Cry it Out and Breastfeeding

Cheyenne - posted on 05/09/2009 ( 36 moms have responded )

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I want to start the "cry it out" method to get my daughter to sleep more at night, but I would like some reassurance that she isn't crying cause she is hungry. She is 6 months and still gets up 3 or 4 times a night.. I need some sleep!!! I just wanted to know if anyone can tell me how often she really NEEDS to eat. She gets only breast milk, except in the evening she has solids. I have heard that b.f. babies eat more often, but does she really need to be up multiple times at night? Any tips would be great cause I'm exhausted.

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[deleted account]

Hi Cheyenne,



My now 10 month old girl was also eating (breastfeeding exclusively) in the night at 5 and 1/2 months about every 3-4 times/night. So my friend suggested that I read Richard Ferber's book "Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems: New, Revised, and Expanded Edition" and he explains eating cycle for children and recognizing that sleep is just as important as food and that your child needs to get full amount of rest. I would recommend you read the book and see if it is something that appeals to you and your style of parenting. He even explains how to cut back the feeds for bf babies. My daughter never even complained about not being feed. Once the 1st feed was cut out she really didn't make much noise the next nights. Since that time she has been sleeping really well (7:30pm-6:30/7am). It took me about 3 days to stop the night feed completely. You really need to be consistent in your bedtime routine and how you react to your child at night. Ferber's method is actually very humane, you don't just let your child cry for hours on end, you go in a reassure the child, this teach them that you are still there but that the child needs to learn to fall asleep. Anyway, I hope this helps. As for other comments, don't take things personally, everyone has their own style of parenting and whatever you decide just stick to it and don't worry about what others say. This is your child and you are the mother, you will know best what works for you and your family. GOOD LUCK!!

p.s. and remember babies are very smart, if they don't get the milk at night they learn to eat more in the day :o)

[deleted account]

My son started to sleep through the night by 3 months old, my daughter on the other hand is 9 months old & still wakes up 2-3 times per night to eat. Not to be disagreeable with other people, but babies cry because they need something, even if they cry for a hour, just the fact that you're there holding them tells them that you're there for them, even when you've changed them, fed them etc...& they still cry. Babies that are left alone to cry & scream for too long too many times, can end up hard wired for stress, then they are upset & crying etc. a chemical is released in their brain & being left in that stressful state is not good for them. I wouldn't leave her for more than 5-10 min. to cry & if that doesn't work than try just cuddling her or rocking her, I started that with my daughter & now she's decreased her need for food through the night, she still feeds, but sometimes when she wakes up, she just needs reassurance that I'm still there, after a short cuddle she goes back to sleep. I sympathize with the exhaustion, it will get better, try people's tips until you find something that works for you guys. Good Luck!

Tara - posted on 05/12/2009

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I would never use cry it out for any child of mine...let alone a baby under 1!! Good grief! How CRUEL!

http://www.askdrsears.com/html/10/t13010... Info on Attachment Parenting

Info on NOT crying it out: http://www.askdrsears.com/html/5/T051200...

"LETTING BABY "CRY-IT-OUT" YES, NO!

If only my baby could talk instead of cry I would know what she wants," said Janet, a new mother of a fussy baby. "Your baby can talk," we advised. "The key is for you to learn how to listen. When you learn the special language of your baby's cry, you will be able to respond sensitively. Here are some listening tips that will help you discover what your baby is trying to say when he cries.

The cry is not just a sound; it's a signal – designed for the survival of the baby and development of the parents. By not responding to the cry, babies and parents lose. Here's why. In the early months of life, babies cannot verbalize their needs. To fill in the gap until the child is able to "speak our language," babies have a unique language called "crying." Baby senses a need, such as hunger for food or the need to be comforted when upset, and this need triggers a sound we call a cry. Baby does not ponder in his little mind, "It's 3:00 a.m. and I think I'll wake up mommy for a little snack." No! That faulty reasoning is placing an adult interpretation on a tiny infant. Also, babies do not have the mental acuity to figure out why a parent would respond to their cries at three in the afternoon, but not at three in the morning. The newborn who cries is saying: "I need something; something is not right here. Please make it right."

At the top of the list of unhelpful advice – one that every new parent is bound to hear – is "Let your baby cry-it-out." To see how unwise and unhelpful is this advice, let's analyze each word in this mother-baby connection- interfering phrase.

"Let your baby." Some third-party advisor who has no biological connection to your baby, no knowledge or investment in your baby, and isn't even there at 3:00 a.m. when your baby cries, has the nerve to pontificate to you how to respond to your baby's cries.

The cry is a marvelous design. Consider what might happen if the infant didn't cry. He's hungry, but doesn't awaken ("He sleeps through the night," brags the parent of a sleep-trained baby). He hurts, but doesn't let anyone know. The result of this lack of communication is known, ultimately, as "failure to thrive." "Thriving" means not only getting bigger, but growing to your full potential emotionally, physically, and intellectually.

"Cry…" Not only is the cry a wonderful design for babies; it is a useful divine design for parents, especially the mother. When a mother hears her baby cry, the blood flow to her breasts increases, accompanied by the biological urge to "pick up and nurse" her baby. ("Nurse" means comforting, not just breastfeeding.) As an added biological perk, the maternal hormones released when baby nurses relax the mother, so she gives a less tense and more nurturing response to her infant's needs. These biological changes – part of the design of the mother-baby communication network – explain why it's easy for someone else to advise you to let your baby cry, but difficult for you to do. That counterproductive advice is not biologically correct.

"It…" Consider what exactly is the "it" in "cry-it-out": an annoying habit? Unlikely, since babies don't enjoy crying. And, contrary to popular thought, crying is not "good for baby's lungs." That belief is not physiologically correct. The "it" is an emotional or physical need. Something is not right and the only way baby has of telling us this is to cry, pleading with us to make it right. Early on, consider baby's cry as signaling a need – communication rather than manipulation.
Parent tip: Babies cry to communicate – not manipulate

"Out" What actually goes "out" of a baby, parents, and the relationship when a baby is left to cry-it-out? Since the cry is a baby's language, a communication tool, a baby has two choices if no one listens. Either he can cry louder, harder, and produce a more disturbing signal or he can clam up and become a "good baby" (meaning "quiet"). If no one listens, he will become a very discouraged baby. He'll learn the one thing you don't want him to: that he can't communicate.

Baby loses trust in the signal value of his cry – and perhaps baby also loses trust in the responsiveness of his caregivers. Not only does something vital go "out" of baby, an important ingredient in the parent- child relationship goes "out" of parents: sensitivity. When you respond intuitively to your infant's needs, as you practice this cue- response listening skill hundreds of times in the early months, baby learns to cue better (the cries take on a less disturbing and more communicative quality as baby learns to "talk better"). On the flip side of the mother-infant communication, you learn to read your infant's cries and respond appropriately (meaning when to say "yes" and when to say "no," and how fast). In time you learn the ultimate in crying sensitivity: to read baby's body language and respond to her pre-cry signals so baby doesn't always have to cry to communicate her needs.

What happens if you "harden your heart," view the cry as a control rather than a communication tool and turn a deaf ear to baby's cries? When you go against your basic biology, you desensitize yourself to your baby's signals and your instinctive responses. Eventually, the cry doesn't bother you. You lose trust in your baby's signals, and you lose trust in your ability to understand baby's primitive language. A distance develops between you and your baby and you run the risk of becoming what pediatricians refer to as a doctor-tell-me-what-to-do. You listen to a book instead of your baby. So, not listening and responding sensitively to baby's cries is a lose-lose situation: Baby loses trust in caregivers and caregivers lose trust in their own sensitivity.

Mother loses trust in herself. To illustrate how a mother can weaken her God- given sensitivity when she lets herself be less discerning about parenting advice; a sensitive veteran mother recently shared this story with us:

"I went to visit my friend who just had a baby. While we were talking, her three-week-old started crying in another room. The baby kept crying, harder and louder. I was getting increasingly driven to go comfort the baby. Her baby's cries didn't bother her, but they bothered me. My breasts almost started to leak milk! Yet, my friend seemed oblivious to her baby's signals. Finally, I couldn't stand it anymore and I said, 'It's okay, go attend to your baby. We can talk later.' Matter-of-factly she replied, 'No, it's not time yet for his feeding.' Incredulous, I asked, 'Mary, where on earth did you get that harmful advice?' 'From a baby-training class at church,' she proudly insisted. 'I want my baby to learn I'm in control, not him.'"

This novice mother, wanting to do the best for her baby and believing she was being a good mother, had allowed herself to succumb to uncredentialed prophets of bad parenting advice and was losing her God-given sensitivity to her baby. She was starting her parenting career with a distance developing between her and her baby. The pair was becoming disconnected."

Hannah - posted on 05/14/2009

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Quoting Erika:

Welcome to motherhood! "I need some sleep" is the mantra that we all sing... however, let me ask you a question: Do you want to sleep alone, and if you're crying do YOU want to be left alone in a bed you can't get out of with no one around to console you? Why not take your baby to bed with you to nurse during the night? That is the beauty of breastfeeding... you don't have to get up and make or warm up a bottle, just roll over, pop boob in mouth and you both drift back of to lala land. This has been the norm in my house for 3 1/2 years now... first with my older son, who breastfed all the way up to one month prior to his third birthday (and tandom for awhile after my 2nd was born), and now with my 2nd child, who is safely next to me all night long. I have gotten to where if my baby falls asleep and is in his crib for the first part of the night, I have trouble sleeping until he wakes up and wants to nurse. Once I feel his breath next to me suckling, I'm able to fall asleep very quickly.

Good luck to you, mama. And know, it DOES get easier!


Amen!

Chelsea - posted on 05/11/2009

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Quoting Melissa:

I was exactly in your situation when my baby was 6 months. No,she doesn't need to be nursing through the night. She just wakes up crying because that's what her body is used to and so her internal clock assumes that is what she needs, but she DOESN'T NEED IT. I used the Ferber method. Instead of crying it out cold turkey the Ferber method let's them cry it out while letting the baby be comforted every once in a while. The first night you put the baby to sleep awake and comfort him for 2-3 minutes by patting his behind and caressing him, then leave the room. After 5 minutes of crying, go back and comfort him for 2-3 minutes. After 10 minutes, comfort him again for 2-3 minutes. After 15 minutes of crying, comfort him again. Continue to comfort every 15 minutes. Day 2, do the same method, but start at 10 minutes, then 15 min, then 20 min, and stay at 20 until he falls asleep. Day 3, start at 15 min, then 20, then 25 and stay at 25 min. Day 4 and so on should be the same timing as Day 3. I hope that made sense. After 7 days, your baby should definately be sleeping through the night. Once your baby wakes up in the middle of the night to nurse, DO NOT PICK BABY UP, just comfort him for 2-3 minutes and give him comfort visits according to what day your on. Usually, you will see an improvement by day 3 or 4. By day 3 I was sleeping throught the night. My daughter is 10 months and I'm still nursing and she still loves nursing, and she doesn't wake up in the middle of the night. I hope this helps. Good luck!


Not nursing an infant in the middle of the night is inhuman.  They are not built to go 12 hours without food.  Sleeping through the night for an infant is 5 hours of sleep not all night long.  Also it is not recommended to leave an infant crying for long amounts of time so basically anything over 10 minutes is a lifetime for them.  They are just learning object permanence and this stage in their life and they are not trying to trick you into getting them by crying, they really do feel so sad and alone that they are screaming for attention.  Ignoring a crying baby for this long leads to emotional instability later in life.     

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Erika - posted on 05/13/2009

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Welcome to motherhood! "I need some sleep" is the mantra that we all sing... however, let me ask you a question: Do you want to sleep alone, and if you're crying do YOU want to be left alone in a bed you can't get out of with no one around to console you? Why not take your baby to bed with you to nurse during the night? That is the beauty of breastfeeding... you don't have to get up and make or warm up a bottle, just roll over, pop boob in mouth and you both drift back of to lala land. This has been the norm in my house for 3 1/2 years now... first with my older son, who breastfed all the way up to one month prior to his third birthday (and tandom for awhile after my 2nd was born), and now with my 2nd child, who is safely next to me all night long. I have gotten to where if my baby falls asleep and is in his crib for the first part of the night, I have trouble sleeping until he wakes up and wants to nurse. Once I feel his breath next to me suckling, I'm able to fall asleep very quickly.



Good luck to you, mama. And know, it DOES get easier!

[deleted account]

I was in the same boat at 6 months, and nursing 3 or 4 times through the night, and exhausted all day. Then he just started dropping 1 feeding a month... 3x a night, then at 7 months 2 x, 8 months 1x, and then by 9 months he was pretty consistently sleeping through. This may not be that helpful, but just when you think your desperate, sometimes they pleasantly surprise you. It's like they can sense that mommy's at the end of her rope.

Emma - posted on 05/12/2009

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when i know my lil girl is tired i gte her ready for bed and feed her, when she stops feeding by herself shes had enough i then put her in her cot and she screams the place down, but after less than 10 mins she is asleep.

the first time i let her cry it took a few pick up, just to reassure them ur still there.

she still wakes in the night if shes hungry, i feed her and she goes straight back to sleep (she only wakes once but she is 11 months)

Morag - posted on 05/12/2009

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You could try moving "dinner" to just before bedtime. That way it will be unlikely her waking is caused by hunger. Breastfed babies also learn to graze and only eat what they need, which is why they demand feed. . I wouldn't use CIO on your baby at this time unless she is being silly...like when you feed them, change them, give them pain killers, cuddle them, breast feeed them etc all at 3am in the morning and they are giggling and wanting to play. This would be when we would resort to CIO as we just ran out of options, there was nothing left to do...but I never left her alone. I just couldn't. She'd get hysterical and this going in and out lark just made it worse Personally I felt that if I was going to choose to let them CIO, I should at least hold their hand to let them know I am not doing it because I no longer want to be with them/can't cope, but because I was helping them learn to sleep on their own without being alone. I was always there....however my kids did have a big issue with seperation anxiety initiated by me (they'd happily wander off if they felt like it but if I walked away well, that was the most evil thing I could do). But it depends on your child really... This worked with my children, but it might be the opposite for you :)

Hannah - posted on 05/12/2009

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Just perservere. She is still little, she wakes up at night away from you, she just wants to have some booby and be close to mama. This is a phase and you will happier with your choices as a mother if you just stick with it. Sleep deprivation is just a part of being a mama. My 9 month old wakes once in the early mornings now. So then we just snuggle and she has some milk.
A 6 month old "NEEDS to eat" as often as she is hungry. Every baby is different and no two schedules are the same.
Maybe start giving her more solids. Two meals of solids and make sure she is full before bed time. Theres no need to let her CIO she just wants you and its good for her to feel that when she needs you, you will be there to scoop her up.

Nicole - posted on 05/11/2009

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my daughter is 6 months and a week. she recieves cereal in the morning bananas for lunch and some pears or carrots that all she likes right now. but if i find i miss any day time meals she wake up 3 to 4 times but if not she is out all night;. good luck with everything and maybe you should try to up her day time meals.

: )

Chelsea - posted on 05/11/2009

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Quoting Lexie:

Babies don't just cry because they are hungry. Feeding babies everytime they cry teaches them to eat when they are upset...at least that is how i feel. I look for hunger cues in my daughter and feed her then. She is now gone to a 7a, 10a, 1p, 4p, 7p, and 10p schedule. She sleeps after her 10p feeding until her 7a feeding (since 9 weeks old). I let her cry it out as long as she was not showing hunger cues. My pediatrician highly recommends it, and my daughter is totally fine and growing strong. She does not snack at the breast...she has learned to stay on for a entire feeding. At the beginning I would have to keep her awake by stroking a babywipe on her because she would fall asleep and be hungry 30-45 minutes later. You need you baby to sleep for your sake and theirs. Babies are better with a well rested mother. Ask you pediatrician, and I bet they will recommend it as well.


It is not recommended to let an infant cry for any length of time until an infant is at least 6 months of age.  The pediatrician that recommended this is not following the recommendations from the pediatric association of America or The World Health Organization.  Before the age of 6 months an infant CANNOT learn from crying.  Your infant may seem fine now but as she grows there will be an emotional disconnect caused by not having her needs met as an infant.  



I agree that infants are not always hungry when they want to nurse.  That's the beauty of breastfeeding it creates a relationship that fosters a close attachment and the infant is able to sooth my nursing.  My daughter always wants to be nursed when I pick her up after being away for even 1 hour because she needs to reconnect with me on a deep level that can only be fulfilled by being breastfed.  



An infant does not learn that they should eat when upset they learn that she should nurse.  There is a difference between taking in large amounts of breast-milk for nutrition and "snacking" as you put it.  The problem with your philosophy is that it does not allow infants to just be infants it demands that they learn to be independent before the time is right for them to do so.  the most natural cultures in the world wear no tops and breast-feed for an average of 7 minutes an hour.  We should not strive to make our infants independent before they can even walk we should foster a close connection that allows us to see when they are emotionally ready to make the transition to self soothing.  



 



Infants are only small for a short period of time and so making the excuse that you need to rest doesn't hold any water in regards to letting them cry it out.  Of course we all need some sleep but we as a species are meant to care for infants or humans wouldn't be alive today.  Our bodies are very resilient and if we slept when our infants sleep during the hours of 8pm-6am we would be fine.  It is a lot of other factors that cause us to have difficulty running on this amount of sleep such as diet and lack of exercise.  Going for a walk a day with your infant and eating more fresh fruits and veggies will do wonders for you energy level even when you are up 3-4 times a night to nurse.       

Lexie - posted on 05/11/2009

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Babies don't just cry because they are hungry. Feeding babies everytime they cry teaches them to eat when they are upset...at least that is how i feel. I look for hunger cues in my daughter and feed her then. She is now gone to a 7a, 10a, 1p, 4p, 7p, and 10p schedule. She sleeps after her 10p feeding until her 7a feeding (since 9 weeks old). I let her cry it out as long as she was not showing hunger cues. My pediatrician highly recommends it, and my daughter is totally fine and growing strong. She does not snack at the breast...she has learned to stay on for a entire feeding. At the beginning I would have to keep her awake by stroking a babywipe on her because she would fall asleep and be hungry 30-45 minutes later. You need you baby to sleep for your sake and theirs. Babies are better with a well rested mother. Ask you pediatrician, and I bet they will recommend it as well.

Chelsea - posted on 05/11/2009

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Quoting Melissa:

I was exactly in your situation when my baby was 6 months. No,she doesn't need to be nursing through the night. She just wakes up crying because that's what her body is used to and so her internal clock assumes that is what she needs, but she DOESN'T NEED IT. I used the Ferber method. Instead of crying it out cold turkey the Ferber method let's them cry it out while letting the baby be comforted every once in a while. The first night you put the baby to sleep awake and comfort him for 2-3 minutes by patting his behind and caressing him, then leave the room. After 5 minutes of crying, go back and comfort him for 2-3 minutes. After 10 minutes, comfort him again for 2-3 minutes. After 15 minutes of crying, comfort him again. Continue to comfort every 15 minutes. Day 2, do the same method, but start at 10 minutes, then 15 min, then 20 min, and stay at 20 until he falls asleep. Day 3, start at 15 min, then 20, then 25 and stay at 25 min. Day 4 and so on should be the same timing as Day 3. I hope that made sense. After 7 days, your baby should definately be sleeping through the night. Once your baby wakes up in the middle of the night to nurse, DO NOT PICK BABY UP, just comfort him for 2-3 minutes and give him comfort visits according to what day your on. Usually, you will see an improvement by day 3 or 4. By day 3 I was sleeping throught the night. My daughter is 10 months and I'm still nursing and she still loves nursing, and she doesn't wake up in the middle of the night. I hope this helps. Good luck!


Not nursing an infant in the middle of the night is inhuman.  They are not built to go 12 hours without food.  Sleeping through the night for an infant is 5 hours of sleep not all night long.  Also it is not recommended to leave an infant crying for long amounts of time so basically anything over 10 minutes is a lifetime for them.  They are just learning object permanence and this stage in their life and they are not trying to trick you into getting them by crying, they really do feel so sad and alone that they are screaming for attention.  Ignoring a crying baby for this long leads to emotional instability later in life.     

Melissa - posted on 05/10/2009

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I was exactly in your situation when my baby was 6 months. No,she doesn't need to be nursing through the night. She just wakes up crying because that's what her body is used to and so her internal clock assumes that is what she needs, but she DOESN'T NEED IT. I used the Ferber method. Instead of crying it out cold turkey the Ferber method let's them cry it out while letting the baby be comforted every once in a while. The first night you put the baby to sleep awake and comfort him for 2-3 minutes by patting his behind and caressing him, then leave the room. After 5 minutes of crying, go back and comfort him for 2-3 minutes. After 10 minutes, comfort him again for 2-3 minutes. After 15 minutes of crying, comfort him again. Continue to comfort every 15 minutes. Day 2, do the same method, but start at 10 minutes, then 15 min, then 20 min, and stay at 20 until he falls asleep. Day 3, start at 15 min, then 20, then 25 and stay at 25 min. Day 4 and so on should be the same timing as Day 3. I hope that made sense. After 7 days, your baby should definately be sleeping through the night. Once your baby wakes up in the middle of the night to nurse, DO NOT PICK BABY UP, just comfort him for 2-3 minutes and give him comfort visits according to what day your on. Usually, you will see an improvement by day 3 or 4. By day 3 I was sleeping throught the night. My daughter is 10 months and I'm still nursing and she still loves nursing, and she doesn't wake up in the middle of the night. I hope this helps. Good luck!

Stacey - posted on 05/10/2009

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Man, I feel for you. Quality sleep is essential. Cry it out didn't work for us. I couldn't handle it. Someone on this forum suggested we move bedtime earlier. We moved her bedtime routine so she would be asleep in her crib by 7:30 and waking between 6:30 and 7:30. She's slept through the night for almost two months now. I can hardly believe it. And she's napping better and is on a bit of a nap routine. She was waking at night because she was overtired.

Lauren - posted on 05/10/2009

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What are your sleeping arrangements? One thing I found is that I would put my daughter to bed in her crib at night. When she would wake up around 2:00 to nurse I would nurse laying down and just go back to sleep with her cuddled in the bed with me. I think that is the part she liked. One night I tried not feeding her and just laying down together and she went to sleep. This told me she did not need to nurse. She wanted to cuddle and got in the habit of waking up. I think they have little alarm clocks inside their heads. When she got in the habit of waking up at 2:00 she would wake up at the same time everynight.



I started the Ferber controlled crying at 8 months for her to go to sleep at night. When she started going to sleep on her own she stopped waking up in the middle of the night. Added bonus. I thought we were going to have to do controlled crying for both.



I tried the controlled crying at about 6 months but did not stick with it, so it did not work. I don't know if she or I were ready for it. But when I made up my mind it was the right thing to do, it went very smoothly. I also wanted reassurance and my doctor told me it was ok. Good luck.

[deleted account]

The book "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" by Dr. Marc Weissbluth is the most fantastic book. It is filled with the studies and scientific evidence. And 6 months is a bit young for all night. This book is so wonderful. And by the way, he is anti controlled crying, because it is way too stressful on everyone. I nursed on demand (and co-slept for months) and paid close attention to sleep cues based on what I learned. Once I was convinced she was old enough and well-rested, I started with her morning nap AND SHE DIDN'T EVEN CRY. Seriously. I was always anti-CIO but I read this book with my 3rd child out of desperation. He maintains that you can teach a child to put themselves to sleep without any distressed crying involved, if you are wiling to wait until they are ready and pay close attention to their cues, and make sure they are extremely well-rested. I thought, ok, I will follow his instructions to the t and give it a try. If she cries and gets truly upset, I'm done. But she never did. Anyway, moral of the story is it can be done peacefully :) Sorry this is long already. Feel free to message me if you want the full rundown of what we did. Wish I'd found that book with my first child! Anyway, good luck!
p.s. I tried the No-Cry Sleep Solution and couldn't manage b/c I was already way too exhausted. . . I think Weissbluth's book is the real no-cry sleep solution :)

Joanne - posted on 05/10/2009

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My son was waking every 2 hours at 8 months old and wouldn't go back to sleep without me so we decided to let him cry to sleep & it was the best thing I could have done for both of us. He is now 2 & he will sleep for 13 hours without waking at all. I knew that he was eating & drinking enough through the day so it wasn't a problem but i went to a sleep dr for advice before I started. Good luck!

Karina - posted on 05/10/2009

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I have a Ph.D in developmental psychology so I would just like to offer you the information I have on normative child development and you can make your own informed decisions. Although your baby MAY be able to sleep through the night (which is actually sleeping for a 5 hour stretch- not the 8 you want) many babies may not be physically ready for this, especially breastfed babies who digest the milk faster than formula. That being said, it does seem a bit excessive for her to be waking 3-4 times to eat. I also would like to say that CIO methods put your child at risk for insecure attachment meaning that the child will learn that you aren't always responsive. Insecure attachment is a risk factor for peer relationship problems and psychological disorders later in life as well as limiting the parent-child relationship. Where is she sleeping? Some babies have a hard time sleeping in a room with their mothers because even small awakenings throughout the night remind them of nursing since they can see you and smell the milk. Other babies don't have this problem and do just fine cosleeping with their mothers. Is it possible that she is waking out of habit instead of hunger? For example, does she get up at the same time every night to eat? If that is the case, maybe you can comfort her as she awakens but not feed her. THIS WILL BE REALLYH HARD for the first couple times or more but if you give in and feed her, she will learn that when she cries enough, you will feed her so try to be firm. You can rock her or hold her or anything else but don't offer your breast. It might even help to have someone else go in and soothe her since she assocaites you with food. Another possibility is that she's not taking enough at each nursing because she's falling asleep so she really is hungry a few hours later. Try to make sure she gets a good feed- the length of a typical daytime feeding. My last suggestion is that maybe she has developed a sleep assocaition and needs to be nursed to fall asleep after she has a brief awakening (all babies have these and typically learn to put themselves back to sleep). Do you nurse her to sleep and then she falls asleep in your arms? You could try to nurse her and then put her down awake in her crib (or wherever she might sleep). She might get upset and you can pat and reassure her but try to get her to fall asleep on her own. I hope some of these help- just try to reduce 1 feeding at a time- starting with maybe the earliest one since you can be pretty sure she's not hungry and she should go at least the time between daytime feeds- approximately 3 hours.

Amy - posted on 05/10/2009

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i breastfeed exclusivly and my baby sometimes feeds narly all night, i use the attatchment style of parenting, i respond to my babys every whim, however i am only able to do this by cosleeping. my baby sleeps with me and has done since he was 3 days old, im not telling u to do this im just giving you my story. there is a book called nighttime parenting, by dr william sears, it has been a godsend for me. use your own instincts, they are tailor made for your baby, my instincts wont work for u and vice versa. hope ive helped in some way hun xx

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Hi Cheyenne, I read the Baby Whisperer and it was so helpful. Really great advice for getting a baby (breastfeed or bottle) to sleep through the night without having to listen to any crying! I had my breastfed daughter sleepng 6-8 hour stretches at 2 1/2 months. She's now almost 4 months and it's still working. I totally understand how you feel. Believe me, I was there! A friend recommended it her books and I've been catching ZZZZ ever since. Good luck and remember to do what feels right for you.

Carly - posted on 05/10/2009

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Try it when you know she shouldn't be hungry if she has food at 5pm and nurses at 7pm then goes to bed but is up crying at 9pm she is not likely hungry. When I did this at about 6 months I would sit close to his room or put the moniter on really low give it 5 or 10 minutes if she is still crying or it gets worse go check burp her, rock her, diaper sniff what ever but delay nursing she if she will calm down without nursing. your daughter will still likely need to feed once during the night. For me it was around 2 or 3 am and that continued till about 10 months now he is 11 months and still wakes to feed about 4am

Geralyn - posted on 05/10/2009

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Quoting Jennifer:

I used to think this too...that letting my son cry would hurt him. Then he screamed at me for literally one hour while I was holding him and trying to comfort him. I reasoned then that if he was strong enough to cry a solid hour while I was holding him...it couldn't be any worse to let him cry some in his crib!!!


I think that there is a big difference between you holding your son while he cries ( even for an hour) versus him crying in his crib alone. 



I also disagree with the recommendation of getting rid of the monitor.   There are too many safety reasons to not do that. 



 



I have to agree with the posters that at 6 months, he's not getting a lot of solids so he may very well ned to eat during the night.  I have noticed that, with my son, when he became solid with solids (lol) at about 11 months, he needed less nursing at night.  My son will wake at times not for nursing or hunger, but it seems to be more that he is coming out of a deep sleep and he'll cry for less than a minute, and then go back to sleep.  Other times to get him back to sleep, he just needs holding and then he drifts back off into a deeper sleep.... I totally understand the need for sleep, believe me.  I just think that its part of the babies' sleep patterns that they are not lall able to sleep through the night ike adults

Geralyn - posted on 05/10/2009

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Quoting Jennifer:

I used to think this too...that letting my son cry would hurt him. Then he screamed at me for literally one hour while I was holding him and trying to comfort him. I reasoned then that if he was strong enough to cry a solid hour while I was holding him...it couldn't be any worse to let him cry some in his crib!!!


I think that there is a big difference between you holding your son while he cries ( even for an hour) versus him crying in his crib alone. 



I also disagree with the recommendation of getting rid of the monitor.   There are too many safety reasons to not do that. 



 



I have to agree with the posters that at 6 months, he's not getting a lot of solids so he may very well ned to eat during the night.  I have noticed that, with my son, when he became solid with solids (lol) at about 11 months, he needed less nursing at night.  My son will wake at times not for nursing or hunger, but it seems to be more that he is coming out of a deep sleep and he'll cry for less than a minute, and then go back to sleep.  Other times to get him back to sleep, he just needs holding and then he drifts back off into a deeper sleep.... I totally understand the need for sleep, believe me.  I just think that its part of the babies' sleep patterns that they are not lall able to sleep through the night ike adults

Melissa - posted on 05/09/2009

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I personally do not believe in cry it out babies need you they need changed fed and comforted they are learning to trust you every baby is differant so some eat more often. Do you sleep through the night or do you wake up to get a glass of water to go to the washroom or just to roll over, well I know I do so I definately would not expect my son at 6 months to sleep through the night. Baies arent toys we take off the shelves when we want to they need us all the time.

Jennifer - posted on 05/09/2009

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If there is a genuine need then the baby will not fall back to sleep and of course Mom/Dad should get up and see to it, but babies should also learn to soothe themselves back to sleep when there is no physical need and sometimes they need a little help learning how to do that.

Start working on it with naptime...put her down awake when she shows signs of being tired and let her soothe herself the rest of the way to sleep. (I use a lullabye CD which seems to help. Others use white noise makers.) Carry this over to bed time.

Next step...don't respond immediately to every cry you hear. Give it a few minutes to see if she'll fall back asleep. If she doesn't go to her. I suggest Dad try this initially because he won't smell like milk and can't be associated with nursing for comfort. If she doesn't calm down and is showing signs of hunger, then feed her. She needs it. But try other methods first because at 6 months, she is most likely physically capable of going through the night without eating. If it's comfort she's needing, then cuddle her a moment and put her back down. She needs reassurance but she also needs to learn to sleep through the night on her own!

Amanda - posted on 05/09/2009

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Quoting Teresa:


I do have a comment about the 'crys under the age of 2 are for a need and should never be ignored' statement. At 9 months old my son threw a massive screaming fit for 20 minutes cuz I wouldn't let him play w/ my cell phone. I didn't ignore him, but NOTHING I did helped til he decided he was done throwing a fit. A need? I think not. :)



Of course that isnt a need, and you knew it wasnt. How does a mother at night know what cry is a need or not a need? Other then getting up and finding out?

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I forgot to add that I did start to do some 'CIO' w/ my son starting at 9 months. After nursing him 4-5 times in less than an hour and a half and him STILL not falling asleep at bedtime, I didn't have any other sane choice. It is a little different than CIO though since we are in the same room. He was never alone and I talked to him and tried to comfort him almost the entire time. It took him an hour to fall asleep. Now (13 months) he almost never nurses to sleep at bedtime. He'll nurse, tell me he's all done, and I'll put him in his crib. It takes him 5-20 minutes to fall asleep, but he doen't cry at all.



Middle of the night is another story entirely.....

Chelsea - posted on 05/09/2009

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If you want to go that route it's obviously your choice. I would like to point out though that there are many different ways to let your child CIO and some are extremely harmful at any age and teach a child that they are not going to get responded to even when they need it. Who are we to judge when our child is hungry, hot, cold, having teething pain etc? Breast-milk is completely digested 90 minutes after an infant eats so it does stand to reason that your infant could really be hungry all those times during the night. I am not saying that your infant needs to eat at all those times but if we woke up in the middle of the night we too would feel hungry.
What worked wonders for me was letting my daughter cry for four minute incriments and than going in picking her up and soothing her and then placing her back in her crib. I soothed her by singing the same song. What also helped her to learn to self sooth was to put her in her crib drowsy but awake after her big feed before bed with music on in her room. A white noise machine often works wonders for infants at night. Once she began putting herself to sleep she also began waking less because infants except to be put back to sleep the same way they fell asleep.
All infants are different are really you are the only one that can judge if your infant is truly hungry. If he or she cannot be settled by you without nursing and keeps trying to nurse than your child needs to nurse to both settle down and to get the nutrition. Remember that infants need to nurse for many different reasons not just because they are hungry. Good luck and be consistent in whatever bedtime method you choose to follow baring in mind that letting an infant cry for indefinite amounts of time is emotionally harmful to the infant. If you teach your child that sleep is a safe place to go into they will develop a much better attitude toward sleep. Best of luck!!!!

[deleted account]

Supposedly once a child is around 13 pounds they don't need to eat during the night anymore. Every child is different though.



At 6 months old my twin girls slept 10-12 hours straight. It only lasted a month though. I did no cry it out w/ them whatsoever before 9 months and then only when they wouldn't go back to sleep AFTER nursing (rare, but it happened a few times).



My son, on the other hand, is 13 months old and has never slept longer than 8.5 hours straight in his life.



Good luck whatever you do. Moms NEED sleep! :)



I do have a comment about the 'crys under the age of 2 are for a need and should never be ignored' statement. At 9 months old my son threw a massive screaming fit for 20 minutes cuz I wouldn't let him play w/ my cell phone. I didn't ignore him, but NOTHING I did helped til he decided he was done throwing a fit. A need? I think not. :)

Rebecca - posted on 05/09/2009

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I have to say also that you need to let him learn to self soothe. I have been told that all children will eventually sleep through but this is not the case. Chilren come into a light sleep roughly every 45 mins. if they dont know how to settle themselves then they will have you up!! Children need to rest lots of it!! i have put both my children on gina fords contented little baby routines , they have both been breastfed and have both slept through since they were seven weeks!! good luck and let us know how you get on!!

Emily - posted on 05/09/2009

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I don't think your baby will put herself back to sleep at all if she is hungry...I've let my twins "cry it out" and they've never cried long enough for it to be harmful. At six mo they were capable of waking 1time a night to eat. They were eating 7x during the day and getting very little solids. I you think crying it out is right for you and your baby then do it and don't give it a second thought. It is okay that other people have differing opinions. Do what is best for you and your family!!!

Jennifer - posted on 05/09/2009

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I don't like to be disagreeable but I don't want you to think there's only one right way to do things so I'm going to respond too. At 6 months, your kiddo is old enough to sleep at least most of the way through the night. It is NOT dangerous to let your baby cry it out. I used to think this too...that letting my son cry would hurt him. Then he screamed at me for literally one hour while I was holding him and trying to comfort him. I reasoned then that if he was strong enough to cry a solid hour while I was holding him...it couldn't be any worse to let him cry some in his crib!!!

My suggestion would be to first get rid of your baby monitor. Most babies wake throughout the night but often they will go back to soon quickly on their own if you give them a chance. If your daughter cries long enough to wake you without the monitor, and your husband is willing, have him go in and try to comfort her. If she is genuinely hungry and still needing to eat that often, then I guess you're stuck! But try some other things to see if the problem truly is hunger. It might not be!

Good luck!!! I hope you get some sleep soon.

Amanda - posted on 05/09/2009

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At 6 months your child should still be fed on demand. Cry it out method should not be used on children under 1 years old, it is dangerous. Breastfeed child need to be feed every few hours, even at 6 months old. All childrens crys under the age of 2 are for a need and should never be ignored.

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