Most parents believe they have to sleep train their baby to get him to sleep through the night. “Crying it out” is the most widely known method and one that puts fear in the hearts of parents. It sounds brutal…and that’s because it can be.

What is the Cry It Out Method?

“Cry it Out” is a sleep training method that requires you to let your baby shed some tears and be his fussy self for a set period of time. Typically, you’ll do this at gradually increasing intervals of time, before you intervene by consoling or feeding your baby. The goal of “cry it out” is to teach your baby to self-soothe and put himself to sleep.

How to Do the Cry it Out Method and for How Long

  1. Begin while your infant is awake. Put him in the crib with a soft “i love you” and then exit the room without waiting for him to fall asleep.
  2. You can expect a fair amount of protest and crying.
  3. Here’s where it can get a little hard. Let your baby cry for a full five minutes.
  4. Next, go back into the room, give your baby a gentle pat, an “I love you” and “good night”, and exit again. 
  5. Repeat this process for as long as your child cries, making sure to extend the time you leave your baby alone by 5 more minutes each time until your baby falls asleep.

A Note on Sleep Training

What most people don’t know is that even so-called sleep-trained babies (and all children…and all adults, actually) still wake at least 3 or 4 times a night. This fact falls under the radar because we’re talking about slight nighttime rousing, not eyes-wide-open waking. Why I’m telling this? Your goal shouldn’t be to reach an elusive milestone, but rather, to teach your baby to self-soothe when she inevitably wakes at 2 a.m.

Avoiding the Cry it Out Method

I’ll let you in on a little secret: It’s possible for your baby to sleep a 6-hour stretch within a few weeks whereas sleep training is usually not attempted or recommended until 4 months.  And in most cases with my technique, you’ll avoid the all-dreaded “cry it out.” (I say “most cases,” because when it comes to one-of-a-kind babies, nothing is ever guaranteed!)

Rocking your baby to sleep is a great joy of parenting. I’ve seen moms and dads work to perfect the artistry of sliding a zonked baby into bed and keeping her asleep. But doing that every night keeps her from learning to self-soothe; it also makes her more reliant on YOU in the middle of the night.

My technique is called “wake and sleep” because when you place your sleeping baby down, you need to wake her up…just a little…and let her get back to sleep on her own. What’s amazing is that you can start teaching your child this healthy sleep habit from day 1.

It works best to use wake and sleep together with Happiest Baby’s SNOO Smart Bassinet, baby bed made to help teach self-soothing. 

Here’s How to Get Your Baby to Self-Soothe Without Sleep Training

Every evening – before the last feeding – swaddle your little one in the SNOO Sack and let her fall asleep in your arms. BUT, right after you slide her into bed use wake and sleep. A few seconds later she will close her eyes and slide back into slumber-land. She’ll be aided by the white noise and gentle motion provided by SNOO’s smart technology.

When she wakes later that night, SNOO will provide the same rocking and shushing. If that’s all she needs; she’ll drift back to sleep promptly. But if she’s hungry, uncomfortable or just wants YOU, she won’t settle. Then it’s your turn to meet her needs. Every time you lay her back down again after a diaper change or feeding, be sure to use wake and sleep.

Does using noise and motion cues really count as “independent sleep”? Not exactly, but I’ll explain.

Many adults use white noise because they like it not because they’re dependent on it. Here’s what’s so “smart” about SNOO:  It gives infants the calming they really need in the first months (the same time parents desperately need rest), but it automatically and gradually weans your baby off sound and motion by 6 months, so they don’t rely on it in the long run.

Finally, you can teach the self-soothing skill using wake and sleep with any baby bed, but if your goal is to avoid “cry it out” altogether, you’ll up your chances by pairing it with SNOO! We got fantastic feedback from many families who tested SNOO that transitioning to the crib by 6 months was easy peasy. Their babies had learned to self-soothe.

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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.