Should I Rock My Son to Sleep at Night???

Updated on June 16, 2014
J.M. asks from Farmington, CT
20 answers

I have a 9 month old son who still doesn't sleep through the night. He has been teething as one just came through. So he recently started getting up 2 or 3 times. I beleive this is normal for a baby to go through this. However every since he turned 6 months has has stopped sleeping through the night almost every night. Once in awhile he will sleep throgh the night. I have been reading articles online for ways to get your baby to sleep through the night. I have read a few things that says you should let him soothe himself to sleep or not to put him down asleep so they learn to fall asleep on their own. I have been rocking him to sleep every night and now I am not sure that is a good idea. I was wondering if others do the same and have success with their babies sleeping through the night. I thought rocking them to sleep was the norm???

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answers from New York on

hi J....
listen i also heard conflicting advise about rockin my daughter to sleep. she did get used to me rockin her to sleep but then again she didn't sleep thru the night until she was 1 1/2 yrs old. so the question is did i regret rockin her to sleep every nite for that long? no i didn't and she would go to sleep quickly i just had to get up 2-3 times per nite. hey, it's part of motherhood and i don't think this is an example of over-mothering!! =) good luck with everything, M.



answers from Buffalo on

I always recommend Elizabeth Pantley for sleep problems:

Good luck!

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answers from Milwaukee on

why isn't it good to love and hold your child??? i rocked my son to sleep til he didn't want to any more....if i could still rock him even though he is 7 now i would...i love the closeness. rock your child!!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Des Moines on

you do what you want and he will turn out FINE. my son put himself to sleep at around 7 months (he had a stuffed monkey and a pacifier to help) IF you dont want to let him cry then dont and DONT listen to anyone that tells you, that you are ruining your son by rocking him to sleep. If you want to let him cry it out then by all means do so. but if you and your son are both happy with rocking to sleep then enjoy the time together :) you can try adding a radio or cd player to your sons room at night. my son listens to the oldies all night. lol. My son slept through the night at 7 months but still from time to time he wakes up and needs me to go give him a quick hug or a snuggle in the rocking chair (he is 21 months) before he goes back to sleep. We let my son fuss for 5 mins and then went in and gave him a hug and laid him back down. it took about 4 days no more then 1 hour each night and he was willing to put himself to sleep as long as he had his pacifier and his stuffed monkey. Good luck with whatever you decide !!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

It is the norm for some parents. My husband and I have rocked both our children to sleep from birth until my oldest was about 3 years old. My 2 1/2 year old is still rocked. My children enjoy it and we enjoy doing it. When my oldest was too big to rock, we just started putting him in his bed and sitting in the rocking chair in his room until he was almost asleep. He is now 6 and we've really had no problems beyond the norm. If you enjoy rocking your son to sleep, then why not? Just because someone else says it isn't a good idea, doesn't mean it isn't good for your family. Everyone is different. If you still have concerns, then rock him until he is really, really, sleepy, but not yet asleep and then put him in his crib. That way he is still falling asleep on his own. Good luck and enjoy. They are only babies for such a short time!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

My now 11 month old daughter would only fall asleep when I (or my husband rocked) her and we had to rock her for every nap and each of the 2-6 times she woke up in the middle of the night. By the time she turned 9 months we were simply exhausted and could never leave her with anyone because she would not fall asleep.

We decided to do cry-it-out (put her to bed awake w a cuddly, tell her she had to fall asleep alone, etc. come back every 5 minutes of crying to tell her it was ok but she had to sleep alone). Anyway, we had thought CIO was cruel and terrible ..... until we just could not deal with the reality we had created which was a baby who only fell asleep in arms and which at 24 pounds was harder and harder to do.

Anyway, it was 3 days of hell... lots of crying and then it was like a miracle. she sleeps at least 9 hrs straight, goes down for naps w/any caregiver, and it is no longer an issue to travel. But we cant forget her cuddly.

that was my experience.

good luck



answers from New York on

When my first child was an infant, a friend sent a great video called "Your baby can sleep." This is how they explained sleeping issues and using rocking...
All of us (adults too) wake up several times in the night but we roll over and just go back to sleep. But imagine if you went to sleep in your bed and when you woke up, you were on your couch in your living room. You would be startled and terrified and wide awake! That is what happens when you rock your baby to sleep. He falls asleep in your arms so the last thing he remembers is being in your arms with you. And then a few hours later, he wakes up and is in his crib and is like "where am I? How did I get here?"
Thus, if you let him fall asleep on his own in the crib, when he naturally wakes up a few hours later, he'll think "oh, I'm still here in my crib" and just roll over and go back to sleep. You should try not to give him anything at bed time that he won't be able to replicate on his own in the middle of the night. For instance, not great to have music on (from a mobile, for instance) if it won't be on all night.

Good luck!



answers from Seattle on

I am opposed to letting babies cry it out, so I always rocked my daughter back to sleep. She started sleeping through the night without any "sleep training" at about 14 months.
I don't see anything wrong with soothing them back to sleep, the whole "they need to learn to soothe themselves" is BC imo, they will learn when they are ready.



answers from Los Angeles on

The problems that will arise when you stop rocking your child to sleep will probably send you back to doing the rocking. I rocked my oldest to sleep, and he was a truly bad sleeper up until about 3 years old. My second child’s pediatrician insisted that I put the baby down from birth onward and let her sooth herself to sleep. I never rocked or sang her to sleep. Even when she started waking up at night again at about 18 months, after a diaper change she just a happy girl until she drifted off to sleep on her own. Some nights I would hear in the crib cooing and playing with her stuffed toys and books when she woke up in the middle of the night. I didn’t experience any of the “crying it out” horrors and such that I experienced with my son. Maybe they were just two different kids, but I would never get into that rocking to sleep night mare again.



answers from New York on

Rock him to sleep! I rocked my son to sleep until he decided he did not want to be rocked anymore. Believe me it does happen - it happened to me when he was around 2 years old. You will not rock your son to sleep forever so enjoy it now. I also believe it is a soothing emotionally bonding time that you can enjoy together. They grow up so quickly and you will never regret spending that time each night rocking him. Enjoy every moment. As for the waking up every night this too is normal. My son did the same thing when he was teething and this lasts for a while and would reappear whenever he was teething or sick. Around age 2 he will get his 2 year molars in and that should come to an end too. I know everyone just wants their child to sleep through the night but there really is no solid solution to make this happen. I truly believe that the bonding time you spend rocking is so special - now my son and either my husband and I still get up in the rocking chair after bath time and read a few books before he gets into bed. I will be sad when that ends too.



answers from Cleveland on

When mine are itty bitty I rock them to sleep then lay them down, but as they get a little older (6 mo or so) I start letting them "cry it out". Now when I say cry it out - I don't let them cry for more the 3-5 min without checking on them. And yes, I did still rock them to sleep for naps... guess I kinda slowly stopped rocking them to sleep (night time first then naps) - sorta like when I stopped nursing them. And even now (2 1/2, 4 and 5 yrs old) I still rock them if they are really sick - but I end up sleeping in the chair with them.

I did rock them a little when cuddling and giving them a bottle or nursed them. It wasn't just calming to them, but also to me. It is normal to want to rock them, I still find myself rocking when they get on my lap to watch tv or read a book. Guess it's just natural for me to start rocking when I have one on my lap, cause I sit in the rocking chair all the time (it's mommy's chair) and don't rock when I don't - lol.

Maybe letting him cry it out will help him sleep through the night... never hurts to try. Good luck!



answers from New York on

Every child (and parent!) is different. Some babies, just need their mobile wound up again, some need a CD playing, or white noise maker if outside noises are what's waking him up.

Teething, growing pains, gas or tummy aches from a new food they just tried for the first time that day, wet diapers.... so many other things could be waking him up...

Mine always needed food - nursing or warm bottle and she would be back to sleep in no time.

Yours may just need a little contact and a good rocking - Which is definitely in the norm, or else they wouldn't have whole industries based on electric swings, cradles, and rocking chairs :)

At that age, I feel that most cries are for physical needs and once those needs are met, they quickly calm down. And I believe that sometimes human contact can be one of those physical needs.

When they get a little older and discover that crying can be manipulated for wants rather than needs, then the CIO method may work, as some mothers mentioned here.

I let my 19 mo daughter put herself down for her nap (because that time frame is more flexible). But, I still put her down for nightime (and she now sleeps through the night, so that works for me!)

You both will figure out what works best for you - and it sounds like you already may have :)



answers from New York on

Rocking is one of the best things you can do for your baby. I rocked my babies for years, always when going to sleep, and every time they woke up during the night. I sang to them at the same time. I don't think you can overdo it with the rocking chair.



answers from Eugene on is the best article I have ever seen on this topic. It lists the five leading experts/authors in the world on it and shows who the original is on the subject and then who came after and how all of them have definite similarities we can draw on. (all 5 are also medical professionals).

For any mother that cares to research for herself, this site will also show you dozens of doctors and pediatricians support and comments for the Babywise methods that over 6 million parents love with their children over the last 24 years.

If you are interested in what the American Academy of Pediatrics thinks on this subject (they have over 50,000 more Pediatricians):

The AAP states that newborns "be nursed whenever they show signs of hunger..... approximately 8 to 12 times every 24 hours."

If you look at page 70 of On Becoming Babywise Pediatrician Robert Bucknam, M.D and co-author Gary Ezzo state, "with these recommended times you will average between 8 - 10 feedings a day."

Looks pretty safe to me as the AAP recommends the same exact amount of feedings for your baby and Pediatrician Bucknam/Ezzo recommend the same authority: the mom should make the call as to exactly when her baby is hungry.

When it comes to the concept of babies crying, the American Academy of Pediatrics (quoted in On Becoming Babywise on page 146 says, "Many babies cannot fall asleep more without crying and will go to sleep more quickly if left to cry for a while. The crying should not last long if the child is truly tired." The AAP goes on to say, "Sometimes you think your baby is waking up when she's actually going through a phase of very light slumber. She could be squirming, startling, fussing, or even crying-- and still be asleep. Or she may be awake but not on the verge of drifting off again if left alone. Do not make the mistake of trying to comfort her during these moments; you'll only awaken her further and delay her going back to sleep. Instead, if you let her fuss and even cry for a few minutes, she'll learn to get herself to sleep without relying on you." The AAP goes on to say, "same babies actually need to let off energy by crying in order to settle into sleep or rouse themselves out of it. As much as fifteen minutes of fussing will not do your child any harm. Just be sure she's not crying out of hunger or pain, or because her diaper is wet."

This is precisely the entire point of Babywise and from what I read, the whoe them of the book. I cannot fathom where all the rumors of "no medical backing" and "dangerous" come from as Pediatricians all over the country back what 23 year Pediatrician and author Robert Bucknam, M.D. and his co-author Gary Ezzo have written.

Moms-- enjoy this book, use your common sense..... and happy sleeping!!



answers from Las Vegas on

I've found that, with my daughter, if you rocked her to sleep, the minute that you go to put her into her bed, the movement startled her awake again. This would end up making for one very long night for me, every single night which is not good because I still had things that I needed to do (like the dishes and the laundry) and wanted to do (like watching a favorite t.v. show or reading a book). I just think that it's better to rocking your child a bit but, before they are ready to nodded off, put them in their bed so that they can be used to falling asleep where they are meant to fall asleep. Once your child is in his crib, you can stand there a bit and pat his back and sing a lullaby if you like, to help ease him the rest of the way to sleep.

I hope this gives you a different perspective on the whole sleep/rocking issue. Good luck with you and your son.



answers from Albany on

Every child is different. Some need to be comforted by rocking and others can soothe themselves to sleep. My two older ones soothed themselves to sleep in no time. My third, he threw up if he cried for certain length of time. Once a while he'll go to bed and sleep and other times he needed to sit next to us or on our laps and falls asleep that way. If your son needs comfort from sleeping, my opinion, so be it. I am not so sure about this crying out and soothing oneself to sleep method is what I would prefer. It worked for my oldest who pretty much put himself to sleep and still does. My second, it was a short while and he did it and still goes to bed when he's tired. My third, totally different. Again every child is different and the rocking part, remember you won't be doing that when he's a teenage or adult and you'll miss those nights. I guarantee ya!!



answers from New York on

I have 4 children -- and each and every one of them would be put down at night after their bath and a story -- whether they were tired or not....I would give them a kiss -- put on the mobile in the crib, shut the lights (except for a nightlight) and say goodnight and close the door (almost completely, but not quite)....this was the "routine"....they always slept through the night....because you haven't done this yet, try using a lavender nighttime oil in the bath and when you're putting him down, say a phrase you will repeat every night, such as -- "it's time to go to sleep - close your eyes and dream of angels -- night night" is important to make it a routine whenever you want him to sleep...even during the day for a nap (except for the bath part)....good luck



answers from Milwaukee on

no don't do that, let him cry it out like they say belive me it works. the best thing to do is to get your child to understand that the crib is for sleeping, you do this by putting him in his crib every time he falls asleep, like if he falls asleep in the living room or in the car, you put him in his crib so that he wakes up there, after a while he will begin to associate his crib with sleeping and than you can lay him down at night and he will just go to sleep, otherwise, just let him cry it out for bigger and bigger amounts of time but dont' let him cry for more than ten min, if he is screaming for more than ten min, sooth him and than walk away letting him cry, he will get the picture after a while. rocking kids to sleep causes them to become accustomed to it and makes it very difficult as they get old enough to get out of bed, they will, and you will have to lock them in there to keep them in if you dont' want to rock your kid to sleep untill he's ten than let him cry



answers from New York on

If I'm reading your correctly, what's happening is that he's waking up in the middle of the night since six months, and you're rocking him back to sleep then?
I had the same problem around 6 months and for a few weeks, would rock him or nurse him back to sleep. I asked a few friends and his pediatrician about it and got the best advice-
let him cry.

It SUCKED for about 3 nights, but by the 4th, he recognized that he had to put himself back to sleep and he's been great ever since. Now, if he cries in the middle of the night, I know something's up- like this morning when he was crying at about 5am and it turned out he had his leg caught between the slats of the crib (not in pain or anything, just stuck!)

Good luck!



answers from Albany on

I feel that rocking your child to sleep constantly is not a good idea. If you let your baby fall asleep in your arms, that is what they expect, and will not be able to soothe themselves when they wake up in the middle of the night. From about 4 months on, I always made sure to put my kids to bed/in the swing etc. tired but not asleep, so they would learn to fall asleep on their own... and have been good sleepers ever since. Sometimes they would fuss, but that is how young babies get their energy out. On the few occasions where they went through phases of waking up, or having trouble falling asleep, I made sure I comforted them by patting their back a little/giving the binky back etc., but never turned the light on or talk to them or picked them up. CIO does work if done correctly, and your child will not hate you for it. Babies cry... I let my kids CIO when I needed to and they are perfectly happy, loving, well ajusted kids... and great sleepers!! Also, once you get them on a good sleep pattern, if they do wake up screaming, you know there is a ligitimate reason... if my kids wake up I know they are sick, in pain or have had a nightmare. Good Luck!

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