Hearing your baby cry is not easy. Whether it is a vaccination visit, a fall or hunger, as a mother your first instinct is to make the crying go away. But when it comes to sleeping, some parents are ready to overlook their deepest instincts.
Getting a baby to sleep through the night is a battle. During the hazy newborn days, you don’t have many options but to nourish your infant. This entails sleepless nights and going days between baths. But as your infant grows into a baby, you can think about sleep training.
At six-months, your baby is old enough to sleep through the night. But old habits die hard. Now you have a choice. You can either go on with sleepless nights or teach your baby to sleep without your help. If you are happy with the night time awakenings, more power to you. But most mothers would give anything for a good night’s sleep, even if that means letting the baby cry it out!
What Is The Cry It Out Method?
Cry It Out (CIO) does not mean leaving your baby to cry indefinitely. It is a sleep training approach that talks about letting your baby cry for a specified period before you comfort her.
Also known as the ‘Ferber’ method, the CIO approach believes that falling asleep is a milestone that your baby can achieve with a little help. According to Dr. Richard Ferber, one of the proponents of the CIO method, rocking your baby to sleep or let her fall asleep while nursing won’t teach her to self soothe.
A baby needs to learn the skill of self-soothing to fall asleep on her own. This is one skill your baby will need once she grows up.
[ Read : Sleep Training For Babies ]
Steps Involved In Cry It Out Method:
Is it ok to let a baby cry it out? If you think that the CIO method is your cup of tea, go for it. Don’t put it off for another day though. Pick a date and start. It won’t be easy but once your baby learns to self-soothe, you can sleep. Here are the steps you need to follow:
- Make sure your baby is drowsy but awake when you put her down to sleep.
- Give her a goodnight kiss, and walk out. If she cries, wait for a specific period before you go in to comfort her.
- When you go back in, keep the lights off. Use a soothing voice and reassure her. Remember, you are not supposed to pick her up. Don’t stay for more than a minute or so. Now walk out again, even if your baby is still crying.
- Repeat the same process until your baby falls asleep.
- If your baby wakes up in the middle of the night, follow the same steps.
- Let the baby cry it out for a little longer each night. According to Ferber, your baby should be sleeping on her own in three to four days.
- If your baby hasn’t learned to fall asleep on her own by a week’s time, take a week off. Start again from scratch after that.
[ Read : Baby Sleep Problems ]
How Long Should You Let The Baby Cry It Out?
Now, this is a biggie! How long should you leave your baby alone? Hours or minutes? Well, that’s what the opponents of the CIO method would have you believe. But it takes a stonehearted mom to let a baby cry it out for hours! Dr. Ferber sets more practical guidelines, thankfully! Here’s what he suggests:
- For the first night, let your baby CIO for three minutes.
- Go back in, soothe her and come out.
- Wait for five minutes the second time she cries and then ten minutes.
- Increase the time during the second night.
- Make it five minutes, ten minutes and twelve minutes of crying before you go in to comfort your baby.
- Keep increasing the intervals as you move onto the third and subsequent nights.
Now remember that these are just suggestions. The time you let your baby CIO depends on you.
[ Read : Baby Sleeping Positions ]
Benefits Of Cry It Out Method:
A number of studies have indicated that the CIO method of sleep training can bring a number of benefits.
- Babies who follow the CIO method are less likely to throw tantrums during bedtime.
- If you use the Ferber method, you can expect your baby to fall asleep within 10 minutes.
- With babies sleeping through the night, parents can look forward to a good night’s sleep too.
- With sleep deprivation becoming history, parents report lower stress levels and better interaction with their babies.
- Your baby is less likely to be fussy during the day if she has learned to sleep through the night
If CIO works for you, you can be sure of a happy family. Sleepless nights can ruin not just one’s health but also your relationship with your baby and spouse.
[ Read : Benefits Of Cosleeping With Baby ]
Drawbacks Of Cry It Out Method:
If all’s so good about the CIO method, why are so many people speaking out against it? According to the opponents of this method, letting your baby cry it out does more harm than good.
- Letting a baby cry goes against your primal instinct.
- Letting your baby cry it out can cause separation anxiety.
- Crying can cause the level of cortisol in your baby’s body to rise, leading to stress.
- When your baby cries, she is calling you. When she stops crying, she is giving up. This can cause irreversible harm in the mother-baby bond.
It is interesting to note that none of these negative effects have a scientific basis. That leaves a lot of room for debate.
[ Read : How To Get Baby Sleep In Cot ]
Women who oppose the cry it out method do so with vengeance. But as mothers, we should offer support not scorn to other struggling moms. If you have decided to go the CIO way, do so without guilt. Thousands of happy mothers will tell you to go right ahead. And if you think cry it out is not the right fit for your family, there are other options you can try. The last thing this world needs is a mommy war on the ‘right’ way to sleep train a baby!
When did your baby start to sleep through the night? Are you thinking of sleep training your baby? What are your views on the cry it out method? Tell us your experience.
- 4 Ways You Can Teach Your Baby To Sleep In A Cot
- 7 Effective Tips On Making Your Restless Baby Sleep
- 8 Effective Tips To Put Your Twins To Sleep
- Is It Safe For Your Baby To Sleep On One Side?
- 11 Effective Tips To Help Your Baby Sleep On The Floor