Cry it Out Method

While certainly not for everyone, the Cry It Out (CIO) method is a widely used, effective, albeit controversial, infant and toddler sleep training technique. As a Pediatrician that makes House Calls at and an Infant Sleep Consultant at, I often receive requests to provide an alternative to the CIO, and many inquiries my practice receives begin with “We tried the Cry-it-out but….” I don’t typically utilize this method as it is unpleasant to implement for everyone involved. For those that follow it to the letter, it is quite effective.

Some children who should NOT use the CIO method include:

· Children that make themselves vomit when they cry excessively

· Children that are ill (colds, ear infections, etc.)

· Children under 4 months of age.

· Parents that are unable to stick to it

To implement the CIO method, you will want to have a quiet, comforting bedtime routine that helps wind down your infant. You will need to put your baby down, drowsy but awake into the crib. There should be no rocking to sleep and the baby should be awake when he is placed in the crib. Once you put the baby down, the next step is to leave the room, after which the baby will probably cry. According to the CIO method, you should hold off on going back into the room for approximately 3-5 minutes. Afterwards, you can go back and soothe the baby without picking him up. If you pick him up, all your progress, and the crying you endured will have been for nothing. Soothe and pat your baby and then leave the room again, this time for a longer stretch (5-7 minutes). Repeat this again with increasing intervals until you hit 15-20 minutes. At some point, your baby should fall asleep. This may need to be done for several days, and rarely, weeks in a row.

This method is not for everyone, and if you cannot go through with the method to completion, then it’s best to use an alternative. Half-hearted attempts at the Cry It Out method only cause stress with no benefits. If you feel uncomfortable with this method from the beginning, it is not for you.

The information above is that of a general nature and is not medical advice.

–Edward Kulich M.D. is a House Call Pediatrician and an Infant and Toddler Sleep consultant. He provides House Calls and sleep training in the comfort of your home 24/7. For more information about Dr Kulich, please visit his website: and