In this episode of the My Sleeping Baby podcast, I address the HUGE myth that the only way to sleep train your little one is to use the cry it out method.
I specifically discuss:
– What cry-it-out (aka extinction) actually is
– Why your little one might not actually be magically sleeping through the night after 2 days of the cry it out method
– What some alternatives to cry-it-out look like
– The most important factor to consider when figuring out which sleep training method to use for your little one
– a VERY important point about sleep training and crying
Have a listen!
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Hey there, you’re listening to the My Sleeping Baby podcast, which is all about baby and child sleep. I’m so excited to teach you how you can get your little ones sleeping so that you can sleep too and enjoy parenthood to its fullest. I’m Eva Klein, your resident’s sleep expert, mom of three, founder of the Sleep Bible online coaching program, and lover of all things sleep and motherhood. If you’re looking for tangible solutions for your little one sleep woes or you simply want to learn more, this podcast is for you. For more information, check out mysleepingbaby.com and you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook @mysleepingbaby.m, and you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook at My Sleeping Baby.
Alright, welcome back to the show. Today I want to address one of the most common questions and really hesitancies around sleep training your little ones when you are an exhausted parent of a baby, toddler or preschooler. And the question goes something like this, it goes, Eva, I really wanna get my little one sleeping through the night, but do I need to leave her to cry it out because I really don’t want to have to do that. Now, I’m gonna give you the quick answer here and then I’m gonna delve into more detail. So the quick answer is no <laugh>, you do not need to do Cry it out if you want to get your little one sleeping through the night. There are other approaches that you can use that will allow you to get yourself or your little one from point A to point B without simply putting them into the crib saying goodnight and leaving and not coming back in.
Now, before I delve into this myth, misunder misunderstanding in a little bit more detail, um, I just want to first address a bigger question here, which is, what is cryo out? What does it actually mean? So cryo out is otherwise known as extinction. It was a sleep training method that was created by, um, a well-known doctor. His name is Dr. Wise Bluth and Extinction or Cry Out. It refers to a very cold Turkey approach where you no longer are helping your little one fall asleep. Instead, you’re teaching them how to fall asleep by themselves, by putting them into their crib or sleep space, saying goodnight, leaving the room and not going back in. Now the reality is that for some families, this approach works perfectly for them. Um, and, and I think that we need to acknowledge that and respect that. By no means am I sitting here telling you that extinction or cry it out is bad or problematic by any means.
That being said, I also fully recognize that for a lot of families, it simply sits outside of their comfort zone and that’s completely understandable and acceptable. And these are families who don’t wanna wait it out. They’re not just, they’re done waiting for that magical day to come for their little one to finally decide to sleep through the night. But they’re also equally uncomfortable with going to the opposite end of the spectrum, doing something that just feels so abrupt and cold Turkey to them. And if that sounds like you, I want you to know that there are other options here that can get you from point A to point B teaching your little one how to fall asleep and how to fall back to sleep on their own. But with you being there in a supportive manner, I have some families that still feel comfortable leaving the room, but will be okay with this type of approach as long as they can check in on their little one intermittently throughout the process, there are those types of options to explore.
There are also what’s known as gradual withdrawal methods where you would instead start out by sitting next to your little one until they fall asleep, gradually moving further and further away over time so that your little one becomes more and more independent and becomes less and less reliant on you and your presence as a means of falling asleep and falling back to sleep. And I wanna emphasize that there is no hierarchy here in terms of which approach is better or which approach is more effective, because the reality is that all of these options are gonna get you to the exact same endpoint. The most important thing is figuring out what type of approach sits within your comfort zone the most, so that it will be easiest for you to remain consistent because your well-intentioned friend could tell you until they’re blue in the face, how amazing extinction is and how it’s so quick and so easy and they get it within 48 hours and it’s the best thing ever and you should just do it.
Now, here’s the reality. First of all, everything that that well-intentioned friend said in this hypothetical example is not necessarily going to actually be accurate because there is a lot of sleep problems out there that cannot be resolved with 48 hours of cryo out or extinction. But even if that was the case in this specific situation, if that type of approach is so outside of your comfort zone and is literally eating you up alive, then it is gonna be incredibly challenging, if not impossible for you to remain consistent with it. And then take a while. Guess what happens when you’re not consistent? You’re right, it’s not going to work. And so who cares if you take a slightly longer approach that might take an extra few days, maybe a week longer if in the grand scheme of things you’re getting yourself to the same end point anyways, but you’re actually remaining consistent, which means it can actually work.
So there’s no race here. It’s not a matter of necessarily getting to that end point as quickly as you physically can. Yes, of course you wanna be sleeping through the night as of yesterday, you wish you could go back in a time machine and set yourself forward. You know, set yourself backwards six months from now, fix your little ones sleep problems now, which of that today you’d be completely well rested. I get that. Unfortunately we can’t do that just yet. But the second best thing that we can do is pick the best approach for you today that you can stick with and remain consistent with through till the end so that it actually works. And as somebody who is very solution oriented, very pragmatic, that is the way to go about this. Now, I do want to make a very important point about the crying that is involved with any sort of sleep plan that we are executing regardless of the age and stage and temperament of your little one.
And that is that when we are making changes to your little one’s sleep habits, whether they are big changes, whether or not they are more somewhat gradual changes, we are going to get pushback in the form of tears from your little one. They are naturally going to be upset and they are going to cry simply because this is different than what they’re used to. And your little one doesn’t have the critical thinking skills to understand why these changes to their wind down routine and falling asleep routine are necessary. All they know is, I don’t like this because it’s different. I want my old routine. Why? Because it’s used to, and that’s that’s what I’m used to and that’s what I want. That’s all period. And that is the extent of their critical thinking abilities that they will have for a very, very, very long time.
And so that’s where the adults in this situation need to jump in and use their critical thinking skills, take a few steps back and say, Hey, is this working? Does this routine work for us? And if it doesn’t, that is okay. We can go in and make changes and introduce new routines that work better for your family. Recognizing of course that it’s usually not possible for us to make these changes without any tears or with only minimal tears. But remember that when your little one is pushing back and crying at different points throughout this process, that you can be there supporting her through it so that she’s not going through this process alone. At the same time, I want to emphasize the following so strongly, and that is that no form of sleep training should ever involve hours and hours of crying, period. I repeat <laugh>, when you are doing sleep training of any kind, whether it is the most hands off or the most hands-on type of approach, your little one should never be crying for hours on end.
When I hear about that type of situation happening and we’re talking about an otherwise healthy, physiologically healthy baby or toddler or preschooler, I can tell you with basically a hundred percent certainty that that that situation involving hours of crying was preventable and that it was likely caused by something incomplete of your overall sleep plan, something that likely happened during the day, whether it was an improper bedtime, uh, an improper bedtime routine, an improper daytime schedule over tiredness, naps not timed properly. Something happened elsewhere that basically made the sleep training bound to fail before it began because I can tell you, having worked with thousands and thousands of families to date, that when sleep training of any kind is done consistently, is done correctly and is done as part of a bigger sleep plan, addressing all those other puzzle pieces first, like sleep environments, scheduling routines, nap times, nap durations, daytime nutrition and emotional wellbeing, you should never have hours and hours of crying.
And so when that happens, it doesn’t mean that sleep training is evil. It doesn’t mean that your little one is impossible to sleep train, and that you’ve just, you just have this nons sleeping alien baby who is never going to learn how to sleep. Well, neither of those are the case. It simply means that we need to make sure that all your eyes are dotted and all of your t’s are crossed and that your sleep plan involves addressing everything in that 24 hour period. That it doesn’t just involve plunking your baby into the crib at any given random time and holding your breath and hoping for the best because when it’s done properly, you know that it’s going to work. You know that there isn’t going to be hours of crying and that, you know, your little one is going to actually be able to pull this off because you would have addressed those daytime puzzle pieces ensuring that your little one is set up to actually be successful.
And this applies by the way to cry it out, even if someone is choosing to do cry it out, cry it out itself, should not involve hours of crying when everything else is done. That’s the truth. So to sum up here, if you do not want to do extinction, which is that approach that has you put your little one in the crib or their bed and leave and not go back in, you do not have to do that. There are many other approaches that will get you from point A to point B that you can explore that will fit within your comfort zone to ensure that you can actually remain consistent with this. I can’t emphasize enough how important that is. At the same time, there is going to be crying and pushback involved with sleep training. You can be there to support your little one throughout the process, but regardless of what, what, whichever approach you take with sleep training specifically, it should never involve hours of crying under any circumstances that my friends is completely 100% avoidable.
Now, if you have a baby, a toddler, or a preschooler who is giving you a run for your money in the sleep department, they are not falling asleep easily. They are not sleeping more than a few hours at a time at night, and they are not napping for more than 30 minutes at a time during the day. I have got you covered. Check out my free training that I’ve got that will teach you how you can get your little one consistently sleeping 11 to 12 hours at night so you can feel like a functioning human again. How can you check out this training? Just click on the link in the show notes below. Um, sign up and you can start watching that training. Whenever you are free, you can get immediate access to it. So I hope that you all enjoyed this episode and that you all have a wonderful day. Take care everyone.
Thank you everyone for listening, and I hope you all have a wonderful day. Thank you so much for listening. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, leave a review and share this episode with a friend who can benefit from it. I also love hearing from my listener, so feel free to DM me on Instagram at my sleeping baby or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Until next time, have a wonderful restful nights.