Sleep training and letting baby cry

Debgarcia Member
edited February 14 in Sleep Training

So there’s research that a baby’s shouldn’t be let to cry but how much crying is too much crying ? Do you respond every cry immediately or how long can baby cry without damaging them


  • Natalie_Barnett_PhD
    Natalie_Barnett_PhD Member, Nanit Team, Expert

    @Debgarcia I'm not sure what research you are referring to, but in general it is advised not to let a baby cry for long stretches if they are less than 4 months. In the early months, a baby is typically not capable of self-soothing, and you need to be the one soothing them! Please dont feel guilty holding and rocking your baby!

    If your baby is over 4 months and is healthy and born on time, most pediatricians will give the all clear to try sleep training. Studies have shown that sleep training does not have negative impacts on babies long term and in fact has many positive effects. One of those studies was conducted by one of our research collaborators Prof. Michael Gradisar, that you can see here.

    The method you choose is up to you. All the methods work if you are consistent. Some methods work faster than others (and we will be publishing work on this soon!). In general, I would say choose a method that works for your family and stick to it. If you feel better going in and soothing your baby after a set period of time, go for it. But know that if your baby is fed, dry, has been awake for long enough to be tired, you will not harm your baby by giving them the opportunity to fall asleep by themselves. I always suggest starting at the beginning of the night and preparation is key! You want to set your baby up for success.

  • @Natalie_Barnett_PhD Sorry , that's what I meant, that generally a baby under 4 months should not be let to cry. My baby is almost 19 weeks but her pediatrician still doesn't recommend sleep training at this age but she didn't say when. She was born full term and has been gaining weight and healthy. She used to sleep from 7p-7a with one night waking prior to 14 weeks, but the last 4 weeks she started waking up every 30 mins (which I assume its the sleep regression) and we couldn't get her back to sleep . so instead, we started rocking her in the stroller and now that is the only way she will go to sleep. She will not sleep in her bassinet anymore or anywhere unless she goes through the stroller first.. We are in desperate need of fixing this because its not safe for her but we were not sure if she could be sleep trained and how long she should be let to cry to self soothe

  • Natalie_Barnett_PhD
    Natalie_Barnett_PhD Member, Nanit Team, Expert

    @Debgarcia Im sorry! I would talk to your pediatrician and ask them if they are OK with you starting sleep training at the beginning of the night. Im not suggesting that she is ready to go through the night without a feed, but you pediatrician will likely give you the all clear to have her fall asleep by herself at the begining of the night. Once she can do that, the night wakings will drop quickly since she will know how to get herself back to sleep when she wakes. As I said above, choose a method that works for your family and be consistent about it! You got this mom! :)

  • Andyp
    Andyp Member

    If I may just hop in this conversation 🙏🏼 @Natalie_Barnett_PhD my son is 7.5 months, used to sleep all night no problem but now he’s waking at least 4 times/ night… I’ve given in and let him sleep in bed with us because I’m exhausted. My partner wants to try the CIO method but I find it extreme and horrible and have read multiple comments (with no research backup…) that really trigger me. I’m just hoping there is a method out there that is a little less ‘painful’ (for me mainly) that perhaps you could suggest. Any tips or suggestions are welcome and greatly appreciated!!

  • Hi @Andyp , I feel you. I co-slept with my son for 6 months he nursed on demand all night and I started losing my marbles from lack of sleep. I had ferberised my daughter and wanted to try a gentle approach with my son but none of the gentle techniques worked. Or adleast I was too exhausted to be patient enough to wean him so slowly.

    I needed relief for my sanity. I turned to taking cara babies. And used their 5-12 month sleep training program .. and after 4 nights saw a huge improvement. From bed sharing and nursing on demand to falling asleep alone within 10 minutes of crying..I want to tell you that at 29-30 weeks your baby experiences the CCC - cranky-clingy-Crying phase.. it could be why you are seeing more wakings or perhaps a growth spurt. My son woke up several times at this point during the night.

    there is no research showing that sleep training harms babies, instead there is research proving that it helps the family unit. Considering the short term crying from sleep training of a couples of weeks in comparison to a year or more of terrible sleep for baby and parents, the benefits of sleep training are worth it. Baby will sleep longer and better and so will you hence a happy family.

    lets not pretend that it is easy, you will cry by your monitor and you will want to run to your baby. But it is for their well being. They will have a more restorative sleep and you are teaching them their first very important skill! To fall asleep independently 🙂

    fyi my 3 year old was sleep trained and she is the happiest kid alive. She also sleeps through the night from 8-6 rarely wakes up. I know many families who’s toddlers still wake often at night.

    You can do this 🙂

  • Femo_50
    Femo_50 Member

    Hello there! I have a 13 month old who has a pretty solid bed time routine and knows when we go into her room at night that it’s time to go to sleep. However, we rock until she’s sleep, takes about 5-10 min, and then lay her in the crib. I’d like to simply put her in crib when we go into her room at night and let her fall asleep on her own, but she immediately stands up and fusses to be held. Should I leave her in the crib standing and fussing? It’s just been so easy to rock her to sleep because she’s obviously tired. Also, if she happens to wake in the middle of the night, she cries for about 10-15 min and goes back to sleep on her own.

  • ering3
    ering3 Member

    If I leave my 7 month old baby girl alone in the crib if she’s not completely asleep or drowsy she will proceed to flip onto her stomach, crawl to the edge of the crib, and bang her head hard against the crib continually, crying and screaming until we pick her up. I understand the need to not go straight to her aid for at least 2-5 minutes while trying to teach her to fall asleep on her own, but the risk of her injuring herself is just ridiculous. She’s hurting herself, so what are we supposed to do? How do I let her self-soothe if she’s actually self-harming?