If You Did CIO

Updated on December 14, 2010
M.M. asks from Chicago, IL
14 answers

How did you know when to start?
How old was your LO?
Were they still feeding at night?
How long did it take?

My youngest is 4.5 mos, and she's still waking up every 4 hrs to eat. Not to mention the wake ups to "talk" and "ask for company". My son, by this stage, was sleeping 12 hrs straight through the night. So we never had to do CIO with him (until later as a toddler). It's time to start some sleep training, I'm just not sure about how to do it, since she still takes a bottle overnight. Do I feed her that bottle still? Let her cry through everything else? Go to her and just not pick her up? What did you all do?

I do have and have read the Healthy Sleep Habits book. I'm just having a hard time arriving at a strategy.

**PS: If you think CIO is cruel, lazy, etc... please save it. I'm not in that camp.

What can I do next?

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answers from Chicago on

I did CIO with my older son at 12 mos, on my Ped's advice. It was rough with him, as he was old enough to stand in his crib and cry for a long time.

With baby #2 I also began at 4.5 mos, although after I had finished doing it I read that Dr. Weissbluth (Healthy Sleep Habits) has revised his advice to now begin around 6 mos. My goal with baby #2 was to have him trained before he learned how to stand in the crib. It was MUCH easier with him.

I did it when he was still taking an overnite feeding, but each nite I added more water and decreased the milk. Eventually he was not interested in waking for a bottle of water. I did pick him up and rock him, but without the milk, he soon chose sleep over waking.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I did CIO with both of my kids. I didn't leave them to cry and never go in to check on them, I would let them cry for 5 min, go in and give a rub on the back, walk out, wait 10 min and do it again, etc. I would never take them out of the crib. It took my daughter 3 nights and she was sleeping through the night. I'll just tell you what I did with my daughter because we were sharing a room temporarily with my son so things didn't go as planned with him. Anyway, I didn't do it with my daughter until she was about 8 or 9 months old. I should have done it sooner, like 5 months, but I didn't have the willpower. She would still wake a night to nurse even though I knew she didn't need to anymore, it was more for comfort. I made sure that I did my routine with her at night (bath then read), and then I laid her in bed AWAKE and walked out. She started to cry, I let it go for 5 min (WATCH THE CLOCK! It seems like an eternity but it's not really that long when you time it)I would walk in, not talk to her or pick her up, just rub her back or head to let her know that I was still near and walked out. Then, waited 10 min, went in, did the same thing. The 2nd night, I only went in twice and the 3rd night, she whined for about a minute and then fell asleep. She is almost 3 and still a fantastic sleeper. I think the key is teaching them to put themselves to sleep and of course to get used to NOT nursing/bottle at night. Everyone wakes at night, its just that adults can get themselves back to sleep but kids need to learn how to do that. I have the Healthy Sleep Habits book and Dr. Ferber's Solve Your Childs Sleep Problems. Both are good, but I don't think any child will conform to a book, you just need to tweak the strategies to work for your child. I would not give her a bottle or nurse anymore and if she is up talking or playing in her crib, just let her be instead of getting up to go into to see her, chances are she'll fall back to sleep. If she starts to cry in the middle of the night, give it a few minutes before you go in, just like you would do initially when you put her down. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

We let our older three CIO at different ages, anywhere between 9 mos and a year. My kids are the BEST sleepers, now! If you ask them how traumatic it was for them to CIO, they'll ask, "What?" LOL! I know it's a controversial topic, but it worked for us.

I think the decision was made when the crying became obvious that they wanted to play, rather than eat. It took a night or two, but everyone slept better for it!!

That being said, I have a "straggler" (surprise baby after 7 years) :). She was so different than the other three kids, so I had to do things differently with her. She fought naps from the day she was born, almost! She would also cry herself into a fit - way more so than the other kids did at her age. So, before she was mobile, I would lay down with her in my bed. She wanted to sleep, but would cry and cry - fighting it tooth and nail. She would eventually fall asleep - so basically crying it out, but with me right next to her. She couldn't roll over yet, or crawl, so she had to lie next to me and cry herself to sleep. This method worked so well, because, when it came time to lay her down for naps or at night, she no longer fought it. We never had to do the CIO at 9 mos or a year, because all we had to do was lay her in her crib, and she put herself to sleep. I wish I had done this with the other kids (not that I had the option, when I had toddlers, as well as the baby). It took less than a week of laying with her during naps to get her to stop fighting them. It relieved some of the guilt I felt by the "normal" CIO method, since I was next to her, I didn't feel like I was abandoning her. Of course, even though I had those feelings at the time, when my baby was crying and crying, etc. I still knew it was the best thing for them and for me. I never regretted using the CIO method, at all, once they learned to fall asleep on their own.

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answers from Dallas on

I did CIO and I started at about 3 months. Going in and not picking her up did not work for our daughter. We simply put her down awake all the time and let her cry in increasing time periods. We started with 2 minutes and worked up to 5 minutes. When she woke up in the middle of the night, depending on the time, I would either let her CIO or feed her. If she slept over 5 hours we would feed her, if she slept under we would let her CIO for awhile. If she went over 5 minutes we would go feed her and she would go back to sleep. She was sleeping through the night by 4 months, would go to bed with minimal crying and if she did cry in the night she was back to sleep in minutes. I know it works for some to go and rub their child's back, but that made my daughter worse. What ever you decide to do, stick with it. I know it's hard, but consistency is key in anything you do.



answers from Dallas on

This is what we were told to try and it worked. For the night feeding give her water instead of breast milk/formula. After a couple of nights our baby wasn't as interested in feeding b/c it was just water. Along w/ the CIO after that point the night time feeding stopped pretty quickly.



answers from Columbus on

I started CIO when my kids were about 8 months. I would let them cry for about 5 mins then I would go in there and rub their back to comfort them then leave the room again. It took a week max with all three of my kids.



answers from New York on

We did CIO, twice. The first time we did it, my son was 4 months old. He would wake up several times a night, but it seemed like he was nursing more for comfort then nourishment. I asked the pediatrician to make sure that he didn't need the night feeding and then started.

I would strongly suggest picking up the book and reading it cover-to-cover before starting. Essentially, you put the baby down to sleep while she's still awake, but clearly tired and ready for bed. You say good night and then walk away. At specific intervals you go back in and stand near the crib, rub her back and say something soothing, but do not take her out! The intervals get increasingly longer. It's not complicated, but it's tough on mommy and daddy.

I remember saying to my husband- 2 nights and we'll be through it! Then saying, "he will eventually pass out!" Not so much... that little bugger screamed at us (we have a video monitor) for 3 hours straight! It took 4 nights to get through the whole thing and then we were set.

We had to repeat it when he was about 9 months old. He caught a nasty flu and was up all night for a week and in our bed... had to start over. This time it really took 2 nights and it was much less severe.

He's a good sleeper now and essentially puts himself to bed each night and has since that 9 month mark. We put him down tired, but not asleep and he cuddles his bear and his blanket until he conks-out... no fighting no matter where we are!



answers from Boise on

I did my whole own program of sleep training that included cio. I'm thinking I started the cio part when the babies (I've done it with both) were about 3-4 weeks old. I knew it was time because I had them on a good routine, and just "felt" it. They were both still feeding at night. I would say it took about 3 days, and then still some work throughout. (My daughter still needs to cry for a bit before falling asleep, but not long).

If you are doing the cio to get her to sleep, you can still give the bottle, until you feel that she is ready to give that up, just make sure that you give the bottle without talking, low light, and just put right back down.

The, when you are ready to tackle the bottle, you can let her cio for a few rounds before giving the bottle, or try some soothing in another way.



answers from New York on

give her the last bottle for the night around 11... then put her down.. wait 5 hours before feeding her again..no matter what... after a few days the 5 hours will be routine.. in a month.. spread it out to 6.. have you tried giving her cereal at night.. she may need it.. try cereal.... my son statrted cereal at 3 months old.. because he was hungry.. try it ... it might save you time.. good luck



answers from Tulsa on

i did cry it out with my oldest but at that age it could be hungry from a growth spurt, diaper needs changing, or teething. listen to the cries tired cries are diffrent from hungry or pain cries. they are more piercing. no longer than 20 min. and the cries should get shorter and farther apart if not something else is wrong.



answers from Raleigh on

My son was very colicky- so listening to crying didn't bother me as much at that point. We started CIO at 4.5 mos. He got to where he didn't need an overnight bottle, and we realized it was just time to do it. We also weaned him off the swaddle at the same time. I would wait on CIO until she drops the overnight bottle. It's too hard to be consistent about letting them cry when they are still taking that bottle in the middle of the night. Once it's dropped, you know she isn't hungry and will be less likely to get that confused with just plain ol' crying. With my son, it took about 1 week of crying less and less each night. He has been a solid sleeper ever since (he's now 4). I plan on starting sleep training with my 15 week old over my Christmas vacation from work. She has started dropping that overnight bottle, and when she does take a bottle, it's only an ounce or two that she'll eat. So it's getting time...



answers from Pittsburgh on

Sounds like she is waking up because she is hungry - so I would feed her. If she eats more before bed (maybe a later last feeding) she might sleep through by herself without 'sleep training'



answers from New York on

I did cry it out. My son was around 7 months old. Yes he was still feeding at night but him waking up at 3am to "talk to his mommy" was just a bit much. I would keep a dimmed light on and spend about 5-10 minutes with him talking. Let him know it was time for me to go back to bed. He would try to keep himself entertained but most of our CIO time had to do with getting him to go to sleep in the first place. This probably took about 2-3 months of trying because my son is just very strong willed. Hang in there though.

4.5 months is very young for CIO I think.



answers from Phoenix on

I did CIO with all mine. But I did it the way Jennifer L. did. I'd go in there after a few minutes. I'd even get them back up to nurse after a bit too but everytime I went in there, I'd stay away just a bit longer. If they just talked, I wouldn't nurse but only if they cried and only after a few minutes of crying. It really helped and didn't take that long for them to get the hang of it. I probably only had to do this for a couple nights only. Good luck!

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