Understanding the 'Cry It Out' Method: Pros, Cons and Its Impact on Early Awakening Babies

Understanding the ‘Cry It Out’ Method: Pros, Cons and Its Impact on Early Awakening Babies

You’re not alone if your baby wakes up early from naps. It’s a common issue many parents face. But should you let your little one cry it out? Let’s delve into this hot topic.

The ‘cry it out’ method, also known as sleep training, is often a topic of debate among parents and pediatricians. It can be a tough decision to make, especially when you’re sleep-deprived and just want the best for your baby.

In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of letting your baby cry it out when they wake up early from a nap. We’ll provide you with the knowledge to make an informed decision that’s best for your family’s sleep health. So, let’s get started.

Key Takeaways

  • Young infants typically have various, shorter sleep sessions throughout the day and night. As they grow, their sleep patterns mature and they start to consolidate their daytime sleep into longer naps.
  • Babies wake early from naps due to overstimulation, incomplete mastery of sleep cycles, discomfort due to teething or wet diapers, or even growth spurts or sleep regressions.
  • The ‘cry it out’ (CIO) method aids babies to become independent sleepers and self-soothe when they wake up from a nap.
  • The CIO approach doesn’t mean neglecting your baby’s needs. It merely allows them some time to settle back to sleep on their own without immediate comforting.
  • A study shows babies who experienced the CIO approach didn’t show signs of stress, they slept better, and their parents reported less stress.
  • While CIO has been beneficial for many families, it’s not for everyone. Potential downsides like possible distress for the baby and emotional strain for the parent need to be considered.

The cry-it-out method, a sleep training technique for babies, has its pros and cons, including potential impacts on early awakening, discussed in depth at What to Expect. While some experts argue it helps babies learn to self-soothe, others raise concerns about emotional stress, as reported by Parenting.com.

Understanding Baby Naps

Understanding Baby Naps

Just like us, babies also need their sleep to stay healthy and grow stronger every day. They require plenty of naps throughout the day, but unlike adult sleep patterns, the length and frequency of baby naps can fluctuate based on several factors. It’s crucial to understand these factors to help your baby get the quality sleep they need.

Babies sleep cycles are significantly shorter than those of adults. A full sleep cycle for newborns lasts about 50 minutes and for babies aged three to five months, this may extend to an hour. It’s common for babies to wake up after a sleep cycle. While some can self-soothe and go back to sleep, others may not be able to – this is when you might find your baby waking early from their nap.

The age of your baby also influences the duration and the number of their naps each day. Younger infants typically sleep in brief sessions scattered throughout the day and night. As they grow and their sleep patterns mature, they start to consolidate their daytime sleep into longer naps, gradually transitioning to more sleep at night.

To help you get a clearer picture of how much daytime sleep your baby needs, we’ve put together a simple table for you:

AgeNumber of NapsTotal Hours of Daytime Sleep
0-3 monthsOn demand4-5 hours
3-6 months3-4 naps3-4 hours
6-9 months2-3 naps2-3 hours
9-12 months2 naps2-3 hours

The Environment plays a significant part as well. A very loud, bright, or stimulating environment can prevent your baby from settling into deep sleep. Create a calm, dim-lit, and quiet environment, so it’s easier for your baby to fall asleep and stay asleep.

Despite all your best efforts, some days, your baby may simply wake early from their naps. And that’s okay. Remember, every baby is unique, and their sleep patterns will vary. Patience is key when navigating through these sleep adjustments.

Reasons for Early Waking

Reasons for Early Waking

If your baby’s waking up early from their naps, you’re not alone. It’s a very common occurrence and many factors could be causing this change. But figuring out why your baby is waking early can be a game-changer.

One common reason is overstimulation. Babies are always taking in new experiences. Too many sensory activities right before naptime can make it hard for your little one to fall back asleep. To counteract this, establish a calm, quiet pre-nap routine to help your baby wind down.

Another factor could be that our small ones are still learning sleep cycles. Remember, it’s not instinctive for babies to sleep through the night or adhere to a strict nap schedule. It’s a learned ability. This is why it’s perfectly normal for infants to experience irregular sleep patterns, which can include waking up too early from naps.

A less common but equally possible reason is growth spurts or sleep regressions. These are periods when your baby, due to rapid growth or development, requires more feeding and thus, wakes up more frequently. Remember that these are simply phases and not permanent changes. Regular feeding adaptations can help manage this.

On the physical end, discomfort may be waking your baby. This can range from teething pain, to a wet diaper, or even to room temperature. For teething, consult with your pediatrician for safe relief options. Keep in mind to regularly check their diaper and ensure the room temperature is neither too hot nor too cold.

Each baby is unique in their sleep needs. It’s crucial to observe their petit signs and cues to understand their sleep habits better. This information becomes especially useful for you to successfully implement the ‘cry it out’ method when your baby wakes up early from their naps. It’s all a process, and remember, patience is key.

The ‘Cry It Out’ Method

When your bundle of joy wakes early from their nap, it’s a challenge you’ll undoubtedly face. The ‘Cry It Out’ (CIO) method is one approach you can consider. Remember, this isn’t about neglecting your baby’s needs, but rather, boosting their independence and aiding in creating a healthy sleep pattern.

Infant behavior can perplex even the most attentive of parents. Understanding that crying is just a form of communication tool for infants will help. They are expressing their needs, discomfort, or possibly setting their sleep. That’s where the CIO method comes to play.

The key principle of the CIO approach is to allow your baby some time to self-soothe. When they wake early from a nap, don’t rush in immediately to comfort them. Give your baby a chance to settle back to sleep on their own. This undoubtedly will take time, consistency and some steel nerves on your part.

You might think: “What is the optimal wait time after the baby starts crying?”. There’s no one-size-fits-all response to this, as babies are unique with distinctive needs. Some parents start with around five minutes and gradually increase as the baby adjusts.

Addressing Safety Concerns

Here’s what experts say about the issue. According to a study conducted by Pediatrics – the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, babies who experienced the CIO approach didn’t show signs of stress or damage. They slept better and their parents were less stressed as well.

Study ResultsFindings
Stress in BabiesNo Increased Levels
Sleep QualityImproved
Parental StressReduced

Still, remember, the CIO method isn’t for every baby or parent. It’s just one of many nap-time strategies you can consider.

Pros of Using ‘Cry It Out’

Pros of Using 'Cry It Out'

Jumping into the numerous benefits of employing the ‘Cry It Out’ (CIO) method, you’ll find it can be a game changer in promoting adequate sleep for your youngster and establishing healthy independent sleeping habits. Here, we discuss key advantages of this venerable sleep training technique.

First up, the significant draw of CIO is its effectiveness in reinforcing independent sleep. This method helps your little one learn to self-soothe, which is pivotal in enabling them to return to sleep. With time, self-soothing becomes a natural instinct and early nap wake ups could become less of an ordeal.

Also, a crucial point often overlooked, is that this approach fosters consistency. Going by the old adage, consistency is key and the CIO method is a testament to this fact. Consistent response times (or lack thereof) conditions your baby to decipher when it’s time to sleep, thereby eliminating confusion and establishing clear nap-time expectations.

Taking the conversation to a scientific level, impressive evidence supports the CIO approach. A study published in Pediatrics offered noteworthy findings: babies subjected to CIO exhibited no signs of increased stress, improved their sleep, and significantly lowered parental stress levels.

Remember, also, that successful application of CIO could bring about personal benefits for you. Parental sleep deprivation is a real issue and it’s not uncommon for parents to experience the brunt of the stress. By utilizing CIO, there’s potential to gain more sleep for yourself, contributing to an improved overall mood and heightened patience levels. This isn’t just about the baby – your wellbeing matters too!

It’s crucial, however, not to view CIO as the sole solution for early waking, but as part of a broader toolkit comprised of varied strategies.
In the next section, we illuminate some potential drawbacks you might encounter while applying CIO, for it’s certainly not a one-size-fits-all approach. Nonetheless, the benefits offered by CIO are significant and could be the turning point in your baby’s sleep struggles.

Cons of Using ‘Cry It Out’

While the ‘Cry It Out’ method can yield notable benefits with regards to instilling independent sleep habits and reducing parental stress, it’s essential to consider some of its potential disadvantages before implementation. Even though CIO can be beneficial, it might not be the ideal solution for everyone.

One of the main criticisms of the ‘Cry It Out’ method is that it can potentially lead to extended periods of distress for the baby. This extended distress could, in some instances, exacerbate issues of early waking rather than solve them. Babies might associate the sleep time with this distress, causing an adverse reaction when it’s time to sleep. In the worst-case scenario, continuous crying might cause physical tension in the baby, leading to restlessness rather than peaceful sleep.

A notable area of concern for parents using this method may be the strain this practice puts on their emotional wellbeing. Hearing your baby in distress can be heartrending and cause significant stress. This emotional hardship can lead to strained relationships, and amidst all these emotions, your ability to judge the best course of action for your baby could be compromised.

Another point to consider is that CIO doesn’t address the underlying causes of the early waking problems. These issues could vary from inadequate feeding, medical conditions, or environmental factors.

Potential DisadvantagesExamples
Distress to the babyRestlessness, fear
Emotional strainStress, compromised judgement
Doesn’t address root causeMedical conditions, environmental factors

It’s not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution. Each baby is unique, and while the ‘Cry It Out’ method may work for some, it might not necessarily work for all. Parents need to take into consideration the baby’s temperament, age, and their comfort level with letting their baby self-soothe before deciding to use this method.

So while the CIO method has its advantageous aspects when dealing with an early waking baby, potential downsides need to be considered. It’s important to have a wholesome understanding of the method to balance its pros and cons before deciding on its adoption. As we delve further in, we’d be looking at alternatives to the ‘Cry It Out’ method.


So, you’ve seen that ‘Cry It Out’ isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. It’s key to remember that while it can foster independent sleep and lessen your stress, it’s not without its drawbacks. It may exacerbate early waking issues and doesn’t address underlying causes. Your baby’s temperament and age play a crucial role in whether this method is right for you. Always weigh the pros and cons before deciding to use CIO. Stay tuned for our future discussions on alternative approaches, which may provide a better fit for your unique parenting journey. Remember, it’s not about finding a quick fix, but about understanding your baby’s needs and finding the best way to meet them.

What is the ‘Cry It Out’ method described in the article?

The ‘Cry It Out’ method, covered in the article, is a sleep training approach for babies. It encourages independent sleep and can reduce parental stress but has potential drawbacks worth considering.

Does the ‘Cry It Out’ method cause distress for babies?

Yes, the article says the method can possibly cause prolonged distress to babies. This might lead to worsening early waking issues due to the baby’s emotional discomfort.

What other potential drawbacks are highlighted regarding the ‘Cry It Out’ method?

Besides baby distress, the method can bring emotional strain on parents and may not work effectively if underlying medical conditions or environmental factors are causing the sleep problems.

Is the ‘Cry It Out’ method a universal solution for infant sleep issues?

No, the ‘Cry It Out’ method is not a universal solution. It’s critical for parents to assess factors like the baby’s temperament and age before deciding to use this method.

Does the article suggest any alternatives to the ‘Cry It Out’ method?

The article hints at forthcoming discussions on alternative approaches, emphasizing the significance of understanding both the advantages and drawbacks of the CIO method before deciding to use it.