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cry it out

March 17, 2014

Happy Monday! I am back to work today after a glorious week off for Spring Break. It was heaven. I loved loved loved spending time with my little man and was a little teary eyed driving to work this morning. I got a taste of what summer will be like and I can not wait! πŸ™‚ I will do a post on my Spring Breaking happenings later this week but I wanted to first update you on our experience with Cry It Out (CIO, Ferber Method).

When Trey was born he had such bad day/night reversal that we were desperate to do anything that would set his circadian rhythm and buy us some sleep. I had read time and time again that you can not form lasting habits in the first 3 months of life and to do whatever we needed to do to get some rest. We found that cure in the bouncer. Trey began sleeping in his bouncer swaddled in the Miracle Blanket swaddle. (Best swaddle ever in my opinion!) It worked for us. Trey started sleeping through the night at around 9 weeks of age and although he was not a good napper as long as I was getting uninterrupted sleep at night it didn’t matter to me. Pick your battles, right? The only problem was we were rocking him to sleep each night in the bouncer and he definitely associated his bouncer with sleep. Since Trey was 4 months (and 1 week) when Spring Break started we decided this was the perfect time to transition him into the crib. That way if he didn’t transition well and woke up a bunch at night I was at least on a break from work.

To say we were nervous about the transition is an understatement. As I am sure any parent will tell you, once your child starts sleeping through the night the biggest fear is that they will suddenly stop. And I learned that a sleep deprived Kelly is one bitchy Kelly. Let me tell you. Ha! But we knew that we needed to make the transition because I for one did not want to be that mom whose child still had sleep crutches at the age of two. And our night time routine was just taking too long. Each night we’d bathe him, feed him, swaddle him and spend 30 minutes rocking him to sleep. The whole thing was taking us an hour and half each night. I also had a lot of anxiety about him sleeping in the bouncer. I was always nervous he was going to get himself turned in it so he couldn’t breathe. So it was time.

Cry It Out was the method we chose simply because we wanted Trey to realize that he could put himself to sleep. He could self soothe and do it all on his own. Also everyone said it was a 3-10 day transition. I understand that not everyone feels that way. But here was the plan we devised. (And believe me you need to have a plan in place before starting!!)

CIO in a nutshell: follow your normal nighttime routine, put them into the crib awake, walk out of the room, if they start crying follow the steps below. When in the room, do not pick them up, soothe them for a minute or two (at most), leave the room while they are still awake. Repeat until the child falls asleep.

Our plan:

  • Night 1: Leave for 3 minutes the first time, Β 5 minutes the second time, and then 10 minutes for the third and all subsequent times.
  • Night 2: leave for 5 minutes, then 10 minutes, then 12 minutes
  • Night 3 (and from there on out): Leave for 6 minutes, then 12 minutes, then 15 minutes

We also decided to keep Trey swaddled because we knew he associated the swaddle with sleep and thought it would help the transition.

Night 1:

We did our normal night time routine, put Trey in the crib and left the room at around 7:30. From 7:30-9:00 he played in his crib; looked around his new place, busted out of his swaddle, didn’t cry at all. At 9:00 he decided he had enough and was ready for bed AKA his bouncer. He started crying. We waited the 3 minutes, went in, reswaddled him and walked out, repeated steps above for Night 1. It took until 11:45 for him to fall asleep. It was a rough night. But once he was asleep he was asleep for good and he slept until about 7:00 the next morning and when he woke up I found him like this:


Night 2:

We decided to go ahead and transition him into a sleep sack as well. I was worried that with him busting out of the swaddle (see picture above) that he’d get it wrapped around his neck. Because he’s a mover…very rarely did he wake up in any position remotely like how we put him down. So night two he went into the sleep sack and he fell asleep after the second round of crying. He slept through the night. However, we didn’t know if CIO was working or if he was just so worn out from the night before that he went right down.

Night 3:

He went down before the first round timer went off. He slept through the night. πŸ™‚ We were pumped! I had assumed he needed the swaddle to sleep, both as a comfort and as something he associated with sleep. But I was wrong. He was definitely ready for the sleep sack.

Now: he is great! He usually falls asleep sometime within the first 6 minutes with minimal fussing and he sleeps through the night in his sleep sack! (We use the Halo ones…size small right now) I am so thankful the transition seems to be over for him!! Also our bedtime routine is much shorter now! Nap time is a little more difficult since he isn’t a great napper and never has been. It is hit or miss if we have to go in after 6 minutes but we typically don’t have to go in there twice. Although, Trey’s naps are only about 30-45 minutes in length (three times a day). But the same is true as before, I’d rather have a child who sleeps through the night and isn’t a good napper versus having a good napper and child who wakes up in the middle of the night.

We did have one night where he woke up at 2:30a.m. (this was later in the week though) and we did CIO in the middle of the night because we were not going to teach him that we would pick him up if he cried (at any time). We had to do CIO from 2:30 until 4:20. It was AGONY and we almost caved in. But we made it and the next night he was back to sleeping all the way through again. I firmly believe that children need to learn that they can calm themselves when nothing is wrong. (If they are sick, teething or going through a growth spurt,etc I think that’s different) Now I won’t say that this week was easy and there were lots of text messages to Allena (my baby mentor…ha!) and my mom but we made it. And I can say that we (Keith, myself and Trey) are much happier for it.

Cry It Out success!!


If you are a mom, did you use the Cry It Out method? How did it work for you?Β 

Or did you use something else with success?Β 

10 Comments leave one →
  1. March 17, 2014 8:26 am

    Is there a minimum age when you are supposed to try this? I go back to work in 3 weeks (ack!) and since Jason works at night, I’d really like it if I didn’t spend a better part of the night trying to get Alex to sleep. He sleeps well now, but I feel like the moment I have to go back to work, he’ll stop sleeping well. He’s like Trey in that he doesn’t really nap, but he probably will at daycare so I feel like he might not sleep well at night.

    • March 17, 2014 8:53 am

      The research says that a baby is ready for CIO between 4-6 months of age. That’s an average so some babies will be ready sooner and some later. They say to try it and if after a week you aren’t seeing any results then they aren’t ready and you should try again in 2-3 weeks time.

      I know people who have done it as early as 6 weeks and those who have done it as late as a year old. You know your baby best. πŸ™‚

  2. Marla permalink
    March 17, 2014 9:31 am

    Did you feed trey any time between 7:30 and when he woke up?

    • March 17, 2014 9:33 am

      No, Trey has been sleeping through the night without a night time feeding since about 9 weeks. I would suggest making sure your baby sleeps through the night without a bottle before trying CIO.

  3. March 17, 2014 11:56 am

    Yay! Glad CIO worked for y’all– getting some serious sleep at night makes SUCH a difference in sanity level, haha. We used modified Ferber with Lila too.

  4. March 17, 2014 8:43 pm

    Nice job you guys!! I’m so happy to read about a success story that happened rather quickly. JP and I are counting down the days until Allston is 4 months and we can begin sleep training. Unfortunately we did not get lucky in the baby sleep department and Allston needs to be rocked completely to sleep and wakes multiple times a night. I think once he learns to self-sooth things will be easier on all of us. But for now it’s pretty rough!

    • March 17, 2014 8:47 pm

      Oh no!! I’m sorry that Allston is not a good night time sleeper. Does he take good naps? I literally live in constant fear that Trey will stop sleeping through the night. Those first 6 weeks of his life are still so fresh in my mind. He was up ALL night long and I still shudder thinking about sleep deprived I was. 😳

      • March 18, 2014 3:19 am

        Unfortunately he’s not a great napper either. We had a pretty good nighttime routine established (down at 7:30, up twice to feed at midnight and 3am give or take, up for day at 7am). It was totally manageable bc he went back down easily. Well something happened since he got sick and it’s been a total disaster! No routine, up at all hours, difficulty getting back to sleep, trying to get up for the day at 5am. Yeah I’m going a little crazy and wondering if it’s an early 4 mo sleep regression!!


  1. spring breaking | What Kelly Said

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