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An Introduction to Compassionate CIO Sleep Training

Posted by on Nov. 15, 2011 at 8:29 PM
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You've probably heard of Compassionate CIO (CCIO) and it can work well for a lot of people. CCIO is gentle, but is not the quickest solution you can find. The method suggests lots of reassurance and checking on your child so that your child learns to sleep by himself but with the minimum of distress possible. One of the nice things about CCIO is you are able to choose a progression pace to fit your needs. There is no perfect age to start and no rules about how long to allow controlled crying. You are the mom. You know what is best.

The general idea of CCIO is that you go through your bedtime routine to prepare them for sleep. You are able to pick exactly what your routine is, but commonly a bath, reading or singing and meal are involved. After you have completed your bedtime routine, you lay your baby down in a safe crib or pack n play and shut the door behind you as you leave. You leave them to cry for a short time  (intervals are custom to child's needs) and then you can go in their room if/when they become anything more then mad at the situation. You know your baby's cry. If they  become frightened or something besides just angry, you go in, pick up your baby and comfort them until they are peaceful and ready to go to sleep, again. At which time, you lay your baby back down again and repeat the cycle.  It is, essentially, teaching your baby to go to sleep and eventually stay asleep without you. The benefits of starting sleep training younger is simply that they aren't as set in their habits, which helps minimize distress for everyone, but what age you start training is 100% up to you.

The downside of CCIO is that any crying can be distressing for your child and for you. There is no way around it. Allowing your child to cry is difficult - they want you and you're not going to them straight away and you're not picking them up as you would normally. But it is important to note that CCIO is attending to all your baby's needs (comfort, food, cleanliness) but is not indulging all of their wants (to be held or to nurse while they sleep, which ultimately is very difficult on mommy). CCIO is unique in that it achieves a healthy balance between indulgent and severe sleep training methods.

After a number of nights the crying gradually lessens and finally your child will then go to sleep by themselves. Once you reach this stage everyone of course feels much better! Everyone gets more sleep and everyone has more energy. When you are training younger babies, you will still need to get up with them at night to feed them, but after they are fed, burped and clean again, you will start CCIO cycle again.

The initial stages are tough for everyone. You need to agree with yourself and partner that you are going to let your child cry for an agreed amount of time and not give in until that pre-determined time. If you cannot do this, then CCIO is not the method for you. Inconsistency will only be upsetting for your child and will not help the sleep problem. 

Before you start any sleep training program always check with your medical professional that your child is well and healthy and that his/her sleep issues are not a sign of any underlying problem. 

by on Nov. 15, 2011 at 8:29 PM
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