The words "cry it out" and "easy" hardly ever fall in the same sentence for a reason. Although the method is oftentimes misunderstood to mean letting your baby cry for as long as it takes for them to fall asleep, even the correct use of the sleep training method can be difficult. Luckily, there are a few little things that make crying it out easier for both baby and parents that you can include in your bedtime routine right away.
The cry it out method, while controversial, is actually not as terrible as the name suggests. According to Baby Center, the term simply applies to any sleep training method that says it's OK to let a baby cry for a specified period of time before offering comfort. And although it usually looks different for different families, its never recommended to simply leave your baby to cry themselves to sleep.
The premise behind cry it out is allowing your baby to slowly learn how to self soothe, replacing old sleep associations with new ones, and learning how to sleep for longer stretches at night or maybe even all the way through the night (if they're old enough). If you're beginning to sleep train your baby, applies a few of these trick will make sure your nights are as smooth and effective as they can be.
1. Have Realistic Expectations
Expecting your baby to sleep through the night is not only unrealistic, but will automatically set you up for failure. According to the Baby Sleep Site, it can take anywhere from a few nights to a few weeks, so having patience and being consistent is your best tool to make the method work.
2. Set A Timer
Setting a timer will keep you from going in to comfort your baby too soon (in order for the method to work, they'll need to be alone for at least a few minutes at a time) and, on the other hand, it will keep you from staying out too long (since your baby needs to know that you're close as well). Baby Center recommended starting out with a few minutes and progressively increase the time as you feel comfortable.
3. Stay Calm
According to Parents your baby is highly attuned to your emotions. If you're stressed and anxious, your baby will sense it and it will be harder for them to fall asleep. Remaining calm will play a part in calming them.
4. Transfer Your Smell To Something
One thing many parents find useful is creating a different "sleep attachment" for your baby. Popsugar suggested using an article of your clothing your baby would be familiar with, as this will let them sense that you're close.
5. Use A Noise Machine
A sound machine will obviously block out any outside noise, creating a more calming environment and making sure that once they're asleep, they stay that way.
6. Establish A Predictable Routine
According to What To Expect, creating a predictable, calming bedtime routine is essential to instilling good sleep habits in your baby. No matter what your routine looks like, keeping it consistent and calming will help your baby know what to expect when it comes time to lay them down.
7. Don't Start Too Young
The Baby Sleep Site recommends not sleep training before four to six month old. Anytime before that your baby isn't old enough to sleep through the night, after that point, it's a great time to start a sleep training method.