This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
Putting a baby down before they are fully asleep, does this ever work?(25 Posts)
Hi I am in the third trimester and have been thinking a lot about baby sleep. I have read a lot of books and therefore come across some contradictory advice. We had a late pregnancy loss, so I know I will be following sleep advice to the letter and won't be co sleeping (even the the idea of it appeals I am just too petrified). I also know I probably won't be organised enough or inclined to follow any strict regime, although the EASY method does appeal, so I may use this as it seems more flexible. I hope to breastfeed if I can and I would like to try to encourage our baby to sleep well (for obvious reasons).
The one piece of advice lots of books seem to give is to put the baby down when they are drowsy but not asleep, so they learn to fall asleep alone from the start. This seems sensible, as does the advice to gently wake the baby if they fall asleep in your arms before you put them down so they can drop off in their crib. The thing is I have no idea how to gently wake a baby without upsetting them and whenever I have asked friends about the putting baby down awake they have laughed and said it doesn't work in practice.
Has anyone any successful methods for putting baby down to sleep drowsy but not asleep or for waking baby gently if they are already asleep before you put them down?
Also I hope to baby wear quite a bit during the day so the baby has lots of close naps with my husband and me in the sling, and then maybe a few naps in the moses basket/pram If they are so inclined, then sleeps next to us in the bedside co-sleeper at night. Some things I have read claim that allowing them to nap in the sling helps them to feel close to their parents and they therefore sleep better at night in a bedside crib, whereas others say the opposite. I really hope the former is true, but wanted to know what people had experienced.
Any advice very gratefully recieved, thank you so much
Congratulations! I wish you a healthy birth and quick recovery
I have a 7month old, when I was pregnant I read up on all the sleep tricks, when she was born she was an amazing sleeper, slept through in the first month, 9pm-7am.
That all changed at about 2 months, she started waking about three times a night, not too bad.
What I’m saying is you can’t really predict how they’ll be, and no matter what you do sometimes they’ll just follow their own path.
My DD wouldn’t let me put her down drowsy, never worked, shushing her never worked. She always had to be fed to sleep (BF). It didn’t really bother me as I was BF I didn’t need to make up a bottle or anything.
She’s just started falling asleep drowsy at 7months.
I think it’s worth a shot completely, you should always try! But if it doesn’t work be comforted to know they’ll get their on their own eventually
There’s no rule, some will sleep better in a cot, some on their parents, you have to go with their flow.
It’s 100% worth a shot and there’s nothing wrong with instilling healthy habits if they’ll allow it .
Best of luck x
I'd imagine if you wear you're baby alot putting them down when not asleep would be harder. If sleep hygeine and a routine is put in, following the babies natural pattern it is possible to put them down before they are asleep.
Observe when they sleep, record and a pattern should arise. Use this to introduce a simple routine then put them down just before you expect them to fall asleep.
My LO is 13 weeks now and she has just started reliably going to sleep after being put down drowsy in the past couple of weeks. Up until then, I would let her fall asleep on me and then transfer. I actually love the cuddles so just made my peace with it!
I breastfed, and babywore a lot, sometimes 5 hours a day if out and about a lot. Ds slept everywhere to begin with although mostly on me. I did drowsy but awake in the moses basket at least once per day it was hit and miss. Then 3/4 month sleep regression hit and he wouldn't go down awake ever, woke every hour etc.
We gently sleep trained at 8 months and he goes down awake in a cot very easily. Maybe we hadn't done enough awake but drowsy but didn't work too much.
EASY schedule was very useful and stopped booby snoozes so helped define and lengthen proper naps.
I wouldn't stress too much, I think I worried far too much about baby sleep on the beginning. Wish I could go back and really enjoy him sleeping in my arms rather than worry I was making a rod etc.
Also ended up cosleeping until 8 months despite declaring I would never do it. All the literature I read about safe cosleeping actually made me believe it to be better for baby.
Congratulations! I've a 6month who was a good enough sleeper so I never felt the need to put him down drowsy as what we were doing was working (or rather what we weren't doing, I think that's just his natural rhythm and we were lucky, if he has any siblings I dont think we will be that lucky again) He was held by one of us for the vast majority of his naps and still is. I did feel that he had his fill of us during the day so didnt need us much during the night. But again , I've heard people experience the opposite so you can only go with your gut. Also dont underestimate your need to have some space. You can't "sleep when the baby sleeps" if you are holding them all the time. It's ok if you have them take some naps in their crib.
Regarding cosleeping I was exactly the same as you and still am to a certain degree but there have been occasions were he has had a bad couple of nights and I tried it out of total desperation and exhaustion. I would just read up on the safest possible way to co sleep. That way you are armed with that knowledge if you are at the end of your tether at 3am and can make safer decisions. You would be surprised what tiredness makes you do. I used to feel so guilty but now I try to make sure I have everything in place in case it happens.
Also recommend bringing a tablet to bed - to stop myself from drifting off when winding him I used to watch Netflix or All4. I got through 2 seasons of derry girls during one difficult night
Not in my house.
We joked that DD had a pressure alarm on her bottom. It would touch the cot and WAAAHHHHHH. She sleeps fine now
We did, and it worked OK*
But all naps also took place in cot (except when out obviously) as part of building a sleep routine. If going to sleep too early used to wake by gently tickling feet when little, or singing etc when older.
*although there were a few periods of lying on the floor next to cot holding a finger before commando crawling out of the room
We did, and then didn’t. DD was brilliant for a while then went through a sleep regression and needed to be rocked and fed to sleep. Then we sleep trained at 6 months and she’s back to falling asleep herself again.
I used to rock my dd to sleep, for both naps and bedtime. Until my dad asked why I didn’t just put her in her cot and let her fall asleep, it just hadn’t occurred to me! I tried it, she’d grizzle a bit the first few times but this soon stopped and she’d fall asleep with no problem.
All babies are different though and you don’t know how they’ll be until they arrive!
Hi in my experience putting them down drowsy works well when you combine it with a regular routine of sleep, eat immediately upon waking then have time for play/nappy change. After those things then calm them for sleep again. I used the Baby Whisperer method which followed that pattern. The author calls it EASY (Eat Activity Sleep Your time).
I don't think putting them down drowsy is compatible with a feed to sleep routine. You might want to research baby routines. Tracy Hogg I think the author is. It was a few years ago for me. The routines worked excellently on my three kids (with combination breast and bottle feeding so they were always sated for hunger). Best of luck.
All babies are different.
My baby boy is one and he still can't fall asleep without my hand on his chest. It's just what he needs to feel safe and bar the back ache, it's a relatively painless process. This is the closest we can get to self-settling without using any form of crying. My son is one of the better sleepers of a group of mums I know. You'll hear loads of people telling you that their babies slept through from 1 breathe old but you have to get rid of all expectations and focus on learning about your baby. My son slept on me for about three months. It's hard but you will love doing it because your child will be YOURS.
Also research baby swaddling techniques. That helped with mine. When they were swaddled it was a cue for them to know it was time for a nap.
@Satlie2019 congratulations on your pregnancy! I currently have a 3 month old and with her and my first (he's 5 now) I followed the EASY routine from about 10/11 weeks and that point I was able to swaddle them and put them down awake and they'd go to sleep in their own. For me, swaddling has been the key. Once swaddled, I lay her down and she usually has a bit of a grumble for about 5-10 minutes and then she drifts off. Shes not distressed or crying though, just having a little moan (I never leave her to cry).
Before they were 10/11 weeks I found that they'd just fall asleep on the boob and so there wasn't the chance to put them down awake but as they got a bit bigger that happened less and I was able to do it. Some nights she's really tired and nods off during a feed but I just go with it and put her down as it's not a frequent thing that she relies on.
My first is an amazing sleeper and so keeping my fingers crossed this one follows suit!
I've had a late loss too OP, so hugs to you, it's such a nerve-wracking time
To answer your question: drowsy but awake? Yes, did this with both my DDs from birth. They're both brilliant sleepers. They sleep 7-7.30/8 through the night currently too (2 and 3yr old).
Naps were in the pram, bouncer, or Moses basket. Didn't really get on with the sling.
Drowsy but asleep never worked with mine - as soon as you put her down she would scream as if being murdered and not stop until you picked her back up, no matter how long it took. She has always slept brilliantly (through the night pretty much straight away, with exception of some sleep regressions etc), but she just needs the reassurance of being close to someone before she will sleep. She is 3 now and still the same.
I'd say research as much as you want to but they're all different so once your baby comes along you'll probably just find the best way to do things for you all through trial & error.
Mine could be solidly asleep and wake if you put her in the cot. If she wasn't yet asleep she was in my boob and detaching her made her go JackJack. Putting her in the bedside crib was like putting her in the street in a box marked "free to a good home"
At some point I could pat her to sleep but it didn't last, something comes along and the rules change.
And I didn't get much choice in bed sharing, being tired and holding her so she'd sleep could get dangerous. I fell asleep on the sofa with her in a carrier once, I just sat down for a minute because I was dying (DP was with me, also suffering). Never did that again, lying on a clear bed was far safer.
I can't say it ever occurred to me to put my baby to bed before he was asleep. I didn't know people did! It was a long time ago though.
It worked for my DD but all children are different.
DD was in NNU for her first couple of weeks so was forced into a routine really, and then bottles fed (expressed milk) so I knew exactly how much she was taking & how long it should pay her for, so followed the nurses when we got home.
Thank you for all the advice, really appreciate you all replying. As you say it probably does really vary from baby to baby.
Good points about the dangers of falling asleep with baby in the carrier. I had worried about that and had bought a moses basket for downstairs to put him in if I am too tired (or if he hated that I wondered about just taking him upstairs to his co-sleeper crib and lying down next to him in bed).
Thanks for all the advice re the EASY method/Tracy Hogg, it is the one that appealed most to me and I plan to try to implement it at least. Also want swaddle for the first 10-12 weeks, I hate seeing babies startle, so swaddling makes sense to me.
Thank you also for the advice about foot tickling, I will try this as a gentle way to wake our baby.
@alex1889 thank you. I am sorry for your loss too. It is a nerve wracking time, but I am feeling positive about things and keeping calm. Thank you for the the advice about putting them down before sleep, I am going to try it. It must be worth a go at least. Glad your LOs slept so well.
Hope all your LOs continue to sleep well!
Very best wishes for these final few weeks and a happy healthy baby. My 3 kids have all been very different sleepers. Only one (2nd) could call asleep from drowsy but awake and we discovered it by chance! Ds1 took until 8 months Ds3 needs me to be in the room and occasionally hold hands / cuddle at 6 months but will go down. My suggestion would be to just run with anything for the first 8-12 weeks. Look at the literature on the 4th trimester. It helps understand why babies need to be held so much. A cosleeper is fab and going back to bed next to baby is a very very good plan. Take water, snacks and something to watch and have ad many bed days / hours as you can get away with. It feels like forever when you're in it but it passes fast!
Lullaby trust has some detailed research on bedsharing and safety if like me that's what ends up happening. There are safer and less safe ways of doing it. I'm not suggesting you should but if it happens that's the baby you get then the info is there.
On breastfeeding La Leche League is rubbing online zoom calls and one to ones on line if you need help. They're fab. On my area there's also a local nhs feeding support lady who is open in person.
It highly, highly depends on your baby. I can’t stress that enough about, well, everything. I really wouldn’t plan too much until he or she is here and you get an idea of their sleep needs and temperament.
I did a lot of reading and, like you, thought all naps and night sleep would be in the cot, unless we were out and about. Then they would be in the pram. I thought co sleeping was dangerous and lazy.
Queue the actual arrival of my baby. A clingy, refluxy, colicky baby who couldn’t tolerance being put down actually awake for 30 seconds, let alone to sleep. Screamed every time he went in the pram. I fell asleep in the chair breastfeeding him though sheer exhaustion so many times and it was terrifying. You may be lucky and get a good sleeping baby - a lot do. But equally you may not.
He’s now 6 months and he’s a ton happier but still a truly awful sleeper. We now contact nap and co sleep, breastfeeding on and off all night. It’s saved my sanity and my own sleep and it can be done very safely.
Basically don’t discount anything - even with ‘easy’ babies the first 4 months are all about survival.
Very best wishes for the rest of your pregnancy and delivery xx
Ah congratulations OP!
You be had excellent advice, the only thing I would add is that not only is every baby different but they change all the time. What works for a few days may well suddenly stop for absolutely no clear reason at all. So I would just be wary of trying to stick to anything.and on the flip side of something doesnt work do try again because it might just not. My son was absolutely not a dorwsgnbut awake baby but by 8 months got it.
Sorry for typos - I have a 3 month old alseep on me !
Thanks for the advice. I will have a look at the bed sharing guidance, just in case we have to, as you say best to be prepared. I think lots of people bed share safely, it is just to do it safely I think I would need to kick my husband out to the spare room and even then I would be paranoid all night, unable to sleep. Maybe when I can't sleep anyway due to my distressed baby I will feel differently about it though!
Thanks for taking the time to reply and for all the advice x