When it comes to getting the baby to sleep, it is not always easy. Ideally, a parent would place baby in her crib, where she will learn to soothe herself to sleep. Of course, we do not live in an ideal world. Babies are not made to put themselves to sleep every night, unfortunately!
Many new moms and dads struggle with how to sleep train their little one. There are so many options out there on how to properly get baby to go to sleep. Do you rock them? Do you let them lie down with you? Do you let them cry it out?
The crying it out method is one that essentially every parent knows about. Basically, you let your child cry until they fall asleep. This sleep training method is the source of a great deal of controversy, as some parents believe it is torturing a baby to allow them to cry with no comfort, whereas other parents are team cry it out, and claim it can work absolutely wonders, with no ill side effects. So how do you know whether you should try the cry it out method or not? Keep reading, and we will give you some guidelines!
14 Is Your Baby A Newborn?
Now stop right there. You should never consider doing the cry it out method with a newborn baby. They are simply not ready! A newborn baby needs their mommy and daddy to comfort and hold them. It is essential to the bonding process. Having your newborn baby cry it out will not only hurt your bonding experience, but it will not work in getting your baby to go to sleep, either.
Your newborn baby is going to cry. That is what newborns do! But it is because they need something, whether it be that they are hungry, tired, need a diaper change, or just want to cuddle. It is strongly advised that the crying it out method of sleep training never be done on a newborn baby, as it is unsafe for their delicate nature and development.
13 Could Your Baby Be Hungry?
When it comes to performing the crying it out method of sleep training, you need to make sure you are doing it correctly. If you little one is hungry, then it will not work. Baby needs to be nice and nourished before going to sleep for the night, whether it is through the crying it out method or not.
But if you decide to try out crying it out, you need to know for sure that your baby is not hungry. Otherwise, they will be crying for a variety of reasons, and one major one is that they are hungry, and need their parents to feed them. Failure to do so by ignoring their hunger pleas can be detrimental. Their crying (to them) means they are hungry. To you, you may just be waiting for them to fall asleep, and it may never happen.
12 What Advice Does Your Doctor Give?
If you have any concerns or questions regarding your baby, you should always bring it up to the pediatrician. They know little kids best! Their advice is based on the age of your child and their background, including any medical issues or complications. When you are trying to decide whether or not to attempt the cry it out method on your baby, make sure to discuss with the pediatrician first.
If your doctor gives you the go ahead, great. But if they are advising you to wait or just not do it, you ought to think twice and take their recommendation into consideration. No matter the reason the doctor may give for not advising crying it out, there will be a reason, always understand that and have that discussion to make sure you understand clearly.
11 Are You Suffering From PPD?
If you are thinking about the crying it out method to help with getting your little one to dreamland, do not think it will be easy on you. It can be quite draining for the parents involved, listening to their sweet baby cry and cry, and having to force yourself to not rush in there to scoop her up.
Therefore, if you are already suffering from postpartum depression, it is advised that you refrain from the crying it out method. First, crying it out can take away from the precious bonding that you and your baby need, or are lacking. Second, it can do damage to you emotionally, and that can transfer in how you care for your baby. Postpartum depression and attempting sleep training via cry it out are not a good pair.
10 Is Your Baby Sick Or In Pain?
Think about it. If you were a baby, would you want to be left alone if you were sick or hurt? Crying it out is not a good idea if your baby is not feeling well, or if they are in pain due to an injury, no matter how big or how small.
Your little one is counting on you, his mommy, to give him comfort when he needs it the most. By having him cry it out when he desperately needs you, will not only hurt the bond you have as mother and child (or father and child), but also could do serious physical or emotional damage. Your baby wants to be held and cuddled and loved when she is sick, not left alone to cry it out, which, by the way, probably would not work at this moment anyway.
9 Does Baby Seem To Be Teething?
When your baby’s teeth are ready to make an appearance, it can be an unpleasant time for your little one. Many parents are aware that when a baby is teething, she may be cranky and not sleep very well. Oftentimes, when babies suddenly have sleep issues and wake up crying, it could be because they are getting new teeth!
It goes without saying, that if your baby is going through a time when sleeping is difficult due to teething, it is probably not the best time to begin sleep training via the crying it out method. Your baby is already miserable. Do not add to her misery by forcing her to cry herself to sleep, when all she needs is some comfort to help those little, tiny teeth break through.
8 Is Separation Anxiety Common With Your Baby?
Babies who suffer from separation anxiety are likely not good candidates for the crying it out method. Separation anxiety, especially when it is severe, can be emotionally draining for both you and your baby. Sleeping training using the cry it out method is often highly unsuccessful for babies who have separation anxiety, which is why it is often not wise to even try it in the first place.
Also, there is a link between separation anxiety and disrupted sleep. Babies who wake up frequently during the night or have uncontrolled bouts of crying may be suffering from separation anxiety. They have this intense fear that they will never see their mom or dad again. Leaving a baby who has separation anxiety alone to cry it out only confirms his fears, since he is crying for his mommy and she is not coming to get him.
7 Does The Thought Make You Uncomfortable?
The crying it out method is not necessary. Even if everyone else you know is doing it, that does not mean that you have to do it. It is a preference. It is something that some people want to do or choose to do, but not all. There are other ways to get your baby to sleep, you do not have to have them cry it out if you do not want to.
Many people are against crying it out, and for good reasons. If you, as the parent, are very uncomfortable with this method of sleep training, it's simple, don’t do it. If you want to cuddle your baby each and every night until they are teenagers and don’t want to do it anymore, that is also totally fine!
6 Is Your Baby At Least 6 Or 12 Months Of Age?
You know your baby best. If you think they are ready to try sleep training via the crying it out method, then go ahead and give it a try. It is important that they are at least six months old before you begin. Under six months of age is typically too young for a baby to be okay physically and emotionally with crying it out.
Many babies are not ready by six months old. If your baby is, that is great, give it a try. If you think your baby is too young, you might want to wait until her first birthday. Each and every child is different. It is up to you to make sure she is old enough for this process, which is typically between six and twelve months.
5 Do You Have A Set Bedtime Routine?
The crying it out method of sleep training can be very successful, as long as other factors are in place. If you have set a bedtime routine for your little one, you may find that crying it out will be simple and successful.
The reason a set bedtime routine is important to this method of sleep training, is that your baby will know that it is time for bed. By giving him a bath, reading a story, and then placing him in his crib, you have set a routine that is important. Do a bedtime routine for awhile before you try crying it out though, you want your baby to understand that now is the time to go to sleep. You may be lucky, and he may cry a bit and fall asleep, or it may take a few tries before it is successful.
4 Is Baby’s Sleep Environment Safe?
Does your baby have a safe and comfortable place to sleep? When crying it out, it is typically recommended that baby is sleeping in her own crib, in her own room. Putting her to sleep in your bed, in a toddler or twin, or on the floor is not ideal. Once she starts crying, she could easily injure herself by falling off the bed or knock herself around into the walls.
You want a safe place for your baby to sleep, anyways. Make sure the room is not too warm or too cold. Cool is usually ideal, especially once baby begins to cry. You do not want him to overheat. Crying it out can be successful, but you do not want to have to deal with an injury by putting baby in an unsafe space.
3 Does Baby Have A Sleep Schedule?
A sleep schedule is just as important as a bedtime routine. Does your baby go to sleep at the same time every night? This is important. It again helps your little one to know that now is the time for sleep. While baby cannot tell the time, it is the consistency of the routine and going to sleep at the same time each night that will make the crying it out method of sleep training successful.
If your baby just falls asleep whenever she’s tired, the crying it out method might not work. Establish a set bedtime, do a routine, and then try crying it out. You may just be pleasantly surprised by how easy it can be to get baby to soothe herself to sleep, and all it took was ensuring that baby goes to sleep at the same time each and every night.
2 Do You Know For A Fact Baby's Needs Are Met?
As we know, a baby who is sick, hungry, or teething will not do well with crying it out. Therefore, it is vital that you know for sure that your baby is healthy, has a full belly, and is not going through a teething phase. If you confirm these three things, going ahead with crying it out is a fine idea.
Babies need to be feeling one hundred percent for crying it out to be successful. You know your baby. You know if they have been fed, if they are feeling okay, and if you think a new tooth is ready to pop through. Use your own judgement, and once you give the green light, cross your fingers that crying it out will work! And, if all is good, highly likely that it will work!
1 Will You Be Able To Withstand It?
It is not a requirement to try crying it out for sleep training. As long as you are comfortable allowing your infant to cry herself to sleep, then go for it. Do your research, know when it is a good time, and give it a try. It can be a successful method for sleep training your baby.
If you feel like it is not working, you do not have to continue. You can go in and pick your baby up or just never try it again. If you have your baby cry it out, and her cries for you get to you, but you can still stay strong, that is great. Once you can get over that hump, you will pat yourself, and your baby, on the back for a job well done!
Sources: Babycenter, What To Expect, Evolutionary Parenting