5 mo. old won't sleep...wondering what to expect if we let him cry it out--shares his sister's room.

Marina - posted on 01/24/2010 ( 18 moms have responded )

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My 5 month old won't sleep more than a few (1-3) hours at a time per night, some nights he wants to be held all night long. We are desperate for sleep ourselves. He used to be colicky, but now I think it is just a bad habit. He shares his 2 yr. old sister's room. Has anyone tried letting their baby cry it out? What should we expect/try. I am anxious.

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Renae - posted on 01/24/2010

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Firstly, there is nothing unusual about a 5mo still waking 3 hourly. More frequently than this is less common, but being that he has had colic it can take a few months for sleeping patterns to settle down.



What you really need to know about CIO is that ALL CIO methods are designed for babies who are physiologically ready to sleep through without feeding. It does not sound like your baby is ready. If he is not ready to sleep through, CIO may not work and can make things WORSE. I suggest you try other methods first and give him another couple of months before using CIO.



It is true that crying methods are most effective, have higher success rates and work quickly. No cry methods are gentle and require some time and patience.



If and when you decide to use a crying method I recommend you use crying it out with cry interpretation. I am not an advocate of control crying or any method where you go in and check on them as each time you go into them, you must leave again, and when you leave they go through the initial distress of being left all over again and it makes the baby more and more distressed. If you use a crying method and leave him to figure out he is supposed to go to sleep and do some research on cry interpretation and listen to his cries so that you know if he needs you, you can cry it out without distressing your baby. This method is very effective and is usually not nearly as bad as mum's expected, ONLY when the baby no longer needs to feed at night.



No-cry methods you can try anytime and do not require the baby to be ready to sleep through (but work more quickly when they are ready). But be aware that you need to be 100% consistent with the method wether its during the day or the middle of the night running on no sleep.



The no-cry method most commonly used by behaviourists and sleep consultants is gradual withdrawal. This is where you gradually withdraw the baby from needing your help to go to sleep. This has an 80% success rate and takes 2-4 weeks.



Another no-cry method is that of UK baby whisperer Tracey Hogg, called Pick-up/Put-down. She has a website with a support forum for people using the method.



There is lots of info out there if you google any of the above methods. You are also more than welcome to contact me for info or instructions on anything I have said (if I include it all this post will be too long).



But, I haven't answered your actual question - so I will:



You asked what you can expect if you do CIO:



If the baby is ready to sleep through without feeding during the night, AND the baby is left all night without you going to him at all unless he does a "distress" cry, then you can expect that he will cry for 45 minutes the first night (min 20 minutes, max 1 hour) and when he wakes during the night he will cry for half the time he did at the start of the night. He will probably wake 4 times during the night. The following two nights the crying will become less and less. Most babies sleep through on the 4th night, at most it should take 6 nights for there to be no crying at bedtime. Day sleeps take longer to work but the crying dramatically reduces after the first week, however expect some crying for 2-4 weeks at every nap time.



If the baby is not ready to sleep through the night, it is likely that the crying will continue after 6 nights and may improve over the next 4 weeks but will not stop completely. The baby will continue to wake and cry usually twice per night and cry for 45 minutes.



You are welcome to contact me if you want to discuss anything further. I will be interested to know how long ago the colic cleared up just to ensure you have given him a chance to reset his sleep patterns on his own.



It is true that 25% of babies never sleep through unless they learn to go to sleep on their own and have to be trained to sleep using a sleep method. However, there is every chance of getting a baby in the 75% who will automatically sleep through regardless of how they are put to sleep once they are developmentally and physiologically ready. Dont forget that your baby is still very young and believe me I know all about sleep deprivation, but this time will pass and he will only be a baby once.

Kimberly - posted on 01/24/2010

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I rocked both of my daughters to sleep in the rocking chair. Wrapped them in the blanket and sat in the rocking chair with the lights off, soft music on. I live in a 2 bedroom apartment so they have no choice but to share a room. I enjoyed the time and used it as time to cuddle my girls. Just me but I could never let them cry it out.

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Gwen - posted on 08/24/2012

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At 5 months old, he's only been in the 'outside' world 1/2 as long as he was in the womb. At that age, I'm not s fan of CIO. My personal belief is that as a parent it is my primary job to respond to my baby's needs, be that hunger or just to know I'm near. When you leave the room, your baby doesn't know you still exist. Ignoring his cries only reinforces that. I would suggest going in periodically to quietly rock or comfort him. I know it's tough and exhausting, but it will pass eventually.

Elaine - posted on 08/23/2012

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I hear ya. I'm in the exact same boat. My little guy had two 15 minute naps throughout the day and wakes almost every hour at night. I don't know what to do. I'm trying to get him to sleep better in the day hoping that will make his nighttime sleeping better... I did try the cry it out. I left him alone for over an hr and he was crying away and would not fall asleep. We have a camera monitor so I could see he was ok. I also try going in every ten minutes too. Nothing seems to help. It's SO hard. I'm hoping that throughout time it will get better. His sleeping seems to be getting worse?!! Just know you are not alone!

Brittani - posted on 01/24/2010

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I would try letting him cry for 5 minutes at a time and then move it up to 10 and I would not exceed 15 minutes. You can also try this swaddle blanket made my halo it worked wonders with my son! Also try putting him to bed a little later that usual. My son does not us the halo anymore and he is 7 months but I play the radio all night at a descent volume to block out any noises that may disturb him.

User - posted on 01/24/2010

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I would let him cry it out. Go in and reassure him every ten min or so..but dont give in and pick him up. Alot of babies do it to be picked up because they got spoiled because some parents hold the child to prevent them from crying..which is good and bad. But I did the 10 min thing and it works. Sometimes they are scared of being alone..especially if you run to him and pick him up every time he cries.. also try a special blanket or animal. sometimes even lullaby music turned on low helps...hope it works out for you !

Jynnifer - posted on 01/24/2010

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Well being that he is 5 months old there is a good possibility that he could be teething at this point since a majority of the time, boys get their teeth earlier than girls. I would say try to give him teething tablets or something for his teeth to see if that helps first, but the way I got my daughter to go down to bed at a certain time even if she was still awake was to let her cry for about 15 minutes when I first put her down, if she didn't fall asleep after that I would go back pick her up just to comfort her, when she stopped crying I would put her in the crib again and walk out and do that 15 minute cycle until she finally went to sleep.

Tam - posted on 01/24/2010

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I would cut out naps and wear them out by taking them to the park, walks etc. I know it sounds harsh but from experience I know it works really good in the warmer months of the year. I would wear mine down outside on the swingset etc, and they would be falling asleep in the high chair at dinner. I would wake them up bathe them and put them to bed. They were exhausted full and clean. when they are truly tired they sleep really good. I never could do the making them cry for hours! My kids were breastfed and i had to wean my son onto the tot bed( i nursed him till he was asleep) then i went to my room to bed. You may want to add rice cereal before bed, i know i had to very early on with my son as he had a much larger appetite than my girls and if i did not use cereal he was hungry again in a few hours! Hope this helps

Julie - posted on 01/24/2010

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Hi Marina, I have two children that are close in age as well, we went through the terrible crying stages and if any attention was given to one the other wanted it too. i encourage all families to play alullaby cd or classical music very lightly, no words remember this helps soothe the mind and my children found it very relaxing, they are 6 and 4 now and still like to listen to it but even they dont want it loud, its kinda like if you use a fan to drown out other noises, also they have a womb sounds bear for young ones that i hear works very well, and is comforting to infants other than that just swaddle them in a blanket an it wont hurt for them to cry a bit.

Jennifer - posted on 01/24/2010

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Read 'Save Our Sleep' it promotes teaching your baby to self settle (starting with daytime naps). It explains how some methods of controlled crying can be emotionally draining on a baby as you keep going in and out and it is like a tease. If you start with day naps it is a bit easier to deal with and you have to tough it out and let them cry as long as it takes. The book explains the difference between protest and emotional cries as you can never leave your baby crying when it is an 'emotional cry'. I have read 4 sleep books now and this book I found quick to read and easy to follow. It explains how babies cycles work and why they cry etc and it all made sense:) Personally it helped my little man with his daytime sleep issues fingers crossed- so far his nights are pretty good. He also had bad wind and reflux as a baby- he is now 18mos and seems to be improving:)

Cassie - posted on 01/24/2010

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hey. my child is a year now but when he was younger he wouldnt sleep till atleast 2 am. ive tried letting him cry but crying to long will make them sick. what i have found that works is putting them to bed when there really tired. if there not tired they arent going to lay there and sleep. and then wake them up early in the morning so they are tired in time for their bed time. it will take a few days but after that they should be used to it and sleep good for you. it worked with me and i hope it works for you. good luck :)

Rebecca - posted on 01/24/2010

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It is really really hard! I used controlled crying/comforting with my first when she was 7 months (my paed did not recommend trying it until after 6 months). She cried 40 mins the first night, 20 the next, 3 the next, then would still wake but settle herself without crying after that. Piece of cake I thought!! Then I had number 2, who is (according to my paed) one of the 10-15% of kids who don't respond to this method. The only thing that worked for her (other than a feed, which I was trying to eliminate) was cuddling and singing to her until she was almost asleep, then tucking her in. If she got started crying she wouldn't stop unless she was cuddled - 4 1/2 hours was the longest she went for, and I only tried that long coz I felt like such a failure for not being able to make it work.



My third is now 9 months old and has been fed and or cuddled to sleep her whole life. She sleeps beautifully and has slept through most nights starting from 3 months of age - no dummy/pacifier either. So despite me breaking all the "rules", she is my best sleeper.



What will happen if you let your little one cry it out? A lot of noise, for a very varied period of time, and to varied effect. Will it wake your other child? Probably. Mine sleep through each other's crying when it is brief, but the sustained crying that happens with this technique is something most in the house will wake to.



You might like to focus more of your efforts on day naps, and your baby actually going to sleep in his bed by himself at the beginning of the night, and during the night just do what works.



Remember babies have a growth spurt just before 6 months, so if he hasn't always been like this, that might explain it.



Oh, and my second had a significant milk protein intolerance that was causing her huge pain at night, and also causing reflux, so that was why she was waking so often and wanting frequent feeds for comfort. (I didn't try letting her cry it out until we had all that sorted and were just left with the residual habitual waking, but it still didn't work).



My advice - do what works for you, and be prepared for it to be tough. But if you feel your bub is waking for any reason other than a habit he can now do without, get it all checked out before you go for the crying - and see someone who will really give you the time to talk it all through properly.



Good luck!

Lisa - posted on 01/24/2010

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My kids are 2 years apart and always shared a bedroom and it is true they don't tend to wake one another at KAtrina said. They are so used to each other. I have read not to let them cry it out until they are 6 months old but do what ever works for you. I did one at 7 months and one at 8 months. Sleep is important if you are all to function as a happy family all day! :)

Kerry-Ann - posted on 01/24/2010

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I have tried this and it worked for me! Our Girl started waking every half hour crying and playing up when she was around 7 months , in the end we done the super nanny thing and let her cry, just checkin on her every 10 mins to tuck her back in, first night we back and forward for 2 hours! next night tho just once, she got the message lol :) Then again of ur 2 yr old is a light sleeper that could cause problems :S, hope this helped :) xx

Katrina - posted on 01/24/2010

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Theres 15 months between my two. With my son, i didnt have any hesitation letting him cry himself to sleep, but with my daugher i was reluctant to do it incase she woke her brother - one awake was bad enough. but she started to take advantage- not going to bed until after 10pm wen bedtime is 7! i eventually got fed up, mostly because i enjoy a few hours of quiet me time befor bed! so i decided just to let her cry it out. i went in every 10 min and lay her back down and said ' its night time now, i'll see you in the morning.' the first night only took an hour and a half (about a third of the time it took wen i initially done it with her brother!) but the best bit was, kids are so used to each other being noisey, that they generally sleep through their siblings wailing. this is only effective if you can dig your heels in and ignore baby - its exceptionally difficult but theres no point letting them cry for half an hour then giving in and lifting them anyway, its frustratin for eveyone. i actually had to put my husband out of the house for a few hours every night for a week because he wanted to run to her! it really does work, although its hard. but its worth it when both kids go to bed at the same time and go straight to sleep!

Jasmine - posted on 01/24/2010

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Hi, i had a colicky child and a none sleeper there after for a while, i tried everything, but the best method that worked for us was to let the baby cry for 5 minutes then settle, then start again , let the baby cry for 10 mins and settle and so on.

This took about a week of persuing, but worked. I had to mentally prepare myself for a week of needing strength and support not to cave. I got this method of a friend who had trouble with her child and also worked for her

good luck:)

Bronwyn - posted on 01/24/2010

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We have done CIO with our 5 month old since he was about 8 weeks. We started doing it with his day naps. We would wrap him, put him down and then put the oven timer on for 20 mins (it's good to keep an eye on the time because when your baby's crying, it seems like it's forever). I would listen to his cries to work out whether to leave him or go in and comfort him. If there were pauses in his crying, and they weren't constant and escalating, we would leave him. If he was getting really upset, we would go in and settle him, and then leave him again. His night sleeping improved when we did CIO for his naps. Our goal was for our baby to learn to go to sleep on his own, without needing us, or any other sleep prop, to help him go to sleep or go back to sleep.



It took a couple of weeks for him to get used to it. Sometimes, you just have to accept that they're going to cry, no matter what, so you just have to take it. It's really hard going at first. You have to be mentally ready to do it so that you can be firm, persistent and consistent. You need to have a system that you both can work with.



At night, we didn't really have to do it all that much until I decided to drop a feed. He started waking at around 3am during the night. I decided to leave him to CIO. He wasn't crying too badly, so I gave him 45 mins to settle back down. This took about 5 - 7 nights for him to stop crying out for us, but by the 3rd night, he wasn't crying all that much.



It will be more tricky with a 2 year old. There are some things you could consider: a) having your 2 year old sleep over at the grandparents/family/friends for a night or two, or b) move the 2 year old or baby out of the bedroom so that the 2 year old won't be too disturbed. Either way, you'll probably find it easier to plan it out and be mentally ready for it. You may find that you have to go in and settle your baby a couple of times if he doesn't calm down after a while. But, whatever you do, you need to do it consistently. It is hard-going, but you need to keep your goal in sight (a baby who sleeps well at night). You need your sleep, too. Remember, a confident (and well- rested mum) means a calm and happy baby.



Good luck!

Peta - posted on 01/24/2010

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hi marina long nite mayb try wraping him up this may help as it gives them the feeling of being held you can let him cry but sometimes that not going to work as every1 in the house gets no sleep and instead of one crying baby you'll have two i did try and let my son cry it out but after week of no sleep i gave up i used to put him asleep in my arms then pop him in he's cot tuck him if he woke up i wld rub his back etc everything but pickinf him up again, only if i really had to at first this could take upto 2 hr but he then sleep the rest of the nite this took couple of weeks untill i could just put him into his cot asleep and sleep all nite his now 3yrs sleep byself i hope this helps and you and your family get some sleep

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