CIO For Naps, but Not for Night Time

Updated on June 19, 2011
G.M. asks from Watertown, MA
17 answers

OK moms. Need some reassurance here.
I have a 14 week old who is a horrible napper.
We either co-sleep with her at night or she is in a bassinet in our room. I have no problem with that.
She is also breast fed - which is also fine by me.
BUT her short sporadic naps make me CRAZY. I do NOT want to wear her all day in a sling or baby carrier, so please do not suggest that. I am having back surgery in a couple of weeks, and will not be able to wear her. Besides with the co-sleeping and all the BF'g, I admit it! I want to put her down. I have a 3 yr old to run after as well.
I am going back to work part time after back surgery as well, so naps are becoming more and more important.
I do not like the idea of her crying at night alone in the dark, but at nap time, I am more of a tough love kind of person.
She goes down ok, but always wakes after 45 min and I spend another 45 min trying to get her to go back to sleep. I'd rather her wake after 45 min, I go in a reassure her, and then let her cry?
I am over these short naps! I need her to nap longer so I can get stuff done and pay attention to my other child as well.
Thoughts? Advice? Did anyone else do it this way?

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answers from Anchorage on

She is still very young, give her time and it should get better. Have you tried letting her sleep in a swing at nap time? That help mine get on schedule.

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answers from Eugene on

NO CIO. Unless you want a rebellious teenager. I am watching this in my extended family right now. A mom who used CIO because she read a book. I told her not to. She has a 15 year old who is sexually active and has not eaten dinner with the family since she was 11 years old.

WHAT TRIBAL CULTURE allows babies to cry it out.? NONE. This was an idea that came into use with pediatricians in the 30's and 40's and was also used in the 50's. And from that we got HIPPIES.

Nuf said?

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

She is MUCH too young to cry it out. Don't do that. Perhaps you could sneak in before she wakes up and pop your breast into her mouth to get her to settle back down before she's really awake?

Also, for some infants, baby swings can work wonders, especially since you're having back surgery. It may be an extra comfort to her during your sick time. Some kids just have short naps. Mine did till he was older and finally had longer naps - but he's going to be 4 soon so I'm sure that'll be disappearing soon. :(

EDIT - and if you're not swaddling, try that. They feel very comforted with it. You can buy swaddlers sleep sack things at Target.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

My son is a little younger then your daughter, but he does pretty much all of his naps in the swing. I got one that plugs in so it never has to shut off. Sometimes he sleeps for half an hour, sometimes he sleeps for 3 hours. It really depends on how sleepy he is that day and how he is feeling. However, I would say total during the day he only sleeps about 4, maybe 5 hours until I put him down at night (that's in like a typical 14 hour "day"). He is a great night sleeper at 8 weeks. He sleeps 6 hours straight, feeds for about 10-15 minutes, then will sleep for another 4-5 hours. You could just be like me and have a baby that doesn't need so much napping during the day and is more alert and awake. My ped told me that it is okay as long as he is sleeping when he's tired. He doesn't sleep in his crib yet and we will probably not start trying to transition him until he gets to 4-5 months and I feel more comfortable doing CIO. I would say she's still probably a little to young now for CIO.

I will say that if she is not waking up when she starts to cry, you could probably leave her alone and see if she resettles, unless there are other cues that show she needs something. Sometimes my son will start to cry, not really forcefully and stuff, just wimpering cries, and when I go to check on him he is still asleep. I will usually leave him be until he either wakes up or REALLY starts to cry, like he needs something. Usually after a couple of minutes he'll resettle and sleep for another hour. I guess this is letting him cry it out to some people, but not really cause if he's really crying, not just wimpering, I will pick him up.

I do agree with the comment on having the 3 year old "help." My son has a half sister who loves to come over and "help" me. She will entertain and play with the baby during his awake time so I don't always have to be carrying him around. He'll also just lay on his playmat and such or play with the mirror in his crib.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

I would make sure, she is feeding on-demand.
If not latching on properly or if you don't have enough milk, a baby will always be hungry and not getting sufficient intake.
This is what happened, to MANY of my friends.
Once their baby was getting sufficient intake and baby was latching on properly and Mom producing enough milk, their babies were more satisfied/happy.

It could also be just the normal REM patterns in a baby. It wakes them and if there are noises, this wakes baby too.

CIO is not the solution.
Going by a baby's cues and needs are, the solution.

You will manage... even with 2 kids.
You explain to your 3 year old, what a baby is. That they cry/wake/feed/cry/wake/feed. I did that with my daughter, who was 3 when I had my second child.
She understood.

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answers from Pocatello on

have you tried putting her down in a swing, maybe the motion will help her sleep better?

Also- 45 minutes sounds like a decent length day-time nap to me... could it be that she just isn't tired after that length of time...? If you have a rolling bassinet or a "tummy time mat" maybe that is a good place to set her for a littl;e while when You cannot "lug" her around.

She needs to nap however long SHE needs to nap- unfortunately for you. If you force her to nap longer, those problems will start causing problems at night. My daughter had about one or two 1/2 hour naps a day when she was that age... and slept all night. The rest of the time I held her, or set her on a playmat or in a rolling bassinet. As long as she had frequent interaction and something to keep her attention (like a few toys, or watching me "do" whatever I am doing....) and was fed, clean, and rested she did just fine.

I think some children just aren't "big" on long naps. Forcing them won't make them better. I understand your frustration- but try to find a creative way to entertain her and keep her with you when you need to get stuff done!

Also, maybe you could enlist your 3 year old to help out... although not for long periods of time, that child could "play" with a baby while she sits in a "baby seat" (give her baby safe toys) while you throw a load of laundry in, or scrub down the dishes, etc... Just make sure they are withing hearing distance and are easy to take a peek at every few minutes.

Good Luck

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answers from Hartford on

Crying it out, even the most gentle way possible as Dr. Ferber intended, is not intended for babies under 6 months old. Do not CIO your 14 week old infant.

You can "be over" her short naps all you like but you signed on for this the instant you decided to be a parent. Your baby is a person whose needs don't always line up with your preferences.

What you should try doing is keeping a baby journal. Just a normal one subject notebook will do. For the first several days, write down when the baby naturally wakes, sleeps, cries to eat, how much she eats (or how long she eats and from which breast if she nurses), when she pees and poops... everything. You'll start to notice a pattern. Then you can reinforce those natural patterns and arrange your day and routine around them.

Around this age, when babies wake up for the day they often will stay awake for an hour and 45 minutes to two hours and then start showing signs of being tired. Rubbing eyes, crabbiness, discomfort, etc. As soon as she shows those signs, put her down for her nap. Don't wait until she's over tired or else she won't sleep as long. She may nap for half an hour or she may nap for a lot longer. When she wakes from that nap, she'll probably have another two hour cycle of being awake and then need another nap. But if you have a baby journal, you'll see what sort of pattern she has naturally.

When she does nap, put her in a space where there's nothing to stimulate her. Keep it dark/dim with shades closed. Keep it quiet or a space with white noise and/or soft music. At night keep lights off except for night lights. When it's time for sleeping don't speak to her or make eye contact or you'll be keeping her awake and raising her heart rate. If she needs soothing, you soothe her. If she needs company to fall asleep, then be there and rub her back and be her mommy.

When you're old and gray and on your deathbed, you'll never regret not "getting stuff done" but you might regret the time you miss while your babies are small. Right now she needs your reassurances, and leaving her to cry at only weeks old will tell her that she can't rely on you. Babies cry for a reason, and they don't nap because it's a convenience to parents. They nap because they need it and because it's their best growing time. But she may be one of those babies that just doesn't nap much during the day. My eldest daughter was one of those model babies. Brief naps, if any at all, but a great sleeper right away at night even though she was breastfed. My other two daughters napped pretty well during the day but only after I journaled their patterns and worked my day around them.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Okay, first of all...To the mothers that seem to think that you don't want to be a mother ("you chose to have her"). That wasn't the question ladies. She is trying to get her child on a schedule. I completely understand 100%. Once the baby is on a schedule everyone else can work around her schedule. She is not looking to be berated by mom's that think she doesn't want to mother her baby the way "you" think she should.
Okay, now that I got that off my chest!
I 100% understand because my 14 week old daughter is doing the same thing!! I am over the short naps, because it seems like she is cranky all day long with these dinky naps. I have two older boys also (5 and 8) and need to give them a bit of attention to.
Here's my ideas. Stop co-sleeping. Have her in her bassinet (like you said you do) and keep her there. It is hard, I know, because I am failing at that too. it's easier to have them in bed with us, right? Especially as breastfeeding mamas. But, if she is in her own bassinet/bed than she will learn how to sleep better at night which in turn "should" have her sleep better during the day. At least, that's the theory!
Also, when you put her down during the day make sure to nurse and put her down awake. Not bright eyed but not asleep either. Kind of "milk drunk". Does she take a binky? Mine does, that stupid thing is a lifesaver! lol I have a vaporizer in our room that I turn on when she sleeps because it acts as white noise and helps block out my boys and I.
We are on her second our of sleep right now and I am doing a little dance! Now, If I could just get her to sleep in her crib at NIGHT I would be a happy mama!

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answers from Augusta on

CIO is not for a 14 week old.
learn her cues she may not need as much sleep as other babies. My now 9 yr old slept like your not 14 week old. she cat napped, she was very interested in what was going on around her and from what I could tell thought sleep was a waste of time. I raised both of my kids the same , one slept all night at a year and napped like a champ ( 2 -3 hr naps) my daughter on the other hand didn't sleep at all day or night up every 2 -3 hrs until she was a yr old then it was up once or twice a night until she was 3. I never did CIO cause I knew it wouldn't work. Most mom's I have known that did it had to keep redoing it everytime their baby had a milestone , growth spurt or was teething.
When baby gets up just get her up instead of spending 45 mins doing something you know isn't going to work anyway.
Make sure she isn't over tired, that's the #1 way to have a baby that dosen't sleep is have one that's overtired. Watch for her cues and put her down the first time she starts getting tired instead of waiting for a time.

eta: btw , my 9 yr old is twice exceptional, gifted and ADHD.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Austin on

Just curious..... is she fully asleep when you put her down for the nap? Are you nursing her to sleep?

If so, that is what is happening... she goes to sleep being held by you, and all of a sudden, she rouses a bit, and you aren't there. She doesn't know why she isn't being held anymore, and is looking for you.

If this is the case, you need to try to end the breastfeeding while she is still slightly awake, and put her down for her nap BEFORE she falls asleep in your arms. She will develop a much better sleep method and will also learn to self-soothe herself this way.

I know, it is a wonderful feeling nursing her to sleep, and just sitting there holding her... I BF all 4 of my kids, also....

And yes, swings are sanity-savers! There were many times when one of my kids would wake in the middle of the night... I would try to nurse them back to sleep, but they were ready to be up, while I was falling asleep! I would tuck them in the swing, and doze on the couch. Mine napped in the swings, also, many times.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Eugene on

Sometimes people are really mean! I'm sorry about your back--chronic pain is horrible....

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

My firstborn did that too -- 45-minute naps, like clockwork. But that was all he needed to be rested. After a while the 45-minute naps consolidated naturally into one looong nap each day.

If she's waking after 45 minutes, that's likely all her body needs at this age. Yeah, it's hard to schedule around "short" naps, but at least it sounds like she's predictable.

I also know it's challenging to pay attention to the older one while the baby is up and about. I just did my best -- using the baby's nursing time to still "play" with the older one (but while I was stuck on the couch) and spending scant baby nap time with the older kid too. I did really minimal housework during those early days, let me tell you!

I'd say, go with the flow and plan around short naps for now. As long as she's thriving, she's getting her sleep, and her schedule will change in time. Good luck!


answers from San Francisco on

I think it depends on your child. If she'll go for it great, but if she cries for more than 15 -20 mins I'd reconsider. My LO is extremely stubborn and could cry for hours. CIO at nap time never worked for us. It only served to throw his schedule completely off course.



answers from Cleveland on

Cry it out has side affects later; the Dr. Richard Ferber recanted that it's not the best method some 17 or so years later (this was suggested with my now nearly 17 year old and I wouldn't do it). I recognize back and neck pain (I have a bad disk in my neck), but you may want to consider a soft-sided carrier like Beco or Ergo for those times when you would like to hold her and need some support to do so. There is less pulling on the shoulders, etc. when using the carrier than just holding.

Now on to naps. A 45 minute nap for some little ones is typical; my third took 3-45 minute naps, but, the swing I purchased afterward helped greatly. I absolutely LOVE my Graco Sweetpeace swing which can run electric or with batteries (it will need a lot of batteries, however). It plays Baby Einstein music, heartbeat sounds, and takes an mp3 player. The best feature to me is that it will also hold your carseat in case baby has fallen asleep (that's if you opt to carry it inside, which I know may be difficult for you, I had to stop at 17 pounds). These are expensive new, but I see them on Craigslist all the time and that is how I bought mine. Keep in mind the motors sometimes wear out and are $50 to replace, which I ended up doing, but this was still less expensive than buying new ($180 new, expect to pay $80 used). I also like to run a fan not pointing at baby or if you search youtube, you can actually play 12 hours of white noise. This swing is worth the money and has great resale.

Best of luck to you with your surgery and getting little one soothed.



answers from Omaha on

I am not fully supportive of the CIO method either. However, I did sometimes use a modified version with both of my kids. With my son, I would put him down and let him cry/whimper for about a minute and then go back in and soothe him. Eventually he would fall asleep just by doing it that way. Most of the time I would just lay next to his crib until he fell asleep. That way there wasn't any crying at all.
My daughter on the other hand is a little more stubborn. I did let her CIO for longer, but I stood at her door and peeked in at her to make sure she was alright. The reason I had to do it this way is because if I tried to go in and reassure her or pick her up, we would be back at square one so I learned it was much better to be tougher in the long run.
Also my kids got to the point where they would actually sleep better if I let them sleep on the couch or floor with a blanket and pillow. Just tweak it to fit your needs. Good luck!



answers from San Francisco on

I know you have your hands full mama, but when it comes to what you need vs what an infant needs guess who wins?

That's still a tiny one and I suggest perhaps reversing the CIO to bed time (and you may not have to endure the CIO) if you put your baby to bed around 10 or 11PM, give baby a nice warm bath, a good massage, wrap snug in a light blankie, feed and rock, put the baby down (hopefully) for the night. Mine was sleeping through at around 8 weeks.

When my baby was born, it was deemed OK to give rice cereal at earlier age. Now its different, but your child might just be hungry, so I would ask your ped. to see what she/he thinks.

How's your three year old doing?




answers from Boston on

YOur baby is still young for a schedule...mine cat napped at this age; up for a while, down for a while. I think he did this until around 6 months or so?
(hard to remember, he's almost 2 now). I do remember that around 6 months or so his naps consolidated into 2 long naps - o ne morning one and one afternoon one. she probably is not ready for what you want for her at this time.

As other posters have mentioned, a swing was great for us with my daughter, but my son never liked it. Just depends on the individual baby!
Good luck, and as other posters have mentioned, have the older one "help" with the little one. I always read a book to my older one while I was nursing the baby. Helped her feel like she got some attention, too.
good luck with the back surgery - can you get some extra help for that time?

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