Help My Son Will Not Fall Asleep in His Crib!

Updated on August 02, 2008
G.G. asks from Lagrangeville, NY
14 answers

Hello again. I am still trying hard to get my son to sleep in his crib.... It's been hard. So far I find the more I make a big deal to get him to sleep in his room the harder each night is. Tonight he sleeping in his crib!!!!!!I am thinking of having my husband convert his crib into a toddler bed is this crazy at 17 months old???? I'm thinking if I can at least be in HIS room to have him fall asleep would be a good start. With the toddler bed I can be next to him and then of course if that works I would go and gate the hallway. What do you mom's think? I tell ya this is alot harder then I thought. My daughter at 1yrs went through a short period of seperation axiety at night that only lasted about a week or so. My son on the other hand this has been going on 5 months. Okay thanks in a advance for any advice.

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So What Happened?

I have been trying tips from all you moms from my last request into mamasource so far nothing to major has happened but appriciate all your advice and support. I think too I have to make more of a effort but I find at the end of the day when I am so tired that I am not a strong as I should be. Thanks.

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answers from New York on

Hi G., I know some of the other moms may not agree but if lying down with him works then do it! Some children need more comfort that others. Trust me by the time he is grown you will not have to get him to sleep this way. Thankfully you can stay at home and do not have to get up for a job each morning. I would enjoy the cuddling. That will not last forever. My best, Grandma Mary

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answers from New York on

it's not the wrong thing. it is NOT. you are being a great, compassionate mom.

creating a panic in your child about bed time by letting him cry alone is the wrong thing; it's a bad idea that has become normalized for a lot of poor reasons. it's not working in your house, so it's very good that you stopped doing it.

some kids need help to fall asleep, that's just the way it is. i nursed my son to sleep every single night until he was 3 which is when he finally weaned, just a few weeks ago. but by the time he was 18 months, he could fall asleep with my husband cuddling him. it wasn't like we had some night life we needed to get back to, we're in this to be parents, right? so it was fine. and it worked. and now, my son gets a cuddle in his bed, and then turns over and goes to sleep himself. i still nurse my 17 month old daughter to sleep.

yes for several months i was nurseing both kids, and nursing both to sleep. as they mature so will thier abilities to do things on thier own, especially since they feel secure that when they need me i am there.

you are doing the right thing to help your son go to sleep. you may have to do it for a while, maybe till he's three or even 4. but so what? when he's ready he'll do it alone. they all do.

hang in there,



answers from New York on

Buy the book "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" by Marc Weisbluth. Yes, he is a fan of the cry it out method, but I like the book for the rest of the advice it contains. he also gives advice for parents who don't want to let their children cry. It's really great for getting him on a good sleep schedule and helping them sleep through the night. And there is a lot more to it than just letting him cry for 3 nights straight. A lot depends on your routine and what time you put him down and whether you get him to sleep before he is overtired. And your son might surprise you and fall asleep on his own without crying. I thought for sure it would be a huge battle. We started a modified version with trepidation and made the rule that as long as he wasn't crying, it was ok. But you have to make the distinction between whining and crying. If he started truly crying, we went in to check on him. Now at 6 months, it usually takes him only 10-15 minutes to fall asleep on his own, without crying. He usually talks to himself and sometimes will whine a bit, but rarely cries before bed anymore. Then he wakes around 5 for a feeding and then goes back to sleep until 7 or 7:30. I'm not sure what the future will bring, but I really liked Dr Weisbluth's age-apropriate advice on sleep schedules.



answers from Syracuse on

What great advice from the previous 2 mama's! I am having a similar problem with my 17 months old. He takes a bottle while I rock him and he usually falls asleep this way or is very close and will fall asleep in his crib soon after. But lately, he is awake but mellow after rocking with the bottle but won't fall asleep when I put him in his crib. So I either rock him to sleep or near sleep or lie down and cuddle with him on our bed (his crib is beside our bed as we are seriously renovating right now - this is not new, it has been there since he was born) until he is asleep or nearly asleep. I don't mind this because the rocking and cuddling is nice for me as well and doesn't take more than 10 minutes. Also, recent studies say that children whose parents stay with them have fewer sleep problems than children who are left to "cry it out."

So, enjoy the cuddle time!




answers from New York on

I rock my 16-month old to sleep every night, so I know how you feel. I was so happy reading everyone's advice, because I know that we're all doing the right thing. We're comforting our children. My husband and I were never able to let our baby cry-it-out. A few months ago, she was pointing to her crib and went to sleep on her own, so I know she'll go through that phase again someday...



answers from New York on

Awwww, why is that the wrong thing? Trust me, I have laid down with all my kids to go to sleep, still am with my 8 month old. They do grow out of it. They're young for such a short time, just enjoy them. They will look back fondly on memories of laying next to mommy and know that you really cared about them feeling safe at night in the dark. Don't worry, you're NOT going to damage them or make them want to sleep with you forever! :-)



answers from New York on

Hi G.,

My advice to you is to let him sleep with you until he feels comfortable sleeping on his own. This will not "spoil" him, it will make him feel confident he is not being abandoned (the greatest terror in a baby/child's world). By nature, humans need to feel the comfort of their mother until they are ready to be independent. I recommend you read "The Continuum Concept" by Jean Liedloff.
It will open your eyes to a whole "new" world of how we should be parenting based on millions of years of human evolution and history. Another recommended reading is "Magical Child" by Joseph Chilton Pearce.

Best of luck.



answers from New York on

Hi there! There's some great advice here, but I just wanted to add a little something. My first daughter went through this phase at around 15 months. I am a stay at home mom and we figured it was her only time to go through separation anxiety. We set up a "bed" (an old comforter) in her room next to her crib and we laid with her until she fell asleep. Each night we moved it a little further away and after a couple of weeks she was over her phase (and we were in the hallway)! Good luck and do whatever feels right to you!! They are only little for a short amount of time!



answers from New York on

Has anything changed in your home in the last few months. Have you kept his routine the same the whole time. My daughter is going through something similar right now. I won't give in though. I put her in her crib and then put my son to bed. If she is still crying at that time, I go into her room, and rock her. I do not remover her from her room, and I don't rock her until she's sleeping. I do rock her until she's calmed down. The whole time I keep her room dark and have her music playing. Both my kids have classical music playing in their rooms. They find it soothing and it sets the mood. Once she is calm, I put her back in her crib and leave the room. If she starts crying we start again, but we don't leave her room.


answers from New York on

Try any change for at least a week before giving up.



answers from New York on

Dear G.,

You're not doing the wrong thing! You're being a wonderful mom.

Even Dr. Ferber, who wrote the most popular "cry it out" book, retracted some of his recommendations because he realized that for children with some temperaments, this method does not work and can actually be harmful. There's no method that works with every child; your two children are an illustration of that.

My strong recommendation is to follow your instincts and let your love for your son, not an external timetable, be your guide.





answers from Buffalo on

Is it possible your son is ready for a toddler bed? My oldest transitioned very early from his crib to a bed. It could also be that he has started dreaming or is afraid of the dark. Have you introduced a night light? I wish I had more advice. It will be interesting to see what other moms out there say! Best of luck.
A little about me: I will be celebrating 7 years of marriage this fall, am a stay at home mom, and have 2 amazing little boys, almost 4, and 16 months.



answers from Syracuse on

Does he have comfort object sin there with him? (Blankie, stuffed toy, binki??). That may be a problem, or maybe he just doesnt like his crib. Some kids feel trapped in there. Try a toddler bed maybe, just get one with appropriate rails so he will be safe and put a gate on his door so he cannot roam around the house. Good Luck.

And you don't need to lay with him. I know many mothers do, and many of the responses you got lean towards this. I will say that I love my daughter to death she is my world, but night time is a break for both of us. There is nothing wrong with not wanting to lay down with him every night. Just be frim so he will lay down without crying everynight. I never let my daughter cry it out either but I never laid down in her room. He needs to learn independence and also that you are just a yell away if he needs you.


I just wanted to add, how is your routine before bed? I have about an hour routine before my daughter goes to bed at night and I have found that when this routine is altered at all, she does not go down to bed as well as the nights we follow it perfectly. A few nights she was being punsihed and I did not read with her before bed and those nights it took her longer to sleep and she also awoke a few times in the middle of the night, still upset that we didn't read so we found alternative punishments. Our routine is: Bring all the toys back in her room, clean her room, lotion her up(for eczema), get a diaper and pajamas on, brush teeth, then read 3 books of her choice. After all that she is ready to lay down and falls asleep fast.



answers from Albany on

Why is it so wrong for you to lay down with your son? Does he stay asleep once you get him down? I get so irritated when people make others feel like they are doing something wrong by cuddling with your child. My oldest had to do the same thing. He's almost 8 now. I haven't had to cuddle with him in many years.

I will tell you the only thing I did different was I sat on the sofa with him and cuddled. When he fell asleep I'd put him in the crib. Once he got to about the age of 2, I began letting him lay on the sofa and fall asleep on his own and then I'd put him in the crib.

At 3, we put him back in his room but by then he was in a big boy bed so it was an even bigger deal for him to go to sleep there.

Unless you have a problem cuddling with him, please don't let others guilt you out of it. I wish my oldest would still sit and cuddle with me sometimes but he's "too big for that" now.


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