Our 8 month old son was a great sleeper until he was about 5 months old. He started waking up through the night (teething maybe) and I would nurse him back to sleep or Daddy would rock him back to sleep. Night-wakings became an all too regular occurrence so we started trying to sleep train him. First with Ferber (cry it out with check-ins) then Dana Obleman's "Sleep Sense" method (cry it out but don't leave the room).

We did this for about 4 weeks. He has a much better routine, and we started to see some progress. Then we hit a rough patch of nightwakings again and were too exhausted to let him cry it out at night so we fell back into old habits.

Currently if he is put in his crib awake he cries (wails/screams/extremely upset) immediately and stands up reaching out to be picked up. If he is put in his crib already sleeping he wakes up and starts to cry no matter how gently you put him in. Occasionally when put in his crib asleep he does stay sleeping but not longer than 4 hours before he wakes up.

Did the sleep training traumatize him because now he hates his crib and when he wakes up he realizes where he is and won't soothe himself back to sleep? Any thoughts are appreciated!

asked 04 Feb '11, 04:14

Andy%20H's gravatar image

Andy H
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Can't help you on this one, sorry :) (http://moms4mom.com/questions/3386/why-should-we-co-sleep-with-our-child/3561#3561)

(04 Feb '11, 06:27) Benjol

I agree with Scott in that, unfortunately, I think your having fallen "back into old habits" when responding to the night-wakings may have just reinforced your baby's knowledge that crying will get mommy and daddy to come in. I thought what Kidshealth.org had to say about sleep for the "8-12 month old" could help in explaining your baby's sleep issues:

These [sleep issues] are often due to your baby's increased awareness of "separateness" from you. Stranger anxiety and separation anxiety are two normal stages of development that can occur during this time, and they can interfere with much-needed nighttime sleep for you and your baby. This may mean tears and tantrums when you try to leave your child in the crib at night — and more sleep interruption when your baby wakes up and looks around for some sign that you're near.

It can be difficult to respond to your 8- to 12-month-old's nighttime needs with the right balance of concern and consistency, but remember: This is the time to set the stage for future restful nights for the whole family. The important thing now is to try to keep the sleep experience a positive one for your baby and to be consistent with your response to wakefulness at night.

For what it's worth, I did the cry-it-out method at about 5 months, as well and it doesn't seem to have traumatized my son :) He is now 18 months old and still wakes sometimes in the night, but he now has the skills to fall back to sleep on his own. But I think even now, if I were to respond to him, it would turn these wakings into scream-fits if he knew that my coming into his room and giving him attention was an option!

Good luck!


answered 08 Feb '11, 14:35

DazedandConfused's gravatar image

accept rate: 13%

Separation anxiety is pretty usual at 8 months.

(13 Feb '11, 11:04) Meg Stephenson

Most of those sleep training methods are just Operant Conditioning, if they cry with no reward, then the behaviour will extinguish itself. On the other hand, one of the most powerful ways to reinforce a behaviour is Variable Reinforcement. So if they sometimes get what they want, it reinforces the behaviour more than always giving them what they want.

So my guess is that when you say, "we fell back into old habits", that just reinforced the crying, because it works. You could try always responding right away, and then they might just stop bothering to cry. You could also try one of the "let them cry" methods, if you hold to it very strongly, but I wouldn't try a middle of the road approach.


answered 06 Feb '11, 12:06

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Scott ♦♦
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This was the age when we gave up on controlled crying methods with our eldest and gradually moved to co-sleeping as we realised we all got better sleep that way. Our younger two just co-slept until they were over two. In fact neither of them have ever slept in a room on their own - they now share a room. 8 months is classic separation anxiety time - and personally I think it's a developmental stage to encourage rather than suppress.


answered 13 Feb '11, 11:07

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Meg Stephenson
accept rate: 7%

We had a similar feeling about the sleeping habits of our child I will tell you how we have managed sleeping habits with our child until now:

We started sleeping him carried on arms, but as he didn't fell asleep this way we began using the stroller (we actually run :S). In this point (Which took part late, around 8 months) we realized that something was going wrong, running is healthy but it is insane to sleep a boy this way :). So we started experimenting with different techniques. At first we tried to change the strength of the stimulus we used to help our child fall asleep. We changed the rapid movement of the stroller with little hops on the corner of our bed (this lasted a pair of weeks).

However jumping on the bed (around 9 months) still didn't feel natural, so we began releasing him on his cradle while we stayed on the side caressing and talking gently to him. During this phase (took about 2 or 3 weeks), he actually cried for a while because he was not accustomed to sleep by himself, but with some patience the time he spent crying decreased to the point that he didn't cried as long as we were on the same room.

Ok this wasn't neither ideal because we expected him to fall asleep completely alone, so we began carrying him for a pair of minutes and then letting him completely alone on his cradle with the door closed (around 10 months). We experimented this at times when he was very tired (This process took part while he began crawling so he was exhausted at about 10:30 hr) so it actually worked.

Then we tried leaving him alone at night, but it seemed that he was not as tired as in the morning. We would put him on the cradle and he cried so hard that we had to stay with him until he felt asleep. This was time for another experiment (A little bit weird actually O_O). At this point I began wondering how to tell my kid that I trusted him to fall asleep alone while at the same time telling him that I would be there for him in case he needed me. One night I ran out of patience and was decided to let him cry out until he felt asleep. However, I was aware that it was not really a matter of him or me winning anything, but actually that the point was to be effective at communicating the above message, so I decided to try knocking the door of his room softly and with rythm using the tip of my fingers. To my surprise after some knocking he actually stopped crying and after a minute I could even stop knocking without him crying again. At this point we began doing the same for some time. Hey you won´t believe how funny it looked when other people came home at bedtime, we had to explain the above everytime :D.

After a pair of weeks we actually stopped knocking the door while leaving our kid alone to sleep in his bedroom (13 months). Nowadays we are dealing with sleep at other places when we travel, however this is something we have not solved yet. I expect that this might be helpful to you and maybe other parents.

TL;DR: Raising children is an experiment in itself, I believe that it is an act of growing and becoming mature everyday for your children as well for you (close to what Carl Rogers describes as the Therapeutic Relationship). Sleeping is no exception, at the end the point is to communicate effectively what you expect from your child, which requires creativity and courage to continue in the face of mistakes.


answered 17 Oct '14, 00:07

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Asked: 04 Feb '11, 04:14

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Last updated: 17 Oct '14, 00:07