23 answers

Putting Baby down Without Waking Him up Advice.....

My son is 11 months old and we are having trouble putting him in his crib without him waking up. We cosleep with him at night and during the day he naps in mine/mother-in-law's arms. We had originally intended for him to take naps in his crib but without fail everytime he would be sound asleep the minute he would hit the bed he would wake up. I have tried everything, patting his back, shushing, holding my hand on his chest or back but he is already wide awake when within 5 seconds of hitting the bed. So out of convenience for me to get some work done(work from home mom) I would rock him to sleep then pull up to my lap top with him sleeping in my arms. Well my mother-in-law has been coming over during the day to watch him while I work and she does the same ~ holds him while he naps. He sleeps anywhere from 1-2 hours being held. On the off chance we are able to lay him down while sleeping he wakes up within 20 minutes. I have been trying to avoid letting him cry it out but recently resorted to that method as my mother-in-law is not able to help anymore while I work. He is very stubborn and upwards of 2 hours crying and he would not fall asleep. After 3 days of trying the cry it out method he is now clingy and fussy and deathly afraid of his crib. HELP! I want my happy independent boy back and for him to start napping in his crib so I can still work from home. Thanks!!!!!

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What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you all so much for the advice! I am implementing several things below and we are slowly getting him to at least nap on his own and we will work on the nighttime sleeping later. Baby steps.....

Thanks again!!!!!

Featured Answers

I've done this with pretty good success when my baby keeps waking when at the point of puttingg her down : I hold a pillow between my arm and the baby's body. Basically she is lying on the pillow while cradled in my arms. Once she's asleep I transfer both her and the pillow into her bed. She generally stays asleep this way. (I don't know how you feel about pillows, but my baby sits and stands and can definitely uncover herself, so I'm not worried about it.) If you decide to tyr it, I hope it helps you both.

1 mom found this helpful

I second the advice on the No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley: I held both my children until they were about 1 1/2 for naps otherwise they'd wake up after 20 minutes. The book helped tremendously but the change is gradual. Basically when baby is in light sleep mode, he's waking fully rather than falling back asleep. What helped me was running a fan for the sound to soothe her back to sleep, laying her on her side to sleep, and being available right when they start to wake to soothe them back to sleep and the nap is extended. Before trying the book, I was at wit's end with my first child, but it really helped. We never did CIO and I know it works for some babies, but not all babies have the same temperament. With my second, I just went with the flow and didn't stress as much bc I knew this time passes so quickly. good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

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Your post is like a page out of my journal!!! My son and I are co-sleepers, and I had the same issues. Even down to the laptop, so I could work and get things done on-line!!

Don't worry, it gets better with a few minor changes to the 'routine' and a little patience. You've done a great job with your little man, and I commend you for following your instincts.

I've read the other posts, and some of the things that people have said about 'training' and never really sits well with me. But, that's just me. I'm not a CIO advocate at all, so in MY opinion, allowing infants to CIO is creating that loss of comfort, and even a detachment that is not necessary at that stage in the game...it's especially not recommended for co-sleepers, as the bond at sleeptime is that much more crucial to the pattern we've created. The idea that he is crying so he will get HIS way is kind of silly to me, he's a baby!! He needs your love and attention and he wants you to know that...UGH. I get very passionate about this, as I have seen how sleep TRAINING can have a negative impact on kids and their families. And, as a former educator, it's tough to see how kids' needs can be forgotten or dismissed. I agree consistency with any method is important, but really it's up to what works best for your family.

Here's what I did with my son at around the same time...

1. Introduced a lovey...his was this soft, comfy dinosaur and he had a favorite blanket.
2. Started cuddling with the lovey at night, so it grabbed both our scents.
3. During naptime, implemented a slow and steady progression of moving away during the sleep time. I would put him down, in our bed and lay with him for about ten minutes and put the lovey in my place. Doing this he would sleep for about 40 minutes and wake to find me. At first, he would wake as soon as I got up, but over a period of about a week, I was able to get him to sleep for the 40 minutes. When he woke, I would go to him, comfort him get him back to sleep and lay down and repeat. (he took two naps at this age that were about 1 hour and half)

After about four days, he started to get that Mommy was still there. His naps were short at first, but progress is good.
4. Remain consistent! One thing my son's doctor said was that trying to get him to sleep in the crib when he had identified his bed as the bed we share at night, was going to be tough, until he was older. (he was right.) Your son might be looking for HIS bed, and feel out of place and confused.
5. Don't forget to make your bed Baby safe. I bought body pillows for the edge of the bed. OR you can try putting a mattress on the floor for you to share at night and make that his sleep spot during the day. He just needs to make the connection to the nighttime sleep spot and daytime sleep spot.
6. I set up my home office in the bedroom for the time it took to get my son to sleep on his own. Within two weeks, and four days he was sleeping on his own for his two naps about an hour.

Your son is used to his co-sleeping environment, and that's okay. You dont have to 'train' him to do anything, you just have to guide him gently and lovingly towards the direction you know is best for everyone in your family. My son is transitioning to his big boy bed, slow and steady at age 2. I gave up on the crib, as it was too tough for him to make that jump and I felt like I was being cruel to him in trying to make him do something he wasn't ready for.

Follow your heart! You're going to get through this and it will be okay.

2 moms found this helpful

We had the same problem with our daughter for the longest time! At first, I would just nurse her lying down in bed (a sure and fast way of getting her to fall asleep) and then I would sneak away once she was sleeping. But then when I weaned her at 12 months I couldn't do that anymore...

Like Susan said, have a "nap time routine". For us, it was as simple as going into the room, turning the lights off and putting lullaby music on. I would rock her and she would fall asleep pretty quickly, but then would wake up the instant I was putting her in the crib!! So I would start over again. and again. and again (I didn't want to even try to let her cry it out).... Even tough she was wide awake, I would try to stay as calm as possible and continue rocking her (if you're aggravated they can feel it I think, and then Really don't wanna sleep). So I would just keep rocking her till she was asleep and then put her down until finally she stayed asleep. Some days it took like 6-7 times, but after a week or two she got the point.

Also, something that worked well for me was waiting till she was extra sleepy (putting her down an hour or so later than usual). Then she didn't really have the energy to "fight" me as much, and would just stay asleep when I put her in the crib the first time.

It's really, really hard, but trust me it is SO worth it! Now that my daughter is 19 months old all I do is tell her "ok, nap time now" then I lay her down in her bed, give her a kiss, and walk away and within minutes she is sleeping.

My friend had the same problem and always just let her daughter sleep in her arms or whatever, and now she is 21 months old and STILL won't stay asleep if you try to put her down. So I think the sooner you can do something about this, the better it will be for you. What seems more convenient "right now" for you will end up being a long term problem (you'll end up like my poor friend - with an almost 2 year old who still needs mama to hold him while he sleeps)...
Just be consistent and it will come! It takes patience, but it can be done ;)
Good luck!
Let us know how it goes :)

2 moms found this helpful

Hi J., I am a Sleep Consultant and Parenting Coach. Anytime you use a "sleep aid" whether it's you, a stroller, driving in the car, a bottle or whatever, you are going to create a pattern where your child cannot fall back to sleep without the use of this aid. Your child wakes up when you put him down because he is checking to make sure you are still there! Babies are very smart this way. They will fight sleep to have the pleasure of your company. Your son doesn't know how to put himself to sleep so it makes sense that when he wakes he still needs you to put him back to sleep. He needs to learn some self-soothing skills. I am going to guess that he probably is waking in the middle of the night, maybe several times, in addition to not napping well. Babies have many phases of light sleep in the night and instead of just going back to sleep during these, he is probably looking for you to help him back to sleep.

The three biggest things that get in the way of a baby learning to sleep on their own is over-tiredness, over-stimulation, and inconsistency.
Whatever method you choose you need to be 100% consistant for a period of time. trying to let him cry it out but then going to him anyway just creates longer periods of crying.
He knows now that if he cries long enough he will finally get his way. I can help you by setting up a plan for him if you are interested. Please visit my website at www.theindependentchild.com
good luck, I hope this helps,
K.

2 moms found this helpful

Well, he is used to his "routine." Granted, a switch of routines takes time.

CIO methods, is personal. For me, I didn't do that & I do not like CIO methods. Each child is different. It will not work for all. For your son, it gave him an aversion to his crib, now.

My daughter was like that. After trying ALL methods, I co-slept her to nap, and to bed at night, until she grew out of it. Once she fell asleep, I would sneak out and leave the room.

For us, the co-sleeping was on a futon on the floor of our room.

Since he is now 11 months old, you might try and give him a "lovey" of some kind to cuddle with & get attached to. AND, put some safe stuffed toys for him to play with in his crib, as "company." A crib, does not have to be all stark and bare and "empty" at this age. At this age and older, they do benefit by having at least a crib toy (ie: The Fisher Price Ocean Wonders Aquarium) which plays music and THEY can turn it on at will. My son LOVES this. By having a few safe crib toys IN the crib with them, it helps a baby/child to self-soothe them... and "entertain" them in the crib before lulling to sleep, and upon waking. For my son, he always hangs out and "plays" a little bit before falling asleep... and upon waking, he will also entertain himself...then, when he is "ready" he will "cry/yell" for me. It promotes self-direction in them, and independence.

Also, as you probably know, a distinct ROUTINE and pre-nap/pre-sleep habit is key. Doing the SAME routine, the same timing, the same thing everyday. This in time, will "trigger" in them, and sense of what is coming next... and they will know. For my son, once I start his pre-nap/pre-sleep routine, (and I do the same sequence EVERY day), and once I sing to him the SAME song before laying him down... he will automatically put his head on my shoulder and calm down... then when I finish singing the song, I put him in the crib... and turn around and shut the door. The song I've learned, "triggers" in him a reaction... to sleep. He KNOWS instantly when I sing this song, and even if he is a bit perky, it will calm him and he gets in "sleep mode."

Also, give a child time to wind-down before bed/nap....(and for me I verbally tell them that 'nap' is coming up...and we get ready) At least 1/2 hour beforehand. And, before I put my kids down for nap/sleep... I darken the room, make it a "zone of quiet" and then read or put on a 10 minute video, give him his milk, then change diaper, then pick him up, carry him in our room, turn on a fan for white noise, close the mini-blinds, sing his song to him, put him in the crib, put up the railings, then say "good-night" and then I walk out and close the door. OVER TIME... doing the SAME routine everyday will get them settled.

I know, each child is different. But it's worth a try. My eldest child, my girl, was real difficult to put to nap or sleep. NO method worked, except co-sleeping. Yes, it took stamina...

At each age, and each month, a child changes, developmentally and emotionally too, and cognitively. THIS also upsets their sleep equilibrium. AND, they also get "separation anxiety" at different ages, at different stages, and throughout childhood. So, this is something that will crop up, during different periods of their maturation and per their age stages.

Well all the best, just some thoughts. I know it's not easy and there are SOOOO many different ways a Mom tries.

Good luck,
Susan

2 moms found this helpful

Wow! i so related to this. my 5 yr old still co sleeps most nights. I nursed almost 4 yrs. Guess what I still lie down with her. But she can also go to sleep on her own.CIO in my opinion makes baby not trust. If you can lie down with him until he's really asleep that may help. It's wonderful that you're listening to your heart.I can tell that you are an amazing mommy. I know I am not helping, i just wanted to send some support your way. This will pass and soon he will be off at school and growing up. This time is so short. Anyways he is only 11 mos old and this 'phase' will pass soon. Best to you- H.

1 mom found this helpful

I second the advice on the No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley: I held both my children until they were about 1 1/2 for naps otherwise they'd wake up after 20 minutes. The book helped tremendously but the change is gradual. Basically when baby is in light sleep mode, he's waking fully rather than falling back asleep. What helped me was running a fan for the sound to soothe her back to sleep, laying her on her side to sleep, and being available right when they start to wake to soothe them back to sleep and the nap is extended. Before trying the book, I was at wit's end with my first child, but it really helped. We never did CIO and I know it works for some babies, but not all babies have the same temperament. With my second, I just went with the flow and didn't stress as much bc I knew this time passes so quickly. good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I had a similar problem. Still do sometimes. I'd tried everything with my son's naps, and have found that he sleeps longer if I am not the one to put him down. But since that isn't always possible, I decided to stop worrying about it and now he sleeps longer at night to make up for the short naps he takes during the day. So when I have to get work done, I wake up early and do it then or after he goes to bed at night. I know it's not the ideal situation, but it seems to work for us now that I'm used to getting up so early. Hopefully your working hours are flexible? Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

Here's a trick my mom taught me, and it has almost always worked when I've babysat, and now with my little one...

When you're putting the baby to sleep, wrap him in a blanket. THe blanket will warm up and hold that twmp, even when your son is not in your arms. When you lay him down, lay him in the crib with the blanket wrapped around him. This way, he won't feel the change in temperature and will still feel like he's being held with the blanket around him.

Also, after you think he's really asleep, wait 5 minutes longer than that to make sure he's REALLY asleep.

I hope this helps! Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

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