9 answers

What Do You Do When CIO Doesn't Work?

My daughter (who turned one today) simply doesn't sleep. I have tried everything- even things I thought I'd never try, but she won't sleep unless I am rocking her. We rock for HOURS (last night 3, some nights 5. I have tried feeding her LOTS, giving her oragel, tylenol, or ibuprofen, music, no music, nightlight/ no nightlight, singing, patting, and crying it out. She will literally cry for hours until I pick her up. She can't sleep with us because we have a pillowtop matteress and my husband is a very light sleeper. So here is my question:
1) Maybe I am not doing CIO right, what is the correct method?
2) What do you do when there is nothing medically wrong and cry it out DOESN'T work?
I have always been opposed to crying it out, but my lack of sleep and her crankiness are pushing me over the edge. Last night it occured to me that I won't ever get to rest unless I die- that is very disturbing! I adore my child but we absolutly have got to sleep. I am heartbroken, I always wanted a big family, but maybe I am not cut out for motherhood if I can't solve sleep problems... PLEASE send your advice.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

At this point, what is most important? That you both get adequate sleep.
I'd get her a big girl bed that is comfortable enough for the both of you, on the floor if you're worried. After 30 minutes of rocking and reading books. Lay down with her. No lights. No music. Give her 5 minutes to settle down, patting, cooing, whatever. Then pretend to fall asleep. Slow, deep breathing. After a week, she should be accustomed to falling asleep in the bed and you should be rested. Then, once she falls sound asleep, you should be able to sneak out to spend alone time with hubby.

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You mention there are no medical issues, but are you certain she doesn't have any food intolerances? My oldest was the worst sleeper ever and we later learned that he had a dairy allergy and was gluten intolerant. My younger son also needed lots of attention at bedtime (for years!) and we later learned he also had the dairy allergy and has the gluten intolerance (he has both genes associated with celiac disease and is extremely sensitive to even the minutest amounts of gluten). These were things our peditrician knew nothing about and I only figured it out because I learned I had these problems when I was 42 and they were 7 and 10 respectively. If I had only known how common these problems are (there's a pediatrician in New Zealand
that has found that one in 10 children and adults are intolerant to gluten), I could have saved my poor kids years of suffering and me many nites of lack of sleep because they really did need me to comfort them.

I have 2 sets of twins; none of them were good sleepers. My boys were the same as yours at 1 yr. They are now almost 2 and they do sleep through the night on a regular basis, but sometimes get up and keep me up. I rock them, but I also sleep in their room. I make a "family bed" on the floor so I do not need to worry about falling, etc. With my older twins, I would pretend to fall asleep with them and then leave or put them in their bed. The boys seem fine with rocking them. I did sleep in their room for a while, but now I sleep outside of the room. If they cry, I wait for a while before going in; sometimes they put themselves back to sleep. Be sure she is not getting too much sleep during the day; get her up at the same time each morning - move it earlier if you have to, and be sure she does not nap too long. I know you want her to get rest, but don't let her change her nights and days so that she parties with you all night and then catches up on sleep during the day. Good luck, it is hard. CIO never ever worked in my home; my children would start banging their heads against the bed until I was afraid I would find a bloody pulp if I did not go in and stop it. The fact that you feel guilty and inadequate tells me you are a perfect mother - I have never met a mom that did not feel they were doing it wrong etc etc. so you must be doing great. take care.

Unfortunately, CIO doesn't work for all kids. For some kids, like yours and mine, the more they cry the worse it gets and soon it is OUT OF CONTROL. Once you hit that out of control point, my son would cry for 5 or 6 hours. What worked for us was to establish a good and relaxing routine prior to bed. We did a calm bath, we read books, we told a story (which ALWAYS had an ending where the little boy ie my son would go to bed and rest his body for a day of fun the follwoing day) and then prayers and 2 songs. It seems like a really long routine, but after we weaned him from rocking, we started eliminating elements. We also did not have him play in his room during the day. Sometimes it can be confusing if they are used to playing where they sleep. I promise it does get easier. The other thing to consider is that my youngest started this nasty bed time issue when he was teething (3 teeth at a time mind you) and he just needed soothing more. Also, does she have a pacifier or lovie? Sometimes these comfort things can help. Good luck and keep us posted!

At this point, what is most important? That you both get adequate sleep.
I'd get her a big girl bed that is comfortable enough for the both of you, on the floor if you're worried. After 30 minutes of rocking and reading books. Lay down with her. No lights. No music. Give her 5 minutes to settle down, patting, cooing, whatever. Then pretend to fall asleep. Slow, deep breathing. After a week, she should be accustomed to falling asleep in the bed and you should be rested. Then, once she falls sound asleep, you should be able to sneak out to spend alone time with hubby.

My daughter will be 1 year in June and she is the same way. The only way to get her to sleep is to let her sleep with us. My suggestion is try sleeping with her. I'm not sure how big her bed is, some are big enough for you to crawl in with her. Maybe if you try to put her to bed a little earlier than usual and just lay with her she would fall asleep. It may be just comfort that she needs. Between 9-12 months babies experience seperation anxiety and it will resurface again between ages 2-3. You could also try laying her crib mattress on the floor in your bedroom and lay with here there. She may just need to feel close to you. My friend had this problem with her baby and she tried using the Johnsons Bedtime Bath and Johnsons Bedtime Lotion and she said they worked wonderfully to get her daughter to sleep. I have never used them myself but I hope this helps!

I had the same issue with all three of my girls. With the first two, we resolved it by letting them sleep with us....which eventually led to other issues of having to break that habit. With the third, I truly let her cry it out. First, I bought a sound maker. The rhythm of the noise ( we used crickets but there are others on there) helped to calm her and to drown out other noises inside and out. I turned OFF the monitor and came downstairs. After about an hour, I'd go back up to make sure she was okay. If she was still crying, I would not go in and just let her cry more. It took a couple of weeks of crying...but I got my sanity back and it was well worth it. Do not go in the room for any reason while she is crying it out. She has learned that if she crys, you will come. Even at this young of an age, they know what gets to mommy because we take care of them 24/7.

After she was quite for a while, I would creep in the room to make sure she was asleep. After those two weeks, I was so disappointed in myself for not doing the same with the other two. It was wonderful to have some evening time for myself and with my husband.

Good luck!

I understand how extremely hard this must be; neither of my children slept through the night until 12 months of age, but my second child was more clingy and wanted to be rocked. I read "The No-Cry Sleep Solution" and that helped. I did the method where I sat by the crib and if she stood up I would lay her back down (without picking her up or speaking anything but 'night night'). It seem to take forever, but she knew I could hear her, I was right there. It helped her to know I was there and to learn she could put herself back to sleep. Each night the time it took got less and less.

I am not an advocate of CIO, you may check out Dr. Sear's website...askdrsears.com for lots of information...go to his A-Z index and 'cry it out' for lots of articles on his advice.

Also, our children did great with white noise...a fan pointed away from the bed, a humidifier, something loud. We must have ran that thing every night for two years. Also, my girls both have a lovey that they only get at bedtime; same deal as with the pacifier at that time. Lovey does not play with us during the day or go on errands (road trips are okay since they nap in the car). So the girls love to run to their rooms and get their lovey. Just an idea if she doesn't already have one.

I have a 7 month old who still doesn't sleep thru the night so I know what you are going thru like many other moms who have written. You have to do what is right for you and your family. Check out The Sleep Sense program...http://www.sleepsense.net/ - it is simple and you can actually get help from Dana. You do have to pay/subscribe but I believe it is worth it. We did it and it worked but then we kind of broke it by letting my son spend the night with "grandma"...our fault not his. Consistency is super important. If you want you can send me a private message and I can tell you more. Good luck!

I would say she is indeed a diva if indeed there is nothing medically wrong. there is nothing wrong with letting her cry it out for hours other than it bothers you. i would also get your husband some ear plugs. i would also get a granparent to help you so you can get at least one or two nights of uninterrupted sleep so you will have the patience and fortitude to handle her.
my first one got used to rocking and would not sleep unless i was physically touching him. i would rock him, then lay him down, when he stirred i would, pat him. as long as i was patting him he would sleep, but the minute i stopped he would wake and cry. even patting him with one finger was fine. i would sit in the rocker next to his crib patting for hours to keep him asleep. i sat up to sleep and even patted in my sleep. finally i let him cry it out. and it was hell. but i am glad i did. next two kids, i did not make these same mistakes. we teach our kids to do these terrible habits.
the only thing she knows is that she can cry and you will give in. and she can last longer than you.
have you thought about using benadryl to help make her drowsy and to keep her in a deep sleep? i would give her some if she were mine.
sometimes having someone else put her to bed can help. she can't necessarily bend their hearts like she can yours. they are a littles less emotionally attached than you.
good luck,

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