46 answers

"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.

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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!

Featured Answers

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.

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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.

1 mom found this helpful

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.

1 mom found this helpful

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

1 mom found this helpful

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!

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.

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!

You shouldn't let your child cry it out. Here is an article to show why:


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.

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