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« Squealing Tot | Main | Juggling Mother Sets up Some Natural Consequences »


Ms. Huis Herself

What a good reminder that just tears aren't the end of the world. Pumpkin's been having some "I don't want to nap anymore" issues... your post will definitely help me help her relearn how to fall asleep at naptime. Thanks for letting us see the good, the bad, and the loud of your sleep story!


Thank you for sharing "the other method" and your results with it. I didn't have to use it with my first... so we'll see with my second son how things go. Happy Thanksgiving, Mary P!


I'm curious - How did your first child deal with the 10 nights of training? Did she learn to sleep through it, or did it disrupt her? How did you deal with it? I'm asking because if I can't get my second daughter to sleep by the end of the year, I'm thinking I can convince my husband to try CIO. He's against it and we're trying just about any other way we can think of, but so far, it's really not working, but I'm afraid of how it will affect my oldest.


I had a similar situation with our 9 month old but not quite as drastic. It seemed as if her sleeping was getting progressively worse. I also found that going in and letting her know I was still there made it much worse. Her crying would escalate. She figured out pretty quickly that I wasn't going back in there so she might as well lay down and go to sleep. Now, we do our little routine, I lay her down, and she goes right to sleep. Even if she doesn't go right to sleep, she talks for a while and then puts herself to sleep. It's heaven!


I too have found that going in has a similar result. I secretly think it makes them MORE angry - because their crying worked, but then you ran out straight away - so not only are they crying, but they are INCENSED that you came in and went out again.

I'm all about well thought out, well planned, carefully monitored CRYING IT OUT!.

Once a child learns to settle themself to sleep, they're set - it's one of the most amazing gifts you can give.

Mary P

Ms. Huis - hope Pumpkin's soon sleeping like a ... WHO made up that saying anyway? Let's hope she's sleeping well in short order!

Krista - the "other method" for me was CIO. If I'd started out as a CIO-er, my "other method" would be gentle sleep training. It's about being willing to have a paradigm shift. So few are.

Ktjrdn - She was just about four at the time. I warned her what we'd be doing, that he brother might be yelling in the night, but he wouldn't be sick or anything, just upset with mummy. I told her that if it woke her, she was to try to ignore it, but if she couldn't get back to sleep, she could come sleep with me. I think there was one night when she was in my bed, but she basically slept through it all. As did her father. It was just me and Adam, alone in the dark... :-)

If her sleep had been thoroughly disturbed, I'd have moved Adam's crib to the basement, and slept in an adjacent room.

If she'd been younger, I'd probably not have bothered with the explanation, simply waited to see if it woke her, then made the room switch the next night.

Kristin - The rewards are worth it, aren't they? It's short-term pain for long-term gain, for everybody.

Karyn - that's my perspective, too: sleep is a *gift* you give your child. (And the rest of the family!) Just like snowsuits in the winter, they may not appreciate it at first, but it would be terribly bad for them to let them go without!


My nuthatch is 4 months old and I really not sure where we're going.

I was all A+ on Weissbluth until 3 weeks ago... we'll see where we go from here. Thanks for more info. You are always a help!


Wow. I am sorry that you had to go through that. However, I have to disagree on this one. I think CIO should at the very least be used as a last resort if used at all, and I, as a mother who has survived months of sleep deprivation (my daughter actually pried open her fingers to fight sleep) really feel that there are other and more gentle alternatives.
The No-Cry-Sleep Solution is a book that I would recommend to new moms, and there is another version for mamas of sleepless toddlers.

mamacita tina

Ian was about seven months old when he also started waking at the wee hours of the night. We let him cry it out. Within three nights he was sleeping through.

Now, I have to figure out how to convince him to take a nap during the day. He keeps getting out of his bed and playing in his room. Velcro sheets and matching outfit?

Mary P

Mo-wo - I read your post, and it sounds to me like you're doing just fine. It's a process, but it looks to me like the nuthatch is heading in a good direction at a reasonable pace!

Melissa - Like you, I started with gentle methods. (You'll see that I reviewed Pantley's original book in a previous post, and there's a link to her toddler book in the sidebar.) As parents, we usually have no trouble agreeing that all methods do not work for all children. Well, the gentle method that had worked so well for his older sister did not work for Adam, so I looked elsewhere. For me, three months of sleep deprivation was enough. But not, please note, just enough for me: it was enough for *my baby*.

Mamacita Tina - how old is Ian? How much night sleep is he getting? It's possible that he's getting sufficient sleep and is outgrowing his nap. It's also possible that he does need the nap! Have you tried making his toys inaccessible during naps? (Or putting him to nap in some boring place?)


Whew! Thank you for this timely post. My girl is 14 mos. old, and her sleep went to crap at a year. After two months of just getting by, we're starting a gentle sleep training approach tonight (right now, in fact).

For me, it was most helpful to read that every child is different, and all methods probably work for SOME child -- the trick is finding what works for yours. And also the concept that it's valid to work towards a change if what's happening now is making ME miserable. It is, and it's hurting our marriage too, and baby girl needs happy, healthy parents more than she needs us to respond to her every whimper within nanoseconds.

Thanks for the sane perspective.

Mary P

Marthachick - I hope last night went well!

Burton White, one of my favourite child development authors, describes a concept he calls "healthy selfishness", in which the parents teaches the child that their needs, while important, are not the only needs in the world. Others (like their parents!) have needs that also need to be taken into account.

You'd probably like the book.


Thank you for sharing this. I am on the same path with my 6 month old and 'comforting' him does quiet the opposite. Hopefully, it will not take longer, he is very persistent. I appreciate you honesty considering CIO is considering harsh by many but effective by so many others. We all try to do our best!


Just wanted to report back -- things are mucho better. One night of rough sailing, but not really that rough, and we're sleeping a whole lot better around here. Thanks Mary!


Well, I definitely empathize with the difficulty of dealing w/ sleep disturbances when parenting 2 young children. Two thoughts:

1) Why not just try to tough it out through the typical & developmentally-appropriate sleep regressions that crop up (and yes, 8/9 months is one of the biggies)?

2) Culturally, I think we have this whole perspective on sleep *all outta whack* - here's a fantastic post that I think brings up some excellent points on parenting & sleep:

My hope is that moms who are having a hard time w/ getting their babies to sleep aren't persuaded to go the less gentle route of CIO based on your "success" with it. I wish our culture had more realistic expectations about babies & sleep. And I would like our culture to be more respecful of our babies' nighttime needs for comfort (hunger, thirst, companionship, elimination). We often expect more independence from our babies at night than we would be willing to agree to ourselves.


Wow! I could almost have written this myself - only my ending is dramatically different. I am still in need of help!! As it is rather lengthy, I posted my issue on my blog. 'Troubled Sleeper' at



i've tried the CIO method when my son was 8 months old. I timed the intervals religously (3,5,10,15 mins) he cried for 2 hrs. i caved. how long is too long for him to cry? he sleeps in my bed now and has to play with my ponytail and lay his face on my face. if im not there no sleep. im a single mom trying to finish college so i have no time to finish school work bc im laying in the bed with him when he sleeps and i usually fall asleep shortly after him regardless of how much i try to concentrate on western civ. my real concern is he does not nap at daycare. NO NAP ALL DAY. i drop him off at 9 and pick him up at 2. hes cranky and sleepy and has little bags under his eyes. as soon as i get him home adn he has my ponytail to play with and my face to lay on he knocks out till dinner. then he gets a bath and goes back to bed. im really concerned that he doesnt take a nap (hes 12mo) i miss my baby. after a long day when i get home he sleeps. if i put him in his crib already asleep he cries ab every hr. i have to run in there and give him my hair. is he spoiled? or does he just need the comfort of being next to someone? what do i do?


Oh I wish, I wish the CIO worked for us. We are on week 2 of crying it out for naps....and about our 4th time doing Ferber. We tried when my daughter was 4 months old, 5 months, 6 months, 7 months and now she is 8 months old. Before we started this round of Ferber, we were at the point where she would wake up 2-4x a night and we would visit 1 time for about a minute and then she would go back to sleep. Naps we were never successful on any of the times and so we were still rocking her to sleep. Now we are trying it again for naps and to eliminate (hopefully) the nightwakings. It is still hard to get out of bed 4 times a night, even if just for a minute or two. And I really want my daughter to learn how to fall asleep on her own for naps (going to bed at night has been successful).

But we are on week 2 of her crying over an hour+ every time she goes down for a nap. She will finally collapse (literally, because we watch it over our video monitor) after 1 hour+ of screaming.

What do I do? Should I stop this again? Why isn't this working for us? Everyone says within a week...we have tried so many times and for so long. I don't think I can stomach her crying anymore, it is just horrible. I feel so terrible. Any thoughts?

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