No Cry Sleep Training – Does It Really Work?

Of course, as a parent, you would prefer a no cry sleep solution, and everyone talks about it like it’s an option. In theory, it sounds great but truthfully, it’s not as realistic as it seems. 

Here’s the thing about babies and crying…

Babies cry and they protest because that’s their primary form of communication. So putting that stress onto ourselves as parents or caregivers of having our babies avoid all tears is unnecessary and unhealthy. It leads to mom guilt and stress.

The truth is, protesting is a very normal part of childhood. Babies protest when we wipe their snotty noses when we change their diapers and buckle them into their car seat. The list goes on! 

“It’s not the mark of a good parent to have your child avoid all tears.”

We want to equip our children with the skills to self-regulate. Then, as our babies grow into children and children become young adults, they will know how to calm down when they don’t get what they want.

Newborn baby sleeping on her back, swaddled in yellow blanket. She learned to self-soothe using sleep training. Learn more about no cry sleep training in this blog post by The Peaceful Sleeper.

When do our kids need our help?

An analogy I use all the time is your kids going down a slide. My youngest, London, used to need me to catch her at the bottom of the slide because she was too little to stick the landing. One day when she was on our playset, she was standing at the top of the slide and called out for me. I realized that she was big enough for her to start going down by herself, but she needed help to figure out how. 

So, I went to the slide and showed her how to go down on the slide on her stomach and hold onto the edges. I held her as she went down a couple of times, and gradually I would help her less and less until she was fine with going down on her own. This took a couple of days, but now she’s going down slides all by herself without even thinking about it. 

Empowering Our Children to Succeed

I gave her the skills and knowledge that she needed to go down the slide by herself. Yes, I helped her in the beginning, gradually helping less and less. In doing so, I was showing her she could do it. Mommy is right here if you need me, but you can do this on your own.

Toddler child wearing jacket playing on slide with confidence and autonomy. The Peaceful Sleeper helps promote calm and confidence when kids can self-soothe and self-regulate appropriately.

That’s what modified cry it out is: teaching your baby the skills to self-soothe. We help them self-regulate while still being in the background in case they really need you. You are right there to help support your baby as they learn to sleep better. You haven’t left or abandoned your child. Your child will still learn they can count on you. However, they’ll also learn that they can do this sleep thing on their own.

Babies Have Instincts, So Do Parents

Another argument people make for no cry sleep training is that it’s an instinct to respond to your baby’s cries. And this is true, as a parent you may feel distress each time you hear your child cry.

“Yes, crying can be a sign of distress or a need, but that’s not always the case”

Food and sex are also basic human instincts, but they are instincts that need to be constantly in check. Just because it’s an instinct doesn’t mean that it’s good or needs to be acted on.

What is the objective of sleep training for infants?

Our objective with sleep training is to have little crying as possible. This happens when the baby is not overtired. So, if we manage awake windows and prevent overtiredness then the amount of protesting is drastically reduced. 

Modified cry it out is a short term intervention to allow baby to protest a little and learn to self-regulate. 

When to Try the No Cry Sleep Method

Baby feet, laying down to sleep with parent. No cry sleep methods can be an option for tired parents. The Peaceful Sleeper, sleep expert, is here to help you rest.

If you don’t feel comfortable with cry it out sleep training, you can always try the “no cry” sleep solution. It’s a cry it out alternative many parents want to try!

The main objective with no cry is to set the stage with optimal awake windows and preventing overtiredness. Helping baby fall asleep, learning good sleep habits, and slowly backing away from intervention. 

It is possible for babies to learn how to fall asleep on their own when parents aren’t doing cry it out. However, I will warn you it will take longer!

Sleep Training Choices: You Are the Parent

In the end, no matter what you choose to do, you are the parent. Whatever feels best for you and your baby is what’s best! 

The Peaceful Sleeper: Personalized, Expert Sleep Services for the Whole Family

As a sleep consultant, I’m on a mission to help your entire family sleep better. Are you sick of feeling groggy and foggy? I also offer a variety of sleep training resources for baby sleep training including 25 affordable sleep training guides and a newborn sleep essential course.  I even offer an online adult insomnia course based on effective CBT-I principles to help the adults win the household sleep better. Lastly, I offer individual sleep consultations and even an exclusive executive sleep package for maximum sleep training support.

Christine Lawler

Christine Lawler

MS, LMFT, Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant

Hi! I’m so glad you’re here! I’m a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, practicing for over 13 years. I’ve set out to do ALL of the research and I created a method to optimize baby sleep that is tuned in, empowering and WORKS. There absolutely should be joy in motherhood, and I have learned that every baby CAN get better sleep!

Read more about my team here.

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