View Full Version : how many different sleep training strategies have you tried?

03-03-2007, 12:06 AM
Have you switched around trying to find the right method, or did you pick one and stick to it?

If you switched around, why and did it cause problems due to the inconsistency?

03-03-2007, 10:51 AM
I didn't really try sleep training. We did try CIO after 6 months since so many people raved about it but it was so not helping. Ds would just cry forever (more than an hour) and would get even more worked up if you went in to pat his back or just verbally reassure him. Maybe I did't stay with it long enough but I wasn't seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.

We all got more sleep if I either nursed him back to bed (took all of 10 minutes and we were all fast asleep again) or brought him to bed with us for a while.

Despite doing those things (the things "experts" and some fellow parents will tell you dooms how they will sleep as they grow up) my ds has been a fantastic sleeper (knock on wood!). The first year had it good and bad phases and he hit another bad one the whole of his 18th month (common according to the books). But, he learned to fall asleep on his own, get back to sleep on his own and all that good stuff. He is 4.5yo, btw.

I really think there isn't some grand, universal strategy that is going to work for everyone. And everyone has their own expectations. While I would have loved ds to sleep great as a baby I didn't expect it. I expected sleepless nights with a baby. I just wanted to get past it- anyway we could. :)


03-03-2007, 05:16 PM
This sounds just like us. Out of desperation I tried CIO one day and it didn't last 2 minutes. I couldn't take it. It just did not feel right to me. I vote for doing whatever it takes for everyone to get the best sleep. I found that I could get her back to sleep much easier and quicker by nursing or rocking or bringing her to bed with me.

I also have read that CIO creates sleep problems in the long run (nightmares, etc). Don't know if this is true or if anyone else has experience with this.


DD 15 yr Jade
DD 12 mo - Happy First Birthday Olivia!

03-04-2007, 01:56 AM
I don't think I could handle hours of crying. Fortunately, DS eventually drifts off to sleep or talks to himself until he sleeps after at most 30 min. Sometimes we're just not sure if the cries are hysterical due to discomfort (i.e. something is really wrong) or just fatigue. We want to put DS down calm and in a good mood, but sometimes he's clingy and will not calm down no matter how long we hold him/try to calm him first. So we end up putting him down. :-( I'm not overly happy about this, but we just didn't see the point in continuing to hold and rock him if he was going to cry and put up a fight anyway.

I actually read on babycenter that CIO, as long as it's part of a consistent sleep training regime, does no harm. Some research showed that children who were sleep trained were actually more attached to their parents. Perhaps that's why I'm wondering if switching sleep training strategies is OK...

Well, DS has actually been more cheerful when we get him in the morning lately, so I guess he's OK. :-)

03-04-2007, 01:56 PM
How old is your ds? Am I remembering wrong that he is only 3-4 months?


03-10-2007, 12:21 AM
Yes, he is 14 weeks. We have really only started with building a nighttime routine and have found he is *usually* calm enough to put down and he will fall asleep with a little fussing. Some night he is hysterical and after 20-30 minutes of holding, he's still crying. Hence we figure...man, holding is not doing anything. Maybe he just needs to blow steam? A few nights he passed out within a few minutes, others it wouldn't stop so we got him and held him again.

I'm just wondering if these inconsistencies continue, is it because we're inconsistent with what state we put DS down in? We've found that if DS is crying, he just won't sleep. BUT if holding isn't soothing him, then nothing will. So I guess we're stockpiling ideas on "real" sleep training if/when the time comes. We did check/console with him when he was just lying in bed fussing figuring he was ok, but when the full blown screaming started, we stopped doing that. He was freaking us out.

03-12-2007, 08:48 AM
Feeding, clothing comfort check (no tstray threads wrapped around a toe or something), new diaper...no help? Ds always conked out after a feeding at night so I don't have many more fall back ideas. :)

At this age I don't really think you are setting up habits or that inconsistency is really being picked up on. I could be wrong. Just my gut instinct.


03-17-2007, 11:28 PM
i would say though, that a child this young shouldnt be left to CIO in terms of sleep training. babies should have their needs met regardless when they are under 6 months old and this is said by those fully in support of CIO. your baby at this young, also probaly isnt aware of the routines you are setting forth at bedtime but it is a good idea to get them started more for yourself at this point. if your baby is inconsolable, its still okay to hold him as it is showing him you are there and is part of bonding. if when he still cries and you are tired and frustrated, its okay to put him down and take a break but thats not the same as letting a baby CIO. i would sugget trying to find better ways to get him calm-pacifiers, white noise cds, swaddling blankets, rocking, swinging, baths, ect. sometimes it takes a long time to find the magic button, mine was swaddle in a blanket in a low light room with a vacuum cleaner cd on rocking side to side with a pacifier. when i did these things my hysterical daughter calmed in minutes. but for bedtime, i rocked her in a very dark room and sung to her and it put her to sleep. we were consistent because we found what worked, maye you can find some other things that work as well. then, if you really want to, at 6 months you can start tp follow techniques for CIO if thats the road you want to take and then be consistent with that. right now though, he is just to young and the only consistent thing that matters is knowing you are there for him when he needs comfort. i am sure you can tell i am not an advocate of CIO, but if you are going to, you should make sure to do alot of research for when the time is right, but at 14 weeks, he isnt ready. i could be wrong, but it sounds like you check/comfort him when he is wanting your attention by fussing but then you dont check/console him when he starts screaming? if thats the case, i think it should be the opposite. your job is to show him you respond to his cries to establish trust and if i understood correctly, you may be doing the opposite. the ideal situation for sleep training is to put the baby down when he is so so sleepy but not completely out hoping he falls asleep himself. otherwise, you could rock him to sleep but people may argue he doesnt know how to fall asleep by himself. but you shouldnt put down a hysterical baby expecting him to fall asleep as he is already too upset and you arent enforcing the idea that the parents will respond to his cries and needs. have you looked into dr sears? you dont have to agree with everything but the explanations of infants behavior are so helpful. let me know if you need anything okay? and good luck.
>Yes, he is 14 weeks. We have really only started with
>building a nighttime routine and have found he is *usually*
>calm enough to put down and he will fall asleep with a little
>fussing. Some night he is hysterical and after 20-30 minutes
>of holding, he's still crying. Hence we figure...man, holding
>is not doing anything. Maybe he just needs to blow steam? A
>few nights he passed out within a few minutes, others it
>wouldn't stop so we got him and held him again.
>I'm just wondering if these inconsistencies continue, is it
>because we're inconsistent with what state we put DS down in?
>We've found that if DS is crying, he just won't sleep. BUT if
>holding isn't soothing him, then nothing will. So I guess
>we're stockpiling ideas on "real" sleep training if/when the
>time comes. We did check/console with him when he was just
>lying in bed fussing figuring he was ok, but when the full
>blown screaming started, we stopped doing that. He was
>freaking us out.

03-18-2007, 11:17 PM
Dr. Sears is not my style. Sorry for you attachment parenting ladies out there, but it ain't for me. I don't exactly adore Ferber and Weissbluth either. I scan and read what I can, but in the end I find all the books contradictory and frustrating. It seems like you can find at least one author to back up what you think...in which case why don't you just do what you feel like doing (within reason, of course). I'm not tossing anything by the wayside, but I just read everything with a huge grain of salt. I appreciate the scientific notes on the anatomy of sleep, brain development, etc.

I really don't know what different parents think of as fussing, but for me/us we put him down sleepy/tired and he is lying in his crib verbalizing very quietly "eh eh" for maybe 5 minutes. In fact, he usually fusses more if we hold him, we found. I don't know if he fusses to tell us to put him down, but he squirms when we try to "console" him but DS settles down more when we just lay him down. This is why we felt ok just leaving him be and checking on him frequently. Maybe he is just an independent soul. I honestly don't know. The first 8 weeks of his life, the only way we could get him to sleep was holding him sideways while walking up and down the stairs for hours...and I mean HOURS. He would wake up immediately and cry when we put him down. Eventually, we decided we didn't want him to associate the stairs with sleeping, so we started doing a bedtime routine and just holding him while walking around the room and talking before putting him down. Eventually he got used to that and would do his quiet "eh eh". Eventually we decided the squirm meant "put me down!" when he was calmer after laying him down.

As for when DS started screaming, he would scream even before we put him down. We couldn't figure out why...we was fed, cleaned, etc. We had his ears checked, etc. No health issues. Just screamed. Thank goodness it only lasted for about a week.

Just curious, why do so many of you think 6 months is the "right time" to start sleep training? From what I've read, they say a baby is capable of learning to console themselves at 4 months. I think DS already started to figure that out when he started his quiet "eh eh" thing about a month ago. I don't think he always knows what to do, and that's when he starts crying. I know parents who trained at 3 months, some 2 months, some 1 year. All their kids seem well adjusted and are fully attached to their parents. Admittedly, the parents who trained earlier said they had to modify more and "break" more "rules" when holding, etc. and it took longer, but most of them felt their child was ready because their baby was calm when they put them down anyway. By train, I guess they meant they would wait to see if the baby would calm down by themselves after a few minutes of crying, and then go comfort, which Baby 411 even says is ok after the baby hits a few months. I don't torture my child, I just don't run to the crib if he starts crying. I can't entirely tell the different between an REM-crying-out-while-asleep-cry and a I'm-ready-to-get-out-of-here cry, so I give it a few minutes. Sometimes he goes back to sleep quickly, so I know he was just dreaming. Sometimes he keeps crying, so I know he's done sleeping.

I dunno...I have some friends who say their baby still wakes up every 2 hours in the middle of the night at 5 months hungry. I sometimes wonder...is the baby really hungry? Maybe they are crying out in the middle of REM sleep. Maybe they would go back to sleep if you just waited a minute or two. Maybe they are just used to waking up because they are responded to so quickly. Now, my friend is perfectly OK getting up every 2 hours, so kudos to her for being willing to lose so much sleep. I, on the other hand, cannot function like that. So DH and I decided to wait a minute or two to see what happened. Lo and behold, sometimes he would go back to sleep. Is that really sleep training?

And YES, I have already read what Dr. Sears says about it not being good for babies to learn how to sleep so deeply at a young age, they should be waking up at night and getting more REM sleep for blood flow to the brain, etc. etc.

03-19-2007, 06:32 PM
Well, my ds would wake up hungry for many more months (like at a year at times). I do not think there is a magic age.

Ds would cry for a bit in the middle of the night for the reason you said, to see if he was just crying out or was ready to be done. We would wait him out a little bit. But, like I said, even beyond 6, 8, 10 months he would still wake up and nurse hungerly then go right back to sleep.

Every child is going to be different. Don't compare what normal is to your friends or to books. Some babies will need to be held more, eat more, won't sleep more than 5-7 hours.

From what I understand about the 6 month "magic mark" (which should be in the books you have) is that before then their needs are immediate (physical, emotional...).

I am sure that you will find sleep boards out there that don't have as many AP minded moms as you may find here. I think Baby Center actually has a board on sleep training. I googled "when to start sleep training" and there are a lot of links that could have helpful info for you too. Please don't read this as telling you to post elsewhere. I just wanted to point you in a direction where you could info from the other side of the sleep spectrum rather than the replies you have had so far here.

I just don't want anyone to get so hard core on the "rules" and feeling like they have to follow a program to get sleep. I know there is a whole school of thought that babies are supposed to fall in line with the family rather than the family falling in line around the baby. That's not my style. I figure that good sleep and bad sleep are all par for the course. I would be more concerned with sleep 18 months+ than when they are babies.

Trust me, I have many years under my belt now with this. If I could go back in time I would tell myself to relax (even more, as I was pretty relaxed I think) and know that this is a blip! Yes, it feels like each night lasts forever. But, you will figure it out one way or the other and you will get through the first 12-18 months.

They are also so little. It is hard to think of them as being so tiny and new to the world when they have been a daily fixture for you for months. But, when your ds is older and you look back at a little 4 month old you will probably realize (like I did) that they are just brand new and trying to figure out the world around them. I don't know, it's just something that clicked for me one day and I realized that it isn't a bad thing to cater to a baby's needs. They are only that little for a short time. Ok, you probably can't see that now, while you are in the trenches. It's much easier for me to say it as I have had 3 almost solid years of sleeping through the night (knock on wood). But, I accept that at any time something like nightmares could show up and screw things up. Nothing about babies/ kids/ teenagers is predictable.

And if you are sleep deprived, that just kind of goes with the territory and you will have lots of other parents to commiserate with. Or you could get lucky and find out what works best for your baby.

I listend to the Baby 411 author on a Parents' podcast. It is clear that she is firmly in one camp. I just think that you are right- you need to take something from every where and cobble out your own idea. But, I still think that it is better to wait till at least 6 months to "train" your child. For more on why try the other resources I mentioned maybe.


03-21-2007, 07:04 AM
I have read babycenter and other resources. Some say "between 4-6 months, your baby may be ready for sleep training" and babycenter says "between 3-6 months." 6 months is always in the window, but they also give lower ranges.

I do think 3-4 months is kind of young. I am not overly sleep deprived. I'm just trying to sort through all the stuff out there and see what others have used and why to see if it aligns with what I think might work for me. I especially don't know what to do now since DS has started to roll and now worm (pushes his butt in the air with his legs and pushes his body forward...I suppose pre-crawling?) and we find him with an arm/leg stuck when he cries out. I tried putting up a breathable crib bumper, but it made DS upset when he couldn't see out, so I'm not sure what to do about that. DH thinks he also bonks his head all the time, becase we find him smooshed at the head of the crib when we usually put him down at the foot of the crib. :( I hope he gets used to moving around so much! We trying strapping him down with a blanket by tucking it in tightly under the mattress, but DS kicked out of that too!

We put him down awake and he usually falls asleep without little protest. I suppose in my mind that is "sleep training" because I equate training with practicing, and DS is practicing falling asleep by himself for the most part. I don't know when DH and I will feel ready to do "sleep training" the way the authors define it. I think sleep training is kind of like starting a baby on solids...a baby may be physically ready to handle solids at 4 months, but you may not be ready emotionally as a parent to start a baby on solids. I have friends who refuse to start their babies on solids until 1 year because they (the parent) aren't ready for it. And then even though the baby is physically ok eating solids at 4 months, now AAP says don't start until 6 months because of allergy concerns.

Someone should write a baby book: The Magic of 6 Months.

03-28-2007, 09:55 PM
Do you swaddle him? That might help with the squirming. We swaddled DD until about 5 months when she figured out how to roll over while swaddled!

04-09-2007, 10:05 PM
:( DS is confusing us all over again.

He has been a perfect angel going down for the first 2 naps of the day. He just smiles at me, turns over, and goes to sleep. No peeps, squeaks, or cries.

Then by the 3rd nap of the day, he is WAILING after about a minute. I don't want him to cry so much, so I stick him in a carrier and walk him for the nap. This is a pretty typical nap day. 2 angel naps and 1 walking nap.

By bedtime, he is SCREAMING when we put him down. NOTHING consoles him when we try to hold him. A couple of times we were successful at nursing/feeding him to calm him down, but it doesn't always work.

I don't get it. We haven't changed anything and he went from going down well at night and horrible for naps to going down well for 2 naps and horrible at night.

He just hit 19 weeks and we can definitely tell he is more aware of where he is, who people are, etc. Is this just a developmental spurt of sorts? I was going to ask the ped last Friday some other things we can try, but she called in sick. BOO.

We don't want to sleep train yet. We have our family coming in to visit and we just think it would be too disruptive to start and then restart, etc. I don't know if we'll even start training at the end of May when he hits 6 months, because then we have to travel for weddings.

How did you guys hold out?? :(

04-10-2007, 12:10 AM
We have a three month old, and we have been "sleep training" her from almost the beginning. I don't mean CIO. Have you heard of "The Baby Whisperer"? It advocates trying to get baby on a routine; a three hour routine until age 3 months or so, then moving to a four hour routine by four months. This book, like all baby sleep books, can be a little dogmatic and rigid in the way things should be done (not to mention a little too complicated at times). But the principles are really good, I think. You try to get baby on a routine, not a schedule per say, but something where both you and the baby can predict what will happen in a day to some extent, and their systems get a little regulated. The routine consists of cycles of eat, activity, sleep, eat, activity, sleep. We are still not great at it - we have never yet had a "perfect" day - because we try to be attentive to never let a book get ahead of what we observe is going on with her. (For example, she has generally been eating every three hours and lately moving to every 3 hours and fifteen minutes, or three and a half hours; yet today she has been very, very fussy and unable to be consoled, and I have had to feed her more often (7 times total instead of the usual 5 or six). And she has been sleepier. So we think she may be in a growth spurt.) Anyway, all this is to say that you may want to add a book to your collection, and take from it what you will like you do the others. I actually like the sequel to "The Baby Whisperer" called "The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems By Teaching You To Ask the Right Questions." She gives pretty good advice on how to get your baby to sleep, although sometimes it is a little complicated.

What works for us at this point, as far as the sleep part goes, is putting her down for her nap during the day when she starts to yawn or fuss (usually after she has been awake 1.5-2 hours). She will usually fuss/cry for a couple minutes, then fall asleep, but if she escalates to a wail I pick her up a hold her for a couple minutes, then try to put her down again. If she still won't sleep (and I know that she is ready for sleep - but just overtired so having trouble getting there) I put her in the swing (Fisher Price Papasan Swing - God's gift to new mom's!). She may cry for a bit but then she usually starts to flirt with the baby in the mirror above her and falls asleep eventually. I know it is a "prop" but oh well. Night is harder, but we generally do whatever we have to to get her to sleep (holding her, swing, etc). Once we do, she usually sleeps through the night. She has been sleeping through the night since about 6 or 7 weeks - though about once or twice a week she gets up for a 4:30 AM feed.

It's still confusing to me why things change... the book I told you about helps me figure out a lot of things, and then I simply chalk the rest up to the fact that babies are very, very unpredictable! Hope this helps some. This is a crazy time - seems like two days are never the same and every time we figure something out it changes almost immediately. But isn't it a joy having a little one to take care of!

04-10-2007, 09:52 PM
I haven't read through the Baby Whisperer, but a friend gave me a run down. She was supposed to lend it to me, but she couldn't find it. I see her on Friday, maybe I'll ask about it again.

sigh...i obsess about sleep! :(

04-11-2007, 10:14 PM
I do too! I'm surprised that there is so much more activity on the stroller board than on the sleep board! Of course, I like that board too... but helping an infant learn to sleep is a tough, tough thing : )

04-13-2007, 05:58 PM
We have a 6 week old and have tried a few things. At first we just did whatever it took to get her to sleep, including letting her sleep on my chest, nursing till she fell asleep, rocking her in the glider or swing, or walking around with her in the Ergo. We then moved on to the 5 S's from the Happiest Baby on the Block. That worked all right, but it still took a lot of work to get her to sleep without us needing to be there the whole time so she wouldn't wake herself up. Lately, we've been using the techniques from the Baby Whisperer and it's been working pretty well. I've found a lot of good information on http://www.babywhisperer.com/babywhisperer.html. The pat-shh method has worked the most consistently for our DD. She cries when we swaddle her and can sometimes put up a fight, but she usually calms down pretty quickly and will fall asleep.

04-16-2007, 08:38 AM
Well, I just borrowed the Baby Whisperer and read through it last night. It's a quick read!

Honestly, I did not find much new to do in that book. Owen is a textbook baby with a dash of Angel and Spirited, and that's about all we learned. Well, we knew he was in general an easy baby. We just kept having him practice going to sleep by himself. Now he can go down for crib naps and bedtime with very little fuss. Exception: if he had a day of interrupted naps, he has a hard time going to sleep for the night. Nightweaning is where my mind is mostly these days, and I think he'll be ready soon. He slept last night from 8pm-4am (hard time falling asleep. He's usually out by 7:30.) I didn't give DS a tour of home the first day, but we did and do a lot of the things Hogg suggests. I don't know why that came "naturally" to us, but we are constantly talking and dialoging w/Owen. We have a routine for almost everything...songs for bathtime, diaper time, etc. Maybe we're just nuts. :) Because BFing was difficult for us at first, that taught us to sit back and listen to him to figure out if he really needed to eat, etc. I dunno...maybe we are just observent? I have no idea.

04-30-2007, 06:03 PM
Hi jniter! I just read your other post about the inconsistency. I see you read through "The Baby Whisperer" but which one - was it "Secrets of the Baby Whisperer" or "The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems (By Teaching You to Ask the Right Questions"? They are fairly different books - I like how the second book really does walk you through a series of questions. It really helped me pinpoint the real issues behind several of my problems. The main question that she always starts with is Is your baby on a routine? If your baby isn't on a routine, she shows you how to get him on one, even when you are starting at different or later stages. No book is the be all or end all, but I have really liked this one (and it seems like you and I have a lot in common when it comes to baby's sleep!) Hope all is going well.

05-06-2007, 12:54 AM
Hi, Jen!
Thanks for asking. Well, things are topsy turvy, but I think it's more because we had my mom come in for a week, then MIL w/her boyfriend for a week, and then DS started teething. (BTW, Ferber and Weissbluth are absolutely bonkers for thinking teething does not cause night waking!!) SO...routine got kind of side tracked.

I read "Secrets of the Baby Whisperer". Maybe I'll see if the library has a copy of the other one. Frankly, I'm a little tired of spending money on these sleep books. teehee...

DS has a good routine and is quite good at regulating himself. When we started keeping track of his feedings and naps/bedtime, he definitely has a pattern.

I'm a little cleary eyed from the teething episodes, but DS seems to be doing much better. Maybe having everyone finally out of the house helped too...settled him down a bit. I think just putting him down awake every night and giving him time to practice falling asleep on his own worked for us. There was some crying, but nothing excessive.

Now if only those darned teeth would cut.

05-06-2007, 09:09 PM
I understand about the books - thankfully, all of the books I have were either given to me or I got them at a consignment sale - for cheap! I don't live by the books either, but I am like you - every time things get kind of crazy I search diligently for an answer. Sometimes the books help, and sometimes things just work themselves out. Especially as she gets older. I had my inlaws here a couple of weeks ago and she got pretty out of whack - and now we are going out of town for two weeks - yikes! It's great that your little one can go down to sleep on his own. Our little one is great at going down on her own for naps but is still fighting us at bedtime. Ultimately, though, she does go down, and sleeps through the night. I just hope she can keep this up through our trip. Oh well, I will pray about that one and do my best to keep her as regular (routine-wise) as possible. Hope all continues to go well with your little one!