Desperate to Get 4.5 Mo Old to Sleep in Her Own Crib

Updated on July 16, 2009
D.R. asks from Clarksburg, MD
16 answers

Hello I have a 4.5 mo old little girl who has been sleeping with me in my bed since she was home from the hospital. We tried to put her in the craddle but all she would do was scream. She is a very big baby at 20+ lbs and eats a lot so I would just nurse her in bed. We tried to put her in her crib last night but she would only sleep for 30 min at a time. I gave up and just put her back in bed with me I was too exhausted. We tried to let her cry for five minutes then we would pick her up. We would then lay her back down when she was calm we then let her cry for 10 min and would lay her back down when she was calm. She slept for 30 min. and then we started back over again. I made sure she wasn't hungry or needed to burp or had a poopy. I just don't know how to do this. My son was so much easier. Any suggestions would be great. I'd like to hear them all from letting them cry it out to attachment parenting. Thank you so much.
D.
Also just to let you know she sleeps in my arms during the day for her naps she takes several naps "cat naps." I also know for sure when she is hungry or not because she will either nurse or not. She is just a very needy baby. I love her a lot but would really like to have my husband and I sleep in the same bed again.

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So What Happened?

Thank you so much everyone for all of your responses!!!!! Okay so you all might laugh at what I did...but...I asked my husband to make me a bed that was level with her crib so that I could just reach my hand over and touch her or give her, her pacifier. She got up every two hours to eat which is very typical, but she did stay in her crib the entire time and she didn't cry. She slept well I think? I was going to move the crib into our room but thought she might then have a hard time adjusting to her room when she moved back and I just want her to have to adjust once to this whole sleep thing. I know that Eric and I aren't in our own bed yet...but we are one step closer.
Thank you once again. I hope she gets to the point where she doesn't want to eat so much but I know that she is a very big girl and needs a lot of food to satisfy her. She has been that way since the day she was born.
Have a great day everyone!

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M.C.

answers from Washington DC on

Hi There, you may have already gotten the answers you're looking for but thought I'd reply also. Both my boys were the same, now 2 1/2 & 15 mos. It just takes time. Just keep trying to put her down and I found that if I was consistent but not demanding it eventually worked. 4.5 is still young and I agree with one of the comments that if she needs you,she needs you. She'll get there and you'll get more sleep eventually :)

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M.G.

answers from Washington DC on

I'm sorry I have a 4 month old, and he is still catnapping in the day, but he's doing ok at night. Partially because I've taken some of the advice from Tracy Hogg's book The Baby Whisperer. I liked her gentle approach to getting kids to sleep. It might be a rough night or 2 initially, but after that it can be great. Good luck!

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R.H.

answers from Norfolk on

I'm not sure if your going to be about to avoid crying to sleep. But in order to i would suggest you start putting her down for her naps in her crib. I would also keep doing the cry and pick up method you have been doing just each time you pick her up wait a little longer before you do the next time. A lot of times a baby will make noise or cry a little but than go back to sleep quickly if they don't know you are there or awake. So give her that chance. Good luck

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M.C.

answers from Washington DC on

I would start with the naps. Instead of holding her during the day, lay her down in the crib or playpen.

Also, try getting a sloped sleeping positioner. It could be that the crib mattress is just to firm compared to your bed.

M.

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K.M.

answers from Washington DC on

Hi D.! My story is kind of similar--my son slept in bed with us until he was 4 months old, then easily transitioned to his crib. When my daughter was born a year ago (my kids are also 2-1/2 years apart), I figured it would go the same way, but when I tried to move her out of our bed at 4 months, she couldn't sleep on her own. So I just brought her back in bed and bought a bolster-pillow/bed-rail to keep her side safe since she was getting bigger and squirmier, and we kept her in bed with us until she was 7 months old. By then she was nursing less during the night, and I really got the feeling that she would sleep better if she could stretch out on her own. We moved her to a pack and play in our room, and she slept great--waking up once or twice in the night to nurse for a few more months. She stayed there until her first birthday (a few weeks ago), when we moved her into a crib, sharing a room with her big brother. It's worked great, and my husband and I have our bed AND our bedroom back.

I'm a big believer in timing and going with your instincts. Maybe the timing just isn't right yet--try to take a deep breath, give it another month, and see how things feel. This year will fly by so quickly--I can barely remember what it felt like to have either of my babies sleeping with us! I did start having my kids nap on their own pretty early, so that may be a good place to start--gives you a break and gets them used to sleeping on their own, which helps when you're ready to move her to her own bed. I recommend Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Weissbluth for tips--we got this when my son was 4 months old, and following it has helped my kids be great sleepers, I think.

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K.N.

answers from Norfolk on

While I cannot relate to the crib part, my son did mainly sleep with us for the first 4 months of his life. He had no issue sleeping in his crib and in fact was pretty independent from an early age and didn't even really want to be held very much, which we still did as much as possible. But he would wake up every 2 hours for his first 4 months whether he wanted to nurse or not. We had to finally let him cry it out after the doctor recommended we do so and made sure he had no ear infection...etc. He stretched it to every 3 hours at first, and finally every 4 hours. He weaned himself at 5 1/2 months and as he got older he would still wake up at night. Finally at his one year appointment we had to let him cry once again. The doctor said by that time(we knew he wasn't hungry) he was just learning that when he cried we would pick him up and it was more like he was being rewarded. So after that we would let him cry but come in and pat him down and tell him it was ok and to go back to sleep. It was hard at first but after a couple nights he slept through the night and it was wonderful. They do say at your daughter's age, it is best to put them in the crib when they are getting tired and not to let them fall asleep in your arms so they can get used to self soothing. We had to learn that as well. You can also see if she likes to sleep on one of those baby pillows that props them up, she could have reflux but usually there are other symptoms with that and a baby won't wake up crying, they will wake up screaming like they are in pain. I would have the doc check her out and then if it comes down to it, you might just have to let her learn to self sooth, as hard as it may be. Good luck!

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K.H.

answers from Washington DC on

Hi D.

I think your daughter has just gotten used toalways have you close by & if you really want to change these habits then you are doing the right thing in trying to sort it now while she is young than letting go on any longer , of course changing the habit during the night is going to be more difficult as you need your sleep to be able to function properly during the day. I would start with her daytime routine , only hold her if she needs feeding or changing , then while she is awake put her in her bouncy chair or playmat (whatever you have) so she can have a little play and stimulation with her toys. Once she is ready for nap put her in her crib (awake). She needs to learn how to fall asleep by herself , she may cry and of course go in , pick her up settle her etc and then put her back down , and keep going like that. It won't be easy for the first few days and you may feel like giving up but then all the work you have done will have been for nothing.

In England there was a tv show called "The house of tiny tearaways" with Dr Tanya Byron....try and look up some of her stuff on the internet , she is a miracle worker for parents with kids of all issues , sleep , eating , behaviour etc.

Good Luck

K.

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Z.B.

answers from Washington DC on

I love the book Health Sleep Habits, Happy Child. In it, he will tell you what her sleep patterns are and how to get her to sleep. At her age, she should be able to nap and sleep through the night. He does every version of sleep therapy, but I strongly recommend the cry it out....She should be napping three times a day...the first nap starting about 1-2 hours after she wakes in the morning and lasting at least an hour to two hours (not in your arms), the second nap starting about two hours after she wakes from the first and lasting 1-2 hours, and the third nap is a brief late afternoon early evening...then bed time sometime between 6-8 but usually 12 hours after she initially woke in the am. My first son was very needy, slept in my arms in our bed until he was 4 months old....I did the HSHHC book and he did all three naps and slept 12 hours at night with 1-2 feedings per night....you need a BREAK girl.

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S.F.

answers from Charlottesville on

Is the crib in a different room? Or rolled up against your bed?
With both of my kids (and I now have a 6-wk-old) I pull the crib up to the side of the bed.
It makes nursing easy, diaper changes easy - don't have to get out of bed.

This is my opinion:
Don't let her cry it out if your instinct is to pick her up when she cries.
That instinct happens for a reason. It's basic biology!!!

Please go get THE BABY BOOK by Dr. Sears.
He discusses the different ideas for a good night sleep.
Very insightful. Very baby-friendly and mom/dad-friendly ideas.

I am attachment parenting as well. My sister reminds me: babies ARE needy. And they WILL leave your bed and be independent. She is only a baby for a short time.
You are giving her the confidence to be independent by allowing her to have you there with her and to meet her needs.
I know people try to make life with a baby convenient by letting them "cry it out" and learn to self soothe so they don't have to parent them through the night. Doesn't sound like you want that - you just want to sleep in your whole bed with your husband!! Nothing wrong with that!
I say roll the crib in - set her up beside you - reach in and hold her hand if she cries about not being in your arms. Turn on her mobile or attach one of those crib aquariums to the side that plays music and shows fish swimming around. That is sort of like helping them self soothe, but you are right there.

I don't know why people are telling you NOT to hold your baby during the day???? Oh my. Do what your heart tells you. You have been so loving to hold and snuggle your baby. You CAN'T spoil a baby with love and touch!

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K.B.

answers from Washington DC on

You need to get that baby a schedule. I promise she will be much happier (&easier) once she knows what to expect and her body does too. She should be in a routine of sleep (in her crib) feed and play time throughout the day w/ longer sleep (&no play) at night. It's been many years for me as my youngest, twins, are now 8. Books and probably on line can give you a basic schedule guideline that you can adjust a bit for yourself. You need to let the baby cry it out when it's sleep time. She will learn and it will be the best thing for everyone. I promise you, it does work, it's not cruel, and she will be so much happier in the long run. I followed advice from a Christian book. Can't think of the title at this point. Took from it much of the basic ideas and tweaked it a bit to fit what worked for us.
Good Luck. Be strong. Don't waiver so that you don't confuse her. She WILL get it.

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J.M.

answers from Dover on

Hi D.. I am all to aware of your situation. My daughter didn't sleep in our bed but we had a heck of a time getting her to nap in her crib during the day. I highly recommend getting the book Happy Baby, Healthy Sleep Habits. It worked wonders for us!!! It sounds like to me that you are going to have to let her cry it out however, she may be a little young for that yet. I had to let my daughter cry, it was torture but it worked. Babies are smart and get used to situations. You are teaching her that when she cries you are going to get her and put her where she wants to be, with you. It is easier to break them of bad habits when they are younger. Do you have a bed time routine? If you don't, now is the time to start one. After a while your daughter will know from the routine that it is time for bed. Unfortunately she is used to sleeping with you and it will take a little time to break her of that habit. Seriously, get the book and it will work wonders if you instill the techniques that the author recommends, I promise. Good luck and let us know how it turns out. www.amazon.com/Healthy-Sleep-Habits-Happy-Child/dp/044900...

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J.H.

answers from Washington DC on

Hi D., I had a big baby too and she had lots of problem crying before and while she sleeps and I found out that the weight has alot to do with that kind of behavior especially if fed right before nap time.Try cuddling her until she falls asleep then put her in the crib but please make sure it is very comfortable, also try singing to her if that doesn't work you might have to spend some time in the room with her until she gets use to it.Does she like her head prop up on a pillow? mine did she is still over weight but I cut down on her eating and drinking before bedtime and it helps.God Bless and good luck.

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K.H.

answers from Washington DC on

Both of my girls slept in their bouncy seat (without toys attatched) for the first three months, in the middle of the night when I had to breastfeed, I would take them in bed with me breastfeed and fall back to sleep with them in my arms, My first daughter sounds like your daughter, she always cried and wanted to be near me all the time. I just gave her what she needed, which was time and patience. Unfortunatly there is no eaiser answer, just hang in there and keep doing what you are doing, this will pass, you wont always be sleeping with her. However to help move things along, don't hold her all the time when she naps, try having her nap in a swing,while you read her a story from a book, or have her take a nap in a bouncy seat while you bounce her lightly. Try out the crib everyday, put her in it and stay with her, put some toys in there and make it a "happy place" for her. Don't put her in the crib and leave, just watch her play with her toys in there or have her watch her mobile, I bought one of those toys that attatch to the crib, that helped alot. I would say to put her in her crib about 2-3 times a day. Then after a while (a couple of months) lengthen the time she spends in there and ease the transition into the crib, however she has to get used to not sleeping in your arms or within arms reach, but she still needs you and your love to be confident.
My oldest daughter is now two and she sleeps in her own big girl bed and from 7:30pm to 8am. just keep giving lots of love and attention and everything will be fine.

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K.L.

answers from Washington DC on

I didn't read any of your other responses so I'm sorry if I repeat! I just had to write to you because your daughter sounds EXACTLY they way my now 7 year old was. I was just so exhausted with the whole thing I finally slept in the guest room with her, all the while holding a pacifier in her mouth. Just hearing it hit the mattress would startle me from "sleep" b/c I knew the screaming would start if I didn't get it back in soon enough. I think I slept with her until she was about 7 or 8 months. ALL of her naps were in my arms. We tried several things, including letting her cry it out. She cried for 2 hours straight and when I finally got her out of the crib she was bright red and completely soaked with sweat. I felt horrible. One day, completely out of no where, she seemed a little tired around 10am, so I thought "why not try it?" and I put her in her crib and shut the door. I'll never forget that day, because she slept for one full hour. I thought I'd gone to heaven. It all got better from there. I guess my point is, if she needs you, she needs you. It won't last forever.

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B.P.

answers from Washington DC on

D.,

I'd like to add that I had a girl who was not a great sleeper. Took all her naps in my arms until about 3 months or so when I was ready to get her in the crib during the day. At night we put her in the bassinet first, then the crib, but she woke up so frequently it was like we never slept. By the time we would go to her, soothe her and get her back to sleep then get in bed and settle down ourselves, sometimes she'd be awake again before we could even get back to sleep!

For naptime, I just started putting her in the crib, first after she fell asleep in my arms and, eventually, while awake, but sleepy. At first she would only sleep short periods (we celebrated after her first 15 min. nap in the crib!), but eventually she got used to it and she slept longer.

For nighttime, cry it out worked wonders for us. I know not everyone believes in it, but it helped us tremendously. Assess the situation and your daughter and be sure everyone's ready for it (you may even want to check with your pediatrician first, as we did). But if you're going to do it, decide how (just let her cry or let her cry for a certain number of minutes, then soothe without picking up or whatever) and you have to stick to it. It doesn't work very well if you break down too quickly! And it's so easy to give in. :-) If your husband is on board with it (whatever you decide to do, both of you should agree to it) it will help to do it as a team.

Good luck. No matter how you choose to handle this, it WILL eventually get better. My daughter is almost 4 now and sleeps just fine. When you're in the middle of it, it's hard to imagine it ever being better, but it will be.
B.

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C.D.

answers from Washington DC on

D. - I think the problem is that your daughter is already in a habit of sleeping in your arms for naps and besides you at night. She has also learned that crying brings her mommy back at her bedside. BUT it is never too late to start a new habit. It will be tough and exhausting but I believe if you are consistent it will be sucessful. My suggestion would be when you lay her down for naps and bedtime, to lay her down and leave the room so you are not in ear or eye shot. It is tough to listen to them cry but crying is not going to hurt her. I just would not let her full force cry for more than 10mins. If she is full force crying, go in every 10 mins and get her to calm down (similar to what you are already doing) and lay her down again. Continue this cycle until she falls asleep. It will most likely require you to be back in her room MUCH more than you want to and will be extremely exhausting but it will pay off in the end. Your daughter will learn that her crying will no longer result in your immediate appearance in the room. As this will exhaust you, it will exhaust her as well.. . Which will result in her sleeping which is what you want. I had similar problems with my middle child and we tried this technique. She is 18 months now and she is my BEST sleeper. I remember putting her down for naptime and sitting beside the monitor listening to her cry. It killed me but I forced myself to wait the 10mins which seemed like an eternity. Quickly, she began to fall asleep before the 10mins were up and eventually, she would stop crying before I even got back downstairs. Often, she wasn't asleep by then but had ceased the crying because she learned it no longer gave her the results she wanted. I know it feels harsh and you want to just run in and hold her to make her happy but if you can remain strong while experiencing all those emotions and the exhaustion, maybe you and your husband can get your bedroom back. With my daughter, it worked a miracle because as I mentioned earlier she is my BEST sleeper. For naps now, I take her up and put her in her toddler bed and she actually stays in bed and falls asleep within 5 mins. It still amazes me to this day. I only regret I hadn't done it with my first daughter who is 4 and we are still fighting her to sleep in her own room. You live and learn I guess! Well good luck to you. I hope whatever technique you end up going with works.

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