I Cant Get My Daughter to Sleep!!!

Updated on September 25, 2006
J.S. asks from Indianapolis, IN
16 answers

My daughter is 7 months old and I have so much trouble getting her to sleep. I know it is all my fault, because for many months I held her all the time. Now I have been trying to get her to sleep on her own for 2 months and it isn't working. I have to feed her a bottle and rock her until she falls asleep and then wait at least 15 minutes so she is sleeping soundly and then carefully put her in bed. Most of the time, the second I lay her down she wakes back up, and then we have to start all over. Many days I give in and just hold her, but while I do like holding her it isn't practical and is not the best thing for her. I really don't know what I should do and I have no friends with kids.

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So What Happened?

Thanks everyone for your advice, it has been very helpful. Grace is finally starting to sleep on her own. The first few days were really hard, and I was starting to feel like the worst mother in the world. My first attempt resulted in her crying so hard she threw up, but it has gotten easier and easier. She still eats a bottle just before bed at night but sleeps in her bed through the night. Naptime is still a struggle but she is getting better, and while she still cries herself to sleep, the length of time is getting shorter and shorter. I know I just have to stick with it and eventually she will figure out she has to do it.

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M.

answers from Lafayette on

What we did with my daughter was from the book, Sleeping through the night. Put her down when she is tired. If she cries, let her for a couple of minutes then go comfort her (we use a passifier). If she continues to cry let her for a few more minutes longer and go comfort her again. Continue to do that extending the time between comforts by a couple of minutes. My daughter cried for about 45 min the 1st couple of nights but by the 4th night she was falling asleep just fine. We did that when she was 4 months old so it may take a little longer for Grace being older, but my daughter is 20 months and still goes right to sleep without crying every time we put her down because of doing that method when she was younger.

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K.D.

answers from Louisville on

Hello J.. I love your daughter's name. My oldest daughter's name is Elizabeth Ann. Anyways, about the sleeping. I never had a problem with mine, but I didn't help my best friend. sister-in-law and a cousin with getting their babies to sleep. They held their babies all the time too. This is going to be easier said than done, but it will work...promise. It hasn't failed me yet. Once you feed Grace, rock her for a minute and then put her in bed while she is still awake. I'm telling you know, she WILL cry. But let her cry. If after 15-20 minutes she is still crying, go in and comfort her a little but don't get her out of bed. It will take a while for her to get used to going to sleep on her own, but please just give it time. I know it will be hard to sit and listen to her cry, but it will be worth it in the long run. If there is anything else I can do to help, send me an email at [email protected]____.com I will be glad to help. Again, this is easier said than done but it works.

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L.S.

answers from Indianapolis on

My son was born on the same day! : )

One thing that has worked for us is to lay our little guy down in his crib at different times during the day to watch what we call his "baby TV." It's one of those Fisher-Price deals that has moving parts and music and projects an image on the ceiling. It will keep him occupied for few minutes, and then I leave him in there a little longer so he gets used to being in his crib and being by himself. Then, at night, if he needs a little rocking, that's okay, but I put him down when he is drowsy and put the baby TV on...it's worked so far!

Good luck and best wishes!

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A.R.

answers from Louisville on

As many mothers have said, I think a routine is important. Give her a bath, read her a story, rock her, whatever works for you all, at the same time/same order every night (after the routine is established, you can vary it sometimes as needed). Then, as most others have said, you have establish a routine of actually going to sleep. I personally am not a proponent of the CIA (cry-it-out) method; however, I did a modified version of it with my youngest (now almost 2yrs) and it worked really well. I did the pre-bed routine with her, then put her in the bed, patted her, told her I loved her & left. She cried of course, and after 5 minutes, I went back in, rubbed her back, patted her butt, but didn't pick her up. I stayed 1-2 min max, then left again. She cried again & I waited 10 min this time, then went in & did the same things, reassuring her but never picking her up. I left again, she cried, I waited 15 min, same thing. The longest she ever cried with this method was 30 minutes straight; she was going to sleep on her own after the 10 min increment after just a couple days. Now she sleeps all night (most nights, lol).

But remember every baby is different. Some will take to it easily & some will be more stubborn. But I think most eventually come around to it. I personally think allowing a baby to cry for more than one straight hour is too much, but it's all personal preference. You know your baby's personality better than any of us or any parenting book.

One thing to note, don't start a new routine when your baby is sick or your family/lifestyle is experiencing a lot of change. Since it may take a week or more to establish the new pattern, you need to make sure you start it when you know you can be at home & do the same thing every night for at least 2 weeks. Again, every baby & situation is different; this is just a guideline compiled from parenting books, friends, & personal experience.

Good luck!!
A.

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H.H.

answers from Cedar Rapids on

Hi there I have a daughter that is a month older than yours and for the first 3 months she would never sleep unless I was holding her. So at 4 months old I started a routine where at he same time every night I would feed her then read a book to her in the rocking chair then we rock for a few minutes and sing the same song. Then I lay her down awake in her crib and turn her mobile on. The firts few nights she cried (and so did I) but after that she started rolling over and going right to sleep. Now she does it everynight. Good Luck

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S.M.

answers from Indianapolis on

Read Healthy Sleeping Habits: Happy Child. It's a wonderful book. My baby girl is 4 months old and now sleeping through the night and napping 3 times a day. We chose to use the extinction method--she cried it out for 2 nights. The 3rd night she learned that she's on her own and cried a little at first, went to sleep and slept soundly through the night. She also takes good naps. It's all about giving them the ability to learn to put themselves to sleep. It's very hard and will break your heart, but you only have to endure it for 2 nights. Just remember, in order for her to do this, she also needs to be napping (at 7 months) 2 times a day. Once in the morning around 9/10 and once after noon around 1. Now, you can sooth her before putting her down. Get her relaxed (nurse or bottle-feed her, rock her a little, etc.) but you need to put her down when she's not fully asleep. This allows her to learn how to get to sleep on her own. Read the book and you will understand what I mean in more depth...

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S.M.

answers from Des Moines on

I've seen a lot of advice on letting her cry it out, but that never worked for my daughter. We tried it 3 or 4 different times for weeks on end, and she would just scream and cry all night. I don't know how your sleeping arriangements are set up (if she is in the same room or not), but If possible, I would start her in your bed, give her her night feeding, read a story, sing to her, what ever you usually do, and just be near her til she falls asleep, then when you are ready to go to bed, move her to her bed if you're not co-sleeping. But one very important thing, keep all pillows and blankets away from her while she's in your bed. If you are worried about her rolling out of bed, roll up a recieving blanket and snuggly wedge it on either side of her so she can't roll, but be sure to keep it below her shoulders.

My husband and I have a family bed, and our daughter sleeps with us. She has since she was born, and has reciently expressed interest in having her own bed and wanting to sleep on her own. If you can stand to have her sleep with you, I would give that a try. Or just get her to sleep in your bed, then move her when your ready to go to sleep.

Hope this helps, and know that you are not alone. :)

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C.J.

answers from Lexington on

I read the book "Baby Wise" and customized it to our family needs. I set up a flexible routine. It basically went like this: When she wakes up, feed her and diaper change. Then wake time (singing, walking, looking out a window) Then put her down awake. Babies need to be taught how to put themselves to sleep. The Late Evening feeding would not include wake time. Simply avoiding feeding her right before nap time helped. To get to this point from where you are however, I would gradually transition her. The first time, let her cry 3 minutes, then go in and comfort her. Then increase it by 2 minutes each time. I would not let her cry more than 15-20 minutes. It's the hardest thing to do because your body will physically react to her crying. Just remember that you are teaching her a valuable skill - putting herself to sleep! I bet it will only take 4-5 days/nights to get her on track.

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H.T.

answers from Indianapolis on

We had exactly the same problem with our 7 month old. And it sounds in you message it's naps and night time too. I know it's hard when people recommend books, because you want to try something immediately not wait to read an entire book. (that's how I felt) So I will give the quick run down on the steps in the book. We read/live by "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" by Dr. Marc Weissbluth. The book talks about natural sleep patterns for all babies and these timings seem to be consistant with several books. It is important to have a routine but also a ritual for naptime and bedtime, whether it's rocking, reading, a bottle, whatever.

Here's our basic schedule:
1. Wake up by 7am. (wake your baby if you have to)
2. Nap at 9am.
Spend about ten minutes before hand calming and soothing before nap. I usuallly sit in a rocking chair with my son and look out the front door, or the window or we go on the front porch with his pacifier and blankie for ten minutes to calm down. Next we go to his room, I put him in a sleep sac (we used to swaddle, but now he is rolling over and gets out of it) turn on his sound machine, close the door, and turn out the lights. It all becomes a little ritual for him signaling it's time for bed. I rock him in my arms for just a minute until he starts doing long blinks and then lay him in his crib.
3. Nap at 1pm (repeat ritual starting ten minutes early)
4. Try for a 3rd nap around 4:30
5. Bed time between 7 - 7:30 (sometimes quarter to 7 if no 3rd nap)

The book really emphasizes having no more than two hours of wakefulness. And watching for their sleep signs - playing less, getting grumpy, rubbing their eyes. With your baby being 7 months old you may have to jump start things by letting her cry it out for one night. The book says to start with the night time to establish a good night sleeping pattern and then you can move on to the naps. The naps kind of just fall in place once the night time routine is set. We had to do this! We did the nightly ritual and had to let our little guy cry it out the first night. He cried for 15 minutes they fell asleep. From there each nap got amazingly better. A few days after the night was set we had to let him cry 15 minutes for the first nap, but things just fell into place after that. Its amazing. You don't think it will work and you think it's awful to let them cry the first time, but now having him sleep so great makes it all worth it!!

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M.L.

answers from Fort Wayne on

My daughter was the exact same way. At 10 months old I threw in the towel. I had a cold and everytime I would sneeze or cough she would wake up. It was terrible! Like many of the others that have answered, I did a modified version of the "cry it out" method. I would let her cry for 5 or 10 minutes at a time before going into her room and checking on her. I would tell her I loved her and pat her back, say good night. Jordan cried for about 45 minutes the first night, 30 minutes the second, 20 minutes the third. The fourth night she didn't cry at all. It was difficult, I was crying the first 2 nights. It was so worth it however. I could then have some time to myself before I went to bed. Good luck!

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K.

answers from Lexington on

I highly recommend the book "The No-Cry Sleep Solutions" by Elizabeth Pantley. It teaches you how to gradually condition (no "let them cry it out") your child to be able to sleep on their own. I used many of the tips in this book to help my daughter learn to fall asleep on her own.

Best of luck!
K.

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D.

answers from Indianapolis on

Hi J.,

Have you tried swaddling her before you give her a bottle and she has fallen asleep? Sometimes just the fact that they feel like they are being held is enough. After a few times (if it works) try to loosen the swaddling a little bit each time then she can still feel secure. (don't forget, sometimes they need to cry themselves to sleep-you can handle it).
Hope this works for you.

Deb

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T.M.

answers from Indianapolis on

Hi J.!
I am a stay at home mom with 3 kids. The two older ones I can put them in their beds a put a movie on just low enough on the volume so that I tell them in order for them to hear they have to lay still and be quite. My 10 month old son is no longer on a bottle or pacifier. So what I do for him is I don't let him nap after a certain time. Then when it is bed time I just give him a sippy cup of water and turn the lights off and hold him until I am done watching t.v. It works for me, but ever baby is different. Good Luck to you!!

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W.S.

answers from Louisville on

you might just have to let her cry herself out. i know it sounds mean and evil, but my son's peditrician actually told me to do that. we tried everything else, and by the time he was 4 months old, he was sleeping all night. the peditrician did it with his own son, who was 8 months old at the time, and it worked for him. she might cry for an hour (my son did everynight for about 2 weeks) or so, but as time goes by, she'll cry less. my son, for the record, is now 20 months old and once he actually gets into bed, he's out. he just likes to get out of bed and knock on his door because he wants to get out, but that's a whole other story.

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S.B.

answers from Fort Wayne on

I know it sounds hard, but you have to be consistant and get her on a time routein (sp). Lay her down at the same time every night in her bed and let her figure out how to fall asleep on her own. If she cries too hard stay in the room if you have to but every night move closer to the door until you can just leave her to fall asleep. It takes time, but it will work. Do it now b 4 she gets older and it will be harder. BE CONSISTANT!!!! e-mail me if you want to talk more [email protected]____.com
Hope this helps, S.

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K.J.

answers from South Bend on

hello when curtis was that age and even now at age 9 it still works. i turn on soft music. he loved the information channel on cable.they played frank s. and the big band music.it seems to do the trick then and now.not loud but just so she can hear it. i hope it works for you.p.s. also make sure she can see out of her bed. and put her socks on. i know it sounds wierd but what do you have to lose.

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