Have you used controlled crying? What was your experie... - NCT


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Have you used controlled crying? What was your experience with it?

Amanda86 profile image

My little boy is 5 months old, he sleeps with me all night (literally on my chest). He would sleep in his crib for the first couple of hours but recently he’s even refusing to do that, the minute I lay him down he wakes and cries.

I’m finding him sleeping on me harder and harder, he’s getting heavier so it’s very uncomfortable and as he lays on top of me I have to just lie flat and straight all night so my legs and back are becoming quite sore. I also don’t get a very good sleep this way and he still wakes every 1.5-2 hours which I think is probably down to it probably not being that comfortable for him either.

I’ve read up on various methods of sleep training and feel like I might have to give controlled crying a shot (not until he’s 6 months as I know it’s not recommended before then). It breaks my heart but I’m finding it too hard to continue sleeping the way we do, he even wakes if I lay him next to me on the bed. I feel the more gradual methods of sleep training would just wind him up more.

If you’ve used controlled crying what was your experience?


34 Replies

Hi Amanda, we haven't but one of my twins is similar. In order to resettle him I find it helps to hold his dummy on place and also hold his arms (gently) so they lay flat on the bed. It takes a little while but if I stay like that and count, sometimes up to 300, he goes back to sleep. Sometimes it helps if I lean over the cot and put my head next to his (cot is on bassinet setting). Worth a try? Sometimes it works just to hold his hand through the cot side (my bed is alongside his cot). He's definitely more difficult to settle now that he's able to roll over one way. X

Thanks for your reply, hope your keeping well 😊

He’s in his crib at the moment, but will be moving into his cot in his own room once 6 months. I’ve never tried the holding of arm thing, he doesn’t take a dummy but worth trying to hold his arms although I can imagine he will just scream 😂 so tough!

How’s the twins doing and how are you? Xxx

We're really good thanks. Am loving having the twins. All the sleepless nights are worth it aren't they?

Holding arms works with both of mind even when they're in a total stare and if you put your head close to his he'll have that assurance you're there. Then i untangle myself when they're srowsy/asleep. An arm gently resting across the tummy helps too. With the arms I gently hold them in the arms up position they sleep in.

I do want to do sleep training soon but not read the book yet. Have got 'the no cry sleep solution' book by Elizabeth Pantley because mine still wake several times for feeding!

How are you getting on otherwise?

Whatever you decide to do, let us know how you get on X

We are good thanks. I must admit I’ve found the sleep deprivation very hard! But I do love motherhood 😍

So glad you and the twins are doing well!

I noticed your comments below about the babies who slept on chest and the no cry method working, what is the no cry method in this book? In the books I have the 2 method for no crying are shhh and pat and gradual retreat. Is it either of these? Xxx

I'll have a look and respond asap x

Thank you - no rush 😊 xxx

Hi Amanda86. One to have a chat with your Health Visitor about. My experience as a young midwife on a ward with 16 young babies and just 2 or 3 staff on duty. Which one do you pick up when they cry, as we didn’t have mums staying all night then. You just checked they were clean and dry and fed, quick reassuring cuddle, then back in the cot. We didn’t talk to them, as it tended to waken them too much. I did this with my own little one, then if she cried, I waited a few minutes, then went in, lengthening the time if necessary. I believe they soon learn that you’re not far away and settle. Remember too, as they get older, that a teddy sitting on a chair, looks lovely in the day, but can look scary at night, so check with the light off, or lamp on what it looks like at night. Sometimes very low music can help, as when the house is quiet, often creaks and radiator noises can be heard. Baby was used to hearing music when in your womb, so that can help. You may need a whole week to sort little one out, and it hurts! Don’t talk, just comfort and off to bed. Good luck! Diane xx

Amanda86 profile image
Amanda86 in reply to DianeArnold

Thank you Diane. In the book I have with techniques this is exactly how they explain to do controlled crying, extending time out of the room by 2 more mins each time. I know it’ll be so hard because he will scream, everyone comments on what a set of lungs he has 😂 but as you say he’ll soon learn that I’m not away and will hopefully learn to self settle.

I have someone coming out on Thursday so discuss his sleeping so hopefully they’ll be in agreement with this approach too. I can’t thibk of any other way to help him settle, me being with him and trying to reassure him to sleep just seems to wind him up more 😥 xxx

Have you tried giving your baby a comforter or something with your scent on might help to settle him x

Amanda86 profile image
Amanda86 in reply to

Yeah he’s got a comforter which he’s just not very interested in. He’ll hold it but he just doesn’t seem to use anything to comfort himself (except me). I slept with his little comforter toy to give it my scent but made no difference 😒 xxx

Went to a session by Lucy Shrimpton sleep nanny at the baby show recently, she was very convincing. Maybe look at her book?

Thank you. I’ll have a look 😀 xxx

Have you tired a hummy white noise thing. My eldest used to do the same when she was first born couldn’t put her down I’d wedge rolled up blankets along the side of her Moses basket prop up her mattress, where as my second I put her down awake and she would just fall asleep she had a blankie comforter still has a teddy at 10. I’d try to break the cycle tho or you’ll end up with a 5 year old sleeping with u eventually.

Amanda86 profile image
Amanda86 in reply to gcw104

Yeah I’ve got white noise but he doesn’t seem to like that either, I could probably leave it on when he sleeps but in terms of helping him to settle it doesn’t seem to work 😒

I know this is my worry. The fact he actually sleeps on my chest is hard and I can’t have him doing that forever 😂

He’s got a sleep pod which is supposed to help him feel secure like he’s being held but nope, his eyes just spring open the minute he’s not being held by me now! 😬 xxx

I think it depends on the baby... with my first this did work... it did take a while, I.e 2-3 weeks, but the crying got steadily less.

My second we tried this when she was around 8-9 months and it was horrendous. She cried on and off for 5 hours the first night. Then second night we thought it was getting better after she slept after 30mins of crying, only to wake up after 30mins and cry and steady 2 hours. So we stopped it. Sleep still an issue with her, she just turned one. Keep watching this space!

Amanda86 profile image
Amanda86 in reply to roxannacar

Thanks Roxanne, I was saying to my partner he’s such a stubborn baby I could imagine he would be the type that even controlled crying won’t work with (although I pray it does!!).

It’s so hard, I know everyone says it won’t last forever and they’ll settle themselves eventually etc but when it’s having an impact on you and baby it’s not great! 😥

Good luck with your little girl xxx

I would read this before thinking about leaving your baby to cry sarahockwell-smith.com/2014...

Amanda86 profile image
Amanda86 in reply to BecciBoo

Thanks, I’ll have a look. I have read quite a few things against controlled crying, however I’m not sure what other way to go about it. He can’t sleep on me much longer and he cries the minute I lay him down, comforting him with me by his side seems to only make him more distressed. It’s very tough xxx

BecciBoo profile image
BecciBoo in reply to Amanda86

Have you tried white noise? I bed share with my 5.5 month old, he will only sleep if I’m my bed. I have a myhummy bear and that helps massively

Amanda86 profile image
Amanda86 in reply to BecciBoo

Yeah got white noise, doesn’t seem to make a difference. If he lay next to me on the bed I could handle it longer it’s the fact he actually has to sleep on my chest that’s what’s becoming very difficult 😥 xxx

My baby was similar. She's been sleeping in her own bed for a week now. She's three months. I've been putting her down asleep in her sleeping bag, but she'll only fall asleep being fed. We have a co-sleeper which has made this possible, but has taken a long time to achieve. She still won't go down alone. It might be worth trying. I appreciate a co sleeper might be a bit tricky with an older baby though.

Amanda86 profile image
Amanda86 in reply to Kata89

Hey thanks for your reply.

The minute I lay him down he just wakes 😥 doesn’t matter how deep a sleep he’s in. It’s like the second he touches a surface that’s not me his eyes ping open lol.

My health visitor does think he could be uncomfortable in crib because he is big and his cot might be better but I don’t plan on putting him into his own room until 6 months so just need to wait and see.

I may try to put him in cot for naps, the only issue is when he keeps waking he’s not getting a sleep so then I feel bad about that but guess I need to give it a shot xxx

Kata89 profile image
Kata89 in reply to Amanda86

Can you put the cot in with you? Just an idea. Or even try to encourage him to sleep next to you? She initially slept on me then next to me, being cuddled. Hope you find a solution that works for you both. Babies are tricky things aren't they.

Amanda86 profile image
Amanda86 in reply to Kata89

Our room would be quite tight with the cot but worse case scenario I’d maybe need to try.

They are so tricky 😬 if only we knew when they’d settle alone you could cope but could be years away and can’t have that 😂 xxx

Sorry to hear you’re still struggling with this. I still have difficulty getting my little boy (5months) to sleep and stay asleep and very much feel now that a lot of this is due to who he is. He’s always been very alert and I think he just can’t switch off very easily. Even in a dark room he’s always looking for stuff to distract him 😂

But...I feel I have made a bit of progress recently in that I have sometimes been able to pat him to sleep in his cot rather than having to try putting him down asleep and have him wake up and cry. This usually only works if he’s been fed or rocked first so is more settled but I have managed to do it from when he’s been quite awake. I know he’s still needing me to help him but it’s given him the opportunity to fall asleep in his cot and a few times he’s woken in the night, wiggling around enough to wake me but has managed to go back to sleep by himself (no crying at all). This is still a bit variable but I didn’t think it would ever work so things are a bit better at night and he’s generally waking twice between 7:30 and 7.

I’m not keen on the idea of controlled crying and like you, suspect it might not really work for my baby anyway. He does sometimes have to do a little whingy cry before falling asleep in the pram but he knows I’m there and it only lasts literally about a minute or two. It’s not a proper cry, more of a whine and I know it’s just because he’s tired and trying to settle himself. If he did this at night I would be happy to leave him with regular checks as I know he’s not distressed. If he was left to cry properly though, I think it would just escalate and the only way he’d then sleep would be through complete exhaustion which is just wrong.

Really hope you find a solution though. I know it’s easy to judge people and condemn their decisions for wanting to try things but as someone who has always coped pretty well on minimal sleep, having a baby who doesn’t really sleep day or night over a period of months has had a real effect on my mental health so I can see why you’re looking at all the options xx

Amanda86 profile image
Amanda86 in reply to kt_11

Thanks for your reply.

Yeah the sleep deprivation is killing me, I’d say I’m getting used to it but it’s still a struggle but the main thing is just how sore my back and legs and knees are from the position I have to sleep in all night - feel like it’s makong our time together during the day difficult because I’m so sore, he constantly wants held during the day too so it’s never ending!

I always said I’d never do controlled crying but just starting to feel I’ve no other option. I have been told once he’s in his room and in his cot he might settle better so I’m hoping that’ll be the way, we’ll see 🙈 xxx

Hi just reading the book I mentioned and one of the testimonies is from a mum whose baby would only sleep on her. She used the no cry method and after 30 days her baby was sleeping and only waking once for a feed nd settling self not on her the rest of the time. Am gonna try it soon x

And the next example is also a chest sleeper who went through the night after waking a few times between 8 and 10. Before she won't wake 8-10 times a night on the mum's chest for feeding. X

My LO is 5 months old and I'm having a similar issue he will go down in his next to me crib for the first 2 hours but will not settle ends up next to me in bed as only way to get sleep. I really don't like having him in bed with me but get to the point I'm so exhausted I can't be rocking him anymore. I'm 100% sure controlled crying won't work for him as he already cried for about half an hour before going to bed in our arms. Sorry can't offer any help but interested to know if anything does work for you xx

Amanda86 profile image
Amanda86 in reply to friggens31

Hey, sorry to hear your also experiencing something similar! It’s very difficult isn’t it 😒

I have had a few people tell me that once baby is in own room and the cot with more space it can sometimes completely change their sleeping (for the better) so just have to hope this will be the case!

I’m going to try putting my little boy into his cot for naps starting from the weekend and just see how it goes 🙈 think I can imagine how it’ll go though lol!

I’ll let you know if anything does work for us xxx

friggens31 profile image
friggens31 in reply to Amanda86

Yeah I've been thinking that with the cot I did put him in their today for his nap but then forgot to set the monitor up and doing so woke him up 🤦 will definitely keep tryinh. Good luck x

There is a little purple book you can buy on Amazon - the baby sleep guide - it's super easy to follow and quick to read - and it helped me soo much. My baby slept in his cot 7pm - 7am ever since! Is it possible there is something bothering him when sleeping on his back? Silent reflux or something? Putting baby in his own space for naps helps them get used to it. It does take time but in my experience perseverance really pays off. Good luck- sleep deprivation is the worst! X

Amanda86 profile image
Amanda86 in reply to SophieB90

Hey thanks for your reply, that’s one of the books I’ve got! Which method of sleep training did you use?

He does suffer with reflux, however it’s lots better now. My health visitor did mention he might feel quite claustrophobic in his crib as he’s quite big so I definitely think it’s worth trying him in the cot, even for his naps! Xxx

I know it's easier said than done, but try not to get too emotional about it, your child will live to tell the tale, and will love you just the same. The more you give in, you are actually teaching him (the opposite of what you want) that he needs you to sleep. The earlier the child learns to self soothe the happier both you, him and everyone else in the household will be. I never believed I could put my baby in the cot and she would go off to sleep on her own without crying, but this is now common practice. It may be a gruelling initial 1-2 weeks of training but it will be 100% worth it in the end. There may be the odd few nights here or there where extra cuddles/rocking may be needed (based on teething/wind/pain/discomfort) but it should not be the daily practice, self-soothing should be quickly resumed. Each baby is unique and some may take shorter/longer to adapt, but eventually they all adapt. Sounds like your little miracle likes to feel snuggled, so a cosy sleeping bag might work wonders. All the best, it will get better xx

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