Our Cry-it-Out sleep training lasted one day

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A few weeks ago, our pediatrician suggested sleep training. Mary immediately got two books (The Sleepeasy Solution and The No-Cry Sleep Solution) and devoured them. And after two weeks of nagging, I finally also read The Sleepeasy Solution.

So on Sunday we began sleep training using the method detailed in The Sleepeasy Solution. This book is basically the same method as the Ferber Method, part of a family of sleep training methods called Cry-it-Out, a.k.a. the extinction method. The gist of it:

  1. Put your baby onto bed awake, say good night, and leave the room. Ignore any crying or fussing.
  2. After 5 minutes, go back in and check on him. Don’t touch him, but reassure him verbally.
  3. After 10 minutes, go back in and check on him again.
  4. After 15 minutes, go back in and check on him again.
  5. Repeat Step 4 until he is asleep. This may take hours.

The theory goes: falling asleep is a learned skill, and the baby needs to learn how to do it on his own – without parental assistance.

We tried it on Sunday for Nap 1, Nap 2, and Bedtime. Here’s how they went:

  1. Nap 1: Baby lays there not complaining for the first 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, I check on him. Soon thereafter, he starts crying. Then after 3 more minutes, he falls asleep. Total time until sleep: 8 minutes.
  2. Nap 2: Baby lays there and starts complaining after a few minutes. After 5 minutes, I check on him. He starts crying, and then continues crying for 7 more minutes. Total time until sleep: 12 minutes.
  3. Bedtime: Baby starts crying immediately. After 5 minutes, I check on him. He keeps crying. After 10 more minutes,  I check on him again. He keeps crying. At this point Mary capitulates and goes in to soothe him.

So there you go. We lasted all of a single day before Mary declared defeat. The main sticking point for her: there is a difference between the baby’s fussing cry and scared cry, and the baby was starting to give the scared cry.

The good news is that the next day (today), the baby fell asleep during his naps without any intervention or regimen. Maybe my training did do some good.

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