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Posts Tagged ‘cry-it-out’

FACT #1: Establish a good schedule (eat, wake, sleep)

If this is the only thing you take from baby wise, then great! Babies thrive from consistence. If you are constantly changing up the schedule and routine daily, your child will have a more difficult time achieving good nighttime sleep. Every day should have consistency with a wake up time that is the same every day (our’s is 7am) and a bedtime that is the same every day (our’s is 7pm now). In between the start and close of each day, your child will cycle through several eat, wake, sleep cycles. This trains you child to not become dependent on nursing or bottle feeding to fall asleep. And beleive it or not, this helps with nighttime sleep too. If you babies wakes in the middle of the night, she may be able to put herself back to sleep if she is not dependent on nursing or bottle feeding to fall asleep. For more on eat, wake, sleep cycles see my post entitled “Infant & Baby Schedules”  https://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/04/16/infant-schedules/

FACT #2: Keep Sleep Props to a minimum

Baby Wise urges parents to stay away from sleep props such as nursing or rocking baby to sleep or sleeping with your baby in a shared bed. There is nothing wrong with any of these sleep props. There are many parents who do this with their children and it works for their family. But if you are attempting to use parent-directed feeding and Baby Wise, these sleep props will hinder your progress. The goal of Baby Wise is to help teach children how to fall asleep on their own without someone’s help. Having said that, I will say that I believe it is okay to rock your baby to the point of drowsiness before laying her in her crib. Just don’t allow them to fall sleep in your arms.  For more on putting your baby to bed drowsy but awake see my post “Put Your Baby To Bed Drowsy But Awake” https://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/04/09/put-baby-to-bed-drowsy-but-awake/

FACT #3: Some crying will happen (Cry-It-Out)

If you are using Baby Wise, then they recommend putting your baby in his own crib awake. Some babies will fuss or cry in their crib before falling asleep. Baby Wise suggests allowing your baby to cry for up to 15 minutes. If your child is still crying after 15 minutes, go in a check on him. You might want to pat him on the back or hold him in your arms for a little.  Then leave the room and try again. Every baby is different, if I showed my face even after 15 minutes my son would cry longer and harder.  I had to learn that when we where in the heat of sleep training (Cry-It-Out), I had to just leave him be. We had a video monitor so we could make sure he was okay. Thankfully, the hard nights really only lasted for 3-5 days, maybe 7 days at the most.  We started putting my son to bed awake by drowsy when he was 4/5 weeks old at night. At first he would cried for 20 minutes before falling asleep, but it did not take long (maybe 4-5 days) and his crying diminished. I believe by the time he was  3 months old, he rarely cried going to sleep at night. If he did cry, it was because he was overstimulated and needs to blow off steam.

FACT #4: Some babies make noise, fuss, or cry during sleep transitions (so don’t rush in)

Babies sleep cycle are about every 45-50 minutes. During this transition from one sleep sleep cycle to the next, your baby may partially arouse and make noise, fuss, move around, or even cry. As hard as it is, don’t rush into their room to check on them. Give them a few minutes to settle. “Sometimes you may think your baby is waking up when she’s actually going though a phase of light slumber. She could be squirming, startling, fussing, or even crying- and still be asleep. Or she may be awake by on the verge of drifting off again if left alone. Don’t make the mistake of trying to comfort her during these moments; you’ll only awaken her further and delay her going back to sleep. Instead, if you let her fuss and even cry for a few minutes, she’ll learn to get herself to sleep without relying on you (BW p. 146)” My son use to wake from his naps in between sleep cycles (45 minute intruder) and would cry for 5-15 minutes when he was 2-4 months old. I learned to leave him alone or he would never complete a full nap and be cranky. For more on baby’s sleep cycle read my post entitled “Infant Sleep Cycles” https://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/04/13/infant-sleep-cycles/

Important Reminders

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According to the Book The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems a “child who wakes habitually doesn’t need more food unless she’s going through a growth spurt (p.191).” I know that when my son was between 6-8 weeks old he was waking at up around 1am every night. I knew that between 6-8 weeks old he could sleep for at least 6-8 hours a stretch at this age (see my post on sleep requirements). My husband I decided to do the Cry-It-Out method with my son. It took about a week, but at the end of a week, my son was no longer waking around 1am. I was practical and decided to only eliminate the first middle of the night feeding because I knew he was physically ready to go a longer stretch at night between feedings.

NEVER eliminate a feeding before your child is ready. If you child is 8 weeks old, he should be able to go 6-8 hours at night without a feeding. It would be unrealistic to expect an 8 week old to sleep longer than 9 hours without a feeding and for some babies at that age 8 hours is unrealistic too. Go with your maternal instincts and only eliminate the nighttime feeding if they are physically ready!

Please note: If you child is waking up at different times every night, that is most likely due to hunger and not habit. It is best when they are under two months old or in a growth spurt, to feed them when this occurs.

Here is what my son’s nighttime sleep looked like prior to sleep training (CIO) to eliminate the 1pm feeding (6-8 weeks old):

  • 10pm Nurse & Right Back to Bed for the Night
  • 1am Wakes & Nurses & Right Back to Bed
  • 4-5 am Wakes & Nurse & Right Back to Bed
  • 7am Wakes & Nurse- this is the official start to our day and I make sure to keep him up after this feeding

Here is what my son’s nighttime sleep looked like after sleep training (CIO) to eliminate the 1pm feeding (6-8 weeks old):

  • 10pm Nurse & Right Back to Bed for the Night
  • 4-5 am Wakes & Nurse & Right Back to Bed
  • 7am Wakes &  Nurse- this is the official start to our day and I make sure to keep him up after this feeding

Other Methods to Eliminate a nighttime feeding

  • Lengthen the time between night feedings: So if your baby has been waking at 1am, you could try to hold her out until 1:15am. You can do this by rocking her, giving her a pacifier, patting her on the back or tummy while in her crib, holding her in a the rocking chair. Sometimes the baby will fall asleep on her own and not even need the feeding, but if she is still awake and it is 1:15am feed her. Do this for several days until she starts to wake at 1:15am instead of 1:00am. Then try to increase the time by 15 minute again so that you try to hold her out until 1:30am and so on. This process takes a lot longer, but I have heard from other moms that this method has worked from them.
  • Gradually reduce food at the night feeding: if you are breastfeeding, you will reduce the length of your nursing session. So if you are nursing for 20 minutes, only nurse for 18 minutes the next night. Then try reducing the length the third night down to 16 or 15 minutes. I would decrease the length of nursing by 2-5 minutes each night until you are down to nothing. If you bottle feed, try reducing the amount in the bottle by 1/2 ounce each night until you are done to nothing. At this point, I would try to let your child cry. You can be in the room while your child cries if you don’t want to leave them alone, but don’t pick them up. Remember, your child is just waking out of habit at this point. It may take several days after you have eliminated the feeding, but they should eventually sleep through that feeding time. This worked for me when I was trying to stop the 4/5am feeding with my son when he was between 17-20 weeks old. I first reduced the length of the nursing session and then I let him cry-it-out. He finally stopped waking for that feeding at 20 weeks old. (This idea comes from The Baby Sleep Solution)
  • Wake-To-Sleep Technique: "Instead of lying there waiting for her to wake up, set your clock an hour earlier than her habitual waking time and wake her. She probably won’t wake up completely, but her little eyes may dart back and forth under her lids, she’ll murmur and move a bit, just as an adult would if you interrupted his deep sleep. Do this for three nights in a row….but I recommend that you keep it up for three nights nonetheless. If it doesn’t work, you have to reevaluated whether her habitual waking is due to another cause. If you’ve ruled everything else out, do this wake-to-sleep technique another three days. "(The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems p. 191-192).
  • Shush-Pat: go to your child and "you simultaneously whisper, ‘shh, shh, shh….’ into your baby’s ear and pat his back." If that does not work to settle him, hold him over your shoulder: Pat him on his back in a steady rhythmic motion- like the tick-tock, tick-tock, of a clock. The patting need to quite firm, and you want to be in the center of the back, not on one side or the other, and certainly not as far down as their little bottom…While you are patting him, put your mouth to his ear, and whisper a slow, fairly loud, "shh…shh…shh." Elongate the shh sound so that it slows to a chug-chug of a train…When you sense his breathing is getting a little deap and his body is starting to relax, gently lay him down, slightly on his side, so that you can have access to his back [ to continue patting if needed].” This works for babies under the age of 3 months. (The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems p.184-185).
  • Offer Pacifier: This seems to work if your baby is truly waking up out of habit. If you child is hungry, then the pacifier will not work. Try not to offer the pacifier after you baby is 3 months old. The pacifier can become habit forming at that point.
  • Cry-It-Out: Allow your child to cry when they wake. If you want to go in and check on them when they first wake to make sure they don’t need a diaper change or are ill, then go to them. But if you can, stay out of the room. With my son, the moment he saw me, it was all down hill. He would refuse to go to sleep unless I nursed him or held him. His crying would become ten times worse if he saw me. I had to learn to let him cry-it-out on his own. It was really hard to hear him cry, but in a few nights there was no more crying.
  • Cry-It-Out Variations: Some parents just cannot stand to hear their child cry alone in their room, and that is okay. You can try sitting near the crib as they cry or setting a timer and only going in the room every few minutes while they are crying to check on them and let them know you love them until they fall asleep.
  • P.U./P.D. (Pick Up/ Put Down): This method is intended for a baby 4 month or older. Prior to this try the shush-pat method. You pick your child up while he is crying and the minute he stops crying you put him back in his crib. If he starts crying, pick him up again. Then if he stops crying, place him in the crib again. You will repeat the pick up/ put down until he stops crying and will fall asleep in his crib on his own. "On average, P.U./ P.D. takes 20 minutes, but it can go on for an hour or more. If while you are hold your baby and he is crying and arching his back or trying to wiggle free, don’t fight your baby just place him back into his crib. He is just trying to settle himself and may not want to be held. You may still need to pick him up again after he has arched his back, but that’s okay. Just keep repeating the PU/ PD until he quietly lays in his crib without crying. (The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems p.221-224) I have a friend who used this method with her son with great success. I have never personally used it, but it worked for her and her son!  For more on this method read this: https://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/05/11/pupd-pick-up-put-down-baby-whisperers-sleep-training-method/

Ultimately, we have to do what is best for our family. There is no right or wrong way to do sleep training. Just remember to be consistent with what ever method you choose to do and don’t set unrealistic expectations. Remember, your baby is young and will still need some nighttime feedings for a while. Please read the posts below before starting sleep training!

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