Nope, this is not some voodoo magic or something someone made up to make parents with fussy children feel like failures. It is real and TOTALLY works! Truthfully it is the same as normal sleep training, aka the cry-it-out method, but with a different mindset.
About a month ago I had hit my limit of sleepless nights, and long sessions of rocking Cooper to sleep for naps. I started looking into this so-called sleep training and got depressed. How was I going to just let him cry it out?? I tried it a little bit but hated it. Finally, I googled “no crying sleep training” thinking nothing would come up, but low and behold there is a “method” and it worked for me so give it a try!
The concept is simple: Teach your baby that you will come to him when he is calm, not when he is crying.
When your baby is getting sleepy, rock or read to him (or do something to help him relax), then put him in his crib. Assure him that he’s a good baby and tell him it’s time to go night-night. Then leave the room. BUT try to come back in before he starts crying. Enter the room, rub his back (or something soothing), tell him he’s a good baby and that it’s time to go night-night. Leave and repeat.
When your baby starts crying because he probably will the first time trying this, wait until he’s having a calmish moment to go back in and do the same thing. **IMPORTANT** Show that you are confused that he is crying, but NOT afraid. Babies understand more about emotion than you think. If you stay calm, he will know to be calm.
How It Went For Me:
I kind of thought it was a little crazy at first. How will my baby know I’m not afraid? Can he really “learn” that I am coming in when he is calm, not when he’s crying? After trying this though, I truly do believe he could sense that I wasn’t afraid, because why else would we even try to calm a crying baby in the first place? If we didn’t believe they wouldn’t be soothed by us, then wouldn’t we just always let them cry? A baby is constantly learning what to be afraid of and what not to be. Why not teach him that feeling tired is something not to be afraid of.
So I gave it a try.
Day 1: I did exactly as I described before. rocked, read, and left the room. I came back in before the crying, calmed him, and watched as he drifted into a dreamful sleep. Jk. He cried after the third time going in… So then I almost panicked but didn’t. I watched the clock like a crazy woman wondering how long it was possible for a mom to listen to her baby cry without going insane. Finally, he had a moment of calm, (aka he finally took a second to breath), and I rushed in. I tried to calm him but he was still crying, so I caved and picked him up and rocked him for a second. He immediately fell asleep. I kissed him a million times and put him to bed. This pattern continued that day throughout his naps. Bedtime though, he just sort of fell asleep right away.
Day 2: Success from the first try. He fell asleep after I entered his room twice on the first nap, and I sort of forgot to even go in on his second nap.
Day 3: The same thing, AND I didn’t have to feed him to get him back to sleep at his 2 am waking. He was still drowsy but fussing a bit so I just stuck his binky back in and he fell asleep.
For two weeks it worked perfectly! Honestly, I had no issues as long as he was getting sleepy when I rocked him and laid him down. All I had to do at 2 am also was stick his binky in. A few times though he didn’t even wake up and I SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT.
But…. then the reality of being a Mom hit and he got super sick for two weeks and sleep and no crying was a long-lost dream. He is finally better now though and I re-did the training yesterday with much less crying and success by nap three.
** UPDATE ** with baby number 2!
My second baby Haden is only 4 months old but I’ve already started using this method and I can definitely tell that it is making a huge difference. He has always been a pretty good nighttime sleeper, but naps were short and hard to come by. I started to think maybe it was a good time to sleep train so I’ve implemented this method, as well as focused on putting him down for a nap every 90 minutes from the last time he woke up. (think play, sleep, eat.) Now, for the most part, I can just set him in his crib after reading a story and he’ll wiggle himself to sleep! I think that because I am calm around nap time, he is calmer.
Try it!!! If anything, trying this will at least make you feel like you’re not just sticking your baby in a cage and letting him cry. Good luck!!