Sleep Training -- Baby Won't Lie down but Falls Asleep Sitting up -- Help?

Updated on September 09, 2011
O.B. asks from Lehi, UT
9 answers

We did our first night of the Sleep Lady Shuffle last night and it was agonizing. I appreciate all of the comments I've read on that it gets better. That's a big relief. I have only one question. My baby cried for an hour and 1/2 last night while standing in her crib, with me sitting right next to the crib in a chair. Finally she seemed to get so exhausted that she sat down, but she would not ever lie down. She finally fell asleep in a sitting position and fell over. I caught her as she fell and laid her down and she stayed asleep.

My question: Is this normal? the Sleep Lady Shuffle doesn't ever describe baby's behavior as they are falling asleep. Is it normal that she refuses to lay down. I actually laid her down 5 times and she would cry, squirm and get all the way back to her feet before collapsing back to a sitting position.

Note: Our little girl is 12 months old and has only fallen asleep only while breastfeeding since she was born. So she has no falling asleep skills whatsoever. And I can tell she's trying to learn what to do, but she doesn't "get" the concept of lying down and relaxing.

Update: Thanks to everyone for your comments. They are very helpful. Our daughter is 12 months old. We've taken the advice of some of the people who said we should leave the room, that it is harder for them if we stay, and they were right. She fell asleep in 15 minutes last night. She still woke up every 2 hours and she was up from 2-4 AM and we stayed with her in her room for most of that time, comforting her during the 2-4 AM time. Any other tips on getting her to learn to sleep would be helpful. We can tell she's trying to figure it out, but just doesn't know what to do to comfort and soothe herself. We even lay her down in the crib and pat her. The problem is that our daughter is so intense and engaged with everything that she has no desire to lay still when she's awake. So when we put her down she just gets right back up. Thoughts?

Any comments would be helpful.

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answers from Fort Collins on

Have you tried laying down with her for a while. We did that at first, until they were old enough to lay down on their own, around 2. It can be a bit of a hastle at times but it's also a great time to read or sing them to sleep. Good Luck!

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answers from Houston on

We sleep trained all three of our children and it worked for the most part. We would get sidetracked during times of teething and sickness, though. Mine always tended to cry longer and harder if I stayed in the room. I would cuddle then, say night-night, lay them in bed, quick back rub and "I love you". Of course, by then they were crying, so I'd say "its okay..." and leave the room. Listen for a while. If crying doesn't subside slightly after a few minutes, go in and do the same thing, without picking her up. Lay her down again, night-night, I love you, leave. Keep doing this every 5 minutes or so. Also, if she wakes at night and is not screaming crying, but just whining a little, wait to see if she goes back to sleep before going to get her. Good luck! It's hard, but it really is worth it to have a child that doesn't rely on someone else to go to sleep : )

2 more ideas: when she wakes up in the morning or after a nap, let her stay in her crib a while, if she's not crying. This will help her familiarize herself with being in bed. Also, part of the putting down routine is a wind-up music toy.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

you may want to try leaving the room. mine fell asleep at first sitting up and i would go in a lay her down. she did it a few times and then stopped. do you use a paci? or a stuffed animal? she may find comfort in that so you can leave the room. with you in there - she thinks you are probably going to come back and pick her up. you can always go back in to comfort her a few times.



answers from Denver on

Hi - sorry I have no idea what the sleep lady shuffle is but may I recommend you try to help her transition into sleep rather than giving her the cold turkey lesson? especially considering the fact that she has only ever fallen asleep in your arms. She's probably wondering why you've taken the "hands off" approach and doesnt understand why you are keeping your distance from her. It sounds to me like she tried her darndest to get your attention so that you would hold her and only until she was completely worn out and defeated did she fall asleep. I promise I'm not being critical or accusatory in any way. I just want to suggest that you perhaps look at going to sleep from HER point of view and once you put yourself into her shoes (or jammies), then you might be able to show her how to relax on her own.

My youngest fell asleep at the breast no matter what I did so I had to really think about how best to help him relax in the crib when he weaned himself at 10 months. What I did was to put him in the crib and we did our bedtime routine from the crib. I would drop the side and kneel next to the crib and we would read books and sing songs before lights out. I also made his crib really comfy without sacrificing safety. I converted a padded twin mattress pad into one that would fit the crib with just a couple of cuts and a quick seam on the sewing machine and then I put his favorite stuffed animals in the corners, etc. When it was time for sleep, I raised the side of the crib, dimmed the lights and stayed right by the bed. He used one of his lovies and his blanket for a pillow and I would sing to him softly and keep a gentle hand on him until he got really really drowsy.

Hopefulyy that might help you!



answers from Salt Lake City on

With My son we'd go back in occasionally give him a hug (leaning over the rail, not picking him up) and lay him back down. But ultimately he just needed to figure it out on his own. The best advice I was given was "let them suprise you at how well they figure it out if you let them" Once he figured it out, we now get him ready for bed, read a book or 2, lay him down (wide awake) and say love you. My son is now 21 month olds and goes to be so well, he now lays down and tells me "Lub you, bye mom" and I leave the room and he is out for the night! Just remember that there will be times when she has bad nights or you get off schedule for some reason, but she'll recover and get back in to the habit quickly. Just stick to a simple routine (my son reminds me if I forget anything i.e. brushing his teeth, vitamin, saying night to daddy, book, blankie ect...) He has come to rely on certain things in a certain order to prepare him for bed. Good luck and good job. I promise it will be totally worth it for you and her, and in the end the tough nights will be far outnumbered by the wonderful peaceful nights!



answers from Madison on

I am not familiar with the Sleep Lady Shuffle but I would say, listen to your instincts and do not follow word by word what others may suggest. You cannot find answers to all your questions written down somewhere, as your baby is unique and you know her best! So choose what is best for you and your family.
Well, letting a baby/toddler cry for that long would not work for us at all, that much I know for my family.
Maybe you can find a gentler transitioning to sleep training? She does not know what to do to fall asleep on her own yet. She must be scared to lay down alone. A more gradual transition and things to comfort her (as others suggested) would help, I think...



answers from Denver on

Man I guess I am lucky... both our girls are decent sleepers. I have never heard of Sleep Lady Shuffle, but I think the cry it out method is not good! There are studies that have proven this isn't healthy, but whatever that has to be an individual choice. Also being in the room will never calm her down. You really should leave. Come back in to comfort if need by, but staying in the room won't allow her to calm down.
What we did for our girls, was first a dark room, white nose, and a music/light toy in bed-well it hangs on the crib.
We have always just put them in their crib, turned on the light/music and walked away. Now they never cry, but at first there were tears for a few mintues. I don't think it was ever more than 5.
We also have some books and hard toys in the crib as well. That way they can play for a bit by the light of the music. It lasts for like 25 minutes. Of course you don't say you babies age, but even when ours didn't play much due to age, we had stuff for them to look at and roll to. Also when they awake in the morning they play with those items until we come get them.
As for falling asleep sitting up... I wouldn't worry. I find my youngest falling alseep sitting up all the time. She eventually falls over (it isn't a hard fall since it is on her bed) and she just adjusts herself. That is rare now a days. But if you are worried, just check in and move her flat if she is still just sitting up.
Good luck!



answers from Washington DC on

I'm going through the same exact issue with my son. He is so stubborn he protests by standing up in his crib crying, then sitting down from exhaustion, and nodding off to sleep sitting up. This lasts only 5-10 min. He eventually slumps down like a doll and falls asleep. I go in to lay him down and then the protest starts over again. Did your daughter figure out how to lay down and fall asleep on her own? Or did she stop getting up?



answers from Sacramento on

I didn't see where you mention the age of your little one... one thought that popped up for me was that maybe she is having pain or fluid in her ears? If she's had a cold recently or could be teething, or if this behavior persists I'd go get her ears checked. I am not familiar with the Sleep Lady Shuffle...?