Crying It Out 101: Here's the Right Way to Do It -- So You Can All Get Some Sleep!

Exhausted and sleep-deprived? Millions of parents swear by the sleep-training method known as "Crying It Out." Here's how to do it -- so you can get some rest (19 Photos)

Dina Roth Port on Feb 22, 2012 at 10:09AM

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a Dina Roth Port on Feb 13, 2012 at 10:45AM

Before you attempt sleep training, it's crucial that you understand why your baby is having trouble falling or staying asleep. "The biggest mistake people make is thinking there's a one-size-fits-all approach for sleep," says the pioneer of this method Richard Ferber, M.D., author of Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems and founder of the Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders at Children’s Hospital in Boston. (Crying it out has also been called "Ferber-izing" your baby.)

Start by scrutinizing your baby's schedule: If it takes you an hour to rock your child to sleep or if he's waking at 4am, his bedtime may be too early or he might be getting too much sleep during the day. (He may be ready to switch to two naps from three or the second nap may need to be earlier). It's key that your baby's sleep schedule is consistent so his inner clock can regulate. Correcting the sleep schedule may be all that's necessary to help a baby sleep, says Dr. Ferber.

The same goes with feedings -- if you continue nursing or offering a bottle in the middle of the night, your baby may continue to be hungry (even if he doesn’t really need that extra meal). Dr. Ferber suggests gradually reducing the nighttime feedings after getting the green light from your pediatrician.

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