Whose Crying?

After a few lengthy discussions, Matt & I decided to put Marshall through the all too controversial Cry-It-Out method. Now, I know there are people who are against letting their sweet babes cry, and if you are one of those people, I invite you to read through our experience but please keep your negative comments to yourself. K, thanks. Furthermore, I am not a medical professional, just a mom sharing her experiences.

As parents, we have expedited a lot of the baby experiences. They say to feed your baby solid foods at 6 Months, we did it at 4 Months. They say to hold off on Cry it Out until 6-8 Months, we did it at 5 Months. I appreciate the guidelines given to parents on how to raise their children, but it’s important to remember that they are only guidelines. You’re the parental unit, tap into your instincts and do what YOU feel is best for your family.

Marshall has been a swing sleeper since day 1; he loves the cozy bassinet, he enjoys the movement and it makes him comfortable. He’s got a fully reclined bassinet swing so his chin is never resting on his chest, this sleep process has been 100% safe. However, he’s a big boy (yes, it could be those solid foods he’s chowing on)! He’s 5 Months old and sucking in to fit into 6 Month clothes and that poor swing struggles and creaks  as that 15-pounder slumbers.

He’s trying to sit up, he’s trying to roll over and he’s practicing his motor skills. It’s time to make the transition and what better way then to let him figure it out himself. Babies can create independence at such a young age and as a mom, I don’t want to hinder that process. Independence is one of the most valuable qualities we as humans contain.

Before implementing CIO and/or crib transition, it’s important to have a night-time routine. This will help set the stage for sleep, have this in place for a few weeks before trying CIO. Our night time routine goes like this:

6:15 – 6:30pm: Rice Cereal & 6-Ounce Bottle
6:45pm: Bath Time followed by baby massage and Jammies
7:00pm: Quiet time and cuddling with Mommy &/or Daddy (We don’t read to him or rock him, we just hold him and whisper I love you’s).
7:30pm: Fast Asleep

Matt & I decided to move forward with a slow transition, beginning with night time sleep (many try with naps at first, but remember, babies sleep best at night when they’ve had adequate naps). We let him nap in his swing and at night, we transition to the crib. After a great deal of researcher and a lengthy discussion with our Pediatrician, we settled on the Ferber method of Cy-It-Out.

Ferber says to lay your baby down drowsy but awake, give him a kiss and walk out. Once he starts crying, wait 3-Minutes to return to his room and soothe him (without picking him up) for no more than two minutes. The second time he cries, wait 5 Minutes, return to his room and soothe him for another two minutes. The third time and every subsequent time after, you wait 10 Minutes, soothe for 2 and repeat, repeat, repeat until the baby falls asleep. (More information on Ferber method can be found here).

*An important piece of information to note; when soothing, if you see your baby falling asleep it’s important to leave. You want the baby to see you leave the room.

We’ve decided to do a 5 night test (even if he’s falling asleep and staying asleep by night 2, we want to give it a lengthy time before making a conclusion on how CIO went for our family). I’ve detailed our experience with each night. I know it’s extensive but I hope it’s helpful. I went to many blogs looking for CIO advice and I never got the full information. What happens if they wake in the middle of the night? What happens if they wake early? What happens if they start rolling onto their tummies? I covered all of that in the first 3 nights.
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Night 1:
3 Minutes, 5 Minutes, 10 Minutes

6:59pm: In crib drowsy but awake
7:06pm: Crying
7:09pm: Soothe
7:11pm: Crying
7:16pm: Soothe
7:20pm: Crying
7:30pm: Soothe
7:38pm: Crying
7:48pm: Soothe
7:56 – 8:30pm: Off and on crying for no more then 4 minutes at a time, he was calming himself down, then working himself up. He’d cry, I’d time it, he’d stop crying. He’d start crying and I’d time from the new cry.
8:30pm: Fell Asleep  (That was great, he eventually put himself to sleep! Yay. )

12:30am: Awake & Crying
12:33am: Soothe
12:45am: Asleep

4:30am: Awake & Crying
4:33am: Soothe
4:35am: Asleep
6:50am: Awake for the day

Night 2:
5 minutes, 10 Minutes, 12 Minutes

7:01pm: Lay down drowsy but awake (Before I even walked out, he had turned to his side and started dozing off).
7:05pm: Asleep
7:35pm: Dogs barked and woke him up (I wasn’t super pleased with this).
7:40pm: Soothe
7:50pm: Asleep

4:30am: Awake & Crying (Off & On)
5:00am: Went in to check and he had rolled onto his tummy, scared and not happy! I was a little worried to, so we had a hard time getting back to sleep. Que the morning.

Night 3:
7 Minutes, 12 Minutes, 15 Minutes

Now, on night 3, he decided to continue his adventure of rolling over onto his tummy.

7:00pm: Lay down drowsy but awake
7:05pm: Asleep
8:00pm: Rolled onto his tummy, awake and crying
8:05pm: Ran upstairs to roll him onto his back
8:15pm: Rolled onto his tummy, awake and crying

Let’s pause right here. Obviously he’s enjoying rolling onto his tummy, he’s just very unsure about this. Most parents are terrified that their babies will lay face down and stop breathing. Three things. 1) If he’s strong enough to roll over onto his tummy, he’s strong enough to lift his head. 2) Our parents were told to put us on our tummies to sleep, so it must be safe. 3) If you keep running in there to roll him over, you’ll never get any sleep. So, we let him cry it out on his tummy.

I want him to be comfortable and happy, I don’t want to scare him out of rolling onto his tummy. We’re teaching him to embrace it!

8:20pm: Went in, checked to make sure his head was to the side and rubbed his back
8:23pm: Asleep

2:00am: Awake & Crying
2:05am: Put himself back to sleep

4:30am: Awake & Crying
4:40am: Soothed
4:45am: Asleep

5:50am: Awake & Crying
6:10am: Soothed
6:12am: Asleep

7:00am: Awake for the Day

It seems to me that he’s mastered falling asleep on his own but now our two challenges are 1) Making sure he’s comfy on his tummy and 2) Teaching him that 4:00am is not morning time. It’s important to me that he knows we don’t wake up before 7:00am.

Night 4:
10 Minutes, 13 Minutes, 16 Minutes

6:58pm: Lay down drowsy but awake
7:00pm: Whimpering
7:02pm: Stopped crying, rolled around, played with his hands, talked to himself
7:15pm: Asleep

4:30am: Awake and Fussy
4:40am: Soothe
4:45am: Fussy
5:00am: Soothe
5:30am: Fussy
6:00am: Asleep
7:30am: Awake

We made HUGE accomplishments on him putting himself to sleep and sleeping through the night.  Still working on the morning routine, but hey, he’s doing GREAT!!

Night 5:
10 Minutes, 13 Minutes, 16 Minutes

7:00pm: Lay down drowsy but awake
7:00pm – 7:15pm: Playing, talking, whimpering
7:16pm: Asleep

1:30am: Awake & Crying
1:40am: Soothe
1:43am: Asleep

6:30am: Awake for the Day

Well there you have it, I am so proud of Marshall, and while we still have some work to do, we’ve come so far. We used to rock him to sleep, then spend an hour getting him back to sleep after he woke up. He used to wake up in the middle of the night and it’d take an hour to get him back down. Now i don’t stress if he wakes up at 1, i know he’ll be back down within 10 minutes max. We’re still working on this early morning wake up, in due time.

Thanks for reading through our adventure. I recommend Ferber CIO to any parent who needs to make a transition or teach their little one to sleep through the night. I also LOVE that he was a swing sleeper, the swing helped him learn how to soothe. I’ll be using the swing for all of my kids!!

Once we’re ready to make the transition from swing to crib for nap times, I’ll post!

Published by Jacqueline Leigh Boeheim

Jacqueline Leigh is a children's author based in Georgia. She spent many years working alongside advertising executives, producing inspirational and ground break print, web and television ads. Jacqueline later put her focus on journalism, doing what she loves, writing stories for the general public. She has been published in multiple print and digital publications. She’s interviewed big-name bands and small-town businesses, both contributing to her understanding and joy of writing. Jacqueline has now taken her experiences and focused on becoming a children’s author, a lifetime dream.

10 thoughts on “Whose Crying?

  1. Thank you so much for this! Next week my son will be 4 months and the swing has been one of the only ways to get him to sleep. Since last week I’ve had to let him cry sometimes even in the swing. It’s always been less than 10 minutes if he is truly tired. I’ve been terrified of how I’m going to transition him out of the swing as it seems the motion is one of the only ways to soothe him. I keep thinking about trying cry it out but haven’t gotten to the point yet that I’m ready for it. He also still wakes up twice for bottles but sometimes he is just waking up and can’t get back to sleep. Was your little one already skipping night time feedings before you tried this?

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    1. Hi! I’m so glad you enjoyed my post. I remember the days of the swing all too well. He was in his swing until he was 5 months old and I thought I’d never get him out! I waited to do cry it out after I knew he could sleep through the night. He dropped all night time feedings at about 3 months of age. My pediatrician did tell me that children begin to form habits at 6 months old, so it was important to get him out of the swing by then.

      In my research, I found that cry it out works fine even if you have night time feedings. You’re using cry it out to teach him how to put himself back to sleep. I think you’d be fine giving it a shot! Just make sure you answer to him when he’s hungry for those two feedings (once again, this is what I’ve found in my extensive research, I’m not a medical professional by any means). Good luck!!

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  2. Hi, it’s me again. My son had his four month appointment two days ago and his pediatrician basically said to get working on getting our little guy out of sleeping in his swing ASAP. He will be five months on the 21st of this month. We know we have to do it sooner or later so my husband and I are planning to start next Friday with the crib and doing CIO with the check and console. We have a bedtime that is usually around 6 or 7. Not a set time yet because baby still naps three times per day and the times vary a little. So we do bath time cuddle a little and walk around the house turning off lights then he goes in his swing wide awake but clearly tired. Sometimes there is less than 10 minutes of crying then he is out. But he really only sleeps for about an hour then wakes up and gets a bottle (so maybe this is more like a fourth nap?). After that bottle he is drowsy and clearly wants to sleep. We have been told to put baby down drowsy but awake. So I’m trying to figure out whether to start out with our usual routine of the swing then put him in the crib after that bottle when he is clearly ready to sleep or do we start after bath time wide awake but tired in the crib? Just wondering what your opinion is. I don’t plan to move naps to the crib until we give night time a good consistent try for a week to see if it works.

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    1. Hi, first of all, I agree with you. You need to start with night time and everyone needs to be comfortable with that first. Here’s my take on that last nap, in my household, anything after 5:00pm is not naptime, it’s bedtime. My sons bedtime is 6:30 as well. When are you giving him his last bottle of “the day”? We feed Marshall his solids at 5:00pm, bath at 6:00pm and rock with an 8 ounce bottle at 6:30pm and that keeps him full until 6:30 the next morning. We also started him on rice cereal at about 4 months, we could tell that he was hungrier. How much is your son eating? He may be ready for solids.

      We put Marshall down drowsy but awake, we used to rock him to get him drowsy but he’s come so far. For both naps and bedtime, we change his diaper and lay him in his crib and in 5 minutes, he’s put himself to sleep. So yes, drowsy but awake is key int he beginning!

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      1. He is not quite ready for solids yet. During the day he has only been drinking on average 3 oz every 3 hours and at night he drinks 4 oz. about every 3 hours. His spitting up/reflux has been worse during the day lately but that seems normal for his age and he is practicing sitting up but can’t do it without support yet. His usual times for bottles in the afternoon are 12-3-6 give or take an hour. Lately though he has been so interested in exploring and looking around that it’s hard to get him to drink that full bottle before bedtime that he wakes up within an hour of going to sleep in his swing and then drinks a full bottle around 7. I know we have an eating and sleep association to an extent but more so my concern is the swing and sleep habit I want to get rid of first. The pediatrician said that the baby absolutely doesn’t need to eat every three hours at night but didn’t give any advice on how to change that. And since he isn’t increasing his amount of intake or eating solids yet I’m ok with feeding him every three hours at night for now. I figure work on one thing at a time. He doesn’t like to be rocked in someone’s arms but he likes the motion of the swing. So right now it’s like he takes a nap then is relaxed enough when he wakes up within that first hour to drink a 4 oz bottle and closes his eyes and is really ready to sleep for the night. Then some nights we still have him waking up even in his swing between sleep cycles and I hold him shush him pat his bottom and sometimes have him sleep next to me. So that’s another reason for us to do this CIO thing so he can get himself back to sleep between sleep cycles. The more I write the more messy the whole situation sounds lol. Sorry this is so long. Anyways, I just imagine putting him in his crib tired (maybe he is overtired) after his bath and him just crying and crying until it’s time for a bottle anyways and he gets drowsy with that 7pm bottle. Or give him that first hour in the swing then give him a bottle then put him in the crib for the night when clearly he wants to sleep and is drowsy?

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      2. Hi. We bit the bullet and did CIO two weekends ago. It was heart wrenching for the first three nights but for the most part each night got better. Honestly the first night was just horrible. But now my son sleeps in his crib and is able to put himself to sleep without needing a bottle or motion. What a relief! There is still some crying at times and night time wake ups but last night was only at the times for his night time feeds. I have yet to tackle naps. Right now I still use the swing or go for a drive or bounce him and let him sleep on me. Pretty soon I’ll work on nap training but I just don’t feel up to hearing him cry and having a cranky overtired baby quite yet. Plus I’m hoping nights will continue to be better and he will get some quality night sleep. I’ll have to go back and read your post about nap training for some inspiration. Thanks for checking back in. I hope all is well with you and your family.

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  3. All I can say is thank you, thank you, thank you! This blog gave me the courage to try the CIO method on my four and a half month old baby girl. (Matilda Poppy). From birth to two months I had an hourly feeder and the great ‘feeding in demand’ bit me on the bum! Then, break through, we had come to conclude that she liked to sleep in her tummy best so, that is how she slept from two months onwards. This is when she would go 6-8 hours, wake for a feed and then go another 3-4 hours. Which was amazing!! Although, just recently for then past two weeks, my darling, darling Matilda has been wide awake at 7-11 and only sleeping three hours at a time (sometimes only half an hour!) so I have once again found myself exhausted. Until, that is, I found your blog, I am on my third night so far, night number 1 she cried for 1.5 hours, night number 2 was 20 minutes and tonight cried for 6 minutes. Although she did wake up half an our later for some more milk (fatty). It seems to be working anyway as was very skeptical at first as I read about how leaving them to cry will make then loose trust in you etc etc but to be honest, I think this is doing her some good!
    So, once again.. Thank you for such a detailed blog. It has helped me no end.

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    1. This makes me so happy to read. The number one thing I’ve learned as a mother is that persistence is key. And I don’t think they lose trust in your, honestly, they’re so young that they won’t remember. And to tell you the truth, my son and I have a beautiful bond and I have this to thank. He knows I’m going to take the necessary steps to make sure he’s happy and to make sure I’m a pleasant, well rested mom. I wake up in the morning so happy to see him, always well rested and eager to play. THAT is what’s important, THAT is what keeps your children smiling and laughing. Congrats on making this well deserved plunge.

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      1. I totally agree with you. There is nothing worse then trying to say good morning to your bouncing bundle of joy at 6/7 in the morning when you are completely exhausted. I have been struggling so I am hoping she will start learning how to get herself to sleep and not need me in the night so much. I will continue with feeding through the night though as she is still only four and a half months.
        Thanks again. Hope all is well with you and family. Marshall is a little babe!

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