Helpful Sleep Training Tips for the Cry It Out Method
I think from day 1, parents are ready for their baby to sleep through the night! There are several different methods of sleep training to help your baby sleep through the night.
One method you have probably heard of is the cry it out or extinction method.
|Before I dive into this post, I just want to put a disclaimer out there that I am not a medical professional. This post is entirely based off of my own personal experience with using the cry it out method. I will be sharing what we did and what worked best for us. Talk to your pediatrician before you do any form of sleep training.
If you are interested in using the extinction method for sleep training, this post covers how it worked out for us.
I will provide tips that helped us best prepare for sleep training that will hopefully help you be successful with it too. Let’s get started!
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What is the Cry It Out Method of Sleep Training?
Cry it out is pretty self explanatory: you put your baby down while they are still awake and leave them to soothe themselves to sleep.
But before they learn how to soothe themselves, they will have to cry it out.
Is Cry It Out Damaging for Baby?
I will reiterate that I am not a medical professional. You may hear varying opinions, but this method of sleep training was recommended to me by our pediatrician.
I would make the assumption that if it were harmful for baby, it wouldn’t have been recommended.
I will say that our son is happy, healthy, and a great sleeper overnight because of this method!
If you aren’t comfortable with this type of sleep training, talk to your doctor about other alternatives.
How to Prepare for Sleep Training
I would say no matter what method you choose, it’s important to be prepared.
You don’t want to dive into something only to realize you weren’t truly ready.
These are my cry it out sleep training tips that helped us tremendously!
Tip #1: Decide When to Start
Instead of randomly deciding to sleep train one night, pick exactly when you would want to start the sleep training.
For example, if you know you have a busy week coming up or your family is going out of town, it would probably be best to postpone the sleep training.
Start sleep training at a time when things are slower in your household.
Tip #2: Pick a Bedtime BEFORE You Start
One of the most important decisions you’ll make is deciding what time will be the best time for putting your little one down every night. Think about your schedule and what your evenings typically look like.
We chose 7PM because it’s late enough where we don’t have to feel rushed to eat dinner but early enough where we can have a few hours to ourselves before we go to bed.
Once you pick a bedtime, you’ll want to commit to it. Routine is going to be crucial!
Once your baby is officially sleep trained, it’ll be okay if once in a while the schedule is thrown off.
For example, sometimes we take our son out with us and he doesn’t end up going to bed until 8 or 9. Since this only happens occasionally, it doesn’t throw off his entire sleeping schedule.
Tip #3: Start on a Weekend
I would recommend starting sleep training on a Friday night.
This gives you a few nights to get what will hopefully be the worst of sleep training out of the way. Then you can start the week fresh, already knowing what to expect.
Every baby is different, though. Some babies may take longer to adjust and therefore starting on a weekend may not make a difference. But other babies might start doing better after the first 2-3 nights.
Here’s how our own experience went for us:
- Night 1: our son cried for a little over 2 hours before he finally went to sleep
- Night 2: our son cried for about an hour before going to sleep
- Night 3: our son fussed a bit but then was asleep within 20 minutes.
Tip #4: Set Baby Up For Success
You want to set your baby up for success when it comes to sleep training. You do this by making their environment as comfortable as possible. Here are some ways you can prepare:
- Keep the room at a comfortable temperature.
- Use a white noise machine to help block out other sound.
- Make sure your baby has comfortable pajamas.
- Put fresh sheets in the crib.
- If you use pacifiers, make sure your baby has a binky ready to go.
- Keep the room dark (A small nightlight should be okay, but don’t use anything too distracting).
Tip #5: Fully Commit!
I gave this same advice in my Binky Weaning Tips post, and it is relevant here too. Once you decide to sleep train, it’s important that you fully commit.
The cry it out method can fail if you eventually give in and soothe your baby. Talk to your doctor about how long you should allow your baby to cry it out.
Cry It Out Sleep Training Tips: How to Prepare Yourself as a Parent
If you choose the cry it out method, be prepared for some tears and emotions on your end as well. Here are the things I repeated to myself when we started sleep training:
- Our son has a full belly
- He is in a fresh, clean diaper
- He will stay warm in his pajamas
- He is safe in his crib
- He has his binky to soothe himself
Final Thoughts on Cry It Out Sleep Training Tips
If you are interested in sleep training, be sure to talk to your pediatrician to discuss different methods and see which one is right for you.
If you decide to do the cry it out method like we did, I wish you luck! We personally had a good experience and our son was able to catch on in just a few nights.
I hope you have the same success! But if you struggle, the doctor will always be there for you to provide helpful tips.
Have you used the cry it out method? How did it work for you?
If you didn’t use cry it out, what helped your baby sleep through the night? Share in the comments!