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  • Megan Robert


When it comes to sleep training, you’ve got options!

Sleep training does not equate to cry it out (CIO) like people often think. And you are going to learn about five factors to consider when choosing the response you wish to use to help your baby sleep well!

But before diving in, it is important to make sure that we are talking about the same thing when talking about CIO here in the Stork Community. Whether you share the same definition or not, understanding what someone means is important for having a conversation around any topic.

As explained in episode 4 of the After the Stork Podcast, CIO is defined here as a response (or lack there of) when sleep training. Another word for it is extinction. It is one method and it is the method that involves no parent engagement after putting the child down to sleep until time to get up.

Now, for others, it might mean ANY crying. However, that is not what we mean here in the Stork Community. In this community, we recognize that realistically, alone, an overtired child is going to have moments when they cry. Little sleep equals to difficulty regulating emotions.

Add change to their world?! Tears are definitely a potential.

Because I like setting realistic expectations, I recognize with how strongly people feel one way or the other, this community is not going to be everyone's cup of tea! But come on. Does anything make everyone happy?

Regardless of how you define CIO, you can minimize the number of tears by figuring out a sleep training method (aka how you will or will not respond when helping your baby with the ability to fall asleep and connect sleep cycles more easily) that is best for your child and situation.

While, yes, CIO or extinction is ONE option for sleep training and is sometimes the best option for a family, it rarely is an option with which I would suggest a family starts. Sleep training methods range from no to involvement to high involvement.

To help figure out the best option for your family, here are six factors to consider.

1. The history of sleep training for your child.

Have you tried sleep training in the past? How recently? What response(s) have you done? How long did you allow to see progress before stopping? How did your child respond to the method you used? Did you ONLY adjust your response or did you evaluate the other important areas that contribute to sleep?

2. Your child's age.

Younger children often do well with a less involved method and adapt quickly. I almost never see a child under one year of age take longer than two weeks, if even that, to start sleeping extremely well when providing them the components needed for quality sleep.

Older children typically require a bit more involved method and might take a month or so to really see changes. They need a lot of communication regarding expectations and often a very gradual approach.