February 2013 Moms

I want to make a disclaimer on sleep training

This is just my two cents, but I want to put it out there in case it helps anyone.

I've said 1,000 times on this board and others that I am anti-CIO.  I've also suggested that people not conduct ANY kind of sleep training during the fourth trimester (months 1-3 of life).  Now that many of our babies are coming up on 4 months, I know a lot of moms will be ready to sleep train.

There is nothing wrong with doing so.  You aren't a bad mother bc you want to sleep and heaven knows your baby needs sleep!!

But you have to know your baby.  You know your baby best, and only you can determine what sorts of sleep methods will work for your family.  My first baby (Jack) was high needs.  He had extreme separation anxiety starting at 12 weeks.  And, while some kids can cry a little bit to burn off some steam and then they feel better, Jack was the type of baby who would cry, and cry some more, and the more he cried the more it escalated.  For all of these reasons, CIO or controlled crying would NEVER have worked for him.  There was just no way.  And I'm not the type of mom who can handle CIO, my ethical issues with it put aside.   However, not all babies are like Jack.  Rhys is very different and I'm sure that our methods for helping him learn to sleep well will be different.

The basic point of this ridiculously long word-vomit post is that sleep training is not automatically evil and horrible.  There is a baby out there and a family out there who will be a model success story for every sleep method on the bookshelf.  You have to know yourself and your baby, and you have to know when everyone in the family is ready.  Then, and only then, will ANY sleep training of any kind work.  If you want to do Ferber at 4 months, and you feel that it is right for your baby's personality type, then good luck and God speed.  Don't beat yourself up about it.  What I do for my baby, and what anyone else on The Bump does with her baby, has nothing to do with you and your baby. 

Missed m/c discovered 3/15/12 at 8w2d: "Henry."
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"Does the little one with the cheekbones know that the prince is in love with him?"

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Rhys 01/25/13 Peanut and tree nut allergy, MSPI
Lilypie - (cF7R) Lilypie - (Phka)

Re: I want to make a disclaimer on sleep training

  • I think this is a good post. 

    It's a tough call for me.  On one hand, I hate that all of my kids have been horrible sleepers.  Only one has STTN before the age of one and the others didn't until they were weaned.  I wish there was a way I could sleep train that would work for them and me.  On the other hand, (don't flame me) sleep training seems so cruel to me.  But let me explain why.

    I've tried to sleep train with all of my kids at various points.  I've read all the books and tried all the methods.  I did the CIO where you would go in after different lengths of time and try to shush them back to sleep, and it never worked.  Going in would freak them back out and the crying would get worse and worse each time.  Not going in and just letting them cry never worked either, because they would either cry so hard they would puke or they would just never stop.  I would end up sitting outside of their door bawling my eyes out (which was an indicator to me that it just wasn't the right thing for us).  I tried noise machines, different lovies, rocking to sleep, reading to sleep, set in stone nighttime routine - EVERYTHING - nothing worked for several of my kids.  They just wanted mom.

    Because my kids have been this way, I have a hard time stomaching the idea of CIO.  My mind goes to what happened the times I tried it - kids crying so hard they puke or mom bawling outside the door because it feels so unnatural.  When I look at a 4 month old, they just seem so young for that.

    But I need to remember that not every baby reacts that way.  I know my sister's kids only ever cried for 1-2 nights and then slept through the night after the training.  In those cases, I know that it isn't cruel, but probably what is best for everyone in the house.  I really wish it worked like that for my kids! 

    I really wish I could sleep train my kids.  I do.  I usually hit a wall around 9 months where I feel like I can't take the lack of sleep anymore or I am literally going to die.  I usually try some form of sleep training at that point and it never works out.  It's something I do wrong.  I just create horrible sleepers.

    I know that everyone has to do what is best for their babies and their families.  I know that not every mom who is sleep training is letting their baby cry all night long without attending to them or just letting them get so upset that they puke.  It's hard sometimes to remember that my own experiences don't reflect what everyone else is going through. 

  • Thanks for this. Reminds me of my mom's motto: Everything in moderation!

    Parenting is so... personal. Only you know when it's the right time for ANYTHING- solids, potty training, big kid beds, overnight away from home... Your job as a parent is to know your child. No person on the internet is going to know your baby as well as you do.

    That being said, I hear that when they are teenagers all they do is sleep, so there is always that to look forward to.

    Eleanor- 1.5 Years (Jan 2013)
    Nathan- 3.5 Years (April 2011)
  • SagenSagen
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    I have let my LO technically CIO, where he some what half heartidly cried for like 1 minute, whimpers a little then falls asleep. If he was full on screaming for along time I would get him. It is hard that they both share the same term, I think they are different things. I think you can tell when it is just too hard on a baby, or when they just need to fuss for a second. That happened a few times that I let him "CIO", and now I just set him down, and he sleeps. He has been an easy baby when it comes to sleep. I tried it after him just getting madder and madder at me holding him. I think it is one umbrella term that can be a bad thing, but also  might not be. Like DC said with her son it was not good at all for him, you could tell it was hard on him. That is why it is to each there own kind of deal.
    Mom to 4 cute kids, 10 y/o girl, 8, 6, and 1.5 y/o boys
  • I'm not really the type of mom who can handle a CIO either.  That said, I had a little bit the other day when E was being SUPER cranky, and SUPER needy.  Nothing I or DH did helped him one bit.  I just couldn't handle it any more.  I put him in his bassinet and took a shower to "cool off."  Had a great effect for us.  DH went out to his shop, C slept through it all, E calmed himself into a doze, and I felt human again.

    But I have had no success with sleep training of any sort.  My daughter didn't sleep throug the night until she was 4 and a half years old.  E slept through the night at 8 weeks on the dot.  With C, I tried ever sleep method out there and NOTHING worked.  With E I didn't have to do anything.

    Good luck to all you mommies who are trying anything! I know how it feels to be exhausted and just want a straight 8 hrs sleep!

                    We're Going to be a Family of 5!

    Lilypie - (PaHE) Lilypie - (4noI)

                                   Lilypie - (2q9u)

  • This.

    I am rather anti-CIO, but as I don't have to go to work I think it is a different ball game.

    Also, my first did not cry very much, so I did not want to teach him that when he did cry,at night, no one would come. It was his only way of communicating.


    This LO hates to nurse to sleep and always fusses a LOT before he falls asleep, even in my arms, or a wrap. When we have driven in the car, he has cried a few minutes and then passed out. When he gets a little older, I might be willing to let him fuss a little more before he falls asleep, on his own, because it seems to be how he falls asleep in general.

    You do what works for you and your family - and I am glad this board seems to be a place for a wide variety of parenting. I think you learn the most that way.

    But I do still side-eye the recent bunch of pediatricians I have seen recommending closing the door on your two month old and not opening it again until morning.  

    LO born Feb 2010 & Feb 2013
    MMC at 12 weeks March 2012

  • Great post!  I'm glad we can all share our view points openly and express our opinions and reasons for them.

    As one of those mom's that is just completing a sleep training program, I felt that it was something we needed to do.  Had I not seen some positive results within a short period of time I probably would have stopped.  I guess I'm lucky that LO took to it so well and so quickly. 

    As much as it's frustrating that there are so many sleep programs, sleep solutions and recommendations out there, this is probably a good thing b/c it's not a one size fits all deal. What works for one baby won't work for another.  I agree, everyone needs to do what feels right for them.


    ETA: I hope this didn't come off as defense of my choice to use sleep training. I am happy that I did it and happy with the results but I'm not happy that I had to do, if that makes sense. But it was the right thing for us.

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  • Thank you for this post, DC, and also your contribution, adamswife. I think a lot of women on the board really respect both of your opinions, and hearing you come down on sleep training can be difficult for those of us who have done it successfully (at least with previously children) without feeling like we were being bad mothers. adamswife, I completely understand how you can feel that sleep training is cruel based on your experience, and I thank you for reflecting "out loud" for us to know where you're coming from.

    For us, DD1 was crying hysterically for about 1 hour (total) during our 2 hour attempts to put her in bed at night and again at least once during night. When we used Ferber, she calmed down when we came in the room to reassure her and total crying time was max 10 minutes. To me, in our experience, that is not cruelty. But I also agree that if you had continued when your children were crying so hard they threw up, I would have found that a bit cruel. I'm glad you knew your children well enough to end the sleep training and sacrifice your own sleep instead of plowing through the sleep training regardless of how it was affecting your children.

    As DC said, I think the main point is that everyone should feel free to try different sleep programs, but don't be afraid to throw in the towel if you feel like it's not right for you or your baby. There are others to try that might work better for you, and if not, well, my motto is "by the time she's 13, she may still be waking up in the night, but at least she won't be wanting me to come in and comfort her."

    BFP1: DD1 born April 2011 at 34w1d via unplanned c/s due to HELLP, DVT 1 week PP
    BFP2: 3/18/12, blighted ovum, natural m/c @ 7w4d
    BFP3: DD2 born Feb 2013 at 38w4d via unplanned RCS due to uterine dehiscence

  • I also want to add that after reading HSHHC, Babywise, No Cry Sleep Solution, Happiest Baby on the Block, and the AAP Birth to 5 year book, what has worked the best for us is putting the baby in the crib when he is "drowsy but awake."  I am hopeful that I have avoided the need for CIO by doing this.  It worked with DS1, and the verdict is still out for DS2, but we are hoping that this will alleviate the need for him to CIO.

    I just think its important for everyone to know that just as some pp's have said, there are certainly alternatives to CIO, though I understand that CIO will work best for some families.  And I completely agree that you need to trust your instincts, and do what is best for your LO and your family.


    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker


    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker

    "You reach deeper until you can find the strength.  That's all life is, one big fight after another."

    Angel babies: 9/19/07, 10/08/09, 1/05/11

  • Thank you. I've been avoiding the other posts because doing sleep training is hard on me mentally and reading comments about how it's a terrible thing to do has been making me feel like a horrible parent, so I really appreciate this post.

    I agree that people need to do what's best for their families. After days of no sleep and trying everything to get her to sleep, we had to start the process earlier than we intended the other night. We were all just so exhausted and DH and I were at our wits end about what to do.

    It isn't easy, but I read a lot about it and spoke to a psychologist I trust before we started it. I'm hoping it will work out like it has for our friends who used this method mindell. Thank you again for this post though. It made me feel better.
    Lilypie - (KNqh)
  • Good post! I completely agree that you have to know what is right for you and your baby. At this point I think my DD is too young to do sleep training. I don't think I will do any formal methods, but my personal belief is that babies don't need to be trained. They will naturally learn how to sleep, whether it is at 3 months or 3 years. My job as a mom is to follow her cues and encourage her gently into good habits. However, I have a pretty good night time sleeper, so I completely understand why some parents would be considering formal sleep training if they have a horrible sleeper!
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  • image smile55k:
    Good post! I completely agree that you have to know what is right for you and your baby. At this point I think my DD is too young to do sleep training. I don't think I will do any formal methods, but my personal belief is that babies don't need to be trained. They will naturally learn how to sleep, whether it is at 3 months or 3 years. My job as a mom is to follow her cues and encourage her gently into good habits. However, I have a pretty good night time sleeper, so I completely understand why some parents would be considering formal sleep training if they have a horrible sleeper!

    This. And if for any reason my baby's excellent sleep habits change I would exhaust all other methods and still would not resort to crying it out...it just wouldn't work for MY family. 

  • This is a good post. I was very anti-CIO with DD1 who was also very needy and colicky However, she just got worse and worse and would wake every hour for weeks and months on end. She did not know how to self-soothe and rocking, etc, did not work. At times I just rocked and rocked her while she screamed because she was SO TIRED and eventually I would give up, put her down, and sometimes she would fall asleep. It took over a year to get her to STTN and for most of that year she was completely exhausted and so was I. I caved and tried CIO a few times but every time I changed my mind and went to get her, which only made her worse because she had learned that if she cried long enough, I would give up and go in.

    Eventually I was too exhausted and just slept through some night waking when she was older and she started learning how to go back to sleep. Accidental CIO, if you will.

    That being said, I don't know what my plan is for DD2. I do know, however, that regardless of how badly you "mess it up," your kid will be ok and still love you because we must have done everything wrong with her sleep and she's a great, fun, 2.5 yr old now.  I don't want to CIO with DD2 but if it starts to get as bad as it did with DD1 I may just rip the band aid off and do it so she doesn't spend her first year miserable like her sister did. For some kids (and DD1 may have been one of them) doing a few nights of hard core CIO may actually be kinder and lead to less crying overall. For others, its futile and you're better off doing something else. You really do have to pick what is best for your particular kid and yourself.

    Pros and cons to each method. My advice is- whatever sleep methods you choose, just pick one and stick with it. Getting desperate and trying everything just makes a mess. I'm still traumatized from that first year and terrified of doing it over again. Hopefully DD2 continues to be a better sleeper than her sister.


    PS- and TRY not to judge other moms. I know I judged a lot as a FTM and now I've learned that it's pointless. You, too, will end up doing all kinds of stuff that you swore you never would, so be kind to others who are doing the best they can!

  • Its funny that you mention this. 

    I'm totally a CIO mom. BUT only because that works for us. DD has a serious cry and a 'I'm just crying to cry' cry. I know for us, when she gets into the serious cry, CIO no longer works. I know my baby, and I know what works for her.

    That being said, I don't think CIO will be good for my SIL. Her baby seems to be high needs (though they're just finding out she has reflux) and when she cries its like a 747 getting closer and closer. Starts out like a normal cry, takes it up a notch, and again and again until its full blown melt down mode.

    Although we did read Healthy Sleeping Habits, Happy Baby, we are not adopting all of it's methods, because they simply didn't work for us. I do recommend that people read this particular sleep book, though, because it emphasizes knowing your baby and her cues. Its a huge learning curve, but now I know my baby and when she needs sleep.

    We're still learning! :)

    A friend of ours is strictly in one field of thought (not going to say which) and all she ever does is complain on FB about her (10 months?) baby being cranky, needy, and not sleeping. But she won't try anything different for her baby. Who knows, maybe if she tried a completely different field of thought, her baby would change? 

    BabyFruit Ticker
  • 2moms2b2moms2b
    1000 Comments First Anniversary 5 Love Its

    Thank you for this post.  I agree that we have to do what is best for our families individually and I love the Feb group that we seem to be mostly respectful of others choices.  I can see why CIO can be cruel and is not for everyone and for our house I don't call it CIO but FIO (fuss it out).  I emotionally could not handle it if they were screaming hysterically while I can handle some mild fussing.

    I will say we are on night 3 of sleep training in our house.  We are using a very modified CIO (again I call it FIO) but I told SO I was going to stop if the crying escalated beyond fussing and got to the point of hysterics, gagging or trouble breathing etc.  The great news is we haven't had to make that decision as both boys have fallen asleep very quickly (15ish minutes) with only mild fussing.  It is much harder for me to listen than for them to fuss.  Also I got huge smiles this morning when I went in to get them up.

    Just remember, we are all trying to figure it out and even second and third time moms are still learning with each new child.  There isn't a right or wrong answer here so just do what is best.  There is nothing wrong with a lively debate on our views of parenting but flaming someone isn't productive. 

    Thanks again for posting ladies!  As we get out of the tiny baby phase and into the new milestones such as solids and sleep training I have a feeling things will get a little more lively as there are so many different opinions and options. 

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