Non-crying sleep training - Baby Whisperer? — The Bump
June 2013 Moms

Non-crying sleep training - Baby Whisperer?

Have any of you used the baby whisperer's method of pick up/put down for sleep training?  I want N to learn to be put down awake and fall asleep - she does it sometimes, but most of the time I have to rock her.  And, honestly, I think she wants to be able to fall asleep on her own (if that makes sense - I just feel like I know her and she loves her sleep and she gets frustrated when she can't go to sleep).  But I feel like if I'm going to commit to putting her down awake, I need a plan for how to respond when she cries.  And I don't want to let her cry it out.  I want to respond to her when she cries, but immediately rocking her to sleep seems counterproductive to what I'm trying.

The pick up/put down method seems pretty intuitive.  If they cry, you go in and try patting them on the back first to see if that calms them, and then when they are calm, you leave them again to go to sleep.  If they keep crying, you pick them up for a few minutes until they calm back down, and then put them down as soon as they're calm.  Then if they cry again, you pick them back up, etc etc, until they fall asleep.

I mentioned this to our nanny because she's had more success getting N to fall asleep after being put down awake, and she said that's pretty much what she does - she watches for sleepy cues, then puts her down awake, and will go outside and watch on the monitor to see if she falls asleep.  If she starts crying, she goes in and picks her up to soothe her, and then puts her back down when she's calm.  So that gives me hope that it obviously is working sometimes.

It seems like it could work well, or could just end up with a baby that never sleeps.  Although I get the feeling that any sleep training starts off difficult.  I  haven't decided what I would do when she wakes up at night... because if she's hungry I want to feed her.  But she's not always hungry when she wakes up.  I guess I can do the same thing, if she cries when she wakes up at night, go in and calm her and pick her up, and then if she seems hungry, feed her.  However, she hasn't had a MOTN feeding in at least 3 weeks - most of the time she just needs soothing (or to hold my hand to fall asleep).

Thoughts?  I really do feel like she is old enough to start learning how to fall asleep on her own, but I want to respond to her needs and not let her CIO.
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Re: Non-crying sleep training - Baby Whisperer?

  • I did that with DS, used it to transition DD to her crib, and am starting to use it in the MOTN.  The biggest thing is consistency and sticking to your "guns".  It will probably be hard the first few times but will get better.  If she wakes up and seems hungry go ahead and feed her, if she falls asleep eating, no worries just put her back in the crib. 

  • Do you do anything beforehand to signify "nap time".  It seems like it could be confusing to go straight from being outside of her room, not sleeping, and then just putting her in the crib.  I had heard to do a shortened version of her night time routine, which we were doing by rocking (we end the night time routine by rocking and reading a book), but I don't want to rock her to sleep anymore.  We also use white noise, which she associates with sleep time, but I feel like I should do some kind of short, 5-min wind down activity in the darker room.  Maybe we can read a short book? I don't know.
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  • My LO is really beginning to fight sleep.  She pulls her hair and scratches at her face and swings her arms around when she's very sleepy.  There are times where she's just not happy doing anything because she's so sleepy. If I put her down she fights it.  She may fuss. She may coo loudly angrily.  But she needs sleep in order to feel better so I'll let her fuss a little in her crib in those situations. I don't let her fuss anymore then 10 minutes in these situations.  I've never had to go in.  She's always asleep in 10 minutes or less.  But I can't rock her to sleep either because whenever I let her that close to my chest she roots. Especially when she's super sleepy.  Even if she just finished on her own a 30 minute chow session. It was hard to let her fuss some.  I don't want her to be upset ever. But I realized that the only thing she needs to make her feel better is sleep and I realized I personally was hindering the process by stepping in.  Now this is my experience with my baby and I'm not saying in anyway anyone else's method is right or wrong, it's just a thought that maybe a little bit of fussiness wouldn't be a bad thing. Maybe for five minutes?  If not I understand. It's just what has actually worked for us.  My daughter sleeps 8-12 hours a night and has been since 2 months old.  We are blessed in the sleep department.
  • I used our own variation to help DD sleep. I always sooth her by giving her her pacifier and rubbing her tummy while she's in her crib. I tried picking her up to sooth her but she would just get more worked up, so I always leave her in her crib. It's definitely not crying free 100% of the time, but it works for us. Before naps I always close the lights/curtains, sing a lullaby and swaddle her (because we still swaddle). She still often needs me there to help her get to sleep for naps but is better at bed time (I can just plug the pacifier in once and she's good).

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  • Beaslejl said:
    My LO is really beginning to fight sleep.  She pulls her hair and scratches at her face and swings her arms around when she's very sleepy.  There are times where she's just not happy doing anything because she's so sleepy. If I put her down she fights it.  She may fuss. She may coo loudly angrily.  But she needs sleep in order to feel better so I'll let her fuss a little in her crib in those situations. I don't let her fuss anymore then 10 minutes in these situations.  I've never had to go in.  She's always asleep in 10 minutes or less.  But I can't rock her to sleep either because whenever I let her that close to my chest she roots. Especially when she's super sleepy.  Even if she just finished on her own a 30 minute chow session. It was hard to let her fuss some.  I don't want her to be upset ever. But I realized that the only thing she needs to make her feel better is sleep and I realized I personally was hindering the process by stepping in.  Now this is my experience with my baby and I'm not saying in anyway anyone else's method is right or wrong, it's just a thought that maybe a little bit of fussiness wouldn't be a bad thing. Maybe for five minutes?  If not I understand. It's just what has actually worked for us.  My daughter sleeps 8-12 hours a night and has been since 2 months old.  We are blessed in the sleep department.
    I'm not necessarily opposed to letting babies fuss, although one's definition of "fuss" might differ between people, but it would have to be the right baby at the right age at the right time.  Right now, she's a really pretty easy baby, and sleeps 8-12 hours at night, so I don't feel the need to push things.  I want to try non-crying ways to help her learn to fall asleep first.  I was honestly a CIO proponent before, but now I'm rethinking the best way for her to learn.

    That being said, I will let her "fuss" a little bit before going in.  But for now, right when she starts crying, I'll try out this method.  
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    Beaslejl
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