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05.02.2014
Does the term “sleep training” conjure up images of wailing babies and agonized parents? That means that if you want to use extremely gentle, low-cry or no-cry sleep training methods, you absolutely can sleep train your baby with minimal tears.
Now, I should include a caveat here: no-cry sleep training may not be possible for every family.
With no-cry sleep training, parents often stay in the room at the start of a sleep time (like bedtime or nap time), and for awhile after any night wakings. No-cry sleep training depends heavily on simple, gentle interventions like the ones listed above.
With substitution, you substitute in a different sleep association for your child’s preferred sleep association. No matter how you choose to approach your no-cry sleep training, rest assured that you CAN do it – you CAN teach your child a healthier way to sleep with minimal tears and fussing.
Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. Or, join our Members Area packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more. Well, we’ve learned from experience that sometimes, parents who are stalling on sleep training (even though they are incredibly tired and sleep-deprived!) simply need a pep talk to get them going.
Our consultants have talked with sooooo many parents who are putting off sleep training because they are waiting for the right time.
The first step is always the hardest to take – but once it’s done, it tends to get easier! We hear from many, many parents that they are itching to sleep train, but that they don’t know where to start. Being “too tired” to sleep train is precisely the reason you SHOULD sleep train! This really becomes a circular, chicken-and-egg sort of issue: being exhausted and sleep-deprived makes you realize you should really work on sleep training, but that all that stored-up tiredness makes you feel too worn out to sleep train! There are many ways to help your child learn to sleep – which means there is a sleep training method that will work for you. So many parents we hear from tell us that the #1 reason they put off sleep training is because they assume that sleep training = crying. Our team of caring, compassionate consultants offers expert baby and toddler sleep help that’s judgement-free, and that is tailored to fit your child’s personality, and your parenting style. When you purchase your Express Sleep Plan™, you will be prompted to complete a brief, simple online survey about your sleep situation.
Our Members Area is packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more. Join over 300,000 parents around the world & sign up today to receive the guide and our Baby Sleep Newsletter absolutely FREE!
The advice is endless and talk to one expert, say your baby’s doctor, and she will say one thing. This week I was quoted as one of three experts in Hudson Valley Parent in an article called Let Them Cry or Rock-a-Bye.
For those who are new to The Baby Sleep Site™, my philosophy is that there is not one method for everyone.
Your baby’s temperament, your parental philosophy and level of patience are key components in whether you decide to try controlled crying, cry it out, a no-cry method, or decide to continue soothing your baby all the way to sleep each time. My little boy has slept through since 7 weeks with the exception of a new tooth popping through.
At about 10 months after having been consistently woken 4 -6 times a night we tried the controlled crying approach, a friend had told me about it. One of the issues was how to stop my wife from giving in and soothing the baby before the time limit… First night was 4 hours of crying, 2nd night two and a half.
The good news about sleep training is that HOW you help your child learn to fall asleep independently is up to you.
One of the easiest and gentlest ways to help your child sleep is to create a strong pre-sleep routine.
Once you are actually ready to have your child work on falling asleep independently in his sleep space, you can use the PUPD method.
Gentle sleep training can be tough and exhausting….but our team of consultants can help! Sleep training is merely the practice of helping your baby or toddler learn healthier sleep habits.
And that’s good news for those of you who cannot stand the thought of extended crying! While some babies and toddler with easygoing temperament may truly be able to get through the sleep training process without shedding a single tear, children who are intense and resistant to change will likely put up at least a little fuss when you try to change bedtime and nap time.
This allows mom or dad to provide plenty of comfort and support as baby works to fall back to sleep; it also helps to minimize or eliminate crying.


When our consultants work with families, via our personalized sleep consulting program, they almost always recommend a few pre-sleep training steps.
If you’re going to try a no-cry sleep training approach, then you will definitely want to put in plenty of prep-work before you jump in to sleep training.
You could spend several weeks just following the steps above, and you may very well see noticeable progress in your child’s sleep!
There are two that are pretty popular and tend to work well for families who want to minimize crying as much as possible. Then, when your baby is calm (and this is key), you put your baby back in bed drowsy but awake, so that she can practice falling asleep without your help. For example, if you typically rock your child to sleep, you would fade out the rocking gradually, rocking a bit less each night until you are simply holding your child in your arms, with no movement. Waiting for the 4 month sleep regression to pass, waiting for their baby to start solids, waiting until a bout of teething is over, etc. Once your child can dress himself, brush his own teeth, feed himself breakfast, and buckle himself into the car, your morning looks a whole lot calmer and more relaxed!
Here it is: many, many parents are stunned at just how capable their children are of sleeping soundly and napping well…and we bet you will be one of them!
We offer both email and phone support, in a variety of packages that are designed to suit every situation – and every budget.
Once you submit your answers, your plan will be generated instantly and will be available for you to download and print immediately.
One of my quotes reiterates how I believe all families and situations are different, so there isn’t just one solution. Controlled Crying is when you go in at intervals to check on your baby and you may put a time limit on how long your baby cries in total. All families should find their own path and even different babies within the same family may take a different path. And over the years, we’ve come to learn that while many of our readers are generally interested in sleep training, they are specifically interested in gentle sleep training. Additionally, some co-sleeping families want gentle methods that allow for continued bed sharing. There are so many ways to approach this process, and many of them can be customized and tailored to be incredibly gentle. That said, there are some sleep training methods and approaches that produce results without much (if any) fussing. Both your bedtime routine and your nap time routines should help to relax and calm your child, and to signal that it’s time to fall asleep. Simply put, PUPD means you lay your child down awake in his sleeping area, but then pick him up and offer comfort when he fusses. Be advised, however, that gentle methods require lots of patience, as they can take awhile to actually produce meaningful results. Our experts have tons of experience in helping families sleep train gently and effectively. That said, even if you can’t achieve true no-cry sleep training, you can certainly aim for very low-cry sleep training. Specifically, try the following simple techniques and strategies before you plan to start sleep training. Fading is a very gentle and no-cry approach to weaning your child off his sleep associations. Read on for 5 reasons it’s time to stop putting off sleep coaching, and start working on sleep today. But unfortunately, sleep training is not something that gets easier with time, for most people. If you are too bleary-eyed to make sense of it all and come up with a plan, let me do it for you. After breasfeeding for 12months I now bottle feed and never lay him down with a bottle so that if he wakes up in the middle of the night he doesn’t need a bottle and he can sooth himself to sleep.
Waiting just a bit can make a big difference and for some that only means 2 weeks, depending on the baby. Some parents view gentle sleep training as sleep training that involves almost zero tears, while other parents consider Ferberizing (check and console) methods gentle because they allow for periodic comforting.
So, for the purposes of this article, we’ll call gentle sleep training an approach that minimizes crying and allows for lots of parental involvement and closeness. While there are no hard-and-fast rules as to what make a great bedtime or nap time routine, as a general rule, keep routines short for young babies and longer for toddlers and preschoolers, and be sure that you have a definitive ending to your routine. For instance, if your child prefers to be nursed to sleep, you may choose to swap in rocking to sleep.
If you nurse to sleep, for instance, you would gradually work towards getting to the point where you nurse until your child is drowsy, but not fully asleep. However, while gentler methods may take weeks of work before you see signs of real improvement, the process is often more enjoyable for everyone!


Because sometimes, doing small things like adjusting bedtime or adding in one or two additional feedings can go a long way towards solving sleep challenges, which means less sleep training work for you and your child in the long-run. Sure, you want to hold off on sleep training if your child is ill, or if you have a vacation coming up, or a big transition (like moving to a new house). You can read this post about 5 things to do before you start sleep training for more details. The truth is, there are many, many ways to approach sleep training – and many of those approaches involve minimal crying. Check out our Sleep Consulting Services, where I help you make a plan YOU can feel good about. I alwasy thought I would be a cry it out mom, but once that he arrived I realised I couldn’t bear to sit and listen to my child cry for me.
So be aware that the spectrum of gentle sleep training is large, and will vary from one family to the next.
A child who can fall asleep independently is a child who can fall BACK to sleep when she wakes between sleep cycles at night, or during a nap, and who sleeps through the night and takes long, consistent, restorative naps. Or if you are fading out rocking, you may work to get to the point where your child falls asleep in your arms, but without the rocking movement.
Provided you are committed to your sleep training plan and are willing to put in the time and energy needed to reach your goals, gentle sleep training can be an effective and low-fuss way to finally get your baby or toddler sleeping through the night.
Using substitution, you would substitute in a different method to put your child to sleep – like, say, rocking to sleep. However, if you have a few weeks where you’ll be staying at home and not having many schedule interruptions, and if your child is healthy, then guess what? Because sleep habits become entrenched as your child grows, so the baby who gets accustomed to being rocked to sleep becomes the toddler who firmly believes the only way TO fall asleep is being rocked! They are convinced that putting their child to sleep drowsy, but awake is wasted effort, because their children aren’t capable of self-soothing and falling asleep independently. Some people think of Cry It Out as not even going in to feed or change a diaper while others recognize that they are not looking for a 12-hour straight sleeper or baby sleeping through the night, necessarily, they just don’t want to go in there every 1-2 hours to replace a pacifier, breast-feed, bottle-feed, or rock their baby back to sleep all night. You can read a few parent stories to the right, too, or read them all here: Parent Stories. I do however give him a few minutes before racing to his room to soothe him and 9 times out of 10 he just moans a bit and goes back to sleep.
The other great thing about these methods is that you see results almost immediately, within 3 days – 1 week (for real!). Use our age-based sample schedules, or our free schedule maker, as a model for what a good schedule should look like, and then spend a week or two working towards that. That might seem odd – after all, isn’t this just teaching your child another sleep association?
Add to this the fact that toddlers are generally stubborn little cuties who exert their new-found will and opinions with surprising conviction, and you have a toddler with some troubling sleep associations who absolutely, plainly, without-a-doubt refuses to sleep any other way.
I can usually tell when he is getting destressed and then I give him his passifier and try rubbing his back or strocking his face, if that doesn’t calm him then I know he needs me and I definitely rock him off to sleep. Our son has slept through since starting controlled crying and has napped better – we are so proud of him and us!
The idea here is that it’s easier (and gentler) to wean away from a weaker, less habitual sleep association (in this case, rocking) than it is from a stronger, more preferred sleep association (in this case, nursing). I wholeheartedly agree with the article that each family has to find what works for them because my friend got the same advise from the same clinic and it has not worked for her.
Once your child is falling asleep with a less-preferred sleep association (in our example, rocking), it will likely be faster and easier to gradually wean your child away from this new sleep association than it would have been to wean him away from the more preferred sleep association (in our example, nursing). Fortunately, we have a team of expert consultants standing by who specialize in helping tired families get started with their Personalized Sleep Plan™. Many of these parents tell us later that they were completely surprised at how quickly their child picked up new, healthy sleep habits.
Thank you for all the advise and useful tips becuase I have used many of them for nap time which was our problem.
Your baby or toddler is going to be capable of a lot of great things in her life – including building healthy sleep habits!
Because I am a mom, not a doctor, who knows that your baby crying is one of the last things you want in the whole wide world, that’s why. I am not philosophically against crying methods, but there are quite a few things to try between soothing your baby all the way to sleep and putting him down, leaving the room, and letting him cry.



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