Saturday, July 16, 2011

Cuddle or Cry it Out?

It is very difficult for a mother to make a conscious decision about to cuddle or to let her baby cry it out (CIO) when she is sleep deprived.

I had never thought about this issue before having my daughter nor anyone came to me to talk about it. The only thing that I remember was everyone telling me how wonderful it was to have a baby and how my life would be filled with joy from that moment on. The truth is that no one tells you about painful breastfeeding or sleep deprivation when you are pregnant. Not that I think we should discourage new mothers, but maybe we should let them know they will have lots of challenges ahead and for some of them they should be prepared before the time comes.

I've read about babies sleeping through the night at 3 months old or sooner and I have friends with the same experience. That was not my case. My daughter used to take 30 minutes nap every 2 hours and wake up every 2 hours at night.  She kept waking up every 2 hours until she was 2 yeas old. I was REALLY exhausted!

I remember talking to my daughter's pediatrician about it and she recommended the CIO method. Even though it didn't sound right to me, I was willing to try anything to have some sleep.

The next night when she woke up, I started to implement the CIO technique. I tried for 10 min until I couldn't take it anymore. 10 min felt like 10 hours. When I finally picked her up, she was extremely upset like I had never seen her before and I felt like the worse mother ever. It took a very long time for her to calm down and fall asleep again. After that day, I promised myself that I would never do it again!

I am not here to support one sleep training method over another nor to judge parents for having used the CIO method. I am just saying that it didn't work for us.

One day when I was reading about this subject on a discussion forum, someone suggested the book: The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night. by Elizabeth Pantley. What a WONDERFUL book! I recommend it to every single mother and I consider it a MUST have. I wish I had read it when I was pregnant so I could start following her suggestion from the time my daughter was born. She advocates gentle techniques to avoid crying. She focus on understanding why baby is waking up and how to fix problems with routines and new associations.

After following the steps in the book, my daughter started to sleep through the night! It was unbelievable! After a few nights she was already sleeping longer stretches and I was getting more sleep as well.  The best part is, this was accomplished without one single tear!

"I've always thought that it would be wonderful to have a menu of ideas that a family could try until they hit upon a magic antidote to help their baby sleep all night. Elizabeth Pantley has created just such a menu in The No-Cry Sleep Solution. She has created a book that is clear, easy to read, and uncomplicated. The steps are set up so that even the most sleep-deprived can understand and apply the solutions. At long last, I've found a book that I can hand to weary parents with the confidence that they can learn to help their baby sleep through the night - without the baby crying it out"- William Sears, MD, Pediatrician and Author

Before reading this book, I remember thinking that I only had two options. Either let her cry it out (which wasn't an option for me) or get used to the fact that I had to wake up very often and just feel miserable.

This book made me realize that there is a third option, a gently way to teach my daughter how to sleep without crying. If I had read this book sooner I wouldn't have gone through all the sleep deprivation I went through. I HIGHLY recommend this book!

Note: I haven't received any monetary compensation to write this post. It is my personal experience and opinion.

Image source:  Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot

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  1. Thanks for posting this! I wish I had this book seven years ago. The CIO method never worked, my son would be so upset, it would take hours to calm him down.


    The Brainless Housewife :P

  2. I also read the No Cry Sleep Solution, and I thought there was so many good points to it. Such as, routines and singing the same song to them at night. I actually incorporated many of her ideas in with CIO for my older daughter and she slept through the night at seven months and still does. However, that being said the longest she cried it out was 15 minutes so I was slightly spoiled that it wasn't that bad.

    Fast forward to baby number 2 who is now five months and she has terrible reflux and it would be inhumane to even try to sleep train her so I hope that some of the No Cry Sleep Solution ideas will get us through.

    Jenny @ Sippy Cup Chronicles

  3. I read that book and tried the methods. My daughter still hasn't slept through the entire night. The stretches of sleep are longer but she still wakes up at least once or twice a night.

    Maryann @ Mama Tales

  4. Wow, I'm your 101 follower! Visiting from the Philippines! Let me know if your okay with exchanging avatars as I would be happy to feature you in my blog bucket.

    More Power and keep blogging!

  5. Hi, sounds like a great book. I've just given up breast feeding this week, I was continually feeding my 22 month daughter through the night (and then most of the day too).
    She now sleeping much better, but really wish I'd been able to feed her for longer.

  6. Hello, I just wanted to thank you for stopping by my blog Morning Coffee Confessions a few days ago (and for the lovely comment).

    I too read the No Cry Sleep Solution and it really saved my life. I tried to ferberize my little and it made his sleep situation so much worse. I couldn't stand to hear him screaming all night long.

    I love your blog, thanks for writing about this issue :)


  7. Sounds like a great book, I may have to read it just for reference sake. Both my girls slept through the night at an early age, my 5yo at 4 months, and my 2yo at 2 months. I guess I was lucky.

    I was never big on the CIO method because I couldn't comprehend how the negativity of crying for long periods of time would help soothe any baby, if they fall asleep it's from exhaustion. I'm glad that gentler methods have been suggested, both for baby and mama's sake.

    Great post!

  8. I too used this book to help my girls get to sleep. I also read another reference:
    that helps you determine what kind of "crier" your child is..definitely worth reading! After reading it I understood why the CIO never worked with both my girls and how it can work for others. Great post :)

  9. I just started following you ( this is the first post I ready. I feel for you, I couldn't let either of my boys CIO and now they are both in my bed and everyone makes fun of me for it. I know some time soon I should get them out so they aren't so attached but I can't stand letting them cry.

  10. Hi! New follower here! Great post and I'm going to check that book out.

  11. Thanks for posting this. I will definitely get this book. I had a terrible experience with my daughter the other night (just blogged about it today) and won't ever let her cry at night again if I can help it. It was terrible for us, and I'm still trying to get her to trust me again.

  12. We did CIO w/ my boys. It went pretty smoothly except for with one of them. But he toughed it out and we worked through it. Now they are mostly good sleepers.

  13. Thanks for bringing this up. There is something called 'natural' care giving. I did not believe my mom when she said 'just go with the flow' but now after 2.5yrs of motherhood, I believe in it strongly!
    No Cry Sleep Solution: We've known of the book. There is no one simple solution to anything in life, one learns gradually.

  14. That sounds like a pretty interesting book! MY youngest has always been a pretty good sleeper. My youngest I didn't have too many problems with. It's just that he uses excuses now to try and avoid bedtime. He also doesn't nap like my older child.

    We did what we called, "Tour de Clocks." We would walk our young ones around the house to look at the clocks; tell them it was bedtime. For some reason they thought this was really special and went to bed easily.

  15. I guess I should have mentioned that I am visiting from VoiceBoks.

  16. Great post! I could never let my daughter CIO because she could go forever when she was a baby. I would let her go until I couldn't stand it anymore and then I would just walk around the living room and listen to jazz or something soothing to calm her down and get her to sleep. Seems like a great book!

    Newest follower from Bloggy Mom! Hopefully you will stop by and follow back and hopefully enter my first giveaway!

  17. Wonderful post! I have read the book, but honestly, the tips did not work for us. At two years old, my daughter still doesn't sleep through the night.

    My solution was to relax, stop stressing, cosleep, and go to bed earlier myself. For about the fist six months, I went to sleep with my daughter at 7:30 pm (I'm a working mom, so this was definitely a challenge). We (my husband and I) were committed to not doing CIO. I've nursed or cuddled her to sleep every night since she was born.

    You sound like you are doing the right thing for your baby and you! Good for you for following your gut.

    I actually wrote a post on this, too! If you feel like it, check it out- you can probably relate.

    Oh, and I'm your newest follower!

  18. I'm going to have to check out this book. I'm torn between cuddling or letting my daughter cry it out. Usually I'll rock her and if she continues to cry when in my arms, then I'll set her in her crib to cry it out. I figure if I can't help her, then why frustrate myself? Usually she'll cry for about 15 minutes, if that, and go to sleep or calm down.

    I'm your newest follower from the VoiceBoks event. I'm excited to read more posts from you!


  19. My first daughter we taught how to calm down and she eventually just went to sleep by the gentle touching and soothing. This one! He has to cry it out. I do not resort to that method unless I have done absolutely everything possible. Also, he doesn't cry for long so this method works for him.

  20. I have read the book but it hasn't work on my 3 kids.. so I'll just have to wait it out till they are able to sleep for longer periods by themselves. I too am not for CIO.

  21. My daughter also took quite a while to sleep through the night, and would wake fairly often. But I never used any sort of controlled crying technique with either of my babies - I woke when they woke, fed, cuddled and soothed them.
    Thanks for sharing the book you found,

  22. I too, wish I had heard of this book back when my oldest was a baby. I tried letting her crying it out twice and it just felt wrong. So I spent way too much time trying to find new solutions. So good to know others are finding methods are not stress producing and work!

  23. This post came about 30 years too late :o(

    But, I can recommend it to my kids! Thanks for sharing this valuable information. Mom's NEED sleep!

    1. You are welcome. Mom do NEED sleep! Thank you for stopping by!


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