After 30 Days of “Cry It Out” Method on My Now 6 Month-Old Daughter (to Train Her to Sleep through the Night)

The Official Results after 30 Days of Using the “Cry It Out” Method on My Now 6 Month-Old Daughter (to Train Her to Sleep through the Night)

Something I wasn’t told going into becoming a parent 6 years ago with my son is that about 6 months into it, my wife and I would be faced with a dilemma: Our baby would no longer require feedings throughout the night but he would wake up and cry like he did anyway.

It meant one of two things:

A)     We would continue to wake up with until one day he just magically began sleeping through the night on his own; meaning the parents continue losing much needing sleep and continue a stressful situation.

B)     We would commit to the controversial “Cry It Out” method, which would either effectively train my baby to sleep through the night, or forever traumatize him.

I opted for the 2nd option.

Though my wife wasn’t thrilled with the idea, she didn’t complain after the first night, as it easily proved our son fell asleep after just 30 minutes of crying it out in his crib, then remained asleep for the rest of the night.

In other words, it worked after just one night. Granted, he was 7 months old at the time, where as our daughter was only 5 and a half months when we started this with her a month ago.

For my now 6 year-old son, the “Cry It Out” Method proved to be easily effective. And I must note, he turned out quite normal after all. It’s got to mean something that I recently learned from his Kindergarten teacher that he’s on a 4th grade reading level.

So for any first-time parents out there, I submit this documentation to you. Here are the notes from the past 30 days, which document the process of me successfully training my now 6 month-old daughter to sleep through the night:

Night 1 (Sunday October 10, 2016): I began sleeping in the guest room upstairs near her. She went to bed around 9:30 PM and had her final feeding for the night. She woke up twice, both times for a duration of 20 minutes. Both times, I had to quickly flip you over after she was exhausting herself by crying on her stomach, while holding herself up with her arms. The first time she started crying, she got your foot stuck in the bars of her crib. But after letting her cry for a few minutes that way, she revealed that she easily knew how to remove her leg from the bars herself. From that point on, I knew not to fall for it.

Night 2: She went to bed around 9:00 PM and had her final feeding for the night. She only woke up once, this time for just 10 minutes. I had to quickly flip her over on her back again- then she immediately went back to sleep.

Night 3: She went to bed around 8:00 PM and had her final feeding for the night. She only cried once, for 30 minutes inconsistently. However, she remained on her back the whole time, meaning this was the first time I didn’t having to quickly flip her back over.

Night 4: She went to bed around 7:00 PM, though I fed her a full bottle at 10:00 PM; which was 3 hours after she fell asleep. Beginning at 2:00 AM, she mildly, inconstantly cried the first time for 30 minutes, then fell back to sleep on her own. Again, I didn’t have to flip her over. She did it herself this time. Then again at 4:00 AM, she did the same thing for this time for only 10 minutes.

Night 5: She slept all night with no interruptions.

Night 6: She was up 3 times, as much as 30 minutes, but wasn’t fed enough (watered down formula), accidentally left the blanket and pacifier in her bed, had to remove them  then changed her diaper. She woke up at 11 PM, 2 PM, and 4 PM.

Night 7: She was up twice, but fell back asleep both times, at 2 AM and 4 AM.

Night 8: She woke up twice, both less than 10 minutes; the time 2nd time I had to flip her over. By now, her normal bed time is around 8PM; as opposed to closer to 9:30 PM when this began over a week ago.

Night 9: This was the worst night so far; she officially woke up twice; at 12:30 PM and 4:40 AM. The 1st time I flipped her over 3 times before she eventually fell asleep on her side, then the 2nd time, she fell asleep on her on her side on her own. However, she woke up hourly to at least cry for a minute. Much of the difficulty was sinus congestion.

Night 10: woke up at 4:30, an hour before the right time, flipped over, fell back asleep

Night 11: She slept through the night for the 2nd time since I started this; though there were a few times a few cries were heard along the way. However, she never rolled over or moved.

Night 12: She slept through the night 2nd night in a row. Moving forward, I will be sleeping downstairs again.

Night 13: She easily slept all night.

Night 14: She slept through the night yet again. Even though she wasn’t feeling well, she never woke up.

Night 15: She slept through the night, but fell asleep later, because she was still not feeling well.

Night 16: She slept through the night, but I had to start making sure her sure legs aren’t stuck before I myself go to bed, so it wasn’t distract her in the middle of the night again.

Night 17: She had trouble falling asleep. She didn’t fall asleep until 10 PM. She woke up for 30 minutes at 1 AM. It appears teething is the culprit though

Nights 18 through 30: She easily slept through entire night; no issues at all.

So as well can see, it was more challenging to officially sleep-train our daughter. Whereas it only took one night for our son, it took closer to 18 days with our daughter.

But even with that aside, I know from personal experience that as a dad, I have the ability to teach my babies to fall asleep and stay asleep through the night.

In the event you’ve read horrifying blogs out there that try to teach you that the “Cry It Out” method is a way to mess up your kids, here’s proof that’s not always the case.

Dear Holly: You are 6 Months Old Today!

6 months.

Dear Holly: You are 6 Months Old Today!

Dear Holly,

Today is your very first half-birthday. It was 6 months ago today that I first got to meet you, just 4 days after my 35th birthday. And my life has not been the same nor will it ever be the same.

I have to say, you are such an easy baby to take care of. I say that because, for me as your Daddy, keeping you alive is kind of the main concern during your newborn days.

When I see your smiley face and your bouncy body, I am reminded of what a joy it is to take care of you.

Just look at this Instragram I took of you this morning…

Dear Holly: You are 6 Months Old Today!

It helps that I know what I’m doing this time around, unlike with your brother Jack; back when I was a first-time dad.

But now I know how it works. I’ve just completed the first 2 weeks of sleep-training you, by applying “The Cry It Out” method. And now you sleep through the night.

It was such a scary thing to try out on your brother. But with you, I am not trying out The Cry It Out method; I am simply applying it, in full confidence.

I suppose that’s a big part of you being such an easy baby: Because Mommy and I get to sleep more than we did when your brother was your age.

Your ability to sleep through the night at this age also goes hand in hand with you now beginning to eat solid foods. A couple of weeks ago Chicco sent us their new NaturalFit bottle for you to try out.

https://familyfriendlydaddyblog.com/2016/10/14/dear-holly-you-slept-through-the-entire-night-for-the-1st-time-in-your-life-after-day-5-of-the-cry-it-out-method/

I didn’t even know Chicco made bottles. I just recognized the name from the old car seat we haul you around in, which you inherited from your nearly 6 year-old brother. (See below.)

Dear Holly: Your Uncle Jake’s Wedding at Tom Ham’s Lighthouse (San Diego Vacation/2016 Mitsubishi Outlander)

Mommy quickly admitted the Chicco Natural Fit bottle has an easy flow to it, that it’s easy for her to hold, and that it never leaks; which is a big deal. Too bad we don’t have these bottles this entire time with you!

This past week though, I could tell that the formula alone just wasn’t enough for you. After drinking 6 ounces at a time, you would spit up the final ounce but still seem hungry.

I will say, you’re not totally excited about the concept of actually eating solid food. You act disgusted by  the texture, which is likely the case.

However, you seem very curious when Mommy and I eat chips and salsa.

You’ll have to work your way up to that.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: You are 6 Months Old Today!

Dear Holly: You Slept through the Entire Night for the 1st Time in Your Life, after Day 5 of “The Cry It Out” Method

5 months.

Dear Holly: You Slept through the Entire Night for the 1st Time in Your Life, after Day 5 of “The Cry It Out” Method

Dear Holly,

Last night made the first time in your life in which you slept through the entire night, from 8:20 PM to 5:40 AM, without ever crying or waking up, whatsoever.

If you had, I would have known, since I had the baby monitor right next to me the whole night; as I have the past 4 nights as well. I myself went to bed at 10:30 PM, and was so surprised when my alarm woke me up a 5:20 AM and realized I had been asleep the whole time without having to get out of bed.

That also means Mommy got another great night of sleep, as she went to bed at 9:45 PM. And of course your brother Jack went to sleep the same time as you, and also slept all through the night; as he always has, since I successfully applied “The Cry It Out” Method on him 5 years ago.

Now that your body has officially adapted to remaining solidly asleep for an entire night, I am confident to believe this will be the norm for you from now on. Granted, I am prepared for the next few following days for you to possibly briefly wake up, but then to fall right back asleep.

But really, this should be it. No more of Mommy losing sleep by having to (illegitimately) feed you through the night.

I had been ready for months to go ahead and sleep train you; but between Mommy being psychologically ready (ultimately meaning she hadn’t yet reached to the combination of “fed up and exhausted”), and you getting sick, and us going on vacation for a week in San Diego, then to Alabama last weekend for my grandma’s funeral, the timing just wasn’t right.

But that all came to a head this week.

I very much appreciate Mommy trusting me to take over. I couldn’t have been successful without her agreeing to let me do what I am wired to do, which is what she is not wired to do.

She never once came upstairs to interrupt me in my craft, as you cried it out for up to 20 minutes at a time.

Clearly, Mommy is the feminine nurturer. And clearly, I am the masculine enforcer.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: Your Introduction to “The Cry It Out” Method (to Train You to Sleep through the Night)

5 months.

Dear Holly: Your Introduction to “The Cry It Out” Method to Train You to Sleep through the Night

Dear Holly,

This is a very special week for you. Mommy gave me the green light to have full jurisdiction in applying “The Cry It Out” Method to help you learn to sleep through the night.

I did this for your brother when he was 7 months old and now I am happy I get to “sleep train” you about a month and a half sooner than I did with him.

Mommy didn’t mind waking up twice a night to feed you for these past couple of months, but it transitioned into you waking up every couple of hours. I pointed out to her that you weren’t actually physically needing to eat. Instead, you needed to be re-calibrated to be able to sleep longer than 2 hours at a time and I was more than willing to assume the role.

Without much need to persuade her by this point, I presented Mommy with the plan that starting this week, I would sleep upstairs in the room next to yours, with the baby monitor right next to me, so I could wake up and supervise you “crying it out.” That way, Mommy could start getting full, uninterrupted nights of sleep again, while I wake up with you to help you learn to cry yourself back to sleep.

Here’s how it’s been going so far:

Night 1, Sunday: You went to bed around 9:30 PM and had your final feeding for the night. You woke up twice, both times for a duration of 20 minutes. Both times, I had to flip you over after you were exhausting yourself by crying on your stomach, while holding yourself up with your arms. The first time you started crying, you got your foot stuck in the bars of your crib. But after letting your cry for a few minutes that way, you revealed that you easily knew how to remove your leg from the bars yourself. From that point on, I knew not to fall for it.

Night 2, Monday: You went to bed around 9:00 PM and had your final feeding for the night. You only woke up once, this time for just 10 minutes. I had to flip you over on your back again- then you immediately went back to sleep.

Night 3, Tuesday: You went to bed around 8:00 PM and had your final feeding for the night. You only cried once, for 30 minutes inconsistently. However, you remained on your back the whole time, meaning this was the first time I didn’t having to flip you back over.

Night 4, Wednesday: You went to bed around 7:00 PM, though I fed you a full bottle at 10:00 PM; which was 3 hours after you fell asleep. Beginning at 2:00 AM, you mildly, inconstantly cried the first time for 30 minutes, then fell back to sleep on your own. Again, I didn’t have to flip you over. You did it yourself this time. Then again at 4:00 AM, you did the same thing for this time for only 10 minutes.

What my notes of this show is this: With each following night of me applying “The Cry It Out” Method on you, you have been A) falling asleep earlier, B) teaching yourself to either remain on your back or flip yourself back over yourself, and C) wake up happy with a slightly bigger appetite.

Clearly, this method is working for you. Through my supervision, you are teaching yourself to remain asleep through the night, like a child; as opposed to a newborn.

This means better rest for you and Mommy, and eventually me, once you eventually stop crying or waking up all together in the middle of the night.

I remember how 5 years ago when I applied this method to your brother, I was told by a few people that I was depriving your brother of love and assurance, to the point that he would be psychologically damaged from letting him cry it out.

Fortunately, your brother has grown into a well-balanced nearly 6 year-old Kindergartner. He was the first boy student in his class this school year to be awarded by his teacher, Student of the Month, in September.

So I am fully convinced that you will turn out just right, as well. This is a good thing for our family.

Love,

Daddy

3 Bits of Parenting Advice I Wish I Had Received Beforehand: Cry It Out Method, No Fruit Juice, Discipline without Spanking

Louis CK Spanking

When you are expecting your first child, by default you are bombarded by people giving you what they think is good advice, when in reality, it’s just nonsense:

“Make sure you get plenty of sleep now, because once the baby arrives,

you’ll be wishing you had more of it!”

Lame.

That doesn’t even make sense. Even if you sleep 12 hours every day leading up to when that baby arrives, that won’t change the fact you still will be deprived of sleep once the baby is born.

It’s not like the outdated concept of “rollover minutes” on your flip phone from 2003.

Now that my second child is due in April, I’m collecting my thoughts on how to prevent making the mistakes I did with my 1st child.

Last week one of my friends I grew up with, whose first child is due a week before my second child, asked me over Facebook if I had any tips for him.

And that, of course, inspired this blog post today.

I should give this disclaimer, though: All 3 of my tips today are unpopular with the majority.

However, I know that these three tips have led to me being a more efficient parent personally and have led to the making of a good kid.

Seriously, my 5 year-old soon is a good kid. He’s bright, he’s creative, he’s active, he’s funny, he’s well-behaved, and he’s healthy. And he doesn’t get in trouble at Pre-K.

I say those things not to brag, but to provide evidence that the parenting tips I am submitting today are personally effective; not just simply my opinion.

This blog post today is written for open-minded, soon-to-be first time parents, who I am grateful are taking the time to hear what I have to say, in an effort to proactively seek help.

1) Use the “cry it out” method. I have now just revealed that I am not an “attachment parent” or a “helicopter parent”. Unfortunately, my wife and I didn’t learn this lesson until our son was 7 months old.

Your baby is depending on you to learn when night time is and when he or she should be asleep for several hours at a time. By answering your baby’s cries each time during the middle of the night, it is actually counter-productive as it prevents your baby from getting the necessary rest he or she needs; as well as yours and your spouse’s.

Yes, it can be psychologically challenging as the parent to apply the “cry it out” method, at first. It can difficult to choose efficiency over emotion, but my child is proof that this method is not damaging to the child’s psyche.

2) Fruit juice is not a healthy drink option. Yes, fruit juice contains vitamins and is hydrating. However, it doesn’t contain the fiber from the fruit needed for digestion and to balance out the sugar. So what happens is your child gets an unhealthy sugar dose (and possibly excessive gas.)

My son gets a skin rash anytime he drinks juice. That’s what fully convinced me it’s not good for him. Even my son’s dentist, Dr. Snodgrass, quickly agreed with me when I mentioned it to him during my son’s visit first. The dentist immediately acknowledged he can always tell when a child regularly drinks juice, because their teeth typically aren’t as healthy.

So with that being said, obviously sports drinks (like Gatorade) and soda are nothing less than taboo in our household.

Instead, your child can get vitamins from actual fruit and vegetables found in fruit packets; plus I highly recommend buying a Baby Bullet, to provide your child with the right nutrition.

3) Discipline your child without spanking them. Your job as the parent is to provide certain things for your child that, on their own, they are not capable of understanding they need in the moment. They are depending on your lead for these things.

They need to know when to eat (hungry), when to sleep (tired), when to play (bored), when to engage in conversation (lonely), or when they are physically incapable of feeling well (sick).

Unfortunately, it’s only natural as a parent to, in the moment, forget about these things and instead, assume your child is “misbehaving”.

Five years into this, I now know to go off the check list when I am tempted to think my son is “misbehaving”. Each and every time, he’s either hungry, tired, bored, lonely, or sick. (I invented that check list, by the way.)

My role is to proactively provide for his needs, not to physically strike him for seeking negative attention for those symptoms.

Additionally, here are my 5 alternatives to spanking that I learned from when I blogged for Parents.com:

Ignore attention-seeking behavior; pay attention to good behavior; redirect your child; teach consequences that make sense; and use time-outs for serious offenses.

Consider that professional psychologists who have actually studied spanking have come to the same conclusion: Spanking is actually less effective. Even if it was only equally effective, why physically strike your child if you don’t have to?

For me it’s all about efficiency as a parent. It’s about working smart, not necessarily hard.

No need to make yourself a martyr if you know what’s really going on in your child’s brain.

If you are open-minded to my personally effective methods I have shared today, please feel free to comment so I can get back to you.