Crying it out


Registered User
This is question for just the mommies and daddies out there who have used the CIO method...

I am considering using a mild form of CIO (letting him cry but with me in the room patting him every 5-10min) for my 7.5mo old whom i SUSPECT has gotten into the habit of waking up at odd hours in the night crying only for comfort/attention. Problem is, he sometimes has gas and I am not 100% sure he is not waking up due to gas issues. So my question for those parents who have used CIO before is- how did/do you know that your baby isn't crying due to gas pains? I know the textbook signs that I've read about, but in the middle of the night it's so hard to tell, when it's dark and you're groggy, exhausted.

Thanks for any advice.
I just tried to get as much gas up as I could prior to bed after milk. Lots of rolling of legs, massaging her tummy etc. At 7.5 months gas wasn't much of a factor for us though. I was worried about teething pain though and gave her a little baby ibuprofen/panadol just to be sure.

It was undeniably pretty traumatic the first night (45 mins of crying before sleeping), but she cried for increasingly reduced periods the next day for all naps and the next night it was only 5 mins. Ultimately it worked like a dream and we now have a champion sleeper (after waking every hour through the night...). It was just that she had to learn the trick of going to sleep herself having been assisted by us for so long.

Do watch out for a little backsliding after 5 days to 1 week, this is really common and you have to ride it out.

CIO is not for everyone, but I would say it was fantastically successful for us and she is a much happier baby for getting uninterrupted nights sleeps and good day time naps.
clowe 77, gosh!! i thought i was reading one of my threads i had given earlier/.////got tons of advice on starting the CIO but never had the guts to do so....but guess what....i did it!!! It sounds awful by the name but it is not so and it REALLY WORKS!! 2 days was all it took after seven months of sleepless nights./////sometimes i go to his room and pinch myself to make sure i am not dreaming!! ...... i would loev to help u so pls. PM me if u wish,.
Thanks ladies! Did you do CIO 'cold turkey' or a milder form as in leave baby in there crying for 45 min without any patting at all? problem with our baby is that he often gets up and stands in his crib when he cries and i'm so worried he'll fall and hit his head which is why i rush in to soothe him always.
Hi, it was a milder form for us. We went in after 2 minutes, then in increments of 5 - 10 mins up to a maximum of 15 minutes (for the length of the 45 mins the first night). The next day you leave it 15 before going in . I did actually pick up her up each time, though you are not really supposed to, more for my own reassurance really

I used this site for advice:

Also, which was amazing as an expert 'team' on their forum answer your specific questions straight away. That worked well for me as they are in the UK so up and able to answer during our HK nights. You can buy the book and download the pdf straight away which I've found helpful.

I also took her to the Ped prior to starting to make sure absolutely everything was ok - and warned the neighbors...

Good luck!!!!
It worked for my son too who at the time was around 8.5 months. We found that going in every 5 mins was not effective and neither was the touching for once we rubbed his back, my son thought it was playtime. Once we knew that there was nothing wrong with him - was not sick, clean nappy, correct temperature, we let him cry for about 10 mins - 15 mins straight. We would then just go in and peep at him to make sure he was ok then if needed to continue to cry, we let him. He never really cried more than 20 minutes straight.

Things to remember though when doing it:
- make sure there are not other factors effecting his sleep - temperature, cot toys, blankets etc....
- he/she is not sick
- if you also having this problem during the day, that you are being consistent with your behavior during the day and during the night (that was one of our problems).

Hope this helps and keep it at it - don't give up! It will work!!
And why noone considers gradual approach? There is a book called "no cry sleep solution" written by a mum...
If CIO "works", it does not mean it is the best method for the child... anyway, you may have guessed I am anti-CIO and trust me, I have exhaustive experience with non-sleeping child. Who is a great sleeper now.
So what do you do when I baby stands up? Put him back down or just leave the room and let him get down himself?
Elisaveta - specific advice on CIO was requested and given by everyone who replied to this thread. I ended by saying in my first post that it's not for everyone.

There are a great many gradual approaches, not just the Elizabeth Pantley no cry sleep soution (which I have read). The book/download I recommended covers all types of sleep training, gradual, mild forms of CIO, and controlled crying - so you can select the method that is best for you and your child.
hi, i did CIO with my elder son at 10mths and am now in the process of CIO with my 6mth old son. i really hate listening to the crying but my 6mth old now sleeps for 12-13hrs and wakes up really really happy so i know he is not being hurt in any way.

Clowe, I always trust my gut. I sit by his door and listen to the crying. A tired cry is very different from an I pooped cry or pain cry (which i more high pitched). If my gut says something is wrong, I will go in. When you say gas pains, do you mean he has a burp stuck? or lower gas pain (how do you know?). The crying itself is hard to listen to - i literally can't do anything (eat, talk, pee) until I know he's sleeping and the crying has stopped. but there are some nights when the cry doesn't sound right and in those cases i will go in right away. you will need a few nights to figure out what cry means what but trust that you will figure it out.

with my elder son, i tried a milder approach where i was in the room with him, but laying down on a mattress and laying him back down every time he stood up but after 2 days and 3hrs of it (starting at 7pm and ending at 10pm) i realized that i was more of a distraction than help. On the third night i decided to leave the room and he fell asleep on his own after 30mins of crying. the following nights, he gradually went down to 10mins of crying (Gina Ford calls it Crying Down - neither of my kids are GF babies but I did read every single sleep solution book out there and tried Baby Whisperer's shush-pat but it didn't work for us), mind you, he Cried Down almost every night for 1mth - a few minutes every night and never over 10mins but there was always crying. After a month, one night when I put him in the crib, he just rolled over and went to sleep and that was the end of the crying (what a relief!!). He is now 22mths and bedtimes are my favourite time of the day. We snuggle and sing a song, I lay him in his bed and he says 'goodnight' and i leave the room.

With #2, the past week has been tough since i am adjusting his bedtime from 9pm to ideally 730 (we are at 830 now). i find if he's over-tired he will cry much longer than if we have a calm day and he's had good naps throughout the day. We had 2 nights where we lay him down awake and he babbled for a bit and then fell asleep without crying but these past few nights we are back to crying on and off for 45mins. We don't go back into the room after we put him down since for us, going in will start the clock back and he will cry an additional 15mins if we go in.

I was one of those people who said i would NEVER CIO...with my elder son, I was alone and pregnant, vomiting while shushing and patting him for up to 2hrs some nights and I couldn't do it anymore. With my 2nd, I have more understanding that it's OK to pick the method that works best for your family/situation. Good luck and hopefully quiet nights are just around the corner!!!
Clowe, does your baby know how to lay back down? spend some time during the day to teach him how so you know that he knows how. In our case, we just let him stand there and cry, he would eventually lay down by himself and go to sleep.
thank you milkmonster and EVERYONE for your very helpful replies. milkmonster, i think the pain is lower abdomenal, poor thing.

so one question - what happens if baby cries at 6am when it's getting very close to 7am wake-up time? do you then go to him and treat it like it's morning already or still let him cry it out? i assume the latter is risky considering he could cry til his wake up time and then all the crying is rewarded by a pick-up which is just cruel and confusing to him, right?
if your baby wakes up close to around his normal wake up time, let him play in his cot until his normal wake-up time. sometimes our son wakes up at 5:30am, but his wake up time is from 6/6:30am. Occassionally he will cry, but then will begin playing once he realizes no one is coming in. I check on him once to make sure he has not pooped and if not, I let him be until at least 6am.

If you pick-up before real wake-up time, it does send a mixed message.
Poor baby! Lower tummy pain is really painful!! Does he have a specific pain cry that you can recognize that is different from a fussy/frustrated cry?

Our wake up time is 8am, if my 6mth old wakes up earlier - which he does sometimes, (once around 3am - which has stopped now, and once around 6am - which happens every few days) I leave him and he usually falls asleep after 20mins of playing. He used to wake up crying but since we never got him, after 2 or 3 days of crying he stopped and just babbles to himself. My 6mth old poops only once a day (has been like that since birth, even on breast milk) so I know that he didn't poop. For my older son, we use to crack open the door to take a 'sniff' but would make sure he didn't see us. This morning my 6mth old was actually squealing in delight to who knows what but it sure was a nice change to the crying!! (again I always trust my gut. if he sounds like he's really hungry or he cries longer than 20mins, I will get him and feed him.) I don't think that getting them after they have already spent 20mins alone in the morning is setting a bad habit because eventually, they will learn that they always have to wait at least 20mins and will stop crying with the expectation to be picked up right away. You can always start adding time after your baby gets used to the 20mins. adding 5mins at a time, until you get to your desired wake up time.

with my older son, i was pregnant and sick so when he would wake up, i was feeling so tired that I just let him hang out in his crib until I was ok to get up and even though it wasn't my intention, he learned to sleep in. Now as a 22mth old he goes to bed at 730pm and is up around 8 or 830am. I am hoping I can encourage my 6mth old to do the same :)

I have some happy news to share, tonight my 6mth old went to sleep NO CRYING at 745pm!!! I am really hoping it will stay like this and we are over the crying to sleep phase!!! I am trying to get to a 7 or 730pm bedtime so I am really thrilled and relieved about this!!!
For us, anything after 6am was acceptable. This was based on a 7pm bedtime, her age and amount of day time sleep. E.g. for her age 11-12 hours at night was considered normal with 3 hours sleep in the day.

We'd leave her for 5 minutes to see if she went back to sleep, if not, we'd get her up. I was assured it would slowly lengthen and it did.

She's now at an 8pm bedtime with one nap of 2 - 2.5 hours in afternoon and wakes anywhere between 7-8am. It's earlier right now after a bout of illness, but that's fine for us and I'm sure it will go back a bit when she feel's totally better.

You prob need to look at bedtimes, day time sleep, figure out what's reasonable to expect and what's acceptable for you and your family situation.
this morning i experienced an early wake-up call today from my baby's 'scheduled' time is 7.00 am and today he woke up at 6.15 am....i had gone to bed reading Tizzie hall (thanks to aussie mum who had lent it to me) wherein she says that u should never ignore an emotional cry - which is like a monotonous wa-wa-wa-wa-wa diff from a protest cry like waaah...wa...waah....wa....going higher and lower pitched...waiting and watching if someone is picking him up or not.....Ok So i went in and that is it...he saw me and wanted me to play....i tried hard to rock him back to sleep but after 30 mins i gave up....and at 6.45 i gave him his milk.

had i just ignored or waited for his cry to end i guess he would have gone back to sleep and woken up at 7.00am.

BTW i have just started the CIO method with my 8-month old about 10 days ago and i was surprised when it actually worked on the first night itself!!! my method is a little diff though i do not (not yet) put him to sleep on own....i rock or nurse him to sleep but after that every time he wakes up i wait it out - for 5 mins/10 mins/15 mins before i go in....i have realised that my going in only causes him to cry louder so i avoied doing taht as much as possible...but twice he has woken up with a leaking nappy (can someone recommend a good brand pls?)..

so i would say every baby is diff all the books but then u have to experimenta nd work out a style best suited for yrself and baby....

my baby had / still has gas probs and i wind him as much as possible before i like him down in his cot.

hope this helps
I have never been a fan of he CIO method, however I was having a lot of sleep issues with my 6 month old and on recommendations from my paed I decided to try this weekend. Am currently on night 3, the first night she woke and cried for an hour, I went in 3 times and picked her up once, after an hour she fell asleep. Night 2 she slept 12 hours and last night she woke and sang for 30 mins before going back to sleep. She has been a much happier baby during the day because she is getting a proper night's sleep - before she was up 2/3 times a night for more than an hour sometimes.

The only thing now is thar she wakes very early in the morning and wants her milk, but I reckon that I can move this little by little every day.

It may not work for everyone, but I had tried many other techniques and this is the only one that has given good results and she is such a happy smily baby that I don't believe it's done her any damage :o)
Thanks ladies for all your helpful replies. One quick question - a few of you warned to be consistent with nap times during the day. How did you use CIO during the day time? if he cries for an hour during the afternoon before napping for 40 minutes, doesn't that cut into your day bigtime and disrupt your daytime schedules?
HI CLOWE77, i have not yet used the CIO for daytime since it does not suit my needs...i have an elder son and i cannot expect him to stay there and hear his bro cry himself to sleep........due to his bad night sleeeping habits my baby has never slept for more than 40 mins for his 3 daytime naps prior to CIO, after CIO he has himself graduated to one-hour naps and i am trying to get him to sleep for 2-hrs in the afternoon....but in all this i always rock him to sleep....what about the other mums??
For us, we were going into his room during the day and then not at night when our son cried. This confused him as the message was unclear. During the day, if my son cries before his "wake-up time window" we do not go in. If he is clearly awake and not going back to sleep, I wait for a lull in the crying and then go to him. Normally now, he will cry for at most for 10 minutes, then will either go back to sleep or play in his crib. FOr me, I didn't want him associating crying with mom/dad coming in to comfort him. I also know that if he can put himself back to sleep at night, he can certainly do it during the day.