When you first bring home your newborn, you're often so elated that you're happy to wake up at all hours just to stare at your precious baby. But after a few months of sleep deprivation, you start to wonder whether you'll ever get to sleep again. If you're desperate to get some rest (and your baby is at least 3 or 4 months old), you may be ready to try the sleep method known as "crying it out" that has helped millions of moms, dads and babies sleep through the night. Here's how to do it.
Determine if It's Right for You
Most experts don't like the term "crying it out" for this sleep method because it suggests you're going to put the baby to sleep, close the door, and not return until the next morning. But that's not how it works. "Crying it out means teaching a baby to soothe himself and fall asleep on his own with little assistance from his parents, such as rocking or feeding," says Jennifer Shu, M.D., a pediatrician in Atlanta and co-author of the American Academy of Pediatrics' Heading Home with Your Newborn: From Birth to Reality.
It's not for everyone, of course -- some parents don’t feel comfortable letting their little ones cry for longer than it takes to leap from the living room couch and run to the nursery. But others swear that crying it out was the strategy that helped everyone in the family finally get some rest.