How old should a baby be when you let him/her cry themselves to sleep? ( Mine is 3 months old)

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Frances - posted on 04/07/2009

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I still don't let my daughter cry by herself and she is 16 months - if she cries, there's something wrong and I go and pick her up.  Consequently because she has never been left to cry she is very confident and happy and will only cry when there is somthing wrong.  She slept through the night from around 6 months although whenever she is sick or teething she'll be a bit upset and we'll have cuddles until she goes back to sleep.



 



I would suggest that you follow your instinct - if you feel upset when your baby is crying then pick her up and comfort her.  Young babies and children cannot calm themselves (until they are around 7 years) and need your comfort and presence to calm them down (this applies to upset or angry or excited).  I am still tired at 16 months on but I couldn't do it any differently.  A recent book based on a scientific approach suggested that having your baby close to you as often as possible is the best thing for his/her developing mind and emotional well-being.  I had my daughter in our room until she grew out of the moses basket and stroked and talked to her every time she woke.



 



She now sleeps in her own room and is happy every night when she's put to bed.

Aimee - posted on 04/07/2009

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I hope this makes good sense as it is 3 am (my youngest is teething and it wakes her on occasion - poor thing). I honestly believe that if you lay your babe down and let him/her fuss (not scream/cry) and tend to him/her every couple of minutes that it will be okay and not as cruel as some feel. However, I agree that 3 mos may be too little.



Just bear in mind that we have natural instincts as mothers. Hence why when we hear a cry, we long to pick the baby up. They grow up fast, I guarantee that rocking your baby to sleep or holding him till he is out is by far for only the briefest of moments in your life. I have 4, the 3 oldest sleep in their own beds, go to bed by bedtime and each were comforted to sleep as babes. They grew up to be independent sleepers and self soothers even though they didn't have to cry it out. So if you don't want to do the training yet, enjoy being a mom.



Now, you do have to set boundaries when the babe is bordering toddlerhood, because if you let him/her make the rules, then you have that bedtime mayhem. Consistency is key no matter what you do.

Natalie - posted on 04/06/2009

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I was told by my doctor that after they are 3 months old, there is no need to get up in the middle of the night and feed them (as long as they are already at a health weight). It is okay to let them cry. As long as it doesn't last for longer than 20 minutes. You will also know the difference between a cry-cry and a something-is-wrong-cry.

It is very very tough to let them cry and not pick them up immediately. I was given this advise by a girlfriend with a baby and it worked -

This techique could last acouple of days - just stick with it!

The first time they start to cry - give them 10 minutes of crying, go in, check on them, touch their stomach or check, whatever touch you chose to let them know your there and it's okay - I touched my son's check and then put his pacifier back in his mouth. Do it quick and immediately leave the room. You will probaby repeat this step 5+ times a night. It gets better! Just stick with it and be consistant.

After the third night my son changed from waking up 6 times a night-to waking up 2 times a night. After a week, he was sleeping through the night with an occassionaly waking. You can also use a noise machine to help, babies like a consistant noise throughout the night. You can get a machine that stops after 20 minutes or one that goes all night. I have one that goes all night. You can also use a fan, heater or humidifier. My son is 7 months now and still sleeps thru the night. Good luck!

Itsamystery - posted on 04/05/2009

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Plus at 3 months they don't have a sense of object permanence - that is, an understanding that objects (including mom and dad) exist even though they can't see them. Object permanence develops at about 8 months. Until this time, if they can't see mom or dad they think they are alone, which is why their cries become desperate after a while. When they stop, it's because they've given up hope that you'll come. So I don't really think it's 'self-soothing' because they're not soothed, they're just quiet. This may appear self soothed from the outside though.

They're also still developing their attachment to you in the first few months. For an infant to develop a secure attachment it needs develop trust in his/her caregiver/s to be respond to his/her needs quickly and consistently. I think if you selectively respond (only during the day and not at night) the infant is far less likely to develop a secure attachment to you (and develop an insecure or ambivalent/disorganised attachment instead). A person's attachment style lasts for life, and is developed in infancy based on their relationship with their primary caregiver.

See here for a layperson explanation http://psychology.about.com/od/loveandat...

Or here for an academic explanation: http://www.richardatkins.co.uk/atws/page...

And there's information specifically on cry-it-out and attachment here: http://drbenkim.com/articles-attachment-...

I think since there is so much information and research on this, you should check it out and then make your decision. Poor attachment is liked to conduct and behavioural disorders, relationship problems and issues trusting other people. The older the baby the less likely that CIO will interfere with attachment because attachment style is already established in the older baby. I still wouldn't do CIOon an older baby but that's just my opinion, based on my understanding of infant development, and from observing the difference between my child (a non-cry-it-out, needs always met baby) and my nephew (a cry-it-out, needs always met during the day baby).

Amie - posted on 04/05/2009

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I never did with any of mine until they were a year old. Before that they didn't really have any means of communication other than babble and crying. Even then though we didn't put them to bed and just let them cry. We'd go in after about 5 minutes at the most... pick them up and soothe them, couple days later all we had to do was go in and rub their backs, couple more days and all we'd have to do was peek in, they'd see us calm down and go to sleep. In all it took about a week for our girls and two for our boy. (boys are difficult though when their small lol!) Before the year mark though I think it's kind of mean but that's just my opinion. With us waiting they were old enough to understand and know that even though they had to go to bed they understood we'd be right there if we needed them. They could communicate a lot better to what their needs were at that moment if they were crying for a specific reason.

Itsamystery - posted on 04/03/2009

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There's a lot of genuine reasons a baby cries in the first 12 months of life - growth spurts at 4 weeks, 6 weeks, 12 weeks, 4 months and 6 months, and once you get through all those there's teething. I'd hate to think I'd trained my baby not to call out for me if he was genuinely hungry or in pain - or can you tell the difference and respond to these cries?

I would definitely not let a 3 month old cry themselves to sleep. They cry at that age because they need you.

Ashley - posted on 03/31/2009

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I would agree that if you decide to let your child cry his or herself to sleep 3 months is too early.  Generally if a baby that young is crying there is a need.  Comfort is a need.  I don't personally believe in this method, but 6 months is probably a more reasonable age.

Adf0905 - posted on 03/31/2009

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We've never let our daughter cry herself to sleep...not my cup of tea. But even the experts suggest not doing it before 6 months old. I would never let a 3 month old cry it out.

Angela - posted on 03/31/2009

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I would never dream of letting my baby cry to sleep at 3 months. I know I didn't start letting my daughter cry her self to sleep till around 1 years old and after. At that age should could tell me what is wrong a whole lot better. I had no problems. Plus it is great to have an hour routine that you and your son or daughter have. Plus to me at the age of 3 months just seems way to young they still need their mom's to cradle and consule them.

Kate - posted on 03/24/2009

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Quoting Heather:

How old should a baby be when you let him/her cry themselves to sleep? ( Mine is 3 months old)



I went to Tresillion when my daughter was 3 months old and believe me they let her cry for 2 days straight and then she was a wonderful baby.  I would start from 8 weeks but just to listen to their cry and go in from time to time.  It didnt bother the midwives at all and they help me `fix' my daughter so she went to sleep within 10mins.  Goodluck.  I cant recommend tresillion highly enough!!!





 

Caitlin - posted on 03/24/2009

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I did sleep training at 3 months and used Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child as a guide. It was really hard to listen to my baby cry and cried a good portion of the time that he was crying, but it only took a few days and the payoff is so worth it. At 3 months, he was going down for naps and night sleep without a whimper and at around 4.5 months, he started sleeping 12-14 hours/night without waking up. Now he's 16 months old and he's still a great sleeper.

I think that teaching your baby to self-soothe is an invaluable gift. I have a lot of friends who didn't want to do sleep training because they thought it was cruel to let your baby cry. But I know that those babies end up crying more over the course of their infant and toddler years than mine did in the few days it took to complete the sleep training.

My son goes to sleep happy and wakes up smiling and rested. There have been absolutely no averse affects from early sleep training. I think you should start now.

Jamie - posted on 03/24/2009

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That sounds a bit young but every child and mother are different. I can see letting them fuss a little but if they start screaming that's when I would pick them up. Both my girls I started letting fuss at 5 months. If they screamed then I went to get them. Sometimes with my second one she would lay asleep or so I thought for about 30 minutes and then would scream. I would nurse her a second time and she would sleep the night through after that. You have to figure out your child and what you can handle in crying.

Barbara - posted on 03/24/2009

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I would never do it at 3 months! I started at around 10 months.  Wait you will learn the signs.

Sarah - posted on 03/24/2009

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i was told not before 6 months because they're still going through an attachment phase. now that my daughter is older if i've changed her shes warm and fed and not sick i will sing her a song say good night and put her down and walk out. i'll leave her for 5 or 10 minutes then go back in pick her up soothe her by singing a song and put her back down sometimes this can go on for 45 minutes to over an hour but eventually she gets the message . i feel horrible but i know she needs to be able to self soothe and i need time at night to myself after being at school/work and the baby all day

Jessica - posted on 03/24/2009

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i did it once when my son was a little over a year old and i never had to do it again after that 1st night

[deleted account]

From all the books I have read, the soonest Drs. and experts in the books have said is 6mo. However, I just looked it up, Ferber method, and what I am seeing is 4-6 mo.

http://www.babycenter.com/0_the-ferber-m...

I for one am against this method, but to each their own in their own situations for sure. At any rate, because of that I would like you to consider reading information on this link too, just for consideration.

http://www.askdrsears.com/html/5/t051200...

Best wishes!

Danielle - posted on 03/23/2009

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I think 3 mos is ok... as long as he is fed, burped and changed, and you know he is well taken care of, I would give it a go!! Sometimes they like to be held/rocked to sleep, if you haven't tried that... but otherwise try it! It usually takes a few days of biting the bullet and just letting him cry, but you won't regret it if it works! Good Luck!!

Kandice - posted on 03/23/2009

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I did it when my son was 4 months old. After I knew he was burped,feed, and changed I would put him down and not pick him up once. It's hard to do but this strategy worked really fast. It only took about 4 nights of crying until he learned to fall asleep by himself and stopped waking up 4 or so times a night. The longest he cried for was 70 mins, and the crying got shorter and shorter each night. He does relapse once in a while, so I start the process all over again, but it only takes a day or two. Good luck.

Cheryl - posted on 03/23/2009

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I think it is totaly up to you and the baby. EACH pair is different! do what you are comfortable with. I waited till my son was 5.5 months but once i started I wish I had started around the 3 to 4 month range. I would give it a try see how long it takes my son for the first time only took 15 min with a great moblie! and I made a teddy bear have my smell on it every time I bf that teddy was in between us and that was what he snuggled with!



Good Luck

it is harder on the mom than the baby

Erin - posted on 03/23/2009

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I had to with my daughter at around 10 months of age...but I could've done it earlier. I just couldn't stand the sound of her crying...I always gave in. If your baby isn't going to sleep on his/her own by 4-5 months, I would say you could start then. The best advice I got was to let them cry, then go in 5 minutes later to comfort them. Each, night wait a little bit longer before you go in and eventually, don't go all the way to their bed, just stand at the door and say goodnight again. It just lets them know that you are still there. They will eventually fall asleep. I did this with my daughter and it worked. She's always been hard when it comes to bed time...still is sometimes at 3 yrs old!

Hope this helps! I know how hard it can be!

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