Help on teaching your baby to self-soothe.

Christina - posted on 05/17/2010 ( 11 moms have responded )

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My son has always been rocked to sleep and then I would lay him down. But the older he has gotten (he is 9 months) the harder he is to not disturbe when laying him down. He is also sharing the same room with me and my husband b/c we are staying at his parents house. We are about to have to make him cry it out when he wakes up once i put him in the crib because I don't know what to do. I have tried talking to him and rubbing his back but he screams and cries and honestly it just breaks my heart I can't listen to him. So i will end up putting him in our bed (becuase I am still nursing). I am getting hardly any sleep and need help on gettin him use to his crib. He sleeps in it fine for his naps and when he first goes to bed but once he wakes to eat around 11 or 12 he wont go back in his bed!



please help!

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Beck - posted on 05/18/2010

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This is what we did, good luck!
I am writing this because I have posted similar responses to several posts of Mums who have bubs of various ages having trouble sleeping. I thought I would put it all in one spot and if you were having troubles maybe something I say would help.

My son was an angel child, he would sleep and eat happily for those first few months. I fed him to sleep all of the time and in the end we were co sleeping, one because I loves snuggling with my bub and two because it was SOOO Hard to lug my legs out of bed for yet ANOTHER night time feed!

By 5 and a half months we were OVER it, I was cranky cos I wasn't getting enough sleep, we were worried about my husbands health cos he needs sleep due to risk of seizures and we NEEDED to FIT our gorgous boy!! Corey was still in our bed waking every 45mins-hour and to get him back to sleep quickly I would feed him, over and over and over! This would mean during the afternoon we would flop into bed together and sleep all arvo.

I knew there was a sleep school in a near by town but I knew they did controlled crying at at 6mths I couldn't do it! BUT I knew that if nothing else worked we would HAVE to do it. I went out and brought several 'no cry sleep solution' books. The one that changed our life was DREAM BABY GUIDE by Shayne Rowling. An Austrlian author. It is 700+pages long and uses a lot of tecniques within the whole 24hrs to lead to healthy sleep patterns. I dont believe tht controlled crying is the only way!!!! and wanted to do what ever I could to help his sleep without it. My husband took three days off work and we planned nothing so we could tag team for three days if thats what it took. We started using the routines from the book and within 2 days we had a complete different bub! My husband even thought about going back to work cos we had him sorted with no tears!

I will tell you a few things from the book that may help you but obviously to get the full effect you would need to buy the book. Now I am not saying we have a 'perfect' sleeping bub all of the time, teething still effects his sleep from now and then BUT we have come a huge way and taught him many skills.

My bub is a low sleep requirement baby, meaning they only need 8-14hrs sleep in 24hrs. We do the following and it works a treat!! plus its getting better and better!! The book goes into lots about sleep requirments and the different nap times for different ages but if you are just after info re sleep routines this would help.

Corey, now 12mths, wakes usually around 7am (sometimes he sleeps in however I wake him by 7.30 to keep the day on track) he has a bfeed then breakfast (cereal and fruit)
9.30 milk (bfeed) and fruit for morning tea
11.20 lunch - meat, vegies, carb (rice / pasta / potato) then desert (yoghurt)
12noon bed time (usually sleeps 2-2.5hrs!!)
2.30 milk (bfeed) and arvo tea (cheese on toast / avacardo and ham on crackers, piklets etc)
5.20 tea (vegies and carb)
6pm Nudie time (clothes off play)
6.15 bath time
6.30 out of bath
6.35 milk (bfeed)
6.45 story time
6.55 into cot

Its the sleep time routine that makes the difference, my Mum and sister in law can also follow this and we do the same where ever we are so Corey always knows what is expected.
We also do the nappy change, story then bedtime routine at 11.45 before lunch time sleep.
Cuddle on couch whilst reading - household calm, whilst reading we say before, during and after we say "nearly time for nigh, nigh" "nearly time to find teddy" etc
We say good night to anyone at home - kiss
then into bed room
We lay bub in our arms and rock him whilst we sing twinkle, twinkle, (often now he wants to get into his cot cos he knows he is tired and ready for sleep) then lay him in his cot with his teddy (loves his bedtime ted)
We tuck him in tight - shoving a towel rolled up down either side to keep him in firm. Corey starts on his side. We dont have to tuck him as tight now that he sleeps so well.
We then rub his back and legs and say
"sshh, sshh, sshh, sshh time to sleep"
" sshh, sshh, sshh, sshh mummy and daddy love you"
"sshh, sshh, sshh, sshh nigh, nigh"

we repeat this twice, then stop rubbing and walk out. Corey now never needs re settleing but at first if he did put up a fight we would go in, after a couple of minutes only - shut the door behind us so there is no confusion that he is getting up then repeat the sshh, shh..... and out. It only ever took going in twice maybe three times (usually if he was over tired). We never have to go in twice now.

When he wakes and has had a decent sleep (if he ever wakes under and hour we do the sshh, sshh to get him back off for at least 1hr 20mins though usually he goes solid for the 2hrs 2.5hrs) we walk in and say "good sleeping bubba" happy and bright and get him up. This way he knows the difference between when you are expecting him to go back off and when he can hop up.

If he wakes during the night we go in (maybe give him a sip of water), re plug the dummy, re tuck him in and do the sshh, sshh - we are in and out in under 1 min and he always (except when teething and needs a shot of panadol) settles in one go.

He seems to know now when he needs more sleep and that he needs to go back off. He can now resettle himself too which he could never do, occasionally he will yell out once then go back off. We now wait, he will yell out, we wait, he may yell once or twice more and go back off. We were rushing in and therfore always helping him back to sleep. Now we wait only a minute or two and he goes back off. Anymore than that and we go in. Some people wait longer.


We must make sure he doesn't sleep when we are out in the pram or car before 12noon otherwise it can muck it up (occasionally its fine we have learnt to addapt) but we try to hold him out til 12 so he has one good sleep.

We dont follow the routine completly (there is more to it in the book) anymore, we still use many of the day time communication cues etc There is way to much to go into here!! I would recomend that you buy the book (hehehe I am earning no commision I just LOVE it as does a friend and many more people I would say!)

Good luck everyone, its so hard. You try and do the right thing by your bub but sometimes it leads to 'not helping them'. Corey was such a restless sleeper, I actually thought something was WRONG with him!! It was just that he didn't know 'how' to self settle or re settle between sleep cycles.

P.S I never thought Corey would cut all his night feeds (at 6mths) as like you he was still feeding several times a night in our bed just to get him back to sleep. He did in one night! of course I was up still pumping cos I had been used to feeding but that only lasted a few nights. I kept up at dream feed for another month but I dont think he necessarily needed it. After 6mths unless there is a medical condition bubs DONT need feeds over night! (no matter what people tell you... I know I am leaving my self open to 'different opinions on this one!!) I am sure Corey would still take a feed some nights if I offered it but he doesn't want it, when he has been unsettled due to teething some times I have tried of offer it and he isn't interested! :-( ... a dummy or a sip of water does the same job. The first few nights if he did wake his Dad would go in, after that he has been happy to take water from me. Its all about creating sleep associations and the same environment so when they go to sleep its the same when they wake up so they can think 'ok, all the same, goodo, off to sleep again!" This is why its important to be out of the room when they go to sleep, cos of course if you have them back in their cot you are not there when they wake between sleep cycles. We were expecting to HAVE to use controlled crying with Corey at 6mths but never had to using this above routine (and many more hints from the book) - like having a heater in his room set at 21degrees in winter, using a sleeping bag etc and lots of other day time communication things. This is just a wrap up for you... would love to think it works for you like it does us.... fingers crossed for you!!!

Email me for more info if you would like

Sorry, I could go on all day!!

WOW, THIS WOULD HAVE TO BE ONE OF THE BIGGEST POSTS EVER!!

I hope someone gets something from this to help them and their bub get a good night sleep. Don't expect too much though, bubs still need us and it very rare for any bub to sleep 12hrs straight! But for us, we were just dying for 4 hours sleep straight! Now, we hear no peep from Corey from 7pm til 5.30 (when Hubby is up getting ready for work) then he goes back off til 7-7.30am!!! ahhhh Bliss!!!

Aleks - posted on 05/18/2010

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Oh, and by the way... I have seen Beck Walkers LONG post before on a another conversation post. Exactly the same thing. To me the post sounds like someone being "the expert" (trying to sell something!!!) I have listened to when I was a new mother... she is saying the exact same things I was "taught" at a baby settling seminar. Which mind you, never really worked, not so wonderfully, and really not at all.

May be some babies will take to them, but I have met very few and far between. To be honest, I have met more parents worn out by trying such stratergies and overwhelmed as to why their babies aren't sleeping through still, or need that feed at night even though they are more than 6 mths.

Who is another person, who's never met my child, nor other children trying to tell my baby if s/he needs or doesn't need to eat!!!!!

MY BABY KNOWS BETTER! And so does its stomach and brain! And no, a sip of (cold) water is no substitute for a warm milk out of mother's breast!



But I will leave it up to you ladies to decide :o)

Aleks - posted on 05/18/2010

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Sounds like your boy has started on the developmental milestone of "seperation anxiety". I went through the same thing with my 1st born son. Listened to all the "experts" on what "should" be happening and what "we should be doing" and ended up fighting with him for months on end. What I must say is that one thing I don't agree with is CIO or even controlled crying (same thing to me really).

Now, with my 2nd born daughter, I stopped trying to "teach" my baby what she "should" or "shouldn't" have to be or do. I LISTEN to her, as she knows better what is good for her than I do. Why? Because, the only thing that our babies do have honed in, that we adults don't, at least not anymore, is INSTINCT.

To a baby, this world, is big, wide, so much yet to learn and understand, and so many things just discovered learned and yet still not comprehended, can get a bit scary sometimes. Things can get overwhelming... Therefore, they need support and comfort (don't you when faced with those types of challenges in your life from time to time?). So, I would ask yourself, how do you like to be comforted after a long and hard day? Then think about your child, as another human being with emotions, needs, wants and FEELINGS.



Babies don't self soothe. Adults don't (really, we don't - and if some think that we do, what substances do they use to help them through this "self soothing"?)! And even if some adults do "self-soothe", how many of them wish for someone to help them through?

I understand your distress due to lack of sleep, believe me I too have been there! That is why I now ( with my 2nd child ) have co-slept. She started out in a bassinet, and half way through the night ended up in my bed. Once she was too big for the bassinet, I put her cot next to my bed as a side car (one side not attached to the cot at the end of which it is placed touching my bed). This gives me and my man space in our bed, but also easy access for me and for her to feed at night (or come for a cuddle if she needs it). She wakes for a feed and now all I have to do is bring her closer to me pop her on, and within 1-2 minutes we are both asleep. Mine wakes up several times for feeds, too.

No more trying to resettle a baby after a feed in middle of the night, like I did with my first (sometimes I spent most of the night trying to quietly leave the room after feeding him, only then after successfully leaving have him scream within 5 minutes after realising I was gone). That was a torturous nightmare for him and for us, parents. I wish I knew then what I do know now, all this could have been spared, and my boy would have been a lot more confident little boy - its taken a lot of work and time to get his confidence up.



Also, what I have learned is that babies will get more "clingy" at night if they dont get enough of contact with mum during the day. Its as if they are trying to make up for the time in anyway they can. I don't know what you do, and am in no way trying to criticize your parenting, as each child is different and I know that some children, no matter what one does as a parent, sometimes just need more time and attention than others....And by pushing them away or teaching them "independence", makes them even more anxious and more "clingy". The more one puts into "nurturing" our child, the more independence they start to show. I have seen it, and been told about it numerous times!

My 2nd born is soooo much more independent, and I attribute it to the fact that I have never tried to set limitations on how, when and where she should be sleeping and eating (these are the 2 biggest activities of little babies and children), as opposed to my 1st born.

Anway, I hope my 5cents worth got you some ideas and strategies in how to cope. Good luck nevertheless :o)

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Marissa - posted on 05/18/2010

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I also had that same generic post from Beck Walker on a question I posted about getting my son to sleep without the breast and it may have worked for her (and it may for you) but it definitely didn't for us. It sounds like your son is going through the separation anxiety stage and it's totally up to you how you deal with it. I used to nurse my son to sleep everytime and when they day came that he self weaned off the breast it was a little difficult getting him to be able to fall asleep without it. But we did it. We stick to our bedtime routine, he still gets his bottle before bed then we cuddle until he's drowsy then into his crib he goes. Sometimes he's right to sleep, sometimes he talks for a bit then nods off, sometimes it takes a lot of me rolling him over or laying him down and saying shh shh time to go to sleep but i find that those are the times he's just not ready for sleep. You just have to be able to read your baby's cues. You just have to try to be consistent. I also wondered the same thing as Sara - if Dad or anyone else has tried putting him back to bed? Because sometimes that helps. Sometimes though it's just a phase you have to wait out. It will get better! Good luck.

Sara - posted on 05/18/2010

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I have a bit of the same problem as you. Eric has started sleeping longer at night but SOMEtimes when I put him down in his crib he wakes up and I have to sleep with him in his room... lol. Make sure he goes in a play pen or something for naptime [I was worried, since my son slept with us for the first 2 1/2-3 months, that he wouldn't sleep on his own. But he went in his playpen at Grandma's and in his crib at home for naptime, and no problems]. My son is 4 months yesterday and when I put him to sleep he has to be held, bounced, or rocked. Sometimes I sing to him and he calms down and eventually goes to sleep. But lots of times he just doesn't want to put his head down and he won't relax. It's tough. I think he knows I will spoil him - he puts his head down and goes to sleep for Daddy and Grandma. I think he's playing his cards. Have you tried getting Daddy or Grandma or Grampa to put him down to sleep?

Christina - posted on 05/18/2010

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I am a stay at home mother and my son is only sperated from me when I go to the gym every few days for an hour other then that I am always with him.

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I have found that a regular bedtime routine helps. My daughter has no problem falling asleep on her own and I believe it has to do with her regular routine. Every night we go downstairs and have some quiet playtime, read a quick story, have a bath and then I nurse her, I put her down awake but drowsy. It wasn't always as easy as it is now, I used to always nurse her asleep, it took some time and yes a little bit of crying but she sleeps great now. I have to disagree with Aleksandra, I think Beck Walkers post is great, what she did is basically what I did with my daughter as well. It does work, it takes patience and consistency. I also would like to say that I know how hard it is and how it breaks your heart when your baby cries, I always went to my daughter after 5 min and settled her and then left, and if she was still crying went back again after 5 min etc. but if she was hysterical I would go to her right away. It took time and now I have a great little sleeper she babbles herself asleep and wakes up happy, she is 9 months old.

Kayla - posted on 05/18/2010

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My son started self-soothing at a year, and is like a brick when I pick him up to move him... Nothing can disturb him! Wait it out, it'll hopefully happen with him too.

Cinda - posted on 05/18/2010

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I'm with Jessie Ratkovec. I don't have any help but want you to know you're not the only one. My son as always slept with me b/c I could get more sleep having him in bed next to me to nurse him back to sleep when he would wake in the night. My son is 17 months & still nursing during the night & sleeping in bed with me.
Many moms have the patients & whatever else it takes to let their babies cry it out but I found that I didn't. My son cried & screamed for over an HOUR on more than 1 occassion & would NOT go to sleep in his crib. It just broke my heart too much to listen too especially when it wasn't even WORKING.

Kristin - posted on 05/17/2010

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This is going to take a few to several nights and lots of patience on everyone's part. First, no more laying him down asleep. He needs to be drowsy, mostly asleep, but still awake. It has to be this way EVERY time. You also shouldn't pick him up again unless he is right at the edge of the furious, hysterical crying. Just keep laying him down and trying to soothe him. If he's got a favorite blanket or toy, give it to him. A blanket that you and your husband have slept on will have your scent and may help him to go back to his own bed.

This may or may not work. One of our boys took to his own bed like duck to water. The other (older sonn) slept with us until he was three and he didn't get to nurse the whole time either. If you are going to be at the in-laws place for not too long, you could just let him stay in your bed and then move him at the same time you leave.

It all comes down to what will get you and your husband the best nights sleep. If you can get him back into his bed that's wonderful. If you can't, that is okay too. He will sleep there eventually, I promise. Talk with your husband about it and go from there.

Jessie - posted on 05/17/2010

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I haven't got any help but I want you to know you are not alone! My son has always slept in our room. His nursery is all the way downstairs and we are still nursing at 10 months so it works better for us to be in our room. He will go down fairly easily at 8:30 and sometimes sleep all the way to 3:30 am but after that it's impossible to get him back in his own bed and he sleeps in ours after that. someone help us!

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