23 answers

Need Advice on How to Stop Rocking My Child to Sleep.

I currently still rock my 14 month old daughter to sleep. I know it's a bad habit and I really want her to learn to fall asleep on her own. I've heard of the "pick-up, put-down" method, but that seems so stressful. Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

What can I do next?

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What I did was we read while we rock and after a couple of books I put her in the crib, say "night-night" and then I continued to rock while I either sang or shushed or hummed quietly to keep her calm. We actually still do this at 19 Months (Started at around 15 months) but now she falls asleep within 2-5 minutes instead of the 10-20 minutes it took at first. If she stands up or wakes up I just gently lay her back down and go back to rocking. It works good for us. I could probably leave the room now, but I use it as my "quiet time" between running around with her and doing last minute chores in the evening!

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The vast majority of their lives, you will not be able to rock them because they will be too big. Rock them as long as you can because there will come a time when you will never rock them again.

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What I did was we read while we rock and after a couple of books I put her in the crib, say "night-night" and then I continued to rock while I either sang or shushed or hummed quietly to keep her calm. We actually still do this at 19 Months (Started at around 15 months) but now she falls asleep within 2-5 minutes instead of the 10-20 minutes it took at first. If she stands up or wakes up I just gently lay her back down and go back to rocking. It works good for us. I could probably leave the room now, but I use it as my "quiet time" between running around with her and doing last minute chores in the evening!

1 mom found this helpful


I haven't got any suggestions on how to get your daughter to sleep without rocking, just wanted to say enjoy it while you can, it ends all too soon. I dearly wish mine were small enough to cuddle and rock like that again.


Hi J.,
Just let me say that you are very lucky to have that time with your little one. My daughter is 2 1/2 and still likes to snuggle before bed (most of the time she falls asleep and I have to carry her to bed). She has grown up so fast and I always say ENJOY IT WHILE IT LASTS - SOMEDAY SHE WON'T WANT YOU TO ROCK HER. Please just enjoy every minute with her.

The vast majority of their lives, you will not be able to rock them because they will be too big. Rock them as long as you can because there will come a time when you will never rock them again.

Totally not a big deal! We rocked our daughter to sleep until she was around 2, and then, once we decided she was maybe ready for her toddler bed, we stopped rocking and just held her. After she got used to that, we started just holding her for stories, then turn out the light, put her in bed, and sit next to her and let her hold our hand until she's asleep.... Of course, then you might get stuck like we are, holding her hand every night :-)
(We're working on the next baby step.)

I don't have much advice, just moral support!
I rocked my son to sleep until this past June (he was 23 months old!). We went on vacation and our hotel room didn't have a rocking chair so I just had to lay next to him until he fell asleep on his own.
When we got back home I decided NOT to go back to the rocking but I still lay next to him every night until he falls asleep.
Most nights I feel frustrated that I still have to lay with him in order for him to fall asleep. I try to remind myself that he's only going to be this small once and that I'm probably going to miss these moments one day.

Good Luck

We did a combo of Ferber and The Sleep easy solution which involves just checking on them after a set amount of time to make sure nothing is wrong(besides wanting to be rocked and not go to sleep)Ferber increases the time intervals each night. Took a week but she was younger. Good Luck. DD usually goes to sleep after a few minutes of rocking, put in crib awake without a peep.

Have you ever heard of "attatchment parenting"? Would you like your child "attatched" to you or to their bed or maybe a pacifier or a blankie? Check this technique out on line for ideas and read about how they are soothed, they say children aren' able to sooth themselves well until they are 2.5-3years old. As a younger parent I was happy to put them down and let them cry. Now I think a bit of holding isn't so bad, I am 42 years old,and have had six babies to hold. I think, they grow up so fast, why not rock them? I believe sooner or later they will fall asleep alone. Right now it probably seems like they'll want to be held forever but soon you will want to hold them and they won't want to be held! REALLY! just enjoy the 14 month-old sweetness, I love them when they sleep! Maybe the 4 year-old can rock with you.

My son is 16 months and my favorite time used to be rocking him to sleep--he stopped letting me when he was 7 months old. My advice is to enjoy that moment. They are babies for such a short time and there will come a day when they won't even want you to hug them because "you're embarrassing them" That cuddle time is the best!!!! I work full time and so time to get things done is challenging but I wish I still had that 20 minutes every evening that my son would let me rock him to sleep---they are just so precious!!! Hope this eases your mind.


I have a 21m old daughter and I love to rock her to sleep we sing and then she will fall asleep, she is not the cuddliest child ever so it's our time to connect.

However recently I will make it half way through one song and she want to go in her crib and fall asleep by herself. While this is "nice" because it's faster and more efficient and I have more time to myself I really miss our time together.
I will also say that we had a very hard time getting her to sleep when she was younger and I never ever imagined that she would fall asleep by herself, but she does now, I suppose it just takes time.

So if it's a time you enjoy with your daughter and it doesn't take an hour maybe consider keeping it as a special connecting time if you want.

Just a thought

Hi J.,
What great advice you seem to be getting. I just wanted to encourage you in your mothering. Don't stop because you think it's a bad habit - what a sweet special time for you and your daughter. How much closer can you be? My kids are adults and I have such fond memories of rocking them to sleep; and yes there were times when I wished they didn't have to be rocked; however, now, I wouldn't trade that time for anything! M.

It seems that all us first time moms do this. My first baby I was doing the same thing and It was getting old for me to rock her to sleep and then when she would wake up in the night every night I was knew had to do with her not knowing how to put herself to sleep. Then I was told to use yhe Ferber method. I know this is hard to read but, if you want to sleep soundly and your baby then you have to do this. First do your whole bedtime routine then lay her down awake/drowsy. Tell night night Mommy loves and close the door. She will cry. She might even cry for 1 1/2 hours. But you have to do it. But first, after about the first 15 mintues or so go in there and see her. Don't pick her up! She will want you to. I know as a mom this is going to be hard. Stay strong!!! Then leave, she will probably cry again. It is ok,she is ok. Wait a little bit longer say 20 minutes. Keep adding five minutes til you visit her. You know I just did something similar to my baby boy who was born July 07, of breastfeeding at night. Boy that was hard for me too. But he was waking up betweem 3-5am just to eat and the Drs. insist that he is not hungary he just wants the "boob" So after about 3 months I tried it and after about a week of weening him it worked. This may take a while, but hang in there. Hope this helps This is really the only way for her to learn to put herself asleep.

I don't understand why you think rocking your child to sleep is a bad thing. It encourages mama/baby bonding, is a great way to slow her down at the end of the day, and is a very special moment between the two of you.

My daughter is also 14 months old. She has never been a great sleeper... life is just WAY to interesting to sleep! ha ha ha That being said, things are getting better. Most nights I still rock her to sleep. Typcially I don't rock until she is 'out' .... but just VERY VERY sleepy. So that when I put her in her bed, she rolls over and goes right to sleep.

There are nights where she just looks at me wide eyed. I will rock for a little while, and then gently say to her 'it's sleepy time now. Mama is going to put you in your bed'. I gently go to her bed and lay her down. We don't hear anything more from her.

I started doing that to changed things up and encourage her to go to sleep on her own without my help.

Quite honestly, I hear many parents trying to have their kids grow up so fast. They want them to sleep through the night, not need them, and all that. Why? Falling asleep in mommy's arms is a wonderful way to end the day. It is safe and secure. It offers your daughter a feeling of peace and 'I'm totally safe. Safe enough to go to sleep.'

I honestly do not see anything wrong with providing our children with such a peaceful loving atmosphere that they can't help but to go to sleep.

I truly believe there will come a day when I will not be rocking my daughter any longer, but she will be able to lay down at the end of the day and go to sleep. Until then I will rock.

Well.....I actually have no good advice as I rocked my son until he was almost 2. But now.....as he turned 3 yesterday, I miss those times. I would still like to hold him and my 12-year-old daughter in my arms as often as possible. The only advice I have is to cherish these days as they are over far too quickly. :)

Hi J.,

I'm 38 and the mother of 4 ages 20, 18, 13 and 5. Try laying next to Kayla while soft classical music is playing. You can even purchase if you don't already own one of those ceiling projectors that shows objects like stars, or floating clouds something like that. I hope this helps good luck!

I have 4 and none would let me rock them - I so wished they would have :(

have you tried doing it in baby steps? Going to just holding her without rocking then try laying her down a month after she is used to just being held? perhaps try to get her attached to a blankie then use the blankie to transition to laying down?

If this is something that you'd really like to change, then it will take a little work. What I used with my daughter is the method where you put her down and give her a minute. If she continues crying for you, you go back in, help her lay back down, rub her back or belly for a minute and tell her soothingly "it's OK, mommy's just going to be in the next room if you need me, I love you". Then you walk out and wait a couple more minutes. Keep doing this until she calms down to go to sleep. The first few days may require you going into your child's room many, many times but since your daughter is still pretty young, the habit should be broken after a few days. The key is to avoid picking her back up... I know everyone has their own opinions on what is "best" for the child but this is what I used and it worked beautifully. It doesn't mean that your child will never want to cuddle with you again before bed. What I do now (my daughter is 27 months) is continue our bedtime routine of putting on PJs, brushing her teeth, picking out a book or two to read, saying prayers, and then cuddling for a few minutes. Sometimes my daughter wants to cuddle a little longer but most times, she's ready to lay down in her crib. I feel like it's the best of both worlds. If I've had a really rough day and just need to hold her a little longer, it's not a problem (even if I end up rocking her to sleep from time to time). But if I need her to get to bed, she's good about that too.

Bonding time with your child is never a bad thing. I rocked my now 3 1/2 year old until sometime around two when he didn't want to be rocked anymore. At that time we went to laying on his bed and reading nightime stories. I currently rock my one year old and I will do so as long as he lets me. I prefer to have him asleep in 5-10 minutes of rocking vs screaming and crying.
Good luck,

I agree with everyone that posted! :)
Enjoy the snuggling and rocking stage. :) I worked all 3 of my children til' they were almost two and they turned out fine. :) My oldest was broke from rocking when I went into labor for our second son. lol I wouldn't suggest that. If you are expecting another then you might want to try breaking it now so that she don't feel like its the babies fault. With my youngest I did it cold-turkey. (she was over 2 years old) I told her that mommy couldn't rock her but I would sit in her room until she fell asleep. If she talked to me or played during that time then I would leave her alone to fall asleep. Eventually, it worked. I would sit and read a book to myself. And basically ignore her in the bed.
So, enjoy it unless you have to stop for some reason! :)

I don't know who told you rocking your baby to sleep is a bad habit...mamas have been doing it for centuries. It's a great way to end the day, or lull into a nap and snuggle with your sweetie. She is still a baby...it's ok! Of course she will need to learn how to go to sleep on her own but it doesn't have to be stressful. Eventually, you could rock her more slowly and for a shorter period of time and hold her bit before putting her in bed. Whats' the rush? Enjoy it while you can, they grow up so fast. Rock On!!

Hi J.,

Well we tried many different methods with our first child, which none worked the way we wanted it to (probably because we kept switching and couldn't handle the crying). So we slowly stopped rocking but just held him in the rocking chair. Once he got use to that, we switched him into a big bed with guard rails at around 19 months(which was early but we desperately needed him to sleep)and just lied down next to him. That worked great!! It was so much easier and we didn't have to worry about moving him into his bed and him waking up again. Good luck.

My son is 6 and STILL likes that closeness time with me at the end of the day - lots of times we get on my bed and read. Sometimes we are reading different things, sometimes the same, but it's more of the closeness than anything he craves.
He has been known to fall asleep on my bed often and have to be woken up to march into his own room, but I still make sure we have wind-down time most nights (both for his sake and my own).

I never rocked my girls to sleep, but they both went to sleep well. My youngest had reflux and spent a lot of time on my chest after feedings while her bottle settled. Today, at 3.5, she is a cuddle bug - and loves to spend the first 30 minutes and last 30 minutes of every day on my lap. I would recommend rocking her until she is almost to sleep and then putting her down. That way you still get your cuddle time (because that will eventually end on her terms), but you're also helping her develop the ability to go to sleep on her own. The first week or so, you may want to make sure that she is really almost to sleep (or just into sleep) and then move her to the crib, you can slowly work your way to a point where her eyes are doing the drift shut/open point and put her to bed and she'll be okay with it. I agree with the other moms though - enjoy the cuddles while you can, you never know when they are going to out grow them. My almost 5 year old rarely cuddles any more.

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