Sleep Training and Trust

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Can your child ever trust you if you did cry it out with them as a baby? What are the real impacts of sleep training on trust and the parent/child bond.

As you read either of the Baby Whisperer Books (Secrets of the Baby Whisperer or The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems), you will notice that Hogg often says to not Cry It Out (CIO). Hogg claims you will break the trust between you and your baby. In The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems, Hogg even says that if you try CIO, you will have to go to extreme measures to earn the trust of your baby back.

When I first read this a few months ago, I admit that I started to panic! Were my children ever going to trust me? What had I done!

I have heard from other Babywise moms that they felt the same way when they read this passage.

This panic really was brief (maybe a minute or two at most). I let reality talk to me. Brayden trusts me. Kaitlyn trusts me. We have never had any trust issues. We have never had any bonding issues or attachment issues. My husband’s mother did CIO with all four of her children, and so far as I know they all trust her.

There is a lot written out there on both sides of CIO. Some say it creates problems physically, mentally, or emotionally. Others say there are no problems. You will find passionate arguments on both sides of the fence.

The Big List of Sleep Training Resources

That is nice to read what people think (and you are doing so now), but be sure to look at reality. Chances are you know a family that has done CIO with their child(ren). Look at them. How are they? How do they behave? How is their intelligence? How is the relationship with the parents? What are the real-life results that you can look at evaluate for yourself?

I think I was blessed to have Brayden first. I first tried rocking him to sleep. He wouldn’t sleep. I guess most babies will sit happily in your arms as you put them to sleep; not Brayden! He screamed and screamed. In the end, we decided to try CIO. I figured he could scream for 20 minutes while I rocked him and I could feel frustrated and exhausted or he could cry for 20 minutes in his bed and I could feel sorry for him instead.

Well, he usually cried for less time in his bed than he did when I was holding him. He started sleeping better all around almost immediately. When I got him up from naps or in the morning, he greeted me with a smile! Before doing cry it out, he woke up crying.

He was happier. He was better rested. Things were much nicer. Over time, the amount of crying before naps decreased. After two months, he never cried before a nap or bed again!

Oh, it was hard. There were days I cried along with him. I have heard some moms who do not CIO call moms who do “lazy.” These moms have no real notion of what it means to CIO. It zaps your energy. It drains your emotions. When Kaitlyn was in the heat of CIO, I once addressed envelopes backward (return address on the right side instead of the left and stamps on the left instead of the right). It is no picnic.

When Kaitlyn was born, I knew I wanted the same great sleep habits for her that Brayden had. This time, we would start sleep training from the beginning. Overall, it was easier and faster. She didn’t have bad habits to break, just new habits to learn and form. But it was still hard.

With McKenna, we didn’t have to do CIO for so very long. She went down awake for every nap, but didn’t cry! Eventually, she did start to cry before naps. After a few days of mild CIO, she goes to sleep without a problem.

Sleep training and trust pinnable image

I recently had a mom ask me what I thought about the trust issue and CIO. I had a lot to say (by the way, the question was just for my thoughts on trust and CIO; she had done CIO with her child and planned to do it with future children, but wanted to know my thoughts). Here is what I said:

“I don’t buy into the trust issues and CIO. Why? Because Brayden and Kaitlyn both trust me. They both love me. They both hug and kiss. They are both really smart for their ages. They are both far advanced in every area (by advanced I mean ahead of what they “should” be doing at their ages). So my reasoning for not believing it is that I have two children who show no signs of issues and both did CIO [I can now add three children].

When I recently read The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems, she talked about CIO breaking the bond of trust with your child. For a moment, I panicked. Then I let reality talk to me and point out that my children love and trust me.

I really think that following Babywise will teach your children to trust you more, not less. If you have someone who is supposed to lead you through something, are you going to trust them more if they take the lead and teach you what to do and when to do it, or if they step back and watch for you to tell them when you are ready for something…and you have no idea what that something is?

Babywise children don’t need to “demand” their meal to get it. They get their meal regularly and predictably. That is something to trust. They don’t need to become really irritable in order to get a nap. They get their naps regularly whether they want them or not :). That is a situation they can trust. Life is predictable. Mom and Dad know what they are doing and take care of the child’s needs even if he doesn’t demand it.

Also, if you are a religious person, I would look to what you know of God and trust that emulating Him is the best way to parent. He doesn’t coddle us. We face experiences that are hard, and when we look back on them, we see that we are now stronger and the experience taught us a lot. He sets boundaries. He leads the way; He doesn’t wait for us tell Him what we need. We have no idea in the eternal scheme of things! Anyway…that is just a bit of my thoughts. I think I will write a post on it so I can ramble even more ;)”

It has been almost five years since I first wrote this post. Let me say these things about my children.

Brayden is now 8 and in third grade. He is one of the youngest children in his grade. Despite being a young boy, he is in the gifted and talented program at school (I say that because there are plenty of people who assume young children will not do as well academically). I would say his intelligence has not been hampered by his CIO as a child.

He is confident, he is happy, and he is successful at all he does. He is a hard worker and an independent thinker. He has lots of friends at school. We enjoy a happy parent/child relationship with him. I have zero regrets or concerns over the CIO he did as a baby.

Kaitlyn is now 6 and in first grade. Gifted and talented program doesn’t start until third grade here, but Kaitlyn tests are even higher than Brayden’s were at this age in most areas. She is extremely smart. She is also extremely sweet and empathetic. She is a good friend to all and a great helper.

Kaitlyn has many passions and she gives all of her effort into something until she has it as perfect as she wants it. She is the type of person who is really good at everything she does. She is a sweet sister and a joy in our home. We also enjoy a great parent/child relationship with her. And like Brayden, there are no regrets over the CIO she did as a baby.

McKenna is 4 and in preschool. She is doing very well there. Despite being a busy child with a strong personality, she is a joy to her teacher. She always steps in to help and is especially helpful in helping difficult children decide to behave. She always looks to the bright side of life and is always laughing. Again, we have no regrets with her.

Brinley is our fourth and is 18 months old. She had a similar sleep experience as McKenna with very little crying before naps, though it has happened on occasion. The fact that we are still willing to do sleep training with our fourth child shows you that we believe in the importance of it.

2019 UPDATE: Here I sit with my oldest being 14. If I had it to do all over again, I wouldn’t change anything. I would sleep train my children all over again. My three older children have all been put into the gifted and talented program. Brinley is a couple of years away from that. They are all thriving and happy. They are all kind and considerate. 


I don’t know that I need to ramble on more about that. It is all there for you to think about. If you are considering CIO or second-guessing CIO, you might want some sources to look to for guidance. Perhaps you would like real data. I think that is great. I think it is great to have a firm foundation to stand on so when the CIO eats at your emotions you can stand strong and know what you are doing will ultimately be good for your child.

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

I have several posts on CIO. They will help you do it effectively! They will help minimize the crying. There are other resources for you to turn to:

When deciding if you want to do CIO, please look at those you know who have done it. Perhaps even look at those you know who haven’t done it. What does life look like for these people? Is that how you would like life to look like some day? If so (in either case), what do you need to do to emulate that? If the answer is CIO, press on! It is hard. It will take a lot out of you. But in the end you will have a child who sleeps well. Best of luck!


Sleep Training Tips and Info

These posts will help you sleep train your baby with confidence. Learn how to sleep train in the method that best suits you and your baby.

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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.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Facebook


  1. Janelle
    June 25, 2009 / 7:20 PM

    I just want to say that I have read both books and have used both methods. I started Babywise when my son was about 3 months old, but did not do the cry it out. Once he was 9 months old, I decided I needed to do something to help him sleep. I still didn't feel good about CIO so I read the Babywhisperer books. I started trying to do the Pick up/Put down method and that worked a little bit. But it was also very frustrating and took hours. He was getting cranky and overtired because it was taking so long for him to go to sleep, that he was missing out on the actual "sleep". One night after 1.5 hours, I finally decided to let him CIO. I picked him up, held him for just a few minutes, put him back in his crib, and walked out of the room. After just 15 mins. of crying he went to sleep. The most he has ever cried since then is 20 mins. I feel like I have my life back now and my relationship with both my son and my husband is so much better. And there are certainly no trust issues for us. In fact, he never even experienced separation anxiety. CIO does work and sometimes is the best answer for everyone involved!

  2. Rachel
    June 25, 2009 / 9:38 PM

    I loved this post! CIO does work! I started CIO much later with my daughter (who is now 28 mo. old) but she sleeps 12 hours a night and takes 1.5 – 3 hour nap everyday. Not only is she a great sleeper, she is the kindest, sweetest, most lovable little girl. She trusts my husband and I with everything! I have started CIO much earlier with my 12 week old son- the 1st time he screamed for 30 min- since then he hasn't made it past 10 min. If you are thinking about starting CIO, I won't lie, it is very hard to endure, but let me tell you it is so worth it. 🙂

  3. Michael and Natalie
    June 25, 2009 / 9:41 PM

    Val are you going to do a post on Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child?? PLEASE do 🙂

  4. Kyle, Amanda, and Tobias
    June 25, 2009 / 9:58 PM

    Thank you for this post. I was actually about to send you a message the other day about this very issue. Since finishing The Baby Whisperer her statements have really been eating at me. What was especially frustrating was the way the book contradicts itself on this one issue. In other ways, I value the tips and tricks I learned from the book. But she does seem to say that letting a child who's throwing a tantrum cry is okay, but one who is trying to fall asleep should not? It just wasn't consistent. I was curious if you had decided CIO was less than ideal since you seemed to not do CIO with Mckenna and instead focused on Tracy Hogg's techniques. Knowing that you still feel positive about doing CIO with your older two and have done it with Mckenna as well eased my mind. And when I look at my son I 100% agree that he doesn't look like a distrusting child at all. He is happy to play independently and has had much more mild separation anxiety than most his age. I was recently pleased to be able to tell the photographer who will take his picture tomorrow that she need not worry about stranger anxiety, as she had made mention of us sitting with him to prevent it. The fact is my son grins when he sees me or my husband, but is content to go to just about anyone we hand him to. I feel like I've worked hard to meet my son's needs without him needing to demand things from me and it is a bit offensive when blanket statements are made against scheduling or CIO. They must not personally know many mothers who parent that way or they would see the preparation, care, and nurturing involved in choosing this style of parenting.

  5. Michelle
    June 26, 2009 / 12:40 AM

    Hi, I found this entry at the perfect time for I am feeling very discouraged and confused. I am hoping you can help. My baby is 5 months old. We do BW with her and started CIO 7 weeks ago. She falls asleep usually within 10 minutes at naps with not much crying. Bedtime however is a very different story. She cries very hard and sometimes for up to an hour. I am confused as to why she hasn't "gotten" it yet. Some of things I am feeling: Will she always be like this? Does this mean she isn't ready to CIO? Maybe she just wants to be with us and doesn't want to have to say goodbye for the day? Your thoughts, advice, and personal experience would be very much appreciated. Thank you.

  6. Kristin
    June 26, 2009 / 4:12 AM

    Val, I love your blog and your yahoo group. I love this post. All in all I think it's fabulous. However, there are times when I just get overwhelmed by the success of others. I believe in CIO completely, but my baby (now 9 months) still cries sometimes when I put him down. Am I doing something wrong? I often read what you and others write and how well you are able to read your babies' cues, sleep and other. I don't know that I'm that good. I ask myself, Is this why it's not working as great for us? I've recently read some of the posts on Yahoo about the 45 minute intruder. I run into this a lot still, but don't always leave him in for the duration of the nap. If it's close enough to the scheduled time and won't mess up the feedings for the rest of the day I just get him up. Do you think that may be perpetuating the issue? My son is a healthy, large 9 month old. Overall, he's pretty happy. He doesn't always wake up happy though (which for my oldest was the sign he hadn't slept enough), but having the older child that might be awakened from his nap has affected how I handle things too. I keep reading about people adjusting their schedule from 3 to 3 1/2 to 4 hours. My son has never slept long enough for me to really adjust to a longer schedule. Right now we're slowly transitioning from a 3 to 3 1/2, sometimes 4 hour schedule. It's just luck of the draw though. Today's feedings were 6:20, 9:30, 12:30, 3:30, 7:00 (the 7 was b/c we were out and got home late). Should I be doing something different? I feel like I must be missing something.

  7. trishconway
    June 26, 2009 / 7:04 AM

    I have been eagerly awaiting this post – thank you for it, Valerie! And thank you for the links, too. If I had known how happy and loving and trusting my daughter was going to be now back when we were in the middle of our hardest time of CIO, I would not have worried nearly as much as I did. But all that you have said is so absolutely true, and I especially appreciate how you articulated that BW children don't have to demand their basic needs – they can trust their parents to provide them consistently and predictably. Great point.

  8. Tyler Mama
    June 26, 2009 / 2:02 PM

    Hi Valerie,I left you a few posts on Baby Whisperer: Sleep Disruptions but I think you may not be getting notified…Anyway, Tyler is 19 weeks old and we are planning to begin CIO tonight. He was waking frequently throughout the night. I don't think because he was hungry – maybe just out of sheer conditioning of us going in to soothe him or trouble making the sleep transitions. Last night he did great though! He nursed at 8:15 and was put down to bed. I tried to DF him at 11:00 but he was just too sleepy. He did not wake up again until 2 when I nursed him then he slept all the way til waketime at 7. He was already awake right at 7 and happy! That was a wonderful night. We are thinking it is time to drop the middle of the night feed. I assume I should still keep the DF since he has never slept longer than 5-6 hrs straight before (except one time 8.5 when he had an ear infection). So, should I just start by dropping the 2 or 3 am feed and let him CIO and then try dropping the DF once he is sleeping through til waketime? P.S. we are on a 3.5 hr schedule. Naps are still a struggle, only 45 minutes usually but he is very happy the rest of the time that he is awake. Is it possible that he just doesn't need longer naps??? Oh, one other question…is it ok to do CIO for nighttime but not for naps??

  9. Holly Tidwell
    June 26, 2009 / 2:27 PM

    I have done Babywise with all four of my children and they are all fabulous sleepers. The only addition I would make to this post is to NOT do CIO until 12 weeks. A baby cannot self-soothe until then (after the "4th" trimester), so I would do the shush-pat technique, from The Baby Whisperer, until then. After 12 weeks I think it is fine to begin doing CIO.

  10. Luara
    June 27, 2009 / 4:00 PM

    I'm sorry I have a different opinion. First of all, I don't believe the point is wether CIO works or not, many things in education are effective but not good…Second, I really don't think that by breaking the trust Hogg meant they will grow into children who don't trust us. She never said that. What she meant was, in their baby feeling, the only thing they know as safety is us, and when they can't see us they think we've disappeared for good! (there are many psicology researches that proove this)so it's not like they think 'I hate you because you abandoned me!' – it's just that the trust they had we'd be there when they needed gets broken, but the consequences of traumas lived at this age aren't usually so clear, which doesn't mean it din't happen. Now looking at God's model, I see that he does set bounderies for us but also never allows us to go through something that we can't handdle. And who can tell for sure it's not too much for a aby to handdle? Last point I want to comment is that some babies will fall asleep after 20 minutes or so but some will only after 1 or 2 hours!!! 1 hr of screaming one lungs out is not a call, it's desperate cry for help and God ALWAYS respond when a son crys out for Him! I respect all opinions, just wanted to share some thoughts for reflextion…

  11. The Curry's
    June 27, 2009 / 10:10 PM

    Oh Laura, I must disagree that God won't give you more than you can handle. I actually hate that phrase because it's so NOT true. God has given me plenty of things I could not handle in my lifetime. I could NOT handle my older son's epilepsy diagnosis and watching him have seizures every single day. It was heart-wrenching and there were days I felt like I was going to lose my mind and control. I was on anti-depressants and couldn't sleep at night. I was constantly worried about him. I could NOT handle it. However, GOD could handle it so I had to lean on him. So yes, God does in fact give us many things we can't handle so we will trust in Him.I personally don't think that relates to how we treat our babies, though, but that's JMO. I do think CIO is okay beginning at a certain age. Of course a baby is going to cry at bedtime when he's used to being rocked, nursed, or whatever to sleep. He's protesting, just like I would protest if I had to start sleeping on the floor. But after a few nights, I'd get the hang of it just like a baby will. My baby (who is 11 weeks old) will sometimes cry at naps but it usually lasts only 2-3 minutes and he goes right to sleep. He still cries when he's sleepy and when he's hungry, so I don't see how that "trust" is broken. He knows when he cries that I'll still meet his needs. He is a very, very happy and easy-going child so I don't think a little bit of crying has hurt him at all.

  12. Anonymous
    June 29, 2009 / 10:12 PM

    Funny Val, you seem to alway post what I have been thinking about. I want to say that CIO works wonders. We did CIO at 3 months (started late) with my son, he is now a year and half and has just been the best sleeper ever since the 3 months CIO. The reason why I was thinking about this was how cute he now at 1 1/2 years old, he waves bye-bye and says "night, night" to everyone before naptime and bed. Everyone thinks he is just the best little boy for doing this. But I know that through the experience of CIO he was actually GAINING trust with me that "mom knows best".I am due any day now with my second child and will definitely be doing CIO again, earlier this time around.Happy Babywising!!Megan

  13. Tyler Mama
    June 29, 2009 / 11:13 PM

    Hi Valerie,Just wanted to post an update since we first started CIO with Tyler who is 19 weeks. It went great – far better than we expected!! The first night he woke about 5 times. He only cried for 15-20 minutes the first 2 times and only 5 minutes the other 3. We were so happy. I realize this is not a typical experience for alot of people trying CIO; however, I thought it was important to note that if you never give your baby the opportunity to put themselves back to sleep then you will never know! It turns out that we were the ones interfering with his sleep since we kept going in…The second night he only woke once and cried for 10 minutes or so. Last night he didn't wake up…Oh my goodness, happiness!!! Naps have been a different story, but we are really hoping that our nights are getting straightened out. I am still doing a DF at 10:30 or 11:00 but thinking that I will move it to 9:00 as the last nursing period after 5:30…About the naps, is it possible that a 19 week old only needs 1.5 in the morning, then only 1 hr each after the next 2 waketimes?? He is a consistent 45 minute napper…But he is very happy and not fussy if we go ahead and let him get up which makes me wonder if he just doesn't require as much naptime??

  14. Luara
    June 30, 2009 / 5:16 PM

    The Curry's, I'm glad you could rely on our Father to go through such tough situation, I hope your little one is alright now! – I totally agree with you, God does give us things we're not able to deal with by ourselves, but He knows we can if we lean on Him. But a new born baby, what can he/she lean on? God gives us hard situations because He's sure we have the resouces to go through them, but I'm just not sure if babies do, when all they can appeal to is us! Also, I don't think protest is the only reason they cry in the crib…they also have the need to be reassured we are there, for example…All I want to say is that saying your children are very happy kids and because of that you know they didn't get 'hurt' by CIO doesn't make sense – it's really not that simple!! I've had a student who lost her mother in a car crash when she was 3, I met her the day after the accident and she still was a very cheerful little girl, she played, smiled and all but that didn't mean she wasn't hurt! I'm sorry to share a different opinion, I feel awkard…I just couldn't help it when I read this article…may God give wisdom to us all to know what's right for our babies.xx

  15. Susanne
    July 8, 2009 / 2:41 PM

    Val, I love you blog. I have been following it ever since my little guy was born. My son is now 9.5 months old. About a month and a half ago, we family moved from Maryland to Texas. We spent two weeks with my in-laws before we moved into our new home. We have been in our new home for about a month. My son seems to be going through some adjustment troubles due to teething (he cut 3 teeth recently), development (wonder week), new people, new environment, new climate, and separation anxiety. Sigh! He was sleeping about 11 hours at night and 4-4.5 hours during the day. He would go down well for all his naps and nighttime sleep. Suddenly, he is protesting going to bed at night, sometimes taking up to 2 hours to fall asleep while crying on and off. He is also waking earlier and earlier in the mornings (5am). He will play in his crib for over an hour and than start to wail. If I am lucky, he might fall back to sleep for about 30 min. I decided to do CIO again with him. I feel like we are starting from scratch with a newborn all over again. Do you happen to have any suggestions on sleep training with an older baby who has already been through the CIO process? Should I be handling this differently since he is having a hard time adjusting to his new home and a HUGE amount of separation anxiety?

  16. Plowmanators
    July 8, 2009 / 7:05 PM

    Janelle, thanks for sharing. I think that perhaps starting with the Hogg way and then moving to CIO could possibly make CIO easier overall because baby could learn some self-soothing skills during the Hogg way and have less to learn once CIO starts. Just a theory.

  17. Plowmanators
    July 8, 2009 / 7:07 PM

    Thanks Rachel! It is always helpful for other parents to read about the experiences of others 🙂

  18. Plowmanators
    July 8, 2009 / 7:08 PM

    Natalie, I plan to do a series of posts as reviews just like I have with the Baby Whisperer Books and other books I have read. They will come (but I am still not done. It is taking me a while–only 20 pages left!).

  19. Plowmanators
    July 8, 2009 / 7:09 PM

    Thanks for your thoughts Amanda! Very well put.

  20. Plowmanators
    July 8, 2009 / 7:12 PM

    Michelle,Whenever there is excessive crying that isn't consistent with the rest of the day, I think it is worth evaluating. Often times, crying is related to waketime length. She might need longer or shorter. You also want to be sure you are doing a consistent bedtime routine.You also might want to evaluate waketime length for the entire day. She could be crying more at bedtime because she isn't quite as rested as she needs to be and it has built up.It is also possible that she knows the end of the day means longer sleep and she does just want to hang out longer. You might benefit from ready Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.

  21. Plowmanators
    July 8, 2009 / 7:15 PM

    Kristin,You are not necessarily doing something wrong. I have a good friend who is a BW mom. Her now 3 year old son cried for about 5 minutes before every nap up until about a year old. He might need a shorter waketime (or even a longer one). I understand not wanting to wake up another sibling. I would suggest you try a humidifier or some other form of white noise so you don't have to worry about it. I found that Kaitlyn slept through McKenna's crying just fine.

  22. Plowmanators
    July 8, 2009 / 7:16 PM

    Thanks Trish! Thanks for sparking the discussion!

  23. Plowmanators
    July 8, 2009 / 7:19 PM

    Tyler Mama,I don't think I would do CIO at night if I hadn't during naps. At night, you are going to be eager to get back to sleep, so you will be eager for the crying to stop. If you haven't done CIO in the day, then you won't know your child's crying pattern and cues. You won't be sure if a cry means he is about to fall asleep or he isn't going to fall asleep. I think it is best to be familiar with the cries before moving to night. Also, CIO teaches self-soothing capability. If you do CIO in the day, then he might not need it for night because the skill would already be learned. At the least, it would make nighttime easier.

  24. Plowmanators
    July 8, 2009 / 8:12 PM

    Thanks Holly, I actually disagree that there is a "certain age" when babies are ready to CIO. Some "experts" say three months. Others four. Others six. Others twelve. I prefer to just take it child by child. I think they are ready at different times and it just depends on the child.

  25. Plowmanators
    July 8, 2009 / 8:36 PM

    Luara,I interpret Hogg's statements differently. I don't think she was just saying babies can't see us and think we are gone forever. If that were her thought, I don't think she would advocate baby sleeping in their own bed. Hogg says many babies who CIO become fearful of their own beds (page 193) and is fearful of being abandoned (194). She says babies who have done CIO don't trust their parents and are harder to console (page 194). She also says that with these babies she has at times had to go as far as getting into the crib with the baby (194). She says building trust back takes 3-4 weeks (194). To do this, she has her pillow method. You have to have baby sleep on a pillow on your lap. You can move it to the floor, but you must sit right next to it the entire time so that you will be right there when baby wakes up. "You must stay with her all night. This is a sacrifice you have to make to regain your baby's trust." (page 194). She says you must stay in the room, gradually getting further from your baby, for more than three weeks. She also says that this is extreme, but if you don't do it, "it will only get worse, and you'll probably have a clingy child on your hands for the next several years. Better to restore her faith in you now." (page 195). This is just one of the many sections that talk about CIO and the lack of trust that will build between you and your child. Hogg isn't saying simply that your child will worry that you aren't coming back but will trust you in all other ways. She is saying your child will be clingy and scared of the crib. She is saying you will have to take drastic measures to earn the trust back. As I said in this post, I have not found that to be true with my children. They have all trusted me implicitely. You can read in Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child that children are often happier after starting CIO. I found that to be true with McKenna and Brayden (who both did CIO at older ages. Kaitlyn was young so I didn't see a difference).As for your point that God doesn't allow us to go through things we can't handle, I very much agree. In the example of the Curry's, I would say that she was able to handle the situation by leaning on the Lord for support. I believe God to be all-knowing and definitely knows what we can or cannot handle. I think it is the responsibility of the parents to be sure the baby is ready to CIO before starting it. That doesn't mean it would be an easy process, but it should be successful. I personally pray to know if my child is ready. I knew Kaitlyn was ready right away. I knew Brayden was ready at three weeks, but I also knew I wasn't ready so we waited until he was 9 weeks. McKenna didn't even show signs of needing it until she was definitely ready (she was going to sleep on her own previously without fussing). Before McKenna was born, people asked me when I would start CIO. I didn't have a preconcieved time period. I told them I would wait until I got to know her before deciding when she was ready. When she was 2 days old, I still didn't know for sure.On a personal note, I lost a baby boy between Brayden and Kaitlyn. Losing a child is definitely the most painful thing I have ever gone through. I would never wish it on anyone. At the time, I didn't think I could feel any more pain. I cried and I prayed. Over time, I was strengthened.If it were to happen again, it would definitely be painful and difficult to bear, but I think I would have the tools to cope better. My faith was strengthened. I am a stronger person today because of it. I watch the youth I work with go through difficulties that I wouldn't even bat an eye at today. Through our adversity, we can come out stronger with more faith and more coping skills.

  26. Plowmanators
    July 8, 2009 / 8:39 PM

    Thanks for sharing your experiences Curry's :). I always have to go through a re-learning to sleep through the night phase after my babies start sleeping through. I often want to cry on those nights 🙂 But I do re-learn.

  27. Plowmanators
    July 8, 2009 / 8:52 PM

    Thanks Megan. It really is graet to hear the positive experiences of others 🙂

  28. Plowmanators
    July 8, 2009 / 8:55 PM

    lol TylerMama! I am glad it went well for you. Good thing I didn't respond sooner and mess up the progress you made :)As far as nap lengths, there are differing opinions on that. BW says you want 1.5-2 hour length naps. 1.5 hours is always just fine. It also says that if baby wakes happy, you know he is rested. There are some books that say baby might just only need 45 minutes. My personal view is that baby does need at least 1.5 hour nap. However, I don't think it is beneficial for mom to be stressed out and unhappy if baby is only taking 45 minute naps. I think it is good to see if you can get naps longer, but if not, just enjoy your baby and hope naps get longer at some point in the future.

  29. Plowmanators
    July 8, 2009 / 8:59 PM

    Luara, don't applogize for sharing your view :)I would say, though, that a three year old wouldn't possibly be able to grasp the gravity of losing her mother for good by only the very next day. For all she knew, her momo could be on a long vacation. My husband and I went on vacation for a week when Brayden was nearly three and Kaitlyn was barely one. They weren't sad the entire time we were gone. When we got back, they were happy to see us and had missed us, but they weren't grieving us. A three year old wouldn't be able to understand that she would never see her mother again, even if she had been told. Perhaps after a couple of weeks or a month you might start to see some understanding (or rather, confusion) in her, but not the next day.

  30. Plowmanators
    July 8, 2009 / 9:02 PM

    Susanne, If it were me, I think I would wait until he was a bit more settled before starting CIO.I haven't ever had to do CIO again after the initial go, but from what I have read, it isn't ever as long or difficult as the first time around. You might want to read Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. It will give you the mental boost you need and also several different methods for approaching CIO.

  31. Susanne
    July 13, 2009 / 1:39 AM

    Val,Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. I have read that book before and found it useful, maybe now would be a good time to revisit it. I have just decided to keep a very firm and consistent morning wake up time and bedtime with him. I have done this for about a week and I have seen signs of improvement. I was trying to stay as consistent as possible, but with his teething and separation anxiety, I was not sure how to read his cues and his sleep resistance. It has been hard when he wakes up at 5am in the morning, but for a whole week I have left him in his crib. Thankful, the last two days he has slept in until almost 7, which is my ideal wake up time. Consistence is the key with my son, if I deviate from our schedule everything goes haywire. Thanks again for all your help!

  32. Plowmanators
    July 31, 2009 / 2:32 AM

    Susanne, it sounds like Brayden. Kaitlyn is more flexible than he is, and he is two years older! lol

  33. Christine
    September 10, 2009 / 10:36 PM

    Hi Val. Love the Blog! I'm a mother of 2, Samantha a BW baby now 21 months, and Jack who is 6 weeks old. I started the BW structure with Jack right away, but he had several stomach/digestion issues so I was hesitant to make him CIO until we got him feeling better. I started CIO 8 days ago and he seems to be adjusting well (some good days and some bad days). My questions is… Did you let Kaitlyn CIO at night? If so, how did that affect Brayden? I'm really worried about how to make this work! My childrens rooms are right next to each other, so when Jack had diarrhea a couple of weeks ago and he was screaming his head off at 2:00am because is butt was burning, it occasionally would wake up my daughter. Now, she's a BW baby so she would just talk to herself in bed or turn on her music to go back to sleep, but it would take up to 2 hours for her to go back to sleep sometimes. She never needs me to soothe her; she eventually falls back to sleep. But, I still feel bad because I know she needs her sleep as well. Just wondering how you handled this or any thoughts you might have… I'm really nervous about it. Thank you!

  34. Christine
    September 24, 2009 / 5:15 PM

    Hi Valerie ~Since I posted the question above on 9/10, my son has been diagnosed with Reflux (which I have thought for a little while now) and we have started medication. He really hates to take naps probably just sleeping all together. I have been having him CIO for a couple of weeks now and here are my concerns: He really cries alot and gets worked up before drifting off which worries me about his reflux. And, since I have implemented CIO he has been waking early from his naps especially when he has a hard time going down. I started doing the 4 S's which helps but he really fights me now because he is learning that when we swaddle and sit in the chair it means sleep (Oh no!).Since (according to your comments) you have both a child who disliked sleeping and a child who had reflux, any suggestions or comments. And, please tell me that eventually he will like going down for naps! Thank you, Christine

  35. Plowmanators
    September 29, 2009 / 4:23 AM

    Christine, I didn't ever let Kaitlyn CIO at night as in cry if she woke up. I always fed her. After a few days old, she always went to sleep fine after a feeding.I would put a fan in Samantha's room to act as white noise (or a humidifier or white noise machine…anything white noise).Ahh…as for eventually liking to go to sleep, probably not ever. Brayden still hates it 🙂 But he can get to a point where he doesn't scream when it is time to do so. It is hard to have disliking to sleep and reflux combined because reflux makes sleeping less comfortable. See the label "reflux" for all tips on making that more manageable. As for the dislike of sleep, you just have to keep doing it so they will accept it. It will come 🙂

  36. Amy
    May 15, 2010 / 1:49 PM

    Last night, I decided to REALLY try CIO without going into my daughter at all (before, I would wait and go in at an hour). Last night she cried for 1 hour and 20 minutes before she fell back asleep. She normally wakes up around 5, so this had her finally falling back asleep at 6:20. My plan was to wake her at 7:30 to start the day. At 7:00 she started crying again and I didn't know what to do. How can she distinguish between my letting her CIO at 5:00 and getting her to start her day when she cries at 7:00? Am I ruining the hour+ of crying from a couple hours earlier if I get her at 7 when she cries instead of 7:30?On a side note: I read the NYTimes article and thought I would google Dr. Mindell since I live in Phila and she works here at a local university, as referenced in the article. I found a couple videos of her on youtube that I thought you might find interesting. Not specifically on CIO, more on bedtime routine, but interesting nonetheless.

  37. Plowmanators
    May 29, 2010 / 5:19 PM

    Amy, if it were me, I would have gotten her at 7.Remember that you have your 30 minute sway for morning. So if you want to start at 7:30, your sway can be 7-7:30.If you really, REALLY want to start at 7:30, I would get her up at 7 and wait 5-10 minutes to feed her. Even for my 5 year old, the time we eat breakfast has a huge impact on what time he wakes up.

  38. Plowmanators
    May 29, 2010 / 5:25 PM

    Thanks for those links! That is very interesting.

  39. CQ
    March 12, 2012 / 4:10 PM

    I read that most moms here have babies that CIO for 20 or 30 mins. Not mine, he screams for hours and hours. I've tried CIO for three nights and I'm at my wits end, he consistently cries until 3 am (stops for feeds and changes and a bit of comforting etc). Its heartbreaking and I'm exhausted. He's two months old. It doesn't seem to work for me? What's going on? During the day he CIO for shorter times before falling asleep, but at night no matter how long he cries he won't fall asleep on his own at all unless I nurse him to sleep. I gave up tonight, too emotionally exhausted, and he's in the swing now (but still wide awake) … I start trying to put my baby to bed around 8 pm or 9 pm usually, but these few weeks he falls asleep only way after midnight, whether I CIO or not. I have kept him on a routine during the day and took care he doesn't sleep too much, so I am really at my wit's end.

  40. CQ
    March 12, 2012 / 4:11 PM

    Oh and I want to thank you for this site. I've been devouring the posts while I CIO to make it easier to stomach my baby's tragic wails

  41. Plowmanators
    April 6, 2012 / 4:39 AM

    CQ, it is likely witching hour. See my post on that under "witching hour"

  42. Jessica Krahe
    January 2, 2015 / 12:42 PM

    I know this is an old post but it goes right along what we are going through right now. I have a 2.5 year old daughter and a now 5 mo son. We did Babywise with our first and it worked beautifully..sttn at 13 weeks and smooth sailing from there. My son is a different story. He is a great napper, but is still waking around 2 or 3 at night. If he wakes at 2 we usually go and give him the pacifier..then he will usually wake around 3:30 or 4 to eat and then sleep until 7:30. However, lately he isn't hungry in the morning (probably because the motn feed), and the rest of his schedule is getting thrown off because of this. We tried CIO a few weeks ago and I only lasted 2 nights (each over an hour of crying)..back then though his daytime feedings were fine (3 hr schedule). Now since the daytime is suffering I think we need to CIO again. I know he probably doesn't need the motn feed, but it is so much easier to just feed him and go back to sleep rather than lay awake for over an hour and then give up and go feed him! What do you suggest? I am still doing a DF too around 10. I know in the long run CIO will help, I'm just not sure it will work with him. He also recently starting rolling onto his stomach and sleeping like that, but then gets mad because he cant get back to his back! All sorts of problems :/. And he is sick :/. Help!

    • Valerie Plowman
      January 6, 2015 / 1:05 AM

      That is a lot of problems! I wouldn't start CIO while his is sick. You won't feel comfortable with it and it will result in it just not working. While he is sick, I would just feed him. Another option would be to rock him to sleep when he wakes if you want to avoid feeding since he isn't eating in the morning. Once he is better, I would get a plan. Does he fall asleep on his own? If not I would start with CIO for falling asleep.

  43. Valerie Plowman
    September 11, 2015 / 12:02 AM

    Hi Anna, yes, babies absolutely can self soothe. And no, it doesn't have to mean crying. Two of mine learned how to sleep on their own with no crying at all. One was very minimal. The only one who had a hard time was the one I waited on before working on self-soothing skills. There really are as many studies in favor of sleep training as their are against. I am happy to discuss it with you, but I first ask for a sincere explanation of what your intents are. As you might imagine, I get many inquiries a day from parents wanting help. And of course I have my own family to attend to. For those reasons, I don't debate for the sake of debating. I actually really enjoying debating (did it in college), but my time is limited and I have to prioritize. So my question is, why do you ask? Are you hoping to change my mind? Prove so ebbing wrong? Or are you sincerely seeking information?

  44. Christina
    July 4, 2019 / 7:53 PM

    It has been a few years now since I have had to worry about getting a baby to sleep. However, it’s also a GREAT opportunity to update you and other moms out there on how my children are doing with trust.

    Daughter, HARDCORE CIO BABY — would scream and cry at the top of her lungs every single night no matter what I did — like you, I finally figured out that the MOST MERCIFUL thing I could do was put her to bed, let her cry it out, and BAM, she’d go out like a light and sleep 11-12 hours straight all night long. She is now 7 years old (same age as your youngest) and EXTREMELY intelligent. Since I homeschool, it’s hard to say for her sure that she’s gifted, but I am looking to have her tested next year to know for sure. She was also adopted at 11 days old, so that is an additional “hurdle” to the bonding/attachment/trust issue. But guess what??? In spite of the HARDCORE CIO we had to do with her as an infant, this child is SO attached to me! She is loving, VERY trusting, and HAPPY in life. She excels in many areas, academically, socially, and physically (she is a swimmer getting ready to enter a pre-competitive swim program this fall). I am SO VERY proud of her. If anything, I’d say CIO probably IMPROVED our relationship rather than the other way around because I was not one of these overly tired, depressed moms and was able to BE THERE FOR HER and MEET HER NEEDS without being exhausted or resentful. I found that I started to really enjoy motherhood when she was STTN, and I have never NOT enjoyed it.

    Son, easier-going personality — didn’t really even need much CIO at all until he was a toddler because once he stopped eating at night, he was STTN by habit and routine. He is a lighter sleeper than his big sister, but it isn’t hard for him to fall back asleep most of the time. He is a bit more sensitive than his big sister, so he does occasionally wake up at night more often (I still allow him time to resettle before I go in to check on him, of course). The CIO we’ve used with him has been less because he is the kind of child who happily falls asleep at bedtime and stays asleep, then wakes up in the morning and happily plays by himself. He is currently 3 years old, so we’re going through the “Threenager” phase (probably also explains some of the occasional MOTN wakings, too), but he is very bright, just like his sister, and very creative. I LOVE watching him play and create stories with his stuffed animal friends! If letting him even occasionally CIO did any damage, you’d think this child would NOT pick ME as his “go to” for love and comfort. Instead, this boy immediately looks for me when he’s scared, hungry, thirsty, or in need because he KNOWS I’ll help him. Trust issues? NOPE. NONE. Did letting him even occasionally CIO affect our mother/child bonding??? HECK NO.

    On the other hand, I do know of some parents who insisted upon never letting their children CIO. One mom in particular has 5 kids, and at least two of them have sleep problems now as they have grown older (ages 13 and 11). The 13yo has anxiety and depression issues that are only growing worse and worse. She still insists upon getting her way, her parents still insist upon letting her have her way (?!), and she is a VERY MISERABLE CHILD. Her mother is one of those types who is DEAD SET against CIO as well as ANY form of sleep training, even the gentler methods. I can’t say this is true for every mom who has refused to do CIO, but personally, I am GRATEFUL I used it in spite of the crap I faced from other moms. My kids are well-rested, happy, intelligent, and most importantly, I am able to care for myself so that I can better meet their needs — because I get sleep.

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