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Is the CIO Method the Best for Sleep Training?

About 4 months after her son was born, a friend reached out and asked, “Do you think CIO is the best sleep training method?”

She said my response was “so amazingly helpful,” I decided to share it. I hope it helps you too!

Here’s my answer:

CIO is a loaded term.

I believe that babies should be allowed to speak, and to express their objection to change. Their only language for feeling frustrated, tired, or uncomfortable (because they can’t find a comfortable position)–is crying.

Do I think babies with genuine needs should cry for hours and hours without responding? Or cry and cry until they vomit (some people think this is what CIO is)? No. Of course not!

We watch babies. We observe and hear them. We study their body language and listen to their voices. Unlike the parents, we can objectively see the difference between habits and needs and help loving parents understand these things about their baby.

Does your baby NEED a pacifier to fall asleep? No, that’s just a habit. If his arm gets stuck in the crib, that is a real need, and requires a response. If your baby wakes 45 minutes after falling asleep, does he NEED anything besides sleep? What is his body language and voice telling you? Is he doing that thing he always does when he’s tired and trying to fall asleep?

For sleep training, we wouldn’t go in and out of the room randomly just because a book said to do so. We carefully observe his behavior and ask ourselves, what is his body language telling us? Does he look like he wants to go back to sleep? Should we go in and “help” him, or give him more time and space to find a comfortable position?

Rethinking the CIO Method

So, to answer your question – much depends on your definition of CIO. I believe in a “less is more” approach, and try to hold parents back a little bit further to see what their baby is capable of, before reacting to every sound, or following some generic sleep training method that supposedly works for all babies!

Sleep training is really hard – one of the hardest things you may ever do – but it can be done quickly and easily with the right support!


If you’re exhausted and need more sleep, let me help.
You don’t have to do this alone!

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