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Please Note: There is a new version of this post. Please see CIO Bootcamp–Revised and Updated for an easier to read version of this post. For that reason, I have turned commenting off on this post.
CIO Bootcamp was derived when I had written a couple of posts to our BW Yahoo group on CIO (Cry It Out).
I think you need to do CIO for every nap and for bedtime. With my first child, I tried just at night, but that ended up making no sense; why rock him sometimes and expect him to do it himself others? I think in the CIO case, it is best to do it all at once rather than trying to ease into it.
It is SO HARD to listen to your baby cry. It put me in tears so many times with my first and the second time around was easier because I knew the benefits, but I still had my days of tears.
Know that the difficulties you experience are normal–especially if you start after you have soothed them for some time. BW says some crying is normal, but I don’t think they really give an honest picture of what to expect. It is harder than they make it seem.
Also know that if you stick with it, it will get better. However, you also will have difficult days interspersed for some time. My little girl would have days with no crying, then a day where she cried at least thirty minutes for every nap when I did nothing differently. But as time goes, the hard days get fewer between and eventually are a thing of the past. You will think back to this time and remember how hard it was but realize how worth it it is. You will also think it wasn’t that long after all and the benefits were worth the heartache. That is easier said on the happy side of things than at the beginning of the process.
Here is a synopsis of Kaitlyn’s CIO experience. For about 5 days she just slept basically around the clock, but when she was a week old, I started working to keep her awake after eating and putting her to bed awake. The first time, she cried between 5-10 minutes. Then she went days without crying at all. Then she started having some long crying sessions. Then she would go back to not crying at all. Then she started crying 20 minutes. Then down to 5 minutes.
I don’t think you should do CIO at all if you aren’t going to stick to it. If a baby knows they will be “rescued” at some point, they will cry until they are. Go big or go home, as the saying goes. Here is a list of basic tips I would have for CIO.
- First, be sure you are both ready (see Should You Do CIO? post: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2007/11/should-you-do-cio.html)
- Also, please take precaution about possible medical problems. Be sure your baby does not have reflux or bad gas.
- Get to know the timing of your child’s naps. The younger the baby, the more crucial it is to get them down at the right moment. As they get older, down-to-the-minute isn’t as important, but timing is still important for my two year old. He won’t cry if I put him down late, but he will play in his bed for X amount of time rather than going right to sleep. We’ve all experience the second wind or being too tired to fall asleep. So get to know your child’s cue. This is a hard thing and unfortunately can require some trial and error on your part. My daughter would always yawn. My son would get fussy. Your child should get tired around the same time–for example my daughter stayed up for about an hour each wake time, so I started watching her at 50 minutes like a hawk so I didn’t miss the sign. You also don’t want to put them down too early. A young baby may only be able to do 45 minutes of waketime—including feeding. Take note of the timing of everything and how baby responds. Unfortunately, there is some trial and error here.
- If you know you are putting baby down too late, don’t do it. The baby will just cry and never go to sleep and you will eventually get baby. I wouldn’t put my 12 week old down if I knew I had missed my window–I would put her in the swing. And at 7 months, if she has missed a nap and needs to sleep, I will often put her in the swing just because I think the more tired she is the harder it will be for her to fall asleep without difficulty.
- If your baby will be swaddled, I would do that at such a young age. My first wouldn’t ever be swaddled, but my second would and is still swaddled partially. Around 3 or 4 weeks she protested the full swaddle, so she know has one arm out. The problem is that their arms will fling out and scare them awake, so if you can swaddle, it does help.
- I like to sing the same lullaby every time once they are in bed. This lets them know it is bedtime, plus it is something you can take with you everywhere you go. That is nice when you aren’t at your home, and also nice once you move them into a bed and out of the crib–it will come quicker than you think. You could also rock your child so they are more drowsy to start, but don’t rock beyond the point of the sign of sleepiness. Rocking can be a good thing to do with younger babies, even if it is just for your piece of mind; then you know you did something to help.
- When doing CIO, I would check on my daughter at some point if she hadn’t gone to sleep. Figure out your child’s reaction to your interference. My first wouldn’t ever go to sleep if I made my presence known after I put him down. And, if I ever got him out of bed after he had been crying, naps would be AWFUL for a long time afterward. He hated to sleep. He would even fuss to go to sleep in a swing. That is when you know you have a hates-to-sleeper. My daughter, on the other hand, did well with my presence if she had been crying for a while. When she was younger, I would go in after 20 minutes. At 11 weeks I waited 30. I didn’t pick her up because that made it worse for her. I pat her and tell her to go to sleep. Then she usually gets really mad when I leave but is asleep within 10 minutes. Now, this did not work for my son. If I ever checked on him, he would not go to sleep at all. For him it was better to be left alone. Once I left the room, I needed to leave him be. So, this is something else that you need to learn about your child.
- If my daughter had not gone to sleep after an hour, I moved her to the swing so she could get some sleep before the next feeding. This way we avoided getting overly sleepy and getting way ahead of schedule. For her, if she hadn’t fallen asleep at that point, she just wouldn’t. This works for her, but for my son, that was asking for trouble. If I ever did that, he would cry double time for his next nap (and often for every nap for a couple of days) because he knew if he cried long enough he would get out of it. I don’t know if it was his personality or if it was because I started him at 9 weeks so he knew there were other options. I started my daughter CIO at one week, so to her this is just the way it is.
- I personally think that a swing is a better alternative to you rocking or doing something to help–then the baby is still “alone” and not relying on you and knowing you are doing it for them. 8- Expect things to get better, then to get bad again, then better, then bad. You will have dream days. Then you will have days that make you wonder what on earth you are doing and will reduce you to tears. But stick through it. This pattern is true of having a baby CIO at any age, from my observations.
- With CIO, it is good to not let baby fall asleep (as best you can) while eating. If they do, they aren’t quite tired enough to fall asleep while they CIO.
Good luck. Just know it gets better. I believe it is best for the baby, but that is obvious because I do it. Do what you think is best for your baby because you are his mom and no one will know better than you do. If you ever need support through it, let me know. I know it is so hard. I also know it is so worth it. I have a little happy two year old running around me in life who shows me the benefits of BW and a joyful 10 month old who is as content, happy, and pleasant as you could ever imagine a baby to be.
Both of my children got to the point of no crying for naps or bedtime rather quickly. Brayden at 4 months and Kaitlyn at around 8 weeks. She would cry on occasion after that age, but rarely and it usually meant something was wrong. If it was a cry to settle down into a nap, it wasn’t the screaming cry that breaks your heart but more of an off and on and half-hearted cry.
Overall, everything is connected. The better rested they are, the more awake they will be for eating, and the more they eat, the better they will sleep, and the more they are awake, the more tired they will be for sleeping.
If you are in the middle of CIO and need some encouragement, see the post When Does it Get Better? http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2007/12/when-does-it-get-better.html
Other CIO Posts:
- CIO Responsibly
- Poll Results: If you did CIO for middle of the night, how many nights did it last? : http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/04/poll-results-if-you-did-cio-for-middle.html
- Problem Solving Tip: Detailed Log
- Nap Cues : http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/03/nap-cues.html
- Should You Do CIO? http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2007/11/should-you-do-cio.html
- Waking Early From Naps/Won’t Fall Asleep For Naps: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/01/waking-early-from-napswont-fall-asleep.html
- What Age Did You Start CIO (Approximate)? http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/01/poll-results-what-age-did-you-start-cio.html
- Word To the Weary: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2007/12/word-to-weary.html
- CIO (blog label)
- AG said…
My baby is 2.5 months old and I swaddle him in a Miracle Blanket for sleeping while he wears a lightweight sleeper and keep our home at 69 degrees. However, when I let him CIO after his nap has been ruined by the “45 minute intruder” he is completely soaked in sweat – usually just after 10 or 15 minutes. This concerns me since overheating is a SIDS risk. Also, I sometimes think it’s useless to let him CIO every nap after the 45 minute intruder has arrived since he has NEVER cried himself back to sleep before the next feeding. Am I accomplishing anything??
January 7, 2008 9:06 PM
If I remember correctly, CIO after going waking early is mentioned in BW II, but not in the first book (my baby is sleeping in the room with the books right now, so I will have to check that later). At that young of an age, 1 hour is an acceptable nap length. at 45 minutes, he is so close to the right time that it might not be worth the crying. You will have to decide what you want to do. I personally would either move him to the swing and see if he will fall asleep or get him up and try to hold him off until it is the next feeding time.
January 8, 2008 11:13 AM
- Meredith said…
We are having a terrible time with this. He gets so upset that he can cry all the way until the next feeding – even if it is 2 whole hours. Moving him to the swing or bouncer doesn’t work. So, basically I wind up picking him up and feeding him when it is time and he is learning that if he cries long enough, he will be fed. WWYD? Let him cry to sleep, interfering with the feeding, and hope it only happens a few times? Postpone CIO until he is on a 4 hour schedule?? Other options? I am dying! He just cries for all 4 naps (unless the nap is totally assisted, so I know it is not pain/not tired)! I forgot to mention that he is 8 weeks old.
January 21, 2008 10:27 AM
This is how Brayden was. He was 9 weeks old when we started. He would have times he cried right on through to the 2.5 hour mark. The swing, etc. didn’t work for him either. I just got him up and fed him when it was time. I would stick with it. It will be SO HARD–I know, I did it. But the payoff will come, and it will come sooner than you think. If he will swaddle, I would do that. Brayden wouldn’t, he hated it. I would figure out when you should interfere and work to calm him down, but then leave. Some babies cannot be picked up. Some can’t even have any interference. Keep persevering!
January 21, 2008 10:53 AM
- David said…
Hi, my daughter is 8 weeks old and we haven’t really had to do CIO yet, at least not for daytime naps–she is a sleeper and when she gets sleepy/fussy I can just put her down and she goes right off to sleep by herself. However, that goes out the window after the 4pm feeding, because she gets very fussy in the evenings, some nights are full blow colic episodes. The fussiness generally starts anywhere between 5pm and 7pm and can go as late as 10pm. So, we tried CIO a few nights when she was much younger, but she never stopped crying–even if you hold her she is crying. I’ve found that when she really gets going and nothing will calm her, the one thing that seems to work is walking around with her in the baby bijorn, and she will calm down and eventually sleep some. Sometimes I can put her down after that, but not usually (she generally wakes up within 10-15 min of being put down from the carrier). So, generally in the evenings she just kind of naps off and on (in the carrier or in her bed) for short naps between her feedings and then eventually falls asleep for the night sometime between 8:30 and 9:30. I then feed her again around 10:30 and she wakes only once in the night to eat (usually around 3:30). So, my question is, should I worry about doing CIO during these fussy episodes since she seems able to go to sleep on her own otherwise (as demonstrated by her daytime naps), or should I be trying to do it anyway to establish bedtime sleep? It seems kind of cruel to do it since she is obviously so uncomfortable and unhappy during that time of day, but I don’t want to develop bad habits either (being helped to sleep at bedtime). Any thoughts?
January 22, 2008 1:57 PM
It seems to me she has it down if she is doing fine for her other naps. It isn’t uncommon for a baby to have a fussy time in the evening. I would say continue as your are so long as 1-she remains fussy that time of day and needs you to continue (because she will grow out of that) and 2-you don’t see any problems creep up at other naps–if that happens, you know the nighttime routine of holding her is affecting her daytime napping.Have you tried a swing? I know not all babies go for it, but if yours does, that could be another nice alternative for you in the evening.
January 22, 2008 2:10 PM
I would LOVE it if she would go for the swing, but she is not crazy about it. She will tolerate it for a while, but gets fussy after about 10 minutes in it, and rarely falls asleep in it. It is difficult in the evenings to keep her in that carrier to make and eat dinner, but otherwise she screams. And, if my husband is working nights (about twice a week) or out of town (like he is now) it is SO difficult to get my 3-year-old ready for bed, with the baby either screaming or in the carrier the whole time. I hope that eventually she does start to like the swing, bouncy seat, etc. Right now she doesn’t like ANY of them–during waketimes laying her down on a blanket and talking to her is about as much as she can take (she seems to get over-stimulated very easily). Thanks for the thoughts and tips!
January 25, 2008 10:08 AM
- artsychic76 said…
I have this issue too. DD doesn’t really like the swing. I’d like her to tho…should I try putting her in it when awake? She DOES like rocking and bouncing when very fussy….I’d think the swing would work too? I hate to have it as a sleep prop tho. Do you find they get more independent at 3 months and don’t want you there AT ALL when its time to nap. Maybe I should just leave her alone and walk out of the room to see if she can go to sleep on her own? I find she doesn’t like being held when fussy like this…she likes to stretch out and have her pacifier, and if you stand there and try to soothe her, it sometimes makes her really mad! I wonder if that’s the signal that she wants to be left alone?
January 27, 2008 12:55 PM
My son didn’t like the swing, either. He just learned to sleep. There were some short naps, but eventually he got it and naps became just how I wanted them to be.My son also didn’t like to be held when he was mad. He isn’t a touchy-type. As he has gotten older, that has become more obvious. Before we started BW, he would get really mad when I rocked him to sleep. He cried just as long in his bed as he did when I rocked him, but he stayed asleep longer if he did CIO than if I rocked him.
January 27, 2008 1:57 PM
- mommynik said…
We are having a similar problem. I am trying to get my 17 wk. son to sleep better naps while CIO’ing at night & naps – trying to put him at 9:00 am nap but he doesn’t even make it to 8:00 am some days. So I put him down to nap and then he sleeps about an hour but wakes up tired. So I leave him in there and see if he will settle. It really doesn’t work unless I give him pacy, which I am trying not to do anymore. But if I go get him, he is SO sleepy. I want to get him and nurse him, but that won’t even be quality eating b/c he’s so tired. It sounds like you & BWMom say you just let baby stay in crib and cry until time to nurse again? I guess I should do that? Then we can play and try for the next nap & hope it works out?At night he can put himself to sleep but he wakes & cries several hours later. Even though he is breastfeeding, he is still SO sleepy – he isn’t really nursing, he is just getting my comfort. I am so confused!! We have been CIO for about 1.5 weeks. I am in pure turmoil here.
February 21, 2008 9:08 AM
Keep in mind that, unfortunately, it gets better before it gets worse. But then it does get better. I only leave my daughter in bed when she wakes early if she is happy. Like I said about nighttime crying, to do CIO for the original nap and then when they wake early from a nap will likely be too much for you. I would work on the original falling asleep and then see if when he gets that down he can be better overall. See this post for ideas for what to do in the meantime:Waking Early From Naps/Won’t Fall Asleep For Naps: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/01/waking-early-from-napswont-fall-asleep.html
February 21, 2008 10:08 AM
- ckim56 said…
I have an 8 week old son and just started trying to really stick to CIO and a schedule recently (i had tried CIO since he was 4 weeks but was not consistant) I have been letting him cry in 20 min increments and then i go in and try to give him a pacifier- is this wrong to do, I suppose i’m not really helping him self soothe but sometimes he will suck on it and go right to sleep- so it works. Other times when i dont give it to him he will cry for an hour or more, sometimes screaming. Is this ok to let him do? has anyone else had to do this?? it’s terrible to listen to him cry…sometimes even when i pick him up he doesnt calm down…like he’s just gotten so upset he can’t calm down. Any advice? i would appreciate it.another question- i think this is right according to BW but I’m unsure. I have been doing an evening feeding(7:30/8 pm) and then feed him again before i go to bed (about 10:30) I usually have to wake him though, should i do this or just let him sleep?? he is still getting up in the middle of the night though. usually around 3:30…I am very thankful for ANY advice!!!
March 26, 2008 6:16 PM
You have to decide what you want to do about the pacifier. You can continue to go in and reinsert it if you want to, but be aware that it is likely to be something you have to do for months to come. Some moms do a rule that they will only reinsert once. Like I said, you can do it if you want, but just be aware that it is something that has a chance of happening continually until baby is able to pick it up himself. There is a good post on growingkids.org about pacifiers. That post should help you with that decision. It doesn’t lean one way or the other. Your night feedings look just right. That 10:30 feeding is what is called a “dreamfeed.”
March 27, 2008 2:37 PM
- mommynik said…
I am trying CIO but it really is rough. I have tremendous guilt b/c I’m the one who held him until 1.5 weeks ago. He is now 17 weeks (yesterday) and our entire household is crazy with sleep-deprivation.I want this to work but he didn’t sleep more than 3 hours in a row last night. He cried off and on for about 2. I had this idea that he would start sleeping through the night in like, 4 nights. By what you write that is SO far off. What should our daytime schedule look like? I think if I just work to the schedule then *maybe* we can get to the sleepING nights?
February 21, 2008 8:35 AM
First of all, don’t feel guilty! You have always been doing the best with what you knew! The vast majority of mothers and fathers out there are doing what they think to be best for their baby. If what you have been doing isn’t working overall for your family, then good for you for looking for a different solution! When I started CIO with Brayden, he was 9 weeks old. I started with all daytime naps and bedtime. But I didn’t do CIO in the night. Every time he woke up, I just fed him and put him back to sleep. After about a week of daytime CIO, he was down to one waking a night. I would suggest you do the same. To handle CIO, you need to be emotionally strong, and you can only do that if you get the most sleep you can. Once days get better, nights most likely will follow suit. If not, you can move on to nights. But to take both on at once can be too emotionally taxing! Good luck.
February 21, 2008 10:02 AM
You give great advice and thank you. I will try the day 1st… you’ll see another comment I just posted saying I would start with nights, but scratch that for now.THANK YOU
February 21, 2008 10:59 AM
I had to write you back & let you know that our nights are MUCH MUCH better & naps are getting easier too. I am not trying to get it perfect just yet, but I am so thankful that my little boy is now only waking twice to nurse in the night (then going straight back to sleep), doing about 11 hours total. I’m also pumping after he nurses to increase my milk supply & I think that in a few more days he won’t even have to wake that often, but I really think he is a little hungry still – growing lots. For naps, he is pretty much putting himself to sleep everytime. Sometimes they are only 45 minutes, but we’ve had a few 1.5 and 2.5 hour naps in there too.I figure this is all new to him, but he is hitting his stride and life is calming down. It took about 4 days & nights of really rough crying and fussing for things to start to balance out. It really doesn’t take that long for them to get comfortable on their own. I wish I had done this WEEKS ago, but I think he was really ready for it now.Thank you for your comments and your great blog. I don’t think I’m necessarily “baby wise” now, but I am more “mommy wise” and that helps the whole house!
February 26, 2008 10:22 AM
- Catherine said…
Hello,I don’t know if this really fits in this section, but I couldn’t find the perfect one! 🙂 Just looking for some help with an issue I’m having with my 5 week old son. Here is what is happening, day in and day out:Here is our feed cycle:He eats for 5-10 minutes of very hard sucking, then maybe 5-7 of milder sucking, but not always, then pushes away. He won’t eat anymore for 10-12 minutes, then starts doing mild hunger cues. (Slightly jumpy breathing, sticking out his tongue, cooing sounds, sucking on fist, sucking, batting his arms.) I try to get him to eat again, thinking he’s still hungry, and he either completely refuses or mildly sucks for 1-2 minutes. I wait another 5-10 minutes, and try again. So our feeds last like an hour- 15-20 minutes he’s eating pretty constantly, then 10 min without eating, 1-2 of eating, 10 minutes without eating, 2-3 of eating, etc. Finally after like an hour of this I just stop offering and start waketime. After 10 min. exactly of waketime he starts doing the little cues again. He does this every single feed. I keep him awake for about 30 min total, then put him to sleep.Then I put him down, and he either makes little cooing sounds then cries right away and won’t stop crying the entire nap period, cries 35 minutes into the nap after making little noises that whole time, starts crying after 35 min of silence, or falls asleep. (He will usually sleep like 2-3 out of 5 of his daily naps on a really good day, 1 one or none on a bad day) . (And whenever he starts crying, he will not stop the entire nap period.) When you go in when he’s crying, he is doing all of the hunger cues, just more seriously. I have been thinking that he’s hungry, so I have just been re-feeding him and starting the cycle over when I go in. ( I wait 20 min. after putting him down to go back in, or when he cries after 35 min. into the nap I go right in.) But the same thing then continues. And btw all his diaper signs are totally on track.I just realized that 1.5 hrs. is way too much waketime for a baby his age, didn’t know that before, and the book doesn’t specify very clearly.Anyway, what’s throwing me off is that at the late night feed (11 pm) and during the middle of the night, he eats exactly the same way, then drifts right off into happy sleep and stays asleep for 3-4 hours. So that is what confuses me: he gets the same amount of food during the day as he does at night, but it appears to not be enough- but during the night it lasts him 3-4 hrs.I am just so confused.I am wondering if:1) He is actually hungry. If that’s the case then it feels like he never gets full. One day I fed him, short waketime, put him down, he cried, I started the cycle over, and this literally lasted the entire day except for one nap. I was basically feeding him every 1.5 to 2 hrs. It was awful.2) He is actually doing tired signs and I have just been overstimulating him with way too much waketime. Have been cutting it back to 30 min total, and he cries in crib for naps, won’t sleep, but calms when you hold him, even though he keeps doing little cues. Then he’ll scream as soon as you put him back in the crib and cry the duration of the nap period. Does he just need to learn to self soothe?3) He needs to suck longer because he nurses so efficiently? Maybe he needs a pacifier during day for some time after feedings? If that’s true though, I can’t figure out why he wouldn’t need it at night. Any thoughts anyone has would be seriously appreciated!!!Catherine SlezingerFebruary 27, 2008 9:23 PM
1-If he is getting a full feed before he pulls off, he shouldn’t be hungry 10 minutes later. Do you nurse from both sids at each feeding? Figuring this out can be so hard, especially your first time around. 🙂 My son took over an hour to nurse for every feeding, including night. I didn’t start BW until 9 weeks, but at 3 weeks old, I decided he could go at least 2 hours between feedings. I made him wait that long. Once I started BW and did 2.5-3 hours, his nursings got a lot shorter, and he didn’t demand them soon after eating. You do have to watch out for growth spurts, but your baby might be in snacking mode. I would also consider possible medical conditions(reflux)and possible food allergies or intolerances from your diet(caffeine, dairy, etc.).Also, I would be sure your milk supply is okay. I don’t want to make your paranoid about it, but it is worth looking into just to be sure.2-Probably yes. If he clams down as soon as you pick him up, you know you interfered before he needed it. If he takes a long time to calm down, you know you waited too long to interfere. If he takes a few minutes to calm down, you know you got it just right. Maybe try calming without picking up. Babies are smart, and it sounds like he has figured out if he cries, you will come help him out. 3-That is a good possibility. At night, they can just be tired. They shouldn’t be looking for the extra non-nutritive sucking at night (at least,that would be yoru desire), just in the day. At night they sleep, so it is good he has that worked out.Good luck! Let me know if I can clarify any of that.February 28, 2008 10:39 AM
Hello,Thank you so much for your help! I really appreciate your thoughts. This is such a learning curve for me and my husband!1) I was concerned it was my milk supply at first, so I started pumping and having my husband bottle feed to see how much I was getting, and I found out I had way more than enough just from one side. 2) The last two days instead of starting him over in the cycle when he cried with a new feeding, then wake, etc, I have been letting him cry in the crib. I go in every 15 minutes to burp him, check his diaper, and then put him back down. Do you think I should not pick him up? He has a burp almost every time. The problem is that yesterday he cried through every single nap, so he get no sleep, then did not sleep as long at night as usual. I felt like he was possibly way overstimulated by this point, so after this last feed/wake, I put him in his favorite seat with blankets and rocked him for 10-15 min, and he was sound asleep. I have no problem letting him cry it out but I am wondering if he just got to the point where he was so sleepless he couldn’t get himself to sleep no matter what he tried. I guess I need to learn what point to help him get to sleep and what point to just let him cry. Anyway, any further thoughts you have would be so appreciated- I am SO glad I found this blog, it took a lot of online hunting but I’m glad I did.Catherine
February 28, 2008 11:22 AM
It takes time to figure out. You are wise to realize you need to figure out what he needs. It is so individual for each baby. You are going to have to figure out what happens when you interfere. With my son, I could not interfere in the least. I couldn’t let him see me check on him, I couldn’t get him and move him to the swing, nothing. If I did, it got worse for DAYS. So he was better left alone.With my daughter, I could check on her. I could pick her up and kiss her, whatever. It didn’t make it worse. And often, if she wouldn’t fall asleep, I would go in and tell her to go to sleep, leave, she would cry really hard for a few seconds, then go right to sleep. I would suggest you don’t pick him up unless you find it helps him. More often, I think it just helps the mom, but not the baby :). Some babies might need to be picked up, but my guess would be most need to not be picked up. With my daughter, as outlined in the Waking Early From Naps/Won’t Fall Asleep For Naps: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/01/waking-early-from-napswont-fall-asleep.html post, I would put her in the swing if she wasn’t falling asleep for her nap. You want them to be well-rested. It is a hard situation to figure out. Like I said, I couldn’t do that with my son. But it worked with my daughter. Good luck!
February 28, 2008 2:33 PM
- Mom2Cohen said…
I do want to start full on with CIO and everything. So you think start tonight? Put him down after his last feeding and then what? When he wakes up throughout the night…which he will do I am sure…do I just keep letting him CIO (watching for obvious cues that might mean I should do otherwise of course). Sorry…I am new to the CIO thing but have wanted to do it for quite some time now.
December 27, 2007 5:02 PM
Start tonight if you are mentally prepared. I think it is best to start when you are fully in it. If you need a day or two to pump yourself up, do it. Otherwise, there is no time like the present. Be sure to read the CIO bootcamp post found on this blog: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2007/11/cio-bootcamp.htmlHe is young enough it is possible he could still need to eat in the night. For now, I would feed him (if that is what you usually do) when he wakes, then put him back down. Hopefully night waking will fix itself as you apply other principles. There are plenty of BW (Babywise) moms out there who have babies who wake at 12 weeks in the night. Prepare yourself for some difficulty–it is so hard to here your LO cry!
December 27, 2007 5:09 PM
- Mom2Cohen said… What do you do if he CIO through his entire nap time? We put him down at 3:00 and have gone in to “comfort” (pat on the back) him once and he is still crying at 4:00. He is supposed to get up at 4:30 to eat…what do you think?
December 28, 2007 3:04 PM
Plowmanators said… This is what I did with Kaitlyn. I would get her after an hour and put her in the swing to hopefully get some sleep before next feeding.That wouldn’t have worked with Brayden. With him, I just got him up and fed him. But I really had to wait until he fell asleep, and sometimes it would only be 5 minutes of sleep, but at least he had fallen asleep.A friend of mine got son up and played with him until feeding time.This is going to take some trial and error. Some kids will be harder to get to sleep if they are gotten before they fell asleep (Brayden). Others do just fine. In my experience, long crying times are totally a normal part of the process. No fun though 🙁 See this post for more info on this method: Waking Early From Naps/Won’t Fall Asleep For Naps: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/01/waking-early-from-napswont-fall-asleep.html
December 28, 2007 3:46 PM
Mom2Cohen said… Night time is going great. Night two (last night) he slept a total of 11 hours (one 30 minute feeding at 3:00). However, we are really struggling with naps during the day. Basically, he just doesn’t want to nap in his crib. We put him down as soon as he shows his first sign of getting tired (we even tried to put him down a bit before we thought he was getting tired), however he just lays in his crib and either coos or cries – sometimes for the full 1 1/2 – 2 hours if we let him. I know that “all or nothing” is best when doing CIO but I am confused about how to get him to take naps. The swing doesn’t work either…he just lays in it and looks around (no sleeping – in fact he never really has slept much in his swing). He is definitely crankier during the day right now because he is not getting his usual naps in…any suggestions on how we can accomplish this?
December 29, 2007 7:40 AM
Plowmanators said… You are leaving a napping situation that takes the baby from being lulled to sleep to having to do it alone. It is totally normal to have some real difficulty in the beginning. Of course, you want him to be well rested in the day. If the swing isn’t working, you could try doing whatever it is you did before. You would really have to watch that, though. That might make him worse because he knows you will come get him eventually. With my first, I had to just leave him there until he fell asleep. There were many days I was reduced to tears because it was so hard for him and me. It is not easy. But stick it out, and payoff will come in the end (and the “end” is closer than it seems).
December 29, 2007 7:59 AM
- Amber said…
Hi…Let me first say that I love, Love, LOVE your blog! It is so helpful and I check it almost every day!I have a question if that is alright? My 3 month old started doing something really strange yesterday!We are CIO, but we started last week. It was going well and then she started screaming in her crib for over 40 min, then laying in her crib just looking around, then start screaming again after about 15 min of looking around. She isn’t sleeping at all during the nap. What should I do? I don’t want her to get sleep depreived. She is on a 3 hour schedule are is sleeping from about 9 until 6 eat and sleeps until 8:30 – 9:00Please help!Amber
January 2, 2008 9:29 AM
It really is totally normal to have really, really bad days while you are doing CIO. Even my girl, who was quite good at the whole thing and slept on her own from birth, had really bad days where she would just cry and cry. I don’t know that there is any one explanation for it. There are possibilities, and those are outlined in the troubleshooting naps post. Just be sure she isn’t up too long. It should pass, but it also should come back. If you can do something about the sleep deprivation without destroying the process, you can try that. When Kaitlyn would have her bad days, I would get her after an hour and put her in her swing to finish out the nap time and hopefully be not so tired. That never could have worked with my boy, though. He had to stay in his bed, and if he never went to sleep, he just didn’t and we all had to deal with that. If I got him out, he just cried longer and harder for the next nap.
January 2, 2008 11:09 AM
- Amy said…
ok, i know this has not much to do with the general idea of this article BUT… how do you figure out if your baby likes to be swaddled or not? When my daughter was younger she went right to sleep when swaddled. now she can’t go to sleep without being swaddled, however she fusses and tries to get out of the swaddle vigorously when i put her in but eventually falls asleep within 5- 15 mins usually. but if i just put her down and dont swaddle her she never falls asleep.. so my guess is she needs the swaddle to fall asleep BUT she looks like she hates it… ahh.. any words of wisdom for me?
March 12, 2008 2:02 PM
My daughter got this way. I had to leave one arm out of the swaddle for a while. See this post, it might spark other ideas for you:Swaddling: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2007/11/swaddling.html
March 12, 2008 2:59 PM
- Judy said…
I am starting CIO with my 7 week old son. How long is too long to let the baby CIO? My son can go for 1.5 hours until his next feeding time. When I pick him up to feed him, his face is bright face and his body is drenched in sweat. Should I be sacrificing his naptime so that I can CIO effectively? He will only fall asleep when held. Please advise!
March 30, 2008 6:34 PM
I meant “bright red” in my above post.
March 30, 2008 6:37 PM
Judy, I know this doesn’t really answer your question of “How long is too long?”, but I do have a friend who was in your exact position. She was at the point that her 6 week old son wouldn’t even let her put him down, and she was constantly holding him and rocking him, during naps, but also when he had his wake time. Some days she couldn’t even get something to eat until her husband got home! At 6 weeks she decided to try BW and CIO because she was exhausted. The first night he cried for over 2 hours! She said it was painful to listen to, and she checked on him every 30 minutes to pick him up and calm him down. She knew he was fine and not in pain or anything, because he immediately stopped crying when she picked him up. After two weeks of sticking with BW, he no longer cried when she put him down, he could play independently by himself, and he no longer cried himself to sleep. He was a completely different baby! Just thought that might offer you some encouragement!
March 30, 2008 7:35 PM
Thank you for your encouraging words and sharing your friend’s experience. Hopefully I will have a success story to share myself!
March 31, 2008 9:26 AM
Yes, Kindra, thanks for sharing that! I would like to expand on something Kindra said. Before I started CIO, I read a book (I can’t remember what it was though) about self-soothing. The author (a psychiatrist or psychologist) said that if you go pick your baby up and he calms immediately, you intervened too soon. If you go pick your baby up and he takes a while to calm (10 minutes or more I think), you waited too long to intervene. If you go pick your baby up and he takes about 5ish minutes to calm, you were right on.Now, whether or not you can intervene and to what extend depends on the baby. I could not intervene with my son. If I did, naps got worse for days. I had to just let him cry, much like Kindra’s friend. With my daughter, I could go pick her up, calm her, put her back down, and she would cry harder for 5 minutes but then go to sleep. I couldn’t go in until she had been in there for 20 minutes though. You have to figure out your child. Unfortunately, it takes some trial and error. Good luck! It does get better. You are totally normal for doubting and worrying; I did the same even with my second. My husband finally said, “are you really not going to do CIO, though?” I said, “no, I know the benefits too well.” He then replied, “then stop worrying about it.” So, even experienced moms have a hard time with CIO 🙂 The first time around is the hardest. Hang in there!
March 31, 2008 9:53 AM
- Rachel said…
Is it possible that my 6 week old might not like her morning nap because she got plenty of sleep the night before? She slept for a 5 hour block and then fed and then another 2 hours. Now she has screamed the entire morning nap. Not stopping at all.Help!
April 9, 2008 9:52 AM
No, they really need that first nap, and often sooner than they need other naps. Keep it up. There will be hard days during your training. Kaitlyn had one bad day every week (she was relatively easy to sleep train). That one day, she just cried for naps.Be sure she isn’t going down too late, be sure she isn’t hot/cold/wet/etc. Be sure she doesn’t have gas or something. One you have eliminated all problems, just know that bad naps are a normal part of the training process. Hang in there 🙁
April 9, 2008 10:53 AM
Everything is fine. She is fed, and changed. I guess my question is HOW LONG does this all last? Im so tired, but want to stay the course and see it out? How long till she stays down for naps?
April 9, 2008 1:03 PM
It depends on your baby and the consistency you are able to provide. I have found that after two weeks of consistency, things get much better. Then two more weeks, you see another great step. After 8 weeks of training, both of my kids had stopped crying all together for naps and nighttime. It does get better! I would suggest you go to the blog index and look through the word to the weary posts (under the topic “Word to the Weary”)
April 9, 2008 10:43 PM
- jamie9686 said…
My baby is 5 weeks old. She has been doing well w/ CIO for naps for about a week. We have really not beening let her CIO during the night thus far. We have been feeding her when she wakes up during the night and she usually goes to sleep during feeding…until last night. I let her CIO after her 3:00am feeding. She usually wakes up @ 11:00 to 12:00 for Dreamfeeding, then at 3:00 am, then she wakes at 6 to 7am and I usually end up putting her in bed w/ me until 8 (her waketime). I know this is a bad habit, so I am trying to cut it out now. She woke again this morning and I tried to feed her, but she really didn’t seem interested. So I let her CIO. She’ll cry for about 5 minutes, then sleep 10, then cry another 3 minutes, then sleep 10, then cry again, then sleep somemore. Am I doing the right thing? Should she be waking this much? Also, I think she is stuck on a three hour routine during the night? What are your thoughts, if so how can I change it?
April 15, 2008 5:58 AM
One thing I would be sure of is that she is getting enough waktime in the day. For a 5 week old, each cycle will only include 30-60 minutes depending on the baby. Enough waketime ensures better night sleeping. I would probably wait until she was at least 7 weeks old to CIO for night. Since I am a week late responding, you should be close (though you could have fixed that by now :).
April 20, 2008 4:40 PM
- Kait said…
What do you do when your baby cries to the next feed, and then you feed him but he hasn’t slept yet. Do you just place him directly back in to his crib, or do you have awake time after the feed still?
May 5, 2008 12:16 PM
Just to add to my last comment…I’m on day 1 of CIO with my 8-week-old son and it’s going terrible!! He’s just cried straight through to the next feed twice now (still going). He has been awake for so long it’s scary. He wont go down in a swing. He will fall asleep in the stroller but it’s a bit of a hassle to get him all bundled up and in to the stroller and out of our apartment building every time I need to squeeze in some sleep. I will do it if it will help though? I swaddle him (with one hand out because it’s the only way it works), and sing him a song and tell him I love him and put him down and he’s just screaming his head off. There have been periods of quiet during the screaming bouts, and I’ve gone to listen at the door and he’s still making noises and arms are flailing. He’s looking around the room with his eyes wide open. This last time the quiet patch lasted 30 minutes and at one point he sounded happy and started talking to himself but then after 30 minutes, started screaming again. Is this a good sign that he’s starting the self-soothing? It sounds like my son is more similar to Brayden than Katelyn from what you’ve said. He fights naps like crazy and I have little hope that this is going to work. I think I need some reassurance or encouragement that this is worth it!
May 5, 2008 1:33 PM
In my experience, I kept him awake for a little bit of time after the feeding. Not sure if it was the right thing to do or not. He now goes down like a champ!
May 5, 2008 1:34 PM
Kait,I have to laugh just because I know just how you feel. Know that your feelings are totally normal. Even with Kaitlyn I sometimes wondered if it would work, which was really silly because 90% of the time she was fantastic with NO crying. I had also been through it before…but I still wondered and worried. It will work. You will get better at reading his cues and he will get better at soothing himself. Your experience sounds very similar to my experience with Brayden. We had many naps that were cried through. Be sure to read through all of the word to the weary posts from the blog index (it is the last category). It is definitely worth in in the long run; not just for your baby’s sleep now, but it really has great benefits into toddler years and preschool years. I am sure there are benefits beyond, but that is as far as I am so far :)As far as the original question, I did like mm. You have to really watch it. If you think he needs to go right back down after feeding and diaper change, do it. The more tired he is, the harader it will be for him to fall asleep.
May 5, 2008 2:25 PM
Thanks for your comment. It’s good to hear that your experience was similar. After I posted, he eventually did fall asleep for 25 minutes, and then woke up right on cue to feed at the 3 hour mark. So I got him up, fed him, and we’re starting over now. Do you know if the talking to himself in patches amidst the crying is a way of self-soothing? He seems to be doing that in more frequent bouts as the day goes on, which I’m wondering if it’s his way of making progress or not. I haven’t read that anywhere else…everyone else seems to say that their babies cry and then just eventually go to sleep! Oh I wish that was mine.
May 5, 2008 3:31 PM
It is possible that he self-soothes by talking to himself. There are a lot of ways of baby’s self-soothe. Also, in my experience, people remember CIO better than it actually was.
May 5, 2008 10:35 PM
Okay, so I’m on day 2 and he seems to be taking 45 min to an hour to fall asleep each time, which is progress from yesterday I guess. BUT, he wakes up 25 minutes in to each nap like clockwork. Since he wont take to the swing, what should I do?? I really want to make this work but when he’s only napping for 25 minutes and I know that he needs more sleep do I continue to let him CIO?
May 6, 2008 1:42 PM
Kait,I wouldn’t have him CIO after he has been asleep yet. He is still learning the initial self-soothing, and the mid-nap self-soothe is harder to get through. I would stick with it; it will continue to improve (but it does go back and forth for a while). But when he wakes, I would just get him up and move forward. Be sure to see the waking early post for other ideas other than the swing: Waking Early From Naps/Won’t Fall Asleep For Naps: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/01/waking-early-from-napswont-fall-asleep.html
May 6, 2008 3:49 PM
Thanks for your response. This blog is so great, by the way. It’s such a great resource. I don’t think I could face CIO without it. I just sit here while he’s crying and read your blog and it helps pass the time.That’s a relief that I shouldn’t try to have him go back to sleep after he takes a short nap yet. I’ll focus on first things first and tackle that one later. One more question…sorry I’m full of them. Do you know of a lot of people who have had success at this early age (my son is 8 weeks)? I know you said that with Kaitlyn you started right away, but everywhere else I read seems to recommend waiting until 3-4 months for CIO and I can’t help but have insecurities that I’m starting too early. Do you know of anywhere that posts success stories?Thanks!
May 6, 2008 10:29 PM
Honestly, 3-4 months sounds really late to me. I think that would make it much harder. I started Bradyen at 9 weeks, which I considered late. His CIO training was MUCH harder than my daughters.I don’t know of any sites where there is just success stories, but there is a great site called Mayas Mom (mayasmom.com). There is a great Babywise group there. It is private and you need to request membership, but the admins are fast about getting you in. You could join there and post a question about when they started CIO. I did a poll back in January about this topic (http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/01/poll-results-what-age-did-you-start-cio.html). There aren’t a lot of results because the blog was pretty new. I should do the poll again.
May 7, 2008 9:17 PM
Oh, and I am glad you can find solace during CIO, it is a hard time 🙂
May 7, 2008 9:22 PM
I started CIO with Hannah at around 3 weeks and I feel THAT was too late lol!! She is now 4 and a half months and it takes 2 to 5 mins at most of CIO (if at all) before naps and at night when its bed time about 10-25 mins- (which i still feel is a good deal of time). It gets to be where it is not every nap they cry but it took us a while to get there from 3 weeks. It seems like a looonnngg process but it is so worth it to stick it out at any age you start. People can’t believe at what a well behaved baby I have, and I didn’t realize it until I saw some other babies. Hang in there, its tough, but so worth it.
May 8, 2008 9:18 AM
Thanks for that Amy!
May 8, 2008 11:15 PM
- abigail’s mom said…
Thank you for your site! It is very helpful.I am trying to do babywise with my first baby girl, Abigail. She is now 5 weeks of age.She generally eats every 3 hours in the morning, and then every 2 hours in the afternoon to evening.(7am, 10am, 1pm, 3pm, 5pm, 7pm, 9pm, 11:30 pm then we let her sleep til she wakes, usually 3:30/4am … 7am repeat).question 1.most of the time she will go down after her feed, wake, and cry either little (10-15 min)or not at all….however, maybe 2 times a day she cries much longer, on and off nearly up to an hour.what is the longest i should let her cry? i know the book says 15-20 min, but does that mean i go in pick her up calm her down and then start back over until she cries another 15-20 min?if i do that then her sleep will be disrupted for the next cycle making her cranky. however, i am worried that rocking her to sleep will be a sleep prop.so, what is the more important lesson for the baby, to sleep on her own or is it more important to maintain the structue of the schedule and just do whatever i can to get her to sleep after 15-20 min of crying?question 2.how do i know how much wake time is too little or too long? i try to put her down when i see her starting to yawn. is this the point of overstimulation? if she is groggy and wants to sleep immediately after a feeding, then what is the minimal amt of time i need to keep her up.question 3. she consistently needs to eat every 2 hours from 12 pm to around 9pm. i assume its b/c my milk is lower then. i experimented and supplemented with formula during those hours (3pm to 9pm) and she slept more on a 3 hour schedule during those hours. can you think of any reasons why one is significanly better than the other?(either feeding more number of times w/ breast milk, but baby is not getting as long of a nap time VS. supplementing w/ formula which keeps her fuller longer when my breast milk is low and letting her be more on a 3 hour schedule.) doing solely breastmilk i worry she is hungry when she is crying. doing formula i worry that if i continue to do that my milk supply will go down and it would be a vicious cycle, but she is “sticking to the schedule’ better with it. i don’t want the momentary fix, i want what is better for her schedule in the long run. what would you do?question 4. abigail sometimes wants to stay up for 2 hours straight. she seems soooo awake. she does this every now and then. is this b/c she is not having enough wake time spread throughout the day?
May 14, 2008 7:33 AM
Hi Abigail’s mom,Regarding CIO, I had a similiar problem with my son. He would cry for 2 hours almost every time I put him down for a nap. At first, I would let him cry for about 30 minutes and then console him back to sleep. However, things did not get better. I was so drained emotionally and physically. So I made a decision to do CIO hardcore for a month and if it didn’t work, I would try something else. I told myself that I couldn’t do CIO half heartedly and complain that it didn’t work. So I let my son cry for 1-2 hours. On the fourth day, I was ready to quit from all the stress. But that day, things just clicked for him and he slept beautifully without much crying. However, this lasted for only two days and he started to cry again! Because now I knew how good things could be, I stuck with it. There were good days and bad days for about 3 weeks. Now he is consistently taking 1 1/2 – 2 hour naps and I feel like all my hard work was worth it. I know the book says 10-20 minutes but I think that it really depends on the babies personality and tendencies. My son is very stubborn so it took alot more to help him sleep without crying. Hope this helps and good luck!
May 14, 2008 10:16 AM
Thanks Judy for your added comment.Here are my answers to your questions: QUESTION ONE: part of her crying longer might have to do with her waketime length. One thing is make sure she does not fall asleep during her waketime (like during nursing). I found my daughter cried more if she had even a short power nap during waketime. Keep a log and really see what waketime length is best for her at different times of day. Most babies that age will have a pretty consistent waketime length, and it is usually around 45 minutes-1 hour. As for length, you will have to decide what is the best approach with her. With my son, he needed to be in there until he was asleep. With my daughter, if she had cried for 20 minutes (later changed to 30), then I would go in, tell her to go to sleep, leave, she would cry harder for a minute then go to sleep. See this post for more: Waking Early From Naps/Won’t Fall Asleep For Naps: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/01/waking-early-from-napswont-fall-asleep.html In the beginning, I go for the eat/wake/sleep and go for establishing the metabolism. I also want a nap in there. The post I listed goes into that more.QUESTION TWO: see this post Nap Cues : http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/03/nap-cues.html QUESTION THREE: If you want to continue nursing, I would not supplement with formula on a regular basis. If she has taken a full feeding, then when it comes to naptime, you can be sure she isn’t hungry. You are still at a critical point for establishing that milk supply. If it were me, I wouldn’t do the formula. When I did feed my kids formula, I always pumped out the same amount they ate so that the milk supply would not be compromised.QUESTION FOUR: Two hours seems really long for a 5 week old. I would say it is possible that she catches a second wind and is ready for more. Good luck!
May 14, 2008 2:06 PM
- mommyofthree said…
My 4 week old cries very hard for quite awhile when put down to sleep but then will quiet for a few minutes and then start the crying again. This can go on and on, but usually after an hour I get him up because we are closing in on another feeding time. He hardly ever just quiets and stays asleep. This makes for frustrating naptimes! Is my “rescuing” him after 3-4 off and on crying episodes making it so he won’t ever fall asleep? Thanks!
May 25, 2008 10:26 PM
If you are going in every 3-4 minutes, I would definitely wait longer. Also, figure out if you should at all. With my son, I couldn’t. With my daughter, I could, but if I went in too soon, it doomed the nap. At first I had to wait 20 minutes. As she got older, it moved to 30 minutes. I would give him at least 10, but more like 15, before you interfere. Good luck! It is all such a learning process for mom and baby 🙂
May 26, 2008 10:21 AM
Sorry, that was confusing. I’m not going in every 3-4 minutes, I’m actually not going in at all. He will cry for maybe 15 or 20 minutes, stop for maybe 5 and then repeat this pattern 3 or 4 times. So in total he may cry for 1 – 1.5 hours but with short quiet breaks in between. But never a good chunk of quiet sleeptime. So then after all of that off and on crying it is almost time for him to eat. Does that make sense? So, I am leaving him to CIO, but he never falls asleep! Any suggestions?
May 26, 2008 11:04 AM
Have you reviewed the CIO bootcamp? I would look over that and that should give you some ideas. Also, figure out if he needs you to interfere or not. Some do, some don’t. Also, be sure his waketime isn’t too long. At four weeks, he likely can’t do more than 30-60 minutes total sucessfully. Most will be around 45 minutes. Good luck!
May 26, 2008 2:10 PM
- Jennie said…
SUCH a GREAT post! I have a question though. I have a 5 week old and am doing CIO during the day (not successful at all so far and the swing doesn’t work either!) but I have a 2 year old that I did Babywise with so I know it is worth it. But my question is if Im doing CIO during the day is it okay if I’m not doing it at night? (since hes only 5 weeks old and I since it isnt working during the day and we all need sleep I can’t listen to him cry all night long!) Also, should I also let him CIO when he wakes up early from a nap? (like after 45 min to one hour and there is still an hour left untl his next feeding? (I can’t imagine him crying it out after he has already been asleep?)Thanks!
October 8, 2008 1:49 PM
Jennie, I always say to start CIO in the day and hope as things improve you won’t even have to do night. I don’t think at 5 weeks I would do CIO in the middle of a nap.
October 9, 2008 2:24 PM
So if I don’t do CIO in the middle of the nap..what do I do? I don’t want to feed him b/c that will make him eating every 2 hours….do I just go get him and pacify him until the next feeding? Thanks!
October 9, 2008 4:34 PM
Jennie,What I do if my 11 week old wakes up early from a nap is first wait about 10 mins to see if he’ll go back to sleep. If he’s still crying after 10 mins, I give him his pacifier or put him in his swing and he usually goes back to sleep, but not always. Although I try to stick more to 3 hr feedings, and even up to 3 1/2 now that he’s older, if it’s 30 mins before that 3 hr mark, I’ll just feed him a little early. I wouldn’t feed him any sooner than 2 1/2 hrs though. Hope that helps!
October 9, 2008 4:47 PM