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Crying it out

(78 Posts)
celeryeater Sun 12-Feb-17 05:22:34

Is there actually any evidence that letting a baby 'cry it out' is damaging to them? I mean so long as you know they are fed, dry, not ill etc?
9mo still waking up every 1-3 hours every night. I have tried pick up put down /coming in and out every 10 minutes (this just seemed to wind her up more) /cutting down on feeds. She just screams as soon as she wakes up even if she's in bed next to me. She won't take a dummy. I feel like the only way is to just leave her and not go in at all but I really don't want to do that, but I might need to.
Please don't tell me how it's normal for a baby to wake up lots and they will grow out of it - this is like saying the effect it has ob me is nothing and I just need to suck it up and let it ruin my life, relationship, health, mental state.

celeryeater Sun 12-Feb-17 05:24:47

I am so tired I just clicked back to active threads, saw the title of my thread and clicked on it thinking ooo someone has the same problem as me... sad

Iwasjustabouttosaythat Sun 12-Feb-17 05:38:09

Well, to an extent you do need to suck it up. If your baby needs you then they need you. Where is your DP? Can't they do some wake ups?

You have the internet clearly so use google to research the cry it out issue. You'll just get a bunch of defensive people on MN telling you to do it because they did it and they feel bad deep down so they want you to make them feel better by normalizing it.

Ask yourself, is it good for a baby to think no one is coming and they have been abandoned in the dark even though they're hungry, tired, lonely, in pain, etc? If you think your baby is ok with that there's your answer.

Iwasjustabouttosaythat Sun 12-Feb-17 05:44:04

Also sorry if that sounded really harsh. I know you're exhausted. My DS was an awful sleeper too. Maybe go to the dr to see if there's a reflux issue or something? Seems like DP really needs to step in here to give you a break.

seven201 Sun 12-Feb-17 05:45:13

How old is your baby? We did it for naps from 6 months. We only did it as I could feed her to sleep but as soon as I put her down or moved a muscle myself (if she was on me) she'd ping awake and not go to sleep again. This resulted in 5 minute naps and a very very grumpy baby. Pupd and similar methods just infuriated her. She was much less angry when she couldn't see me. Now she is mostly fed to sleep again as it taught her not to ping awake when put down. For us it was the right decision as she was literally getting a total of 15 mins per day of naps which is not good for a variety of reasons. I know cry it out isn't 'good' for them either but it was the lesser of two evils for us.

MsMoppet Sun 12-Feb-17 05:47:19

Check out for help getting them to sleep through the night. 9mths is old enough. The methods are gradual reduction in night feeds plus training gently to self soothe. Once you've done all that you only need a couple of nights of minimal crying (you can do Ferber checks or CIO) to get to 12hrs sleep. Took mine 10mins of Ferber checks and my DH going in with water for her to sleep through. Wish I'd done it sooner. If it doesn't work hen try again in a month.

StrawberryMummy90 Sun 12-Feb-17 10:31:26

you'll just get a bunch of defensive people on MN telling you to do it because they did it and they feel bad deep down so they want you to make them feel better by normalizing it

hmm what a load of crap. I did CC with my DD when she was 6 months old and I don't regret it or feel bad one tiny bit! Wasn't a pleasant few nights but that's really all it was. A few nights in her whole life that made a massive difference to everyone's quality of life, most importantly hers! How ridiculous to claim mums who support CC feel bad deep down inside. That's like me saying any mother who is against it is only against it because they regret not doing it and are trying to justify their years of sleepless nights with a cranky child who thought the only way to sleep is to be rocked/suck on a breast.

Anyway back to the most certainly do not have to 'suck it up' ignore anyone who says you do. If your child is healthy and isn't waking for any other reason other than sleep association to something, you should sleep train especially if your health is being affected!

CIO is where you literally close the door and don't go back in till the morning. I would not suggest that at all I think it's important you return in regular intervals so baby knows you are there but that they have to sleep. There's lots of advice on the internet with regards to controlled crying and how it works.

There is no evidence that controlled crying, if done correctly, has any negative effect on a baby.

celeryeater Sun 12-Feb-17 11:10:19

We have already got her to go down in her crib fine. Sometimes awake and we just rub her back a bit for her to drift off so she knows where she is. This has been consistent for about 2 months now. The problem is when she wakes up after an hour or so she automatically wants us to come to her and get her back to sleep again by doing something (nursing, rocking or rubbing) she doesn't self settle at all. I don't see how we can get her to self settle without just leaving her to cry. Even if I am in the room she still goes crazy until I pick her up. Going in and out of the room made her hysterical because she couldn't handle that I was there and not picking her up. I really really don't want to leave her to cry - but feel like we have tried everything else and still aren't getting any sleep.

FATEdestiny Sun 12-Feb-17 11:14:19

I did CIO with my eldest. She is 12 years now. She was 13 months old at the time. I was 8 months pregnant. I have since had 3 more children, my youngest is 2y.

Cry It Out taught me two things:
(1) it works to get a rocked to sleep baby going to sleep in her cot
(2) to never, ever get into that position again. With subsequent children I have been very, very aware of healthy sleep habits. Because CIO was awful (necessary, but hideous) and I vowed never to do it again.

I have the benefit of hindsight and the experience of 3 other children when I say:

- 9 months is too young. Wait until over a year old.

- Your child will need something to give them comfort, right through until school age. If not a dummy, then a special toy, comfort blanket etc. 9 months is too young to have effectively bonded with a comforter, it's more likely by 12 months. See above point.

- In my view, once you have a comforter in place and a baby who isn't hungry, thirsty or poorly, if you must use a leaving-to-cry method, then CIO is less distressing than CC. I think that keep going in and out the room would be frustrating and even more upsetting. So of the two, I'd do the short, sharp shock of CIO over the prolonged agony of CC. But actually both are awful and there are much better ways of managing baby sleep.

- you need to actively teach your child the mechanism of going to sleep. Leaving them to it doesnt do this. For example learning to lie down, be still, relax, be calm in the place they will go to sleep. Teaching that will require you being there, baby being in cot and possibly you having a firm hand on baby's chest, keep lying back down, to actively teach baby to do that when going to sleep.

- teaching baby healthy sleep habits is hard work. It means not taking the easy option. It's time consuming, requires patience and lots of time and effort. Just shutting the door and walking away won't cut it. Your baby will still have unhealthy sleep habits, just quieter unhealthy sleep habits.

Is there actually any evidence that letting a baby 'cry it out' is damaging to them?

Only anecdotal. I can tell you about my eldest. She was fed every wake up and then rocked to sleep. She had a dummy (introduced late, I considered myself above "those" mums who gave dummies, ha!), no other comforter. She used to fling her head side to side to self comfort too.

CIO meant that within a week we could just put her in the cot to go to sleep, she didn't need rocking. She was 13 months old. However she still woke as frequently (2-4 times a night). Really she just wanted the comfort of seeing mummy or daddy, but developed various excuses - mostly needing milk. No rocking to sleep, but still needing to attend to her in the night.

This continues until she was about 2y6m, when she was very overweight, mainly due to having 3 or 4 breakers if full fat cows milk through the night. Habit so ingrained we struggled to break it. Swapped milk for breakers of very dilute squash. We left 3 or 4 in her cot over night. She quickly slimmed down.

More issues with the quantity of urine produced over night.

We started limiting to one breaker at bedtime and refused others. She just developed other excuses to wake us up. Nightmare, too hot, too cold, nappy full, need a wee - the list goes on. She was in a bed by this time, over 3 years old. So now could physically get up and come into oyr room.

Basically yes, she learnt to go to sleep in her cot/bed on her own. But we failed to teach her how to make healthy sleep happen. She never learnt to sleep deeply. She didn't scream and shout when she woke, but she still woke and even if just briefly seeing me or DH on some excuse or another, she needed that contact with us when she woke.

Roll on her being about 5, we now Had 3 children. She was the one most frequently visiting our bed (we have never routinely coslept with any of our children, but they do visit our bed when needed).

Said daughter is 12 now. Reliant on white noise to sleep (desk fan right in her face), otherwise she wakes frequently. She sleeps with a light on. Not a night light, not even a lamp, but her over head light (albeit dimmed down on the dimmer switch). She will still come into our bed for a cuddle occassionally, even now. For comparison our 11 year old hasn't been in our bed for over 10 years.

She does indeed show signs of insecurity. Especially evident at night time. I very much doubt many other post-pubescent girls her age and maturity still get into mum and dad's bed for a cuddle and still have disturbed nights sleep.

We failed her in terms of sleep.

We have failed to take the time to teach her how normal people go to sleep and stay asleep.

We made the mistake of assuming she would "just learn herself" if we left her to it. That was kaxy parenting on our part.

We have not made that mistake again.

Our 3 younger children have much healthier sleep habits bought about without any distress or stress. In a gentle, caring and ultimately time-consuming but effective way.

I just need to suck it up and let it ruin my life, relationship, health, mental state

Get a grip. Your a parent now. It's hard graft.

I get that you're allowed to wallow at 5am when you are knackered when you write this. But there are lots of other ways you can solve this.

celeryeater Sun 12-Feb-17 11:15:17

Iwasjustabouttosaythat - my partner is helping by taking her in the early hours of the morning when I literally can't function anymore. He also takes her while I go have the occasional nap but we are still really struggling. Like I said originally, I was wondering if anyone knew of any evidence CIO is damaging not a lecture on what a bad mum I am because I am unable to function on no sleep. If it was actually humanly possible for me to stay awake all night and just hold her I would!

caramelchameleeeeeon Sun 12-Feb-17 11:17:36

That's an interesting place to start, and you can follow up on any of the research it describes that interests you.

But no, it's not just anecdotal evidence.

Timetogrowup2016 Sun 12-Feb-17 11:23:42

Get a grip. Your a parent now. It's hard graft

What a horrible thing to say fate .
Much kinder ways to say this

celeryeater Sun 12-Feb-17 11:35:59

Fate - so you are saying what I should be doing is just laying her back down and putting a hand on her to teach her how to fall asleep on her own?
And thanks I'm well aware I'm a parent and it's hard work! DD has never been a good sleeper so it's basically 9 months of no good sleep talking. I'm not asking for her to sleep through the night - just sleep long enough for me to get back to sleep again would be a bonus. I don't mind getting up with her a few times in the night but as I've said I can't function at the moment and I'm going back to work in April which I just don't see how I will be able to drive there never mind do a full day on my feet.

celeryeater Sun 12-Feb-17 11:41:07

Caramel - thanks that is what I was looking for.

FATEdestiny Sun 12-Feb-17 11:53:15

laying her back down and putting a hand on her to teach her how to fall asleep on her own

Yes. That's exactly what's needed.

9 months - is she pulling to standing yet? With each gross motor skill, teaching baby to lie down, lie still and lie quietly to sleep gets harder each time. It's easiest to teach before rolling, challenging once rocking on all-fours and crawling, very much harder once pulling to standing and once you have a walking, climbing baby - that child will just be launching themself over the cot bars rather than learning how to lie down and relax for sleep.

Catch this now. You can do this.

How does baby currently go to sleep? What do you do at bedtime and during night time wakes?

Your priority needs to be baby going to sleep lying down, still, in the cot.

celeryeater Sun 12-Feb-17 12:08:13

She's not crawling yet, but she is rocking on all fours. I would definitely like to nip this all in the bud as soon as possible and have been trying to do so since birth! Unfortunately she used to have reflux and hated being laid on her back which obviously before she could roll we had to do and therefore I think she never learnt to sleep on her own.
Currently bedtime starts about 6.30 with a bath, pyjamas, nursing and then laid down in the cot. Sometimes she is asleep when I put her down sometimes she will roll over and go to sleep and other times she will cry so I rub her back or if that doesn't work pick her up and rock her until she's sleepier and put her down again. Not doing this means she will just cry and scream at me until I do. She will then sleep about 2-3 hours and wake up crying again. Usually for the first wake up she will just get a rub or a rock. As the wake ups go on they get closer together and harder to get her back to sleep again. It's like once she's had her essential sleep she fights it even harder. The only time I've seen her relax and drift off on her own is in my arms or being held. Getting her off to sleep is not usually too bad it's the waking up so frequently I don't know how to stop. Or waking up and needing me to do something about it. She also doesn't nap. She will only really nap in the buggy and sometimes she is asleep before I'm even half out the door so she must be tired. In the day if we can get her to sleep in her cot she will do 30 minutes max.

FATEdestiny Sun 12-Feb-17 12:26:24

Does she have a comforter - something she can grab in the night that gives her a nice feeling?

You could do with introducing one, otherwise you just always will be her source of comfort when she just needs that "awwww that's better <happy sigh>" nice feeling.

You're probably too late with a dummy now, but worth a try. Dummies really are worth their weight in gold for independant sleeping. Otherwise a blankie, toy, muslin. Use the comforter to tickle her in specific spots whenever you are comforting her (stroking her cheek with it, for example) and whenever feeding her. The idea is to develop rhythmic, repetitive movements that are associated with comfort and nice, reassuring feelings.

It will take time to establish, so this is no quick fix, but the idea is that you teach her something she can learn to do to herself in time - so regenerate those same feeling but when you aren't there.

I would start off with in-cot comforting where possible. Nice the feed completely separate to sleep time. So do the feed before bath time. Before you even come upstairs. Then at bedtime, go from fully awake to fully asleep in her cot.

Sounds daunting? Yes. But you can do it. She can do it.

Set your expectations - you're likely to be leaning over her cot for a long time initially. Comforter smushed to her cheek, shushing, tickling, stroking. Firm, still hand on her chest as she calms, to reitterate stillness. Lie her back down every time she raises to all-fours.

Lots of comfort, care, reassurance. Most of all your presence. Just keep going. She'll cry, but you are right there. Calm, patient, teaching her to be still and calm in her cot so she learn a to go from awake to asleep in there.

Give it time. Maybe 2 or 3 weeks. Maybe 2 or 3 days. But the length of time it takes her to calm down will be shorter.

You'll get to the point where you feed downstairs, put her in the cot, lean into the cot with your firm hand on her chest and her comforter and it takes maybe 10-20 minutes of you staying there and she drops off quietly and calmly. then sneek out ninja style

Then you start working on gradually withdrawing. So instead of leaning inyo the cot, stand by it until asleep. All the time quietly teaching her how to go from awake to asleep, calmly, in her cot.

It's doable. You can do this.

celeryeater Sun 12-Feb-17 12:41:37

I will try this tonight. We did try to introduce a jelly cat bunny as a comforter but she's not interested. I will start making it present every time I feed or put her to sleep in the hopes she becomes attached. I get worried she isn't having enough milk because in the day she often refuses to nurse and is just too busy doing other things to want to stop but she is eating more and more food and other people I know with babies the same age are trying to cut the milk feeds so maybe I'm over thinking it.

FATEdestiny Sun 12-Feb-17 13:16:53

She is on the young side to be bonding with a comforter yet. But worth at least introducing one and using it, so that when she is ready it's a quicker attachment process.

Is she feeding in the night? If she Is, that will be why she doesn't want/need more during the daytime. But remember you can't just stop giving those feeds because for your DD, breastfeeding is her comforter. She'd be understandably devastated with no comfort at all. Without the presence of an alternate, independant comfort mechanism you cannot seperate breastmilk for hunger and breastmilk for comfort, so you cannot know for sure.

She certainly doesn't need milk calories in the night. She should now be perfectly capable of going 10-12 hours without calories or hydration.

However she definately does need comfort in the night. She just won't settle, sleep or stay asleep without comfort. Breastfeeding is her comfort. She has no alternate. So she is therefore entirely reliant on breastfeeding to sleep. It would be cruel and ultimately won't work to stop her comfort.

Your only realistic option is to move her comfort mechanism away from breast feeding and transfer it onto some thing else. That's going to take time.

and if you have another child, introduce a dummy for sleep and you won't have this issue

celeryeater Sun 12-Feb-17 13:32:42

Yes she does have milk throughout the night yes, but usually only when I can't settle her any other way or am too tired to keep jiggling her around the room.
We did use a dummy with her and it worked for a while but when she got to about 5 months she would spit it out in protest. Short of forcing it into her mouth and holding it there, there wasn't much we could do about that.

FATEdestiny Sun 12-Feb-17 13:45:17

she would spit it

The tongue thrust reflex is natural. It's nothing to do with "protest" or showing she doesn't want it. No different to the startle reflex, babies cannot control it. The tobgue-thrust reflex pushes anything out of the mouth they may choke on. You may have come across this when weaning.

No help now, but your baby was not spitting the dummy out in protest. She just hadn't mastered the physical skills needed to keep it in her mouth. Which babies don't and most parents do sit there fently holding the dummy in place until baby finally "gets" that sucking it not only feels nice, it keeps it in place and wont cause choking.

Moot point now, but bad idea to give up on the dummy. Learning to cope with a dummy with realistic expectations is far gentler, kinder and more effective than considering going from BF to sleep to CIO in one fell swoop.

celeryeater Sun 12-Feb-17 14:11:37

Ok, but it wasn't tongue thrust reflex. I do know what that is from weaning and from when she would take the dummy and spit it out before. This was spitting the dummy out on purpose with force across the room and wriggling and thrashing her head about when we tried to put it back. But it doesn't matter anymore like you say.

Tabitha1983 Sun 12-Feb-17 14:30:23

I'm reading this thread with much interest! Fate I was wish I had your experience! I fell lucky with DD1...don't know how but she just slept?!
Still struggling with DS2 (15 weeks)...I've taken your previous advise, thank you so much...and he now happily takes dummy and will suck to sleep already in his snuzpod or pram...great! No more feeding to sleep (or not very often anyway!)...however...still only getting 30min naps and still walking very frequently through the night (as in hourly some nights!) Any more advise lol! U think hunger? He's EBF...2 hourly through the day...offer hourly in the run up to bed (goes down at 7pm no probs)...and do the dream feed at 10pm (or whenever he wakes after 9pm)...then aim to feed at 2/3am and again at 6am...however he can wake multiple times for dummy in between this x

Tabitha1983 Sun 12-Feb-17 14:32:02

Suppose what I was asking is...Do you think I need to do the same and just put my hand on him to teach him to go back to sleep...or carry on puttin dummy in??

ElspethFlashman Sun 12-Feb-17 14:52:04

Waking multiple times a night is par for the course with many BF babies as they don't go into that deep a sleep as the milk is quite light and digested quickly.

But it's a good idea to not feed at every waking.

I tended to put dummy in, wedge it in with a balled up muslin, and do lots of very loud Shhing and back patting.

I also was a big fan of the Pantly Pull Out which is basically gently pulling the dummy out just as they drift off. If they wake up, out it back in and start again. The idea is to train them to spit it out as they're dropping off so they don't wake when it drops out later on. If they stir but don't wake when you pull it out, keep Shhing (it has to be LOUD) and Patting and see if they go deeper into sleep without it.

Celery try a dummy again. One of the larger 6 m + ones. My first wouldn't take a dummy but then in desperation I bought a larger one when he was about 7 months and to my surprise he took it and turned into a dummy addict

Worth it, as I attached it to the gro bag by its strap and he learnt to find it himself. It really helped. We still had the usual sleep regressions but the dummy was very calming.

Also if you Pat their back quite forcefully (not hitting them! Just not being barely felt) it does tend to distract and soothe them. Perhaps the rubbing isn't strong enough to distract.

Remember that just because a child is hysterical cos you're not picking them up, it doesn't mean you pick them up if you are actively shooting them another way.

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