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Cry It Out at Nap Time Too???

I know that not all moms agree on the CIO method, so please spare me the criticism. But last night was our first CIO night. Surprisingly it went very well. But my question is do we CIO for naps during the day too? My son is still taking 3-4 short naps a day and the CIO seems like overkill that many times a day!! Please help!

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Thank you for asking this question. I am working on sleep training my 2.5 month old. I have just gotten to the point that her naps are amost non-existent and getting worse. She is so funny though. I can put her in bed at night with her eyes wide open and she barely peeps before falling asleep. Same thing after her early morning feeding. But the rest of the day is hell. She is in day care now full time too. So, consistency will be an issue but one we are just going to have to work around. I love my little girl and just want her to get the rest she desperately needs.

Best of luck to you.

I think the key is to be consistant, so yes. Then, each time he goes to bed, he will expect the same thing and it becomes a learned habit.

Looks like the rest of the ladies pretty much have it covered - I just wanted to thank you for posting this question. So many responses seem to lean towards CIO being too cruel - but it's the only thing that works for my little one. It's nice to know there are others out there!

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I am not generally a fan of cry it out, but sometimes, it's the only way. But, in answer to your question about nap time, I actually think that it is more reasonable to let him cry it out during the day than at night. Although, 4 times a day is a lot of crying to listen to. But then, for me, nighttime crying it out was not an option because I personally can't take it.

I tried the cry it out during nap time for my son at that age, and it just never worked. I figured that he wasn't ready for it, and didn't really become successful at just letting him cry until he was about 15 months old. Before then, he would become more and more agitated and then never go to sleep(and I really mean literally never, not even for the night, rather than literally "crying it out" and then calming to sleep. Just a thought.

After reading other comments, I just think it is so funny that people just assume they know your child. I have 2 boys. They are radically different sleepers. My oldest didn't sleep through the night, ever, until he was 15 months old, and not consistently until he was 18 months old. We tried every conceivable method. He just had to work into things on his own, and he wasn't too terribly fast. The second one cries it out already, and has been since he was 3 weeks old (he's just shy of 3 months now)... and has been sleeping through the night since then, as well. This is not because WE are so much better with him. This is because HE is a different child than the first. He is very laid back and rarely cries, ever. The first one cried all the time and is incredibly sensitive and high-strung.

You do what works for your child and yourself. I am a huge fan of doing whatever is best for your kid. If rock or nurse to sleep is best, do it. If crying is best, do that. I think we need to be flexible with our kids, within reason, especially when they aren't even old enough to speak or understand consequences.

2 moms found this helpful

when you start CIO you should do it every time they go down and it wont seem like overkill because if you are consistent it will work quickly and nap and bed time will be a breeze. oh, and don't worry about people telling you you are doing to many naps. just watch your son for the signs that he is tired. my 18mth still take two naps a day and people tell me that is too many but every child is different. she will get her blankie and snuggly kitty and lay down on the couch so i know she is tired and still needs her two naps. i'm sure your son has ways of showing you he's tired. you can also talk to your pediatrician at his 9mth appt. about how many naps he needs. CIO works best when they are tired but not over tired. also, be prepared down the line for some bad days here and there. both my daughters had bad days, maybe because they were sick or teething, when it was like the first days of CIO. this is normal and again if you stay consistent they will get back on schedule quickly. and remember when he cries he is just tired he's not feeling abandoned! he wants to sleep and is trying to figure it out how to do that, that's all!:)

Good luck!

Hi N.,

I have to second the advice of reading Dr. Weissbluth's book, "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child." It should really be called, "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Mom." :) This book was my sleep bible.

After my little guy didn't sleep for the first 7 months, I read this book and started sleep training. I can't quite remember what order I did (I was very sleep deprived at this point!), but Dr. Weissbluth talks about how babies sleep patterns are interlinked (ie: Not napping leads to not being able to night sleep or vice versa). For that reason, I think I would do CIO at nap times too. Consistency is the key. I also think it took my son about a month to get his schedule down for night sleeping and nap sleeping. It was a long, tough month, but I just kept being consistent.

The other piece of advice that Dr. Weissbluth writes about is when making a nap schedule, start his AM nap within one to two hours after he wakes up. This seems odd at first to put your baby down for a nap at like 8am, but it totally helped solidify my son's nap schedule. Once I started putting him down soon after he woke up, his naps lengthened and then he needed fewer naps. Until 9 months, it's pretty typical for babies to take 3 naps a day.

Good luck! I know CIO is tough but just tell yourself that you're giving your son an opportunity to develop the skills he needs to sleep.

I love the CIO method. It worked wonders for all three of my children. They all learned quickly how to soothe themselves to sleep. I think this is a perfect time for you to set up a schedule for your child's nap time and awake time. Your child is old enough to be taking two naps a day, a morning and afternoon nap. You said that the first night went well, so I would continue the process at nap time. Your child will know when to expect the nap and be happier with a set schedule. My first child was a great sleeper, but he would fall asleep any time and any where. He was not on any schedule. Once I did the cry it out method and put him on a schedule he was so much happier. He knew what to expect at certain times of the day. Actually, I was much happier too, I could plan our days around when to be home for naps and when to go to the park and play!
Hope this helps!

I know what you are going through! I have a 23month old little girl who did not like to sleep we tried many meathods when at 6 months we did CIO. We would do it for naps but never let her cry for more than one hour if she was still crying at that point I would get her up and play with her or feed her and then try it again a little while later. It took about two weeks at night and days where about a month.. She dis not cry the whole hour more than a few times and then it was more like she was yelling at me to come get her! I now have a 6 month old and he is the same way! It took him about three weeks but no I lay him down and he just goes to sleep while his older sister will sit and play in her crib then she will lay down and sleep!

It does get easier hang in!

My daughter also napped 3 times a day at that age, that is pretty average. Also, we let her CIO at naptimes to be consistent because we were teaching her self soothing skills, but her crying was not more than a few minutes. It just seemed like an eternity! It was an escalating cry so I would feel like I was getting to a breaking point, but then she'd zonk out. For a balanced perspective on the CIO method and its variations, check out Dr. Weissbluth's "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child." It was a great reassurance for me as I chose how I wanted to parent and it helped me deal with any criticism I may receive from other moms with different parenting styles. :)

Hi N.,
I would say get bedtime under control first with CIO. Then slowly work on the naps. Say get bedtime set, and get your son down to only a little crying. Get your son rested with plenty of night sleep. Then slowly do the CIO method with naps. I like the book Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child by Marc Weisbluth. He discsusses sleep by age, so that you know more of what to expect and how to procees. Now that being said, sleep is a very individual thing and every child will be different... so don't be surprised if you feel confused about sleep. Anyway, he recommends not letting a child cry for more than an hour, before you interrupt the nap time.
Good luck... I have found sleep to be the most befuddling issue in my childrens lives.

Buy Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth. It is by baby sleep bible and it will answer all the questions.

It isn't typically for a 8 month old to be taking 3-4 naps during the day. Once his night sleep is consolidated and CIO is over, he should fall into a once a day, long afternoon nap. During the CIO night stage, put him to bed when you know he is tired and he will eventually (2 weeks at the most?) fall into a pattern.

CIO is so hard. I critized my older sister for not letting her children cry it out (she wanted to but her husband couldn't handle it). After I had children, I had to apologize to her. I would always set my stop watch because the crying always seems so much LONGER than it really is. :)
When we CIO with our first, I had another sister living with me. I could go in the basement and the other sister could "listen" to make sure everything was OK.
When I'm tempted to get the baby up (I have a 4 month old now.) I think "I know he is tired. I am teaching him to sleep." I know if he was screaming for a bag of marbles or a pound of chocolate, I wouldn't give in. (Not that he knows what those are yet.) <grin>

Looks like the rest of the ladies pretty much have it covered - I just wanted to thank you for posting this question. So many responses seem to lean towards CIO being too cruel - but it's the only thing that works for my little one. It's nice to know there are others out there!

Dear N.,
The answer to your question is unfortunately yes. I know how you feel. Alot of moms can't handle the CIO method, but for some people it is the only thing that works(and the only way to keep your sanity)> I started letting my son CIO at around four months. I actually started with naps first. With him , he wouldn't actually cry, he would just fuss or "sing" to himself. Sometimes he would start wailing and I would give him about 10min at first before I would go in and comfort him (without actually picking him up) and let him know that I was just on the other side of the door. You then stretch out the time to 15min and then 20min and so on. It takes a couple of days ,but it is soooo worth it because before you know it your baby can be put down for naps and night-time without a fuss. I would often have to remind myself that this is the hardest part of parenting but the payoff would be that I would have a happy ,well rested baby who could console himself easily. Stick to it and remind yourself that you are doing what's best for your child. And about the criticism from other moms, I completely get that too. I have had many friends stare in disbeleif as I was able to put my child down for bedtime without any problems. Those would happen to be the same friends that critisized me for the CIO method. And most if not all of those friends have older children who still sleep in their bed! Funny how things work out. Stick to your guns! Your doing Great and your gonna make it!!

Hi Nicole,
I personally love to snuggle with my boy, who is about to turn two, at nap time. He will go to sleep on his own for night time after some reading and cuddling time, but I truly cherish the time I get to snuggle with him. This time is only for a momment. What I might try and do if I were you is to cut out two naps, one at a time, and get him to take two longer naps a day. I know that some kids won't do it. I had to take a while to get my son to finally drop the morning nap and just do afternoon nap and it is nice..

Kudos on using the CIO method. You do what is right for you and don't let anyone tell you different. I did it with both my boys and they are great sleepers (9 and 7 years old now) and have been since we decided that CIO was the way to go. I let them cry it out for naps also because I did not want to confuse them and they learned how to put themselves to sleep all the time. Keep in mind that once your baby learns to comfort themselves and put themselves to sleep, they won't cry at all ( or maybe for 30 seconds)anymore when you put them down for sleep. How long depends on the baby but it will not be forever. Stick to your guns, I know it is miserable to listen to your baby cry but learning to comfort themselves is such an important thing for them to learn.

In my experience i would say yes. But to me that seems like a lot of naps. I would say one in the morning around 9 am then one in the afternoon around 12;30 or 1:00. Both of these naps should be around 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Some kids will take a third one around 6 or so. it just depends on your child. But if your using the CIO method at bed time then i would follow through with it at nap time too. You have to be consistent. When you say short naps how long? Good luck to you.


At 8 months your little one should be taking two naps a day, that may help. I also understand that every child is different and their needs are all different.

We do a modified CIO. We did it with our now 5 year old son, and are doing it with our 17 month old daughter.

1) Put in bed. If no crying GREAT!!
2) If crying give about 5 minutes to self soothe. At any time during this five minutes the crying changes to a demand instead of a protest we go in immediately.
3) At the end of the 5 minutes if the fussing is winding down/almost over we wait another 5 minutes. Again, at any time if the crying changes to a demand we go in immediately.
4) If the crying stops in this second 5 minutes GREAT!!!
5) If the crying is still going on after the 10 minutes we go in and comfort and calm down. Then we start all over again.

Hope this helps,

BTW, good for you for giving your little one the tools to get themselves back to sleep.

I'm wondering that if you do CIO method at naps and night, that his naps will become longer, and he soon will be down to just 2 naps. I'd say, be consistent and see what happens!

The first thing I would work on is trying to get 4 short naps down to 2 good naps. My boys used to sleep about 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon. Now that they are older they take on nap for 2-2 1/2 hours in the afternoon. Sometimes they still cry that they don't want the nap, but I put them in bed and walk away, and shortly afterwards they are asleep, every time!

Best of luck

8 months..cut it down to 3 naps then 2 naps until 1 is enough by age 2,and he will be tired enough to want to lay down. Tire him out. Work him out. (When he's walking)Have him carry his toys around and make up meaningless chores for him to do "Such a great job, thank you for your help" kind of thing. He can be a wonderful little helper. Sounds like he may not be tired enought to just lay down.

Hi N.,
I also started the CIO method (w/ the Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child book by Dr. Weissbluth) at 7 months with my first son. You must also do it at naptime too, otherwise your son will be confused. It's not overkill, because your son will learn much more easily and quickly that this is how things work in your house. If you just do it at night, be prepared for a very difficult battle as your son will think - the other 4 times today my mom helped me to go to sleep, maybe if I just crank it up another notch, she'll help me this time too! Make it easier on your son and yourself and be consistent. The sleep training will go much quicker. Stay strong and best of luck - you are doing a great thing for your child in the long run - teaching him how to go to sleep on his own is invaluable.
When my second son was born, I started at 8 weeks and it went a lot more smoothly than my first son. The earlier you start, the better! They are both great sleepers, both sleep 11 to 12 hours a night at ages 4 and 7. We put them to bed at 7. I highly recommend the book I mentioned above, it's practical and very useful.
All the best, B.

Thank you for asking this question. I am working on sleep training my 2.5 month old. I have just gotten to the point that her naps are amost non-existent and getting worse. She is so funny though. I can put her in bed at night with her eyes wide open and she barely peeps before falling asleep. Same thing after her early morning feeding. But the rest of the day is hell. She is in day care now full time too. So, consistency will be an issue but one we are just going to have to work around. I love my little girl and just want her to get the rest she desperately needs.

Best of luck to you.

Glad that the CIO worked for you - as far as naps go - 3-4 sounds like a lot to take for a 8 month old - thus why he might be little annoyed. If I recall a late morning nap and a late afternoon nap would probably be best - it will take a while to adjust. Also a pre warning for you - the change to one nap a day will be a bit painful - I found that morning nap just got later and later then the afternoon nap just really needed to be missed - but not at first.

Eliminate all but two of the day naps. Try to schedule the naps at the same time every day. Don't take him shopping during nap time. Don't let him sleep in the car (this is really hard--I know). Doing this will make him tired and more than ready to fall asleep when he has opportunity to. Then continue the CIO method for all sleep times.

I recommend that you focus on night time sleep training first. Once that's going well then ease into the nap training.

But CIO won't work well if you haven't built a solid consistent bedtime routine to it (i.e. take a warm bath, play a bedtime game or read a book, have a drink of water, then sing the night-night song.) Whatever helps to calm him and make him happy right before bed can be built into the bedtime routine.

By using the exact same bedtime routine every time, your baby will know what's to come and there'll be no surprises. It'll prepare him mentally so he won't freak out when you leave him in the crib and leave. The nap time routine can be a short version of the night time routine (i.e. drink water then a song.) Yes, he'll still cry but with it'll be shorter and easier on them.

I also heard that it takes around 3 days for the brain to break a old sleep habit and register the new pattern. So after three days of crying, things will start getting better. My daughter sleep trained at around the same age as your son. She did it in 4 nights. It was the best thing we have done for her. She sleeps better is much happier now. We sing the "twinkle twinkle little star" song at every bedtime (day and night) and it is the first song she learn to hum...

I think if you are going to go for the CIO method, go for it all the way. Consistency is very important and if you do CIO for bedtime but not naptime, I think it will be very confusing and possibly frustrating for your son. I have a 10 month old who absolutely loves his bed, but went through a stage where he would scream when we put him in it for naps, even if he was extremely tired. The screaming never lasted more than 20-30 seconds, so I'm glad I didn't go get him because it would have started the cycle all over again. That stage lasted for about 2 weeks and now he LOVES being put in his bed because he knows we do it when he needs it. He takes 2 naps a day (sometimes only one if the day is busy) and is a super happy baby!

I agree with the other moms; if you are consistent, I'll bet that pretty soon he'll be down to less naps and especially with how well it went last night, I don't think you'll have any problems during naptimes. Babies love consistency! Good luck!! -B.

I think the key is to be consistant, so yes. Then, each time he goes to bed, he will expect the same thing and it becomes a learned habit.

Try to put him to bed at an earlier time. He might take less naps a day if he gets enough hours of sleep at night. Try putting him to bed before 7:00 P.M. He still needs between 12 and 14 hours of sleep at night. My son is 16 months old and he goes to bed between 6:00 and 6:30 P.M and wakes up at 7:00 A.M. so don't be afraid that he'll be up way too early.

Good luck and congratulations for training your baby to sooth himself to sleep, it is a necessary skill that they have to learn some day.

We do the CIO method at our house and it rarely lasts longer than 5 minutes. I use it at nap time also, my son is almost 2 yrs old and only takes one nap a day. He goes to sleep at about 1pm and usually sleeps for 2 hrs. a lot of the time he wakes after one hour, cries for about 2 minutes and then goes back to sleep. I am not sure why but it happens almost everyday...I think letting them cry it out is ok, especially if you have a baby that gets cranky when they are sleepy... That way he may get sleep even if he is a bit cranky instead of being out of bed and maybe not going back to sleep. Another thing you may want to try is cutting back on one of his naps and making them all a little longer.... Things are different for everyone and you will get in a groove before you know it... Good luck with your growing son! The best advice I can give is to listen to your heart, you are his mom and you know what is right for your baby! Smile Always, L.

I would encourage you to do what works for you....we cry it out at night, especially in the middle of the night if she wakes, but during the day, she usually falls asleep on walks or car rides and when I am home, she naps with me. It has not been a problem for her at all. good luck.

I just (literally 20 minutes ago) used the CIO method with my 6 MO son for his afternoon nap. He's a great sleeper at night but has fought naps since he was born. He was absolutely exhausted but just refused to sleep. I could get him to nap in his swing most of the time but he's moving around too much now and I feel its dangerous to leave him in there anymore. I rocked him, swaddled him, darkened his room, etc. Nothing worked! I really didn't want to use the CIO method but I had no choice. He cried (waled actually) for about 15 minutes although it felt like a million and kinda broke my heart. The point is that it worked! He's sleeping. Probably won't be for long but he is sleeping. I'm totally amazed. Its not ideal and if you can avoid it please do but when you have no choice left it can work for some babies. Good luck!

Hey N.,

We are doing Ferber and I'm not sure how it parallels CIO? Anyway, the book says that nap ties need to be the same as night time. So I would think CIO is the same. I think the idea is that you want your baby to learn to fall asleep by themselves and this includes naps. This is so hard!!! Good luck.

Hi N.,
First I want to say, we did "sleep training", my preferred name to CIO. Because, self soothing is a mechanism that we have to help a child do, that they do not necessarily activate on their own. So, I wonder how you are applying this method? Do you you a soothing voice and say, " I love you, I know you are safe and I know you can put yourself to sleep?" Also, according to a couple of sources, Dr. Weisbluth and Tracy Hoagg, you want to get your infant down before they are over tired. It seems counter intuitive, but their experience suggests that when children are over tired they fight sleep, because their fight or flight is activated and they are not calm enough to settle down. However, as I write this, I realize I don't know what method you used to get your little one to sleep before you implemented CIO/sleep training. If you rocked, nursed, strolled or whatever... that might be what your son is use to and it will take soothing repitition to get him to sleep on his own. Usually, a new transition, like putting yourself to sleep, takes 3 days for both night and naps.
I'm not sure I've said a useful thing...however, if your night time went well, it won't take long for the naps to go that way either.
Good Luck.

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