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Teaching baby to sleep on his own

(20 Posts)
sunshinela Mon 01-Oct-12 04:36:39

Every night and every naptime we spend half hour chunks of time rocking him to sleep and then holding hour breathe when we put him down in his cot or swing hoping that he will stay asleep.
I love our bedtime routine but when it comes to actually putting our 4 month old son down we are so bloody anxious that he will wake up straight away after all our hard work rocking him.

So we are more than ready to move onto learning to put him down awake and letting him fall asleep on his own.

How did you teach your baby to fall asleep on their own?

Marmiteisyummy Mon 01-Oct-12 07:29:46

Honestly I think you're about 2 months too soon, sorry. Most "experts" don't recommend keep training til 6 months. That said, having had a non-sleeper nightmare baby I do feel your pain!
With hindsight one of the things I'd have one at the 4m stage (or at least tried) is to wait til he's groggy then put down, if wakes, pick up and repeat, aiming to put down just before sleep. It takes AGES for them to get this though and for your own sanity it may be worth trying during the daytime for naps rather than at night when exhausted. Also try prewarming the cot with a hot water bottle to make the transition easier.
I found this book to be a really good overview of the various techniques available for sleep training when the time comes.
He will learn to sleep, this won't last forever, even if it feels that way! At 4-5 months my DS didn't sleep for more than 2 hours at any point and I hadn't had more than 4 hours broken sleep since he was born. By 8 months he was sleeping 7pm to 5.30am. Hang on in there.

Tee2072 Mon 01-Oct-12 07:32:13

He's too young.

WhispersOfWickedness Mon 01-Oct-12 07:36:49

Yes, definitely too young. Do not fear, you will not be rocking him to sleep still when he's 16 grin This is just another of those 'it too shall pass' things, sorry.

sunshinela Mon 01-Oct-12 16:58:59

thanks for all your comments! I have read that by 6 months babies understand object permanence so if you start training them to fall asleep on their own by then it is too late. I thought we had to start training now so that by 6 months they could fall asleep on their own?

Tee2072 Mon 01-Oct-12 17:32:02

Forget what you've read. The baby hasn't read it.

Some babies fall asleep on their own at 6 months. Some don't until they are much much much older.

It's not one of those things you can train, IMHO. I am a strong objector to all kinds of sleep training. They are babies. Not dogs.

Rubirosa Mon 01-Oct-12 17:35:26

I would try pick-up/put-down.

Rock/cuddle him until he is drowsy but not quite asleep then put him down and pat or rub his back/ssh him in his cot. If he cries pick him up again but put him back down as soon as he is calm (but before he is asleep). Repeat grin

The idea is to get him falling asleep in his cot rather than in your arms. Be prepared for it taking a long time the first night though! You can pat/sing/soothe as much as you like with him in the cot though.

ZuleikaD Mon 01-Oct-12 18:45:38

He's too young. You won't be rocking him to sleep when he's 15. You can only 'teach' babies to self-settle by ignoring their distress if they still want you. Otherwise they learn it all by themselves - just like you can't teach them to sit up independently. It happens when it happens.

Teapot13 Mon 01-Oct-12 20:30:01

He is too young for "sleep training" but you can try Baby Whisperer (PUPD) or look at No Cry Sleep Solution.

In my experience, there are babies that do need to be taught to self-settle, but 4 months is too young for things like controlled crying.

sunshinela Mon 01-Oct-12 22:04:31

Tee2072 Would you teach your baby to read or is that something you think they pick up on their own?

FairyPenguin Mon 01-Oct-12 22:08:54

Same as rubirosa. Both of my DC were self-settling by 4 months. One of them needed a comforter but as soon as he was holding his comforter, he would settle. He was only given it at sleep time so associated it only with sleeping. If out in the pushchair or car,we'd give him the comforter and he'd settle himself to sleep. Only downside is if we forgot the comforter....

Flisspaps Mon 01-Oct-12 22:10:37

DS is 5.5mo, he's still cuddled/rocked/patted/fed to sleep with a background of white noise. DD was the same, she is perfectly able to get to sleep by herself.

You don't need to do anything now to aid any future sleep training.

sunshinela Mon 01-Oct-12 22:17:46

Tee2072 just another question...if you were going to run a marathon would you train? or would you not because training is for dogs only?

sunshinela Mon 01-Oct-12 22:18:48

Thanks Flisspaps. That's good to know!

Rubirosa Mon 01-Oct-12 22:26:45

I don't see what is wrong with teaching a baby to self-settle. Yes, they might learn to do it themselves in time, but there's nothing wrong with teaching them earlier if you want to. Rocking or feeding a baby to sleep in your arms and then trying to put them down without waking them is hard work and not everyone wants to do it.

I never did controlled crying/cry it out/let ds cry alone, but at about 5 months I stopped feeding him to sleep (because it wasn't working for us anymore) and moved on to sshing/patting him in his cot through using PUPD. Did some more PUPD around 8-9 months to get him totally self-settling, and since 9 months he has been easy as anything to put to bed without any tears. I could have waited for him to learn to do it himself however many months or years it took but I didn't want to.

sunshinela Tue 02-Oct-12 01:09:22

Rubirosa you make a lot of sense and get where I am coming from! What is PUPD?

Tee2072 Tue 02-Oct-12 04:49:08

But that is me deciding to train, not me forcing another human being to train, so your question is meaningless.

Marmiteisyummy Tue 02-Oct-12 06:16:28

OP, PUPD (pick up put down) is very basically what I described in my first post. It's clarified here in much more detail. You may want to consider getting the baby whisperer book which is where PUPD comes from.
It doesn't work for everyone though.
Good luck

Saltytomato Tue 02-Oct-12 12:57:55

My 4 month old has been self settling since about 2 months. When he was very young he would fall asleep on me and my husband, but since about 2 months he has always liked to kick around in his cot a bit, talk to himself and fall asleep. If he ever started crying I would go in and soothe him and sit with him, but now that he is 4 months and a week old 8/10 he will settle himself in his cot within about 20 minutes, with no crying. So I think that all babies are different.

Saltytomato Tue 02-Oct-12 13:00:42

P.s - I have the baby whisperer book and she basically says start as you mean to carry on, so I try and do activities before bed and have tried to do that since he was very young, so I think that's why he can settle himself without milk....

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