Please watch my video below to learn about baby sleep problems and solutions.
Questions about your child’s sleep? Advice to give other parents? Join the discussion in the ‘Comments’ section below!View the Video Transcript
If you’d rather read than watch, here’s a transcription of the video…
This week’s question comes from Samreen. She writes:
“I have a five month old that needs to be rocked or nursed for both bedtime and naps. I’ve tried putting her down just drowsy but as soon as she touches the crib she wakes up fully and starts to cry. I pick her up, I get her drowsy, I put her down, she starts to cry and this can go on and on for hours. What should I do?”
That’s a great question and I was noticing in the blog that it was coming up quite frequently, so I hope this solves a lot of problems for people. (Of course, we’re all very unique and not every solution is going to work exactly the same for every baby.)
A lot of the times you can put a baby down drowsy — not fully asleep yet, but just sort of in that first light stage — and they figure out how to put the pieces together and they start to become successful, independent sleepers. And it’s because you gave them the clues that they needed to figure this out and they start to sleep great, and if that’s the case… awesome! But for some babies, drowsy is just not good enough.
I always explain it as if you think of sleep as a journey. At Point A you’re awake and way over here is Point B, and how you get yourself from A to B is what becomes the tricky part. If you rock a baby, say, 80% of that journey and then put them down and sort of hope that they do the last 10% or 20% on their own, that can be confusing. What can happen then is either they go to sleep, but then for every wake up in the night they want you to come in and do the 80% and they’ll do the 20% and that doesn’t really solve your night waking issue. Or they wake fully up as soon as you get them to the crib and they are angry because you didn’t finish the job.
So I think in your case, Samreen you’ve got a baby who’s just not putting the pieces together that way and you’re going to have to back right up from the beginning. In these cases, I tell parents, “Eliminate the word drowsy from your vocabulary altogether; don’t even go there.” Just do your bedtime routine: bath, story, jammies, a feeding, and keep your baby awake through the feeding. Then, give them a kiss and a hug and right in to the crib awake.
So start to tell yourself that your baby needs to go in to the crib wide awake, so he can start to figure out how he makes that journey from A to B without any assistance from you whatsoever. And that’s going to eliminate this up and down thing that’s going on here for hours. It’s not going to eliminate the crying at the beginning because this baby needs to figure out, “How am I going to do this right from start to finish on my own?” and she’s just going to have to practice that until she’s mastered those skills. However, I think that will cut your frustrations down considerably — and once she learns the skill, she’s going to become a really great sleeper. So thanks a lot for that question, and sleep well.
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