How to Sleep Train Your Baby Responsibly

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How to Sleep Train Your Baby Responsibly. Tips for doing cry it out in a way that best helps your baby. Sleep training tips.

Baby lying on a bed. All you see is feet and legs

My friend, Maureen Monfore, recently emailed me with a concern. She is a member of pretty much all of the online Babywise support groups that I am, and she told me she was concerned over some of the CIO (cry it out) comments she had seen over time. She asked that I post this here.

Sleep Train a Baby Responsibly

“I see many people doing and suggesting CIO and while CIO is often necessary and does work, I am sometimes concerned by what I read. Our babies are not trying to manipulate us. They are new to this world and are just learning how things work. Crying is their only way of communicating with us. While I do agree that we shouldn’t do CIO half-heartedly, we still can’t put all of the burden on the baby. I feel like to do CIO responsibly, the we need to do several things. Some of these are a given, but when you’re a first-time mom, they might not seem intuitive. And yes, the we should do ALL of these things, not some of them:

  • Make sure baby is well fed. Monitor your supply closely if you are BF’ing. Make sure your pediatrician is monitoring your baby’s growth.
  • Make sure baby is not sick in any way (reflux, ear infections, food sensitivities, etc.).
  • Stick to the eat/awake/sleep routine.
  • Stick to the schedule consistently.
  • Be sure to put baby down at the optimal wake time (which includes feeding time).
  • Have a routine before you put baby down to transition him to sleep, whether that’s rocking, singing, dancing, closing the curtains, whatever. But always put baby down awake (a little drowsy is OK).
  • Have a reason for CIO. It should only be necessary for initial sleep training or when going through phases like rolling over, standing up, weaning from swaddle, etc. If crying happens out of the blue for a baby who has always slept well, CIO cannot be the first course of action. You need to consider the context and characterization of the child. You need to investigate all possible causes including a visit to the doctor. Offer Tylenol 20 minutes before the nap if you suspect teething. Evaluate the baby’s behavior during awake time. If you are still stumped, I would comfort the baby until you can figure out the reason.
  • Don’t start CIO while other changes are going on. If you are weaning, changing formulas, visiting family or experiencing any other disruption to your routine, wait until that disruption is over before you start CIO.
  • Keep track of how long the baby is crying. It’s best to distract yourself during CIO, but you need to monitor it. Write it down if that helps. When done effectively and responsibly, the CIO shouldn’t take more than 3-5 days and the crying should be less and less each nap/bed time. Initially, baby might cry for an hour. The next time it should be closer to 45 minutes, then 30 minutes and so on. When I have done CIO with Lucas, my youngest, it realistically never took more than 3-4 naps before we were over the problem. The first time was always the hardest but then it got better very fast. With a baby on a 3-hour routine with an awake time of one hour, the most the baby would cry is 2 hours. Even that is a little long in my book, so consider doing a 2.5-hour schedule (which BW condones), meaning the longest CIO would be 1.5 hours.
  • Above all, be consistent. Being wishy washy about it will only drag it on, confuse the baby and make matters worse. If you can’t handle the CIO, don’t do it at all. Don’t set time limits. Don’t get them up some times and not others. Don’t rock/nurse the baby to sleep some times and not others. You need to decide what you want your baby to learn. Set the rules and stick to them. It’s OK if you can’t handle doing CIO consistently. It’s not for everyone. If it’s not for you, don’t do it at all. Read other books, like Secrets of the Baby Whisperer, and find another method.”

My Added Thoughts:

CIO Definition

The definition of CIO is different for every one. For some people, when they think of CIO, they think that means you put baby in bed and leave him there until he goes to sleep, no matter what. That is not my definition of CIO.

First, I think it is important to remember the “why” behind doing CIO. While utilizing Babywise, the why of CIO is to teach your child to self-soothe so he can fall asleep on his own as well as eventually stay asleep through sleep transitions, which occur about every 45 minutes. That is why you are doing CIO.

To do CIO responsibly, I believe you need to take that “why” and apply it in context of what is going on. That is the reason if my baby is over stimulated, I do not do CIO for that nap. It just isn’t going to effectively teach what I am trying to teach. For a full run-down of steps I find important while doing CIO, see my Cry It Out Bootcamp.

What To Do When Baby Takes a Long Time to Fall Asleep

Monitoring Supply

Maureen mentioned the need to monitor milk supply and growth. You also need to monitor growth. I have known of one or two people who done CIO with baby and didn’t find it to be going well. They later discovered that there were breastfeeding supply problems and the baby wasn’t growing as expected.

If you use the charts found in the back of On Becoming Babywise, you can monitor growth much better. I realize it can seem tedious to mark down wet/dirty diapers and count number of feedings each day for weeks and weeks, but it is an excellent way to make sure things are on track. I did this with both of my children, and will do it for my third.


Sickness can interfere with the success of CIO. You want to make sure all of these issues are addressed before starting CIO. If your baby has reflux, for example, that doesn’t mean you are unable to do CIO. I did it with Kaitlyn with no problems. But there were times when I put her down and could tell something was wrong. I would then get her up and put her in her swing to sleep. There were naps when she woke early, and I could tell it was because of pain from her reflux. I moved her to her swing to finish her nap.

See these posts along this topic:


Maureen mentioned sticking to the eat/wake/sleep cycle. This consistency helps baby’s body get used to the predictability of when he will eat, when he will play, and when he will sleep.

See these posts for more on this topic:

She also cautions to avoid starting CIO while in the middle of a disruption. The reason for this is that disruptions obviously interfere with consistency. Also, babies are typically fussier while experiencing a disruption.

Great Sleep Training Books

The Contented Little Baby
Mom’s On Call
Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems
The Wonder Weeks
The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems
Secrets of the Baby Whisperer
Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child
Chronicles of a Babywise Mom Book of Logs
The Babywise Mom Nap Guide
On Becoming Babywise
The Contented Little Baby
Mom’s On Call
Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems
The Wonder Weeks
The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems
Secrets of the Baby Whisperer
Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child
Chronicles of a Babywise Mom Book of Logs
The Babywise Mom Nap Guide
On Becoming Babywise

Optimal Waketime

Maureen said to put baby down at the optimal waketime. This is one of the most important aspects to successful CIO. I have several posts that deal with this topic:

How to Sleep Train Your Baby Responsibly. Tips for doing cry it out in a way that best helps your baby. Sleep training tips.

Sleep Routine

This goes along with the idea of consistency. Having a sleep routine is a signal to baby that naptime is about to start. See this post:


Some moms are nervous to attend to baby later down the road after sleep training is completed. Say baby has been falling asleep without a peep for three months, then one day cries before going down for her nap. This would be uncharacteristic for her. This is a moment when you want to go in and attend to her needs. You want to be sure there is nothing wrong. If you have checked her over and are sure there is nothing wrong, you can have her CIO if needed.

There have been a few times in the 19 months of Kaitlyn’s life of absolutely no crying before a nap (she is 21 months old) that she has cried. I go in. There have been random problems. Most of the time with her, it is simply that she wants a hug from me. This is not something she uses as a “tactic” to get me back in the room. She rarely does it, but it happens. In fact, it happened a couple of weeks ago. I put her down; she cried. I went in, picked her up, hugged her, and about 30 seconds later she pointed to her bed and said, “Lay down.” I put her back down, told her I loved her and to sleep well, and she went right to sleep without a peep.

I remember when Brayden was one year old. He woke in the middle of the night crying. This was really uncharacteristic of him. I had the thought that maybe I shouldn’t go in, but I knew this was different and figured something had to be wrong. We were in the middle of moving and were in a different house than he was used to, but I didn’t assume that was the problem. I went in to find that he had diarrhea –the worst kind–the acid kind that burns the minute it touches the skin. I was very glad I had checked on him.

For more on the idea of context, see Adjusting for Context When Using Babywise.

Keep A Log

Maureen mentioned to keep track of what is happening. I agree with this and do this. I keep a log whenever I am trying to figure out or implement something new. I have an eBook of logs that I use with my babies. You can get your copy here.

Length of Time

Maureen says CIO will take 3-5 days if done right. I tend to disagree with this, though it is obviously what she has found. If the child is already sleep trained and you are returning from a vacation or your child is teething or something, it will likely take anywhere from a day to a week or two, with most being about 3-5 days, to return to where you were before the disruptions.

I have found that it does get better over time as she mentioned, but it isn’t so much a step by step process, but a spiral process. So it doesn’t go from crying 30 minutes one day, to 25 the next, to 20 the next, etc. It is more of cries 30 minutes one day, 15 the next, 10 the next, 35 the next, 5 the next, etc. While some of these days seem like you are backtracking or moving away from your goal, you are spiraling toward the goal (see progress is a spiral for more on that idea).

See this post for more on when it gets better: When Do Babies Get Easier?


Maureen suggested you set rules and stick to them. This is a good idea, while also applying the idea of context as discussed above. If you have found your baby cannot be interfered with, but it seems like something is wrong, by all means attend to him.

My thanks to Maureen for bringing this topic to my, and therefore your, attention. Let’s all remember to do CIO responsibly.

Here are further posts and blog labels to help you:

Reader Thanks/Comments:

  • Rachel Stella said…
    I think this is a great subject to bring up. Thanks Maureen.I have to also disagree with Maureen about CIO only taking 3-5 days. Though having the perfect timing and a good nap time routine will helps tons, some kids have a harder time than others. My son cried (though not usually more than 30 minutes) at nap time for months! It didn’t make a difference if I put him to bed earlier, later etc. And whenever he’s going through a phase like “early morning wakenings” the phase lasts a REALLY long time no matter what I do. That is just how he is.
    January 21, 2009 10:31 AM
    Maureen said…
    Thanks again Val for posting this!To provide some context behind the 3-5 day idea, in Secrets of the Baby Whisperer, she says it takes about 3 days to form or break a habit. Using CIO is one method of doing so. In his book, Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems, Dr. Richard Ferber, sort of a pioneer in the CIO method, says it takes a few days to a week. Here’s an excerpt from that book:”How long that takes depends on how many steps are involved….Children are very quick learners. A child who has always fallen asleep one way can learn to fall asleep a new way after just a few nights’ practice. (It’s their slower-learning parents who may take a month or more to master new sleep habits.) This is both good news and bad news: sleep problems can develop over just a few days, but they can be solved just as quickly.”So as with any sort of average such as this there will be some babies who take more time and some who take less. But on average, it seems that 3-5 days is typical.Maureen
    January 21, 2009 12:42 PM
    Rachel Stella said…
    Yeah, I’ve read the 3-5 days in several places too but I rarely ever hear a parent say it only took that long. But then again, I really don’t know how consitent these parents are being. I just know that it took my son much longer with CIO, even being consistent and being very careful with his awake time.I guess the only problem I have with telling people it’ll take 3-5 days when it seems to take longer is that people get too high of expectations then either give up because only a few days didn’t work or get extremely stressed out and think they must be doing something wrong or something is wrong with their child if it takes more than a few days.
    January 21, 2009 2:51 PM
    Maureen said…
    True. I suppose a word of caution about these averages would be a good idea. It can always take longer. If you have done everything in your power to ensure that CIO is the right thing for that particular time (according to the bullets I listed), then it would be helpful to know that it can take longer. The unfortunate thing that I have noticed is that some moms will get frustrated and let their babies cry despite inconsistency, schedule disruptions, teething, etc. Some moms consider CIO as a first course of action when it shouldn’t be. I have made my own mistakes with CIO with my older son and only want to help spare other moms and babies those same mistakes. The silver lining for me is that my second child benefited from my mistakes. He has always been a good sleeper and has only had to CIO a handful of times. Maureen
    January 21, 2009 3:23 PM
    Plowmanators said…
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts Rachel!
    January 24, 2009 3:38 PM
    Plowmanators said…
    Maureen, thanks for the context. But doesn’t Ferber recommend CIO at an older age? I have heard of CIO working in a few days for an older baby, but never in a newborn. BW suggests you don’t rock from the beginning, so if you are following BW strictly and starting CIO at a few weeks rather than 6 months, I doubt it would happen in a few days.As Rachel said, I hadn’t ever heard a parent (who has done CIO) say it takes 3-5 days until Maureen said it. I have seen that question asked many times in Parenting Advice groups, and all responses from parents who have done it have been, sorry, it takes longer than that. I also worry about parents going into CIO expecting 3-5 days and then freaking out when it doesn’t happen. I have had that question many times on this blog :)I have to also say that I would consider myself to be good at the CIO process. I know what I am doing and what not to do. It took Kaitlyn almost 8 weeks before she was 100% done crying before naps and bedtime (the same for Brayden). That isn’t to day for 8 weeks she was having rough CIO sessions. She had many naps that had no crying at all (including her first CIO session), and many with crying for less than a minute. But I consider the process to have taken 8 weeks because at that point, I was 100% confident that she would not cry before a nap and knew if she did, something was wrong.Maureen, could you share what age you started CIO with Lucas and how long it took before you were 100% sure he would not cry before a nap? It would be helpful since you have had fast success with it.
    January 24, 2009 3:58 PM
    Maureen said…
    Hi Val. I’m happy to share my experiences with CIO. Again they are just anecdotes, so I would trust what the books say, but this will give you some perspective. I plan on buying Ferber’s book tonight (I haven’t read the entire thing) and I’ll let you know what it says about the age thing. Here are my experiences:William:He had colic due to a dairy sensitivity, so I was an attachment parent for his first 6 weeks. We started BW and CIO at 7.5 weeks. The dairy was out of our systems and he had stopped the endless/painful crying. I went cold turkey on CIO. It was tough for both of us considering I had ALWAYS helped him get to sleep. That initial sleep training effort took 3 days. The first couple naps were bad, but they got progressively better with less and less crying each time. We had CIO issues later which I now know the reason for the problem (the mistakes I mentioned before). But that initial sleep training effort was 3 days. Nights were never much of an issue for either of my boys.Lucas:We had two CIO incidents with him. One was with a problem rolling over and the other was weaning from the swaddle. If I remember right, both were after 6 months. I knew we weaned from the swaddle at 6 months. I was thinking the rolling over was before that, but now that I think about it, he wasn’t rolling over while still swaddled. So yes, both of these were later. And both times, it didn’t take 3-4 days. It took 3-4 naps, so really just 1.5 days.As for Lucas’ initial sleep training as a newborn, we never had to do CIO. There were times here and there that he would cry, but on the whole, he went right to sleep without a fuss. I credit this to having started BW from day one and the swaddle. Here’s an anecdote: I had a friend over one day. He was about 3-4 weeks at the time. We were chatting on the couch and I swaddled him because I was going to take him upstairs and put him down. I set him on the couch next to me while I helped William with something. Then I turned back around to Lucas (30 seconds later) and he was almost asleep! The lights were on, people were talking and he was on the couch! But he was swaddled and ready to go to sleep, so he was just going to go to sleep. Part of this is also his temperament. He is a much sleepier baby than William ever was. I did also rock him (and still do). I never rocked him to sleep, but I saw the value in having that transition to sleep. So you can see how my experiences line up with what the books say. I think CIO should be done for specific purposes and that if it goes on too long there might be something wrong or the parent might not be as consistent as they could be.Maureen
    January 24, 2009 6:25 PM
    Plowmanators said…
    Thanks for sharing Maureen.
    January 29, 2009 11:28 AM
  • Jennifer said…
    Great post! I think this brings up a lot of really good points! Thanks again for a wonderful resource!
    January 21, 2009 11:21 AM
    Plowmanators said…
    You are welcome Jennifer. Thanks for thanking!
    January 24, 2009 3:39 PM
  • Becca said…
    My son took longer to CIO for naps (1.5 wks) than he did for nights (4 days), maybe because he learned naps first?? Another difference in my son was he didn’t slowly decrease the time he cried (for nights). It was 2 nights of 1.5 hrs, 1 night STTN, 1 night of 1.5 hours, and then he STTN consistently starting the 5th night. The only difference from night to night was me increasing the duration of time in between me going in, maybe that was why. Thanks for the post!
    January 21, 2009 7:44 PM
    Plowmanators said…
    Becca, thanks for sharing your experience. I think most do get better at night before day. Both of mine basically never had to CIO at night before bed, and neither ever cried after a feeding in the middle of the night.
    January 24, 2009 4:01 PM
  • UnOrdinary said…
    Thanks for this post. I agree 100%. This is a very helpful clarification of how to use CIO for confused new moms!
    January 22, 2009 7:58 AM
    Plowmanators said…
    You are welcome UnOrdinary. Thanks for the thanks!
    January 24, 2009 4:10 PM
  • The Greenfields said…
    thanks for this post. it was perfect timing as we have just done some major traveling and we are working on getting noah back on schedule again. i hate CIO every time, but i know it’s for the best and luckily noah (8 1/2 months) falls into the average 3-5 days until we are back in our groove again. today i was vigilant about watching his cues for naptime and we had GREAT naps, 2 hours, with no tears! i needed these reminders!Thanks again for your ministry through this blog. it’s such a blessing for me trying to figure this all out as a first time mom.
    January 22, 2009 11:36 AM
    Plowmanators said…
    You are welcome Greenfields! Good job on the vigilance. That makes a huge difference.
    January 24, 2009 4:21 PM
  • Cindy (and Brian) said…
    This is a great post. thank you!
    January 23, 2009 3:44 AM
    Plowmanators said…
    Cindy, you are welcome!
    January 24, 2009 4:29 PM

Reader Sleep Training Questions:

  • Shanna said…
    My 6 week old baby girl fights sleep during every daytime nap. I have to be very careful how long her wake time is, as she quickly gets cranky and is obviously tired. At 6 weeks old, is she really old enough to CIO? She is doing well on a 2.5/3 hour feeding schedule, but simply hates the process of falling asleep and I end up having to hold her every time. A few days ago I spent the day trying to let her CIO during her daytime naps, and it was a disaster. I think she slept only 2 or 3 hours the entire day. Is it normal to have such a rocky start? Do I just need to stick with it for a few more days? How long should I really let her cry at this age? I really appreciate any advice you can provide. I’m so glad that I found your blog. As a new mother, I find it incredibly informative and encouraging.
    January 21, 2009 7:48 PM
    Maureen said…
    Shanna, this is one of those cases where you are doing CIO for a purpose (for sleep training). Before you start, go through my checklist to be sure you have all of your bases covered. Also be sure you have the determination and resolve to stick it out. It will definitely be rocky and you can count on her getting less sleep for those few days. And on average, it should only be a few days. But if you cave and go in and rock her, worried that she’s not getting enough sleep, you have basically undone the work you had done to that point. You are telling her that if she cries long and hard enough, you will come to her. Believe me, this is harder on you than it is on her. Start with a plan. Give yourself maybe 2 weeks, in case it takes that long. Decide that you won’t reevalutate until those two weeks are over. Find ways to cope. Take a shower. Listen to your iPod. Call a friend. Go outside. Watch TV. Do whatever you need to do to distract yourself. You might also want to read Ferber’s book which offers suggestions for going in at different intervals. And 6 weeks is not too young to CIO. I started at 7 weeks with my older son (never really had to do it for sleep training with my younger son). He was never a good sleeper but he fit the 3-day mold perfectly, and we had some bad habits to overcome. The earlier you start, the easier it will be. The longer you wait, the more ingrained your habits will be. You might also want to consider doing a consistent 2.5-hour schedule until she is sleep trained. This would shorten the time between feedings which means the time she spends in her crib would be less. So if her awake time is an hour, the longest she’ll cry is 1.5 hours. That does seem like a lot, especially when you’re in the middle of it, but just remind yourself that you are giving her the gift of training her to sleep. And remember that it’s only temporary. I always say that a baby who isn’t sleep trained spends far more time crying overall (over weeks and months) than a baby who spends a few days to CIO to learn to sleep.One more thing: her awake time is probably shorter than you would think. With my youngest, I did one hour as a newborn, but he probably would have done better with just 45 minutes. Better to start with a shorter awake time than a longer one if you’re not completely sure.Good luck!Maureen
    January 22, 2009 12:12 PM
    Shanna said…
    Thanks very much for your advice. I’m going through lots of posts on this site to make sure I’m 100% prepared before I dive in. I think I’ll officially start on Monday, I’m just making minor adjustments for now. Can you direct me to the checklist you referred to? I’m not sure which one it is. Thanks again!
    January 22, 2009 12:43 PM
    Maureen said…
    That sounds like a great plan. I’m referring to the list of bullets near the top of this post. It starts with “Make sure baby is well fed” and ends with “Above all, be consistent.”Glad I could help! Maureen
    January 22, 2009 12:55 PM
    Plowmanators said…
    Shanna, yes, she is old enough, but as her mother, you have to decide if she is ready. As a blanket statement, 6 weeks is old enough, but you have to be sure she is ready before starting (and be sure you are ready before starting). It is normal to have a rough start for sure. Be sure to see the CIO bootcamp linked in this post. It should provide you with all of the information you need to do CIO. If you don’t want to do CIO, there is also the Baby Whisperer method. If you choose to do that, I would recommend you buy or borrow her book. See the blog label “Baby Whisperer” for more on that.
    January 24, 2009 4:04 PM
  • C-lee said…
    Thank you so much for the post My 5 month old has a gas problem, (it is going a little better) . If I put her down for a nap she would cry 1. She is fighting her sleep or 2. There is a wind stuck somewhere. So I have been doing CIO very cautiously. Other days I would put her down and wait for her cry, and there would be nothing, then she is already asleep. SO by this I know she can fall asleep quick if I do put her down on time(not to early or to late). But when she do cry I listen for about a minute then I can tell if there is something out of place, I would go In pick her up and try to burp her, most of the time the wind comes right out. Then she would go asleep. Although some days I struggle to get the wind out and by the time I do get it out she is over stimulated and I need to help her, so I rock her until she is sleepy and the put her down half awake half asleep. Then if she wakes up in the middle of a nap it is because of gas or because the nap is over. SO I go in and if it was gas and I can see she can still take a nap I also help her to go back to sleep, ‘cause usually she struggles to go back down after I try to get the gas out. My question is. IS THIS OKAY TO DO: ROCK HER SOMETIMES AND SOMETIMES NOT – WHEN IF THERE IS NOT A PROBLEM SHE FALLS ASLEEP QUICK AND SLEEP THROUGH THE WHOLE NAP WITHOUT WAKING, EXCEPT IF THE NAP IS DONE???? Apologies for dragy question!!!!!!! C-lee
    January 22, 2009 3:38 AM
    Maureen said…
    C-lee, I think you are doing things perfectly. This is the perfect example where you are considering context (the gas) and the characterization of the child (she usually goes to sleep fine). One thing you might do is try to be a little more proactive with the gas by offering Mylecon before the nap or burping her better. Try to figure out if it happens more at one time of the day than another. But on the whole, you are doing a great job understanding her cues (figuring out the gas) and realizing that she is overtired. Rocking her to drowsy is fine. I would say be cautious if you are rocking her to sleep completely, but if she is still half awake when you put her down, that’s great. I know Val used her swing when her babies woke up early from a nap to let them finish out the nap. IMO, there is nothing wrong with rocking a baby, if that’s something you are comfortable with. I still rock my 15-month-old. I decided early on that I would be fine if it went on forever. Most days, I just rock him for 5 minutes and I always put him down awake. Maureen (Val, I hope you don’t mind me responding to these comments.)
    January 22, 2009 11:53 AM
    Plowmanators said…
    Maureen, I don’t mind you responding 🙂
    January 24, 2009 4:22 PM
    Plowmanators said…
    C-lee, I think what you are doing is perfectly fine. I would recommend Mylicone drops or gripe water if you are not already using that. I had to use it with Brayden after every feeding, and it made a huge difference.
    January 24, 2009 4:10 PM
    C-lee said…
    Thank you maureen for responding. Thank you Plowmanators. I am using drops. The gas is getting better then worse then better then worse. I am going to take her to the Pediatrecian for a check up just in case. Maureen i do rick her for about 2 min to drowsiness and then put her half awake in bed, usually when she does not go to sleep after that I know there is still something bothering. 🙂 Thank you again
    February 2, 2009 11:27 PM
    Plowmanators said…
    You are welcome C-lee 🙂
    February 3, 2009 2:17 PM
  • Ann said…
    Thank you very much for posting this. I wonder, though, if CIO means actual cries? My 8 wk old son just started STTN, however, around 4:30 am, he wakes up and kind of spats and whimpers..but no real actual cries. He has been doing this now for 5 nights. Granted, the length of time is getting shorter, but it’s usually around the same time. Do you think I am letting him CIO, if he’s really not “crying?” And do you think this will eventually stop? I’m always tempted to go and soothe him back to sleep. Last night, he went on for about 30 minutes. Another night, it was almost 2 hrs! Like I said, though, no REAL cries. Just whimpers, and then stops..and then starts, etc… any advice?
    January 22, 2009 8:52 AM
    Maureen said…
    Ann, it really doesn’t matter what you call it, but if he’s just whimpering, I wouldn’t consider that CIO. If he starts and stops, he’s probably even going back to sleep. My younger son used to do that. I would hear him over the monitor and he would talk to himself and maybe whimper a little off and on while I drifted in and out of sleep. Before I knew it, it was a couple hours later. Clearly, he had fallen back to sleep. I wouldn’t worry about it at all. I wouldn’t go in and help him. If you are concerned he’s tangled in his blankets or whatever, you can go check on him (after you’ve given him a few minutes to go back to sleep), but my guess is he’ll do better if you just leave him alone. Maureen
    January 22, 2009 12:16 PM
    Plowmanators said…
    Maureen, your response to Ann is very interesting–you don’t consider that CIO and I do. That might be a big reason we have such a different perspective on how long it takes to complete sleep training.
    January 24, 2009 4:24 PM
    Plowmanators said…
    Ann, I would consider that CIO. For me, any sort of fussing/unhappiness is CIO. CIO doesn’t have to be screaming at the top of lungs. But I would imagine different people have different definitions of this. So long as there is no reason for his waking other than he needs to learn to soothe himself, it will stop, but it sounds like he is doing it for a long time.Does he cry in the day? Is this a normal display of unhappiness, or is this mild for him? If it is normal, I would try to figure out why he is waking. Two hours is a long time. If it is mild, he might just be working things out.Be sure it isn’t a growth spurt. Be sure it isn’t that he is too hot or too cold. Be sure it isn’t sickness. Be sure it isn’t a diaper issue. Be sure it isn’t some noise that is happening around the time he is waking. Once you are sure there is nothing wrong, let him be and he should get better. This post can help you think of possible reasons for waking: Nighttime Sleep Issues and this might have other ideas that can still apply at night:
    Naps: Troubleshooting
    January 24, 2009 4:20 PM
  • The Traveling Turtle said…
    Recently my husband and I went to my mom and dad’s for the weekend with our 11 month old daughter. She has been doing babywise since she was 5 weeks old and has been sleeping through the nights without any problems since then as well. With one exception of when she had her first cold and woke up crying. And then she went right back down. Another time she had a stomach bug and would not let me put her down at night in her crib. I ended up holding her as I sat in a chair all night long. the next night she was back to feeling better and back to sleeping on her own again. We have been to my parent’s many, many times and our daughter always sleeps in the same place. this time was the same thing. she slept like a log the first night we took her there and then the next day acted terrified of being in the room alone. she would not let us put her down. We made her go down for bed that night and she woke about 12:00 at night. my mom and dad both had to work the next day so CIO was not an option at that point. I was trying to be considerate. She did it again the next night and we left the following day. When we got home she started the same thing and I made her CIO for 20 minutes of very hard sobbing. I went in to comfort her and make sure she was OK. she was full, dry and not giving indications of being sick at all. I don’t know what the deal was with her 3 night fits though. I put her back down after I got her calm and she cried for maybe 3 more minutes and then went to sleep for the night. Not an issue since. I think some of it is seperation anxiety – she only wants me all the time. I am a working mom and only get to see her at night for an hour M-Thursday since I get to work at 7:00 AM. Could that have been a problem? Are there other issues that I should have looked for? was she just unaware of where she was this time? I just don’t know what to think. We had just been there 3 weeks before and she did great. And she was perfect the previous night there. Please help.
    January 22, 2009 3:20 PM
    Plowmanators said…
    Traveling Turtle, Whatever it is, it is safe to assume there is a reason for it. It sounds like she is doing well now, so that is good. It could have been a separation anxiety thing. It also might have been something in the room that upset her for whatever reason. Since it happened at your parent’s and not at home, my assumption would be more that something there upset her than separation anxiety. It she started to do it at home too, then it might be SA. Maybe she just wasn’t feeling good that night. She might have felt a little sick or something. She also might just have been nervous. So many possibilities 🙂
    January 24, 2009 4:29 PM
  • The Lunds said…
    Thank you so much for your dedication to this blog – so helpful! I have an 8 week old daughter and we having been doing CIO since 1/17. I am still having trouble with crying at bedtime. She is growing great and I am monitoring wet/dirty diapers. We have the same routine at naps and bedtime – swaddle, pacifier, kiss and in bed. We have followed eat/wake/sleep pretty religiously since birth and she does great with a 3 hour routine (6a,9a,12p,3p,6p,9p). Her optimal waketime is about an hour. She goes down for all early naps without a peep and really has since the 1st or 2nd day of CIO. Her last nap after 6p feeding is dicey – sometimes great, sometimes she cries off and on throughout. The first night of CIO she cried off and on for an hour – we checked her every 10 minutes. She hasn’t cried that long since, but still averages 20-30 minutes every night at bedtime (after 9p feeding). I am baffled why she doesn’t cry for naps but cries every bedtime, even with the same routine?! Should we just push through for 8 weeks and hope for the best or am I missing something? I haven’t been treating the 9p feeding as a dreamfeeding; rather I get her up and feed her and put her back down. Perhaps that is the issue? Also, after she cries for the 30 min, she will sleep about 7 hours at night. Thank you!
    January 29, 2009 7:11 AM
    Plowmanators said…
    Lunds,There are couple of possibilities. One is that she is overly tired. At that time of day, she most likely needs to eat, possible diaper change (I personally would do a diaper change), then back down. I would have her in her PJs after the 6 PM feeding. So I would try for 9 being more of a dreamfeed.Another is that it is a hard time of day for her and she just needs to cry. I would try the shorter waketime at that time of day, though.
    February 3, 2009 2:03 PM
  • The Greenfields said…
    Like Maureen, I had great success with CIO when I initially did sleep training. I did BW from day one, but didn’t start sleep training until 9 weeks. I went cold turkey and it took 3 days. The longest period of time he ever cried was 30 minutes (I’ve heard I am lucky for this :)) He was VERY obvious with his sleep cues at that point, and I immediately put him down- so I think that contributed to the success. We are now in the middle of CIO (as I posted earlier on this subject) and I THOUGHT it would be 3-5 days, but it is turning out to be longer. We had transcontinental jet-lag, 3 week sickness and learning to stand up in crib all at once (8 1/2 mo). I waited until his cold was over, now I am sure he is 100% better, so we are retraining him to fall asleep and stay asleepI am finding my biggest problem is him STAYING asleep. He might cry or fuss for maybe up to 5 or so minutes when we put him down, but he wakes up at 45 min. on the dot and is generally crying pretty hard at that point. I have read EVERYTHING on the 45 min. intruder. I know it’s not a hunger issue, I am thinking it must be a new skill issue as he is learning to walk. I am also having a VERY hard time picking up on tired cues now. He has dropped them all together and is a bundle of energy. I can’t really tell when he is tired until it’s too late.At almost 9 months old, I saw the poll and the average wake time is 2 to 2 1/4 hour. Should I just put him in bed after 2 hours, even if I don’t see signs of tiredness? He sleeps 11 hours at night (used to be 12 before all these changes in the last month). I am finding that it’s hard to get him to take two 2 hour naps. Does he not need that long of naps OR, do I just keep doing CIO when he wakes himself up? Right now I am getting him up after his morning nap, but making him CIO at the 2nd because I know he is more tired (From his first nap, he may wake up after 45- 1 hr, but is generally happy and chatty in his crib. He can sometimes chat for 10-15 min but then starts to cry because I think he feels he has waited long enough for someone to come get him)Is it typical as he is going through so many changes at once that his wake up disposition will change for a while? For as long as i can remember, he has woken up happy and been very patient for us to come get him- sometimes waiting up to 30 minutes happily. Now he usually wakes up crying or isn’t happy too long. As I continue sleep training, will that go back to “normal”?I feel like in baby whisperer terms he’s gone from angel baby to touchy baby… I’m missing my angel baby 🙂
    January 30, 2009 5:11 AM
    Plowmanators said…
    Greenfields,I would recommend keeping a log of waketime length and then the nap results (from CIO before to how long the nap lasted). That can give you more of an overview.Kaitlyn dropped her nap cues very early, sometime around 3 months old I believe (perhaps earlier). So I based waketime length on the clock rather than on her. I would do that (have a set waketime length) and monitor if that works for him based on the nap results. See Optimal Waketime Lengths. With all the changes you have had (including his physical milestones) I think that sounds totally normal for him to be so disrupted. Also, be sure he isn’t waking out of hunger. See this post for more ideas on his age-range and waking early: 5-8 Month Sleep Disruptions.
    February 3, 2009 2:15 PM
  • Elizabeth said…
    I’m stuck. We have been unable to do cry it out with our daughter (5 months old on Saturday) because of reflux issues. With a very strict diet and trip to the chiropractor, we have rid her of her acid troubles and are now ready to start getting some sleep at night. For naps she puts herself to sleep without any crying. I lay her down with her pacifier in, she sucks on it until she falls asleep, spits it out, then sleeps for 1 hour 15 minutes to 2 hours 30 minutes, depending on the nap (morning and late afternoon naps are long and her one in the middle of the day is short). She is up at least 3-5 times a night. She usually only nurses once of those times – around 3 or 4 a.m. We want her to put herself back to sleep the other times. We tried having her cry it out last night, but while crying she scoots herself to the corner of her crib and bangs her head on the crib bars over and over again! Ah! I tried just moving her way to the other end of the crib, but she slowly makes her way back to the corner while crying. I certainly don’t want her to injure herself! What do I do???
    February 17, 2009 1:01 PM
    Plowmanators said…
    Elizabeth, something to consider is getting rid of the pacifier. She is likely waking so often in the night because she needs the pacifier to fall asleep, so she cries for help. But that would mean you have to give it up in the day, also.If you really want to hang on to it, just know that it will continue to be a disruption until she can find it and put it back in herself. I think most can do this around 6-8 months (from what I have read).Also, I have read that banging the head can be a self-soothing tactic. I don’t know if that would make me happy about it, but I have read that. For further thoughts on the paci, see the blog label “pacifier” for a link to a great article.
    February 20, 2009 9:55 AM

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Valerie, also known as The Babywise Mom, is the mother to four children. She has been blogging on Babywise and general parenting since 2007. She has a degree in technical writing and loves using those skills to help parents be the best parents they can be! Read her book, The Babywise Mom Nap Guide, to get help on sleep from birth through the preschool years. You can also find her writing at, Today Parenting, and Her View From Home. Read more about Valerie and her family on the About page. Follow her on FacebookPinterest, and Instagram for more tips and helps.

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  1. The Devines
    March 21, 2009 / 7:00 PM

    I was hoping if you could help us figure out a few things here.Our boy turned 4 months this past week, and what a week it was: vaccinations, dropped swaddle, first two teeth came in, starting to skip his 4th nap, waking before his DF and now crying before every nap (except first one). He has only ever STTN 3 times (from last feeding to first feeding) so I know he can do it. I still have to feed him once a night. And now I have to hold him until he gets sleepy for naps and nighttime feeding.I have two questions for you.1) Is this a right time to consider CIO given all the variables at play? I went trhough the check list, but I want to be sure. Also,2) His schedule was:7 nurse, 8 nap10 nurse, 11 nap1 nurse, 2 nap4 nurse, 5:30 nap7 nurse, 8:30 bed10 dreamfeedGoing by your sample schedule in skipping the fourth nap, we are attempting to do:7 nurse, 8 nap10 nurse, 11 nap1 nurse, 2 nap4 nurse, 5:30 nap6 nurse, 8:30bed10 dreamfeedAfter the 6pm nurse (I am doing 6 instead of 7 because you mentioned they can’t go as long when they are awake), does he go right to sleep or does he have waketime and go down at his old 8:30 pm? Any advice would be great and thanks SOOO much for all your time.

  2. The Devines
    March 27, 2009 / 5:36 AM

    While waiting for your response, for the past week I have been nursing at 4pm and 6pm and putting him to bed at 7pm. But what happens is he wakes at 9:15pm, so I can’t even get a DF in. Should I keep him up for longer, say 8:30pm so he will be sleeping for his DF between 10-11? My only concern is that he will be really tired having been up from 4pm-8:30pm. Or should I go back to trying for the 4th nap between a 4pm and 7pm nursing in order to get a DF. He is still waking at 2:30am.Thanks again!

  3. Plowmanators
    April 1, 2009 / 9:40 PM

    I would try to get rid of all of the new factors. Wait until teeth are done. Vaccinations should be done by now. I would DF at 9:15 when he wakes and call that good for the night. You might need to put him down earlier since he dropped a nap.Once those variables are done, I would move forward with CIO if needed. Good luck!

  4. Ben & Rebecca
    April 15, 2009 / 4:41 AM

    I have a few questions, but I also understand that you have a newborn, so no hurry!My daughter is 4.5 months old. We started Babywise & CIO at 6 weeks old. It was a struggle from the start–we were very consistent, but she was not. I relaxed a little bit and tried to train her more gradually, but that has been frustrating also. Here's where we are right now:-She is on a 3-3.5 hour schedule during the day. We do CIO for naps, she usually goes down easier in the mornings. It gets progressively worse as the day goes on. By her 3rd-4th nap of the day, she will cry 45min to an hour, maybe fall asleep for 20-30 minutes, then wake up crying. I have tried all sorts of troubleshooting, decreased her waketime, etc, but I feel like we are getting nowhere. I know that not everyone believes in setting time limits in CIO, but I don't let her cry past 1 hour. I try to be very consistent, but it is hard when she is all over the place nap-wise. The odd thing is that she is very consistent when she goes down for the night–she never has to CIO, just puts herself right to sleep and has done this since 6weeks old. However, she's been crying it out for naps for several months now…should it be getting any better? I'm just not sure how to handle it.I appreciate any advice you have. Thank you so much for your blog and for sharing your thoughts!

  5. Alexia
    April 18, 2009 / 12:30 AM

    Crying: I have a 5 week old and I am just starting BW. I have let him cry in the past just so I could learn his cries, but I am going to start CIO next week. In trying to learn his cries, he can get to a point of hysteria. I am sure he will get that way too when I actually start CIO. Is there a point of the crying that you should pick him up or is this hysterical crying ok and just let him go?

  6. Plowmanators
    May 4, 2009 / 9:35 PM

    Rebecca,It should be improving. To me, it sounds like she is getting more tired and stimulated as the day goes on. This is very typical. Since she is more tired and stimulated at the end of the day, she cries more. So, I would work to fix the later day by either putting her down earlier or keeping her activities more “chill” later in the day. If you haven’t been keeping a log, I highly recommend you do. See the blog label “log” for more on that.

  7. Plowmanators
    May 4, 2009 / 9:37 PM

    Alexia,I get them if they get too hysterical. You have to really figure out when is the right time to intervene and when not to. Also, figure out the best method of intervention. Some do best with you just patting them and shh-ing. Some need a quick hug. So figure out what is best for your son. Be sure to see the CIO Bootcamp, also, if you haven’t.

  8. Alexia
    May 4, 2009 / 9:42 PM

    Thank you! I hope you are having fun with your little one!

  9. Janette
    May 23, 2009 / 3:02 AM

    Thank you for doing this great blog! I’m rather new to it, but have already told several friends about it. I am not new to Babywise, having used it for my 6 yr. old son and 4 yr. old son, and now am using it for my B/G twins that were born on March 28th of this year (I think right around the time your LO was born). With my first two, I let them use pacifiers starting a few weeks after birth, and it did not interfere with BF. They both did fine with their sleep habits and while they did have 45 minute intruders, they never had much trouble getting back to sleep. These little twins are a different story. The nurses in NICU gave them large pacifiers without our permission (they didn’t bother to ask our opinion on anything that week), and they both quickly grew accustomed to them, our daughter was a bit addicted, actually! I wasn’t concerned with this at first, but when their need for the pacifier began interfering with their sleep habits, I began reading your blogs and the other reader responses on pacifiers, CIO, 45-minute intruder, etc. You all have given me so much practical wisdom on dealing with this. Again-it was manageable to deal with a pacifier addiction with one child at a time, but two at a time is a bit much. So…last night we removed the pacifiers cold-turkey, and began helping the babies fall asleep without them. What a blessing we are already seeing! The CIO was not nearly as bad as I expected. They are responding well to a little extra snuggling before being put in bed, but are falling asleep in the bed with the pacifier. They had the best night yet last night, and had great naps all day, with the exception of their early evening one, which has been a bad one for over a week anyway. We are so thankful for the time you have invested in this blog, and appreciate all of you posting your own experiences. I would never have tried removing the pacifiers if it were not for your advice on how to do it and still enable the babies to sleep well.Gratefully,Janette

  10. Janette
    May 23, 2009 / 3:03 AM

    I meant to say they are now falling asleep WITHOUT the pacifier! 🙂

  11. Plowmanators
    June 23, 2009 / 10:27 PM

    Janette, Thanks for that story! It is great to hear the good things that people get! I mostly just hear the hard times 🙂 Thanks for your thanks!

  12. Kate
    July 1, 2009 / 11:24 PM

    Hi! I've been using the BW pattern of eat/wake/sleep, but haven't yet gotten on a schedule (i.e. the same time each day). My son doesn't seem to want to nap much at all during the day. I've been trying to get him on regular naps by using the cry-it-out method, but have been unsuccessful. My problem has been that he will cry for a long time and NOT go to sleep, and by the time he's cried for an hour, it's time for him to eat again and he's crying because he's hungry, which I don't want. But you said not to ever go pick up the baby if you want cry-it-out to be successful. How can this work, if he cries until he's hungry again?? Thanks!

  13. Kate
    July 1, 2009 / 11:26 PM

    As a follow-up; I can guess that one solution would be cutting down on his wake-time, but I usually wait to put him down till he starts to get fussy, and he's usually happy and awake for a long time. Any thoughts?

  14. Plowmanators
    July 24, 2009 / 12:50 PM

    Kate, I don't know how old he is, but shorter waketime is often the best answer. See the blog label "optimal waketime" for ideas and guidance on what that should be. I haven't ever said to never pick baby up. It depends on the baby. With Brayden, I couldn't. With Kaitlyn, I needed to. With McKenna, it varied (fun huh!). Also, fussiness is often a "too late" cue rather than a "it's time" cue.

  15. LReynolds
    December 16, 2009 / 6:02 PM

    Sadly we are just starting BW with our 13 week old. She is used to getting the pacifier stuck back in her mouth to go to sleep – whether it is initially or if she wakes up early. However, she is now waking up almost every hour at night for it. She isn't hungry, but just wants it. She apparently cannot self-soothe at all 🙁 We started letting her CIO and she will cry for about 40 minutes and then sleep, but only for a short time (20-45 minutes). Should I let her cry again to get a full nap, or go get her and try again with the next nap?Oh, and should she be able to go from 7pm to 7am without a feeding? Or should I keep a dreamfeed? Any other tips to help her adjust?Thanks!

  16. Plowmanators
    January 5, 2010 / 10:15 PM

    Right now, when she wakes early I would just help her get back to sleep. Once she is skilled at falling asleep on her own, she should fix naps on her own. Be sure to watch for growth spurts at this time, too. They still happen often at that age.I would keep the dreamfeed.See the post "waking early from naps/won't fall asleep for naps" for more on this.Focus on days right now, nights should follow. Also, see post "starting babywise late."

  17. About The Griffin Chronicles
    May 14, 2010 / 9:10 PM

    I just have to insert a word of encouragement to moms with a "hard" baby. A lot of babies take much longer than 3-5 days or even 3-5 weeks, and I don't think it always has to do with consistency. My 3rd child was born with a violent opposition to sleep. Like my other kids, I started BW from day one. I also started CIO right away. She just didn't take to it. I consider myself very knowledgeable with regards to the BW system and CIO, having successfully used it with my first two babies. I understand the importance of monitoring waketimes and eliminating all possible contributing factors. With my 3rd baby, things took a very long time to click. I logged every detail for 6 weeks, until I had to stop for my own sanity. I pored over every piece of information I could find. I tried everything. But I never found anything wrong with her or with what I was doing. It took her 13 weeks to stop crying when going down for a nap. I define "no crying" as 2 minutes or less of fussing before falling asleep. Now at 18 weeks she is very consistent. We are finally at a point where I am surprised if she cries more than 2 minutes going down for a nap.I just wanted to insert this for anyone feeling bad or discouraged by how long it's taking. It might be that you need to work on your timing and consistency, but it might not be. Sometimes it's not about you. The "chronic 45 minute naps" posts really helped me a lot with that concept!Sorry I was having trouble posting this comment- I think I finally got it.

  18. Plowmanators
    May 27, 2010 / 6:08 PM

    Thanks for sharing your experience!

  19. callie_brooke
    January 20, 2011 / 6:44 PM

    I've got a couple questions on CIO for naps for a 7 week old. My son doesn't always go down for his naps very well, even if I've timed the waketime right and done a routine and swaddled and he is in a dark room, with white noise, so sometimes he has to CIO to fall asleep. Here are my questions: 1. I know at this age the most important thing is that they get enough sleep. So, how long should I let him CIO at the beginning of his nap? Do I then use some sort of prop, whether it's me, a swing or a paci to get him to sleep if he doesn't fall asleep after the designated time? I ask because you and Maureen seem to have diffrernt opinions.2. Also, suppose he has to CIO for his first nap, or second nap. Can I do CIO for the rest of the naps that day, therefore more than once during a day or will he be too tired that it is pointless because he has already missed out on sleep because he CIO earlier? Or do I have to do it every nap regardless so that I have consistency? 3. Is 7 weeks too young to do CIO for going down for naps? 4. He is one of those babies who can't make it through the 45 min. transition very well…he almost always wakes up so I have to help him back to sleep mid-nap. Sometimes this works, sometimes not. I usually give him his paci mid-nap and rock the bassinet a little and that has been working pretty well. But, is it ok to do CIO for the start of his naps if he tends to wake early and not nap well? Or will it not work because he isn't a good napper? Would I have to do CIO for both transition and beginning or can I help him through the transition in the middle of his nap since he is so young and not developmentally knowing how to sleep through the transition? 5. For his DF and MOTN feed he is always completely out by the time he is done feeding, even with a diaper change. So he goes back to bed asleep. I have assumed this is ok because it is the middle of the night and I'm trying to disrupt him as little as possible …just get him some food and back to bed. Is this working against his naps and going down on his own? 6. We think he has reflux and he has been on zantac for a week now. We may be getting some more meds to help with the spitting up because he sometimes spits up quite a bit mid-nap. Is CIO something we can even do with a reflux baby? Or do I just need to use props to help him sleep because of the reflux? Like a paci? 7. Does every single nap and bedtime have to be CIO for the time period it takes to work? For example, if its going to take 3 days, does every nap and bedtime have to be exactly the same? With his routine in his bed, crying it out? What if one of his naps is in the carseat? Or will that ruin it? 8. I have tried CIO for a couple of naps already and it seems that because my DS is getting less sleep because of the CIO and bad naps, he is overtired and he falls asleep after CIO for a while but then the nap is really rough. He wakes up a lot and if I don't give him the paci or rock his bassinet he is up for the nap and will cry for the rest of it. If he is falling asleep on his own after CIO do I help him through the nap when its rough because he's overtired? 9.Sorry..but I thought of one more thing. If he cries for the whole nap, then I will feed him and then I can't really calculate a waketime for the next nap because he's been awake crying for the whole time before he ate. So do I just immediately put him back down after I feed him? I read through the "CIO responsibly" article on the blog and several other articles and these questions are coming from several the the bullets that Maureen mentions for "rules." Anyways, thanks for your help! Callie

  20. Plowmanators
    January 31, 2011 / 7:22 PM

    Callie_Brooke,1. I have a post titled "0-3 Month sleep hierarchy" that will fully answer that question.2.I would start each nap with CIO3. I don't think so as a general rule, but only you can know for sure what is right for your individual child.4. This is very normal when the baby is first learning to sleep on his own. Once he is good at falling asleep on his own initially, he will start to get better at making it through transitions. 5. That is totally fine.6. My second had reflux; see the post "Babywise and Reflux" for more on that.7. When you are first starting, it is best to stay home for each nap if you can. One nap in the car isn't going to ruin it, but consistency is the key. And having lots of naps in the car will definitely hinder your progress. Naps and bedtimes do not have to be at the exact same time because then you aren't reading sleep cues and feeding cues.8. Yes, help him through.9. I would put him back down, but I wouldn't let it get that far. You will see that in the sleep hierarchy post.

  21. Mark and Janna
    April 27, 2011 / 6:43 PM

    Ok I'm confused because I'm seeing conflicting information from you and Maureen…I'm on day 12 of CIO with my 3 1/2 week old (we started at 10 days). I did babywise and CIO with my first so I have a pretty good idea of optimal waketimes and reading cues. She has having a much harder time with naps than my firstborn did. It is getting better but very slowly, and we often have setbacks and I'm definitely seeing the progress in a spiral like you have talked about. My question is about intervening during naps when they are having a really rough nap. With my first I never intervened because it would make her more mad. With my second, I feel like it can go either way. If she is crying through the whole nap and getting hysterical I will give her a paci or try to settle her. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes it makes her cry harder. I'm trying to stick to your sleep hierarchy, realizing that her sleep is the most important thing, but I also feel like maybe I'm drawing out the CIO process because I am intervening for some naps. She has atleast one nap a day right now that she will cry all the way through if I don't intervene. Her nighttime sleep is great and we have never had to do CIO at night. Its just the naps that she is struggling with.

  22. Plowmanators
    May 10, 2011 / 4:07 PM

    Janna, I think it is really dependent on the child–and that things can change with that one child. For Brayden, intervening was bad news. For Kaitlyn, intervening at a certain timing was good, but that timing changed. You will have to figure out for your LO what works and what doesn't, and what timing is best. Good luck! This is one of the hardest things about having the second child–learning to figure out two personalities.

  23. Gwyn
    June 26, 2011 / 4:29 AM

    my 7 week old is constantly getting wet diapers during naps – should i continue to change them, or just let her CIO? also, it seems she has a lot of stamina and will cry for awhile, should i go in every 20 min or so, or just let her CIO if i know all of her needs are met? thanks so much!

  24. Plowmanators
    July 14, 2011 / 4:44 AM

    Gwyn, you will have to figure out what works for her. Some do well with every 20 minutes; some 30; some none. Keep a log and figure out what works best for her.

  25. Steph
    September 7, 2011 / 9:43 PM

    I'm at a loss and would LOVE your suggestions. With my first daughter we did CIO at roughly 10ish weeks. It was a very easy process lasting really only 2 nights. Now my second (now 3.5 mo) is a different story. This little girl is feisty and will cry for a couple hours straight if we let her. Now her cries are often different. Some times it seems obvious she's hungry/mad and others she's just not able to console herself and needs her paci. But rather than cry for an hour or so and finally fall asleep she'll either cry for an hour and then wake up 30 minutes later to cry for another hour. Or she'll just cry on and off for multiple hours. At this point we do a DF at 10:30 pm and she pretty much always wakes up between 12 – 1 am, then again between the hours of 3-4 and then again at 5. It appears as if it's just a habit but she'll cry for hours if we let her. We're at a loss. Any suggestions?

  26. Plowmanators
    September 23, 2011 / 4:49 AM

    Steph,I would have to wonder if something else is going on. Like does she have reflux or something like that. Whenever she is hungry, I would feed her. Check out the CIO Bootcamp post for step-by-step checks to make sure you have all of the steps covered. Good luck!

  27. LaceyLS
    October 12, 2011 / 8:39 PM

    My question is: Are you supposed to put them down for bed as soon as you see a tired sign. My daughter is only a month old and starts showing sleepy signs sometimes right after a feeding. I was under the impression you should keep them up for at least 15 minutes after a feeding. She does pretty well going down for naps and at times cries longer than at other times, but never more than 15 minutes. Do you think it would help if I put her down at the first sign of sleepiness?

  28. Maxwell
    October 18, 2011 / 2:24 AM

    My 10 week old daughter is put down for a nap awake and falls asleep on her own. At the one hour mark, when she should be transitioning into REM/deeper sleep she wakes up, begins to cry, and cannot achieve transition. Should I let her cry it out, or, or…?

  29. Plowmanators
    October 28, 2011 / 4:58 AM

    LaceyLS,I would try it putting her down at the first sign of sleepiness and see what happens.If she falls asleep faster, then you know she can use a shorter waketime. If not, then stick with what you are doing.

  30. Plowmanators
    October 28, 2011 / 4:59 AM

    Maxwell, first be sure it isn't a growth spurt. If it is a growth spurt, you will feed her. If not, try to get her to go back to sleep with some help from you (rocking, swing, etc.)

  31. Garrett and Denise Stone
    October 8, 2012 / 5:59 AM

    Hello. My 2nd daughter is almost 4 weeks. I am wanting to start CIO with her and am curious about the night time. Clearly she is still little and needs to eat during the night and is usually pretty consistent on a 3 hour schedule. My question is after I feed her in the night she has the hardest time lately going back to sleep. If I am doing CIO for day and night(after I feed her) Do I just let her cry after her night feedings until she soothes herself to sleep? This is the hardest as she is in our room still and her room is right next to our 2 year olds. Im afraid letting her CIO at night will keep everyone awake and wake up my toddler. Any advice, and also what to do in this situation? Thank you!!

  32. Plowmanators
    October 8, 2012 / 1:56 PM

    This is ultimately up to you. Typically once sleep training starts in the day, night naturally follows. So if you work on day, night should just be easy with no crying needed. If I were you I wouldn't be doing CIO in the night with your sleeping arrangement. I would start with day. Just change her diaper between sides at night and put her down after feeding. Hopefully she will just go to sleep.

  33. Garrett and Denise Stone
    October 8, 2012 / 4:01 PM

    Also, my daughter doesnt have reflux but spits up a lot. I went to get her in the middle of the night and she was covered in spit up and her blankets. I'm afraid if I let her cry it out she will always be drenched in spit up and wet from it on her swaddle. Any thoughts on this? She is just 3.5 weeks really and is sleeping on off 3 hours at night sometimes 2.5 is that ok at this age? My older daughter definetely was a much better sleeper so far! Funny how they can be so different!

  34. Garrett and Denise Stone
    October 8, 2012 / 4:03 PM

    Thank you. Im afraid though that if she doesnt just go to sleep, I dont want to resort back to what I have been doing and bringing her to my bed so we all will be able to sleep. Should I do the same if she cries at night and just check her after like 20 min and then keep doing that? Thank you, your blog and insight is wonderful!

    • Plowmanators
      October 8, 2012 / 7:08 PM

      That will definitely be okay. I think you will see results quickly. I would keep an eye on her for the spit up and change her if she is wet. Since she is in your room, you will easily be able to keep an eye on that.

  35. Anonymous
    October 17, 2012 / 6:59 AM

    Thanks a lot! Chief information officer (CIO), or information technology (IT) director, is a job title commonly given to the most senior executive in an enterprise responsible for the information technology and computer systems that support enterprise goals.

  36. The Brefo's
    December 1, 2013 / 6:56 PM

    Hi, I was wondering at what age do you suggest CIO? We are following all the other babywise routines and I'm aware of optimal waketimes etc but the main issue is self-soothing. My little girl is 1 week old and is not able to self-sooth and likes to be held. With my first baby I started CIO at around 9 weeks and it worked within 3 days (he found his thumb) but I'm wondering how much sooner I can start with her. Is it possible for them to learn to self sooth at a younger age then 8/10 weeks? Would love to hear back…

  37. Babybrooksmomma
    January 7, 2014 / 8:25 PM

    Hi there,My son is almost six weeks. I'm very willing to do CIO and I definitely see the long term benefits, but I'm not sure I fully understand it. With CIO, are there any soothing techniques taking place when the child has cried x amount of minutes? For example, my husband and I have decided on the following: put baby down, if he cries for more than 20min we go into his room and re swaddle him and then leave the room, after another 20min of crying, we go in and pick him up and sing twinkle twinkle little star two times through while patting him back and then lay him down awake, after another 20min we usually put him in his swing to finish out his nap. He is on a 7-1030-1230-330-530-8-11-3am ish schedule. There are times where is CIO last from one feeding to the next. For example, I fed him at 1230 today, put him down and laid him down

    • Valerie Plowman
      January 8, 2014 / 3:09 AM

      I would suggest you read my newborn sleep hierarchy. You can find it in the newborn index. Also, I would recommend my post "sleep training the four S's" and my "CIO bootcamp"

  38. Babybrooksmomma
    January 7, 2014 / 8:28 PM

    And he cried until his next feeding…is this normal? Also, if and when this does happen his next feeding is a disaster because he doesn't stay awake. Then the rest of the day seems tossed to the wind. There have also been times where he finally falls asleep after crying but then his next feeding is only 20min away. Do I let him sleep or do I wake him up ad start all over again with the next feeding?Thanks so much

  39. theRachel
    April 18, 2014 / 4:10 AM

    Hi Val! Thank you so much for your blog. My husband and I began CIO with our daughter yesterday. She is 15 weeks old and has done well with her evenings/nights for many weeks (can soothe to sleep after evening feeding, etc), but naps have always been an issue – we found it difficult in the early days to put her down awake (she wouldn't sleep), and so I kept busy and she would nap on the go. My husband has been off work for the last 4 weeks due to surgery, and we've traded off having our LO nap on us in the day – she is swaddled, but we would rock, shush, give her the paci and let her sleep on us – major props, I know! At night she sleeps in her crib (always has), and is swaddled, but none of the other props. We are aiming for the same for naps now – swaddled, in her crib. We've read all the posts re: routine, CIO boot camp, etc. The last 2 days have been hard (which I know is discussed on the blog, and I guess should be expected given that we are having to undo a lot of bad habits), and I am finding it very challenging to calculate wake times – our approach to naps since starting CIO has been to put her down and if at an hour she is upset and wailing we go in to get her and then try again at the next nap. For some of the naps she has slept small chunks, for some she will cry for the entire hour before we go get her. Therefore, she sometimes has been awake for long periods (far longer than your suggested optimal wake times) by time it is her next feed time (we're on a 3 hr schedule). As the day progresses, this can lead to increasingly longer wake times…frustrating! Any tips/advice you can offer? Thanks, Rachel

    • Valerie Plowman
      April 19, 2014 / 2:51 AM

      Hi Rachel, you have the hard battle of fighting a lot of sleep props. Something you have going for you is that she does sleep in her bed well at night. Be consistent. At her age, aim for a 60 minute waketime length. You will have to decide what you are comfortable with for what to do when she doesn't sleep. One method would be to just go for it and have her in bed until she sleeps. This method is the hardest for the parent to endure, but usually gets sleeping results you are looking for the fastest. This is called "extinction." You could also put her in bed and if she gets to a point it is clear she won't sleep, you could move her to a swing to fall asleep if she will. If she won't, you could rock her to sleep at that point, but I wouldPut her in bed as soon as she was asleep. I have posts with more on this, so I would suggest you read on. Good luck!

  40. Unknown
    May 29, 2015 / 12:01 PM

    Hi Valerie, thank you for your life-saving blog! I am very discouraged by my 6 week old daughters CIO progress. She has always, from day one, wanted to be held for naps. We think it had to do with body heat because she was very small and had trouble staying warm. I held off doing CIO because she struggled with bad wind pain, so I started the 4s's at 3 weeks old with good results…until she turned 5 weeks. After a hellish week I decided we were ready to CIO to break her habit of wanting to be held. After 5 days, she has grizzled or cried through every single nap except one. Most days she is literally awake from 7am to 7pm without a sleep. I can't even get her to fall asleep in the stroller anymore. I've read the sleep hierarchy but if I rock her to sleep surely it's just perpetuating the problem – I would have to do it EVERY time. I don't have a swing. She is swaddled and I have tried arm in, arm out, white noise, side-lying, different swaddles, but she just cries for 1.5 hours until I get her up. So hasn't she just won each time and thinks that if she cries long enough I'll get her? I'm so confused and discouraged. Thank you for all your help and brilliant advice.

  41. Unknown
    May 29, 2015 / 12:02 PM

    Sorry, my name is Pauline (the above Unknown post is mine). For some reason it won't put my name on it!

  42. Valerie Plowman
    June 4, 2015 / 6:26 PM

    Hi Pauline, with no progress, I would really wonder if something else is was physically giving her pain. Does she have reflux? With consistency, I would expect some progress and if she is not improving at all, I would wonder if something is hurting her. I would check I to that first and get it resolved if it is a problem. Then I would really work on tweaking waketime length. I would spend a few days rocking her to sleep to get her so she isn't overly tired. Then work on timing naps correctly and put her down. If she doesn't fall asleep after a certain window, rock her so she doesn't perpetuate being overly tired. Keep tweaking waketime. Good luck!

  43. Valerie Plowman
    June 4, 2015 / 6:26 PM

    Hi Pauline, with no progress, I would really wonder if something else is was physically giving her pain. Does she have reflux? With consistency, I would expect some progress and if she is not improving at all, I would wonder if something is hurting her. I would check I to that first and get it resolved if it is a problem. Then I would really work on tweaking waketime length. I would spend a few days rocking her to sleep to get her so she isn't overly tired. Then work on timing naps correctly and put her down. If she doesn't fall asleep after a certain window, rock her so she doesn't perpetuate being overly tired. Keep tweaking waketime. Good luck!

  44. Unknown
    June 9, 2015 / 4:40 AM

    Hi Valerie, thank you for your response. I actually did all those things before I got your response, so I'm glad to see I'm on the right track! She doesn't have reflux (thank goodness) and I think I was doing CIO all wrong by not allowing her to rest up between attempts at CIO. I've only ever done it when my other children were 9 months+. Since then I've been giving her time to go to sleep on her own for about 20 minutes, and then getting her up and letting her sleep on me for that nap. I noticed she began sucking on her hand so I started using a Love Me Baby swaddle which allows her access to her hands, and also following Dr Karps advice about keeping white noise low but increasing it when baby is crying. Lo and behold, she has started falling asleep with just a few minutes of crying/fussing. Naps have generally been 30-45 mins but what a great start! Thanks again for your help and advice. I recommend your blog to all my friends!

  45. Valerie Plowman
    June 11, 2015 / 7:03 PM

    Thanks for the follow up! It is always good to hear what has worked for people.

  46. Sisa
    July 5, 2015 / 5:52 PM

    Hello, my name is Sisa and I am from Slovakia. I am following your blog as I would like to implement Baby wise method with my baby boy. I am a first time mom and I have just started CIO with my 4 week old son. He can be very stubborn and cry for ever before he falls asleep. My question is whether the CIO does not inerfere with sleep hierarchy. If, let´s say, the baby has 1 hour and 15 minutes for a nap, is it ok to let him CIO the whole time until the next feeding or should I help him fall asleep so he at least sleeps some time. I am determined to CIO my son but he can go as long as 1 hour crying and not falling asleep until it actually is time for the next feeding. I want to be patient but I am also thinking of helping him fall asleep (rocking in our case as he hates swing and shush pat just makes him more nervous) so he at least sleep a while within one cycle. Do you have any advice for me?

  47. Erin Leigh
    October 22, 2015 / 7:42 PM

    Hello, I had a hard time with CIO at first and had been using the baby whisperers methods for sleep training until recently. My 4 month old was still waking at least once a night, her naps were getting shorter and shorter (around 30 minutes) and she started having trouble falling asleep. I tweaked wake time, fed her more and was vigilantly consistent. Still to no avail. We needed to get rid of her pacifier and decided it was time to try CIO again. She cries over an hour every time and it only has only worked at night so far. I've been going on to pat her at intervals increasingly further apart because the first time we tried she threw up so I couldn't handle just leaving her the whole time. And we set an hour time limit for the same reason. I don't know how to proceed from here. Do we keep going as we are? Should we not set a limit? When should we see her respond?Thanks for your help!

  48. Valerie Plowman
    October 23, 2015 / 2:00 AM

    Hi Erin, I would say if you have not seen progress after 3 days, something is off. Her waketime length might be wrong. She might be sick. Check through my CIO boot camp to see if that gives you any ideas as to what might need to change. Good luck!

  49. Tiffany Crenshaw
    December 7, 2016 / 8:46 PM

    I was wondering if this blog comment section was still active…I have a question about my 2 month old

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