Why I’m no longer against cry it out

Posted August 31, 2015 by Julie in Opinionated, Parenting, TopPosts / 55 Comments

Before I had the baby, I was pretty sure I was anti-cry-it-out. I just couldn’t imagine sitting there listening to my little baby scream and cry and not be doing anything about it. But I realize now you really have to try everything to see what works for your family and situation.
Why I'm no longer against cry it out

It took us a long time to start sleep training Baby H. I wanted to wait until he was old enough to start making patterns in his sleep, but then we hit a huge road bump with him needing to wear the DOC Band. That forced us to quit swaddling because he had to be kept cool while wearing it (since it makes babies overheat easily, he could only wear a onesie and no socks or other layers). Pair that with what is called the 4-month sleep regression and our nights were miserable.

We started trying to help him learn to fall asleep on his own without being rocked, but we just weren’t getting anywhere with him. He fought sleep so hard and screamed every time he was put down in his cradle. We would have to lay him down while we got ready for bed, but he cried the entire time, and we would give in and rock him.

Then the DOC Band came off and just before he was six months old we moved him to his crib in his own bedroom. We figured we all would get better sleep if he didn’t wake us every time he stirred and us not being in the room would help him learn to self-soothe. We would hear him on the monitor when he was really awake, but him rolling over and resettling wouldn’t mess up our sleep.

This was great in theory, but we still struggled with getting him to sleep in the first place. He would be calm in our arms, then scream when put down. That whole put your baby to bed drowsy but awake is not for the weak! We would sit next to him and pat him and try to comfort him for sometimes an hour before he would fall asleep, but then we still needed to make lunches and set the coffee pot and take showers.

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It was getting to be too much and one night we just decided to leave him crying in his crib while we made our lunches and packed up the kitchen. I felt awful to do it, but we had so much to do, and it was so late already. By the time we were done, he was quiet, and when we went into his room to check on him, he was fast asleep.

We quickly realized that our presence in his room kept him crying longer because he knew we would give in and pick him up.  If we left the room, he realized he wouldn’t be getting that, and he just went to sleep. So we started putting him to bed, saying goodnight and leaving the room, and he was always done crying and asleep by the time we turned on the baby monitor in our bedroom.

 

Coos to Snooze

 

Now Baby H has gotten to the point that he is calm when we put him down in his crib and doesn’t cry at all! I repeat, he doesn’t cry! I just put him down, and he smiles up at us and then starts looking at his mobile. Just like that! This amazing progress took about a month or so (our travel in July threw everything off, and we had to start over again).

Now I’m using the cry-it-out method to night wean since  the pediatrician at his 9-month appointment said he does not need to be eating at 2-3 AM anymore. When I used to go and feed him in the middle of the night, it would take another hour to get him back to sleep. Now I don’t rush into his room just because he wakes in the middle of the night, and it only takes a few minutes for him to return to sleep.

So even though I wasn’t a fan of cry it out and trying that method made me feel a lot of guilt, it was the only way that ended up working for us and our infant. Talk about a mommy lesson learned. I know cry it out isn’t for every family or every child, but I can see why a lot of people swear by it now.

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What sleep training method did you end up using with your child(ren)?

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JuliepicI'm Julie, a new mom who works full time and blogs, all while wishing I had more time to read fun books. I write about being a first time working mom in order to help myself and other working moms in our journeys to find balance between family, responsibilities, and hobbies so we can thrive both at home and at work.
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55 responses to “Why I’m no longer against cry it out

  1. I am glad CIO worked for you and so many of the other commenters. However, know that it does not work for every child and no parent should be made to feel like a failure if it does not work for their child.

    I was told it was my fault my child wasn’t sleeping through the night. Years later I found out it was NOT TRUE! Turns out it is 100% biological for him – he doesn’t produce enough melatonin (sleep hormone) to be able to fall asleep easily. He could be up for HOURS, and still is occassionally.

    Every parent needs to determine what is right for their child and their lifestyle and shouldn’t be made to feel guilty for the choices they make. Not that you or anyone here did that, but there were many “friends” of mine that tried what they thought was tough love to get me to keep trying a method that would not have worked and it just sent me into depression. Not good for me or my son.

    • Oh absolutely Audrey! Every parent needs to find what works for their situation, and it is horrible that some of your friends tried to pressure you or guilt you into a method that clearly wasn’t going to work for you. Interestingly enough, what worked while my baby was still an infant, no longer works now that he’s a toddler. Now I’ve switched to the “bring him to our bed” method because otherwise he stands up and screams and throws himself around. Fun times.

  2. Dee

    It definitely must take some skill and backbone to do it. My niece had a hard time falling asleep in the crib; she protests and wails, but she’ll fall asleep on a bed without the screaming.

  3. We did CIO with both kids. My daughter actually started STTN on her own around 5 weeks or so and was an amazing sleeper, so we didn’t need to let her cry much. My son was a little tougher. But I noticed one night when he was crying in his crib, and I took him out and brought in the living room, that he was laying on the floor next to me, crying and miserable, and I realized that he was exhausted and didn’t know how to fall asleep. So the next night I let him CIO, and he conked out, and woke up a happier baby. I don’t know if it works for all babies, but my son likes and needs his sleep, and he needed some help learning to get himself himself to sleep and settling into a schedule. Once he did, he was much calmer and interactive. Just my experience! Thanks for sharing at the Manic Mondays blog hop!

    • Thanks for sharing your own experience Meredith! Glad to hear your littles were easier in the sleeping department 🙂 Agree, once they learn to soothe themselves to sleep, they get better sleep and are happier for it.

  4. I’ve heard stories of moms walking their babies all night long to get them to sleep and that terrified me. Having a child who can only sleep if all the conditions are right…and I’m the one that created that situation? That was definitely not for our family. Crying it out is hard – for a day or three – but that’s better than encouraging a long term sensitive sleeper! (I understand some kids are sensitive sleepers by nature. I’m talking about kids who are not but are conditioned that way. Not trying to be controversial, unsympathetic, mean, etc. with that first statement.)

    We have used the Cry-It-Out method for all 3 of our kids. It took 1-2 nights, and then they were all able to fall asleep on their own without any fussing. But even those 1-2 nights, they only cried for maybe 30 minutes? I know every child is different, so I feel very blessed that it was that “easy” for us. We actually use it in the mornings too (once they’re old enough). Then they learn to wake up pleasantly and then happily/quietly wait for us to get them up. They play around in their crib or bed. It’s a win for everyone really. Everyone gets more sleep, wakes up in a happy mood, and can learn some self-control!

    Great post! Glad it worked for you! I know this will help other moms who feel guilty about it!

    Jess

    P.S. Thanks for sharing this with us on Tuesday Talk!

    • Exactly, if we create a sleeping association then we are just contributing to sleep issues and will have a harder time weaning them off whatever association we created in the first place. Thanks Jess!

  5. I was really lucky with my two as they have always been really heavy sleepers and slept through from 7/8 weeks ish, I do think though this is partly because I’m such a heavy sleeper I only ever woke for the proper cries.
    So glad you’re getting sleep now! Thanks for linking up to #Picknmix
    Stevie x

  6. We also used cry it out method with one of our children and for us, it took us about 3 nights before my little guy was able to self-settle and he became a different child in that week. He was constantly surrounded with love and care – no abandonment or mistreatement. Just a need for all of us to get sleep and get through another day. Mel xx #wineandboobs

  7. Suz

    Yup, i am a cry it out mum too. I admit when he was a couple of months old i never, but i soon began to realise he was relying on me coming at any time when he cried, as soon as i let him cry it out he soon self soothed and fell back asleep. I now have a boy who sleeps 7pm – 8:30am!! Stick at it!! Such a lovely read! Suz x Beauisblue.com

  8. You’ve got to do what works for you, every child is different. My first son was a complete nightmare and screamed between 6pm and 10pm every night for the first 8 weeks of his life. Nothing we did would settle him. In the end we just let him cry it out and after 3 days of sleep training he was sorted and has been fine ever since.
    #picknmix

    • Ooh 4 hours of screaming is not fun for anyone, baby included. Great that you were able to sleep train him out of that. Thanks Lisa!

  9. I actually have real mixed feelings on it. I refused to do it for my son, but my daughter is a tough cookie and for a while would only sleep is nursed or rocked to sleep and she would wake up multiple times in the night until I was a zombie. After consulting a sleep consultant I reluctantly agreed to try controlled crying – I hated doing it, but I promised I would do it for a 3 nights with my husband and it did solve the settling and frequent night waking. At 15 months she still wakes for a night feed around 5am and for the moment I am just going to see how it goes as unless she is teething I think 7pm to 5am is quite good going but I will see what the future holds! #picknmix

    • I agree 7pm to 5am is certainly quite doable! Waking for one night feed and then returning to sleep is perfect – its the being awake for an hour after each waking that gets to be hard to handle. Good to hear a sleep consultant helped – I was wondering if we’d end up needing outside help. Thanks Laura!

    • Definitely understand being too soft for it. We started with a “fuss it out” approach, but intervened when he was outright crying, but little manipulator just learned to start yelling immediately since that got him the desired result. Kid’s gonna be smart heh

  10. We let them cry it out when they were old enough (after the newborn stage). Babies need to learn to soothe themselves and trust me, some parents will linger this right into the preschool years. And they wonder why they can’t get a child to fall asleep on their own. They trained them that way. It was hard I imagine for you, but look you survived, baby survived and all is well. Now remember this when you send them to preschool, don’t linger, drop them off with hugs and kisses and let the teacher do her job. (I’m on a roll, Open House was today and the poor two year old teachers had criers because parents would not leave).

    • That is exactly what I want to avoid – lingering into the preschool years. It is all about consistency and showing the littles what behavior and outcome is expected. Agree with you on that same idea applying to dropping them off at school. The good news is we’ll be in a hurry to get to work – whichever of us will be doing the drop off – so we won’t be able to linger.

  11. Great topic, its such an emotive subject for so many people.
    I have 3 children and all 3 of them have been different, my first born was very much like yours being in the room with him just wound him up more so we ended up trying controlled crying, and not only did it work but it worked fast, within a couple of days there was no crying. my second born we used the disappearing chair method and it worked for her, we tried some cry it out but different baby different ways, my third born has always been abit of a mix, we used some cry it out when he was younger, now he is 2 and he has recently moved to a big bed we are having to sit with him until he is calm and relaxed.
    different babies can be so different, we all love our children and want whats best and we all have to trust our instinct and do what is right for us at the time. x

    • It is so interesting how different each baby is and how sometimes one method works and later doesn’t work even for the same baby. Thanks Caroline 🙂

  12. Well done for sharing this – people have such strong opinions on it! We have just started controlled crying with our youngest (six months) – never needed to sleep train the eldest who slept through from 12 weeks (he lulled us into a false sense of security!)
    The youngest goes to bed easily even if he is wide awake but it is the middle of the night wakings. Last night though, it only took him 5 minutes and fifteen minutes to fall back asleep 🙂
    What works for you as a family is what you need to do 🙂 #wineandboobs

  13. Personally, I don’t do it, and the people I know who did all actually only had short term successes before their babies reverted. BUT, like most parenting decisions, there are arguments for and against, and people should do what’s right for them. If it worked for you then that’s great, and it does sound like it was relatively painless with Baby H! #wineandboobs

    • Babies go through a lot of developmental phases that are associated with sleep regressions so I can definitely understand short term successes regardless of method. But you’re right, we end up doing what works for the situation and child. Thanks “Silly Mummy” 🙂

  14. This is quite a debated topic so thank you for sharing! I think there are levels of CIO and yours seems to be super mild. Plus, it worked quickly! You trusted your gut and it worked. Thank you for sharing @ #heymomma!

    • Yea I guess there are different levels and I still don’t really understand them all. There’s pick up and settle and put back down. There’s cry for X amount of minutes. Then there’s leave the room and see how long it takes for the crying to stop. That’s kind of what we ended up using, but I still intervened if the crying intensified or lasted longer than I was comfortable with.

  15. sue

    It is so hard with a baby to know what is best. However, I think that Mum knows best and you should do what you feel is right. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us at #AnythingGoes and see you next week.

  16. Glad you found something that worked for you! We did a version of it. I didn’t mean to since I was originally really anti as well, but it worked for us too! 🙂 #wineandboobs

    • It is interesting how something we didn’t think would work or that we would go for, ends up working out. Parenting changes everything we expected, huh?

  17. My daughter gets all grumpy announcing that she’s tired and needs her bottle to comfort her so that she can sleep. #TwinklyTuesday

    • We used to feed to sleep as well, but he grew out of that stage and it was no longer enough. It was nice while it worked though. Here’s a bottle, be quiet heh.

  18. Sleep- the one thing every mama really needs! We’ve used different tactics with each of our kids (all kids are different) but they’ve all been focused on my husband and I being able to get sleep because we’re useless as parents without it.
    Congrats on finding something that works for you!

    Found you through the Mommy Moments link up.

  19. Im not sure what method I use but whatever it is it worked:)

    I got Gianna @ 5 months in my daycare and she would only sleep 15 min if I was lucky and she would only sleep on a bed which her last sitter had done with her. She would scream and I wasnt comfortable just leaving her on my bed. I ended up using a diffuser w lavender and it workedlikea charm if you dont have a diffuser you can also put a drop on his blankets, put a few drop son a washcloth and running the dryer when drying clothes. I would not use more than a drop or so as you just want it to help him relax.

    Another thing I do is I never go running in there the first time they call. I dont pick them up with the first or even the 5th squeak. Even when they are playing Im where they can see me but they quickly learn Im not going to hold them all the time nor am I going to hover over them. I also begin to make them walk and wean them from being carried all the time as soon as they get mobile enough to crawl or walk. Doing this seems to help them be more relaxed and self sufficient and self soothing. Im always around where they see me & I talk tothem a lot as well as have them sitting either in my lap or a bumbo/seat so they can see and “play” with older kids.

    • I agree that not picking them up right away helps them learn self-soothing. Great idea to let them crawl or walk when they can and no longer need to be carried. My little one is a good crawler and stander, he’s a lot happier during the day and more independent since he can get around and play with any of his toys. Thanks Tina!:)

  20. We’ve used this method with all three. My second was my best sleeper so I assumed it was because I had learned some many lessons from #1. My third has been our hardest to sleep train so I recognize my earlier arrogance. God, our Creator, has made each child wonderfully unique. I’m glad we have a variety of tools to help train them in righteousness (and SLEEP)!

  21. Follow your gut mama – it will always lead you right. Thank you for taking care of YOU while you’re taking care of your little one!

  22. I was in the EXACT same boat. I really didn’t want to let our LO CIO either but after a few weeks of the pick up put down method…we had no other choice. She cried for WAY longer while we were in the room or holding her. Although we have done a modified version – graduated extinction I think it’s called. Good for you for doing what works for your family.

    • Thanks for sharing your story as well, Lisa. Is graduated extinction like when you add a few minutes to the duration of their crying? There are so many names and methods out there heh.

  23. Wow you are so brave to write this post lol because it’s such a heated debate bur actually I kind of agree with you. I have also done cry it out out of sheer desperation. My son used to wake every twenty minutes all the through the night every night and it got to the point where I thought I was going to go insane. The thing is my son had no problem falling asleep. It was staying asleep that was the issue. Crying out didn’t work for us and at three years old he still gets up at night but I can definately see why people five it a go when nothing else has worked and the people who swear that they would never ever do it have obviously never had a baby that just doesn’t sleep (at all!). I’m glad it worked for you 🙂

    Stopping by from #heymomma linky

    • Yikes, that’s a lot of waking up. So agree with you that having a baby that doesn’t sleep really makes you re-visit your original thoughts on more controversial methods. Thanks Janine 🙂

  24. I was against crying it out too until I realized I desperately needed sleep. It took a long time but we are finally at a place where I can lay my daughter down awake and she will fall asleep. With the exception of a night here and there that I may need to lay with her for a little while. We went back and forth forever letting her cry it out and then laying with her until she fell asleep. Sleep is a wonderful thing. Good for you for sticking with it!!

    • Good for you too getting to a place that is comfortable and fairly regular for good sleep with your little one. Thanks for sharing your story Autumn 🙂

  25. Very true, do what’s best for your family! Great to hear baby falls asleep on his own. Our son was luckily a good sleeper but our daughter just did not want to stay asleep and would get up all hours of the night. We eventually gave into letting her cry it out, too and after a few times, it wouldn’t last long and she would go to sleep.

    • It is such a relief when you finally get them sleeping. Glad you had it easier with your son at least and found a way to work it out with your little girl. Thanks B!

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