I have a 7 month old baby boy. Until he was 4 months old he had no problems getting to sleep. Then, he started to cry and protest until he fell asleep. He even protested when he was in our arms we were rocking him. Since he still slept for 9 or 10 hours straight, we didn't worry about it.

The current problem is that one week ago he started to have a lot of awakenings during the night (probably the eight-month crisis), and not only he does not sooth himself into sleep again, but he protests and cries even when he is is in our arms and is being rocked.

We have read a lot about "cry it out" and "no tears" methods...the thing is that in our case, even using a "no tears" method there are always a lot of tears. We would really appreciate any suggestions.

Thanks in advance!


4 Answers 4


It's possible that this is just a sleep regression - you yourself mentioned the "eight month crisis" (sometimes known as the 9 month sleep regression, but the timing varies by kid) which is a common time for bad sleep. With these "the only way out is through;" it's quite possible that no matter what you do the wakings will continue until the underlying cause (developmental leap, new skill, etc.) is over. According to The Wonder Weeks separation anxiety may hit just before 7 months causing fussiness, and Wonder Week 37 with its associated fussy phase is right during 7 months.

The book Bed Timing would suggest that 7 months should be before separation anxiety begins and that it is actually an ideal time for some form of sleep training. The book also makes a great point that no form of sleep training has been proven more effective than any other - the key is consistency in all methods. So if you are comfortable with a form of crying - whether it is total extinction or gradual waiting - this may be a good time to try. However the timing in Bed Timing contradicts the timing in The Wonder Weeks, so based on your child you'll want to decide whether now is a good time to sleep train. Based on what you're seeing I'd guess that the developmental leaps Bed Timing attributes to 8 months are happening early in your son and you may just need to soldier through until a happier phase, when you can begin to address any sleep issues that remain. Or you can try to address them now - depending on your child they may work despite the developmental issues.

It's also possible that your baby became overtired at some point - did you go on vacation or change your routine somehow? Being overtired tends to lead to more night wakings. Consider trying an earlier bedtime for several days and see if sleep improves. Just slide it 20 minutes for 4 or so days. If it gets better you may want to try even earlier. Make sure naps are in order as much as you can, too.


If he is crying anyway cry it out seems to be the way to go. When he awakens, check his diaper, if he is cold, etc but don't look at him, don't come right out and snuggle or rock him and don't make eye contact and don't say anything. You have checked and he is okay so let him go back to sleep on his own. The other thing I would check is sleep tremors. He is a bit early but this is when they cry uncontrollable in their sleep but they are not awake. Two ways to deal with this. Wake them up and comfort them or don't wake them. My pediatrician said if you wake them the more nights this will take to dissipate. (we are talking 2 to 3 weeks normally, 5-6 weeks if you wake them) so we went for not waking them. One of ours did start sleep walking during these episodes, so, on Dr. advice, we put a baby gate in the door way of their room so they would be safe to walk around and be able to find their bed again, which they did.

Either way is hard. Good Luck!

  • Some babies need to cry to release tension to go to sleep. Cry it out works well with those babies.
    – justkt
    May 28, 2012 at 0:25
  • "Cry it out" techniques are are complex than this. 6 months is the minimum age such techniques should be used, so a 7 month old might be too young for correct cry it out techniques. The description you give here is cruel and possibly harmful. (Research is difficult when it involves children and harm).
    – DanBeale
    Jan 27, 2014 at 14:01

My first kid was tough this way, to get him to sleep I did the following: Car rides, Carrying him in the sling while vacuuming, putting him in his car seat on top of the washer machine.

All three worked with varying degrees of success.


My first son didn't start sleeping well until he was about... 19 months? I remember it consistently taking 90 minutes of holding and bouncing slightly and walking around in a large circle singing to him to get him to sleep (that was a long several months). It took forever to get him to sleep and then he would not stay asleep all night (wife usually just fed him back to sleep).

I almost never got him to sleep by rocking. He would get PISSED if I ever sat down while he was awake and trying to fall asleep. I had to be standing and bouncing very slightly and swaying or walking. It sounds like your son just doesn't like it when you are sitting down.

Every kid is different. Some sleep soundlessly through the night (none that I've ever seen). Some wake up every 30 minutes (mine). In a few years, this will all just be a memory, it's up to your attitude as to whether it is a bad one or a good one. If you fight him, it will be a bad one. If you lovingly work with him and try and do everything you can to get him comfortable (which could mean you being uncomfortable because you have to walk him around a lot or something) it will be a fond memory of hard work and sacrifice and you will bond.

Good luck!


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