Sleep Training Your Baby By Letting Them Cry It Out
If your child struggles with settling down at bedtime, then it can be a huge burden on your sleep schedule.
There’s nothing worse than being woken up in the middle of the night to find your baby wandering around the house. It’s not only frustrating, but it can be dangerous as well. One of the most common techniques is the cry it out method. We’ll go over the basics, and you can decide if it’s the right sleep training method for your child. Perhaps you should try the “controlled crying” method instead. Please read both of our articles before making a choice.
Every parent knows how tough it can be to get your precious bundle of joy to calm down for the night. Sure, you can try music, but sometimes it’s just plain difficult. It’s not always an easy job, but there are ways you can make it easier for your baby to get the rest they need.
You might not even know how much is really going on. Pay attention when you wake up in the mornings. Keep an eye out for things that are out of place. Finding toys in places they weren’t the evening before is a big warning sign.
The best way to get to the bottom of the problem is by using baby monitors. You can keep track of exactly when they wake up every night. It might just be a problem with their sleeping habits. This will help you pinpoint the causes of your baby’s restlessness. Keep a journal of how often they wake up.
Get Ride Of Distractions Before Diving Into Sleep Training
Sleep training could be the answer you’re looking for, but let’s make sure nothing else is causing the problem before starting the cry it out method.
If your baby is already able to walk on their own, then don’t make it easy for them to get their hands on favorite items. A child will often get up to play as soon as they wake up. Keep all of their toys neatly stored when bedtime rolls around.
This goes without saying, but don’t leave the television on when your baby is sleeping. That means turning all smart devices off. It’s a good idea to keep stuffed animals out of the bed as well.
You might have a rough time taking those things away when your baby is already used to them. Just keep in mind that you are doing what’s best for them. Make sure your child knows that bedtime is the opposite of playtime. It will save you a lot of trouble later on down the road.
Here are some standards you should practice in your house each night:
- Keep toys neatly stored
- All electronics should be turned off at least 60 minutes before bed
- No stuffed animals in the bed
The Cry It Out Method
If you’ve tackled all the usual culprits without any luck, then it’s time to take the next step. Many babies will wake up constantly for the first few months for no real reason. It’s just a fact of life that we all have to go through. Your baby might be waking up because they are hungry. Always check to make sure before following this method.
Letting your baby cry it out is exactly what it sounds like. Here’s how it works.
Check-In On Your Baby
This is the most important step. You’ll want to make absolutely sure your baby isn’t crying because they need you. Check for a dirty diaper. Hold them for a minute, and try to give them a bottle. The goal is to get them to calm down, and they’ll hopefully get back to sleep on their own. Letting your baby cry it out isn’t an excuse to ignore them.
Leave The Room
This is the hardest part. You’ve made sure your baby is fine, but the crying doesn’t stop. Lay them back in bed as comfortably as possible. Then leave the room for a few minutes. It’s not going to be easy. New parents are going to have the toughest time with this step. You can sit quietly in the next room to see if your baby will fall back to sleep on their own.
Return To The Room In Intervals
The amount of time you wait between coming back is up to you. Let them cry it out for five to ten minutes. Start with short intervals of a few minutes, then work your way up to longer times. You’ll want to slowly wean them from needing your attention. Try to avoid comforting too much. You can be the judge on when your baby needs to be held.
You’ll eventually be able to check on your child without having to keep returning. This style of sleep training will eventually teach your child how to fall asleep on their own.
Are There Any Negatives To Letting Your Baby Cry It Out?
All sleep training methods have their own downsides. Letting them cry it out is no exception. Here are a few key cons of the “cry it out method” to be on the lookout for:
Be Comforting When Things Get Out Of Hand
You don’t want to leave your baby alone to cry it out for long periods of time. It’s perfectly fine to hold them if you make an effort to space it out. You want to slowly get them into the groove of self-soothing. Completely ignoring them is not the proper way to do it.
Make Sure They Are Alright
You shouldn’t immediately jump right into comforting, but you should ensure your baby is doing alright. Look for problems. Change their diaper if it’s dirty. Have a bottle ready just in case. Try not to be too comforting when you first enter the room.
You don’t want your baby to associate crying it out when they wake up to getting attention. Let them know that everything is fine, then give them some time to cry it out on their own.
Babies That Are Six Months Old
This is around the time when your baby starts to understand separation from you. It’s a beautiful point in a baby’s development when they first start to miss you. It’s the sweetest thing you’ll ever experience, but it’s also a huge cause for sleepless nights.
If your baby is at this age, then you might just want to put the cry it out technique on the back-burner. There isn’t much you can do except being the loving parent that they need. Your baby misses you. Miss some sleep for them.
Benefits Of The Cry It Out Method
Let’s look at the positive side of crying it out. There are a lot of benefits for everyone. You’ll just need to stay consistent. Patience really pays off when sleep training your infant.
Your Baby Learns To Self-Soothe
This is a very important skill that everyone needs to learn at some point in life. It helps your baby know that you are always right there when they need you. You’ll see fewer instances of nightly crying.
Your child will still let you know when they need to be fed. They’ll just be more likely to fall back to sleep when nothing is wrong. It’s a win for everybody.
You’ll Know When Something Is Wrong
Your baby won’t cry as often in the night, and they’ll quit crying quicker. You’ll have a pretty good feel for when they need to be fed or changed. Don’t forget to always check no matter how small the situation seems. Just be a little quieter when checking on them. Try to give them their space as often as possible while maintaining good parenting habits.
They’ll Naturally Build Good Sleeping Habits
There’s nothing more fulfilling than knowing your child is safe. It’s not bad to get plenty of rest yourself. They’ll be happier throughout the day. You’ll see fewer temper tantrums. Bedtime will be even easier once their internal clock gets on schedule. It will be as natural as ever before you know it. Just hang in there. Stay consistent with any sleep training methods you decide to use.
3 tweaks you can make to the Cry It Out Method:
We can’t say it enough. Consistency is the key to a successful sleep training program. Your determination is going to make a difference eventually. There are so many ways you can tweak crying it out:
- You can create a nighttime routine before bed.
- You can set thirty minutes aside to cuddle with them before bedtime comes.
- It could be as simple as limiting feeding in the evening.
Stick to it and things will get better!
You’ll have hurdles along the way, but it’s worth every second. don’t get discouraged when a sleep schedule falls apart. Little things like catching a cold can totally disrupt sleep schedules for days.
It’s going to be just fine in the end. You’ll know when to change things up. That’s what being a parent is all about.