Controlled Crying – Formerly known as CIO (Cry It Out)
What happens when your baby can’t sleep at night? Take a look at all the factors; eating, daytime sleeping, exercise, and adult contact. check with your doctor to make sure nothing is physically wrong with your child and make sure it is safe to let baby cry. Also, make sure you have the time and energy for this to last a little while. Don’t vacation, no changes in bedtime routine, and no visitors. Controlled Crying takes time and lots of patience.
Keep on a schedule
At this age (14 months), my son was taking 2 naps at daycare, and my youngest was switching to one big mid day nap, sleeping 12 hours and waking 3 times. They both have dinner at 5/530, and in bed for 7/730. My son started sleeping through the night when he started daycare at 11 months; he was expelling enough energy and getting enough stimulation to keep himself down and we had done controlled crying to help him fall asleep on his own.
My daughter is only recently sleeping on her own, controlled crying as well, but since she isn’t in daycare, she wakes once for a quick nursing and right back down. Sleeping through the night is not necessarily a milestone, once they are done with nursing, it will be night terrors, then potty breaks and refill the sippy cup.
There was a point where she woke almost every hour; a normal REM cycle is roughly 45-75 min, so I figured she just couldn’t transition from one cycle to the next. Took time and patience , and controlled crying, to break the habit. Once she fell asleep on her own, in her bed, she went from 5 times to 1 time awake at night all at once. It was strange, but even after the first night, her midnight wake ups were getting better. But 2 am is not the time to cheat; she has to cry to sleep then too. Nurse, kiss, lay down. Because she was so tired, it didn’t last nearly as long as initial bedtime, but there is always a chance it could.
Before you get scared with the WEEK title. I have to disclose: this only took so long because we tried it before and someone caved during the process (not that I’m pointing fingers or anything). She now believed she was in charge and we would cave again. This is stubborn and manipulative behaviour. This is why I chose not to try again until a certain someone was away on an extended work exercise.
She started out by falling sleep in my arms, and waking as soon as I placed her in bed. I just placed her back down and rubbed her back – she was sleeping on her side at this point. I also found that she bolted awake if she rolled from side to back too quickly, so getting her in the right position was good too. Rub her back, sing a song, anything to calm her down. Did this for a week and she eventually fell asleep after 10 min of this near the end.
The crying game. Same thing, put her in the bed dopey but awake, and rub her back for a minute, then leave just before she fell asleep. When she jumps up and cries, give her a few minutes, go back in, put her back down, rub her back for a minute, leave. It’s important not to pick her up unless she is super-upset. Crying is OK, hyperventilating is not.
Each time I left, I let her cry just a little longer. Always going back in so she knew I wasn’t abandoning her. Took 4 / 5 nights of this and it always took longer and longer for her to get upset. By the last night, she only lightly cried 30 min, and I visited her twice. By the time I was done putting my son to bed, she was snoring. That’s when you know you’ve won.
I put her down, give a kiss, and a little pat on the back, and it takes a few minutes before she gets upset. This lasts maybe 2-3 minutes and then she is asleep.
Book, nurse, kiss and bed. Walk away. Not a sound. Only wakes once at night, roughly 3 am and still, nurse, kiss, bed, walk. She is very dopey, eyes are closed, but not asleep.
I choose to let her get accustomed to one stage before moving on as so not to scare her into a whole new situation, instead gradually showing her my expectations. Others have claimed that I am replacing one crutch with another and all the changes is what made it last so long. While this argument does have merit, I know my kid and jumping into it would not have worked with her. The best strategy is taking others’ advice and molding it to suit your own needs and goals.
Differences between the two kids
My son was a lot easier. First night, he cried and I went into his room, for about an hour. Night 2, 30 min, night 3, 5 min, night 4 done.
No rubbing, no songs, nothing. But he had school to burn the excess energy. Little boys can be more stubborn but they know when to quit, girls do not. This is apparently a trait they are born with.
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