12 answers

How Long to Let Baby Fuss?

My son will be 3 months old next week. He's slept through the night (6 hours) twice, but otherwise has usually gone 3 hours at a time max. Luckily, he knows the difference between night and day. When he wakes up at night, he tries to put himself back to sleep. He does all the normal baby stuff when in the lightest sleep - fusses, makes small cries, thrashes his arms/legs (he gets out of every swaddled blanket and swaddle device we've tried, so we just use a sleepsack to keep him warm and his arms are free), sucks his fingers, etc. The problem is, none of it usually works.

I don't do CIO, but I am fine to let him fuss for a while so he can learn to soothe himself back to sleep. The problem is, lately he'll fuss like that for half an hour or more! Eventually I feel bad that he's having such a hard time and go to help him. Strangely, it's not till I pick him up that he really starts crying. I always offer a breast but he almost never eats - just sucks himself back to sleep, so I know he's not waking up from hunger.

I know he's possibly still asleep through all the fussing (and that picking him up wakes him up), but half an hour seems like a long time. So my question is, how long should I let him go? Should I wait until he actually starts really crying, even if it's a really long time?

To clarify, since it seems people think I'm suggesting CIO. Please see above, where I said I DON'T do this. There's a big difference between letting your baby wail himself to sleep, and allowing him to fuss for a while so he can learn to help himself. If he cries, I will OF COURSE go to him. However he is not crying, and in fact doesn't cry *until* I go to him. My question is how long I should let him attempt to help himself in a non-crying manner. Thanks!

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Featured Answers

At 3 months old I wouldn't let him "fuss" for longer than 5-10 minutes max. If he starts to cry at all I would go to him right away(which it sounds like you do). I think 30 min is way too long at that age. Go ahead and let him suckle himself to sleep, it won't be too long until this wonderful private time with him is over.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

I, personally, am not a big fan of CIO. I have a 2 year old who is a rock star sleeper, and I have a 4 year-old who is not. Different kids, different body chemistries, different circadian rhythms.

At 3 months, I always got my kids and tended to them (usually nursing or a bottle). They're still really young to let them fuss for a while because they're running on a lot of instinct.

I'd ask your pediatrician, but my personal understanding is that CIO is effective past 6-8 months when their stomachs can hold more food and sustain them longer periods of time.

I've always been a working Mom and really couldn't afford the lost sleep, so it was easier to just bring them into bed with me so we could all get as much as possible.

Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful

OK I hope I am reading your question right, I have 3 kids none of which did I do CIO either so I commend you on that!! I feel you know your child and when they are in distress and when they are just making noise in their sleep. It sound like to me he is making noise in his sleep. This can sound like fussing but if he is not awake and you picking him up is waking him up then he was not in distress. If he is truely awake when you go check on him and he needs comforating there is nothing wrong with that either.

You know his noises and if not you will learn them soon enough. My recomendation is not to look at how long he has been doing it but the noise itself. does he sound in distress? or is he dreaming? get a video monitor that has night vision ( Please see the link at the end of this message I have this one and it is SO durable and LOVE IT)

I have a couple of things that helped my kids at night. 1. I would keep a sheet/ blanket over my shoulder for over an hour before bed, then when I go to lye the baby down I would lye the sheet or blanket tightly over the matrress so the baby can smell me. It has always helped them.
2. If you do go in and get them up check the usual diaper dry check, not sick check, no gas, check, hungry check, ok baby time for night night and lay baby back down if he needs more mommy time then so be it, but I always keep this time frame in mind no crying for over 5 min straight. If they fuss stop fuss stop fuss stop, fine but no CRYING for over 5 min.

Good luck I hope you figure out what works for you. It is hard to put into words what we do; we just do.

( http://www.target.com/Summer-Infant-Deluxe-Handheld-Monit... )

2 moms found this helpful

At 3 months old I wouldn't let him "fuss" for longer than 5-10 minutes max. If he starts to cry at all I would go to him right away(which it sounds like you do). I think 30 min is way too long at that age. Go ahead and let him suckle himself to sleep, it won't be too long until this wonderful private time with him is over.

1 mom found this helpful

when my daughter was that age, i'd of course check her diaper, try to feed her, if all was well, i'd just let her fuss, one night she went from 8 at night to 5am.........omg that was a long night.....and all she wanted was to be held

1 mom found this helpful

i also am not a fan of CIO and i think 3 months is WAY too early for this. Now that being said i dont see any harm in letting him fuss a bit, but as soon as it turns into something more you should respond. My daughter never fussed...she always went straight to panic cry. Have you tried to just pat him when the fussing starts to help him go back to sleep? Maybe if you do that instead of waiting for the fuss to turn into something more hed start to learn how to get himself back to bed? teething starts soon and then he is going to want to nurse to relieve that pain. Dont worry you will sleep someday!!!

1 mom found this helpful

3 months is so young! Pick him up and soothe him!

1 mom found this helpful

What is CIO? I don't see why you can't pick your baby up and cuddle him till he falls back to sleep.

1 mom found this helpful

Try giving him a binky when he starts fussing. I do that usually and my daughter slowly but surely goes back to bed. Put some music on for him? It will soothe him back to sleep and occupy his mind off of his fussiness.

1 mom found this helpful

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