Son won't fall asleep by himself, he's almost 4 months. Please help!!!!

Cristin - posted on 04/22/2009 ( 9 moms have responded )

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The only way my son falls asleep is in a swing, with a bottle, or a vibration. I can't get him to cry himself to sleep because when I go into sooth him he continues to cry and won't stop even if I pick him up. I don't want him getting used to eating before he goes to sleep. Someone please....I NEED HELP!!!!!

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Merissa - posted on 08/24/2011

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what i did, is with my oldest, i started laying him down on the couch with a binki and me sitting next to him, then i moved him to the twin bed, then to his crib i just sat in the room till he fell asleep, and then i would leave, it works for him.

Meg - posted on 08/24/2011

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That's normal! It's ahrd work, but it's normal ;-) Sleeping isn't a learnt behaviour, it's a biological behaviour. I suggest reading the book Sleeping Like a Baby by Pinky McKay to learn how babies are biologically programmed to sleep.

Parenting your kids to sleep can be hard work sometimes, but as a mama who believed that children needed to learn to sleep by themselves when I had my first, and a mama who has parented my other kids to sleep, I can not describe the difference in their sleeping habits. My eldest was frightened of sleeping, my youngest two fall asleep at the drop of a hat, wherever they are!

LEAH - posted on 08/18/2011

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I would try quite a few different things and see what works best. Swaddling is an excellent way to comfort a baby. And I agree with the full belly thing. Try a nice warm bath, followed by infant massage witha little baby oil and a nice warm bottle. You could even put a small amount of cereal in the bottle to help with the fullness.

Jessica - posted on 08/14/2011

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At four months old an infant should be going to sleep with a full belly and being nutured is an instinctual need for a baby. We sacrifice for them, they are incapable at 4 months of providing for themselves any of their needs. Babies who "cry themselves to sleep" do so when they abandon all hope that their nuturer willrespond to their needs. How sad.

Mehera - posted on 04/27/2009

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Below is an article that was written by son's pediatrician... I followed it and it worked (my son was 3 months old when I decided to do it). Its so important to start now, while he's still young so that he develops healthy sleep habits (and so YOU can get sleep, too!) My best advice, be strong and stay consistant. I did and it SO payed off...my son is 3 now and he has NO problems going to bed, at night or for nap time. Hang in there, you can do it!

Here's the article:


Helping Your Two Month Old Develop Wonderful Sleep Habits
By Nicholas B. Levy M.D., F.A.A.P.
(October 2003)
It has been said that falling asleep is not like falling off a log. One has to learn how to fall asleep! The question then becomes: How does one learn to fall asleep and what is the best age at which to learn this?

The theory of psychological development indicates that during the first four months or so of life, the infant is developing trust. This allows for psychological integration and the ability to easily transition to the next developmental phase, separation and development of the self as a distinct entity.

During the first few months of a child's life they develop trust by being attended to whenever they cry. They are, so to speak, impossible to spoil. If they suffer from any condition that causes prolonged crying, like reflux or colic, they should be held or cuddled despite their crying. This is extremely hard on parents but the psychological benefits are enormous and the temptation to "just let them cry it out" should be avoided at all costs.

The other interesting phenomenon that occurs early on in infancy is the internalization of sensation and the development of memory. This appears to happen at about two to three months of life. The first two months are certainly a time when it doesn't matter where or how infants fall asleep.

It is important, therefore, that parents should ask themselves what it is they want from their child in terms of sleep behaviors. Do they want a family bed, where all of the family members sleep together, and, if so, do they want to go to sleep at the same time as the children every night or would they prefer to join the children later? Would they prefer to have children sleep in their own rooms and again how would they like the children to fall asleep? Do they want to rock them to sleep? Do they want to lie with them while they fall asleep when they are older? Would they prefer to say goodnight to them before they are asleep? Both parents should derive the answers to the above questions because bedtime can become stressful if there is disagreement. This is a time of day for many couples when they should be spending time together.

In many instances it appears that parents want their children to fall asleep on their own and sleep through the night, but they don't know when to stop nursing or rocking them to sleep. They simply hope that the children will learn how to do it for themselves and get frustrated when it takes five or six years before the children do.

This simple technique will allow your baby to develop good sleep habits without a need for prolonged crying. For the sake of discussion, it will be assumed that parents want an independently sleeping child. If, however, they would prefer a family bed, then the same technique will apply if they want the child to fall asleep alone. Even though it does take some work, the results are well worthwhile.
The best time to start sleep training is soon after your baby is two months old. Most children will sleep their longest stretches during the night hours by this age. They will generally be falling asleep sometime between 8:00 pm and 11:00 pm and most will be waking once or twice during the night to feed. In many instances they are still sleeping in their parents room in a bassinette. Now is the time for the big move!

Set up the babies crib in their own room and envision it the way you think it will be when they are about one year old. Begin to pay careful attention to them at the time that they generally start to fall asleep. As soon as they begin to get drowsy or their eyes get heavy, put them gently into their crib. If they fuss, respond immediately and try to soothe them in the crib. Do this by patting or stroking them or gently shaking the crib, perhaps while singing softly or whispering to them. If they don't settle down quickly (about 20 to 30 seconds is reasonable) then pick them up again. Walk with them, talk to them and watch closely for them to get drowsy again. As soon as this happens, put them down again. If they again start to fuss, respond as before and try and soothe them in the crib. If this doesn't work, then pick them up and once again soothe them in your arms until they begin to fall asleep and then just before they do put them down again.

Every baby is different in terms of how many times they will need to be soothed again. If you persist, however, then the end result is that they will fall asleep in their crib even it means that a parent is present to begin with. Each night will be a little easier and fairly soon you will be able to put your baby down, say goodnight, and leave the room. Although the baby may vocalize a bit without really crying, eventually he or she will fall asleep. Ignore the little awakenings during the night but respond to any real crying.

After infants are about four months old, they are quite capable of sleeping for nine to ten hour stretches at night. They don't need to eat during this time and, in fact, if they are fed, will develop a pattern called "trained night feeding".

Everybody wakes up during the night and then goes back to sleep. We reassure ourselves that nothing has changed and don't even remember having woken up the next day. Children that fall asleep in a parents arms and then wake up during the night in a crib, find this very difficult. They tend to need their parents help to fall sleep again.
It is acceptable to allow babies over four months of age to cry a bit. Sometimes a few minutes of crying in the middle of the night is all it takes to teach them to sleep through. Remember to always respond at first, with as little intervention as possible. If you are having trouble with sleep and sleep habits, talk to your pediatrician or arrange to meet with them for a sleep consult.

Parents who have had a good nights sleep are much more tolerant and have loads more energy to deal with the everyday needs of their children.

Alex - posted on 04/27/2009

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When my daughter was 3 months old that is when i had to leave her to cry to sleep as i was working. I found that at first she would cry even when i did pick her up, but then we worked through it. i ensured that we did similar trhings each night so she knew that is was bed time, it was dinner bath and bottal/BF , and i also wrapped her befour the bottle. i noticed that when she was wrapped she went to sleep by herself better as she couldent move around as hit or rub her eyes. It was hard at first but now its awesome, she knows its bedtime and just leave her all wrapped and feed and she usually talks herself to sleep now, sometimes with the odd cry, and shes only 5months now. Sometimes tho she is either overtired or not tired and that is when she will scream her lungs out and i just do what ever it takes to get her to sleep even. It is hard but it does get better, just stick with it and be tough, i thought i could never do it.

Dawn - posted on 04/26/2009

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I've been there. Go ahead and for just night time do what works to let him go to sleep. But for the day just put him in bed and leave. He will be ok and will fall asleep. Also I find that having a musical night light thingy that attaches to the crip works wonders. You might have to get more than one to find one that works. I have one that is rainforest animal and it makes night time noises. Also do you have a fan or something that makes white noise? He probley won't fall asleep till he is a little bit older and also, is he teething? Might need to get some tylenol for him at night. All of my three kids started to teeth around 4 months even though they didn't get their teeth for a few months later. But a little bit of tylenol did seem to help them sleep. Hope this helps.

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Give him time. My son wouldn't fall asleep w/out nursing til he was around 9 months old. I did end up needing to let him cry a bit at that point. There really is nothing wrong w/ him falling asleep that way at that age. Life is stressful enough. Worry about it later. :)

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