Why CIO isn’t Working

July 24, 2012 |  by  |  1 YO, 2 YO, 9-12 Months, cry it out, parenting
Why CIO isn't Working

For most babies cry it out, if you take my sage advice, should last only a few days. After the first 2-3 days, some babies may complain 5-10 minutes at bedtime but that is not CIO. That is the baby expressing her disagreement with your decision that she needs to sleep.

However other babies will continue to cry progressively LONGER and LOUDER over subsequent nights. You will feel sure that CIO is just not working for your baby, that I am just another Internet idiot, and that the only solution is to go back to whatever “up all night” solution you had going before you attempted CIO in the first place because, horrendous as it was, it’s GOT to be better than THIS.

Or maybe you successfully navigated CIO and have been popping a nightly bottle of Champaigne to celebrate your success for weeks, only to find yourself with a previously happy baby who is now crying. Again. You and your partner have stopped your happy jig and are wondering what the hell just happened?

THIS is what is happening…

Extinction Burst

This is a great phrase to casually drop at the baby playgroup to establish yourself as someone who is capable of pronouncing multisyllabic phrases and is thus very smart (military industrial complex and LIBOR are also good). But these two words are not just helpful for their show-off appeal.

What is An Extinction Burst?

Sleep training via CIO is a method to break out of unhealthy sleep habits by forcing the issue because those habits are keeping everybody awake. It is essentially a form of “extinction therapy” where you are working to make the undesirable behavior (up all night) become extinct by no longer rewarding/reinforcing it. In this case the “reward” is you nursing, popping in the pacifier, rocking to sleep, etc. all night long. And for roughly 70% of you it will be amazingly effective.

However for the remaining 30% of you, your child will amp up the crying. Or take a break for a few days and then resume the crying. This is an extinction burst, which basically means that your child is doing even MORE of the behavior you are trying to extinguish now that you have removed the reinforcer.

Awesome right?

So what do you do about this? You have two choices:

1

Do nothing.

Let your child cry through the burst. Don’t go back to the rocking, nursing, pacifier use that prompted this. Put the cork back in the champaign bottle and wait it out. It’ll pass.

2

Accept chronic sleep deprivation as a way of life.

Go back to what you were doing. Nobody will sleep and it won’t get better for a long, long time. But you’ll avoid a night or two of extinction burst crying.

(Hint: I’m really hoping you choose option #1)

Also file the idea of extinction bursts away for future reference because this is not the last time you’re going to see it. Temper tantrums, whining, demands for (treats, toys, McDonalds), are all behaviors that are prone to extinction bursts.

cookies or a tantrum?For example, your child whines for a cookie every time you go to the grocery store. The first few times you give her a cookie because really, it’s just a cookie right? Then you realize you have your own personal Cookie Monster who is now demanding a cookie every time you pop in for a gallon of milk. So you calmly explain that cookies aren’t everyday food and you’re not going to buy them anymore.

Will your child quietly acquiesce? Give you a hug and thank you for being such a thoughtful parent? Or will they go from whining to SCREAMING. And if screaming doesn’t work, how about adding on some THROWING? Or (God save you) SPITTING and BITING? You power through the tantrum and get a few quiet weeks of grocery trips and think (phew!) that’s over with. Only to have the cookie fight start anew.

That’s the joyous experience of the extinction burst. And with every burst you face, you’ll have the same parenting choice that I outlined above. And in every instance I hope you choose #1.

Every single time.


355 Comments


  1. I need some advice we just started cio with me 6.5 month old, she had preciously been sleeping swaddled in the swing. Now she is unswaddled in the crib. The first night she only slept three hours total from 9pm to 9am. She took a thirty minute nap at 11 with helping by nursing her most of the way to sleep. It is now 2 and she has not slept at all. She has been cranky and clingy all day rubbing her face on me and saying mama. I’m just not sure if this is the right method for her, how can shhe hold out so long? It seems like everystory i read the baby only last a few hours at most. Help, concerned mama.

  2. Hi.

    We are on day four of cio…. DS is 10months. Working great night times & first nap (night gone from 45m to 3!! And is sleeping through and am nap takes about 13m ) but afternoon nap he just goes mad and two days o the trot has cried 60m and then 40m today.

    Any idea why its so different? Or when it will be more like the others. Iv done nothing different.

    Advice would be great as I’m beside myself. Its so hard to listen to and he is loosing his voice.

    Thanks.

    • Hi, did things work out? I haven’t tried for day naps yet. Hoping you nailed it and that everyone is keeping soundly

      • It’s worked out well. Still have the occasional 10m cry pre nap but now usually crys for 30secs then as soon as iv closed the door chatters to himself for about 15/20m then goes to sleep. Yesterday he even smiled as I put him in the cot!!!! :)

        • how many days did this take?
          i do have another question.. how did you pick the times of his nap? my daughter is so random that its never same time and i’m not sure how to extend it without her becoming overtired? please please help!?

          • Hi Claudia.

            It was like that till I realised that set nap times (like the sleep trainer I got advice from told me to do) were not working for my little one. I realised that when he wasn’t tired enough he was just crying and crying and getting so worked up he wasn’t going to sleep.

            The thing is are u tired at the same time every night?! He wakes at different times anytime between 5.20-7 so he is obviously going to be tired at different times. I now watch him carefully around the times he ‘should’ be/is usually tired. And when I see eye rubs and yawns I know we are close and then he starts making a ‘tired’ noise that’s when we do our v quick nap routine.

            Do u know what Lo’s wake time should be if not google 9 month wake times and that should give u a guide. But every day is different and some days my (11m) LO can do 2&3/4hrs and others 3.5hrs!

            Also I never got to the point where I had to go in as he went quieter and then to sleep but I was v v close I think if u get to 45/60m of full on crying then she prob isnt going to sleep. My sleep trainer told me to go in then and say ‘not good H’… Put him on the floor and then after a sec carry on with your normal day… That way lo should realise that you coming back without sleeping wasn’t part of the deal. I get this but doing it when you have listened to your baby cry for so long would be HARD!

            Hope it improves for you very soon.

            Ax

    • my daughter is 9 months in a couple days and same thing is happening.. she is fighting afternoon nap and cried for hour and half today and still didn’t nap.. how long do you let them cry before you ‘give up’ and then what happens? i am at a loss and really don’t know what to do anymore..

      • This week my boy refused his afternoon nap for the first time, three days in a row but I perserved and he is now back on track but with a slight longer playtime. I only let him cry for 30 mins tops. AFter that I get him up and watch for tired/overtired signs then try again 15mins later. I don’t know what routine you use, but I use the 1hr up/2hrs down until 6 moinths, then 2hrs up/2hrs down, then 3hrs up/1.5ish down and now at 12 months he is kinda going for 3 hours up in the morning, a solid 2 hour nap, then 4 hours up in the afternoon before another solid 2 hour nap. This is a method suggested by australian paediatrics and it works well for me. It took me a while to clock I was fighting against his need to more awake time, but once I got it – it was a bit more smooth sailing (a bit, not alot lol). Dont worry – I have recently learnt from the French mothers her that the more you let go of the stressing and comparing what they should and shouldnt be doing, the easier it becomes to see the light. :) Just my 2c but hope it helps a little. Good luck – tell me how you get on.

        Maybe someone else has some advice too?

        ps – yes he sleeps a solid 2 hours at both nap times (unless there is massive noise distrubances like yesterday!!) and that is ONLY due to this CIO method. Prior to that he would nap no bother, but his nap times were variable 1hour – 2.5hours.

  3. How many extinctions bursts should baby have?! Baby is just over 7mths. We’ve done 21 nights of a progressive cry it out plan called Gift of Sleep. The plan is going in and making a knocking sound at intervals to get baby to snap out of a crying session, take a deep breath and self settle. First night knock after 5mins of continuous crying, 2nd night 10mins etc. baby took 6 nights to learn to self settle throughout the night and then did so for the next 9 nights, but woke up far too early. She then regressed for 3 nights waking for 1.5 hrs through the night. The extinction burst I guess!!. She then slept through for 12hrs without a peep for 2 nights in a row. we thought we’d turned a corner but then Last night was a shocker. As bad at night 1 of the sleep training!
    Another extinction burst or is this not working?
    Help

  4. Hi, My 9 month old is really struggling with crying it out. We’ve been at it for 3 weeks and she continues to wake and cry several times sometimes crying for an hour or more at a time. She is a very strong willed, mommy attached, kiddo in general and CIO feels like it is never going to work. Unfortunately she’s got almost 9 months worth of night nursings to pacify her and she would generally go right back down after feeding. She fought going to sleep hard as a baby, but generally doesn’t fight going down more than a hearty 5 minute protest. She is nursing and eating solids and goes down around 9. She generally “sleeps” (is in her crib sleeping or crying) from 9-7 and takes 2 naps most days usually only 40 minutes before she is up and usually goes back to sleep for a bit when I nurse her. Does anyone have any practical advice on building better sleep habits for our seemingly natural poor sleeper?

    • Did you ever get a response? This sounds like my LO. We’re on day 11 and he’s very, very strong willed. He was doing great for about 6 days and now it’s full on war. Any advice would be helpful.

      • Hi Marquita! No, I never got a response, but I hope I can be of some assistance to you. Our little one is 11.5 months old now and is officially sleeping through the night (thankfully)! It took a LONG time (I don’t remember exactly how long… More than 1 month but less than 2) but our pediatrician said it was just a battle of the wills and if we didn’t persevere we would just have to go through it all over again and she would fight even longer. So my advice would be to hold on tight and keep letting your LO cry it out… I know that is so much easier said than done. I ended up sleeping in another room where I couldn’t hear her crying (it didn’t bother hubby as much so he listened for anything concerning) and I could get some sleep. Something else that helped was establishing a more consistent schedule. She now naps from 10-12ish and 3-4ish pretty consistently. I also learned to let her cry herself back to sleep after she would wake up after her first sleep cycle (40 minutes) still sleepy. We also started putting her down earlier because we found that she would sleep until the same time in the morning even if we put her down earlier. She sleeps from 8-7 now. I think that’s all I can think of, but I hope it is helpful. If nothing else, I hope it is encouraging to know that we did get through it and you will too! I have a feeling our strong willed kiddos will be challenging us in many ways as they grow, but I hope their sleeping is not going to be one of them anymore! Best of luck… Let me know how it goes!

        • Meredith!
          Your response gave me life lol! But I do have a few questions. Even though lol sleeps through the night does she still cry when you put her in her crib for a bit? And on to naps. I’d put him down for a nap he’d fus for 5-10 mins then nap for 35-40. Wake up sleepy and grumpy. I’d let him cry it out for 45-1hr. Sometimes he’s go back to sleep sometimes he’d just scream. I feel like I’m leaving him in his crib all day. Any thoughts.

          • I’m so glad I could offer some encouragement! I truly know what it’s like to feel like you are torturing your baby and you are never going to sleep again and I SO feel your pain. First of all, follow your gut as a mom. There are going to be times when you truly feel like something may be wrong and you can and should go to your baby at those times. That said, most of the time there isn’t anything your baby needs, in which case, try to find a quiet place and take the monitor (if you have a video monitor, turn off the sound if the crying gets to you) and know that you are doing what is best for your LO and helping him learn to sleep. Unfortunately it doesn’t come naturally to all babies!

            At this point, she rarely cries at bedtime or nap time (I never thought I’d say that!). There are still a few times where she will have awakenings at night with a little crying and goes right back to sleep.

            A few questions for you… How old is your LO? What is he eating and when? Are you on any kind of schedule? Are you doing a nap time and bedtime routine? What is he like immediately prior to putting him down? How much sleep is he getting?

            A few things that were helpful for me were the book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, particularly the idea that if you are putting baby down once he is OVERtired, he will fight sleep. Additionally, having a loud noise machine play all night helped a lot. I also really like this website for an idea of what is normal sleepwise by age (http://www.thealphaparent.com/2013/01/timeline-of-baby-and-toddler-sleep.html?m=1).

            It sounds to me like your little guy is overtired, which is a super frustrating downward spiral. Once he gets caught up on sleep he shouldn’t fight it so badly.

            • Yes, he is very, very over tired but that’s so hard to combat. I put him down evey 2 hrs but he only sleeps for 30ish mins. He’s 6 mos eats one jar of baby food, one bottle of diluted juice, and bm. I ebf him until recently. He’s always been very high maitenance so this falls rt in line with him lol. We have a bedtime routine which consists of bottle, pjs, book and I sing to him. His nap routine is diaper change, close blinds and nap time.

          • (I couldn’t reply to your reply, so i replied to this thread instead). Honestly, it sounds like you are doing everything right, it’s just a matter of getting out of the overtired cycle. We were still where you are up until my LO was almost 9 months old, so it may just be a matter if time. Our situations sound pretty similar, and it was SO hard, so I definitely feel for you. If nothing else, I hope that knowing that you aren’t the only one that’s been through this is a relief. And it does get better, so try not to get caught up in a feeling of hopelessness! Keep me posted and let me know if I can help in any other way.

  5. Hi Alexis

    Thanks for all of your time and energy invested in this site, it has been a huge assurance.. Do you have any advice for us?

    When rocking was no longer working for our bubs and nothing else seemed to work (at 5.5 months) we did the in and out of the room thing; 2 mins, 4 mins up to 14 minutes then a feed if necessary. After 6 nights our baby could nap during the day without tears (and still does) and fall asleep at nights with sometimes some crying between 5-30 min max. She has recently had her first cold (now 7.5 months) so when she couldn’t sleep with the usual routine I lay next to her (her cot is attached to our bed). Unfortunately now she is not falling asleep after the usual time.. It’s taking up to an hour and a half (at which point she’s over tired).. I had thought it was that she’d gotten used to me being there with her and I just needed to get bak on track but a couple of weeks later and it’s still not working. Could it be that she’s going through seperation anxiety? As soon as I’m in the room she relaxes and goes to sleep. At the moment being in the room is a small and short effort and if she needs me I’d like to be there for her (before we did the sleep training she never would have slept with me just lying next to her). Do you have any solutions to offer.. Like I wondered about sitting on a chair and slowly moving it out of the room? My two concerns are that I don’t want to affect the day sleep routine and I don’t want to end up doing what I’m doing now a month or two down the track when my baby can stand on the side of the cot etc. do you think if I lye with her now I’ll be lying with her til she’s two? And how will it affect her night sleep when she’s in her own room? (She still wakes for a feed a couple of times). Sorry this is so long! & Thanks! :)

  6. Hi again, After writing this post I thought about what your response might be… How had my baby eventually gone to sleep?.. The answer? Through feeding or me lying next to her.. So the crying was being reinforced? I may or may not be right but I decided the following night to get all things lined up (make sure bubs had had a decent afternoon nap, dad was quiet interacting with her before bedtime etc etc) and give our routine a decent shot before moving away from something that was working so well. I’m pleased to say that our daughter has gone to sleep on her own the last two nights with just a few grizzles just as before. Hooray! I’m now going to read up on night reading – thanks again :)

  7. *Night weaning!

  8. i seriously am going to jump off a cliff, baby was going out great, maybe a little crying just before sleeping in the crib. then 3 months ago he started daycare, and they rocked him to sleep, if he even slept. now fast forward to 9months, he is cio for more than a hour, doesn’t nap. I am lucky if he even naps for 1 hour. i’ve started to take him out with the stroller just so he can nap, because he wont even nap any which way. and nite times have gotten so bad. i do the same routine, tried to switch up the times, nothing works. he cries, actually screams in a sitting position for at least a hour and a half. i haven’t gone longer because usually I can’t take it. his 2 front teeth have popped out, but it’s not like he complains too much during the day so I cant imagine he just decided to be in pain at bedtime. im almost thinking he’s just one stubborn baby and I am having so much trouble choosing #!

  9. We tried to CIO last night, and our babe went 2.5 hours strong before I threw in the towel. At around the 2 h mark, we thought he was turning a corner as he would settle himself for a single 30 seconds…but would then fall into a desperate full fledged cry. I just thought it was not working, he wasn’t ready, or we were doing something terribly wrong. After an hour of crying, i did nurse him – he stayed awake for the feed, and when we continued to CIO, there was no end in sight.

    We started at 8:30pm, and at 11 pm I gave in and rocked and sang him to sleep. The babe woke after 2 h of sleeping only to be out of sorts and pissed off to be alive it seems.

    Our son is days awake from 5 months old, and starting solids this weekend. Our pedi swears that solids will fix our wakeful baby. And she tells us his sleep habits are our fault to begin with. If we start soles and things don’t improve…. I don’t know what we’ll do.

  10. I am on night 4 of CIO with my 7 month old. The amount of crying she does each night is not getting shorter. I used to have to nurse her to sleep, and we have kept the night time routine the same other than feeding her before the bedtime routine. We’ve also been very consistent on bed time, so I’m wondering why she still takes 40+ minutes to fall asleep each night? Is my baby just not ready to CIO?! Should I stop making her do this if it doesn’t get better after a certain amount of days????

  11. Help! I’m on day 10 of CIO. LO was doing great after day 1 but then at day 6 began regressing — longer and stronger cries — and waking nightly to CIO for as long as 1:45 mins. He’s a very strong willed child and I don’t want to give up but I’m losing faith. He only naps for 35 mins exactly as well and wakes up angry. Plus he fusses more with going down for naps. Please, please help! Signed one very, very tired mama.

    • You’re right, Marquita, our LOs sound pretty similar! Hang in there and maybe try an earlier bedtime and extending naps (see my reply to yours on my post for more details). I know how hard it is, believe me, but you will get there! Let me know if I can help any more :)

  12. Is this okay?! I feel like its super excessive and I’m about to cave:( help!!!

    Layer him down at 7:34 pm and he was done crying by 7:50

    Back up at 8:14 fell asleep sitting up

    Cried again till 8:32 he is bow bobbing sitting up

    8:38 fell asleep sitting up again

    Up at 11:37 crying
    Sleeping at 11:51

    Up at 12:32 am
    Asleep at 12:45

    Nurse at 1:24
    Put down at 1:33 crying :(
    Stopped crying at 1:35!
    Crying again at 1:37
    Asleep at 1:45
    Up at 1:48 crying
    1:53 sleeping
    Crying 1:57
    Stopped at 1:59
    Crying again at 2:02
    Sleeping at 2:04 jk up at 2:04
    Sleeping at 2:07 am

    • Brittany,

      I am going through sort of the same thing. My son is 8 months old, and we started trying CIO last week. He seems to fall asleep with minimal crying, but it’s what’s happening in the middle of the night that I don’t know how to handle.

      Almost every night since we’ve started, he wakes up around 2am. We do a quick diaper change and feeding, but then he screams for hours. Last night he was awake on and off from 1:30 till 4:00, and then he woke up for the day around 6:30. I feel so exhausted and don’t know what to do about these middle of the night wakings.

      • Brittany – it sounds like a lot of stutter crying – cry for a little bit, sleep for a little bit. I’m assuming you used to nurse a lot at night yes?

        Ashley – your situation sounds different. He’s sleeping OK from bedtime till 2 AM but can’t settle back to sleep after that feeding.

        For the stutter crying, if I’m right about the “baby used to nurse all the time” (I am right?) I’m guessing that you’re only recourse is to press on. He’s basically struggling to navigate into and out of deep sleep and hopefully within a few days (by now at least) things are much better.

        As for the 2 AM feeding, if he’s 8 months old and the 2 AM feeding (diaper change=BIG wake up and something to avoid if at all possible – have you tried overnight diapers?) is causing such huge upset (yes that’s huge) maybe it’s time to stop it all together. Obviously he’s gotten enough sleep that at 2 AM he’s not easily falling back to sleep. He’s old enough that he’s capable of not eating at 2 AM. So maybe the issue is to avoid the circumstance that’s resulting in him being “wide awake and unhappy” at 2 am. Thoughts?
        Alexis Dubief recently posted..The Ultimate Baby Food Allergies Survival GuideMy Profile

        • I’ve tried not changing him or feeding him at this point in the night because he really isn’t that wet and he shouldn’t be hungry. Last night was especially bad and my husband thought that it was because he was wet (he really wasn’t that wet), so I changed him. We’ve tried just leaving him in bed, going to comfort him in intervals, but it seems like consistently every night he wakes up between 1 and 2 am and is awake for awhile.

          He also has had a lot of trouble napping. After not sleeping much last night, he took a 30 minute nap this morning and hasn’t napped since. I’m so exhausted, I don’t know how he isn’t! He’s perfectly content playing and doesn’t seem tired at all.

  13. I NEED some advice. My son (11 mos) had a double ear infection and is now 100% better. His doc said not to do cry it out while he had his ear infections. But now he will not NAP!! Goes down at night just fine! But he used to take a morning and afternoon nap. 9:30-11 and 3-4:30
    WHAT DO I DO?
    Is this cry-it-out starting all over like the first time?
    ………..he crys for like 4 hours……..put him down at 9:30 and he is sleepy, but crys and crys and crys….I don’t enter the room and he has music playing……Also, he always is full and has a clean diaper.
    Renae recently posted..The Ultimate Baby Food Allergies Survival GuideMy Profile

    • oh no – dont let him cry for 4 hours! poor wee soul. He must be in terrible pain – take your doctors advice .

      How is he now? Are you still struggling?

  14. Hello Alexis,
    My baby will be 6 months next week.
    Three weeks ago I started doing CIO with checks (Ferber) for nights. I started with nights and 2 weeks later i started doing naps as well.
    He still cries before sleeping. He hasn’t cried only 2 times for bedtime and 4 times for naps.
    For the first nap, I try to put him down after 2 hours of waking up. For the second nap, after 2.25 hours, for the third one after 2.25 hours again and from the last nap until bedtime he’s awake for 2.5 hours.
    I think I’m putting him down for naps and BT at the wrong times but I’ve tried just 2 hours in between naps and he still cries. Sometimes he skips naps and sometimes he cries for more than 30 minutes for bedtime.
    What am I doing wrong?

  15. So I feel like an idiot. I have a 5.5 month old (adjusted age- her real age is 8.5 months but read on) who I NEEDED to do CIO with. We mastered drowsy but awake, we had bedtime down, BUT we also had a paci problem. And guess what: it got WORSE. so bad, in fact, that I was up 15 times or more per night to re insert that stupid thing!
    Now, my baby is a former 27 weeker and there are THINGS, things that I worry about like breathing and crying and all matter of preemie parent worry. That paci has gotten her through a LOT. but 15 times a night is a LOT for a parent who has literally not slept an 8 hour night since FEBRUARY 13 2013!
    Well I thought I’d be so smart and put her down with the pacifier and then just not replace it. 35 min the first night of crying. 14 the second night ..GREAT!!!.. then a night of 45, then 0, then and hour and 20 minutes, then 56 minutes. I’m SO screwed. it’s been a week now and I’m feeling so guilty knowing I HAVE to take that thing away at bedtime and then do CIO properly.

    do you think this is an extinction burst or just me being an idiot and not doing CIO properly?

    luckily she is sleeping 7pm (pd at 6) until 3:45 am then back to sleep til 6 daily but I’d like to see 12 hours because she needs every minute. this is the kid who can still only go an hour to an hour and a half MAX between naps, even with her better night sleep these days.

    • Hey Lisa,

      I’m a little confused by what is happening. Is she crying AT bedtime or later when she wakes up sans paci.

      If it’s the later then yes the answer is most definitely – no paci AT bedtime. In fact was just talking about this on FB – you set the stage for the night AT bedtime. If she has the paci at bedtime and then you ignore the reinsertion then yes – you’ll get a lot of crying. Because you’re effectively setting expectations AT bedtime.

      Look at it this way – every time she falls asleep with the paci her brain goes “paci=sleep.” Then when she’s waking up and you don’t replace it you’re breaking the equation which leads to lots of crying.

      Look you’ve got lots of crying going on anyway but with the current setup it’s not getting you anywhere. Why NOT ditch the paci AT bedtime because yes, she’ll probably be upset about it but at least that will help create new/sustainable sleep associations.

      ps. 1.5 hours between naps isn’t totally off the mark for a 5 month old baby.

      Hope that helps!
      Alexis recently posted..The Ultimate Baby Food Allergies Survival GuideMy Profile

      • Well. It’s that time again. Bedtime. I just put my kiddo down for THE first time ever with no paci. She’s up there carrying on like a rabid monkey, as is our usual. I actually got a little teary eyed explaining to her about going to sleep without paci tonight.

        To answer your question, I’ve been putting her down with paci but it normally falls out before she ever gets to sleep. She will grunt for about 5-15 minutes and the second it falls out if she is still awake all hell breaks loose. I don’t replace it anymore. If she wakes in the night, which has become blessedly rare, I don’t replace it either. If it’s after 1 I will feed her.

        I would have stopped this CIO madness days ago but after all that carrying on she sleeps with no wake ups for 8-9 hours. It’s the first time I’ve slept in 8 months (hospital bedrest and the Nicu were also not very restful places). I just can’t handle paying the piper with little shreds of my SOUL for a full hour without being sure this is going to be effective. I hoped so much for quick! Like ripping off a bandaid!
        I’m crossing my fingers and setting my phone timer and I’ll keep updating. And drinking my wine.

        • How many shreds of soul does it take to sleep train a baby? Interesting question. Do you have any soul left? Or did you spend it all last night. And if so, what does that mean for your future afterlife?

          All questions too large for my feeble brain.

          See the post below? It’s 100% why you’re having a hard time. Look I’m not trying to sell anybody on CIO (although you started so you’re in now so don’t give up!). But if you have lots of crying going on anyway (and you did) at least make it productive. This change is, I believe, critical to that step.

          Hope last night didn’t cost you every ounce of soul. And that tonight will be even better. Let me know what happens -OK?
          Alexis recently posted..Why Sleep Training Didn’t WorkMy Profile

          • Well last night, as I mentioned , she went to bed with no paci at all. She cried 46 minutes which was agonizing for day 7 of CIO, though still improved over the hour we saw the night before.
            Tonight I did the same thing, no paci at bedtime. Not even near bedtime. No paci within 45 minutes of bed! We are at 40 minutes of crying now and I’m not seeing her winding down. I’m guessing we will not “beat” our time from last night.
            I’m discouraged. We’ve got all the stars lined up for her: great naps, a solid evening routine, a super sleep environment (pitch black with white noise), a cozy swaddle, and 8 glorious ounces of breast milk in her tummy.. I just can’t fathom why this seems to be dragging on. I know she’s developmentally there and she’s not being reinforced. Part of me wonders what might happen if I I swaddled one hand so she could chew in it but I don’t have a video monitor and her default for hands is to rub and scratch at her eyes when tired.
            I’m forging ahead because I must. To be perfectly honest we had reached the doorstep of being willing to trade our souls for a night of sleep around these parts.
            Dammit. 57 minutes and finally quiet. We are going through way more wine than I thought we would need for this!

            • Tonight we put down early because the 3:30 nap was refused. Bedtime was 5:30 instead of 6. Fed downstairs, not in her room, no paci in the second half of the day. She was pretty worked up already when I put her down. Tired and whiny. She cried 22 minutes. Fluke? Maybe I’m putting down too early normally? I’ll keep updating!

  16. Ok. I’m ready to bow down and kiss your troublesome toes. Troubleshooting (god, I hope) has been completed! Along with the paci at night, I was doing one last bottle right in baby’s room right before I put her down. Really, what could be more blissful than a warm bottle and some rocking together? Who could resist melty milk drunk baby snuggles?
    Last night the last bottle was downstairs and I did a book upstairs (it was short lived since she was having a panic attack of fatigue). Tonight, bottle downstairs, book upstairs. We are getting onto this new groove.
    Her crying time was 15 minutes AND it was much less intense than it has been. I’m really hoping this is mecca and I’ll leave never have to lurk about commenting on blog posts ever again (because this is totally what I do while she cries to stop myself from going up there and reinforcing her).
    )))happy dance?(((((

  17. Alexis,

    My daughter is 25 months old, and a couple of months ago she started waking up at 4-5am every morning and refuses to go back to sleep. She has also developed horrible bedtime tantrums through this period and getting her to bed has become a nightly battle. Further, she pretty much always wakes up at 1-2am for a few minutes, but goes back to sleep fairly quickly if we go and sit on the floor in her room.

    We’ve tried a lot of things and I think that chronic inconsistency could be our biggest problem.

    She goes to daycare and generally naps for 80-90 minutes during the day and is up between 1-2pm. We aim for a 7pm bedtime but she really doesn’t seem interested in sleeping until closer to 9. So most nights she really only gets 7-8 hours of sleep with at least one interruption.

    I don’t like CIO (who does) but am certainly alright doing it if it will work. We have done this at times in the past and she’s always slept within 40-60 minutes, but we ultimately don’t stick with it long enough and feel bad and then regress.

    Anyways, do you suggest we stick with the 7pm bed time? And what do you propose we do about the night waking? Do we go into her room at all, or just let her cry?

    Thanks.

  18. We are in nap hell….. our baby nursed to sleep for naps on and off for over a year. Though never a great sleeper, she could sleep maybe an hour-90 mins per day, one nap. (she is now 17 months old). We have tried time and time again to get her to sleep in her cot, but even if she goes to sleep, she wakes after 30 minutes and flat out refuses to sleep any longer, despite being an exhausted screaming mess. How do we increase the length of her naps?! It is such a stressful experience every single day for us as well as her :(

    • Hey Kirsten,

      Sorry to hear it’s a rough go :( At 1.5 years you’re tools are basically:
      – Putting her down awake (no nurse to sleep, rock to sleep, etc.)
      – Put her down at the same time every day
      – Make sure that time is the right time (not too early/late) – although older kids are pretty flexible on this front
      – Use a great wind-down routine that is consistent
      – Think positive thoughts

      If you’re doing those things then as hard as it is, there’s not much else to do. Good luck!
      Alexis recently posted..The Secret to Baby Sleeping 12 Hours at NightMy Profile

      • Thanks so much for the speedy reply- we’re doing all of this, she’s just a very very (x1000) strong-willed little girl and unfortunately since I’m still nursing her she waits until the designated nursing hour to fall asleep :/ So perhaps I just need to wean her…

        One question- is there a max time I can leave her screaming in her cot? What if she screams for 30 mins, then sleeps for 10 and then resumes screaming? I just never know what on earth to do :(

        • I don’t know that you need to wean her – that’s really up to you. But I would definitely try to not nurse her when she’s falling asleep. But if you’re putting her down awake, then why would you think nursing is an issue?

          Screaming for 30 minutes isn’t great as I’m assuming this has been going on a while. I would look at the schedule – is the naptime the RIGHT time? Too early? too late?

          Also be aware that even tiny little naps – cat naps in the car, dozing off while nursing, etc. can make it hard or impossible for her to take a “real” nap later. So you may not be able to go anywhere prior to naptime because 5 minutes of sleep in the car my kill your nap for the day.

          And yes if she sleeps for 10 minutes even though it’s not enough sleep, she’s unlikely to fall BACK to sleep. So as frustrating as it is, I would probably consider it a nap and go about your business. Post-sleep crying is only rarely going to lead to longer sleep :(
          Alexis Dubief recently posted..The Secret to Baby Sleeping 12 Hours at NightMy Profile

  19. You should at least go in initially to make sure nothing’s wrong- diaper, teething pain, stomach issues, etc.

  20. I have a 8 month old little guy and we are on day 6 of cio. Things were going well but the past threee nights he falls asleep fairly well (no longer than 30 minutes of crying) but within the hour he wakes up and is really upset . Do we just need to let him cry at that point or do we go in? Last night he cried for over an hour two different times. I can’t handle it much beyond that. I feel awful for him. I guess I just need reassurance that what we are doing is right and it will get better.

    • You are doing it right and it will get better! :)

      How are you getting on? Did he re-find his sleeping abilities or still crying? I think an hour is way too long! I am a 30 min girl. Max. Especially if its screaming, which I dont believe is healthy for them – physically. One thing I learnt really quickly with this method and I have a couple of goes at it is the difference between the ‘I’m tired but I am not having any of this get in here now’ cry and the ‘I am definately not tired/am still very hungry’ cry, in which case I deal with the issue at hand then restart the Nighty night time. Generally once he is fed or put back down after another book etc…or given baby meds for sneaky teeting…he goes to sleep with some grumpy protestation.

      I think I have read in one of the articles here, and see Alexis write that the point is to teach them to sleep, crying isnt the objective its just an added bonus. So on that basis I assume that to mean – yes some crying is necessary but there has to be a reasonable limit. 1 hour is a very very long time in baby world. At least I think so.

      I guess if you rule out that he isnt teething, hasnt got a temperature, you havent started a new food causing digestion problems or anthing else then consider it an extinction phase. ??

      Hope things are going ok? Don’t worry – you are not alone in your plight.

  21. We have hit a major sleep training bump in the road! We found mecca for about a month and were putting down awake with no paci and getting great sleep (all of us!).

    We have a now 6 month old who still uses a swaddle, however. this past week we have seen 2 hour crying jags ONLY at bedtime. naps I still give the pacifier but bedtime I WILL NOT do it (or we will be back waking up every hour to get it for her – that’s 12-25 times nightly people..it’s bad!)

    this crying started up just out of the blue. of course I fell back on the pacifier at bedtime 2 nights in a row thinking she could be randomly sick and now bedtime is horrible. 2 hours one night I can live through but 2 hours every night is too much. something has to give. I’m told I need to get her out of the swaddle so she can self soothe but doing this at naps is a complete catastrophe. she will cry the entire hour and have red scratches all over her face when I go to get her. I’d put her in a zipadee zip but the thing she really needs is her thumb, which she will suck if she’s calm and organized- but when she’s frantic she rubs her eyes and scratches herself.

    we just ordered a merlin sleep suit to try that out and I’ll be taking her to the DR. tomorrow to have her ears checked just in case but I’m really dejected! we tried SO hard with CIO. her cry times were LONG (1hour 20 mins typically) and it took about 2-3 weeks. now we are back here with even longer cry times (2 hours+).

    I know Kids have off weeks and regressions and wonder weeks and all that but this is insane- I don’t even know how its physically possible for her to cry for that length of time…is it possible that I have given birth to the ONE child on this planet who is immune to sleep training?!

  22. So, how long do these bursts last? We have a 6.5 month old boy, we’ve been using CIO 2.5 weeks. After the 1st night of an hour he went down to crying about 15-20 minutes but the past week he’s been crying progressively longer (40 min to an hour). We tried going in and calming 2 nights in a row but it seemed to make no difference. Suggestions?? Advice? I feel like a bad mama! My daughter just “got it,” but not my son!

    • Andrea,
      your son sounds a lot like my girl (see above). it took about 2.5-3 weeks to fully have our routine down. she tested and tested! initially when we did cio, we were strict about it.
      During this past test, I broke ranks and went in and did some soothing and things are now back to normal (except we are trying to get her out of the swaddle so we are still up all night comforting her).

      Did you read the article on how to fine tune the bedtime routine on here? We found that feeding very close to putting her down, or even in the same room was troublesome because she wasn’t wide awake going into her bed. We also had to take a good hard look at our daytime routines and wake times and be sure we were not putting her down overtired. She is about 6.5 months now and maxes out at 4 hours of awake time. if she wakes from her afternoon nap at 1:30 then I get her in her bed by about 5:30 because that extra 30 minutes really can make us all crazy.
      I’m not a CIO expert, but I’ve been through the wringer with a difficult strong willed baby so I totally hear you! hang in there!

  23. Oh my goodness! I think my baby is doing exactly this…BUT FOR NAPS! We’ve been nap training for a week and a half, and the first week was great, but since we started the beginning of the second week, he regressed and is not falling asleep for naps AT ALL. We’re using Weissbluth’s extinction method for an hour per nap attempt, and he has been crying all the way through each attempt for four days now. Ugh.

  24. We have been doing Ferber’s method for 6 days now with my 2nd daughter (she is 6 months). The first night was rough but the 2nd night she cried only 20-30 mins, 3rd night was 15 mins and every night since has cried all of 30 seconds. She sleeps the entire night without a peep – 12 hours! This is crazy for her as she was previously co-sleeping and waking up every 1-3 hours to nurse herself back to sleep (bad habit I started, I know, I know…). Nights were our primary concern as she is a “mama’s girl” and clings to me all day – I just needed nights to re-group and have a few minutes with my husband without baby! Regardless, knock on wood, nights are really good now.

    My current concern is with naps. In the first six days she has taken only 1 (ONE!!!) nap. I put her down three times a day (90 mins. to 2 hours after wake-up) and then at 1 and 4 p.m. (ish). Her bedtime is 7:30 (to 7:30 a.m.). She cries through the entire 30 minutes of each “nap” every single time. I found if I go in to “calm” her, it upsets her more so the past two days I don’t go in at all. The first time I didn’t go in was when she finally took a one hour nap. I thought that was the solution but, no go – she continues to cry. My heart is breaking and I’m not sure I’m doing the right thing anymore. She has become even more clingy than ever before – I can’t put her down for even a second without her crying when she is awake. She is completely exhausted. Should I stop the nap time training and try again in a month or so? Or should I continue? Try just two naps? Has anyone’s child taken this long to take a nap?!?

    My first daughter took 4-5 days to take regular naps and a day here and there didn’t nap at all but nothing like this. Any thoughts? Would be very appreciated!

    • Hi Jill,

      I could copy paste your post just as is – I have the exact same dilemma and in fact the exact same questions, what now Alexis! Jill have things improved at all your end as I see your post is about a month old?

      Since starting sleep training 4 days ago, my LO refuses naps, I really struggle to get her to settle for one, and clings to me for dear life. Whines and cries all day and if I dare put her down, the flood gates open.She was never like this before.

      I can put her down in her crib after our bedtime routine witha about a minute of crying, and she will sleep for 8 hrs max before having to nurse, after which I can’t get her to go down again. So CIO has not yet given me my golden 12 hrs.

      She is fast asleep next to me whilst I type this only because I fetched her after hour and 45 min of crying this afternoon. As I picked her up she fell asleep from pure exhaustion, been sleeping for almost 2 hrs. But it’s the first time this week. Dare I get up, she will wake for sure!

      The naps are my nemesis, not winning! Any advice would be a lifesaver!

      • Hi Nicola!

        I am by no means the baby sleep expert over here (both my girls have been poor nappers) but I feel for you. I didn’t get a response for my question and I was completely panicked. Just knowing someone heard you can be reassuring, right?!?

        We are now almost 2 months down the road and it did get better although still not awesome. She cries herself down for each nap but usually only cries 10-15 minutes before sleeping. She still rarely sleeps more than 30 minutes for a nap which is the terrible part but she is a much happier baby once we pushed through the nap thing. We ended up just going to two naps a day because I couldn’t take the crying. Occasionally we will squeeze in a 3rd nap but usually if we are in the car or stroller. Otherwise she nearly always cries through a 3rd nap attempt. But, she is a fairly happy girl during the day now. As I sit here, she has crawled over and is looking up at me with the biggest smile. Melts my heart! :)

        After I posted this, I just kept trudging along putting her down for naps and letting her cry through them. I thought I would lose my mind but my mom came to town a few days later and assured me she would be fine. Sure enough, that day she took three naps. We finally reached the other side! She always takes two short (sometimes long though…a few days a week) naps and sleeps like an angel at night (7pm – 5 or 6 am, feeds, then back down immediately for another 2 hours or so).

        My biggest concern was the personality change I saw in her and that has gone away completely. She is a fussy baby (had colic the first 5 months) so she is never super content but she is no longer nearly as clingy as she was during the initial CIO process. Learning to crawl really helped as well.

        My first daughter was also a terrible napper (wouldn’t nap more than 45 minutes at a time) and simply grew out of it around 15-18 months. She now takes one 2-3 hour nap each day and sleeps about 10 hours a night, no problems. I think she just is on the lower end of the sleep needs spectrum.

        My advice for what it’s worth: stick to your guns and if it is emotionally killing you, see if you can have a friend or family member come over for a few days to take your mind off the crying. Just breaks a mommy’s heart!

        Good luck!! This too shall pass…

        • Hi there,

          I heard you! ;)
          Thank you for replying. You’re the first and it’s so good to have someone say ‘I know what you’re going through’

          It truly does break your heart listening to those little sobs doesn’t it ;( I’m so glad you mentioned the personality thing as it scared me thinking that I’ve caused a change…All those articles I’ve read saying that CIO alters your child’s brain came flooding back to haunt me. I’m so relieved your LO has returned to ‘normal’ so to say and is her happy smiling self. Those toothless or 2tooth silly grins make even the darkest day bright

          Thank you thank you, I am now filled with hope that things will improve …and this too shall pass… ;) that’s my favorite phrase – bizarre thatyou used it – has been my mantra when things look like they are about to fall apart ;)

          Best of luck to you too and give your LO’s big cuddles, they too have come a long way ** N

      • Hey Nicola,

        Nap training is a complicated issue. I haven’t yet blogged about it for this reason and the nap chapter of the book I’m working on is ENORMOUS. It’s much easier to plot out what to do at bedtime.

        I will say this – naps = 60 minutes. If she hasn’t fallen asleep at that time naptime is officially over. Also the 3rd nap of the day is likely to happen so you might want to resort to a stroller walk or car ride at that time. Don’t let this last nap become longer than normal (she’ll be tired and you’ll be tempted).

        Naps are indeed hard and tricky to sort out but hopefully these two tips as well as Jill’s kind words will help!

        Alexis
        Alexis Dubief recently posted..Pediatrics Study on White Noise: Sounding Off on Sound MachinesMy Profile

  25. Hi!

    I could use some advice. My son is 9 1/2 months old and we started to cry it out method six days ago. Even after six days of only going in to pat on the back or do just a little bit of comforting never taking him out of the crib he is still crying 45 minutes to an hour every night. He will eventually fall asleep but only after sheer exhaustion. We’re getting a bit discouraged because I feel like we are following all of the instructions but the crying does not seem to be reducing in time. Any advice? Do we just keep going? Help!

    Katie

  26. Thank you for the sage advice. I’ve been doing CIO this past week with my daughter and the past 3 nights have been beautiful, but she is back to crying with a vengeance. It could be this burst, or the fact my husband was at a work conference for a week and is back so its a lot of change to her….either way I’m reading this page literally as she’s crying. It’s helping me not give in and go in there. In fact to get me through this whole process I read a bunch of articles on your site as encouragement lol. Thanks again :)

  27. Using CIO with my 7 month old. White noise is magic. (How did I get to 7 months with child #3 without it?) However the past few nights he’s been waking up in the middle of the night and screaming bloody murder for an hour or more. After re-searching your site I decided extinction burst is what’s going on. I hope that’s right. And I hope it’s okay that I still let him CIO in the middle of the night. (He’s been night-weaned for just over a month.) Either way, this particular article is now bookmarked to be read every morning so I can stop feeling like an (albeit justified) jerk.

  28. Advice needed for a newly screaming-herself-to-sleep baby! We used CIO at about 5-6 months and it worked like a dream after only 3 nights. Ever since then we’ve kept the routine; putting baby down drowsy but awake after her predictable bedtime routine, and we separate the bottle from bedtime by about 30 mins. But the past month or so my now 12 month old starts screaming bloody murder about 15 minutes after laying her down in the crib. The first few nights this happened we went in thinking something was wrong (a poopy diaper, illness or injury of some kind) but there was absolutely nothing wrong. Now we just let her CIO which ends up lasting anywhere from 15 minutes to almost an hour, but it’s been a month of this and it’s not getting any better. If anyone out there has any experience w this I’d love to hear your thoughts. Thanks in advance!

  29. I need advice! We started bouncing my baby on an exercise ball to get her to sleep when she was about 2 weeks old. Fast forward to 4 months and she will not fall asleep unless she is being bounced. We have started crying it out with checks at night but for naps it does not work. Any suggestions?

  30. Hi I started CIO 9 days ago with my 8 1/2 month old and took dummy away. The first night he cried for 45mins and then woke at 2 and put himself back over in 5 mins without me going in then slept until 6 this progress continued and he was sleeping 1hr 15mins for naps and wakening briefly at night. For the past 3 nights things have got worse he is actually crying before I put him into the cot and protesting badly in the middle of the night for over an hr :( he would not settle last night he was screaming not even crying and after all the hard work I took him into bed because he has no voice at all it is completely gone from crying and I feel terrible. Don’t know where to go from here.
    debbie recently posted..Pediatrics Study on White Noise: Sounding Off on Sound MachinesMy Profile

  31. Hi There,

    Today, we are 3 weeks into CIO with our almost 7mth old twins. I want to believe we are in the heart of an extinction burst, but I keep hearing these wicked whispers in my head of “Maybe it just isn’t working for our kids…” (Oddly enough, it sounds like my mother’s voice…go figure). We have a consistent bedtime routine of Bath, Bottle, Books, “Good Night Room”, Bed. The kids are in bed by 6pm, at the very latest each night. On nights when they are particularly tired, they may be in bed as early as 5:45pm. We rely heavily on drowsy cues – in fact, I’m finding it hard to communicate with adults now because I am so obsessed with watching both the clock, and my kids for drowsy signs.

    My son will usually get up 1-2 times for a feeding (still BF). He is a power-eater, and within 10-15mins, I am putting him back in his crib (drowsy but awake) with no issues. He usually gets up for the day between 6:30am-7am. My daughter will sleep through the night most nights, and every so often will get up for 1 quick feed in the night. She also sleeps until 6:30-7am.

    Our problem is that they are STILL crying (and by crying, I mean screaming) for anywhere from 30mins (on a great night) to 2hrs at night. I am also navigating nap training at the same time, and they will cry anywhere from 15mins to the full hour each nap. AND, they only nap for 20-40mins tops. TOPS! Today, I had one blessed naptime where they each cried for less than 5 minutes and slept for 40 minutes each. During that nap, I was Julie Andrews twirling on a mountain top. Then, tonight they both screamed for close to two hours at bedtime.
    They are so drowsy at night (eye-rubbing, clingy, staring off into space, yawning, whining) that we sometimes speed through the book portion just so we don’t miss the drowsy window.

    What am I doing wrong?? We were culprits of walking/bouncing them to sleep, and me nursing them to sleep for their first six months, (plus they share a room) so I fully anticipated it would be a rough go…but shouldn’t we see improvement with them soothing themselves to sleep at this point? Does this sound like an extinction burst, or is there some tweaking required with our routine? Any advice is greatly welcome and appreciated!

    Also, thank you for this amazing blog! On most nights, reading…and rereading…the articles and comments are literally the only thing stopping me from running upstairs yelling “MOMMY’S COMING!!!”

    • Hey Alie,

      I can’t tell for sure but here’s what I’m guessing…

      For starters, what is jumping out at me is how early their bedtime is and how long they’re IN bed. Even for supremely crappy nappers, 13 hours in bed is an unusually long time. Sure some kids will sleep that long but it’s rare. To have 2 kids sleeping 13 hours a night seems…so rare I’m thinking that you may have a “too long in bed” problem.

      I get that they’re tired and unhappy and you’re terrified about Weissbluth’s “magic window” but keep in mind that kiddos (and your peanuts aren’t newborns anymore – they’re full fledged babies now!) need a longer stretch of awake time prior to bedtime. They NEED to accrue a sleep debt so they can easily FALL and STAY asleep. 2 hours at night is excessive crying and doesn’t feel extinction bursty to me. It feels like they’re bedtime is too early.

      If they’re sleeping in till 7 (which is AMAZING) maybe they can only really handle an 11.5 or even 12 hour night. Would you feel OK experimenting with that? What about pushing bedtime BACK a bit, nightly, for the next week? I’m sure you think I’m insane but it’s honestly what jumps out at me.

      The second thing you should also consider is separating them. I know this is a huge hassle and moving the crib to the office or what have you is a massive chore. But I would totally do it for a few weeks to see if they’re both struggling to fall asleep or if only one is (and is being kept awake by the other). No matter how inconvenient it is, I would try it out WHILE moving their bedtime back to sometime closer to 7-7:30.

      Thoughts?
      – Alexis
      Alexis Dubief recently posted..Pediatrics Study on White Noise: Sounding Off on Sound MachinesMy Profile

      • Hi Alexis,

        That makes perfect sense! My husband is setting up the spare room with a room darkening shade, and my daughters crib, as I type this. We will also move their bedtime back a bit nightly – I will let you know how it goes!

        Thank you so much for the speedy reply and great advice!!

        Alie

      • Hi there,

        Just wanted to give a quick update on our progress here. Over the past three nights, we have gradually pushed bedtime out to 7pm, and each night the crying is down to less than 15 minutes, and the Mini’s are just doing a light, sleepy cry as opposed to their epic screaming of weeks past. I have noticed such a difference in their readiness for bed, compared to our too-early bedtime before, when we would jump into bedtime routine at the first yawn.

        Also, for the last two days, at nap time the crying is less than 5 MINUTES (!!!), and my son is actually sleeping for more than an hour each nap!!! I honestly never thought I would see the day. My daughter is still having shorter naps, but I am sure her naps will lengthen when she’s ready.

        Thank you so much for your fantastic advice!! We really can’t thank you enough. I was feeling like quite a failure at this whole parenting thing, and having panic attacks that I was doing absolutely everything wrong. Your speedy response, and great advice has turned everything around for the better in our household!

  32. Hi ive been trying this method and seemed to work. But after a few weeks it has all gorn suddenly down hill. Anouther thing that I havent been able to find info on is how long do you let them cry for before u go In lay them down try to calm them. How long do u stay in to calm them before u walk back out? Or do u not go in at all? My daughter who is a very advanced 7 month old who crawls sits up, stands walks along furniture and has done so since 5 months old. Will stand up on the side of the cot and scream there’s no way she can cry herself to sleep like that? And she can go on forever. For example last night she woke about 1 am made sure nappy was fine, she wasn’t thirsty. She hasnt had night bottles for a while now (her choice) so wasn’t hungry and took me over an hr to get her back to sleep then she a woke again at 3 then again at and 5 awake is normal thats morning bottle time. And she wentto bed at 7 pm. Please help. need sleep. Jess little.

  33. Anyone please help

  34. Help please!!! My daughter has been sleeping through the nights and having 2/3 naps in the day for the past 6/7months changing into an isomniacatic beast for the past week only sleeping after hours of crying it out she’s 11 months old and now decided naps are for wimps any clues as what to do would help a first time dad thanks

  35. Hi Alexis,

    I am desperate for some advice – I am a total wreck today, full of fear that I’m failing at sleepp training, failing my baby, and creating life-long emotional damage. I was crying most of last night and this morning…

    My baby will be 5 months in a week. I know that’s a bit early for CIO, but many of my frinds started at 4mos and my pediatrician recommended it as well.

    We are on night 12 and the crying has still not stopped. It was 50mins the first night, then 15mins, then 45mins, then 30, then 25, then a couple nights around 10-15mins, then 1min (!), and then BAM, last night is was 55mins again! Do I really just keep going??? Will he finally figure it out before he’s convinced that we’re permanently abandoning him!?

    About my little guy:
    He was a terrible sleeper since day 1. He would wake 4-6 times a night to comfort nurse. For awhile we were able to rock him to sleep pretty easily but since 3 1/2 months it was taking 1.5hrs of rocking, putting down, crying, picking back up, etc. So we turned to CIO when he was 4 1/2 months.

    He has been falling asleep around 8pm no matter when we put him down, and sleeps until 630/7. He’s gotten great at putting himself back to sleep overnight when he wakes, and night feedings are down to two – at 1am and 4am.

    He is a pretty good napper – naps every 2 hrs (we follow the east schedule) and those naps can range anywhere from 30mins-2.5hrs. Naps generally total about 5hrs per day.

    So why am i not seeing the slow decrease in the amount of crying? What in the world am I doing wrong???

    Thank you for any help you can provide. Im feeling like the worlds worst mother today and am ready to throw in the towel. Thank you soooo much.

    Emily

    • It looks like things were really improving with the 10-15 mins and eventually the 1 min night. 55 min may be an extinction burst.

      Before throwing in the towel (because that would probably mean putting him down asleep, right? which would eventually lead to unsustainable sleep associations, night-waking, all over again), I’d consider tweaking some things. Do you use a swaddle, white noise, dark room? You could consider doing CIO in a swing–all that soothing would probably mean less crying. Also I would tweak bedtime according to when the last nap is (maybe, 2 hours after last nap). If he’s always falling asleep at 8pm, are you putting him down right at 8pm?

      Based on what you wrote, as an outsider I do see a decrease in crying, actually a big decrease. It looks like you had a bad night preceded by good nights with lots of progress. Bad nights will happen and it does seem like with CIO, there is no magical “no crying at all ever” solution, but if things stayed in the 0-15 min range, would that be acceptable?

      • Thanks. We dropped the swaddle and paci when we started CIO. He’s done pretty well. And now he loves to sleep on his side. Plus, he started rolling back to front this last week. Room is dark, white noise is on. We have a good routine. We put him down 1.75-2hrs after his last nap which is around 745 usually.

        I’d be really disappointed to know that he was going to continue to cry for 15mins every time! I really thought CIO would do the trick in teaching him to comfortably put himself to sleep. I dont know if I would or should interpret that as success??

        I decided that a couple days of crying wasnt going to cause him any damage which is why we decided to do this. But, im scared that if this continues for a month, that it might start to cause all that scary irreparable damage CIO opponents talk about!?

        Are you just a fellow parent or do you work with Alexis?

  36. This site has some of the most helpful advice I have seen – I’m hoping someone can help us out. We have a very stubborn baby, now almost 9 1/2 months old. She sleeps in 45 minute chunks in her crib at night before waking up and needing assistance to get back to sleep. She has a good bedtime routine and goes down in the crib ok when drowsy, though we do use a pacifier.

    We have tried many methods for her sleep and given each a week to work with no success. When we tried Cry It Out, she actually did ok the first night (30 min of crying), then got worse the next 6 nights (45-80 min of crying). We were exhausted and gave up. She would sometimes get so upset that she would throw up in the crib, which was heartbreaking.

    What approach can we try for our strong-willed little one? Do we just need to try CIO again and hope she doesn’t throw up? Do we ditch the pacifier first? We’re getting pretty desperate for sleep, so any advice is appreciated!

  37. My son is 9.5 months old and I’ve always nursed him to sleep. He is a good napper and consistently naps for 1.5-2 hr stretches at 9 am and 1 or 2 pm after being nursed to sleep.

    We have a consistent bedtime routine – bath, PJs, book, nurse and every night he is in bed by 7:30 or 8 pm. Since birth he has woken up around midnight and again around 3 or 4 am. He will then sleep until 7:30 am. Now that he’s teething he’s waking up even more often, sometimes 4 times per night.

    I know he doesn’t know how to put himself back to sleep and thinks he needs the breast to fall back asleep. I’m trying to put him to sleep “drowsy but awake” but every time I set him in his crib he cries. We have tried CIO at night and he has cried for over 90 minutes and we can’t handle it any longer so we rescue him and I’ll nurse him to sleep. He is sitting up in his crib now and cries out “mama” and it breaks my heart.

    Does anyone have any advice for babies that cry it out is not working for? We have tried both total extinction and also going in and patting him every 10 min, then 20 min, etc. and he seems to get even angrier when we go in there.

  38. Help! My little girl is 5 months old and we have been trying CIO for almost a couple weeks now. She goes down for naps great and stays asleep most of the night. The problem is getting her to sleep at bedtime! We put her to bed at 8pm after a little nighttime routine bu she still crys and crys. We do the interval soothing by rubbing her back, etc. but often it still takes 30 minutes to and hour or crying before she gets herself to sleep!! Is CIO just not working with her? Do we need to try to get her down earlier? later? How long should we keep this up? It is so hard to hear her upset!

  39. i need help, am a massive fan of CIO and I did it at 8 months and enjoyed full nights sleep and pleasent bed times. At 9.5 months baby has started crying again not a problem but is now being sick, which I then feel terrible about and cuddle to sleep which is leading to tons of night waking and no sleep!
    Any advice would be great, do I ignore the sickness ( it’s heartbreaking and I feel like a bad mum!) tia

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