to go to sleep now, lay
down, mommy's right here.'' She was screaming, but she knew I was
there. It took a few hours that first night to continue to lay
her back down as soon as she stood up and it was awful. Finally,
she got the point and didn't try to get back up.
The next night it was only an hour, and now I sit in her room
until she falls asleep, which is usually only about 10 minutes.
If she diverts back to standing up and crying, I go over and lay
her back down gently and she remembers the drill. I think it
worked better than just letting her cry b/c she knew I was still
there and hadn't abandoned her.
I know exactly what you are going through, because we also did the
''cry it out'' method. First, let me say that we have three
children, and all three were different. So, what works perfectly
for one may simply not work for the other. That being said, I
will admit that we did learn with each child. That is, we, too
slept on the floor with our first baby, sat with her, rocked her,
and it was exhausting! She never slept with us, as neither she
nor we enjoyed it nor could any of us sleep in a ''family bed.'' We
did NOT sleep on the floor with the other two!
Here is what we found:
1. Babies and children are creatures of habit.
2. They CAN sleep alone, and can do so happily.
3. You cannot give up. Don't start the ''cry it out'' process
until you are committed to making it work and sticking with it,
because if you give in, you have to start over the next time.
4. Tell you baby before she goes to sleep that you will not sleep
on her floor, and that she must sleep in her crib. Tell her that
you will come in and check on her. Give her some warning during
the day of what you expect during the night, and what she can
expect. For some babies/children, the cry-it-out method works
perfectly. For others, you must go in and rub their back or
something additional. Find out what works for you and your baby.
I really tried to NOT go in, but it was just too hard for me to
hear my baby cry. I sent my husband in instead. For some reason,
the babies respond much better to my husband, who would go in and
tell them firmly but lovingly that they must go to sleep, and no
more crying. I would not go in.
5. For our first baby, it took at least a week for her to get the
hang of it; for our third baby, it took two days. Everyone sleeps
through the night now, our babies loved their cribs and found them
to be a place of comfort (our two year old asks to go in his crib
when he is tired, or when he is having a temper tantrum. He never
wakes up during the night).
6. It works, and they do stop crying. This will all become a
distant memory, and then you will kick yourself for not doing it
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