December 03, 2009,
C.V. asks from Troy, MI on October 05, 2009
"Crying It Out" for 4 Month Old
Im curious about other mom's experiences with letting infants cry it out to help them initiate sleeping through the night. Does this work? My son is 4 months old and breastfed and still getting up 2-3 times night. My dr.says we need to break him of the "habit" now vs. later, but Im not sure ignoring my crying baby for hours is very nurturing. Please share any comments or alternatives.
So What Happened?™
Thank you all for your support and suggestions. We read the "No Cry Sleep Solution" and followed that routine for 2 months. Although it was helpful for establishing a daytime routine, it did not improve the nighttime waking issue. This past week we have moved our son into his own room and initiated the Ferber Method. Last night he slept quietly from 8pm-130am and only fussed 3 times between 130 and 5am, all of which he put himself back to sleep in under 10 minutes. I am so happy we have begun to empower our son to soothe himself. My husband was a huge help the first night, when the baby cried for and hour and 20 minutes and my husband would go in every 5 min and pat our son's back gently until he slept (my husband went instead of me so that the baby didnt expect to be nursed). I used headphones and the ipod so I could sleep. When I took over at 3AM the baby awoke briefly and required 3 episodes of "back patting" but was able to put himself back to sleep without nursing in a matter of minutes. The second night (when you are supposed to allow baby to cry for 10 min before patting) He did not require any patting from 11pm to 530 am. I am thrilled! And the baby still wakes up happy!
N.W. answers from Detroit on October 06, 2009
I never let my babies cry it out. It is stressful for them...they don't understand it...and ultimatley you can't sleep anyway. Good luck.
N.B. answers from Saginaw on October 06, 2009
get a new doctor. the "crying it out" method is barbaric and only develops insecurity in your child. what's wrong with getting up during the night? who says that all children should sleep through the night? why would that make someone's baby "better behaved" than one that wakes? your gut is telling you the right story. always go with how you feel. you know your baby best and will always know what's right for him. "crying it out" only exhausts the child to the point of their bodies not having anything left but to sleep. breastfed children need to eat every few hours, and that includes over night. you'll also have folks tell you how "when you begin feeding him cereal he'll sleep through the night" which always entertained me. have you considered co-sleeping? I'm not referring to him being in bed with you necessarily, but in a bassinet or co-sleeper next to your bed. look into it. there are nay-sayers out there about it, but we do it and have a three year old that I never hear a peep from now all night long. no hard habits to break, and never a tear at bedtime. good luck to you.
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S.M. answers from Detroit on October 06, 2009
You will find people on both sides of this issue. Sleeping through the night is not something you have to teach your child. He'll learn it on his own as he grows and matures. Getting up 2-3 times a night at 4 months is not at all uncommon.
I'd encourage you to follow your instincts. Answering your baby's cries tells him he can trust you, day or night, you will meet his needs. It teaches him that what he needs is as important as the needs of a big sized person (even at night). Also, you can't spoil a child by doing that. Right now his needs and his wants are the same. You're doing a terrific job. S.
P/S One thing to note. Recently Dr. Ferber went on the record saying that now he'd never recommend using the method he put out in his book. He said he was a young Dr. who really didn't know a thing and just put it out there. He now thinks it's wrong.
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D.S. answers from Grand Rapids on October 06, 2009
C.: hmmmm lets see , if your child was a teen and had some issues and was crying and it lasted all night , would you comfort them ? would you find time to help them or let them figure it out by themselves? why when an infant's only communication is crying , why is it ok to ignore it ? a baby cries for only one reason, they need something, children with their needs met are happier children, we all go through this stage, and we all do it differently, the best thing you can give your child is you, i know you are tired, its rough , your child will only be this small for a ahort time, enjoy them while you can, if you have taken care of all their needs and he is just being fussy, its ok to stretch the cry it out method, even a young child is put into time out one minute per age, this is avery long time for an infant, try for 30 seconds one night and see if they fall back a sleep, then next night try for one minute, then next night try for two minutes, but you must make sure their needs are met, when you are hungry you get up and you eat, why cant your child? they go through growing stages and need to eat more, it is not emotionaly good for your childs emotions to be totally ignored, continue to do the best you can, and it wont be long, hang in there, maybe put the baby in your room in their crib? so you can attend to them, and comfort them back to sleep without too much disturbance of your sleep, i used to have a bag with everything in it i would need for my child by the bed, i could sit in bed and take care of everything , change diaper, etc, and feed it, this will help you to snooze easier without a walk across a house or somethiing, maybe they just need a blanket, or they are cold, or their little nerves jumped, and it scared them and woke them up, or they are hungry, maybe give them some cereal at night mixed with breast milk to help them stay asleep longer, he might truly be hungry, and need more food, my second son, wanted more food also at a very young age, whatever the reason for his crying he needs an adult to fix it, so have a good day, and hope it helps, continue to be the great mom you are, the reason you are asking is showing you care, continue loving your son, and giving him the emotional support he needs at any time of life. D. s
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A.N. answers from Detroit on October 06, 2009
wow. 'barbaric' seems harsh.
i did the cry it out method for both kids. it took about 3 days and occasionally they will still wake up (heck mine still do here and there and they are 9 & 7 lol). but that being said, jmo but i think 4 months is a little young yet. i 'recommend' it more around 6 months. hang in there!
A.H. answers from Detroit on October 05, 2009
I think it all boils down to how you feel...
Does he cry to eat or to be held? Is he getting enough before bedtime?
I nursed and we just got up with our son. At that age and with the weather and sickness - he was a sick little guy that first year, so he was in our bed alot! Not to mention the fact that it was hard for me to move around due to some personal health issues making it hard to do so.
Decide if you want to do this. It's hard to do. This is our only child, so we are absorbing all we can - while we can. (because we know he'll be ready someday to push us away like all big kids...)
At five years old, our son still wants to cuddle if he wakes up or uses the bathroom at night. As he is with me all day, he wants to have this time with his daddy (I think he really misses him during the day). Our son is the type that just loves to be with us and I know he feels better with us, but yes - we kick him back to his bed. And when he is ill or becoming ill, he knows he is not allowed in our bed so he doesn't pass it on to us.
J.D. answers from Grand Rapids on October 06, 2009
oh man, you need a new doctor! It is NORMAL and HEALTHY for breastfed babies to wake up every 2-3 hours to nurse, especially when they are this young, or going thru a growth spurt. Do what feels right to you, if your intuition tells you to feed your baby when he is hungry, then feed him!
S.N. answers from Detroit on October 06, 2009
You shouldn't let your child cry it out. Here is an article to show why:
K.M. answers from Detroit on October 06, 2009
I'm with you I am not sure at 4months old the baby seems so small still maybe more or less after 8 months I would. This is what I would do give him a pacifier. maybe he has gas or something. I would go in an try and calm him with out hold ing him for a little while. If that doesn't work pick him up comfort him try to get him to go to sleep than lay him down.
A.H. answers from Grand Rapids on October 06, 2009
aaahhh. A really big can of worms.
I agree with the Healthy sleeping habits book as well as Baby Wise.
I did it at 6 months because he was my 6th child and I was NOT going to sleep with him in my bed or my room anylonger and mom's need their sleep!!!! in order to be a good mom to everyone. It's not like you can take a nap during the day.
It is not barbaric...(barbaric would be hitting them over the head with a club) and those who think so probably never tried it or are too weak to hear their baby cry. oooohh, that one might get someone riled up! :) Chances are they wont' cry for hours and by the end of the week they won't cry at all andyou will be sleeping and everyone will be happy!!!! Is it barbaric to make your child use the toilet, utensils, sit at the table, stay in bed, do their homework, even if they dont' want to. That's what it is, or will be, they don't want to be all alone, they want to be next to you, but the only way they can communicate that is crying. They communicate everything the same way, different cry but, the same way. Did you know your child an learn to float in the water on their backs at 6 months of age??? It would save their life. But guess what...they cry almost the whole time. I think it's worth saving their lives though...that's why we are the parents and they are the babies!!!
You'll figure it out. Just do it before you become to tired and irritated :) Read up on it and follow through with the next couple of months,your infant is still really young. And, this is a matter of opinion apparently, you don't need to give your child solid foods by 6 months....
I keep reading people's responses and so I want to respond to my own. There is a different between having a sparadic night where you don't know when you slept or when you didn't and having a more scheduled night. Yes, you are going to get up and when they are this young they will be hungry! So you can work at it and have for example: feed them and lay them down at 8, they wake up at 12, you feed them and lay them back down, they go to sleep and get up at 4, you feed them and lay them down and then they get up 8 and you feed them and are up for a bit. That's what alot of these books talk about, a schedule that you also put into place during the day for feeding. Of course I think that best thing to do with a new child is to hold and cuddle them all day!! But really, can we do that? I just don't like that people say "barbaric" because that means they are calling you/me barbaric. What's that? How can you call someone that. And I think that those people can't point out as adults who slept on a schedule and who was coddled all night at mom's breast.
So Really, you must feel really stuck now....if you try it and it doens't work you will feel "barbaric" for trying it and worry that you emotional damaged your child for life and if you don't you'll lie awake at night wondering if you should. I like this site but I don't, sometimes it's too much!! I would, if I were you, find another mom you love and trust and learn from them because you can physically see their product in their kids and in their lives. You don't know any of these people. You know if you are giving your kids what they need and loving them to the best of your ability. You shouldn't let some online gal make you feel guilty for what works for you.
So, I'm done now.
L.G. answers from Detroit on October 06, 2009
I was fortunate to have a daughter who gradually slept longer and long at night, and did not need to cry it out in the middle of the night. HOWEVER, she did go through stages where i had to let her cry it out to get to sleep initially. this was usually after she had been sick or some other change, that caused her to get used to falling asleep in our arms or something. it was worth it every time! usually, after letting her cry 1-2 nights, she would be good after that. IT IS HARD. i'm not going to lie. but, keep in mind, it is good for your baby. it will not scar him or cause him any emotional damage, as some may suggest. it will make him a better sleeper later on, and you a happier mama when you see the results and get good sleep.
also, be reassured that your son does NOT need to eat in the middle of the night. he is only in the habit. and, keep in mind that you know your son best. a lot of people suggest the book where you sit by his bed, or you keep coming in. for my daughter, that made things worse. she would cry, but if i was in there, she was crazy and wouldn't even lay down. it was worse for me to to watch her and to be right there and ignore her.
my suggestion is, find something to do. don't sit there with the monitor at your ear. get busy, and the time will go faster, before you know it, he'll be asleep.
i know it's harder in the middle of the night. try feeding him an extra time in the evening, just so he's full, or maybe, for a while, you could even try picking him up when he wakes, or just soothing him, but DON'T nurse. he needs to get out of the habit of eating in the middle of the night.
C.M. answers from Detroit on October 06, 2009
I am not a fan of the "crying it out" method, especially at just 4 months old. I believe doing this only tells baby that you are ignoring him and are not there when he needs you. Infants DO get hungry at all hours of any given day or night. They want their Mom at any hour of the day or night. Their needs don't change just because it is dark outside. Some babies sleep well right "out of the box" and some don't. Hooray for YOU that you feel un-nurturing thinking about the "crying it out" method! As he gets older and bigger, he will be able to eat more at one time and sleep longer. Breastmilk digests more quickly than formula, because there is so little waste, so baby gets hungry sooner. I believe that most doctors base their recommendations on numbers based on bottle fed babies. You are doing the BEST thing for you and your baby by breastfeeding him. He will be a much healthier child AND adult. Keep up the good work, nap when he does during the day and enjoy every minute! He will be grown up before you know it.
W.M. answers from Detroit on October 06, 2009
I see you have plenty of responses from both sides. I agree with many of the posters who said you have to do what's comfortable for you & your baby, in spite of what everyone else thinks. "Crying it out" is definitely a hot-button topic and no matter what you choose, someone will tell you that you're doing it wrong, so be prepared for that. I used the cry-it-out method at bedtime with both of my kids (now ages 4 and 2), but I waited until they were closer to 6 months. I found it to be very effective. I breastfed both, and I can't remember when they stopped nursing in the night, but 4 months seems young to automatically expect the baby to last through the night. Some do, and can, but I know plenty of breastfed babies who needed to nurse at night until they were older (6-8 mo). It seems like my pediatrician is also of the opinion that 4 months is plenty old enough to start sleep training, but I was not comfortable with it, which is why I waited. So, if you're feeling conflicted about it now, my advice would be to wait a month or two, and then re-assess and see if you're ready to try crying it out, or if there's another method you'd prefer to try.
S.A. answers from Detroit on October 06, 2009
You have tons of advice/opinions already. I'd just like to point out that my son just NOW is starting to sleep through the night. He is 20 months! Reason being, he had Severe Pediatric Obstructive Sleep Apnea. We did try letting him cry a couple nights around the age of 10 months but he got so hysterical we knew it could not be good for his heart (born with SVT-a rapid hert rate).
We currently co-sleep. This started when he was around 7 months. Because he was premature, he was able to sleep in the bassinet for quite a long time. In our case, because he slept was us we were able to notice the reason he did not sleep through the night. He would literally sit up and throw himself. His breathing would pause, he would cry out, punch, and gasp for breath and snored like a grown man. He recently had a sleep study done that gave us the diagnosis above (Apnea). His oxygen levels dropped over 300 times during the night of the study. He just (last week) had his tonsils and adenoids removed. He sleeps so quietly now. I actually have to check and see if he is breathing.
My point of sharing this is to reiterate that you need to do what is right for you! If we did not feel it was necessary to let him sleep with us, we would never have noticed what was waking him throughout the night.
We are going to give him a couple weeks to get use to sleeping through the night, and start putting him in his own bed in his own room.
btw- the last couple nights have been the first in almost two years that I'VE slept through the night.
Good Luck, and Please do what YOU feel is best for you!
H.B. answers from Grand Rapids on October 05, 2009
what? what kind of idiots told u to let a baby cry it out? where did they get their degree from? My sons both breastfed every 1 1/2 hours, when i added a bottle in they lasted longer...breast milk has less calories towards the evening. so if u want them to last longer, you must give them more calories.
if u want to create a self satisfied person,then u must take care of their needs. both of my sons work full time and go to school full time. they never cried until they wer 6-8 months old, they never had to, i took care of their needs.
H.H. answers from Detroit on October 06, 2009
I used this method with my now 9 year old at 4 months. It was hard, but so worth it. He cried 20 minutes the first night, less than 5 the second, not at all the third. We used the same method at naps and he came around very quickly. He is a wonderful sleeper and secure child. He knows he is loved and that there are firm boundaries around him. You have to do what works for you.
Best of luck!
H.S. answers from Detroit on October 06, 2009
I agree, you should start trying to break him from it now; my daughter nursed for the first four months then lost interest in the breast and went to the bottle; however, she didn't start sleeping through the night until she was nearly two and she would wake up every two hours on the dot; I literally didn't sleep for two years. It sucked and I was not a good person to be around then. lol ... I understand the need to comfort a crying child; what I would do is instead of getting up with my daughter, I would give her a bottle of water and when she laid on her side to drink the bottle, I would rub her back until she calmed down. Good luck!
C.C. answers from Detroit on October 06, 2009
You as the parent need to make the choice that best fits your needs. With my first child we got her to sleep every night before putting her to bed. She woke up several times a night and we got up and fed her (breast milk in a bottle). The bad thing was we never taught her how to sleep through the night without us being there with her. We found as she got older it was much harder to get her in the habit of going to sleep on her own and staying asleep through the night. When she was a little over two years old our son was born. He was a big boy (20lbs at 4 months) and wanted to use mommy as food and pacifier. At 9 months he was well over 20lbs and didn't really need to eat several times through the night. Since I was sleep deprived and working full time I spoke to our pediatrician (four children of her own) and she recommended that we let him cry it out. It took a few nights for him to understand that he needed to go to sleep and then he would occasionally wake up and want mommy.
As a new mom it's hard to get a little one in bed before they go to sleep because they usually fall asleep while eating. Then we all get in the habit of letting them go to sleep before putting them to bed...I know I'm guilty. I don't think it's barbaric or cruel to let your child cry it out. It's all what works best for you and your child so don't let anyone make you feel guilty for YOUR choice. Trust your instincts.
Hang in there and God bless!
A.S. answers from Detroit on October 06, 2009
I also recommend, Highly recommend the book Healthy Sleep Habits , Happy Child. I breastfed both babies. My first child fed every 2 hours for a long time. We didn't let him really cry it out until 1 year old (mistake!). We used the book as a guide from the get-go with my second, she fed every four hours and has slept like a dream. We never really had to go through a "cry it out" persay...b/c by the time she was 8 mos. old she slept 12-14 hours through the night. We did let her cry a little more each feeding...but I think the key is getting them on a schedule more than anything (and utilizing very early bedtimes!!!). Check out the book...it's very easy!!
S.W. answers from Detroit on October 06, 2009
My pediatrician also told us to let our baby cry it out, but NOT through the whole night. Every time we laid him down, he would wake up and cry until we picked him up, so she said to let him cry himself to sleep. It was not until my son was 6 months old that she said physically he did not NEED to eat, that it would be okay to let him go for 8 hours w/out eating.
Is your doctor suggesting you ignore him the whole night? If so, I think 4 months is too early. If is just to learn how to fall asleep on his own, I think all babies are different. At four months, we tried (for 1 month) to let my son fall asleep on his own and it just didn't work, so we stopped and tried again at 6 months and it worked much better.
Go with your instincts. If it doesn't feel right to let you baby cry at 4 months don't do it. If it feels right, you can always try it and if it doesn't work, you can try again later. Good luck!!!
N.W. answers from Detroit on October 06, 2009
I never let my babies cry it out. It is stressful for them...they don't understand it...and ultimatley you can't sleep anyway. Good luck.
B.H. answers from Detroit on October 08, 2009
I tried this one night when my son was a baby. It did not work for us because my son would never stop crying. I believe that after about 45 min. to an hour if they are still crying it probably does not work for that particular baby.
I've heard some parents say it worked for them. I think it all depends on what type of temperment the baby has. There are some really easy going baby's who don't fuss too much and will quiet down easily (my second son) Then you have your really demanding and stubborn ones (my 1st born) who will not stop crying. That one night he cried until he turned read and was sweating through his clothes. So, I had to hold and rock him until he went to sleep because crying it out was not something he could do.
K.K. answers from Atlanta on October 06, 2009
C....first off, you need a new and knowledgeable doctor. This one is very old fashioned in his/her opinions and obviously doesn't keep up with current literature. Second, go with your instincts. As parents...and especially as moms, we have good, nurturing instincts. I can't believe that your doctor is encouraging you to "break a habit". Babies do not have habits...especially at 4 months old. Your baby is nursing at night because that is what he needs. Breastfed babies feed more often, and often for longer periods of time as it is more work to get the milk out of a breast than out of a bottle. Breastmilk is metabolized much quicker as there is much less waste (ever wonder why the poops don't stink and are smaller? This is why!) This also means that babies have to eat more often as the milk leaves their stomachs faster. However, it is, without doubt, THE BEST you can ever give your baby. You are obviously dedicated to giving the best to you son. Well, nursing during the night is something very common in breastfed babies. They usually have to nurse every 1.5 to 2 hours when small or when going through growth spurts. As they get older, this time decreases except when they are in a growth spurt or are working on developmental milestones such as sitting, rolling over, crawling, etc. You will find that his waking will increase or decrease depending on what he is going through, learning, how well he nursed that day, illness, etc. And, a growth spurt is very common around 3-4 months as babies are generally learning many new things at this time.
I have 4 children, the oldest is 8 and the youngest is 16 months. I have nursed all of them. They all woke through the night to nurse at least until the age of 12-18 months, some of them even longer. Sometimes it is for hunger, and other times, just for the closeness and comfort they receive from suckling and being cuddled. I would NEVER allow a baby to cry it out. I think it is barbaric and teaches the baby that they won't get attention when they need it. Crying is their only means of telling us something is wrong, they need something, they are uncomfortable or scared. Why would anyone, EVER not respond to that? I want my children to know they can get my attention when they need it. When they are older, that is another story when they can reason a bit more and understand consequences, cause and effect, etc a bit more. Some people liken it to making your children behave, use table manners, etc. But by that time, they can reason...infants can't. Besides, have you ever seen a 16 year old who wakes and cries and needs to be nursed in the middle of the night? Your baby will outgrow it when HE is ready. As an infant, I respond when they cry as if I don't take care of their needs (and yes...at this age it is needs NOT wants!), then who is going to take care of them? Proponents of CIO are going to say that they don't let babies cry for hours...what they do is keep checking back. However, what they are really doing is teaching a baby that his/her needs will not get met even when using their only means of communication. That is not what I want my baby to learn, how about you? For me, parenting is a 24/7 job. If that means I have to wake up to nurse 1 or 15 times a night, then that is what I do. If it means when my 4 year old has a nightmare, I go parent him back to sleep, then I do. It it means my 6 year old sometimes needs to come sleep with me when he is not feeling well, then I will wake up and welcome him. I do not stop being a parent when they go to bed.
Another alternative for you if you are not doing it now is co-sleeping. You can nurse him right from bed without either of you really having to wake up. If you are working outside the home or find you are needing more sleep, it is an awesome alternative.
I highly suggest you follow your heart as well as do some research. Doctors are not Gods. i don't propose to know it all, but I have had 8 years experience with 4 of my own children. I did what works for me. I also have a Psychology and medical background so I tend to do a lot of research and balance the two areas.
Good luck and most importantly of all, take care of your sweet boy!
M.L. answers from Dallas on October 05, 2009
I REALLY recommend a book called "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" by Mark Weissbluth, M.D. He doesn't follow one method or another, but as the pioneer in infant/ child sleep studies, he understands how their sleep cycles work.
I feel that getting up to eat 2-3 times for a breastfed baby (I nursed for 1 year) is not a habit, it is a necessity. By 6 months, this will probably be gone.
G.K. answers from Detroit on October 06, 2009
I feel that you are going through the same thing I did! Are you sure that your baby is getting enough food? My son was born big and hungry and I also strictly breastfed. I was having the same problem and it seemed that I was constantly breastfeeding him, I was super tired, and my son was almost four months old.
I ended up switching pediatricians and the new one was a God send! He told me to try starting my son on very liquidy cereal and breastmilk to see if it helped...the day we stared adding cereal he started to sleep a lot better and was in a better mood throughout the day. I breastfed my son until he was 14 months old and he is doing great! I used the Earth's Best rice cereal and b/c my son liked it so much I used the rest of the products as well. Also, Earth's Best has simple veggies for four months old that are good too.
I hope this helps and good luck!
S.S. answers from Grand Rapids on October 06, 2009
I see you already have a few responses, but I thought I'd share my experience. My son is 11 weeks old and is now sleeping 9 hours at night. The process we went through was..I set a consistent routine of the time he gets his last feeding, listened to lullabies for 5 minutes in the dark, laid him down with his eyes still open. I gradually shortened his feedings throughout the night(he started at 1/2 hour feedings that I gradually took 5 minutes off of until 10 minutes). Once he got to that point,I would wait 5-10 minutes to see if he would calm himself. If he didn't, then I just got up to change his diaper and gave him his pacifier which he sucked on until he fell back asleep (without feeding him). I also have him wearing the night time diapers. Now he sleeps through the night. Good Luck! As you know, every child is different.
C.D. answers from Detroit on October 06, 2009
I've never been able to let my daughter cry but having said that, I think this is a very personal family decision. 4-months seems really young, I wouldn't agree with your pediatrician on the habit part. Your son may very well be hungry, you obviously can't measure ounces taken in when your nursing plus you need to factor in growth spurts. Most lactation books will tell you that breastfed babies often will get up a couple times a night to nurse but of course every baby is different. When my daughter was 4 months we re-visited the swaddle and it worked well, she slept much better than unswaddled. That's when she started sleeping through the night in terms of a 5 hour block NOT 12 hours.
I would suggest the book The Baby Whisperer (an in-between approach) or The No Cry Sleep Solution. Good luck to you, go with your gut instinct on what's right for you and your family. If you decide against crying it out and you're looking for more support and advice, I suggest www.kellymom.com
A.U. answers from Detroit on October 08, 2009
Please Please don't leave your little baby to cry it out, he needs his parents. I agree with Sammie about checking out this site http://www.phdinparenting.com/2008/07/05/no-cry-it-out/
I know people that were left to "cry it out" as infants and most of the things mentioned in this article to apply to their adult behavior!
Its cruel.. Love and nurture that baby when he crys..
No it won't "spoil" him, it will just show him that you are there for him.
Good Luck :)
S.P. answers from Detroit on October 06, 2009
I have 3 boys and crying it out never worked for me. My doctor said that they were just hungry boys. I tried letting them cry it out and it just wasn't worth it. They would cry for over an hour and fall asleep and then just wake up and cry again. I was up all night that way! I do believe they were just hungry. It was best for me to get up and give them a bottle and back down they went.
G.B. answers from Detroit on October 06, 2009
It is very upsetting to hear of any doctor suggesting letting an infant of any age cry it out. It is healthy and normal for breastfed babies to nurse off and on through the night. They need the milk and it's so perfectly suited to their tiny systems that it digests very quickly. Please do not do this. Your baby is telling you what he needs in the only way he can. Have him sleep in your room, and this won't be such a disturbance. You might consider attending a local LaLeche League meeting. You can find one on www.llli.org. You'll get tons of info and support from them! Good for you for breastfeeding!
D.G. answers from Grand Rapids on October 06, 2009
If I remember right, (my kids are starting to get into their teens and I have a very short memory) By the time my kids were 6 months old they were all sleeping all night. (I had 4) I never really had to have them cry it out. What I did is make sure they were clean, warm and well feed, I put a rocking chair next to their crib and feed them while sitting there. as soon as they went back to sleep I put them back in their beds and went back to bed myself. My daughter is the only one that shared my bed when she was real little because my ex-husband was gone to war, and I was working full time and had three children to take care of. As soon as he come home she went back to her own bed.
I think 4 months is a little young for a child to cry it out, but I would start trying for a better sleep schedule soon.
S.D. answers from Grand Rapids on October 06, 2009
I will put in my advice. I highly recommend the healthy sleep habits book as well. I read it, and it did really help to understand the sleep patterns of my daughter. My daughter was in the bassinet until she was 5-6 months, so she was by my side. I was up nightly nursing her at least once a night at that time. When she went to her crib, I was still getting up once a night until she was about 7 months old. Then she started sleeping through the night. But I will say until she was about a year old maybe 15 months, I was up at least once if not twice a week during the night to nurse her. It does wear on you, but for me I made the choice to nurse her, and did it without complaining about it too much to others. My daughter didn't hit 20 lbs until she was 15 months, so she was on the lighter side, but she was tall. That is another thing you should look at. Since my daughter was light, but tall, she needed more calories, and she wasn't able to get them all in the day. Even after we added solids into her diet, she was still up. I say she was hungry, as she could eat. Others told me she just wanted to be my me. For me, I will take the time with her. They grow up too fast.
D.H. answers from Detroit on October 06, 2009
We did the Ferber progressive waiting at 4 1/2 months due to taking 2 hours to get DD to fall asleep at night and she was doing plenty of crying with the very intensive nursing, carrying, rocking and whatever else we could think of during that 2 hours. We only did it for initiation of sleep at night and I would nurse her whenever she woke which she just stopped waking on her own by 5 1/2 months. Buy the book if you want full details but generally you put down drowsy but awake and check back after 1,3,5 mins then every 5 mins until sleep first night. times increase to 3,5,7 mins night 2. 5,7,10 night 3. 7,10,15 night 4. 10,15,20 night 5 and any other nights it takes. DD cried for 1 1/2 hours night 1. 1 hour 10 min night 2, approx 30 mins night 3,4,5. 8 min night 6. 1 min night 7. DD is 2 and has been sleeping very well since we sleep trained. Naps took longer and I continued to carry her for 2 2 hour naps until she was about 5 1/2 months and then she just sorta got it on her own when I started laying down with her for a few minutes and walking away. What made it a little easier for us was that our dtr would cry while falling asleep no matter what we did(her preferred method was being bounced while we carried her in the bjorn and we figured she avgd 20 mins of crying with that) Now when I put her to bed I sing and in the middle she says bye bye mommy love you, thats my signal to leave and she falls asleep without a fuss
M.H. answers from Detroit on October 05, 2009
I am not against crying it out and did this with my kids but I don't think I did it as young as 4 months. I also nursed and always got up to feed them in the night. Once they went onto solids at about 6 months they slept for longer anyway, and that was also when I started them on formula. I did not have a problem of "breaking them of the habit" as they naturally transitioned to sleeping longer. If you have a set bedtime and routine it will create healthy sleeping habits which will serve him as he gets older.
When I did use the cry it out method I used it at bedtime (not in the middle of the night) and had a 20 minute rule (if they cried for as long as 20 mins we would go in and sooth them but not get them back up). Letting an infant/toddler cry it out is a personal decision that you have to feel comfortable with and know that they are fed, diaper changed etc so you are sure that they don't really need anything but are wanting attention/affection which I am sure you give lots of during the day. I do firmly believe that a child needs to know bedtime is bedtime and this will set them up for healthy sleeping habits as they get older. There are different ways to create this and you have to find one which you are comfortable with.
L.J. answers from Detroit on October 06, 2009
I have nothing against "crying it out" but at 4 months old breastfeeding 2-3 times a night for my girls was normal. You probly by now know the difference between his crys, and feed him when he is hungry even if it is in the middle of the night. If it is not a hungry cry maybe let him cry it out, i only let my girls cry for about 20 mins to a half hour, thats all i could take, if they haven't calmed down within a half hour you should go in and find out what is wrong. good luck.
C.Q. answers from Detroit on October 06, 2009
I would just like to know what are you letting him cry out? Even the term sounds crazy. I have 2 children and when they need me I am there. I don't care if it isn't convient for me. They didn't ask to come into this world we as parents made that decision for them.
Do you do everything someone else tells you to do?
You need to do what you think is right however, if you are upset or hurting or hungry or just need help you are big enough to take care of those things yourself a 4 month old can not - they can't even talk yet.
These days shall too pass - one day you will miss this one on one time that only YOU can have with him. Enjoy.
J.H. answers from Detroit on October 06, 2009
In my experience (I have 2 kids - one is 3 years and the other is 12 weeks), using the methods in the Baby Whisperer book have worked wonderfully. I also read Healthy Sleep Habits of Healthy Child (or something like that) that some posters already suggested. Both books are great. It's a gradual process. The books do not recommend crying it out for long periods of time. The method they suggest is letting the baby cry for a small period of time then going in and reassuring her and calming her down (without feeding her) - and repeating this as long as necessary. It will be hard probably for a few nights but the baby should adjust relatively quickly at 4 months. With my 12 weeks old, I started giving him a pacifier when he'd wake around 10 weeks and he eventually fell back asleep. Now he's sleeping close to 10 hours straight without waking. But I'm no longer breastfeeding so I don't know if that makes a difference or not...
E.O. answers from Detroit on October 06, 2009
I have seriously not read all of your responses only because some upset me so much. I am a mother to a 16 month old and I truely believe it depends on your child. Prior to having children totally thought letting him cry was best. Then I had my son whom is very sensitive. We tried to have himcry it out when he was about 7 months and to be honest it back fired and we only did it because people told us he "should" be sleeping though the night. He went from getting up 1 a night to 2 or 3 times and we could just check him and go get what he needed or he would scream! We finally were able to work together and get him back to 1 time a night. Then after his birthday he was so excited from it he was up for a whole week from 11p to 4a. We finally tried again to let him cry it out but only in our pure depsiration. It took 1 night. In all seriousness I read every book every post on sleeping and nothing seemed to fit. I feel my son needed to mature a little for it and needed that time. Do what you feel is best. You know your son better than any doctor does. What "should" be done is what you feel comfortable with. Every baby is different and if you can handle getting up that much right now then do it if you can. I wish you all the luck!
S.W. answers from Grand Rapids on December 03, 2009
I was told about a book when my son was 3 weeks old called Baby Wise. I decided to give it a shot and have never regreted it! He was sleeping 7 hours at night by 6 weeks! 10 by 8 weeks! He took 2 naps a day until he was 6 months old and he still slept 12 hours at night! He is 2 now and still one 3 hour nap and 12 hours at night! Happy as can be, well rested children are easier to work with!! He has a powerful immune system too! My boyfriend and I both caught the h1n1 and my son never even got a fever! The best part about the book was being my first child, it gave me the confidence I needed to do what was best for my son and made my life SOOOOO much easier!
L.O. answers from Detroit on October 05, 2009
my pediatrician who has 3 kids.. said breastfed babies do not sleep through the night. breastmilk is wonderful food for the baby but he needs to eat often.
My daughter stopped waking to nurse at 7 months.. my son woke in the middle of the night well past 1 year.
I wouldnot let the baby cry it out...
J.M. answers from Lansing on October 06, 2009
My children were bigger babies, so at 4 months they were on cereal and were not hungry through the night. If your child's needs are met, then use your best judgement. I let my children cry it out and even at 4 months they do develop "habits". Too many Mom's have their children dictate their lives until they are well into adulthood, as some of the previous messages. Make sure your child's needs are met and then get some sleep.
A.M. answers from Detroit on October 22, 2009
I think 4 months old is too young to allow a baby to "cry it out". My babies used to fall asleep while nursing before bedtime. My son did also awaken a couple a times a night to nurse (not unusual by the way at 4 months). However, I recall my pediatrician had mentioned to allow my children to nurse as much as they want in the day, which then usually helped in them sleeping for longer stretches at night. Also if my baby did awaken at night I would go to them, I would nurse them BUT I kept the lights low and did not verbalize much, which sort of conveyed to them that this is night time, i.e. time to sleep.
K.D. answers from Dallas on October 05, 2009
You will get a wide range of answers here. Mine is going to be short because he is too young for the CIO aka Ferber Method. If you do want to try it, (it does work by the way) I would wait until your little one is 5.5-6 months old.
K.H. answers from Grand Rapids on October 06, 2009
My daughter was born five weeks early and started sleeping 12 hours at night at ten weeks old....on her own. To say we let her "cry it out " for HOURS would be false, but after about 6 weeks or so, we would let her cry for about 20 minutes before deciding that she was hungry or not. If she kept crying, she was, if not, she went back to sleep. Gradually, she slept more and more at night. I understand that maybe your son is still hungry, but maybe he needs more food during the day. I highly suggest you read "Babywise", it changed everything for us and now my almost 6 month old has been sleeping 12 hours a night, plus two two-hour long naps during the day, since she was 10 weeks old. I don't think he will have to go to therapy later in life because he has deep seeded feelings of "abandonment" from infanthood. That is ridiculous. You need to teach him how to sleep....or end up with him in your bed like a lot of other parents I know...doesn't sound like a good time to me. Good luck!
S.B. answers from Grand Rapids on October 07, 2009
Google the Ferber method. This is a little less harsh and proven to work after 3 nights.
A.A. answers from Kalamazoo on October 05, 2009
I won't tell you one way or another what to do, however, I will say that it is A LOT harder to help them sleep through the night later on than it is when they are little like that. And it shouldn't be a let them cry for hours thing even if you do choose that route. You need to assess the situation. Is he really hungry?? Does he just want to be soothed?? Does he wake up at approximately the same time each night (this would seem to be more of a habit)?? Is he really wet?? If your baby is gaining weight and healthy, he is capable of sleeping through the night, but each baby is different and you'll need to figure out what is right for you and your baby. May you make the best decision for your little one!
M.G. answers from Detroit on October 05, 2009
ooohhh goodness have you opened a can of worms with this one! I am sure this will get many responses. My opinion, I don't care what doctors and others say if a baby cries it needs something! Cry it out is just awful. Now if your child was over the age of say one, now that is a different story! I am a Dr. Sears co-sleeping follower. Check out his website! www.askdrsears.com.