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Infant Care (up to 18 months old) Message Board

Infant Care (up to 18 months old) Board Index

You have to teach them how to fall asleep on their own. Before they start sleeping through the night, you do what you have to do to get them to sleep, but sometimes those methods don't fit into your life on a long-term basis (that's what happened with us and DD2). You can try putting him down when he's almost asleep and rubbing his tummy, side or back to soothe him until he falls asleep (if that works, you can gradually shorten the time you rub him until you can just put him down and give him a quick rub until he settles). You can also try to catch him before he's overtired and try putting him down and rubbing him until he's asleep. After DS yawns once, I bring him to his room and rock him for less than 5 minutes until he's really sleepy but still awake, put him in his crib and rub his back until he settles (30 seconds or less), all of which takes 5 minutes or less. With him, I forced the issue from the start and didn't let him get used to a long falling asleep process that involved me, DH, a swing, etc. because I learned the hard way with DD2 (my "non"-sleeper that I'll tell you about further down). Changing habits takes a little longer, but fortunately with a 3-month-old, it only takes a couple days to change a habit.

The book Secrets of the Baby Whisperer has some tips and tricks for getting them to fall asleep on their own and changing a habit. It's a little hokey in the beginning, but once you get past that, it really does offer some good advice on catching them before they're overtired and distinguishing between their cries. It also helps get them in a routine so they learn to anticipate when it's naptime or bedtime and automatically get tired around the same time every day, which makes life a lot more predictable.

Another good book is Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby. That has some good tips and tricks to try that you can start with a 3-month-old.

If all else fails and you have to let him cry it out, I'd highly recommend the book Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems by Dr. Richard Ferber as a last resort when he's another month or 2 older (the book says a minimum of 4 months; our pediatician says "solid foods" is the milestone when it's okay to start letting them cry it out, which happens to also be 4 months).

He will probably cry at first and be mad because you're changing the "rules," because that's the only way he knows how to fall asleep. But whatever method you try, if you're consistent with it, after a few days to a week, he'll get it and it will start to work (expect a relapse after a couple days but it will work after that). The key is consistency, so stick with whatever method you start for at least a week. If you're not consistent, it will take him a lot longer to catch on to what you're trying to teach him.

3 months is still a little too young to let them cry it out, but for the poster whose baby is 5 months, I highly recommend the book Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems by Dr. Richard Ferber if all else fails and you can't get them to fall alseep without crying or screaming bloody murder. It's a managed cry it out method where you go in at specific intervals to reassure them but don't pick them up. After 4 months, you can start this method. I preferred this method over our pediatrician's recommendation of "buy some ear plugs and let her cry" after ruling out any physical problem. I still had to listen to some crying (and screaming) but I felt better about going in after 5 or 10 minutes to make sure she's okay and calm her down (as soon as I'd turn around to leave she'd be screaming again, but at least I knew she wasn't hurt, she was just mad that I was changing the rules, so I could force myself to leave the room knowing that).

DD2 was terrible at falling asleep and is still not a great sleeper, although she's much better (she's 2 now). With her, at about 5 months (after she started on solid foods) we started forcing the issue of getting her to sleep in her crib for naps (she'd only catnap for 20 minutes in the swing after crying for a little while first), and fall asleep without being rocked (I'd rock her for 20 minutes only to go to put her down and she'd be awake and crying so I'd have to do it again and again; it took ALL DAY some days to rock her and get her to take a quick nap, which was hardly worth it; I had to do SOMETHING). I tried the No-Cry Sleep Solution book, but that didn't work with her because I'd go in to calm her down like you're supposed to, and as soon as I'd turn around to leave, she'd scream bloody murder. There was no "no-cry" in her sleep solution, she was too stubborn. ;) A friend recommended Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems and it took less than a week and she was falling asleep on her own in her crib for naps and bedtime. She was sleeping longer and deeper and was a different baby. I got my life back too. I didn't think anything would work with her, but I was pleasantly surprised. I had to listen to some screaming for a couple days, which I admit was grueling, but she caught on after only about 2-3 days and there was A LOT less screaming after that. I felt a lot more confident because there was a method to the "madness" that I was following for a good long-term reason, so that made it easier to deal with it in the short run. After a couple days she caught on, some days she'd cry for less than 5 minutes and put herself to sleep without me having to go in, but then she started puting herself to sleep with no crying which was a great relief. It was SO worth a couple days of screaming and it didn't traumatize her. You have to be committed to this method or you'll teach them that if they scream long enough and hard enough they'll eventually get what they want. They have WAY more stamina than any adult, so this will backfire in the long run if you're not consistent with it and scrap it before a week is over. You have to keep in mind that they're not hurt and you're doing what's best for them in the long run - teaching them to fall asleep on their own without your intervention.

He screams and cries, and pulls at his ears (which is also somewhat a concern of ours, however we've been told by the dr. that there is no infection :confused: ),


Whiskers - my son also pulls at his ears, and it is actually something many babies do when they are tired. Sometimes I am not sure if my DS is tried, but then I see the ear pulling and I know it is time for a nap.

As to the OP - it took many months until my son would fall asleep on his own. At 11 months, he goes to sleep after taking his bottle or being rocked for a minute or two. I do agree with the bath though. The bath really calms my son and he goes down so easily after one.
I know everyone hates CIO, but I truly believe that some babies NEED to blow off some steam before falling asleep. My DD became literally IMPOSSIBLE to put to bed at one point. After an hour and 45min of rocking, walking, bouncing, singing till we were hoarse, my DH and I finally looked at eachother and realized that we were going crazy, and had to leave her for a few minutes while we regrouped.

We left her for 5 min, I went in to soothe, and she screamed bloody murder even harder, so I realized that she wanted to be left alone. She cried for 14 min straight (and so did I!). It was the longest 14 min of my life.

We did this for 3 nights, and by the fourth night, not only was she falling asleep on her own, but she was sleeping for 10 straight hours. We did this much younger than the four month rule, out of sheer necessity. Literally, I would have done anything to put her to sleep, but she was just one of those babies who needed to learn to fall asleep on her own.

She is now 5 months old and she sleeps 12 hours straight at night, with 3 naps per day. All of which are at least an hour long, if not 2 hours.

If I could do it over again, I would do the exact same thing. She wakes up so happy, and she is a very pleasant baby because she is always so well rested.

For naps, I have a routine that is a bit different from bedtime, but I follow it EXACTLY everyday. I usually draw the shades, change her diaper, rock her until she is a bit drowsy, and put her down awake. Usually, she literally will not make a peep, just turn over and suck her finger and fall asleep.

I don't want to convince you to do CIO if you are absolutely opposed, but I wanted to let you know, that if you do not have another choice, it can work, and your baby will not be ruined for life. My DD wakes up with a huge smile on her face everyday. And there are NEVER any tears. Hope that helps a bit!
Thanks for all the advice everyone. My DS is not exhuasting us yet! Usually we give him his bottle in the rocking chair while his aquarium plays music. Then once the bottle is done we turn his lamp off and just use the night light to see. Sometimes he's out cold by the end of the bottle and sometimes I need to walk him for a little and even more rare I may have to walk him A LOT! But that doesn't happen much anymore.
I think maybe at 4 months we'll start trying to put him down drowsy but awake. But for now we'll keep doing what we are doing. Because he's not too long to fall asleep and I enjoy my time at night with him. I just was wondering if this was bad to do, but I guess we should do what works best for us, right!
So I may be back for more advice in a month when we start giving it a try. And I think I will start trying it with his nap first and see how it goes. I really appreciate all the input and stories.
So does anyone out there not use the CIO method of some sort? Does anyone just do what works wether it be walking,rocking, ect...???
Just wondering:)

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