38 answers

Can't Put My Son down Without Him Waking up & Crying... Any Advice?

I have a 2 month old son who never stays asleep when we put him down- not in his bassinet downstairs, or his crib upstairs, or even his rocking seat for that matter. He does fall asleep in the swing in the am when I shower- that's it tho. We don't want to put him to sleep in the swing all the time, because we know he needs to be able to get to sleep on his own. But at this point we are holding (or nursing) him until he falls asleep , then trying to put him down. He never sleeps for more than 10 or 20 minutes then he wakes up & cries. He sleeps fine at night, but he sleeps with us. He also naps fine, as long as he is being held. Has anyone else experienced this & figured out how to get the baby down?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks so much for all the great advice. You all have great experience to share & I appreciate it. I am going to check out a couple of the books you have recommended, otherwise I think we are just going to continue to snuggle him down & try to put him down for naps to start. We'll just keep trying. It sounds like a lot of things start to change around 10- 12 weeks, so we'll wait & see what happens.
Thanks again!!!
~C. & Cash

More Answers

We had the same exact issue! Have you read Harvey Karp's "Happiest Baby on the Block"? It may give you some insight/reassurance. I looked at it as when they're that young, they just need to be held and loved. It was tough for me as I was home alone much of the time, but I think we did bond as a result. There are many different theories out there, you just have to figure out which one meets your needs. Olivia slept with us until she was about 6 weeks old when I started transitioning her to her crib for naps first, then overnight sleep. She is almost 6 months old and sleeping in her crib 99% of the time, unless she falls asleep while we're running errands or, sometimes she wakes up way too early in the morning and I let her come back to bed with me. Hope this helps, you'll get through it!

1 mom found this helpful

We went through something similar and I swore that I was being a bad parent because I thought my daughter was never going to sleep on her own and I couldn't figure out how to make her. Then I did some research on attachment parenting and here's what I found.

In the first three months, the frontal lobe of your baby's brain hasn't started to develop yet, which is the memory center. So basically, your baby has no idea that you're coming back and his innate intuition tells him that there's no longer your presence around and he should be worried. A lot of parents try and let their new babies cry it out so they get used to being on their own, but our midwife told us that the first three months after your baby is born should be like another trimester, where your baby is CONSTANTLY with you. He gets confident about his surroundings and will continue to stay sensitive to you. When he cries, he trusts that you'll hear him and you get to reinforce that for him. If you let him cry it out, he'll start to lose faith in the fact that you'll be there for him and instead of just learning to be on his own, he's decided to himself that he doesn't matter to you.

Don't worry, he'll eventually go to sleep on his own, just give it time. Our daughter goes to sleep in her crib now on her own without crying and then comes to bed with us in the middle of the night and we all love cuddling. You'll find what works for you, just take a deep breath and keep plugging through the first few months :).

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi. I don't really have good advice for you b/c i simply suffered through the exact same thing with my now 3.5 year old, but I wanted to share that at between 10-12 weeks of age, these patterns just stopped all of a sudden. It really makes me think there was something about her developmentally that needed to happen before she'd start sleeping, even though our pediatrician said that was not the case. The Dr's explanation was that she was colicky. My friend's baby had a similar temperment and her baby started regular sleep at 16 weeks and has been a champ ever since. I would say to just hang in there a few more weeks and now or later implement some of the usual suggestions like letting the baby cry a bit, TIGHT swaddling, wake to feed late at night- say 10 or 11pm. I think we did the late feed and a tight swaddle all along, and then things just seemed to fall into place when she hit that age milestone. I wouldn't worry too much about the swing now; both my children slept in the swing alot during the first two months for baby #1 and approx 4 months for baby #2. You are just in survival mode for the first 3 or 4 months and I definitely think that before then you just need to do what you have to do to allow everyone some sleep (swing, bouncy seat, sling, your bed, whatever). Worry about teaching them to sleep on their own starting after that.

1 mom found this helpful

I had the same problem with my first son. He was a good baby, but just would never nap for more than an hr, he would wake up if the door bell or the phone rang, and he would only fall asleep when he was in my arms or if I laid down next to him. He would wake up constantly at night, and I would also change him at least 3 or 4 times a night. I thought that maybe if I kept him up late, that he would sleep through the night, but that didn't work, and it even came to a point where I was so exhausted I would just pass out next to him. And so it went on until we had our second son. I definately, did not want to go through the same thing, because I knew that something inside me had changed and that I had become a total B. The doctor never asked me about his sleeping habits, and I for some reason never complained to the doctor. Wat was I thinking. I spoke to my friend who lived overseas, and recommended a book. I think it was called, "Healthy Sleeping Baby Habits", or something like that. I read the first few chapters, and put down the book. It said the babies and children for that matter need more sleep instead of less sleep. So when, my first son was about 3 and a half yrs old and that was also the time that my second son was born, I put him to bed at 7pm. It took a couple of wks, lots of frustration, lots of crying and putting back to bed, before he finally got the hint and slept through the night. My second son was a good sleeper, but I still had to wake up 3 times a night to feed him. He was doing really great with both naps and sleeping by himself, until we had to move cross country, and he got into the habit of sleeping with me for a short time. Guess what? I had to go through that whole thing all over again. Believe it was frustrating, and I really got mad, even at my husband, because I thought that he could give me a break more often. We took turns alright, but since I was the usual parent to put them to bed most of the time, I had to be strong and persistent. I didn't give in and he finally got the message and now I sleep through the night and I couldn't be happier. I like to think that I found some of the long last patience that I had lost with my first son. I have more energy and I feel like a better mom, because not only are my kids getting the healthy that they need, but so am I, and when mom is happy, then so is the rest of the family. Even though it is difficult to do, sometimes you just have to let them cry their hearts out. As long as you know that you baby has being fed, and that he has a clean diaper and he has been birped and he is in no other harm, just let him be. Some nice sounds or music also used to comfort my boys, and I could usually tell by the way that they cried, if they were sick or hurt or were just crying because they were mad and wanted to be picked up. It broke my heart sometimes, but I had to be strong. Oh, and if you think that sleeping with them helps, it just makes it harder for them to sleep by themselves, and it makes it harder for you and your hubby to have that private time together. Good luck and I hope that some of the advice I gave you will help. Also, before I forget, try to get him on a sleeping schedule. It is really hard to do, especially when you have so many other things to do, or when family or friends are visiting, but just excuse yourself for 10min or so and put him down. I didn't even know that kids had schedules until after I moved to the states and had my second one. It came to a point he would just get tired regardless of were we were around those same times and would go to sleep by himself.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi C.- your story brings back surprisingly happy memories of my first-born son's similar wakefulness- completely different from his younger brother's infant sleep patterns, thank heavens. I would suggest that your son is probably very sensitive and experiencing discomfort/irritation which keeps him wakeful- he's a bit young for colicky crying, but that is what our boy did- we had teams of friends ready to help us walk the floor with him every evening, taking turns. By all means, keep searching for the magically soothing something that works, but know also that this wonderful child will probably be very bright, very quick, very responsive when he is older. I have two photographs of my son "sleeping" (with his eyes slightly slitted, as though watching my every move)- they are a crack-up now!
In the meantime, ask for support from friends and family so that YOU can have your naps and get some of your most pressing work done. I hope all goes well-R

1 mom found this helpful

Hi C.

This sounds exactly like my son who is now 4 months. I was so worried why we couldn't put him down and every time we did we would pray that he would stay asleep for at least an hour or long enough for me to eat lunch or shower. BUT he wouldn't. It was really hard to do anything, but I found having a baby bjorn was helpful. I was able to so many things and my little one was able to sleep peacefully. We bought everything imaginable to keep him asleep- the baby womb bear, inclined sleep positioner, inclined sleep positioners with the womb sound that would automatically go on once he cried- NOTHING WORKED. Every baby is different and will be put down once he or she feels comfortable with the environment. Don't worry he will learn to be put down. My son surprised me one day- I think during his second or third month and let me put him down during naps. There are days though until today that I hold him while he naps, but I know that soon enough he will grow up and I won't have my little one to hold like a baby. =)

Take Care,

1 mom found this helpful

At this time of the year, you might want to try putting a hot water bottle, or heating pad in his crib first before you lay him down (remove it just before you put him in) - it will feel nice & warm, and maybe lessen the shock.

I also recommend establishing a firm bedtime routine (we did baths with lavendar baby wash, massage with lavendar oil, nursing, rocking, singing, and then put him down). Each night, we'd rock him less & less, until we were finally putting him down sleepy but awake.

I recommend "The No-Cry Sleep Solution" by Elizabeth Pantley. It really helped us a lot.

1 mom found this helpful

My son did that as well. He would fall asleep while nursing, but if I tried to transfer him to a crib, he would wake up as we were going through the doorway to his room! I think he just eventually outgrew it. A couple of things that I did -- I kept trying to put him down, but only at regular times. In other words, I'd try at say 9 am, 1 pm, and 4 pm to get him down for naps. I held him for about 5 minutes, while gently patting his back and then placed him in his crib. (When 5 minutes worked well, I lessened the patting to 4 minutes, and so on.) If he cried, I'd go back in, reassure him, when he stopped crying, I'd put him in and leave. If he cried again, I either gave up and let him play or held him while he slept. (I have an older child so I didn't always have the option of holding him while he slept -- although I did purchase a sling for those times when it was really necessary.) I think that by keeping things at a regular interval, even if he was sleeping in my arms, his body started to regulate and get some biorhythms. I also NEVER put him in a swing or drove him around or did anything else to make him go to sleep. My thought was that if he got used to being "rocked" while sleeping, he would need to be rocked all the time. But -- you have to do what you have to do to keep your sanity and get some rest for yourself! My son is now 8 months old and is napping comfortably in his crib as I type.


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