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!!!!!

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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.

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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!

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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 :)

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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.

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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

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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.

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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!

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Hi,

I always throw this out there, just in case it can help anyone who is unknowingly in the situation my babies and I were. My babies also cried determinedly when laid flat to sleep and they slept best on our shoulders, in our arms, in bed with us with their little heads propped on our arms... the common thread was that they liked to sleep in a slightly raised position. Because they all had acid reflux (and it hurts like a blankity-blank!). Sleeping with their chests higher than their bellies reduced the upward flow of gastric contents. Thus less pain.

When I figured it out, it was an easy(ish) fix. Prop the head of the crib mattress up securely, and 'short sheet' the mattress (like you would for a prank) so that baby cannot slide off the incline and lose the benefits of sleeping in a raised position. Also, sleeping on the LEFT side is best for reflux babies (reduces the pumping of gastric contents up the oesophagus). Triangle props are good to keep the right side up, left side against the mattress -- and one in front of baby keeps him from rolling onto his tummy. This may or may not help you, but just in case, there's the info.

As soon as my babies got the idea that sleeping in the crib no longer meant increased agony, they settled nicely. FYI, (although you aren't using this method) crying it out is one thing that never works for reflux babies -- increased stress = increased acid = increased pain. Vicious cycle.

You sound like such a devoted and tender mommy -- I know this will settle for you shortly. Best of luck! :-)

1 mom found this helpful

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 am not a CIO mom. I tried it when my now 4 year old was 5months old. It was a major disaster. Each night was longer than the last, we stuck it out for one week. Never again! We did a few things that other parents have mentioned. We did read the No Cry Sleep Solution book and took some great tips, though my daughter didn't go through the entire program. We also trained her to fall asleep with someone lying next to her. Gradually we put more space until we were holding her hand and then just sitting next to her. She still prefers to have someone around while she falls asleep at night, but can do it on her own. Naps, she is totally independent. The sling or other ergo baby carrier is great. My son took naps in it once a day until he was a about 18 months since my daughter and I were on the go. Good luck!

How about swaddling him with a blanket? My nanny started doing this early with my daughter. When she is with me on the weekend and at night, she falls asleep with me in the recliner and then I transition her to the crib at night. For her naps, I let her sleep in the recliner.

I could never do CIO either. Hmmm, let's see. Do you have a fan in his room? Sometimes the noise of the fan will help them sleep. We also resorted to placing our heating pad on the bed a few minutes before putting our son down. It warmed up the sheets enough that it didn't shock him awake.

how bout a sling, pouch sling, or baby hawk carrier.

I don't have a great answer for you... my high-needs daughter has never been a great sleeper - but neither have I so she comes by it honestly! I work from home as well. When she was younger and needed me all the time, it was really difficult. Over time it got easier, and I was able to nurse her to sleep laying next to her on our bed, and slip away as carefully as possible. Can you try wearing him in an ergo or mei tai carrier and work that way?

I saw the response below about the Ferber method - Ferber retracted his statements about crying it out in the last couple of years. Crying it out is really bad for babies! It can cause neurological damage.

Sometimes the transfer to the bed is the trick. My son was such a difficult sleeper unless he was nursing. My 12mo daughter's a little easier, but she only transfers to her playpen/crib when she's really out and just nursed (or falls asleep nursing in the bed and I slip away)...and if I transfer her the right way. This means as gently as possible and I tend to lay her on her side, where she either stays or rolls onto her tummy.
Also, if you work on the computer, could you just nurse/hold the baby while you work sitting down? Or if you are standing or moving around wear him in a baby carrier (as someone else mentioned)?
Good luck whatever you decide.
~N.

You REALLY need to train him to go to sleep on his own. I used the Ferber method and it worked in 3 nights. The best thing you can do for your child is teach them to go to sleep on their own. That means putting them in their crib awake!! It's hard at first but well worth it. I have 2 girls (2 & 4) and they have been wonderful sleepers since 9 months old due to Ferber. I always put my girls to bed awake and they never cry out anymore (unless they're sick).

All my friends are amazed an envious of how well they go to sleep.

My co-sleeping kids did this, one more than the others....they feel the warmth, smell the security and hear the calmness of the respiration and cardiac rates. Who can blame them? Our babies mostly slept on their sides, so it was easier to put them out, since they felt crunched. The other thing, we did was hold them until they fell asleep on then lie them next to us in teh couch and when he realized we were not holding him, my body was right there and I would tell him, You're ok, I'm right here." It started to work.

When we weaned our first son out of our bed, we put his crib mattress on the floor next to our bed. He's fall asleep in our bed and then we'd move him onto the crib mattress. In the am, he'd stand adn up and we were right there.

At 4, he would come up to me at 6:30pm and say, "Mom, I"m tired. Can I go to bed?" He still goes to bed by himself. I tuck him in, but I can just kiss him and walk out. He ended up being the easiest.

Good luck!

My son was/is very similar, and honestly he just got better on his own. By 11 months he was taking one nap a day (around noon), because it wasn't worth the struggle to try for two. I started a modified cry-it-out method around that age, where I let him cry for 2 minutes max, then come back in and pick him up. Instantly he relaxes in my arms (so I know he is sleepy), and I put him back in the crib (within a minute). Only a few rounds of this, and he stays asleep. Now at 17 months, most of the time I can tell him it's "night night time", and he lays right down in his crib. Some naps are 45 min, some are 2.5 hours, but I don't force it. He seems to make up for it at night, and he's in a good mood so I don't worry. Keep trying different techniques and eventually you will find one that works for you!

I had the same issue with my son so you are not alone. A good book to read which helped me alot is called "The no cry sleep solution" by Elizabeth Pantley. She has some really good ideas and also talks alot about having a good routine and sticking to it. Routine is key to making sure your child knows when bedtime is coming. Good Luck! It gets better!

Hello. Have you tried putting him to sleep in a playpen near you or in a swing? Sounds like he is accustomed to being held continuously and sleeping with you at night, so that is now what he considers natural. Maybe try a positioner that may make him feel as if he is being cradled or held - that is the feeling he expects. If he has been used to this for 11 months, it will take probably a few weeks to break. You may also want to try propping him up with a pillow - even under the mattress - if he usually sleeps being held, then he is not used to sleeping flat on his back. Hopefully some of this will help.

I have the same problem

I had to go the route of just laying my son down and getting him to fall asleep on his own. I got a sound machine- that really helped. Also, what helped the transition was I bought a Fisher Price Aquarium that hooks on the side of the crib. I turned that on when I laid him down and it usually would distract him so that he would not cry a ton when I put him down. If he did start crying, I would go in and rub his tummy while he watched the aquarium.

That seemed to work for us and soon he was going to sleep on his own with no problems or crying. Good luck!

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