No Cry Sleep Solution: Ten Steps to Helping Your Baby Sleep All Night

Pantley, from The No Cry Sleep Solution, lists 10 steps to follow as you make your sleep solution plan.

1) Do a Safety Check
Make sure baby's environment is safe and remember that safety is more important than sleep. For an extensive lists of safety precautions check out her book. You can also look here for some: Safety In Mind.

2) Learn Basic Sleep Facts
Pantly goes over how babies sleep and mentions one of the most common causes of frequent night wakings--not being able to
fall back asleep without assistance after a partial awakening. She also mentions average sleep amounts, realistic night time sleep goals, establishing a daily routine, developing sleep cues and healthy sleep associations.

3) Create Your Sleep Logs
Pantley suggests keeping a log of sleep for naps and nighttime. She also suggests you do a pre-bedtime routine log so you can evaluate what seems to be helping or hindering sleep at this time. She specifically mentions to take note of the activity, noise and light during this time. There are a couple helpful sleep logs in her book that you can use as well as on her website.

4) Review and Choose Sleep Solutions
"Choose your solutions, organize your plan, make a commitment, and stick with it" (p. 63). Create a sleep plan that you think will work best for you and baby. Make sure you keep up with things for at least two to three weeks.

Sleep solutions are grouped into ones for newborns and ones for babies over 4 months. The older section is further separated into babies that are breastfed, bottle-fed, crib sleepers, co-sleepers and pacifier users. See Sleep Solutions for 0-4 months and
Sleep Solutions for Older Babies (4 months to 2 years)

5) Create Your Personal Sleep Plan
Once you have looked through and chosen the sleep solutions you feel are right for you, your baby and your family, transfer them to one spot so you can look at them all at once. Pantley has a GREAT form for you to fill out that helps you with this in her book starting on page 160. Be sure to put your plan in a visible place so you can look at it often.

6) Follow Your Plan for Ten Days
Try to schedule your day around baby's sleep routine as much as possible while you are trying to help him sleep better. Consistency will help you achieve success sooner. Once he is sleeping well you can be more flexible.

Even if you aren't able to be as consistent as you would like, every little change you make will help. Try not to feel too discouraged if you aren't able to keep up with things in the middle of the night or other times. Just do the best you can.

Even when you keep to your plan perfectly, you will still have up and down days. Sometimes the best day is followed by the worst and vice versa. This is why you can't determine how things are going just by looking at one or two days.

7) Do a Ten-Day Log
Every ten days (at least ten days, if you want to do more that is fine too) during your sleep plan do a sleep log so that you can analyze what is going well, what is not going so well, and what needs to be changed. Pantley has a form in her book that you can photocopy to help you with this as well as some sleep logs on her website. Although she says to only do this after at least ten days, I assume she means to write the information daily and analyze it after ten days. At least that is what makes the most sense to me. There's no way I could remember what happened ten days ago. I can't even remember what happened an hour ago half the time!

8) Analyze Your Success and Revise Your Plan as Necessary
Compare your initial log with your ten day log. What improvements, if any, do you see? What is working and what needs to change?

Pantley has a section in her bookstarting on p. 178 that helps you evaluate the effectiveness of your sleep plan. Some questions you may want to ask yourself are: How well did you follow your plan? What areas of sleep have you seen changes? What areas of sleep have you seen the least changes? What parts of your sleep plan are successful and what parts do you need to change? How will you make these changes (step 4)?

Refer to one of the three sections below depending on your success:
1) BABY IS SLEEPING AT LEAST 5 HOURS AT NIGHT. Hopefully this time will continue to increase. It is important you remain consistent with your plan or things will probably go back to how they were before. When baby starts to sleep longer you may continue to wake up out of habit for a while. If you are breastfeeding, you may have discomfort for a short time that will resolve over time.

2) YOU HAVE SOME SUCCESS. Determine what seems to be working and what isn't working. If something is working continue doing it, and if it isn't working either modify or stop doing it. Start again with step 4 above and go from there.

3) YOU HAVEN'T SEEN ANY POSITIVE CHANGES. Pantley lists some possible reason why you may not be having any success (see below). Once you pinpoint what you think is going on, start again with step 4 and go from there.
  • You haven't followed the steps she outlined.
  • You haven't chosen the right sleep steps for you and your baby. Re-evaluate what is going on with your baby's sleep and look over Pantley's methods again.
  • You need to be more patient. Remember that change takes time. I thought the following points by Pantley were well worth noting: "It is likely that your sleep issues will be more frustrating for you now that you are trying to solve the problem...Now that you are working on getting your baby to sleep longer, you'll be very focused on this part of your life and therefore much more aware of your own lack of sleep." (p. 184)
  • You've had success but don't realize it. Success doesn't need to be anything huge. Little things count. If you look over your logs again you may see some successes that you didn't notice before.
  • You have faced setbacks or unusual situations. Teething, vacations etc. will make successes come at a slower rate. Just keep at it and hopefully things will settle down soon and make your sleep plan easier to implement and more successful
  • There are medical and/or developmental issues interfering with baby's sleep. Pantley lists some of the most common ones and goes over them in detail: teething, separation anxiety, developmental milestones, growth spurts, general illness and discomfort, gas, colic, ear infections, reflux, allergies, asthma, nightmares, night terrors, sleepwalking, sleep talking, snoring and sleep apnea.

9) Follow Your Plan for Ten More Days
Follow your plan for another ten days. After this point you will probably have better determined what seems to work and not work with your child. Pantley lists some things to keep in mind at this time:
  • Remember that every baby is different and develops at a different level. Try not to compare your baby to others.
  • Remember to have patience and try to enjoy every little bit of success as much as you can.
  • If you are about to lose it and your baby is over 4 months old, Pantley suggests you do one of the three options. 1) Take a break from your plan for the next week or two, or even more if needed. Do whatever is needed to get you and your baby to sleep. Once this period of time is over, start working on your sleep plan again. 2) Get more serious about your plan. Don't do anything half heartedly. Do it as exact and as consistently as you can. 3) Pantley suggests a Temperate Alternative to Letting Baby Cry It Out. This is more of a last resort approach. It can be done in babies over four months old, although she suggests it more for babies over 1 year old. First, increase the amount of time you spend with your child during the day. Second, teach your baby the difference between light and dark. You can play games that help with this, read books, or comment on the time of day it is outside. Third, explain your bedtime/sleeping expectations clearly. For example, explain that when it is dark you sleep, and when it is light you play. You may want to show a book you have bought or made that helps to illustrate some of your expectations. Fourth, when baby wakes at night, repeat your expectations. For example, let her know that it is dark right now so it is time to sleep. Fifth, realize that your child may cry. Note that this is different than Cry It Out since you are with your child. Sixth, if it is too hard to let your child cry in her crib, then you can hold her if needed, or even just pat her, sing to her etc. It may be easier to do this if someone besides mom does it, especially if she is breastfeeding. Seventh, if your child doesn't depend upon eating to go back to sleep when she wakes but instead depends upon being held or rocked, try to leave her in her crib and sooth her from there. Eighth, whisper words of comfort to your child as needed. This can be helpful to YOU as well as baby. Ninth, if you or your baby get too overwhelmed, do what is necessary to help your baby fall asleep and try again later. You may want to set a limit of how long you want to do this process each night if this is helpful to you. Keep in mind that this will most likely prolong how long the process takes to work, but that you can only do what you are capable of handling.

10) Complete a Log, Analyze Your Success, and Revise Your Plan as Necessary Every Ten Days
You will once again do a log (step 7), analyze how things have gone (step 8), and revise your plan if needed. Then you will implement your plan for ten more days and repeat the process over again as needed until you get to where you want to be. Keep in mind that when you get to where you want to be, you'll need to keep up what you have done in the past when there are periods of regression (which there will be) or you might end up right when you began.


  1. christine commented on No-Cry Sleep Solution, The - Ten Steps to Helping Your Baby Sleep All Night - My Baby Sleep Guide:

    Here goes wish me luck.. my son does not sleep. He wakes up at two or three in he morning and stays up until six.. this mommy is tired... trying this ten day plan...