Should I let my baby cry it out? Newborn Care

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Baby crying in crib
iStock/SanyaSM
Whether or not to let baby CIO (cry it out) is a question many moms struggle with. Learn the sleep-training solutions that work for other moms to find one that's right for you and your baby.

Wait Until Baby's at Least 4 to 6 Months

"Newborns up to 4 months often wake during the night to feed, especially if they are breastfeeding and need to be attended to. After four months, parents can start training babies to self-soothe and return to sleep when they wake during the night, although some breastfeeding moms will continue to feed their babies during the night. At six months and older, all babies should be able to make it through the night without a feeding." -- Mary Ann LoFrumento, MD, Morristown Medical Center and Goryeb Children's Hospital, Morristown, NJ

Choose What's Right for Your Family

"Crying it out works for some babies (age 4 months and older) and their parents, whereas other families may choose a modified version of crying it out; for example, checking in every five minutes of crying." -- Danelle Fisher, MD, chair of pediatrics, Providence Saint John's Health Center, Santa Monica, CA

CIO Was the Way to Go for Us

"For me, the benefits outweigh the cons. I chose to let my son cry it out because he was waking up more than 10 times a night, which cost us both much-needed sleep. After starting CIO, it only took a week before he was only waking up twice a night for breastfeeding."

CIO Is Part of Our Bedtime Routine

"I've let my daughter cry it out since she was 4 months old. She now knows that when I place her in her crib and turn on music, it's time for 'night night.' I can even stay in the room and organize or clean and she'll still go right to sleep!"

Try Compassionate Crying-It-Out

"We practice the compassionate CIO method. After our nightly routine of singing and reading to the baby, we allow her to cry for 20-minute stints before going back in to make sure she's still dry. We soothe her and lay her back down again for another 20 minutes. Depending on the child, this could go on for hours, but I think it's best for everyone (baby included) to learn how to sleep through the night."

I'm Not a Fan of CIO

"Even if all your baby wants is a moment in your presence, you should be attentive to his needs. If you want your baby to sleep better, the best thing to do is to create a routine and give it time."

CIO Doesn't Work for All Babies

"CIO only made my first more needy, so I refuse to do that with my second. To me it just makes more sense to calm them when they first get upset rather than spend an hour listening to them cry."

The advice on CafeMom aims to educate, inform, and provide a range of solutions to the issues moms care about. It is not a substitute for consultation with a medical professional or treatment for a specific condition. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem without consulting a qualified professional. Please contact your health-care provider with questions and concerns.