Alternatives to letting your baby cry it out

Alternatives to letting your baby cry it out: you don't have to if you don't want to! Learn what I did instead at sleep is stressful. As a mom, you care so much when your kid cries, and you want them to get good rest. There are magical babies that sleep through the night at a few months old. And then there are my babies. My husband has always urged me to let my babies cry it out. Every time, when they’re like a year or so and still not sleeping well, he reminds me that if I had just let them cry it out earlier, this could all be avoided. The pediatrician basically says the same thing.

Alternatives to letting your baby cry it out: my experiences with getting my kids to sleep without prolonged periods of crying.  Read it at
But for me, for each kid, I couldn’t pull the trigger. I kept on psyching myself out to do it, even promised my husband I would, but I never did. I felt guilt on top of my guilt. Clearly it was the right thing to do; I was so weak! Looking back, however, I have no regrets.

They tell you if you don’t sleep train your child, they’ll never learn to sleep through the night. I don’t believe it. I have nothing against moms who let their kids cry it out. In fact, I have tons of respect for them; they’re stronger than me. My heart breaks. I just can’t.

I am telling you here today, though, if you feel like you can’t, you don’t have to. 

Alternatives to letting your baby cry it out: my experiences with getting my kids to sleep without prolonged periods of crying.  Read it at

With my first child, I did a modified CIO. 

When she was five months old and already in the crib, I picked a time that was acceptable for me to let her cry every time she went to sleep. That time was NOT two hours. It was more like 15-20 minutes. It did work, in the sense that she would fall asleep after that time. Sometimes, if the time had passed and she was still crying, I would check on her to make sure she hadn’t pooped or lost her paci or something. And then let her cry again. The down side to this was that she did cry every time I put her to sleep for maybe a few months, but somehow I was able to accept this better than a full-on CIO. My firstborn is now five and wakes up some nights if she has a bad dream or growing pains.

My second child had heart surgery at birth, so I didn’t want him to CIO, either. 

Read Jac’s story here. My concern was that I couldn’t distinguish between the “I’m mad because I don’t want to sleep” cry and the “I’m upset because something is wrong with me” cry. He slept pretty well initially, but at four months or so he was waking up several times a night. I just indulged him. Jac now wakes up maybe once every couple of weeks in the middle of the night.

Alternatives to letting your baby cry it out: my experiences with getting my kids to sleep without prolonged periods of crying.  Read it at My third child – oh, my third child. 

This booger had a nine month stretch from maybe 6 months old to over a year where he woke up 8-10x a night. I still refused to let him CIO. This guy’s issue was that every time he woke up a little, he wouldn’t go back to sleep unless I nursed him. Of course, during the period he was biting, it was a nightmare.

Finally, at thirteen months, I decided I was okay with weaning him. My husband was a huge help. We figured if I was in the room at night it would never happen, so we slept separately for a bit, with my husband sleeping in the room with the baby. That first night away from me, he cried for a little bit, but not nearly as much as we expected. Once the nectar of heaven was out of the picture, he just adjusted. A few weeks later, I came back into the room, and he was obviously weaned and no longer waking in the middle of the night. Now he wakes up probably a few times a week.

A few book recommendations. 

These books are all alternatives to the CIO method. I didn’t fully employ any of these methods, but used some ideas here and there:

On becoming babywise

The baby whisperer

Healthy sleep habits, happy child


26 thoughts on “Alternatives to letting your baby cry it out

  1. These are some great tips. It’s incredible how different every child is. My son is 17 months old, and is still sleeping in our bed and nursing through the night lol..
    My husband and I talk about CIO every once in awhile, but I’ve never brought myself to even really put him in his crib. Now that his schedule is really smoothing out though, I think it may be time to give it a shot. Thanks for sharing your experiences ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I SOOO regret letting my oldest CIO. Back then, I just didn’t know any differently and was following the doctor’s suggestion. It really is heartbreaking to hear the crying, and man…wish I could have a do-over.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I can’t bring myself to do it either. I usually give her about 10 to 15 minutes but after that I have to rock her. I’ve tried 40 to 45 minutes it was excruciating.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t believe in letting them cry it out either, though of course to each their own. I believe that all kids are different. We do what’s best for them and as mum’s we kinda know instinctively what may or may not work for our kids, right?

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  5. Im totally with you, I can hear my son cry for a little bit but not over 15-20 minutes. I also nurse and he use to wake several times at night to nurse and now I have just been not nursing him but maybe once. we do use a pacifier which will soothe him back to sleep.

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  6. I completely agree with you. Through 3 kids, I never did the cry it out. It’s frustrating to expect children to sleep through the night at 2+ months. I feel it’s a mother’s role to console. It will not last forever. And even if it lasts for many years…that is the way it is. Embrace it head on and be there for the child. You can not spoil a baby.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I too am not in CIO club. My baby still wakes up 3 to 4 times at night. Since we Co sleep she just finds my boobs, helps herself and sleep lol
    Probably when I am thinking of weaning I shall try out your method.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. We don’t CIO either. Having a family bed was part of the solution for us. I know it doesn’t work for everyone, but it has worked really well for us. It was the only way we got to sleep! Another book to add to your list is “The No Cry Sleep Solution” by Elizabeth Pantley. It helped us a lot when our oldest was a baby and not sleeping well.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I love that quote! I would rather lose sleep, too. I’m really not a fan of cry it out. We bed share, though, so my son has never cried a whole lot at night. I did try a modified cry it out for like two days when I thought I wanted my son to sleep in his crib. haha. This was in intervals of 2 minutes, 5 minutes, 12 minutes. Never letting the baby cry more than 12 minutes. You just keep repeating if/for however long you have to. We never even made it to the 12 minutes, thankfully! But then I changed my mind on the crib/own room thing, anyway! haha

    Liked by 1 person

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