Our son is 7 months old, and as he frequently still needs our presence to go to sleep at night, we've decided that it's time for sleep training. The problem isn't that he needs our presence - the problem is that he will wake up after one sleep cycle, and need us to fall asleep again. And again. And again. A little more than a month ago we've transitioned him from falling asleep while sucking our fingers (god, this sounds embarrassing) to falling asleep with us present, and that transition went fairly quick, so we're hoping that he'll adjust quickly again. We're planning to use the controlled crying method and go in after 1, then 2, then 3, then 4 minutes.

However, we're not quite sure what to do during the day. Once we start controlled crying, we feel we would also need to do apply the controlled crying method during the day to be consistent. During the day he will often, but not always, fall asleep on his own. In addition, he still only naps for about 30-45 minutes - he's never been a brilliant napper -, and as per this blog, we've been trying to teach him to connect sleep cycles by going in as soon as he wakes up and soothe him back to sleep (her options 1 & 2, waiting X time before going in, didn't produce any results for us). For the midday nap, this works about 50% of the time. I'm worried that we won't be consistent if don't also apply controlled crying during the day, but that if we do, he'll be crying 24 hours a day.

So, what should we do during the day, if he doesn't fall asleep on his own? Controlled crying, or help him fall asleep by going back in and staying until he's fallen asleep (usually about 10-15 min max)? And should we continue to try to teach him to connect sleep cycles? If we do and he doesn't fall asleep again within a reasonable amount of time, how long will we need to do this? Until he finally falls asleep whenever that is?

  • By reading this, I feel like I'm reading exactly what happen to us. We didn't use controlled crying, we continued the "going to see him" and it gradually went better and better. For naps, we decided to stretch them a bit and it was better.
    – the_lotus
    Commented Sep 30, 2015 at 11:01

1 Answer 1


If you give your son attention when he's awake he won't learn to go back to sleep on his own. Controlled crying is not pleasant for a parent as your natural instinct will be to comfort him, however it's not going to work if you don't stick to it.

How long to do it depends on your child, there's no right or wrong answer. My son stayed awake for 45 minutes to an hour at first, buy over a few days it worked. My daughter never needed it at all. I know people who had to spend months on controlled crying before it worked,so you just don't know until you try.

It's also easy to get overly focused on this sort of thing, sleeping and waking are perfectly natural things. Try not to get obsessed.

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