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Parenting Issues Message Board

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Unfortunately, it's going to take longer than 20 minutes of crying. You have to let him fall asleep on his own. That is the most important thing with getting a baby to sleep all night in his crib. All babies, and even adults for that matter, wake up periodically during the night. But we just roll over and fall back to sleep without evening realizing we woke up. Babies will wake and then look for the "crutch" that helped them fall asleep in the first place, whether it be nursing, rocking, pacificer, etc. In this case it's you being right beside him. So when he wakes, he'll want you to fall asleep.

Create a routine in the evening. A bath, pjs, nursing/bottle, a book, etc. You can rock, but not until he fall asleep. You MUST put him down drowsy, but awake. He's probably going to cry....and like I said, for longer than 20 mintues, especially if you've been helping him to sleep. Rub his belly and then leave. Give him a few mintues and you can go back in, rub his belly again (don't pick him up) and encourage him [U]briefly[/U] and leave. Increase the time it takes you to go back in. It'll take a few nights, but he will learn to fall asleep alone. We did this with my DD at that age and it took about 4 nights and that was it. The first night she cried for 45 minutes and quite honestly, I didn't go back in very often because I thought it made the crying worse. It wasn't fun, but it does work. Eventually you'll be able to put him down awake, walk out and he will fall asleep alone. Teaching a child to fall asleep on their own is not only a gift to him, but also to you. More sleep for everyone!!!!

Another note here to piggyback on Ryan. I have a neighbor whose son is 7 and will not sleep alone. His father has laid with him to fall asleep every night since he was a baby. The father still lays with him a bedtime until he falls asleep. So even now, as a second grader, he wakes up (sometimes 10 mintues after falling asleep) and comes down to his parents' bed....every single night!!! Now your's is only 6 months old, so you got some time to work on it. But I'm just pointing out how important it is to teach children to fall asleep on their own. Our bed is off limits for nighttime sleeping for our children. When they were sick, scared, etc I would always go to their bed to comfort them, but I always left and returned to my bed. I also always let them know I was leaving and left before they went totally back to sleep. That way if they woke up again, they weren't scared or upset that I had left.

It's something you do want to teach them early and I don't think 6 months is too early to start.

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