Sleep Training: The Crying It Out Method 

There are many famous books out there that insist on the “crying it out” (CIO) method. They swear by quick results within days to teach your baby to self settle and sleep through the night. I am ashamed to say that during a very desperate time, I have been gullible enough to follow suit, even though I am very against this method. I gave it a shot and ended up with a distressed baby that vomited and a very overwhelmed and tearful mother. I absolutely hate this method and no matter what the books say, I will never ever recommend this to anyone nor will I ever try it again.

Like many other first time mums, I am very conscious about understanding my baby’s needs. So when she cries, most of the time, I know exactly what she wants. Reading her cries is something I’ve learnt along the way. It is a mother’s instinct to attend to a crying baby, but the CIO method defies this and it makes me uncomfortable. The Ferber Method in particular suggests leaving the baby to cry for strictly timed intervals, increasing the intervals each time and ignoring all the baby’s protest and cries. This method supposedly teaches them how to self settle and forces them to quickly learn that by kicking up a fuss, it won’t get them anywhere. Doctor Richard Ferber’s book is well known and many people have sworn by it.

Well, it didn’t work on my daughter. We tried it for a week. By the end of that week, to say the least, we were all worn out, unhappy and miserable. Each time I went in after the timed interval was up, it became a ‘tease’ for her and made her scream even more. This resulted in her vomiting from protesting so much. I felt like a horrible mother as I’m not sure if it left lasting effects. I would take it back if I could. It just didn’t work for us.

Every baby is different. I had to step back, ignore what everybody else was saying and access my baby and our situation. Madeleine has always been a quick learner, so I had to teach her how to fall asleep without a breastfeed and for her to sleep in the cot. After a few nights of the ‘pick up and put down method’, she was no longer waking up every 2 hours wanting a breastfeed and on most nights, she’d sleep through.

The ‘pick up and put down method’, is a gentler technique of picking up the baby and comforting them when they became distraught. At first, it took me about 2 hours of picking her up and putting her down (about 20 times) before she understood what we wanted her to do. Babies are smart, they just need the right tools and time. Every baby is different and there are plenty of methods available that doesn’t have to be as stressful as the CIO method. Sooner or later, your baby will sleep. Don’t give up!

8 thoughts on “Sleep Training: The Crying It Out Method 

  1. My mum swore by a simular thing to cio and when I read the CIO method I thought the popping back in was cruel and shorly was a wind up. I tried my mum’s method and all we ended up with was an upset and over tired child and I was so distressed and tearful. I found with my first that it actually hurt when she cried my stomach would cramp almost contract it was odd! In the end I don’t know if it has a name but I did what I felt was right for my baby and over the course of a few weeks put her to bed minutes off falling to sleep and just extended the time as the weeks went on and used the pick and put down method if she was to wake in the night. But which ever method you chose your right don’t give up consistency is the key. X

    1. Hi there! Thanks for dropping by and commenting. I definately agree with you, which ever method you choose, that’s okay, just make sure you’re okay with it and you feel it’s okay for your baby. I absolutely hate the CIO method because it made us all stressed out and did nothing to my baby except upset her! It’s a hard thing to learn, falling asleep. But all babies eventually get there! Xx

  2. My husband insisted we try the CIO method, but I refused from the start. We lived in a one room apartment, in a small apartment block. No way was I letting my son scream for hours, not just for the sake of the neighbours, but with me so close to him, I wasn’t going to allow him to scream himself to sleep when I was less than three feet away. I used to cuddle him until he got sleepy, and then put him in his bassinet, that was inside a cot. He rarely cried, just grumbled a bit, and I was a light sleeper. So I fed him, changed him and cuddled him until he was sleepy twice a night. He slept through the night from four weeks old. He was always a calm, happy baby and I often wondered if he would have been had I left him to settle the CIO way.

    1. Hi there, thanks for commenting! 😊 That’s exactly how I felt, the only reason why we wanted to sleep train was because I was waking up almost every 2 hours and my health was being affected. At the time, I didn’t realise it was because she had a breast attachment issue and needed the boob to fall asleep! When we broke that it was so easy to ‘teach’ her to fall asleep (using a no cry technique). I can’t stand to hear her scream. I feel like it goes against everything you feel as a mother to protect your baby! I worry the CIO will scar them mentally.

  3. You are following your instincts, with huge love. <3 The CIO feels too clinical and a 'method' cannot work with all babies. Each babe is unique, as is the bond they have with Mum and Dad. Everyone finds their own way. My daughter is grown up now, but I could not have done it. <3

    1. Hi Jane! I completely agree with you! Every baby is definitely unique and it took me a while into my motherhood journey for me to realise this! The main thing I learnt is to go with your gut feeling. If you don’t feel like it’s right, don’t do it! Xx

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