How do I get my baby to fall asleep on his own in his crib??

Krista - posted on 01/06/2009 ( 38 moms have responded )

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I have a seven week old and he's slept in his crib since day one, usually for 3-6 hours at a time now, but we've gotten into a habit of holding him until he's sound asleep before putting him to bed. I'd really like to be able to just put him down while he's drowsy and have him fall asleep on his own, but he just cries, and I need sleep so bad I'd rather make sure he's asleep first. Does anyone have any tips to make this any smoother? I'm not a big fan of the cry-it-out method...is there another way to accomplish this without all the crying?

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Pamela - posted on 06/08/2013

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I don't like the cry it out either, and I guess this is an old post but maybe someone else will read it and find this helpful. I read the book the Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg and also Elizabeth Pantley's No Cry sleep solution. I used ideas from both those books to find tune to my babies. I went in a middle ground of cry it out doing it I suppose. A peadiatrician told me as long as the babies eyes are open going in the crib that's all that matter. With my daughter who is 5 years old now we rocked her to sleep and she started waking in the night so I read these books and realized we had to do sleep training. I never knew rocking to sleep was a bad thing for some babies, I had no clue. So I did try cry it out...horrible! hated it! Maybe baby wasn't ready for it as some swear by it but I couldn't handle it and it takes 2 to tango.

With her I got her used to just being held to fall asleep and I would pat her bum or sing to her softly. She would fight it and cry/scream but I felt better about it because she was in my arms. When she wasn't crying I would use 'sleep words' like shhhhhh or 'night night' and keep patting...I didn't want her to associate crying with my sleep words so I did it when she was quiet mostly. Once she did this as soon as her eyes got drowsy I would test the waters putting her in her crib and just patting her bum and doing the singing or shhhh'ing her if she got upset. I listened to her cry, if it was a fussy waaaaa then worked it out in the crib. If freaking, pick her up and try again. Slowly once she got used to being in the crib I would slowly remove me from the equation...not pat as much, slow my shhhhh'ing down......I think I ended up in the middle of the room at one point in a chair just saying 'shhhhhhhhh'. Then finally I left and watched the clock for 5 minutes. If she freaked I promised myself to give her 5 minutes and she surprised me and went from freaking, to babbling, to sleeping. And was perfect after that! I had taught her to self soothe and I did it slowly, not cold turkey, so yes there was crying but only a little which I could handle. Maybe it was just luck too....cuz it took a good 2 months to do it (maybe I wasn't consistent enough? cuz all you need is patience and consistency) so maybe if I waited 2 months to do CIO it would have been received better (I tried it at 6 months CIO and doing other method I had her asleep by 9-10 months).

My son who is currently 11 months I vowed to never do that again so we always tried to put him in his crib eyes open, patting, shhhhh'ing, singing twinkle little star and leaving and letting him just fuss or talk not freak out cry. Oh I should add that I had GOOD routines with both....bath, bottle, story, song, bed. And I watch the clock, their sleep signals etc.

Anyways...my son slept through the night by 8 months but still has issues right now. Some days he will let us leave and some days he freaks and I have to shhhhhh pat (not pick him up) until he relaxes to let me leave. He also has a soother so maybe that is why, I didn't fully teach him to self soothe. But he only has it at naps, I dont give it at bedtime. If he freaks at bedtime I do the 5 minute thing and pray for the best as I still hate crying.

Hope that helps...I believe we can teach babies anything....it's our job to be their teachers. I don't think CIO is wrong...can be if you do it too young....I just couldn't stomach it and honestly you have to be able to handle it just as much as the baby andI think the baby has to be ready for it too. I don't think CIO is the answer to every problem though, if you let baby CIO magically you have a baby that sleeps the night...my 2 kids are very different and they still present problems...nothing is cut and dry with kids

[deleted account]

And for the record, I don't believe it's any more irresponsible for me to claim medical issues with CIO than it is for a CIO supporter to claim NO medical issues. We all have our beliefs, and while I can point out studies that "prove" damage, I'm sure you can point out as many to "prove" otherwise. The poster of this thread is looking for any and all suggestions and opinions.



 



It is our family's belief that CIO does not train a small baby, but break its spirit. A baby (especially one so young) does not cry to manipulate. EVER. Even if for a "unimportant" reason in our eyes, he cries because he needs us. Whether it's to eat, be changed, for help falling asleep or just to be cuddled, it's an important cry. They don't know how to "feel good" on their own. Yes, it's important to help them feel good on their own, but why force it when they are too young to understand that you mean well (and of course every parent means well in this)? Leaving a young baby alone to cry doesn't teach them a darn thing, except that you are unavailable. They don't even understand that you are in the next room...to a 7-week-old, when you leave the room you are GONE. That's a scary concept. They lose faith in you. They don't learn to fall asleep on their own/soothe themselves. They learn that they can't count on you to help them soothe/fall asleep, so they go to sleep. Same outcome...but the means are so different.



 



Again, OUR family's belief.

[deleted account]

Seven weeks is really young...my son fell asleep alone for naps around 10 weeks, but night...he was 11 months. He is WAY too young for CIO...it causes serious stress on baby's heart and blood pressure, not to mention emotional stress (I'm talking about under 6 months here, not older babies, though I'm not a fan of it for any age). What worked for my son was patting his butt/shushing sounds, rubbing his back...just soothing him in other ways. But again...give it time. He's so little still, it'll come. Try a noise maker, soft music...when he's older, maybe rocking him for a little while and then putting him down still drowzy.

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Caitlyn - posted on 08/28/2012

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all babies are different, some like to cuddle a lot before they go to bed when they are really little (newborn) I have an almost 3 month old that still cries when I put her down to go to bed she just won't go to sleep for more then 3 hours at a time anymore, I don't really hold her before she's in bed but it hurts me that she cries and I'm not a fan of that either but it really works that they cry it out :) good luck

Tammy - posted on 01/17/2009

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Maybe give him a bath around the time that you want to lay him down in Johnson & Johnson's Baby Wash that has lavendar in it.  I know when my daughter would have a tough time, I would bathe her in that, which soothed her, and shw was shortly asleep after we were done with her bath.

Tammy - posted on 01/17/2009

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Maybe give him a bath around the time that you want to lay him down in Johnson & Johnson's Baby Wash that has lavendar in it.  I know when my daughter would have a tough time, I would bathe her in that, which soothed her, and shw was shortly asleep after we were done with her bath.

Kelly - posted on 01/16/2009

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my daughter did that and i finaaly had to let her cry wait 5 min go in stroke her head and dont talk to her and leave ,when she starts it again i wait alittle longer go back in and do the same after a week she was falling asleep on her own.

Jackie - posted on 01/16/2009

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We did a mild version of the CIO. I don't think there is anything wrong with wanting to cuddle your baby to sleep. My daughter is 6 months old and if she's overtired, or not feeling well she still needs to be settled that way. We played around with a few different suggestions for soothing until we found what worked best for her. Turns out a teddy that was in the crib with her from day one, and music were her soothers. Put her with the bear and the music and most of the time she will fall right asleep. If she does cry, I don't let her do it for any longer than 10-15 minutes, and not that long if she's really upset. I just get her up, and then try again in a bit. Good luck!!

Michelle - posted on 01/16/2009

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I followed the Book called, "Baby Wise" Very good book. I used the concepts in this book with all of my kids and they worked like a charm!!!

Michelle - posted on 01/16/2009

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Unfortuantely I don't think there is. I am a mother of four and I have done this with all of my children, and they all started sleeping straight through the night at four months old. The sooner you let it happen the easier it is for them and the faster they learn that when mommy puts me in my crib it is time to sleep. Our job as parents is to teach and instruct our children, and I believe that this is true in this situation as well. Sorry for the bluntness, but I believe strongly in this. Hopefully things go well for you.

Maureen - posted on 01/10/2009

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The book 12 hours sleep by 12 weeks old by Suzy Giordano helped me. It's a limited cry solution.

Heather - posted on 01/10/2009

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krista, someone recommended getting a little blanket (the small ones with the animal head, with the satin underneath) and keep it with u and ur baby when ur holding or feeding him, so it gets ur smell and his smell.  then when u lay him down he has the blanket to comfort him.  my son is 6 wks and im still getting him used to his little blanket.  good luck!!!

Laurie - posted on 01/10/2009

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the only thing i'll add to this is a modified CIO. 



 



i too read the baby book by dr sears and looooved it.  his idea of CIO is that you reinforce that you are not there for your child, which is not the message i wanted to send.  i will let my daughter faith cry for 4 minutes.  then go back in, rock her, calm her down, then 4 minutes, repeat as necessary.  truth be told i initially could only tolerate 1 or 2 as i thought if she got more upset she would be more awake and totally defeat the process.



 



i can live with 4 minutes, and after about 6 months of doing this it is maybe only once a week that she'll cry more than 2 minutes before driftring off to sleep, otherwise, she plays, or chills then drifts right off.



 



now naptime is a whole other story - she fights naps with every fiber of her being!

Tracie - posted on 01/08/2009

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Hi Krista, I think after getting all these posts with great advice, there is one big thing to understand! There is no wrong or right way to do it! You need to do what works best for you and your baby...and just because it is not the same thing somebody else is doing, don't feel guilty about it! I have a 12 year old and a 4 year old. Total different kids, and I used totally different ways of getting them to sleep. Keep up the good work and everything will fall into place for you! Goodluck!

Krista - posted on 01/08/2009

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Thanks for all the tips, everyone! We've had some success the last two nights...Cohen's been really sleepy after his 10 PM bottle so we've just put him in his crib awake but drowsy, and he's fallen asleep by himself and slept for over six hours each night. It might be easier than we thought...or we might have just gotten lucky and tonight he'll scream as soon as we put him down! I guess we'll just keep trying and see what happens. I like the idea of picking him up to comfort him when he cries, and then putting him down awake again, and continuing until he's asleep. I still don't like the idea of timing how long he cries before picking him up, and I'd rather not have him rely on music or a soother to fall asleep...but, it's funny how before you're a parent you have lots of great ideas about how it's all going to work, what to do and what not to do, and then after the baby comes, it's all about what you can do to make life easier and increase the amount of sleep you get!

Eryn - posted on 01/07/2009

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Quoting Eryn:



Quoting Jessica:




For Lindsey Marsolo, I'm just curious where you read or heard that letting a baby cry "causes serious stress on baby's heart and blood pressure, not to mention emotional stress."  That's a pretty serious claim to make and I'm open to learning about that if it's medically proven.  I've worked with many babies, have two of my own and have never heard that from our pediatrician or read it anywhere.  It's understandable that letting a baby cry is a personal decision, but I don't think it's fair to say things like this without backing it up.  People who don't have as much experience may really be frightened unnecessarily by such a c






 








 

Eryn - posted on 01/07/2009

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Quoting Jessica:



For Lindsey Marsolo, I'm just curious where you read or heard that letting a baby cry "causes serious stress on baby's heart and blood pressure, not to mention emotional stress."  That's a pretty serious claim to make and I'm open to learning about that if it's medically proven.  I've worked with many babies, have two of my own and have never heard that from our pediatrician or read it anywhere.  It's understandable that letting a baby cry is a personal decision, but I don't think it's fair to say things like this without backing it up.  People who don't have as much experience may really be frightened unnecessarily by such a c



 



Eryn - posted on 01/07/2009

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My son and I went through the same thing..I wanted to make sure he was asleep too. I hated it, but I let him cry it out. It is ok to let them cry. U r not abandoning him..Maybe put him to bed when he is starting to doze off then rub his tummy or back for a minute and leave the room. when he cries again do the same thing rub his back but don't pick him up. Let him know it's ok...Good luck..Remember it won't last forever unless you want it to..

Talisa - posted on 01/07/2009

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Definately swaddling, our son slept with me for many months.  First in the recliner then in bed.  Our next child will definately go straight to the crib.  It took a long time to break him of sleeping with me.  He is 3 now and still is not a great sleeper.  I have noticed very cool bassinets that rock or have motion to help the baby fall asleep, I think that would be worth a try.  Also the crib music thing, ours was an aquarium, but now some have light's that project on the ceiling.  When he gets a little bigger take him to bed, soothe him, put him back in his bed.  Not a fan of the crying it out either, but as they get bigger sometimes it is necessary-a little.

Stephi - posted on 01/07/2009

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i have a 3month old and i've found that adding a sleep positioner has helped! i guess it makes her feel more secure. also i sometimes gently lay my hand(fingers wide) on her chest and shhhshhh. hope this  helps

Trisha - posted on 01/07/2009

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I wanted to second the recommendation for Dr. Sears, the Baby Whisperer and the No Cry Sleep Solution.  All great.  Dr. Brazelton's Touchpoints is also a good one for remembering certain times that may be more difficult for him to sleep, like during devleopmental milestones.



Cuddle that sweet baby and remember he will only be tiny for a little while.  

[deleted account]

Hi Krista, 



You will need lots of sleep yourself in order to remain sane.  I read Baby Whisperer and my son slept in his own crib at 2 weeks for naps and bedtime.  He is 2 now and there has NEVER been any crying involved with sleeping.  He loves his bed.  I developed a routine that was exactly the same every single day.  It was feasible for me because I am home with him.  Things are much more flexible now, but back then I worked everything around a 3 hour then a 4 hour feeding and eating schedule and made sure all naps and sleep were in his bed.  He has been sleeping at least 12 hours a night since 12 weeks old (and his weight was doubled). Many told me it was not possible for a breastfed baby to do this, but he did and it was not too difficult.



Hope this helps and I highly recommend the Baby Whisperer book.  It really helped with all the different things that I thought I could handle and as a first-time mom, was afraid to ask anyone else.  Take care and best of luck to you and baby.



 



Get some sleep,



Sandy

Haven - posted on 01/07/2009

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My daughter started sleeping in bed with me when she was first born, and had her naps in her crib. At night I would feed her her bottle until she fell asleep, then moved her to bed. When she was older and moving around to much, I moved her to her crib at night for saftey reasons. When she figured out how to climb out of her crib, I moved her back to my bed, again for saftey reasons. She is two now, and our current routine is that we read a story or 2, give eachother hugs and kisses then give her a bottle of milk. ( She won't stay in bed without it). She pretty much falls asleep instantly, and I take her bottle away.

I know there are people who will agree and disagree with my methods. I hope that someone will be able to apply something to their nighttime routine.

The main point I'm trying to make is do what works for your baby. Don;t worry what other people say whats right or wrong. Don't make yourself crazy trying to decide which "experts" advise to follow from the hundreds of baby books you've read hundreds of times. Experiment and follow what cues your baby is giving you. And what works now might not work a couple of months later.

Madi's sleep prefrences have changed many times over her 2 years, and will continue to change. I believe in allowing Madi to do what works for her, this applies to all aspects to her development and growth. and she is a very happy, loving baby beacuse of this!

[deleted account]

You cannot spoil a baby, only create an attached one. Ready the Baby Book by Dr. Sears, or www.askdrsears.com it will give you many suggestions on how to teach a baby to put itself to sleep. My 3 yo plays herself to sleep, and has for years, and I do not let my 1 yo cry it out either. When you let a baby know that you are going to respond to their needs, and at 7 weeks crying is still telling you that he needs something, he will mature better and have a better sense of attachment.

Mine is just an opinion, like all others on here, and right for me. Pick and choose what works best for you and don't feel guilty about your choice. Only you know what works best for you and your family. Good luck!

Jessica - posted on 01/07/2009

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I want to emphasize that I'm not judging you, Lindsey, or anyone else for their beliefs.  I totally understand that people have very strong feelings on both sides of this issue.  Every family has to do what is right for them.  My point was that, if you are making statements such as you have been, that it is a good idea to back them up with where you found the info.  Causing physical harm to a baby is obviously unwanted by any parent, so if you think this would be occurring by letting a baby cry, I would want to know where I can read more about it.



Also, in my previous post, I talked about letting my son cry a little when he's going to sleep.  I never had to use the CIO method because I put him down when he's tired and ready to fall asleep.  If he cries for more than a minute or two, and I mean cries, not fussing or wimpering, then I go right back in to check that he's OK.  I wouldn't have let my seven-week-old cry for more than a minute and I don't let my 8-month-old cry for much longer.  In my opinion, babies do cry a little sometimes when they are tired.  It's one of several signs you can look for that they have had enough.  That doesn't mean that he's screaming and clearly upset.  A mother knows what her baby's cries mean and this is how I tell he has his "tired" cry.  This has worked well for us and so it might work for others.

Cinnamon - posted on 01/07/2009

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When my daughter was 6 months old, my husband got a new job in another state.  During our transition I was at home with her alone for a month.  So I took that time to "sleep train" her.  It was just me working with her doing the same routine every night so I feel like that's why it really worked.  I somehow found the sleep lady's website.  Kim West has written severaly books on how to get your baby to sleep on their own.  But I was in need of immediate help, so I read her newsletter and blogs.   She suggests you create a routine to be done at the same time every night.  Ours was bath, turn on soothing music that plays all night long, I would rock her until drowsy and then put  her in.  That first night when she cried after being put down, I sat in the rocker next to her bed.  Then after a few minutes I stood by the door, a few more minutes I stood in the door way, and eventually worked my way out of the room.  Of course the length of time for me in the room depended upon how long she was awake and possibly crying.  But after the third night, I was just laying her down and going out of the room.  She's been falling asleep on her own ever since.  Of course we have our hiccups from time to time, especially if there's a major change in routine, but she's 3 now and still falling asleep on her own, in her own bed.

Jodi - posted on 01/06/2009

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I have a nearly 9 month old daughter, and I never started the cry it out attempts until recently. I too, have a very hard time with it. When she was in the transition from her cradle to crib, I started with just nap time, and I stayed in the room, and found things to do. That made her realize that she was safe in the crib, and that I would be near by. It didn't take long for her to be able to sleep in the crib at night as well. As for putting her to bed still awake, that is still hit and miss. I think it really depends on the baby. I still nurse her before she sleeps, and as soon as she latches off, I lay her down. She's so drowsy by this point that she doesn't fuss when I lay her down, yet still consious enough to move and get comfy before she falls asleep. And I admit, on her fussy nights, I do rock her to sleep.



I agree with those women who said that 7 weeks is too early to cry it out, not just for health reasons, but simply because he is still getting used to the fact that he is here! Everything is new and scary, and the only thing that he is really sure of and comfortable with at this point is his mommy, so when he can't find you, that's gotta be scary. I would say, just continue doing what you are doing, and it time you will be able to just lay him down. It will take a little crying time at that point, though, I am sorry to say.



Good luck.

Capri - posted on 01/06/2009

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I don't believe that about the stress on the heart of the baby. He's spoiled for your arms Now so it's going to be hard for you and the baby to break that habit but Just let him cry and he'll eventually fall asleep from exhaustion.... Always worked with my kids then he'll know you mean business. If you go in every time he cries after changing and feeding him and you know he's not sick......Trust me it doesn't take long for it to sink in. And don't feel guilty!

Kyla - posted on 01/06/2009

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Well if you are not a fan of the crying method, have you tried putting him down with a dummy and then once asleep take it out???? The sucking motion makes them sleepy, and off they go. Well my daughter does if she is a little restless...good luck

Jessica - posted on 01/06/2009

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For Lindsey Marsolo, I'm just curious where you read or heard that letting a baby cry "causes serious stress on baby's heart and blood pressure, not to mention emotional stress."  That's a pretty serious claim to make and I'm open to learning about that if it's medically proven.  I've worked with many babies, have two of my own and have never heard that from our pediatrician or read it anywhere.  It's understandable that letting a baby cry is a personal decision, but I don't think it's fair to say things like this without backing it up.  People who don't have as much experience may really be frightened unnecessarily by such a claim.

April - posted on 01/06/2009

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the swaddleing thing is great!!  All my kids loved it...two of them would not sleep unless they were wrapped up nice and snug in their blanket!

April - posted on 01/06/2009

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My kids slept with me until they were about 3 months...they all nursed and it was just simpler to lay in bed with them and let them nurse at will.  He's still pretty young for the crying thing...but i would say when he looks like he is getting ready to nod off put him down in his crib on a blanket that you warmed up in the dryer.  Some times it's the shock of going from warm mommy to cold bed that wakes them back up.  If he is your first, then I say sleep when he does, even if that means sleeping with him.  By about three months you should notice a pattern in his sleeping and should be able to anticipate his sleep needs. 

Nicole - posted on 01/06/2009

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I believe he's too young for the cry it out stage. I have 4 boys and didn't start that until much later. Honestly, my last son was 8-9 months old when we just put him in his crib and let himself soothe himself to sleep. My first was probably 6-7 months when I had to let him cry it out, and that only lasted a short time. My second I used white noise to help him sleep as he was very refluxy and not a good sleeper. My third loved to sleep and loved being in his crib. My 4th still loved to be swaddled at 7 weeks. He slept well if he was swaddled. I usually put them all down when they are asleep, but not in a deep, deep sleep. And if they stirred, I'd rub their backs or give them the paci (if they took one), or play music or white noise (vacuum, hair dryer, waterfall, heartbeat...).

[deleted account]

Read the book The No-Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley. Great ideas and solutions that don't require the baby to go to sleep crying.

Jessica - posted on 01/06/2009

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I know this isn't what you were hoping to hear, but I've had luck with letting my son cry a little.  It's not a cry-it-out approach in my opinion.  I simply put him in his bed when it's clear that he's really ready to sleep.  Sometimes I hold him a little before and sometimes not.  He has slept through the night and put himself to sleep since he was just over 2 months old. (He's 8 mon.)  Sometimes he doesn't cry either--just goes right to sleep.  And to try to make you feel a little better, I've tried holding him when I think he needs to be held and that just makes him more upset, as if I'm actually interrupting him going to sleep.  When I've tried that and then I put him down, he almost visibly relaxes and works it out on his own.  Certainly you should do what works best for you and your son, but don't be afraid of a LITTLE crying.  You really do get used to it when you realize that it's just how they show they're tired sometimes.  Good luck!

Candess - posted on 01/06/2009

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Hi Krista

I have a 5 month old and I also have your same concerns. I hate the 'cry it out' method and hold my daughter till she is asleep which to many is 'wrong'. I really enjoyed reading anything by Dr Sears. You can find lots on the internet, his advice has proved helpful to me, maybe he can help you too.

best of luck

Candess

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