As a sleep expert, I never recommend that a parent allow their baby or child to “just cry-it-out”. Simply put, CIO is NOT even a method because it HAS no method. I believe that if you go into anything fully unprepared, you will not succeed. Cry-It-Out has absolutely NO technique involved. There is NO preparedness for what to do and no real reason to allow a baby to cry other than the fact that the parents just cannot handle their child NOT sleeping for one more night. Parents usually do not know WHEN their babies should be napping and what the best time for bedtime is. They often get so fed up with their babies NOT sleeping that they just stick them in their crib and let the babies CRY CRY CRY… It is VERY sad and hard on everyone.
What I DO recommend instead is a true method that is similar to CIO but that uses techniques and tools that ensure success and results quickly and more peacefully. I suggest that parents first educate themselves on how sleep in infants and children works and how it differs from adult sleep. It is extremely important to know what you are doing, why you are doing it, and what your goals are; especially for the shear reason that you are involving a living being that does not have the voice to express what he is feeling or truly needing at that moment
The Extinction Method:
Extinction involves a regimented schedule using the knowledge of how infants and children sleep and prepares parents for success and ultimate sleep for their babies. It uses the times during the day when babies are most biologically sleepy for napping, along with the proper environment (dark room, correct temperature, soothing sounds, etc.) and proper bed-times with soothing routine to add sleep into a baby’s “sleep bank account”.
When we deposit sleep into the sleep bank account of an overtired baby it allows his body to become better rested and as each day passes by he learns to sleep the way his body needs to. This truly allows him to fall into a deeper sleep more quickly with less bouts of crying. He needs to be in this deep state of sleep in order to prevent night wakings and short naps during the day. So, Extinction is strategically planned whereas CIO often rises out of pure exhaustion.
The Extinction Method is a widely misunderstood method of sleep training. Most people think that, as parents, you are neglecting your child and letting him scream for hours on end until he passes out from exhaustion. While this description IS in fact true for CIO, it cannot be further from truth when using the Extinction Method.