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Sleep training is hard. There is no other honest way to put it. The process is not fun. It isn’t easy. It takes a lot of attention to details on your part and you are already be super exhausted because you have a baby who isn’t sleep super well. You will make mistakes along the way, which makes it emotionally even harder than it already is.
Before you get started on cry it out, you need to know what you are in for. What can you expect? What will it be like? How long will it take? Is it worth it?
What is Cry It Out Like
It is emotionally draining. It can be awful. No lying here. One day as Kaitlyn was crying before a nap, I was addressing thank you cards. I looked down and realized I had been putting the stamp on the wrong corner of the envelope. I was not new to addressing envelopes! I knew where the stamp went. I was so distracted that I was doing it all wrong. It is hard.
No one likes to listen to their baby cry. Before you get going on cry it out, you need to be on the same page as your spouse/partner and be in it together. You need to be strong for each other so you can be strong for the baby. Cry it out isn’t fun and it isn’t easy. There is nothing enjoyable about the process during the fact. Know that and be prepared for it. You won’t like the process.
I think a really hard thing about cry it out is you have NO IDEA how long the crying part of the process will last. You don’t know how long before each nap and you don’t know how many days this crying will take. If you knew, you could probably handle it. But you don’t. So a lot of the difficulty is simply managing the unknown.
How Long Will Cry It Out Take
The length of time it will take for your child to go to sleep without any crying will very much depend on several factors. One will be how consistent you are in sticking with sleep training. Another will be your child’s personality. Another will be how effective you are at recognizing sleep cues and timing sleep correctly. Previous sleep habits can also impact sleep training; those can be hard to break.
Cry it out can be as short as 1-3 days. It can also exist in some form for several weeks.
Is Cry It Out Worth It
It is absolutely worth it. Sleep training leads to healthy sleep for your baby which leads for healthy sleep for you and all good things for the family.
When Should I Start Cry It Out
You should start as soon as you feel like it is time. Your baby needs to be ready and you need to be ready. You need to be confident in both things before you start. You can read more on this at What Age Should You Start Cry It Out?
What is a Good Method
There are several ways to go about sleep training. My favorite is The Four S’s. This is actually not really a “cry it out” method. The thing with the Four S’s is it works best when your child is a newborn. You can’t really start the Four S’s with a six month old.
I have a comprehensive help in my CIO Bootcamp.
The extinction method is very black and white and strict, but it is a very fast method, also.
Can I Stop Once We Start
Once you start cry it out, you really want to stick with it. If you do cry it out, then break for a day or two, then go back to it, then break, you will just confuse your baby. Even breaking for a nap or two can backfire. You want consistency.
If you start and then decide, “Nope. This isn’t for us,” then of course, stop. If you start and something comes up so you must pause, go ahead. But do not start and stop over and over. You are in or out. It isn’t fair to your baby to have him cry and then stop the sleep training. Then you just made him cry for no reason.
Will Cry It Out Make My Baby Hate Me
No! Not at all. This is the first step in parenting where you do what you know is best for your child even if she doesn’t like it. There are plenty of things you will do throughout your child’s life that will upset your child. You are helping your child have healthy sleep habits! With my children and the children I know in the world who were sleep trained, there are no trust issues. You can read more at Sleep Training and Trust.
Will Cry It Out Damage My Child
Again, no. My children are all extremely smart, even with having done cry it out. There are people out there who will claim you damage a baby’s intelligence through cry it out. There are studies out there who will tell you opposing findings. I find it helpful to hear from real people who have been there. My children are literally labeled as gifted and did cry it out. But check out my Big List of Sleep Training Resources to read up on helpful articles that discuss sleep training and decide for yourself.
Sleep training is not easy, but it is so very worth it. You don’t always have to have crying involved to teach a baby to self-soothe, so look into options and go with what you are comfortable with. Trust yourself and what you feel is best. I highly recommend and encourage fostering self-soothing skills, but there are a lot of ways to get there. Cry it out is not easy, but it is worth it in the long-run.