Baby Sleep Problem: I Have to Rock My Baby to Sleep

Would you like to have me answer your baby sleep problem in my next video? If so, scroll down and submit your question in the comment section below. I will pick several questions a month to answer and post them here on the blog!

If you would rather read than watch my above video then here is the transcript of this week’s video:

So in this video, I am going to answer Amanda’s question. She wrote in and said the following, “I would love some help. I have a bright, alert and happy six-month old baby whom I’ve rocked to sleep every night and every nap. I just started your sleep coaching last night for his bedtime as he started to continuously wake up throughout the night and I would have to rock or nurse him to sleep again. So I started putting him down to sleep by rocking before he was completely asleep. When I put him in the crib he promptly woke up and wanted to play. This happened tonight as well. I kept trying to turn him over as he sleeps on his tummy but I fear that makes him mad or stimulated. He’s just never fallen to sleep on his back before. Basically, I just sit next to his bed while he plays until he gets so tired, he starts to cry and then I pick him up and I put him back down like you suggest. That is what finally got him to settle and sleep but I fear it’s because I was holding him not because he put himself to sleep on his own.”

Amanda, you made some very good awarenesses on your own. I find that if a child is put down in their bed and they either appear revitalized or they wake up half an hour later, it usually means that they were put down to sleep too drowsy. I noticed that you said that you rocked him a little bit before you put him in and then he got all energized and ready to go. I recommend that you reduce the rocking. Have your night time routine before you put him in the crib with the light on. No, it doesn’t have to be 150 watt bulb but have your soothing bedtime routine with the light on, whether it’s singing a song or reading a book and kisses, then turn off the light and in to the crib. This is very important. I want you to put him down a little bit earlier in the routine and not tease him with a little rocking because you’re absolutely right, you can teach him to get really upset and hysterical until you pick him up and hold him to sleep.

The other thing is that if he knows how to roll himself over both ways independently, then I want you to stop flipping him over. It’s just like when a child learns to stand in a crib. I don’t want you to get into a physical struggle of putting him down and he stands up and you put him down and he stands up. It’s the same for flipping the pancake, okay? If he hasn’t mastered rolling, then increase floor time during the day and encourage him to learn how to do it on his own. You can even help him a little bit during the day so he can master it at night.

Let’s review the important points again:
Put him down more awake.
Don’t get in to a struggle about flipping him if he knows how to roll himself.
Don’t train him to cry until you pick him up and hold him to sleep.

Remember, if you pick up your child when they’re crying and they are immediately quiet, you got had. I’ve also worked with children who are rocked to sleep and they have this amazing ability which I still can’t believe…..they’ll cry hysterically, you pick them up and in under a minute, they fall asleep in your arms! I can’t even imagine doing that myself. I want you to be careful because if that were to happen you will have to take out of our tool kit “pick up to calm”. I don’t want you to train them to get hysterical, you pick them up, and then they fall asleep in your arms. So instead, you’ll have to do more shushing, patting and reassuring that way and no picking up which isn’t fun. As you can imagine I want you to avoid that.

I hope all those tips are helpful. Remember to stay consistent. This first week is pivotal.

Sweet dreams,
Kim
The Sleep Lady

Video filmed by In Focus Studios

If you have successfully helped your child learn put themselves to sleep without being rocked to sleep, please encourage Amanda to stick with it! Please feel free to click the “reply” link under this article and leave them a comment. Supporting each other makes parenting so much easier!


4 comments
CandiSeward
CandiSeward

We have dealt with illness in the house recently that completely threw off my 23-month-old's evening schedule.  Two weeks ago he would go to bed willingly at 8pm, telling everyone goodnight on the way, and slept through the night.  Now he refuses to go to bed at a decent hour and has been keeping me up till midnight most nights.  If we try to put him to bed before that he screams at the top of his lungs and wakes our older son up.  My husband has a very low threashold for disobedience so he goes to bed and leaves me to deal with our youngest by myself.  The past few nights he has been waking up screaming at 3am (or thereabouts) and won't go back to bed.  Is there anything you can suggest to get him to go back to our original schedule without him melting down?

crochellePT
crochellePT

Dear Kim,

I have recently started using your tips and methods with my 13 week old daughter.  I have been putting her down drowsy for nap and bedtime.  She will look around quietly for a few minutes as I leave the room then several minutes later she will start fussing.  I let her go for several minutes to see if she will find her hand to suck on to calm but then I end up going in to giver her a pacifier and she goes right to sleep.  I end up doing this several/many times a night...am I becoming the crutch??  Is she really learning to put herself to sleep if I am providing the pacifier every time?? I would greatly appreciate any advice so that she and I can start getting some solid sleep!! Thanks so much!

 

Sincerely,

Christiana

KatieGoepel
KatieGoepel

 @crochellePT Hi Christina,

 

Thank you for submiiting your question here on her blog post. Another option in getting your questions answered quickly by the Sleep Lady or one of her Gentle Sleep Coaches is visiting her Facebook page and posting a question there. www.facebook.com/TheSleepLady

 

Hope this helps!

 

Katie 

parenting@sleeplady.com

Virtual Assistant to the Sleep Lady

courtneybnorris
courtneybnorris

Hi Kim,

Up until recently, my 5 month old son has been a great sleeper. Then, just a week ago, he starting crying the minute we begin his bedtime routine! When I take him into his room without turning on the light he begins to fuss and when I lay him down to change into pajamas he starts to wail! On bath nights, which take place only every other day due to his dry skin, he cries when I put him in the tub. He used to love his bath! I'm not sure what to do. Our bedtime routine starts at 7 o'clock when he appears to be getting sleepy and consists of bath (if it's bath night), pajamas, 3-4 songs, and a story. Then we close the shutters on  his window and lay him down. He fusses and cries through the whole routine and continues to do so once he's in his crib. I pat and shush him periodically until he rolls over and falls asleep. I used to be able to put him down drowsy but awake and he'd go right to sleep. I don't know what changed!

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