3 Surefire Ways to Get Babies and Toddlers to Sleep

I just had to share these incredible techniques to teach babies and toddlers to fall asleep on their own from Dina Friedman’s Chanoch leNaar Parenting Class.

I tried this technique with my 7 month old, Tsofia, and within 3 days she went from beginning 100% dependent on me to fall asleep by nursing, to falling asleep peacefully 100% on her own. This makes my life A LOT easier. And it also means that Tsofia sleeps better (she used to wake up and cry until I nursed her back to sleep, and now she just falls back to sleep on her own) and also now she can fall asleep in her carriage when I’m out, instead of crying and being miserable until I get home and nurse her to sleep.

This technique is called “Modified Controlled Comforting.” Dina Friedman estimates that the vast majority of children will learn how to fall asleep on their own within a week of starting these techniques:

For Babies ages 0-6 months
-Get your baby used to a 1)Sleep 2)Feed 3)Play 4)Sleep cycle.
-If your baby is breastfeeding, before trying this technique, consult with your doctor to make sure that your baby is not waking up and crying out of hunger.
-When baby starts getting tired, wrap him or her up in a blanket (but make sure you don’t wrap baby overly tightly or overly warmly)
-Put the baby in crib and leave the room for 30 seconds
-If baby is crying, come back into the room to comfort her. Pat the baby’s back rhythmically with your right and then left hand. You can also try putting the baby on his or side, and rocking the baby back and forth gently between your two hands. Do this until the baby calms down
-Leave room for 5 minutes
-Comfort baby for 5 minutes using the techniques above
-Leave room for 5 minutes
-Comfort baby for 5 minutes
-Leave room for 6 minutes
-Comfort for 5 minutes
-Leave room for 7 minutes
-Comfort for 5 minutes
-Leave room for 8 minutes
-Comfort for 5 minutes
Continue this until you are out of the room for 10 minutes, and continue the 10 minutes out of the room, 5 minutes comforting cycle until the baby is asleep.

For babies ages 6-12 months

-Comfort for 5 minutes (see the patting technique above)
-Leave room for 2 minutes
-Comfort for 4 minutes
-Leave room for 4 minutes
-Comfort for 3 minutes
-Leave room for 6 minutes
-Comfort for 2 minutes
-Leave room for 8 minutes
-Comfort for 1 minute
-Leave room for 10 minutes
(Continue this 1 minute comforting, 10 minutes out of the room cycle until the baby falls asleep)

For toddlers

-Establish a regular bedtime routine (i.e. brush teeth, pajamas, a story, Shma…)
-Tuck toddler into bed
-If he follows you out of the room, take him firmly by the hand and return him to his bed. Tell him with a serious voice, “If you come out again, I will have to close your door.”
-Leave room for 2 minutes
-If toddler comes out of his room, take him firmly by the hand and return him to his bed. Tell him with a serious voice, “If you come out again, I will have to close your door. You are going to sleep now!”
– If toddler comes out of room yet again, take him firmly by the hand again and return him to his bed. Tell him with a serious voice, “If you come out again, I will have to close your door. You are going to sleep now!”
– If he comes out again, return him to his bed, and close his door behind you.
-Stay out of the room for 6 minutes
-If he is crying, comfort him for 1 minute
-Stay out of the room for 7 minutes
-Comfort him for 1 minute
-Stay out of room for 8 minutes
-Comfort him for 1 minute
Continue this pattern until you are out of the room for 10 minutes— and continue the 10 minute, 1 minute cycle until your toddler is asleep.

Hope this works for all of you tired eemas as well as it worked for me! Make sure to be in touch to update me on how this technique works for you—I will be interested to hear!

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46 comments

  1. 1. Thanks
    2. The “consult with your doctor” bit set off my “pushing Moms around” alarm. Certainly if a Mom WANTS to consult, with a doctor or anyone else, “a bi gezunt” it is good to know when to get advice. I believe it is also important to help Moms develop confidence in themselves. I am sure most (all?) breastfeeding Moms know, or can learn, the difference between a cry of hunger and a cry for something else. Also, at under 6 months, hunger for food and hunger for comfort and attention are often wrapped up in each other and different Moms want to handle that different ways.
    3. How funny that some people’s toddlers have their own room.

  2. – I am a loyal reader of the baby whisperer- It was given to me as a gift when I was pregnant with #1 6 years ago and its worked its magic all the way to number 5 – just boosts your confidence with knowledge and facts that clear up all the sleep deprived confusion mommies go through. Theres a whole toddler series too. She became the Super Nanny if Im not mistaken. awesome read its also translated into Hebrew.

  3. Thanks for this! We are going through it a bit with our two boys, and any tips are welcome! I’m also a fan of the Baby Whisperer; it’s made baby #2 so much easier to understand. Like night and day!

  4. Mrs Belogski

    I’m blessed that my mother lives nearby and is able to babysit sometimes. My best tip for getting children to sleep in their own bed – get Bubbe to do it. My toddler sleeps with me, but the other day Bubbe babysat and I came home to find him asleep in his bed, where he stayed till at least 3am…

    When my oldest was 2 we moved back to London, and she went ahead to stay with my parents during the move. My mother told her that in London, big girls weren’t allowed to sleep in Mummy’s bed and that seemed to work too. but it’s a bit drastic to have to move towns to get the children in their own beds.

  5. How in the world can your doctor know whether or not your baby is hungry at night? For the record, many 7-month-old babies are getting up to 25% of their calories at night–even 25%.

    I always enjoyed nursing my children to sleep, at least most of the time. And it’s extremely useful when traveling, etc.

    The Baby Whisperer has some bad breastfeeding advice, so be careful.

    • JewishMOM.com

      hi hannah, you are the expert, so maybe this is wrong. But Dina Friedman said you can judge if a child is getting enough nutrition by the amount of wet diapers he/she is making a day and whether they are gaining weight.

      • Yes, that’s right. So why ask the doctor? The doctor can’t tell you is whether your baby is developmentally ready to skip night feedings. All he or she can tell you is whether he is developing normally, and that includes any night feedings.
        It’s true that when babies are free to nurse whenever they want, they get up to 25% of their calories at night. But I will back down a bit and say that babies who are trained to sleep through the night will usually catch up on the calories during the day. No-Cry Sleep Solution says it’s okay to use her method from 4 months.
        My objections relate more to emotional development than physical.

  6. Not a big fan of this – it’s basically the Crying it Out (CIO) technique. What it teaches babies is that Mommy will NOT come help them, so they shouldn’t bother crying. It doesn’t “teach them how to fall asleep.”

    I much prefer the ideas in the “No Cry Sleep Solution” which show kids and babies that Mommy (or someone else) WILL help them and comfort them if they are sad, but helps them fall asleep without nursing, so they won’t expect to wake up nursing.

    • I never really bought this theory. I did CIO for my kids and it’s not like they stopped crying for me or needing me during the day because they learned that I didn’t come for them in the night. They are 7,5 and 2 and I’d say I’m just as in demand with them as I would be if I didn’t CIO. I think this is more adult emotional projection onto children and leftover from Bettleheim’s pretty much discredited attachment theory. (He was a proponent that autism was caused by cold, unfeeling mothers)

      For the average kid, I have found that after one or two nights of CIO they break the habit of waking up hourly for feeding, which for us was appropriate after 5 months (and when we were sure a bad bout of teething ended). Yes, there are kids that really don’t respond at all and will scream for hours. But for us it worked and I can’t imagine my kids being more attached to me than they are now.

      • I’m not sure what you meant but I want to clarify–excessive neediness (however that’s defined) would be a sign of insecure attachment. Securely attached children gradually separate from their parents without exhibiting anxiety, etc.

      • I was referring to the idea that CIO teaches kids that mommy won’t come and makes them more needy. My kids were happier and more cheerful in the morning and after naptimes because they got enough sleep. When I did come to them and nurse them every hour or 2 hours (after 4 months) they were cranky and miserable all the time because they weren’t getting enough sleep.

        In short, I don’t believe CIO affects attachment.

  7. I even have a copy of “No-Cry” that I would be willing to lend out to someone in Israel.

  8. And you can get it, at least in Hebrew, at the LLL website: llli.org.il

  9. I’m not a fan of the baby sleeping method… the toddler part I’m ok with (though I don’t know how many toddler sleep in a room all by themselves! unless I guess you have one child in your family.
    Mostly I think babies DO need night time feedings. Why? B/c mothers instinctively feel this as a rule of thumb. otherwise it wouldn’t be ingrained in us to feed them at night. I also feel that they are incapable of understanding training or teaching whatsoever. I think this advice only works on two types of babies: 1) the type that would have fallen back to sleep anyhow b/c they weren’t all that awake or interested in food to begin with 2)babies that have a low need for motherly comfort. Some babies just aren’t as in need of comfort the way others are. It doesn’t make them bad or good babies.
    all other babies would up an incredible fight and it would cause both baby and mother a LOT of anxiety.

    For the record this sleep method is just a new name to the “ferber method” of old.

    I say to each their own. whatever works best for your kid, your family and your situation is what you should be doing. That’s why there isn’t a one-size fits all type to mothering – mothers are flexible b/c the needs of their kids vary. For us we answer every call of our baby’s until they show signs of readiness to understand sleep training. My son is 21 months and I’m not putting him down while awake and sitting in a nearby chair reading while he falls to sleep. until just a little while ago he was always nursing to sleep. I enjoy nursing him to sleep, even though it’s time consuming. it is an incredible health way to bond in that way that gives kid good self esteem and security to carry with them in later years.

  10. Sleepless in Israel

    I appreciate all the information and responses on this topic. Our 8month old was waking every two to four hours at 6mos when we tried a method similar to the CIO method mentioned here. After a week of one and two hour long attempts to get her to sleep overnight we gave it up. It worked to get her into bed, but not overnight, even with one feed after bed time when she woke up the first time. After a couple nights back to nursing she started getting up every hour, and was back to nursing to sleep and still hasn’t resumed previous two hour naps.

    People should realize how incredibly hard the CIO method is, how it may not work, and how they and their partner need to be on the same page and VERY consistent. Our Dr said he has all parents come in for a pep talk prior to trying to CIO to address these issues, but because of a similar name change we didn’t know it was Ferber/CIO until we tried it and after starting thought we should continue the day or so more it would take. It took us the week to finally stop. I’m now working on the No Cry book, hoping to get more sleep sometime this year! Good luck to others. 🙂

  11. Tamar Miller

    Jenny, I was waiting for the day that you would discuss sleeping techniques. i believe this is one of those things that every woman needs to know on top of birthing classes and parenting classes. sleep is so essential for our state of well-being as well as our children. the earlier we teach them how to sleep on their own the better (and easier too!). i only learned my sleeping technique (which is similar to the one you learned) with my 2nd baby when she was impossible to put down to sleep at age 5 months. and now my 3rd baby who’s only 2 months old has already gotten the hang of it. its a miracle how fast they learn! i’m in awe as to how much chinuch (educating our children) begins from the day they are born. we must be persistant and consistant and in turn our babies will have a much more rested sleep.

    • Can you share your technique and how you were able to implement it so successfully with such a little baby? I have no luck in this department!

  12. The baby sleep topic is so nuanced because we really can’t know, just from the method itself, about the dynamic between mother and baby. I think that if this method works well for Jenny and her baby Tsofia, then it’s that positive dynamic between the mother and child that’s the focus. It’s not the method itself, rather that this, or other, methods allow for a forum for facilitating healthiness between mother and child. For other woman, as we can see from the comments above, this isn’t the way for the best dynamic between them and their babies/toddlers. May we all be in touch with our own G-d given mothering instincts, and be open to suggestions for forums of actualizing these instincts as best we can, always with Hashem’s help.

  13. This method is in essence “cry it out”, just with a bit more empowerment for mom controlling the crying (which yes: is the same as the Ferber method). There are definitely other less tearful and gentler methods to teach babies of all ages healthier sleeping habits. It is crucial for babies and toddlers to feel emotionally secure at all times and this security can still be provided during sleep training.

    Additionally, it is essential to take ALL of your baby’s sleep into consideration before sleep training. All sleep is a rolling, 24-hour cycle and it’s important to regulate sleep during the day as well before ever attempting to teach new sleep habits at night.

  14. Tamar Miller

    i agree that every mother needs to do what is best for her and her child. however, my babies have cried even while i was rocking them the entire time! they just couldn’t handle our arms any longer. and nursing to sleep just never worked…they would wake up soon after. these sleep techniques do cause the baby to cry…but crying is healthy and is just a sign that the baby is fighting to learn a new habit. but if we are consistent and persistant, they will learn fast and the crying will not last for very long. if you start this from day 1, your baby will not cry at all. it can be that simple. you are not abandoning your baby or allowing her to cry it out. you are constantly there to reassure her that you are there for her and to settle her to sleep. you are providing her with an amazing gift to sleep on her own. one day she will have to learn…wouldn’t it be nice to give it to her as early as possible. our children are dependent on us for so many things (and for good reason)…but sleep does not have to be one of them.

    • Thank you! Our DD is 6 months old and screams bloody murder at every nap time and has since day 1. I have walked her to sleep for every nap and every bedtime and she still screams and/or cries for 30-60 minutes. I dread bedtimes and nap times. Tonight, desperate for something that might help we did let her CIO. She cried less this way than normally. She was asleep in exactly 30 minutes and did not cry the entire time. My DH went in to reassure her a few times and lie her down and give her the pacifier. I am so frustrated by all the comments (everywhere) that CIO will make her think that I am not there to support her. Every baby and every situation is different and while I fought this tooth and nail for 6 months, it may have been the best thing we could do for her. I guess the next few nights will tell.

  15. Before training our babies, perhaps we should train ourselves to get more sleep. If babies wake up at night, we can go to sleep earlier or try to catch a nap during the day. Closing eyes even for ten minutes can help. It’s not the baby’s fault that our schedules are so hectic, that it makes us desperate for them to go to sleep.

    There is zero evidence that crying is healthy in any way. The opposite is true. When babies are stressed, their cortisol (stress hormone) levels go up and just as with adults, this has only negative implications for health.

    • Such a good point. We can plan ahead, so to speak, for the sleep deprivation.

      I don’t recall any BF advice in the Baby Whisperer, so I guess I wasn’t mekabel! Good thing. 🙂

      I have a friend shipping me a copy of No-cry. Glad to see that it’s recommended. Thanks for the good info on this topic.

    • couldn’t have said it better myself!

  16. I’m a fan of “Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Baby”. This is my third kid and bli ayin hara since I’ve been “sleep training” him now at 4 months, I’ve had amazing results. My last kid, I followed the “go to her whenever she cries” method and she was 1 years old and waking up about 5 times a night. I couldn’t understand why people would preach that method. I totally thought that crying it out meant that the kid would think Mommy isn’t there, but any other method just made me crazy. How do you go to your child all night long and rock them to sleep with other young ‘uns running around? It sounds like certain methods work for the ratio of one kid per mother but when you have a big family, you have to try different things that the rest of the world might look down on.

  17. Mrs Belogski

    it’s fascinating what a contentious topic this is, even among women who presumably are pretty much “on the same page” re mothering as we’re all reading Chana Jenny’s blog. I think, as with the post on pain relief in childbirth, we all have to accept that there is no one way to do it. Every mother must process the information available and do what best fits her child, personality, family circumstances, etc . i’ve never been able to let my children cry it out for various reasons, although the one time when i did do it consistently for a few days the child slept better for a while. Now, apart from any hashkafic reservations, it just wouldn’t be practical because of the number of other people who would be disturbed!

    BTW my daughter also got the baby to sleep in his bed, so for me the solution seems to be – get someone else to put him to bed. Of course, he did turn up in my bedroom at 3am and sleep with me for the rest of the night!

  18. Another resource besides the No Cry Sleep Solution is from Dr. Jay Gordon’s website. Just go to his website and look for the article “Sleep, Changing Patterns In The Family.” I found this useful along with the NCSS to help our bedtime routine and sleeping through the night. Dr. Gordon is a strong advocate of attachment parenting so if this is your parenting style you’ll find his method useful.
    Also, aside from the number of wet and soiled diapers, you can monitor developmental milestones and weight gain to judge adequate nutrition. I find that often moms, especially those who are sleep-deprived and already overwhelmed (like all of us!) need reassurance that they are making enough milk and feeding their babies enough, whether that reassurance comes from a health care practitioner, a friend, or a support person like from La Leche League, it doesn’t matter.
    Thanks for the article, Jenny!

  19. So I was the sara that recommended the baby whisperer – she has a routine for the baby and you really have to stick to it as much as possible enabling your baby to need those hours of sleep at night- because if they got a 6 hour nap uring the day- sleeping thru the night wont happen…and I really feel like the best trick to get the baby to sleep thru the night regarding a newborn is at the age of 3 months you give them that extra 3-4 ounces at 10-11pm, lets say they went to sleep at 7 or 8 and theyd normally be up at 1-2am for a feeding, so at 1030 or so slip in their source of nutrition, bottle or breastmilk (pumped works better for this and remember it only takes about a week for this to work) and then at 2 or 3 am when they start to fuss you give them a pacifier- and the first 2 nights this will take 20 minutes tops each time-the following nights become easier and then they are like a clock they remember when they’ll really get fed and when not, Shes not big on keeping pacifiers past the first year- just at night the sucking soothes them beacuse they arent really in need of the milk since you gave them extra fuel to get them to 6 or 7am- she says that at 3 months most babies reach a weight and are eating enough during the day to keep them restfull at night. So this works when they are small and when you really need that sleep being somewhat post partum and drained…LAter on its a toss up with the crying- I hear my neighbors kid cry it out every night and it aint pretty- I try it with my 2 year old but he’ll whale and really demand the cuddling or attention for 10 minutes- its hard- but it passes…

  20. I see that this blog has been pretty much commented out, but I couldn’t resist adding my two cents even this late in the game. Having had 3 children who didn’t sleep through the night until they were 2 plus and two others who slept through the night from 6 weeks on, and having read a ton on the topic I really feel that most of this is who the child is. Techniques can nudge a generally good sleeper to one direction but there are some children who just don’t sleep the way we’d like them to until they hit a certain age. Let’s not make ourselves too crazy about the whole sleep thing.

    • Ah, Aviva, that’s a breath of fresh air. Thank you for that!

    • Amen Aviva!!!
      After a similar experience (kids with such different temperaments), just feel like the whole “Infant Sleep Method” industry is just like the get rich quick or weight loss industries. “Experts” making promises and basically selling snake oil.

      I’m sleep-deprived and trying to figure out how to get my son not to wake up in the night… but he’s not going to be a guinea pig for “methods” with no basis except the anecdotes of equally inexperienced parents. Especially when the stakes are him possibly coming out of the experiment believing his mom isn’t there for him when he needs her.

  21. You should put your child to bed when he/she is tired – not when it is convenient for you. CIO basically is like putting away your toy (your child) for the evening because you don’t want to deal with him/her any more.

    Children need to be parented to sleep – whether this means laying with, nursing, singing, holding, shushing. Unless there are extreme circumstances, babies should never be left to cry without comfort. There is a growing body of evidence that CIO causes damage to the baby’s brain by releasing an excess of cortisol (stress hormone).

    I’m continually astonished that parents still use this harmful and outdated method. I had 3 kids in three years. We all get sleep and no one has ever cried it out.

    • KEM, I’m so glad that you have had such success with your methods. May you continue to have such success. I’d love to hear how you juggled your kids’ needs, i.e., when the baby needed to nurse and you’re still helping to put a child to sleep, etc. Is your husband very helpful?

      I think to assume that parents are letting their kids CIO due to convenience is a harsh assumption. In my experience, most parents do it because they have tried other methods, and for whatever reason, those methods did not work. They are probably desperate and inexperienced, not selfish and neglectful.

      Let’s try to support each other in our parenting challenges, not disparage each other for choices made. There are many different shitas, and while I’m sure NO mother wants to hear her baby cry, wouldn’t it be better to offer positive alternatives instead of condemnation?

      • Have to agree with Rivki, and insulting parents who “parent” their kids to sleep by teaching them how to soothe themselves and get 4-5 hours of straight sleep even as infants is- insulting. I think it’s nuts to “parent” kids to sleep by going to them every two hours and ending up with a 6 year old who refuses to sleep in his own bed and wakes every 3 hours. How is that healthy? Sleep deprivation is a serious issue, on par with food deprivation. But, to each their own. Our family is happier with kids who sleep in their own beds for the whole night. We have no regrets and no, I don’t consider my children “toys” (btw, I’ve always put my kids to sleep when they are tired and they fall asleep wonderfully- it’s the staying asleep that is most difficult for them, in the infant stage. So your “supposition” makes no sense, but I’m sure it makes you feel superior).

      • Rivki – I feel so strongly about this issue that sometimes I feel a little condemnation is warranted in the face of the prevailing “I’m ok, you’re ok” sentiments. CIO deserves to be condemned in the strongest terms.

        It’s NOT easy to get two or three kids to sleep at once. Yes, my husband is an enormous help. Right now, we’re in a groove – I take the baby to bed first. Then the toddler. He puts the preschooler to bed. We cosleep (me with the baby and toddler, my husband with the preschooler). I honestly don’t have an answer for how I would do it if all my kids were in separate rooms. I’d be a lot more tired and cranky.

        Before we were in the groove, we did our best. My husband was gone for a few days once. I put everyone in bed (in the same king-size bed) when most of us were tired and somehow…they all fell asleep. I stayed and read and drank tea. I nursed the baby and my toddler cuddled up to me while I held my preschoolers hand. It took a little unwinding for everybody and a little fussing for some, but they all went to sleep – tired and safe.

      • Abbi – you are making erroneous generalizations that a 6 y.o. who isn’t allowed to CIO will end up waking every 3 hours. I’m sure there are 6 y.o.s who do wake every three hours – but I sincerely doubt it’s related to the fact that they were or weren’t made to CIO.

        Sleep is a serious issue. I’d rather have my babies go to sleep with healthy brain chemistry and not an excess of cortisol from CIO.

    • You’re welcome to your strong feelings, but they are not in any way based on any kind of science or even the remotest shred of empirical evidence. It’s an opinion. Parents who use other methods to get their children to sleep actually have children who cry less in the long run. That’s actually what the science says:

      http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview/id/774928.html

      The evidence about cortisol is bunk and has no relation to CIO (quoting from the above link):
      This study finds that higher cortisol (a hormone which is released when a baby is stressed) level results when infants have low attachment levels with their parents. I link to it because it is often cited by anti-extinction proponents as proving that extinction causes higher levels of cortisol. But this study does not prove in any way
      that extinction itself causes low levels of attachment, so the study is misrepresented on most of those sites.

      “Stress reactivity and attachment security”
      Megan R. Gunnar 1 *, Laurie Brodersen 1, Melissa Nachmias 1, Kristin
      Buss 2, Joseph Rigatuso 3
      1Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota
      2Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Madison, Wisconsin
      3Department of Pediatrics, University of Minnesota Medical School and
      Health Partners, Inc., Minneapolis, Minnesota
      http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/abstract/59639/ABSTRACT

      This study found no relation between levels of attachment and levels of stress and levels of cortisol.

      “Attachment, Temperament, and Adrenocortical Activity in Infancy. A
      Study of Psychoendocrine Regulation.”
      Authors: Gunnar, Megan R.; And Others
      Descriptors: Age Differences; Attachment Behavior; Infants;
      Personality; Psychophysiology
      Journal/Source Name: Developmental Psychology
      Journal Citation: v25 n3 p355-63 May 1989
      http://eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/Home.portal?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=RecordDetails&ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=EJ392563&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=eric_accno&objectId=0900000b80068ea7

      “Examined relations among adrenocortical stress reactivity, infant emotional or proneness-to-distress temperament, and quality of attachment in 66 infants tested at 9 and 13 months. Adrenocortical
      activity was not associated with attachment classifications. Significant only at 9 months, elevations in cortisol were small.”

      This study found that babies (and parents) were happier and healthier
      after an ignoring treatment, and the babies cried much less than their
      rocked-to-sleep counterparts.

      “Treatment of Young Children’s Bedtime Refusal and Nighttime Wakings:
      A Comparison of ?Standard? and Graduated Ignoring Procedures”
      Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology
      http://www.springerlink.com/content/g108377131806r8h/

      “Following treatment, only positive side effects were observed. When compared to the wait-list group, mothers in the standard ignoring group reported less verbose discipline and decreased stress in parenting, while mothers in the graduated ignoring group reported
      improved parent?child relationships. Treatment gains were maintained over a 2-month follow-up period.”

  22. Very interesting debate going on. My pediatrician recommended sleep training at 6 months the 5 minutes go comfort 10 minutes comfort 15 minute comfort then done i guess that is a CIO with my first it was excruciating but honestly it was effective in three days and he responded very positively only once crying more than the 15 minutes and that was because we made a loud noise. he slept 9 hours and then within 3 more months did a full 12 hour cycle which he continues to do till today at age 7. My next daughter at 6 months was slim and the nurse insisted that i continue with the midnight feeding until 9 months when I spoke to the nurse who was anti CIO to find out if it was time to start like I had with my first,she said to wait three more months. at nine months there was no sign of stopping and i spoke to the pediatrician again who said her weight was fine and I should not have waited. Sleep training was much more difficult with her I think because she was older and understood power struggle but it was very soon effective as well; and with my third daughter I honestly did not worry about the little bit of crying. Sometimes someone has to wait and if I am doing dishes or reading someone else a story the baby has to wait and sometimes the older one has to wait. I think making such a huge deal about a little bit of crying not hours and hours is taking a philosophy and replacing common sense with it. Like everything as little bit if stress wont impact them to badly and the world and life is full of stress like new mommies not sleeping. Repeated lengthy stress obviously will have negative effects. All sleep programs work like all diets work the question is which one is right for you and for this child right now. I had stubborn children like their mommy and the ferber method is effective for them so far because my little redheads and one blondy know that it is sleep time and that is it. When I give them a inch they would be up in my lap all night. They sleep, I sleep and we all get plenty of attention during the day. Don’t demean to each his own. your way works for you but it is small minded to think that everyone is like you and that your way will work for them as well. To any mom who enjoys kids in her bed it isn’t my bed so more power to you. It is just not for me.

  23. Beware of sleep trainers. Ever since parenting books found their way into the nursery, sleep trainers have touted magic formulas promising to get babies to sleep through the night – for a price and at a risk. Most of these sleep-training techniques are just variations of the old cry-it-out method. And technology has found its way into nighttime babycare by providing tired parents with a variety of sleep-inducing gadgets designed to lull a baby off to sleep alone in her crib: oscillating cradles, crib vibrators that mimic a car ride, and teddy bears that “breathe.” All promise to fill in for parents on night duty. Be discerning about using someone else’s method to get your baby to sleep. Before trying any sleep-inducing program, you be the judge. Run these schemes through your inner sensitivity before trying them on your baby, especially if they involve leaving your baby alone to cry. Does this advice sound sensible? Does it fit your baby’s temperament? Does it feel right to you?

  24. My friend emailed me about this post, and I can see why!

  25. All I know is that I had my first four children on a schedule by four months. Number five was a love needy child and did not respond to any kind of training except love: hugs and kisses and being held for 12 full months, maybe a little longer, by which time she felt secure enough to leave go and go to sleep. Number six was easier, but bedtime was determined by him (8 instead of 7). Number 7 did not sleep through the night till he was 2 1/2, and not for lack of trying. Until his birthday, in Feb., he was still getting up more often than not, although he’s finally getting the point. My 3 month old is up a lot during the day, but sleeps right through the night with about 2 – 3 quick feedings. So my intial “if you do it right, your kids will sleep” attitude , has been totally debunked. Each child is unique with diff needs, and trying to ignore or change them won’t work.

  26. It was very interesting article for a new mother. The article (and comments) really helped solidify the method I use.

  27. I am curious if you can help me with my problem. My three girls (ages 4,3, 2) have a hard time sleeping at night. I’ve tried the whole put them to bed, leave, and comfort for little bit then leave again. My problem with this technique is that my girls get so upset they vomit everywhere. Their faces turn red, veins look like there going to burst, can hardly breathe between vomiting from crying. It’s alot. They continue to vomit after several minutes of me trying to comfort them (I’ve done this for half an hour once). Then I give up and lay with them or they would be vomiting all night. The only thing that works is putting on a movie but, I’ve heard thats not good. So, what am I suppose to do???
    Yes, all three girls have their own rooms. They are very attached to me during
    the day (except the youngest, she’s a daddys girl). We have no family around to help with anything. My husband works 16 hours a day and when he is home during bed time, it makes the process harder the next time when he is at work.

  28. Hi I have a question do these tips apply to baby sitters too, I am his aunt and he has spent over 2 years sleeping over my house now. My nephew sleeps over at night for four days in a month because his mother works at night (night shifts) he just started crying for his mommy right before bed time. He cries and says “I want my mommy” I comfort him and tell him that he is okay and that mommy will come back tomorrow. He seems to understand that she’s at work, he knows that mommy goes somewhere to work. I spend about an hour getting him to calm down but he cries and cries and eventually gets tired and lays down, then falls asleep. I hate seeing him this way. Any tips for me I would really appreciate it. Thanks

  29. Dear Dani
    I am 56 years old and I never ever wanted to sleep alone in a room. Maybe try putting the three children in one room. I know it is the opposite of the wealthy American way where every child having their own room is supposed to be ideal. Who says? Sleeping next to loved ones is natural, soothing and comfortable, plus there’s always someone to whisper to about your day, your worries, your plans and ideas.

    That bit in the original article above about checking with the doctor to find out if the baby is crying from hunger or from emotional need (because of course if it’s hunger, we respect it, but if it’s emotional hunger, it is invalid) made me laugh. As if THE DOCTOR knows our baby better than we do!

    Thanks, Chana Jenny, this was fun reading.

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