How to stop rocking my baby to sleep

Renae - posted on 01/29/2010 ( 9 moms have responded )

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I have rocked my baby to sleep since he was born. How is the best way to stop rocking him to sleep? I really want to break this routine of rocking him to sleep because it's getting too hard and I want him to fall asleep on his own.

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[deleted account]

I'm in exactly the same boat as Sarah with my nearly 6 month old. Donovan fights sleep like nothing else. CIO is not an option for me (I think it is cruel and quite simply wrong!!) so I am very gradually and gently withdrawing from helping him get to sleep. I first started by rocking him till he was nearly asleep and then lay him down. For the first week or so he would always wriggle and wake up straight away. But ever so gradually he is starting to, on ocasion, lay there for longer periods of time before he either wriggles himself awake or on ocasion fall asleep. He has actually fallen asleep on his own a few times now!

He is just about to start crawling and that's exactly what he tries to master when he should be going to sleep - crawling. So I often have to pick him up again and again and re rock to a drowsy state then lay him down.

Since I have started this routine, Donovan has become quite happy to hang in his cot without getting upset. So it can take us up to 45 mintues to get him to sleep. I rock him to a drowsy state, place him in while awake, he wakes right up, crawls around, plays, chats, gets stuck in the corners of the cot , he becomes restless, I re-rock, etc. etc. Eventually (somewhere between 10 minutes and 45 minutes) the last time I resettle him with a gentle and loving rock, I place him down awake and he then drifts off to sleep. This is the only humane way to teach a baby to fall asleep on their own after they have become accustomed to being rocked or feed to sleep. Good Luck.

[deleted account]

I have spoiled my son rotten. First off, we could only go to sleep if I was HOLDING him and nursing. Then after a month or two I could lay him beside me to nurse. Then I got to where He would fall asleep on his own without nursing.. but he still had to be cuddled by me. I started laying a pillow across my lap and then laying him on the pillow. I would jiggle one foot (like that nervous habit that drives us nuts) and he would sing himself to sleep... but still, at 8 months he had to be jiggled to sleep.
Out of nowhere about two or three weeks ago, he started crawling to me and then burying his face in my lap. I lay him across my knees, and he was OUT. After he started coming to me saying he was sleepy and wanted lap time, I would comfort him for a few minutes, and then lay him in his crib while he was still fighting to hold his eyes open. (Knock on wood) He has been laying there sleepy-eyed for the last week or so, until he falls out on his own.
I didn't do anything to cause these changes in our routine, he did. He let me know when he was ready for nursing and naps. I think since he was old enough to comprehend, 'hey, I'm sleepy, I want momma's lap' this led him into the idea that sleep can come, without me right there jiggling him.
Best of luck to you, I hope this helps :)

Samantha - posted on 04/27/2012

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How old is he now? If he is still an infant, I would continue to rock. That is bonding time for mom and baby and babies feel safe and secure in that way. If he is toddler, is he still in baby bed or toddler bed? Baby bed, you let him cry but still respond to his crying, start at one minute before you respond to his crying and then maybe 5 minutes, 15 minutes. When he realizes you are still there even though out of sight, he will become more comfortable going to bed on his own. The big thing here, is routine, routine, routine. Dont give in if this is really a habit you want to break.

If in toddler bed and he gets back up, continue to lay him down. You will have a lot of sleepless nights until a new habit forms but it will pay off. Routine, patience and persistense.

Renae - posted on 01/30/2010

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Sorry hubby is hassling me for computer!!! Google gradual withdrawal. No crying involved, will slowly teach him to go to sleep on his own. Or msg me for instructions.

Adrienne - posted on 01/30/2010

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I had a hard time breaking the habit. Because I breastfed my youngest I always rocked him to sleep after wards. Then I became pregnant with our 3rd baby so I had to break him of this habit. At 18 months we just started putting him to his toddler bed and if he got out we would bring him back and say it's night to sleep. It took about 2 weeks but now we lay him down and he actually goes to bed for us.

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Sarah - posted on 01/29/2010

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I'm battling this with my 5 month old right now. I tried the cry it out method for a couple of days, but i just didn't feel like it was right for us at the time. My son fights and fights sleep!! So, I rocked and cuddled him, and sang him a song until he's just closed his eyes and then laid him down in his bed. if he woke up, i would either jiggle his bed and bend over the bed and snuggle and sing to him or i would pick him up to get him drowsy again. I've just started to relax on the jiggling of the bed, and i set him down, cuddle a bit, and then walk out. he will play around for a bit, so i just go back in every so often to remind him that it's nap/sleep time. it's a slow process, and we've tried pretty much everything that moms suggest, so far this is the only thing that has worked for us.

Crystal - posted on 01/29/2010

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You just have to do it. If he's still young, he'll probably adjust quicker than if he's older (1-2 years). We rocked our son to bed (he's now 4) and had a hard time breaking the habit ... I think we stopped laying in his room when he was 3. It gets exhausting. My daughter on the other hand, I didn't want to make the same "mistake" and so we let her fall asleep on her own from birth. She did awesome until we moved her to a toddler bed around her 2nd birthday (this past November), and so we had to start staying in the room with her.. but we've now since started making her go to bed alone and it took only about 5-6 days and she is much better. She still cries, but not for long anymore. I think they just need reassurance that you're still there, and I'm sure it may get hard at times, especially when they go through the separation anxiety stages.



Best of luck.

Lisa - posted on 01/29/2010

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I used to feed my son to sleep. Short-term, that worked well, but then it got to be too much because he needed to eat every time he slept. I first during the day tried feeding him and keeping him awake the entire time. I would make sure he was changed, and then I put him in his bed, and turned on his mobile. He would sometimes fuss, but usually would go to sleep within 10 minutes or so. My suggestion would be to try it out. He is probably going to protest at first like my son did. If he was really crying hard, I would go in and pick him up for a minute and calm him down and lay him back down again. The first couple of days were rough, but he eventually learned how to fall asleep on his own and self-soothe if he were to wake up in the night when he was older. The ability to go to sleep without help is a valuable skill for them, and when he learns it, if he wakes in the night like all of us do, you won't have to go put him to sleep again. Just be consistent with it and he will learn. I hope this helps!! Good luck!!!

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