Cry it Out?

I’m curious to hear real life stories about the “cry it out” scenario. When did you let your baby cry it out? Did you let your baby cry it out? Did you find it cruel, difficult? Would you not dream of doing such a thing? If you’re afraid to use your real name for whatever reason, feel free to write anonymously. I don’t mind. (I know how it is with the Internet, believe me.) Also, if you’re not one for leaving comments, feel free to email me at the address on the right.

How do you feel about the whole “cry it out” scenario?


  1. I should explain our situation. Emory is going to be six weeks old at 4 AM on Wednesday morning. He currently REALLY likes being held and is happiest when we’re looking and/or talking to him. He does sleep at night. He wakes us up anywhere from 2:30 AM to 3 AM (goes to sleep at around 11:30 PM). He then sleeps again until anywhere from 5:30 AM till 6:00 AM. Which is awesome. However, during the day he really doesn’t like to sleep unless he’s in our arms. (I have had success getting him to fall asleep in the car seat and if he’s really beat, he’ll fall asleep in his Pack ‘n Play.)

    Anyway, we’re looking to the future trying to figure out how to break this potentially bad habit of having him sleep in our arms or on our chests. He really likes to fall asleep on Toby’s chest. So, cry it out? When?


  2. Oh Lord, are you asking for it. LOL! People have stronger opinions about this than they do about breastfeeding, so prepare yourself.

    Me? I don’t feel strongly either way. I say whatever works best for YOU and Emory and TJ. (I will say that I think the first few months are too early, and I believe even firm CIO supporters agree).

    Personally I didn’t do it. I was single and the kid and I were in the same room for the first year, so just grabbing her out of the crib and bringing her into bed with me so I could feed her, then going back to sleep together was no big deal. I only regretted it sometimes. I still lay down with my daughter for a bit at bedtime, though I stopped having to wait until she fell asleep before I left a few years back. Now it is our nice quiet mom-daughter time where we can giggle about stuff and she can tell me things she might not tell me otherwise. So I cherish that.

    But there were times when she was a toddler when I thought, “why didn’t I teach her to soothe herself?” because it was a big routine sometimes to lay there until she was sound asleep. :)

    Whatever works, like I said. There is no right or wrong answer as long as the family is healthy and happy. Don’t listen to anyone who ‘condemns’ you as a cruel mother if you decide to go the CIO route! Follow your gut.



  3. Yeah, Sarah, I had a feeling I might be entering unchartered waters. :] After the rather unattractive email I received regarding the whole breast-feeding/formula fiasco, I worried about this one. Ah well, perhaps I’m asking for it! :]

    I know myself. Letting Emory cry it out is going to be a very hard thing for me to do IF we decide to go that route. We’ll see.


  4. I never really have had the stomach to actually stick to letting my son CIO. For a while I tried to teach him to self soothe at 4 months, by letting him cry for a while before naps, but he did not give in. So I gave in. I figured that he would get there eventually, right? And he did. Once his first molars broke through at 11 months, he started sleeping 10 hours without waking, and now goes down for naps without a whimper. Yes, there was lots of screaming for the first year, and I spent hours walking the floor holding him, but he has always known that I will come when he is upset and hug him. And I can live with that.

    Isn’t that what it boils down to? What you can live with and what you can’t?


  5. I didn’t let him cry it out until he was 4 months old. But then again, I didn’t have to hold him during the day. I didn’t think it was cruel to let him cry. It’s up to you if you have the patience to bear his cry. Now my kid is 3 year-old and last night he cried for an hour. I let him because sometimes, kid needs to cry to get exhausted to go to sleep. He was cranky because he didn’t take a nap earlier and needed to sleep but refused. He chose to cry for an hour instead. Luckily my kid is not a screamer.

    I agree with you: hold him as long as you can live with it. I still cary my kid around and he is now 32 lb when we go for a walk. He is becoming heavy for me and I know there will be a battle ahead for me when I stop carrying him.


  6. You have to do what works for you, just remember that if you choose the CIO route (for sleeping and for all other situations), you can’t give in to the crying. If you are going to give in—don’t even try it because that will just reinforce the crying (or the tantrum when he gets to be a toddler) and the next time, Emory will just scream louder or cry longer.

    If you can really let him cry it out—he will quickly learn to self soothe, but it is very, very, hard. Things always get worse before they get better with kids. But they always get better.


  7. Oh! I was going to add that 6 weeks is too early to really worry about it. Do whatever you need to do now to make his sleeping and your sleeping as comfortable as possible. If you don’t “wear” him now, you might consider trying—that way he can sleep while you do other things.


  8. ok, I would love to know how old everyone’s babies are. I am feeling like I am losing my mind because I can not remember specifics.

    We did let Grace cry it out. I had to leave the apartment and let Brian do it. However, we timed it so we knew it wasnt an eternity, even though it felt like one. 5 minutes then 10 the next day, etc.

    What is really a joy is when they are like a year and start to wake up for the heck of it. you check for soiled diapers and that they are ok but they at some point you have to let them learn how to fall back to sleep. Grace is a fantastic sleeper but I attribute that to early separation from me and dad when it came to falling asleep. Again, that is just our experience. It was emotionally a horrible thing but a seasoned vet told me that no baby is going to hurt from crying. No but mommy is.


  9. I don’t think you have to EITHER let him cry OR constantly soothe him. I think there is a huge middle ground that you can explore, such as letting your husband soothe him, or seeing if he just needs to fuss a little or a million other things. We never did CIO and my daughter sleeps 12 hours per night.

    My personal feelings are that CIO is inappropriate for babies under about 6 months, though. However, each to one’s own; I wouldn’t judge someone who did it before then.


  10. Whew. This is a toughy. My first one, we totally subscribed to the cry-it-outs. I cried more than he did, and it worked, eventually. They usually involved us turning up the radio super loud and praying to every god we’d ever heard of that he’d stop. The second kid, we swore we wouldn’t let him cry. But, at some point, we realized we just had to. I think that point came at 1 1/2 or so. I was tired. I had 2 small children. They would stay up awwwl night long if I let them. The third one, well, we thought for sure we’d let her cry, too. Still haven’t done it, and she turns 2 next week. Maybe it’s that we’re older, maybe we’re just used to being tired now. I just can’t let her cry anymore.

    I should add that I always let all of them cry, just a little, after nursing was over. I never, ever let them cry while they were nursing. I usually gave them 10 or 15 to try and work it out, and they do a lot of the time, but I never counted those 10 or 15 in the crying-it-out time.


  11. OK, I am one of those opinionated bitches on this subject. LOL Six weeks old is way too young to let a baby CIO. And I don’t even think that is only my opinion, according to our pediatrician they are not developmentally ready to CIO until 5 months old. A six week old baby is an infant, and should be cuddled and hugged and smooshed and kissed as much as possible. Emory is still learning that he can rely on his parents for all of his needs and is still building his trust in you. You need to show him that he can trust you by snuggling and cuddling him when he needs it. You are still building your parent-child relationship with him. YOU CANNOT SPOIL A NEWBORN! No matter what your moms and grandmas tell you!

    There are several ways to do CIO – some examples are Ferberizing (he has his own method of going in in intervals to soothe the baby) and the extinction method (do not go in at all). There are variations on the methods, you have to adjust them to do what is right for YOUR child.

    The first time I did CIO at bedtime with Cooper he was 5 months old. We had to break his swaddle dependency. I did total extinction, the first night he cried 26 minutes, then 12 minutes the next, then 5 the next, then nothing. It worked for us! BUT one thing that nobody told me – when you travel, the child gets sick, routine gets screwed up, etc – you will have to re-program the baby and do CIO AGAIN!! The second time I did it was far worse (the first night he cried for 45 minutes). By now we’ve done it about four rounds total. Each time is different.

    It’s an absolutely horrible thing to let your baby cry and fight your instinct to run to him. But it works. When Emory is ready developmentally and you want to try it, then do it. Just not at six weeks! Enjoy your cuddle time, my new mantra is “we will never get these moments back.”


  12. whoops. did not mean to cross out that line.


  13. I agree with what everyone has already told you – 6 weeks is WAY too young to try CIO. 6 months is a different story, if you so choose. I tried CIO once when my son was about 8 months old – he cried so hard that he threw up (after about 10 minutes). That was it. I never did it again. When my son was Emory’s age, he liked to be held a lot too and he was difficult to put to sleep. Some nights, I just drove him around the block repeatedly until he’d give up and sleep. He spent months sleeping in his car seat – at one point, I started to let him sleep in his car seat in his crib (so he’d get used to the environment). Now – he’s almost 3 – he’s the best sleeper among his friends. He willingly goes to sleep and sleeps 11-12 hours a night in his own room, in his crib still (he doesn’t want a big boy bed), lights off, door closed. Unfortunately, as someone mentioned, the routine will change with the first illness, teething, learning to stand up/fall down, throwing things out of the crib, etc.


  14. Woah, maybe I didn’t make myself clear, WE ARE NOT going to let our baby at 6 weeks of age cry it out. I would NEVER do that. Sorry I wasn’t clear enough. We’re merely thinking ahead.

    OK, now I will read the rest of the comments.


  15. I agree that you should do what works for you and Emory. Cry it out can work for some kids and families. The people I know who’ve had success with that have had to hand it over to Dad because I don’t know very many Moms who can handle the cries. I couldn’t do it and it did not work for us or our daughter.

    Sleep has been one of the very most challenging aspects of parenthood for us. It probably wasn’t until our daughter was three that we were able to stablize the sleeping routine and even at four it is a regular challenge. We worked with a behaviorist for a while and sleep was something we worked a lot on. He helped us look for patterns and to look for things that would work for our kid and our family. He had three pieces of advice that may seem like cliches, but they’ve proven to be true every time.
    1. It gets worse before it gets better.
    2. They take a step back before they take a step forward. You’ll see this as they hit developmental milestones.
    3. Solutions have to work in your family lifestyle or they won’t work for anyone.

    On a separate note, my daugther is totally into babies right now and saw me watching the video of Emory and now keeps asking me to watch the baby movie! She watches it over and over and thinks it is so funny when he kicks his legs!


  16. Personally, I’m against the cry it out method. I can’t handle the crying and if I let either of the twins start really crying then they set the other one off. I know other parents who say cry it out was the only way they could make the nights bearable but it just isn’t for my family.

    I agree with previous posters that if you are going to go the cry it out route to wait until 6 – 8 months old. By then Emory will have learned about object permanence, meaning that he knows that you and TJ exist even is he can’t see you.

    I’m using the No Cry Sleep Solution.
    It has methods that you can start using right now to get better sleep habits in place.

    Whatever works for you and your family is the right solution.


  17. being one of those that dont have kids i dont really feel i’m allowed to comment :) BUT! this was published in a newspaper/blog i read here in Australia that might be helpful to you…

    also, emory is an adorable baby and you’re doing a wonderful job.


  18. We read the Ferber book on sleep and liked his approach. I believe we did the CIO-type method for middle of the night wakings sometime around 7 months. At that point she was just waking for habit and not hungry, it was hard but only lasted a night or two.

    The going to sleep part was a little harder as our daughter wouldn’t fall asleep unless she was being rocked/held. We waited until she was over 1 yo to try something. We gradually put her down drowsy and stayed in the room with her until she fell asleep, shortening the time a little each night. I will never forget the night I put her in her crib awake and left the room and she didn’t cry, it was awesome!


  19. You know the weirdest thing about Emory is? He still doesn’t cry. He complains a lot when he’s upset/hungry/tired/bored but he doesn’t cry. This morning, I waited a bit longer than usual to awake and pick him up and he STILL didn’t cry. It’s hard knowing when he’s actually getting worked up and when he’s just bitching a little bit. I never thought I’d say that I want him to start crying already! He’s such a happy baby. I should just enjoy it like all the books say.

    I know myself really well regarding him and what I can tolerate. The chances of my being able to sit through having him cry it out, are slim. I probably won’t be able to do it. Not sure TJ could either even though he says he can.


  20. I like that you are thinking about these things early. I think you are brave for putting it out there to see what people think even 5 months early. I think we all agree hearing your baby sucks and some of us pick up their babies and some don’t. You and Toby will figure out what you want to do and in the end it really doesn’t matter what any of us thinks. Hell I want to call DIFUS on myself all the time.


  21. Rachel, you’re being too hard on yourself lately! I think someone’s pregnancy hormones are raging full on. :] I demand you take a nice three day weekend and do something for yourself. Hit the spa! get a massage! do it! You’re being way too hard on yourself. You’re a great mother. I have seen it with my own two eyeballs.


  22. thanks but this is not the rabel blog. not about me. just injecting humor into the situation. yes, hormones are in over drive. bad week. you are the best michele.


  23. We read Ferber and found it pretty helpful, but Henry was much older. Emory is too young to Cry it Out. Basically, little ones cry a lot because they don’t have any self-soothing skills. Owen used to get the cranks when it was time to put Henry to bed, and I learned that if I held him and stuck my little finger in his mouth, he’d happily suck away and calm down.

    As Emory gets older, you’ll learn the “tired” cry from the frightened and frustrated ones, and the tired and frustrated cries can be cried out. Kerry and I referred to the tired cry as “clearing the synapses”—an uncomfortable (for us) but necessary process to get ready for bed. Our kids occasionally still get like this, and it’s important (for us) to remember that they’re not being brats.

    The frustrated cry will come as a test of wills, when your child is old enough to know that you’re not around but he wants you there. I can still remember Henry standing in his crib, holding onto the edge, screaming and crying in frustration because we wanted him to go to sleep. But he had all his stuffies and everything else he needed to soothe himself. Eventually he would like down and go to sleep.

    But all this is still a long way off for Emory. At the same time, it won’t be that long at all.


  24. I need to repeat this because I don’t want folks to think I’m evil. I would never let Emory cry it out at this age. Not in a million years. :] Just had to repeat that one. I can’t even ignore his grunts.

    I think I’ll pick up this Ferber book! Thank you all!


  25. I was against crying it out and thought no way would I ever do that to my child. Henry was similar to Emory in that he would fall asleep best in my arms or in the car seat. As he grew older (3 months on) I found that I would have to nurse and rock him to sleep before putting him in his crib and then I would be lucky to get 20-30 min of alone time. It felt like I spent the majority of the day trying to get him to sleep. It was draining on me and on him. At 6 months, at our ped’s suggestion, we started letting Henry cry it out. I started with his first morning nap and then his noon time nap, then his afternoon nap, then finally at bed time. I would nurse/rock him if he woke up in the middle of the night. A couple of tricks I found were a) start with one nap at a time. Doing them all at once is much harder. b)get to know his nap schedule and put him down before he is showing signs of being sleepy (rubbing his eyes, yawning). When I found that Henry needed his next nap after 2 hours, I would watch the clock and put him down at that time. His naps increased from those 20-30 min to hour and a half or longer. He was much happier and I found my sanity again. But you do have to be ready for crying it out, don’t do it because other people tell you it’s time.

    Good Luck and Congratulations!


  26. I wanted to also add that of all the things baby that I miss the most, it’s the rocking to sleep. My first rocked until 23 months when his little brother was born. My second and third won’t hear of it. They have to go to sleep on their own. The rocking is magical and wonderful and after 10 years of kids, if I can offer you any advice, it’s to keep the rocking to sleep going as long as you can. I ACHE for it.


  27. My husband and I have just had our first child (girl) after over 6 years of trying. she is now almost 7 months. We have just recently started the cry it out method. As much as i hate listening to her cry (breaks my heart) it is necessary as far as im concerned. In the begining i had no choice but to rock my angel to sleep as she was colicky and it was the only thing that worked. Hours of walking and rocking. Now that the colic phase has past i feel that if i continue this i will be rocking my child to sleep at the age of 4. For all of those parents who are opposed to the C.I.O. method, think of it this way, you teach your child to sit, to crawl, to walk, to talk, to read ect. why not teach your child how to peacefully fall asleep??? some children will always protest because they are also learning what response or reaction they will get from mom or dad if they cry, I was also at one time against the cry it out method, thought it was cruel and neglectful, but after trying it for 3 days and after only 3 days/nights i get to sleep a full nights sleep i have changed my opinion on the whole C.I.O. method.
    Bottom line is what ever you as the parent feels is right then do it. A baby has never been harmed from a little crying, of course dont allow it to go on for hours , but a bit wont hurt!


  28. UGH! Ive been searching the net for hours, its almost midnight, and with a 2 yr old and a 3 mo old – IM SO relieved to read the last post by Sarah – I will commit to doing the C.I.O. with my newest addition instead of 2 years of inconsistency, confusion, frustration & definitely not enough sleep – like I did with my first child. NOW I will be able to enjoy my relationship with my children in a wonderful, loving way – I JUST NEED TO STICK TO THE DAILY ROUTINE & C.I.O. – THANK YOU!!!!


  29. We just started the cry it out method last night with my 14 month old. He gets so worked up he throws up. So we cleaned him up and then left the room again. He would cry for 20 minutes and go to sleep but it wasn’t a deep sleep and he woke up many times during the night and just screamed! When i go to lay him down in his crib he immediately starts screaming now. What do I do, is this normal and will he really learn from this? I know its only been one night but i’m heart broken and i don’t think he learned anything last night.


  30. Im on day 2 of sleep training (as i prefer to call it) and have no regrets. i know im doing whats best for my baby. the crying is very hard to listen to as i only want to her to be happy but im already seeing faat results. day 2 was last night and after maybe 6 minutes of crying/whimpering she was asleep. i didnt even need to go in and comfort. she slept for 9 hours and then self soothed. very proud of my little lady. i have moved on to sleep training during naps today as it suddenly clicked for me last night that her short cat naps during the day were not giving her enough rest. She can be fussy and i wasnt putting the pieces together that she might need a long nap during the day instead of 25-40 mins. she has also been funny around


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