Controlled CIO? (sorry)

Dana - posted on 09/03/2009 ( 11 moms have responded )




What is it? I'm having a hard time getting my BF son to fall asleep on his own. We've been driving him around every night to fall asleep and then I carry him in and BF him back to sleep. It is going to get cold soon (I live in the snow belt, US) and this won't be working for long. I definitely cannot let him cry it out. His crib is next to our bed (he uses it when we're not in bed yet) so, last night he would not go to sleep , I laid him in his crib while I laid on the outside. He cried on and off for a half hour while I continued to lay there reaching into the crib and rubbing his leg or back. I only would make eye contact if he was laying down next to me instead of standing up. It's the first time I've ever let him cry. Seriously, I don't ever let him cry unless it's for a minute or two while I'm getting his food. Is this what they call controled crying? What did you all do?

I'm not trying to make this some horrible debate. I just would like some ideas on what's best, in your opinion.


Anna - posted on 09/03/2009




Well, I am certainly not an advocate of CIO at any age, but I don't think what you are doing is even controlled CIO as you are nearby for comfort. We did something similar with our now 3 year old. I sat next to his bed until he fell asleep, shhh him quietly and patted him and held his hand for a few nights, then moved a little further away until I reached the doorway. It took about a week and half b/f he was sleeping thru the night at 9 mths old. Both my kids also have blankies they adore, so that has helped at bedtime too as security object. Jackson is a great sleeper.

On the flip side I cosleep and breastfeed dd, she is 18 mths, nursed to sleep until she was 15 mths old. I thought she would never give up her night feeds but she did when she was ready. All she has to do is see a crib and she screams. Every child is so different, what worked w/ my son would never have worked for my daughter, so you just have to figure out what works best for you.

Will he nurse to sleep? Maybe you can put the mattress from the crib on the floor next to your bed nurse him and sneak out of the room. Then take him to bed w/ you when you are ready.

Kylie - posted on 09/03/2009




Controlled cry it out is a sleep training idea. It's supposed to be an effective way to teach your child they can fall asleep on their own unaided and when they learn this they can fall back asleep during the night without needed help from mum so the aim is to get babies sleeping through the night. Sounds like a great idea in theory (sort of) but i feel like it goes against basic maternal instinct and is bad for mother child bond. I think if your baby is really tired and you've nursed him and you go to lay him down and he wakes up leaving him to grumble/cry while you rub his back and help him to calm and fall back asleep is not cry it out. cry it out is where you have the intention to sleep train your child to not need you at all..fed, clean the crib and no picking them up unless they are chocking, shacking or spewing and some sleep trainers recommend not even picking them up when they are like this. I think the intermittent coming in patting and shushing and then leaving would upset the child more.
I agree sometimes babies need to have a good cry but it should not be alone or be with the intention to teach them they don't need you.
I co-sleep and nurse my baby off to sleep..if he wakes in the night i just put my hand on his back or tummy and give him a little pat and he squirms and cries for a few minuets then falls back asleep.
I don't think what you did was cry it out at all..whatever "it" is...
Did your little guy fall asleep after the 30 mins of on and off crying?

Esther - posted on 09/03/2009




How old is your son Dana?

I guess I should first declare my position on CIO - hehe. I don't like full-blown CIO where a child is left alone to cry until the fall asleep, even if it's for hours (without checking on them at all). That method does not seem appropriate to me at any age (unless maybe they are 5 years old or something and you've tried everything else).

Controlled crying, Ferberizing, whatever you want to call it, I don't have any objection to at all, if the baby is older than 6 months. However, I was never able to do even that. But that's just me. And my baby.

Lucas is a HORRIBLE sleeper so maybe I should have used Ferber. I guess we'll never know. I tend to think it wouldn't have made a difference. Lucas is a great napper and it's pretty easy to put him down at night, he just frequently wakes up & refuses to go back to sleep (although at times he will just sit there, play or mumble for a bit & then go right back down - so it's not like he is unable to self soothe).

For the first 3.5 months of his life he never once slept more than 30 mins at a time at night. And then he'd be up for hours. THANK GOD we found a swaddling blanket that he wasn't able to break out of and after we used that he would sleep for 5 hours or so at a time.

In accordance with the blanket instructions we stopped using that though when he was able to roll over (at around 5 months) so our rest was short lived. Then we were back to waking up every 3 or so hours. That lasted until he was 9 months and then he slept through the night ...... for 3 weeks. We took him on a vacation where he had to sleep in our room and because the crib we got from the hotel looked so unsafe to me, we let him sleep in our bed. Which meant that when we got back from vacation, he was once again not sleeping alone in his crib.

Until he was about 15 months old he would wake up at least once a night. Then I was able to get him to fall asleep on his own in his crib by sitting next to it & ignoring him until he would go down & go to sleep. He would throw everything from his crib at my head, he'd pull my hair, he'd laugh really loud, he would do anything and everything he could to get my attention but I would ignore it all. Initially it would take about 45 mins, but after a while he would pretty much go down immediately. He also started sleeping through the night again ....... for 2 months.

Then we had family visiting (one after another) and he changed classes at his daycare. That was about 3 months ago now. Our last family visit ended a week and a half ago and we're slowly starting to get back to normal again so he probably sleeps through the night 3 out of 5 nights now. The other nights he just comes to our bed in the middle of the night and sleeps there. I'm too tired to try to get him to go back to sleep in his crib, so whatever, he can sleep with me.

I guess I don't have any silver bullet to offer you. For Lucas the only thing that helps is when everything is absolutely normal. If he has an unexpected day off from daycare, if family visits, if a teacher changes, any break with the routine at all, will mess up his sleep pattern. It just is what it is to me. I've gotten used to getting by on very little sleep.

This conversation has been closed to further comments


View replies by

Sarah - posted on 09/04/2009




I've written on loads of threads about this topic....mainly to try and dispel the image that every mother who says they use CIO is using it to the extreme (ie. crying for hours on end until baby is sick etc.)
A lady on one thread said she uses 'Winge it Out' which i thought was a great way of putting it!
With my kids i used my own little version of 'sleep techniques', took a bit from here a bit from there until i found the balance for my kids. I think you have to adapt these things.

When people assume things about letting your kids cry, is it very annoying. I had one woman ask me if i 'got angry when my kids cry' i mean come on!!

Anyway, i think the best thing to do is just adapt things to your own little way. Trial and error! I don't a little crying (whinging) will do any harm! :)

Lindsay - posted on 09/03/2009




Maybe I should start leaving that title off! LOL It doesn't hurt a baby to cry if you know their needs have been met but there comes a point to where it seems more like neglet than letting them learn to get themself to sleep. When I first joined COMs, I said in a couple of posts that I didn't rock my kids to sleep but let them cry a bit before they fell asleep. I know I probably didn't explain it well and now I realize why people got so angry about it. It goes back to the old saying about me assuming people understood what I meant. Makes an ass out of you and me! =)

Dana - posted on 09/03/2009




Totally made sense. I saw someone over in the breastfeeding community say she walked in, told her son that she was tired and he needed to go back to sleep. He then cried for 2hrs before he went to bed and someone actually gave her an encouraging! I sometimes think we need a NOT helpful option. I saw another girl in the chat room talking about how she had to let her baby cry it out even to the point that the baby vomited. She then wanted to add me to her circle, I ran like hell. lol Now, THAT I imagine is crying it out.

Lindsay - posted on 09/03/2009




Ok, I've always said that I let my kids cry it out and I did but sometimes I think I may have the wrong label. When we talked to the pedi about it when Madeline was young, she didn't really give it a name. She just told us that after she had been fed, changed, and was tired to lay her down before she was asleep so that she wouldn't depend on me to get her to sleep all of the time. For example, if she just woke up through the night(after she no longer took a bottle through the night), to let her fuss and see if she went back to sleep. It was hard for me not to jump up and pick her up but I knew it would help her and me in the long run. I would set the timer for 10 minutes whenever I laid her down at night or when I heard her through the night. If she was still fussing when the timer went off, I would go in and soothe her and start the timer over agian. She rarely made it through the first 10 minutes without going back to sleep on her own. I also did this with my son once he no longer needed feedings in the middle of the night. I call it cry it out but when I hear people saying that they are leaving babies to cry for an hour or more, I'm a bit horrified and wondering if I should explain more than just saying let them cry it out. Hope that made some sense! =)

[deleted account]

That sounds a lot like what we're doing, actually. Isaac will be one on the 11th. He sleeps in our room and I'm also a human pacifier a lot of the time. We've been working on getting him to fall asleep without nursing. If he sits up and cries at night, I have my husband try to soothe him first. If that doesn't work, I'll try patting him on the back and singing for a few minutes. Sometimes that will be enough for him to relax again. Of course, often I do need to go to the nursing - and then he's out in about 30 seconds. Personally, I didn't want to do controlled crying, so this way seemed like a good method to encourage self-soothing, without forcing the issue. Though I must say, I'm not sure I would be doing things this way if I had to take a drive every night. You have much more patience than I do! If you got him to go to sleep in 10 minutes tonight, sounds like this is working well for you! Hope he sleeps well for you tonight.

Dana - posted on 09/03/2009




He's 13 months but, actually he's one year old today if you go by his adjusted age. There are so many points I wanted to touch on so, I hope I don't miss any.

First of all yes, last night he did fall asleep after 30 min. Tonight it only took 10!! Thank the Lord or whomever you may because it is HARD for me! He barely cried tonight and he also pretty much stayed down in the crib and right by me. Last night he kept standing and if I sat up to pull him down he thought I was going to pick him up. Luckily I learned that the first time I tried. Tonight I was acting like I was whispering so he got down low to try and hear me and I was able to rub and pat his back. lol

As far as breastfeeding him to sleep, it only works for his naps. He has no problem going down for naps but night time, no way. I do try it first if that doesn't work then we go for the car ride and then after I carry him in I can breastfeed him back to sleep. Except the last 3 nights he will not go back to sleep and that is why last night I tried this whole thing.

Neither of us mind him sleeping in our bed, I just want him to go to sleep without a 4-5 mile car ride everynight. Right now his crib is next to our bed and he sleeps in it until we go to bed then I bring him in with us so I can nurse in the night without having to actually get up. The only problem with all that is, he gets up about every hour while he's in his crib and every 2 hours in our bed......all night loooooong. lol

Oh, that's the other thing he absolutely does not self soothe. When he wakes up he sits straight up and cries and the only thing I can do is nurse him back to sleep. I am a human pacifier.

Tracy - posted on 09/03/2009




I was always big on routine from the start and created a ritual every night so bubba would know bed time was coming. Bath, reading time, bottle then bed. When he was around 6 months I would allow him to cry for short periods of 1-5 minutes and keep going in to check on him. At first I used words like shhhhhhh sleepy time and would face him away from me and pat his bum til he calmed down. Once he was calm I would leave him to fall asleep on his own. This took a little while but it worked for me in the end. He is the best little boy and goes down for naps and bedtime with no agrument. He is almost 15 months now.

It sounds like you are on the right path and wish you lots of luck. What ever you choose just stick to it and you will be fine.

[deleted account]

I'm not sure what the official definition of controlled crying is. I usually think of it as allowing baby to cry alone for short intervals (maybe 5 min) until they fall asleep. You go in to reassure them intermittently. I think of it as trying to teach self-soothing, so I wouldn't call what you were doing controlled crying because you were trying to soothe him throughout. If he's older than 6 months, I don't see anything wrong with trying a method like Ferber or something. I can't say that I've done it with my son though. So far we've done what you described in your post, and so far it is still working for us. So far, he's either nursed to sleep, gets patted on the back a bit, or I stay nearby until he falls asleep.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms