Need help getting 9 month old to soothe self to sleep

Laura - posted on 04/07/2010 ( 30 moms have responded )

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My little girl is now 9 months old, and I still rock her to sleep! I probably should have started to change things a bit earlier than now, but I didn't and now I am wanting to help her learn to soothe herself to sleep. I would like to be able to eventually place her in her crib awake and feel confident that she'll take a nap on her own. Any suggestions or success/failure stories that you've got to share might prove useful. Thanks! :)

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Kelly - posted on 04/20/2010

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let her cry it out, My daughter has been sleeping through the night since she was 3 months old, and in her own crib. At around 6 months i started laying her down and she would cry at first but i did not go back in the room i just watched from the monitor and within a week she would whimper until i closed the door and she would completly stop and by te time i would go to my room and turn on the monitor she would be out! i also have had a consistent bedtime routine from the beginning- bottle, bath, lotions, PJS, BED!

Nikki - posted on 04/13/2010

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My son is 8.5 months old and we just stopped rocking to sleep a few weeks ago. I did a modified cry it out (CIO) with him. I would lay him down, if he was full blown crying I would go in after 5 minutes, then 7, then 10, then 15 etc. to soothe and calm him. The longest he cried for was an hour the first night. We decided to do nights first and then we would worry about naps later. Well, two days into CIO at night, he started getting really difficult to rock for naps. So, we started putting him down for his naps the same way. It's been two weeks and he puts himself to sleep for every nap and bedtime! It's been a great thing! We tried CIO with him a few months back, completely unsuccessfully, so I was very nervous about doing it this time around, but it worked like a charm! We give him his binky (only during rest periods) put his Woofy (a little doggy animal/blanky) in one arm and another teddy bear in the other arm and cover him up. Good luck mama!

Emily - posted on 04/14/2010

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I agree with Debbie, the Ferber Method worked WONDERS for my daughter. Its a combination of "crying it out" and confidence building. You let them cry and go in every so often to let them know that mommy and daddy are still there. We combined that with a simple bedtime routine (bottle, story, brush teeth and to bed) We started around 7 months and it only took her about a week until she could put herself to sleep. And with the Ferber Method you don't just put them in bed and let them cry until they literally pass out!! It was a very compassionate system.

Sara - posted on 04/13/2010

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I do not believe in letting your baby "cry it out" They need to feel comforted. When a baby is left to cry they feel stressed and that isn't good for them. I have read so many different magazines and books on letting your baby cry it out. Yes it may work, but I don't think the affects it has on your child is worth it. Parents magazine had a great ad about how when babies are left to cry it out they are more prone to anxiety and other stress related affects. Rock your baby, sooth your baby and when they are ready to go down they will..

Debbie - posted on 04/12/2010

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just went through the same thing with my 9 month old. I'm going to recommend you go out and buy Dr. Ferber's book. I know a lot of people disagree with the "Ferber Method" but it worked miracles with my little one. It basically says that you establish a bedtime routine then when they are drowsy to put them to bed and let them cry but check on them every few minutes. The book will guide you how long to let them cry before checking on them and will address all the problems you listed. In my case my daughter wanted to be walked and rocked to sleep then in the middle of the night nursed back to sleep. My inlaws kept her overnight and she refused a bottle from them in the middle of the night so I knew she wasn't really hungry but just needed comfort.

Another great book is "the Sleep Lady's Good Night, Sleep Tight" by Kim West. Her method is gentler. It allows you to stay in the room with your little one while they fall asleep. There is still some crying but you are in the room. This method didn't work for us because my daughter was more upset that we were in the room and wasn't responding to her.

Whatever method you choose be sure to stick with it for a few weeks. Be strong! I found it was easier for my spouse to let her cry than me. The first night he stopped me several times from trying to rock/walk and nurse her. With the Ferber method we were sleeping all night long within a week. Remember buy the book so you understand the actual method because many people do not understand the methods. Also once you pick a method do NOT let anyone talk you out of it.

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Chantelle - posted on 04/22/2010

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i try'd to get my 9month old to be able to fall asleep on her own didn't work out, so i kept trying, the most thing that helped was wrapping her, singing to her intell her eyes got heavy, no rocking at all just sitting with than placing her in her crib while i lay beside her crib still singing than she is asleep all night she naps twice a day one from 9 to 11 second one from 1-4 recently changing when we go out and about hope this helps

Josie - posted on 04/21/2010

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I have a nursing infant, so the whole putting her to sleep thing has gotten quite painful since her teeth came in. She sleeps with me, so I started turning on her "Babyfirst" tv channel and she will lay there and watch it until she goes to sleep. I have to keep her still sometimes, but it works.....

Toni - posted on 04/20/2010

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i'm happy to see i'm not the only one with this problem nap time he'll lay down with no problem but still wants to wake up every so many hours it's gotten to the point when I've been just nursing him then laying him down to cry until he sooth hisself to sleep. The first couple of nights are the worst. We're at day 4 and believe it is starting to work. Alrhought his extra cranky from teething he has been crying a lot less and sleeping longer intervals.

Amie - posted on 04/18/2010

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My son is 9 months and has been going down for naps and bedtime awake for a few months now. I found that he was getting a little cranky when he was tired and he wasn't into cuddling to calm down. I just put him in his crib and pulled the blanket over him and left the room. He fell asleep all by himself. We have a fan in the room for white noise that we turn on. He used to fall asleep when he had his bottle but now I just put him to bed and he goes to sleep all on his own. There are times when he is overtired and screams when I put him down, but I let him cry it out and he falls asleep...It is hard to hear him cry sometimes but it is good for him and doesn't hurt him. He also doesn't cry for long. Just figure out when you daughter usually has a nap and try putting her down just before that time to see if she will do it on her own. Good luck!

[deleted account]

If your baby was/is a fussy baby, "crying it out" will likely NOT WORK. Some babies just won't get the "Ferber" (or any other similar) method.

[deleted account]

We taught our little girl to soothe herself to sleep when she was 4 months old (she's now 9 months). For the first day she screamed through every nap. I'd go in after five minutes and gently comfort her in her cot by rubbing her tummy and stroking her head. She'd carry on screaming. Then I'd wait 10 minutes, then 15 then 20 etc. It was pretty traumatic. The second day it took her 45 minutes to get to sleep for her daytime naps but I did the same thing, only comforting her sporadically. The third day it took 15-20 mins but much less dramatic crying, and by the fourth day she was gently cooing herself to sleep within a few minutes. Lately when she's been sick or overstimulated I've taken to rocking or feeding her to sleep or sleeping with her but I'm now retraining her to get to sleep on her own by letting her cry down. It doesn't take as long as you think for them to learn, and while I also cried hearing her cry(!) I think it's better for both of you in the long term. She knows that I always come back, and that gives her confidence to get to sleep on her own. Besides, she's so big now it's hurting my back to rock her to sleep! I can't keep doing it. Don't feel like you're being a bad mum. Whatever approach you use, the key is to do it all in love.

[deleted account]

I have to say that I do agree with Sarah, I do not believe in the cry it out method. Babies need to know that their needs will be met. But, no matter where you go, you are going to see moms on both sides on this topic. It's like talking religion or politics. I have, since my last post stop nursing my baby to sleep. I feed her cereal then I read bedtime stories in a dim room with my 2 year old. Then I lay her in her crib with her music and lights projector. She fussed a few times at first, but she knows her routine. I could never let my baby scream for me for an hour and ignore it. I just personally can not do it. Others are ok with this. It is whatever you feel comfortable with. Remember that the big key is to put thrm in their bed awake, so they can put themselves to sleep.

Angel - posted on 04/13/2010

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rocking him and laying him down right before he dozes might be a nice transition for you.

Ashley - posted on 04/13/2010

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my son never wanted to be rocked when he's tired he doesn't want anyone to even touch him so I guess I got lucky.

Sarina - posted on 04/13/2010

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I have a daughter who is almost 9 months too, I have the same problem... the best method that I hear over and over is to let her cry it out but its easier said than done... I highly recommend a book called Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth, it is a great book and gives a lot of awesome tips... I too wish I would have started letting her soothe herself to sleep sooner... but now I find myself still getting up - up to 6 times a night sometimes... :(

[deleted account]

My daughter is 9months and right now my focus is on not having her fall asleep while nursing. I still rock her because when I dont she wants the boob. I feed her then get her off to put her to sleep. She has been doing pretty well with this. My issue is when she wakes up she wants to comfort nurse to go back to sleep. My husband is deployed and will be home soon so when he comes home we will probably begin having her either CIO or the ferber method, or something. I know myself well enough (also from experience) if she doesnt stop crying within 5mins I will just pick her up and rock/nurse her back to sleep. As another mom said, my hubby will stop me from doing so. She really does not know how to soothe herself and screams like shes in pain or something, granted I know shes not, but its so heartbreaking.

Colleen - posted on 04/12/2010

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I have a radio playing in her room and EVERY night I bring her in to her room I turn on her humidifier, then I turn on her mobile, dim the lights, change her into her PJs, then I nurse her and when she is done I put her in her crib and 7 out of 10 times she goes right to sleep the other 3 times I have to let her cry for a while and sometimes I have to nurse her for a few more mins then she chills out enough to go to sleep. The key to letting them "cry it out" is to start when your baby is content when you put him or her down (even if it is only for a min). You just need enough time to duck down out of sight when he or she isn't looking (I have crawled out of my daughters nursery on my hands and knees SEVERAL times)

Reana - posted on 04/12/2010

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im going though the same thing with my 9 month old,ive been doing the let her cry to sleep thing but she realy goes off i dont now how to just sit there and let her scream like its the end of the world i check on her after 5-10 minutes and then ill walk out and as soon as that happens she screams more and i cant help but pick her up after about 5 minutes and rock her, i dont want to have to do that everytime but it doesnt seem to work, and i end up havin to rock her to sleep in the end i have the same routine every night before bed and it still doesnt help she just fights going to sleep.

Colleen - posted on 04/12/2010

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Routine Routine Routine.... My daughter wakes up at 630 or 730 and 3 hrs later I put her in her crib (sitting up) I get her playing with a toy and face her away from the door and when she isn't looking I sneek out. The trick is to get in and get out, she thinks "Ooo my rattle" and once she starts playing with it I'm out the door. Other times I put her in her crib when I know she is tired and I give her 5 mins, if after 5 mins she is still crying like her world is ending then I'll go in and pick her up till she calms down then start all over again with 5 mins. if she is just fussin or wimpering then I give it 10 or 12 mins. If you are anything like me you may have to go out of ear shot the first few times (it KILLED me to know she was crying and I wasn't doing anything).
Good Luck

Christina - posted on 04/12/2010

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I was coming on today to post this exact same question. My daughter is also 9 months old and I have the same problem. She is not a great napper and it is even hard for me to soothe her during the day, so that he will go down in the crib. We just had to drop her crib because she can pull herself up now. I am not really tall enough to lower her in now, since it is so low. I also realize that I should have tried this earlier and I am beating myself up because I didn't. I hope that my choices will not make things harder for her. So I am very anxious to hear any suggestions/stories as well.

Carly - posted on 04/11/2010

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When my son turned 6 months old I started laying him down at 8:00 pm after he had his bedtime bottle. At first he would cry and cry, but gradually the time he would cry got less and less and now I am able to just lay him down at 8 and he just goes to sleep on his own without any rocking. He even seems like he wants to go to bed at 8. My pediatrician said its okay for them to cry for up to an HOUR or more at this age. This is very hard to listen to, but just know your baby is okay and you will be so happy you did! Trust me, I know people who have to rock their 3 year old to sleep and they would love to be in my position. Start this sleep training now or it will be more difficult the older your baby gets. I also did this with my daughter who is almost 2 and she goes to bed right at 8 as well with no fuss. Then, 8 is mommy's time to RELAX! (And clean, homework, etc.)

Lisa - posted on 04/11/2010

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Babies also need to learn to self soothe! Many babies will wake up crying - harder for both mom and baby - if they have been nursed to sleep. They wake up, mommy is not there, and they need help falling back to sleep. You aren't necessarily doing your baby any favours by nursing her to sleep. Definitely nurse before bed, but put them down awake for a good nights sleep for all.

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I agree with the one other post by Karleigh. There is nothing wrong with rocking your baby to sleep. (I should add, if you have the time.) There will be a day when you will miss it and wish you did it more. I have a 10 year old. When she was about 6, I started to miss those days desperately. I now have a 2 year old and a 9 month old. I rocked my 2 year old son and nursed him to sleep until he was one. He lost interest in nursing on his own. What is the rush? He is 2. I read him stories in his room, rock him for about a minute with the lights out and give kisses night night and he goes down just fine. I still rock my 9 month old and nurse her to sleep. Like my other two, they will outgrow the need as you ween them down. I also have to say that I had bought that My Pal Scout and my son could care less about it. What works for my daughter at nap time is a mobile placed high enough that she cannot reach it. At night if she does not fall asleep while nursing, there a music thing that projects images on the ceiling that works great. My son hated it, she loves it. They will all be different. But try the suggestions of all the postings and see what works for you and your baby. Good luck.

Lisa - posted on 04/11/2010

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I had a really hard time getting my daughter to sleep in her crib -- for the first 7 mths we co-slept and she basically used me as a giant soother all night. I weaned her to a crib at 7 mths when she started crawling. My method was to have a consistent bed time routine and when it was done I would put her in her crib with lots of 'i love you's and 'you can do this!'s. I then basically let her cry it out. I did check ins (just saying 'mommy's here and I love you and YOU CAN DO IT!!' no touching or holding) at 7 minute intervals until she fell asleep. It took a good week - week and a half of HELL crying, screaming and tears that lasted from 10 minutes to an hour and a half. But now at almost 9 months old she is a dream sleeper - she goes down with milod wimpering, no crying, and sleeps from 7pm-730am every night (knock on wood). It was all worth it for BOTH of us and we are all getting a much better sleep. GOOD LUCK!!!!! :)

Ana - posted on 04/11/2010

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Let her cry it out ,, it will take a couple of days but its the best for her and for you.

Karleigh - posted on 04/10/2010

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There is absolutely nothing wrong with rocking your baby to sleep no matter what age they are. I always put my daughter to sleep in my arms, at least when she went down for the night. Naps are different. Try putting her in the crib and have a small cd player in the room with a mix of lullabies, right under the crib is a good spot for it and have the volume down low, but enough that she can hear it. Do your usual lie down routine, blanket, soother whatever you would usually do for her, press play on the cd player and leave the room. Let her fuss for a minute or two, she will calm down. If she starts really crying for more than 2 or 3 minutes, then go get her. I did this with my daughter and eventually I could get away with doing the same thing at night! But dont worry about rocking her to sleep, my daughter will be 4 in 2 wks and she still loves to snuggle with me!! It's a good thing, trust your instincts!

Rebecca - posted on 04/09/2010

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I had a lot of trouble getting my 9 month old to sleep in the crib, but I finally just let her cry it out and checked on her after 20 mins, then waited longer...it took 3 days and now she has been sleeping from 8-6 for the past week.

Stacey - posted on 04/08/2010

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we have 2 of those my pal scout and my pal violet lol one for each my girls I only bought the one for my youngest but my eldest decided she loved it so much tried hiding it in her room so we went and bought her one too out of her christmas money, both of them have never slept better :) I personalised them with names and different night time tunes different special/favourite things and colours which they both enjoy.

With my first we nursed her to sleep but thats not all before that the mother in law had her a few days so my partner and I could have the weekend to ourselves and just catch up she decided to try pushing her to sleep in the pushchair which made things worse cos she wanted this all the time then, after that I got fed up of pushing back and forth hours on end just to get her to sleep so I took her upstairs with a bottle of milk and nursed her to sleep that way but then that started to get me worked up cos I wasn't getting time for myself at this point so I decided cos she was coming up to 15 months by then we needed to do something cos she wasn't sleeping tidy during the night either we got her a single bed we sat on there she would drink her milk, i'd read a story and then tuck her in, I then sat on the floor where she could see me every other night moving closer to the door now she sleeps good. With the 2nd child we learnt from mistakes with the first we just put her in the cot as we saw her nodding off with the feed so she would learn to fall sleep herself in the cot back then was the moses basket lol. I know it's difficult but it's worth trying with the last feed as you see her gazing and nodding put her in the cot with a comforter or whatever you give her for bed and play some soothing music or invest in my pal scout/violet they are a godsend esp when their teething or have had immunisations :) our bedtimes consist of the quiet time we all have a lavender bath after dinner, we listening to some soothing music while in the bath so they both unwind, we all dry and dress in our pjs, cuddle up with warm milk and a story on the bed then once the story is over I put the youngest one down in the cot so she falls asleep gabbing to herself most nights for a few mins then she goes to sleep with the music from scout.

Philippa - posted on 04/08/2010

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I recieved a gift from one of my work friends for Christmas that we now use every night! Its a soft toy from Leapfrog called My Pal Scout/Violet and it costs roughly £20. It has settings on it to personalize it to your own child (name, favourite colour, food, animal etc.). It always brings such a massive smile to my son's face the minute he sees it!

It has a setting to use lullaby music on and you can choose either 2, 5 or 10 minutes worth.



I also always make sure Nathan has a routine before bedtime, dinner, bath, bottle, Cbeebies bedtime hour and story so that he knows its bedtime.



Hope this has helped.

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