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Why Your Baby Hates His Crib (And What to Do About It)

After 45 minutes of rocking, singing, and sighing, he’s finally stopped crying and you THINK *quick prayer* he’s asleep.

Well, here goes nothing.

Moving like a geriatric sloth, you inch over to the crib and stand on your tippy toes, leaning over the bars as much as possible.

He snorts.

You freeze.  One leg in the air in an absurd pirouette.

Ever. So. CAREFULLY you set the tiny package into the crib, take a deep breath, and prepare to high five your mime-cheerleading spouse.

WAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!

You grit your teeth and quickly pretend you didn’t (because “good parents” never feel frustrated at their helpless babe, right?).

This KID sleeps everywhere else.

Except.

The.

Crib.

WHAT THE WHAT is wrong with this kid?

Benedict Cumberbatch Solves the Mystery

You know who can fix this?

Benedict Cumberbatch. 

The world’s greatest Sherlock.  (Sorry, Rob — but the world needs you as Iron Man.)

My good friend Benny would quickly deduce that your baby doesn’t hate the crib because the sheets are too scratchy.  Or the mattress is too firm.  Or because that crib set is hideous. 

Instead, he would watch where and how your baby sleeps, and then figure out what it is about those positions that soothe so much.   Then Sherlock would simply recreate those positions inside the crib.  Elementary.

Following that lead, here are three reasons why your crib’s a Nuclear Zone:

  • Your baby feels the wide open space is frightening.  He prefers the close touch of your body against his skin.
  • Your baby has acid reflux or colic and laying flat on his back kicks up the acid factory.
  • Your baby hasn’t seen you as much recently and feels anxious when you’re not there.

Now that we have identified the reasons he hates it so much, *hat tip to Benedict* it’s time to reclassify that crib from Nuclear Zone to Nap Central.

*puts on thinking cap*
*blows feather out of face*
*turns on whale songs*
*adjust springs* 

aHA!  

*spray of confetti*

How to Solve the Wide Open Space Problem

Elena hated her crib.  Screamed bloody murder every time we put her down.  Until one day, in a moment of heavenly inspiration, I figured out why.  She’s my cuddler.  She had to be touched at all times.  That was a problem, because my husband and I didn’t want co-sleeping to be a family tradition.  So here’s what we did:

DISCLAIMER!  A very thoughtful mother helped me realize that some parents may think these are STEPS.  These are NOT steps.  These are suggestions we used independently, testing to see which she reacted to best.

Test #1: Try to Use a Swaddle

Some babies HATE swaddlers…some babies love them. If you’ve got a cuddler, try this straight jacket zipped swaddler to help her feel all warm, cozy, and contained.

You don’t want to swaddle a baby who’s starting to roll over, that can be dangerous.  If your baby is starting to roll over and is used to being swaddled, here are some suggestions to wean her off the swaddle.

Test #2: Use a Weighted Swaddle or Sleep Sack

Yes, I realize a lot of people are going to skip right over what I’m typing here and start yelling at me in the comments.

Our Elena HATED being on her back.  She craved that gentle pressure on her tummy provided by sleeping on Dad’s chest, or while nursing.  That meant that every time we tried to put her on her back, we were ushered straight into a Screamfest.  Obviously, this caused me a lot of stress, since that meant we had to put her on her tummy.

Don’t do what we did.  The risk just isn’t worth it.

Instead, I would recommend you pick up The Magic Sleep Suit instead.  Yes, it looks like Randy’s snowsuit on A Christmas Story, but it provides a gentle pressure on the tummy that convinces your baby she’s on her tummy, when she’s really sleeping on her back.  (Look at you! Your first sneaky parent hack!)

If your baby isn’t a fan of swaddling, you can also try the Zen Sleep Sack. It applies a gentle pressure on her tummy, without confining her arms. (Some kids just hate that!)

Test #3: Use a Lovey.

Yep, another one I’m going to be yelled at over.  The best recommendation is to not have anything in your newborn’s crib.  That’s good advice. However, we found that Elena really needed some extra physical assurance in the crib.  She was a very sensitive baby.  (Lots of cuddle time needed. LOTS.)

So we tucked 99.9% of the blanket under the mattress against the springs, leaving just a teeny-tiny corner that would barely touch her hands and cheek. This way she could feel enough of the blanket to touch, but not pull it over her face and mouth (increasing SIDS risk).  It was a corner-touch only. Obviously, as soon as she was old enough to roll around, or pull the blanket, it was removed for a few months.  But for those first few weeks, we found it was a great soother.

As an extra precaution, though, we had a video monitor installed so I could always see her face was uncovered.   😉

Find a Lovey that your child can attach to.  Whether that’s a Nookums or a small stuffed animal, or Grandma’s crocheted blanket. Having something that smells like Mom and Dad will be a huge help.

Want a few more examples of how a good lovey can make a big sleeping difference? Check out For the Sake of Your Sleep: Why Your Baby Needs a Lovey

The likely SIDS culprit is…

One of the most likely culprits for SIDS is something called rebreathing.  Since your newborn can’t turn his head away, any obstruction to his mouth will cause him to breathe in the air he just exhaled.

This is largely why it’s not recommended you put babies to sleep on their tummy, and why crib bumpers are usually frowned on.

I say usually, because bumpers have come a long way, baby!  There are ways to use them safely that can make a huge difference in your baby’s sleep!  Read Like Sleeping? How Crib Bumpers Can Boost Your Snooze

Those are good rules, but sometimes I think parents need more than just the status quo.  If we can SAFELY adjust some of these rules for high-needs babies, I think it’s something worth discussing with your doctor.

If this is the first time your child has been IN a crib, having co-slept with you for the past several months, this article from Mr. Storkey can help!

How to Solve the Acid Factory Problem

Ever lay flat on your back with heartburn?  Torture.  If your baby struggles with acid reflux or colic, putting him flat on the crib is going to end in a scream-fest.  Try these things instead:

Use a Rock ‘n Play or Baby Swing

Why wake a sleeping babe?  He can sleep in a rock-n-play bassinet for up to 5 months if absolutely necessary.  The sitting up position will help gravity keep the milk down.

Slant the Crib Mattress

How do you do this?  By using a pillow, a handtowel, and some hair ties (or rubber bands).

What’s that?   

You want a how-to picture?  

It will cost you an Instagram Follow.

Now that you’ve paid up, *ahem* follow these steps:

  1. Place a pillow in between the crib mattress and the wire springs, so the mattress is slightly inclined.  (Slightly! We’re not building a ski ramp.)
  2. Roll up a hand bath towel the long way and secure the ends with hair ties.
  3. Slide the hand towel under the crib sheets and form a “U” shape.
  4. Place your baby’s bottom in the “U” like he’s sitting on a swing.  This will keep him from sliding down the slight incline you have on the crib mattress.
Note: Your crib sheets will be much tighter than these. I was using a bed to demonstrate.

If you don’t want to go through all that hassle, you could just pick up a baby bean bag instead.  It’s especially great for reflux babies.  Just don’t put the bean bag inside the crib, that’s a no-no.

How to Solve the Missing Mom Problem

The third factor Sherlock uncovered was the “I miss my mom!” issue.  Typically, this is seen after mom has gone back to work or had to be away for a few days, but some cuddlers used to being carried all day may feel this anxiety during naps and bedtime.

Stick Around a While

When you put your little one down in the crib, pull up a seat and sit next to him.  Sing or hum, or stroke his hands through the crib slats.  This will reassure him that you’re right there and not going anywhere.

Be prepared to do this a LOT at the beginning.  Eventually, you can sit closer to the door…then in the hall…each step a reminder that you are still there, even when his eyes close.

This sleeping technique is called the Sleep Lady Shuffle, and it’s just one of the many techniques we teach in our private personalized Sleep Sessions.

Mama’s Scent

You have a particular smell.  And your baby’s a bloodhound. He’s tagged that smell as “you” and finds comfort breathing it in.

Take an old T-shirt and use the tuck-in-trick I shared earlier; tuck the T-shirt under the mattress, leaving just a tip close to your baby’s nose.  This smell will comfort him and convince him you’re still there. (If you don’t want to use a blanket or t-shirt, a stuffed lovey can work just as well!)

This “smells like Mama” technique only works with newborns.  Older babies are brilliant enough to notice when you’re not in the room.  *Homer: DOH!*

Deduce and Conquer

These have worked well for other moms.  Test them for yourself, and then use your own Sherlock skills to create your own.  

Over the next 24 hours, watch and consider how your baby is sleeping.

  • Is he sleeping with pressure against his tummy, like in a sling or on your shoulder?
  • Have you been gone a lot recently?  Is there some separation anxiety kicking in?
  • Does he prefer to sleep on his side?  How can you safely recreate that?

Then  manipulate the crib to recreate that environment for a satisfied snooze.

You can overcome this hatred and turn it into a long-lost love. Just patiently woo your baby with these problem-solving suggestions Sherlock has provided!

Have You Read These Yet?

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200 thoughts on “Why Your Baby Hates His Crib (And What to Do About It)

  1. So, I have a 9 month old boy who has always napped in my arms and sleeps with us at night. The problem now is that I can’t get him to sleep in this crib no matter what I do. We are expecting again and need to get issue solved soon. I don’t know what to do. I wait until he’s drowsy or asleep and when I try to lay him down in his crib, he immediately wakes up and cries. He will then stand up or sit up and continue to cry until I pick him up. He cried for almost two hours one day and it broke my heart. HELP!

    1. Shay, usually the best way to work on this is to go slowly, and go through a variety of steps. This way you are gradually making changes that he can absorb. That usually works a lot better than a cold-turkey kind of approach (especially with babies who can cry for 2+ hours!). I would recommend setting up a Sleep Session with Gentle Sleep Coach Amy Potts. You’ll fill out an assessment and then talk together about your specific situation, your baby’s personality, and she can share a variety of methods to help make this transition easier. You’ll talk through everything and she’ll help you write up a personalized sleep plan you can be consistent with. (Because consistency is everything when it comes to these things!) Amy is amazing, she will absolutely get you started down the right path!

  2. Hi there, great website! I used the towel method under the sheets and wedge incline to transition my baby from the rock n play to the crib, it definitely helped! My 4 1/2 month old doesn’t sleep for long stretches at night, and we are all exhausted, don’t know if there are any tricks we haven’t thought of.. I’m able to put him down for most naps and at night drowsy but awake, sometimes he’ll cry a little when I put him down but I can usually soothe him without picking him up. Most nights though I can put him down without a struggle and he’ll fall asleep on his own. Problem is he wakes every 3 – 4 hours, I wait to see if it will escalate. Sometimes he’ll go back to sleep on his own, but most times it escalates.

    I try to soothe him during these night wakings without picking him up, but it’s always an epic fail! I wind up having to pick him up and either feed him or rock him back to sleep.  It’s torture at 5 and 6 am because he’ll wake up and even if I feed him he still needs to be rocked back to sleep – if he’s up in the 6 hour he’s crying but if we can get him back to sleep he wakes very happy at 7:15 – 7:30, so I know he still wants to be sleeping during his 6 am wake up…

    Is he at an age that he could be sleeping longer stretches? Or still too young for that? We are oh so tired!

    thanks in advance!!

    1. Alessandra, I’m glad you found that little towel trick helpful! There’s a huge milestone shift at this age – you should start to notice your baby becoming more alert during the day – less of a newborn and more of a baby. I would try slipping in there and doing a dreamfeeding at around 4:45 for a few days and see if that helps. A dreamfeeding is pretty much letting him sleep right through the feeding. No diaper changes (unless it’s poopy and just has to happen), talking, lights, anything. You want him to think the whole thing was a dream and go back to sleep. Do that for 2-3 days and then stop and see what happens. It’s possible he’s a bit hungrier because he’s going through this growth spurt.

      If you’re still struggling, I would encourage you to check out a Sleep Session. This let’s us read through your assessment and get on the phone with you for an hour – talking through what you’ve done, and helping you work through a Sleep Plan to be implementing over the next few weeks on your own.

      Or, if you’d rather we walk through the entire process with you, we do have a comprehensive sleep coaching program that has a 110% money back sleeping guarantee. Click here to see how we can guarantee your baby’s sleep improves.

  3. I have a 3 month 2 week old baby girl. Since she was 2 months old she was able to take day time naps in her crib with hardly any fuss. We put her to sleep drowsy if not awake, swaddled arms out, a pacifier (sometimes), and lovey and she is able to put herself to sleep. She takes 3 1.5 hour naps and a quick 30min nap 1.5-2 hours before bedtime at 7pm. Now that she is 3 months and I’m going back to work we wanted to transition her to her crib for night time sleep. We started that over a week ago and it has been a losing battle. After our bedtime routine we put her down and she is able to put herself to sleep, but then every 30-45min she is up crying and won’t have anything to do with the crib. After hours of crying and soothing and multiple nights, my husband and I gave up. She is now back in our room in a pack and play and sleeping like before at night and daytime naps are still unaffected and no problems with the crib.

    1. Nikki,

      Firstly, it’s very common for there to be some sleep regressions when Mom goes back to work. She’s craving more Mom time, so she’s waking up more at night. Secondly, there’s a growth spurt around this age which can also be playing a factor. I would perhaps slip in a dreamfeed at around 10-11pm at night, to see if that can help.

      Don’t be too hard on yourself for “Giving up”. This is the season where it’s okay to just do whatever works. She’s still soooo little. If you’d like to get a second pair of professional eyes on her daily schedule and help you know where to make some adjustments, Amy and I would love to help you with a Sleep Session here.

      This way we can look over and analyze your Sleep Logs and perhaps give you some pointers on what she might be needing, and what are some gentle things you can do to shape her current sleep. Click here to learn more about these one-on-one sessions.

      I hope this can encourage you, Nikki!

  4. Our 8 month old will now not sleep in crib, but only on mommy, either on the breast or on my lap.  We put him down so slowly into crib I do not even know how he knows 🙂 He SCREAMS as soon as he is put in crib, and falls instantly asleep on mommy.  What are our steps? Thank you 🙂

    1. Melissa, helping a baby to learn how to fall asleep alone (without requiring mom and dad to do anything), is a huge first step in healthy sleep habits. The name of the game when they’re newborns is SURVIVAL, right? We do whatever we need to do to help everyone sleep. Now that he’s older, though, he can learn how to self-soothe and fall and STAY asleep on their own. I would recommend taking a look at our one-on-one Sleep Sessions. There are several different ways to help your baby get used to the crib, and learn to fall asleep on his own. Talking through those methods, and learning more about your parenting style and his temperament, we can do a much better job in making a recommendation that will be easiest and most effective for you to use. This way we can see the big picture and make the best recommendations for YOUR family. In your situation, I would recommend looking at it. This way we can give you several tools to put into your parenting toolkit moving forward!

  5. My 4 month old has been sleeping in a rock and play since about 3 weeks (he was in a cradle prior). It’s been amazing for us, hands down one of the best purchases we made. But it’s time to transition out of it. He pushes with his legs and even with being buckled in it seems like he will push himself right out! I’m just not as comfortable with him in it anymore. Since he was about 8-9 weeks we started him sleeping in his crib for his daytime naps to get used to the crib. Those naps last anywhere from 30-60 minutes. (He has never been a good napper though). During the day I’ll put him in his crib to play while I draw up a bath, or if I’m folding laundry, etc. Usually he plays in his crib just fine. The problem just seems to be at night. When I first put him down he might sleep for an hour or two. (Side note – since about 8 weeks, he has slept for 8-10 hours a night in the rock and play). But after that, no matter how zonked out he is in my arms, the second I put him down in the crib he wakes up screaming. If I put him in the rock and play he is out. I have tried putting him down when drowsy but he hasn’t figured out good self soothing yet. I can’t figure out what it is bout the night time sleeping that he doesn’t like with the crib.

    Some things I have noticed….
    – usually he rolls to his side to sleep, he won’t stay that way all night, but that seems to be his comfort spot. He also sleeps on his tummy well…he likes to curl up on my chest and lay his head on my shoulder.
    – when on his back in the crib he constantly startles himself awake, arms and legs flying. I haven’t tried swaddling him cause he didn’t even like that as a newborn. By three weeks we had stopped swaddling him altogether and his arms were never swaddled.
    – he is 4 months and I went back to work, so we saw a difference for a few nights in him just wanting extra cuddles in the middle of the night, but those seem to have passed now. He also started wanting to eat again in the middle of the night for a while, but that seems to have gone also.
    – he does seem to like a blanket to hold on to. In the Rock and play we would have one under his butt that would come up over his feet, but not so much extra fabric that he could pull it over his face. He would always play with the blanket to soothe.

    He simply just doesn’t sleep well in his crib at night and I am really needing to transition him. Would love any advice!!

    Btw – I just have to say – I love your site. So funny and actually helpful!! Thank you!

    1. I’m glad you’re enjoying the website, Emily! Sounds like you have a few sleeping goals to work on….

      1. Transitioning him into the crib and away from the Rock and Play with as little disruption as possible.
      2. Helping him to fall asleep on his own (and stay that way!)
      3. Introducing self-soothing techniques
      3. Gently weaning off unneeded nighttime feedings
      4. Working to even out his naps

      Since you have more than one thing to work on here, I would encourage you to consider working with me and Amy in the Super Sleeper Coaching Program. We can help you tackle all of those issues, by doing a comprehensive consultation and 4-5 weeks of Follow-Up calls. Plus, we offer a 110% Money Back Guarantee to parents, so you know we are as serious about your success as you are. 🙂

      This would allow us to look at your full family’s assessment, read through your sleep logs, and then discuss with you several coaching methods, and which ones to use when – depending on your parenting preferences and your baby’s personality. Read more about the Super Sleeper Coaching Program.

      I wish I could be more specific, but there are so many things here, all in a certain order, that my response would end up looking a lot like a novel. Talking one-on-one with you, would take all the information and make it more effective, since we can hear the finer details that can be easily overlooked in a typed response, but end up being really important in the long term plan.

  6. Establishing the same simple routine every night prior to putting the baby down to sleep is very important. Consistency pays off in the long run. If the training is done correctly the baby should be happy to go to bed (no crying) by night 4. Best of luck!… http:\www.howtogetbabytosleepincrib.com

  7. For Acid Reflux, we built a step that went under the cribs legs to raise up the head of the bed a bit, and then we also tried laying a pool noodle under the mattress to raise up the mattress these were safer options then having something blocking his face because our little one turned into a side/belly sleeper and would flip over to the side once laid in the crib.

  8. We are struggling with the crib for our 3 month old, and I honestly just don’t feel like she sleeps enough…but perhaps babies are different. She consistently takes a morning nap in her swing (which is in the living room) but that nap can be anywhere from 30-90 minutes. She gets cat naps in the afternoon and then goes down at night around 930-10. In the crib we have a small wedge and white noise. I will try the ‘U’ from your recommendation. She is very well swaddled which she fights and eventually gives in. But she is often up again within 3 hours. Sometimes I can calm her and get her back to sleep, but not much. She will then nurse for a bit and sleep another two to three hours in our bed only. I don’t think she is that hungry since she only nurses fifteen minutes or so. I am not sleeping well with her in the bed just paranoid I guess. Any tips other than the U? Should we try nap time in the crib? Move her swing into her room?
    Thanks in advance!

    1. Jennifer,

      The first thing I would say is check to make sure that she is getting a FULL feeding when you’re breastfeeding her. This may mean stripping her to her diaper and just wrapping her in a blanket (if she’s too comfortable she might sleep instead of eat). When she pulls away, you want to know she got a full feeding, however long that takes. If you find it’s taking longer that you thought then start her bedtime routine sooner. And I would recommend not letting her nap anytime past 8 or 8:30 so she will be ready for bed by 9:30-10:00. Have you seen this article with schedule suggestions for a 3 month old?

      I think you’re on the right track suggesting a transition from the swing to the crib. I would do this slowly, over a couple of days. Start by moving the swing into the bedroom (good idea, mom!). Put her in it for her morning nap and start the swing (I am assuming that the movement is part of why she likes the swing, I could be wrong). When she falls asleep then go in and turn off the swing. Do this for all three naps that day. The next morning try putting her to sleep in the swing but not turning it on. Do this for all three naps that day. The next day try putting her in her crib with the u shaped swing and elevated mattress (don’t forget to remove the swing from the room, out of sight, out of mind…we hope!).

      One last thing, make sure her nursery is very dark for her daytime naps, so dark you need a night light to see where you are going. 🙂

      Hope this helps!

  9. As a pediatrician I have to comment on how dangerous your advice in this article is. Not only is belly sleeping unsafe, but it’s even worse when swaddled. Studies show that the Angelcare (nor any other monitor) does NOT reduce the incidence of crib death so it does not make these practices safe. Since starting the back to sleep campaign we have reduced SIDS by 50% and telling people it’s ok to ignore that advice is irresponsible. You also suggest other things that increase SIDS like putting a blanket and other objects in the crib. As a sleep expert you have a responsibility to teach people how to keep their babies safe while learning good sleep habits. Shame on you!

    1. You are right, as a sleep expert I do have a responsibility to teach people how to keep their babies safe while learning good sleep habits. I take that very seriously, so I have re-edited the article to try to make sure there is less confusion on what I am recommending and what I’m explaining. My purpose here was to explain how we did things for our troubled sleeper, helping parents who feel stuck between co-sleeping and tummy-sleeping.

      With most babies, back to sleep is great, because many babies will sleep just fine that way. That said, if life consisted of perfect babies who did everything doctors and sleep experts said, I would have no need to write an article like this. I’m attempting to help parents who need more than just “put your baby in his crib on his back and let him scream”, because trust me, those parents are going to end up co-sleeping dangerously (as opposed to following safe co-sleeping guidelines created by Dr. McKenna).

      Thanks for posting your comment, though. It was an indicator that I was being unclear in my writing and needed to make some adjustments.

  10. So my son is 8 days old today. The first few days he slept ok but as of last night, I was up until 4am with him and nothing worked. I finally caved and he slept happily with me. During the day he sleeps very well on my chest and sleeps ok in his swing for about an hr or so. He also will sleep in the middle of my boppy pillow that I use to breastfeed with. I’m guessing he likes to sleep at an incline. I swaddle him every night and when he does sleep, he almost always turns his head to the side or he rolls over on to his side (I didn’t think newborns could do that lol). I’ve tried putting the boppy pillow in the crib with him like he sleeps during the day but he still screams bloody murder. I’m not sure what is appropriate for a newborn this young. I’m also unsure if the fact that I worked night shift my entire pregnancy, has caused him to sleep all day and want to stay up almost all night

    1. Mary,

      I recommend you try a Rock N Play. This should be perfect for your little guy since he seems to like an incline. I don’t recommend putting the Boppy in the crib, that could be a suffocation hazard. I think you will do well with the Rock N Play though. You can also use a carrier to help with nap times during the day if he wants to be in your arms all the time. This will help you feel less stuck in one position!

      It could be possible that he has his days and nights mixed up because of your schedule during the pregnancy. However, a lot of babies get mixed up in this way. As he gets older you can help him straighten that out by more interaction during the day. Right now though, it’s just get sleep whenever you can and give him lots of snuggles. These early days are intense but very precious. They will be over before you know it!

  11. I have a 9week old daughter with reflux and we are trying to wean her from swing to crib with wedge. I will be heading back to work very soon and she will be in daycare and have no choice but to sleep in a crib. We only get rest at night if she sleeps in her swing because as soon as we put her in her crib she startles herself awake and screams to the point of spitting up. We attempted the cio and that was the result. I am going to try the u-shape at her feet I’m sure she’s used to being snuggled in her swing but she hates swaddling. Thanks for any advice

    1. Hillary,

      Have you tried a Rock N Play? These work so well for babies with reflux because they keep the head elevated (like the swing). If this works then maybe you can take it to daycare with her. It’s very portable!

      Also, have you considered starting her on probiotics? These have been proven to help babies with reflux.

  12. Hi,my daughter is 13 months and use to sleep in the crib and now wants nothing to do it it. If we’re lucky she might sleep for an hour or so and then cries to come in our bed. Once we bring her in she knocks out like nothing. Are there any suggestions to make her feel more safe and comfortable in her crib so mommy and daddy can have some decent sleep?

    1. Rachel,

      I recommend you follow our steps to wean from cosleeping. This might give her enough time to feel secure in her own crib again.
      Here they are:
      1. Start having playtime in the nursery (if you haven’t already)
      • Begin with playing with her on the floor of the nursery for a day or two.
      • Then play with her while she’s in the crib for a few days.
      • Then let her play in the crib while you sit next to her and read a book or something.
      • Then let her play in the crib with you sitting there, then “remember” something after a few minutes and leave (no talking or eye contact, just leave when he seems distracted. If she cries, come in immediately with smiles. Do this for several days.
      2. In the meantime, start napping with her on the floor of the nursery on a mattress for 2 days.

      3. Then put her in the crib for the morning nap and “nap” in a chair (without making eye contact). If she stands, don’t speak, but go over and lay her back down consistently until she gets the message and stays down.

      4. Once she’s napping in the crib better, you can do the same thing for nighttime sleep. Use the shuffle with her, adding two days in the beginning where you sleep the night on the floor on a mattress while she’s in her crib.

  13. I read this article and all the comments 2 nights ago when I had to put my 5 month old son in his crib at night for the first time. He’s been sleeping in his rock n play for the past several months. Just a few weeks ago I started putting him in the crib for day time naps to get him used to it. He’s starting to roll over in his rock n play so I just cold turkey took that away. Last night he did pretty well. He doesn’t scream super long anymore when I put him in the crib and usually ends up rolling himself over to his tummy and finally falling asleep. The only problem he only sleeps for 1.5-2 hours at a time at night now. Sometimes less during the day which I don’t mind but going in every 2 hours at night to calm him back down to sleep is going to get old. Is there something I can do to help him sleep longer stretches again? I have read about sleep training. Is he waking so often just because of the change from rock n play to crib? He used to wake up every 4-5 hours in the rock n play. Any advice would help!

    1. You’re probably dealing more with the 4-5 month old sleep regression here. If your baby is older than 18 weeks and is READY, you can start sleep coaching. Click here for a DIY approach on how to do that. If he’s younger than 18 weeks, and is still in the middle of his growth spurt (ask yourself = does he seem more alert now? more like a BABY than a newborn? If so, you’re either almost through that growth spurt, or done entirely!), you can do some sleep shaping – like getting him into a better daytime routine, keeping the nursery dark, and avoiding other sleep training mistakes.

      The difference between sleep coaching and sleep shaping is that in SHAPING we are doing everything we can outside of actually requiring anything from the baby. If you’re not sure, perhaps consider taking one of my Sleep Coaching Workshops and we can talk things over together.

  14. I have a 6 month old (5 wks early) who won’t sleep anywhere but in my bed, in my arm, or on top of a pillow. I’ve tried mini/travel play pen that has the adjusted high flat surface. That doesn’t last 5 minutes. He did sleep in rock n play some but never through the night. His reflux is really bad. We have upper GI scheduled next week. He cannot sleep on his stomach, he doesn’t want to anyway, because he tries to nurse blanket or sheet. I’ve let him nap in rock n play on a pillow and he likes that. I think it has a lot to do with soft surfaces. What do you suggest?

    1. Cory,

      It sounds like you are on the right track taking your little guy in for an upper GI. You mentioned soft surfaces and I’m sure that’s fine in the Rock N Play because he is on his back and strapped in (though he’s probably getting too big for this, yes?). I wouldn’t add pillows to his crib though (suffocation hazard, I’m sure you already know this!). Have you tried the slanted seat that is described in this article? If you haven’t yet, you might start with that. I just recommend that the first time you try would be a daytime nap so you can keep a little eye on him. It really does sound like he needs that elevated head!

      I hope the GI sheds some light for you and your little one.

      One last thing, if you haven’t tried this already, I recommend that you start him on probiotics. These can really help babies with reflux.

  15. Hi! I have a sweet 16 week (12 week adjusted) old baby girl who literally won’t sleep anywhere but in someone’s arms. She was sleeping pretty good next to me in the bed, but I am scared of co-sleeping now that she’s learning to roll over. She does have reflux, but I’ve got to find a way for her to sleep in her crib. Suggestions?

    1. Amy,

      Have you tried a Rock N Play? This is a good option for babies who don’t want to be put down. It helps them feel supported and save (avoids the “wide open” feel of a crib).

  16. My son is six weeks old and is too big for his bassinet but won’t sleep in his crib he is used to falling asleep on my boob my sleeps with his butt in the air and I can move him onto my bed while he’s sleeping just fine but as soon as I try his crib he screams. He screams till he can’t breathe and now that I’m back at work I don’t know what to do in having a hard time staying up with him. I was considering getting a mattress pad so it’s not so stiff but everyone says it’s a really bad idea but the think it’s he had really good head control and he can hold his head up for ten minutes ata time

    1. Destiny,

      Yes, everyone is right, in this instance! It would be a bad idea to put a mattress pad in his crib, definitely a suffocation hazard! Have you tried a Rock N Play? This works better than a bassinet or a crib because it helps solve the wide open space problem and makes your little one feel more secure (isn’t that a big reason of why he prefers your arms?). If you can, try to find a friend’s to borrow and give it a try. Hope it helps!

  17. Helko. My baby is 13 weeks old but was premature so correction is 1 month old. Every time i feed my daughter she hates being put down. At night when its bed time i fed her and everything the put her i her crib but she will cry and moan to herself for a good 3/4 hours untill i go to her? Helo im notbgetting any sleep

    1. Sophie,

      This is an intense time, isn’t it (especially with a preemie!)? It’s a wonderful time because you have a brand new baby, your very own, but it’s also so hard to go without sleep. Have you tried a Rock N Play? This is usually a good fit for babies that need a little extra cuddle. It seems to help them feel more secure. Also, do you have a baby carrier? If not, I highly recommend getting one (or borrowing one from a friend). Little ones, especially preemies, do well with some “close to mama” time during the day. This way you can still do other things cause your hands are free and your little one will get that mama snuggle time. Hopefully this will help your baby be more willing to sleep at night. This article talks more about the benefits of baby carrying.

  18. My baby Liam is 4 months old.
    At 1 month old we eliminated the swaddle and he slept for nine hours at night we were in heaven!! 3 months hit and he forgot everything!! I breastfeed and give formula and that’s how it was from week two. We started swaddling him again rocking shhhhing the whole 5 s’s he will only sleep for 30 min-hour during the day and couple of hours during the night. He knows his crib but he will sleep for long periods of time only in the boppy pillow or on our bed that’s extra plush. He screams bloody murder I wear ear plugs hold his hand tap on him to calm him down nothing helps only the hands. What to do what has happened?!! Helpppp

    1. Karina,

      Sounds like your little guy is kinda precocious! It sounds like he hit his 4 month milestones (and sleep regression!) a little early. The good news is that now that he’s at this stage he should have the skills needed to self soothe, though he might need a little help from you to realize this! Since he’s doing such a lot of crying I would check in with your doctor before you start sleep training just to make sure that everything is fine medically. After you get the go ahead, take a look at these articles to get you started. Also, I’m wondering if you might want to try a Rock N Play for a month (if he isn’t too big already) since he seems to prefer the support of a boppy. Check that with your doctor as well. You will probably want to make sure you strap him in for safety.
      Hope this helps during this time of transition!

  19. Hi there! Just read all the comments and definitely going to try the sleep shuffle to get my LO sleeping in the crib again. My almost 6 mth old baby girl loves sleeping on mine or my hubby’s chest and has since she was a newborn. We constantly let her sleep on us during the day for the first 3 mths. We were able to swaddle her at night and she was a good sleeper in her bassinet for first 3 mths, with her paci. Then we decided shortly after to try the crib. She wouldn’t fall asleep on her own in it, so we would let her fall asleep on us and bring her to the crib. For about a week, she was awesome! Then around 4 mths she got a cold from daycare and was so stuffed up, she would wake herself up constantly because of the congestion or her paci came out. We would have to get up and put her paci back in her mouth, which she is also used to from being a newborn (regretting it because i think it’s now her crutch). The cold wouldn’t get better and she wasn’t sleeping so i started letting her sleep on my chest in our bed. Fast forward about 2 months of co-sleeping in our king size bed later—she turns 6 mths old on the 30th and is definitely not a fan of the crib. Tonight at midnight was my first night trying to get her to sleep in the crib. She slept for about an hour and then woke up around 1. im still up with her at 3:35am. Tried the shuffle. Tried without the paci at first then thought maybe TOO much change so gave it to her. Gave her bath because that usually gets her sleepy. She was fussing mostly not crying terribly for the first hour. Let her cry for about 5 mins and then just fed her a bottle. Going to try to put her down again and hope she sleeps! Good thing is her nursery is connected to our bedroom so convenient but she’s not feeling the crib. Any advice is appreciated, thanks in advance!!!!!

    1. Mel,

      The great news is that it is almost impossible to ruin a baby in regards to sleep! 🙂 Little ones learn fast.
      Glad to hear you started with the Sleep Shuffle. If this isn’t working then you might want to add a step or two, just because it’s a big transition from co-sleeping to crib sleeping.
      Here’s what I recommend:

      1. Start having playtime in the nursery (if you haven’t already)
      • Begin with playing with her on the floor of the nursery for a day or two.
      • Then play with her while she’s in the crib for a few days.
      • Then let her play in the crib while you sit next to her and read a book or something.
      • Then let her play in the crib with you sitting there, then “remember” something after a few minutes and leave (no talking or eye contact, just leave when she seems distracted. If she cries, come in immediately with smiles. Do this for several days.
      2. In the meantime, start napping with her on the floor of the nursery on a mattress for 2 days.

      3. Then put her in the crib for the morning nap and “nap” in a chair (without making eye contact). If she stands, don’t speak, but go over and lay her back down consistently until she gets the message and stays down.

      4. Once she’s napping in the crib better, you can do the same thing for nighttime sleep. Use the shuffle with her, adding two days in the beginning where you sleep the night on the floor on a mattress while she’s in her crib.

      You might not need to do all of these steps since this would usually be for babies that have been co-sleeping for 9 months (or longer!). I give them to you and you can decide what fits best for your little one. Hope this does the trick!

  20. Hello,

    I have been reading a lot of the Q & A about sleepless little ones. I feel so desperate to get my girl into her crib and would really appreciate any advice. My LO came a few weeks early and tiny- the doc instructed us to wake her every 2 hours to feed. Additionally she was diagnosed with reflux. Since day one she was fussy and sensitive, and NOT a good sleeper. At months 1 and 2 she was averaging only about 10 hours a day. The doctor suggested I wrap her for naps and continue co-sleeping at night. So here were are, 6months 2 weeks later- she is still sensitive, and very snuggly and WILL NOT sleep unless I am right there with her skin to skin. I wear her for all of her naps ( which only last about 30-40min 🙁 ) and at night I rock her to sleep and then have to crawl into bed with her.  She wakes up every 2 hours and feeds ( out of habit ) and will usually go back down (I have been trying to prolong this to 3 hours by rocking her back to sleep). I am at a loss. I would hate to do a cry it out with her but literally every time I put her down with out me she screams to no avail, please note she has not learned to self soothe. She also dislikes the car  and will cry for the whole hour commute to her grandparents, sometimes to the point of vomiting. I don’t want a similar effect to happen with transitioning her to the bed.

    I have read some of your advice for similar little ones, using a t-shirt that smells of me, or putting her down while sitting in the room with her ( I have not tried these methods in her crib, but have in the bed and it has not worked)..how long should I let her cry? It breaks my heart so I usually just rub her back and pick her up minutes later because her cry is so frantic. PLEASE please please offer us some advice.

     

    1. Sophie,

      This can be a hard transition, I know, but the good news is that babies learn quickly! You two can do this!
      Now that she is 6 months old she has the ability to self-soothe. That’s great news! You will just need to help her learn how.

      Here are some ideas of how to transition from co-sleeping to crib sleeping:

      1. Start having playtime in the nursery (if you haven’t already)
      • Begin with playing with her on the floor of the nursery for a day or two.
      • Then play with her while he’s in the crib for a few days.
      • Then let her play in the crib while you sit next to her and read a book or something.
      • Then let her play in the crib with you sitting there, then “remember” something after a few minutes and leave (no talking or eye contact,
      just leave when she seems distracted. If she cries, come in immediately with smiles. Do this for several days.
      2. In the meantime, start napping with her on the floor of the nursery on a mattress for 2 days.

      3. Then put her in the crib for the morning nap and “nap” in a chair (without making eye contact). If she stands, don’t speak, but go over and lay her back down consistently until she gets the message and stays down (Guessing that your little one isn’t standing yet) 🙂

      4. Once she’s napping in the crib better, you can do the same thing for nighttime sleep. Use the shuffle with her, adding two days in the beginning where you sleep the night on the floor on a mattress while she’s in her crib.

      Hope this does the trick!

    2. Hello! Thank you for response. I finally got the courage to go with it and our LO is now sleeping in her crib ( its been a whopping 10days and I am SO PROUD)! She fights the sleep but eventually gets herself down ( although I am close by with the shh-pat). What we are now encountering is increased feedings.  She is waking up every 60-90min ( end of a sleep cycle maybe?) and is unable to self soothe, no matter how much I shh-pat she still screams ( up to an HOUR). I am so exhausted that I pick her up and nurse her and she will usually go back into her crib, get herself cozy sleep for an hour or so and the whole process starts up again. I am so grateful that she is at least sleeping in her bed but I feel her night routine is all out of whack. Do you have any advice on how to taper down her feedings? Her doctor said it would be fine to keep 1 or 2 ( due to her low weight) but I am unsure on how/when to keep some and not other. Are there any links on here that cover something like this? I would really appreciate ANY advise!

       

      Thank you in advance!

      -Sophie

    3. Sophie,

      So glad things are going well with the crib. 🙂

      Remind me, how old is your little one? Could this be a growth spurt?

      If, however, she has been up to this for more than a week then it’s not a growth spurt. She might be snacking instead of getting a full feed. The first thing I would do is try to keep her awake so she gets a FULL feeding when you’re breastfeeding her. This may mean stripping her to her diaper and wrapping her in a blanket. It may mean gently blowing on her little cheeks to keep her focused on the “task” of eating. It may even mean using a warm washcloth (warm!) to dab her cheek every now and then. When she pulls away, you want to know she got a full feeding, however long that takes.

      Give this a try and see if it helps!

  21. Hello,

    We are trying to wean our 15 week old son from rock and play to crib. I do not put him in the rock and play at all during the day. We is a cat napper because he has a nosey disposition. He naps in bouncy chair, carrier during walks, and swing. He will not nap in crib. I started putting him in the crib in the morning for play, rocking him to sleep and trying for naps then because he sleeps through the night only in rock and play we leave him in there. He cries hysterically if he is in the crib and we aren’t there. Help!

    1. Lynn,

      Have you tried the sling with the elevated mattress as described in this article? If not, I think that would be a good next step for you. It’s kind hard for babies who have done well with a slightly elevated head to go to a flat mattress. Hope it does the trick!

  22. Hi Heather,

    I was wondering if you could help. My 9 week old won’t sleep anywhere in the day apart from in my arms. He will go in his swing while awake for 10 minutes but generally hates to be put down. What is strange is that at night he is fine, he falls asleep in his Dad’s arms at 8.30 as we sit on the sofa and does his longest stretch of sleep till 11.00. We then change him, breastfeed in bed till he falls asleep and slide him over to our co-sleeper crib, where he happily goes back and falls asleep till 8.30m whilst still feeding every 2-3 hours.

    I’ve tried doing the same thing in the day of having a feed in bed before sliding across as I lie next to him, it’s nice and dark as we have black out blinds but he wakes up within a minute and starts screaming. He sleeps like a dream in a baby carrier but I still have the remnants of SPD from pregnancy so this is painful for me. He does have reflux which he’s having medication for. I was wondering if you could suggest anything? I’m getting to the point where I’m stopping even trying to put him down because it causes a meltdown which seems to last all day. Thanks so much!

    1. Laura,

      So sorry your little guy doesn’t like daytime sleep! The first thing that came to mind is a Rock N Play. Do you have one? If not, I recommend you give it a try. It’s shaped so that your little one will feel very safe and secure. I hope this can help him during the day. So great that he is sleeping at night! The other thought is just a reminder (you probably already know this) to keep him upright for 20-30 minutes after each feed. Since he has reflux I would also recommend you give him probiotic drops. These have been proven to help little ones with reflux, they help their little digestive tracts work more efficiently!

  23. Hi I have a 6 weeks old baby who has difficulty sleeping on her own and I need help. She can’t sleep without being nursed. And nursing could take hours. Should i mention she uses me as a human pacifer. even when I finish nursing and gently place her down when she’s fully asleep, she would wake up as soon as I place her on the bed. She twists, turns, and stretches her body and arches her back as if there are needles and pins underneath them or something. The only way she’ll sleep for a long time is on my chest after nursing. How do I break this habit? How can i adjust to help her sleep on her own without being nursed.

    1. So sorry to hear of your predicament! I can remember, not so long ago, being in a similar place with my youngest. I have a couple of thoughts.
      The first thing I would do is try to keep her awake so she gets a FULL feeding when you’re breastfeeding her. This may mean stripping her to her diaper and wrapping her in a blanket. It may mean gently blowing on her little cheeks to keep her focused on the “task” of eating. It may even mean using a warm washcloth (warm!) to dab her cheek every now and then. When she pulls away, you want to know she got a full feeding, however long that takes.
      The second thing is consider a Rock n Play. It’s great for babies who love to cuddle because it makes them feel safe and supported. It worked like magic for my little one! 🙂 Also, if you do have a cuddler, sounds like you do :), then a baby carrier could save your sanity! I use mine when I need my hands free and my baby feels the need to be close. Take a look at this article for many fun options.

  24. I need help, My now 7 month old son does not sleep in his crib at night, he was sleeping in a rocker from about 2 months until 5 months once he was big and strong enough to roll over I new I had to get him into the crib. Its been an absolute nightmare since. he went from being swaddled and in his rocker to now just in his crib. I have had him on a routine since about one month. We have tried the CIO method but he seems to explode after a few minutes of being ignored. He falls asleep to me rocking bouncing and walking through the rooms. But will wake up every hour and a half to 2 hours. I am the only one who does the nighttime routine. I am exhausted .He ends up in our bed every night sleeping in my arms. I never wanted to have him in the bed and I am scared that now it is to late to reverse the habit. What can I do. Ive looked at a million articles it seems and tried so many different things the most common thing im told is to let him cry but he seems to go from 0 to 100 real quick and the longer I let him cry the longer it takes to soothe him afterwards.please tell me what im doing wrong and how I can fix this

    1. Conetta, some babies can handle CIO fine. Other babies do NOT. I’ve had both, so I totally understand where you are right now! You’re not doing anything wrong, this is the results of having unique babies with their own personalities. 🙂 Fortunately, CIO isn’t the only coaching method out there. The goal is to help our children learn how to sleep independently all night long. With that being the goal, there are several different ways we can get there.

      The first method I like to present is the Sleep Shuffle. If you haven’t read my article on this method, start here. Keep in mind that if you’ve used CIO in the past, it may take a little longer for him to calm down and learn what you expect from him. You absolutely can pick him up, as long as you follow the rest of the rules of the Shuffle (detailed in that article).

      If you don’t think that method will work for him, you could sign up for one of my Baby Sleep Workshops and we could discuss the other methods and decide on a sleep plan you can be consistent with that would serve him best. I offer the workshops two Saturdays a month, for a maximum of 3 families. You can get the details on those workshops here.

      There’s absolutely a light at the end of the Tired Tunnel. Anyway I can help you see it and head that way, I’d like to help – either through the articles on this site, or the workshop, or even one-on-one coaching, if that’s what helps. You’ll get there!

  25. Hi-My baby is just over 4 months and is going through the regression period you mention above. He is in his crib since 6 weeks but now is so active that when he wakes about 5 times a night he gets frustrated and starts moving around and even hits his head on the rails until I shush him back. I am trying the incline tonight and should note he sleeps on his tummy now. Does it sound like I am doing everything right and safe? Do I just wait this period out until he goes back to being a non-restless sleeper? Thank you.

    1. Jenna,

      This can be a frustrating time! It does sound like you are doing a great job working things out for him. The incline with the sling is only designed for back sleeper though. It sounds like this article about crib bumpers might be a help to you!

  26. I’m so glad I found this site! So much good content that I can’t wait to read through!

    Last night, my 3.5 month old son went to sleep in his crib. He woke up several times, about 10 minutes apart. He finally fell asleep in my spare bed, where he and I have co-slept here and there since he was born. I set up the camera in there and left him. He slept fine. My question is, why would he prefer the bed with no one else in it? It’s certainly bigger than the crib so not feeling snug wouldn’t be the answer. He is too long for the RnP. I’ve tried the mattress incline trick. I’ve tried the shuffle. I’ve tried leaving him in the crib awake, to fall asleep on his own. I’ve tried a routine…bath, massage, rock, read, sing, white noise, classical music, etc. Some nights are great! Some I am up every hour. I don’t want to create a monster, but I also don’t believe in letting him scream, alone. I let him scream about 5 min to see if he’ll fall asleep on his own before going to him.

    Naps are often worse than bedtime. I try to anticipate when to put him down, he screams the second he hits the crib. Or is put down anywhere, really. I know that when we get to the cues of him pulling his ears and rubbing his eyes, it will be harder to get him down. I feel like either way turns into a huge struggle to get to sleep. And then often, he will just nap for 20 min.

     

    I’m aware of something called the 4 month sleep regression, but to be honest, his sleep has never been that great so there’s not much to regress from lol. We have a mamaroo, he’s nearly too tall for. It’s hit or miss for getting him to sleep. Same thing with the bouncer. I liked the “Snuggle Me” product that was posted in the article, wish I saw this when he was a newborn but it’s pretty expensive and I’m sure he’ll be too tall for it….also I would really prefer to not create any new crutches I’ll have to undo later.

    Anything else I can try or that you suggest? Thank you!!!

  27. Hi,
    Wondering if I could get some sort of advice and help! My daughter has been sleeping in her cot since she was around 4 months old. She is now 13 months old and she hates it. She used to sleep in there through the night then she started waking again. She started waking once a night about a month ago but would go back to sleep after a cuddle and I would put her back in her cot and ahe would be fine. However, she started waking up a couple hours after I put her down. And then every 2 hours from there on. I found out she was teething, she just cut her first two teeth. I thought that was the problem. But it has just gotten worse and worse. Now she will not sleep in her cot when she goes down for more than an hour and she won’t go back in her cot when she’s back asleep, I wait til she’s back asleep and she senses it and cries and cries. But if I lay her in her pram she will go straight back to sleep or she will lay there and drift back to aleep.

    Please don’t judge, I don’t need that. I’m just so tired and I don’t know what to do. I need help. Please help me.

    1. Krystal,

      OH, I hope that you can tell from our site that the last thing we would do is judge you. You are doing a tough job, mama, and we want you to succeed (and get a little more sleep, huh?!)!

      Often teething is the start of sleep problems but then when the teething is done the beautiful sleep doesn’t return…sadness. 🙁
      The first thing you should consider, though you probably already have, is how her eating is going. How is she doing with solids? Has she ever shown signs of acid reflux (crying more at 20-30 minutes after a feed, spitting up a lot…)? I just wonder since she prefers the pram over the cot. I am assuming that in the pram her head is elevated. If this rings a bell then have a conversation with your doctor about acid reflux (take a look at this article for a good definition of acid reflux).

      Once you rule out a medical reason then you can safely switch to sleep training. We like to recommend starting with a very gentle method called the sleep shuffle. You can find instructions in this article.
      I also like to recommend the Sleep Workshops that Heather does. The workshop is live so you get a chance to talk through your situation with Heather. She helps you find a sleep plan that will work for your family. This is a great option when the situation seems complicated and you feel like you are out of ideas!

      I hope that you and your little one will find a way back to better sleep soon!

  28. My 2 month old sleeps in his crib fine at night, but he won’t nap in it. I lay him in there when he falls asleep during the day but he wakes up as soon as I do. He fights sleep really bad, which is part of the problem I think. Once he’s a little older, I know I can lay him down drowsy and he’ll learn to put himself to sleep but I feel like he’s still a little young to self soothe right now. Because he fights it, usually rocking him is the only way I can get him to fall asleep. He naps pretty good in the bouncer or swing, but he’s a big boy and will probably outgrow them in the next couple of months so I really want to get him napping in the crib. I can’t figure out why he won’t sleep there during the day when he does fine at night. Any suggestions for getting him to nap
    in the crib and to help with him fighting sleep? I’m hoping he’ll grow out of it! Thanks!

    1. Kathryn,

      Congratulations on your new little one! Your instincts are right about your little guy being too young to self-soothe. After he passes his 4 month milestones he will start to move a lot and his self soothing skills will also improve. Until then, yes, you can certainly rock him to help him get the sleep he needs. Also, I know you said he is a big boy but it might be worth inquiring of friends to see if anyone has a Rock N Play you can borrow. These seem to work better for little ones because they help the baby feel more secure. I think of these (along with the swing or bouncer) as a way to help him through til the 4 month (or so) mark.

      Hope this helps!

  29. Hi Heather,
    I need some major reassurance and guidance. I have a 3 y/o who was a terrible sleeper and still ends up in our bed sometime in the middle of the night. He didn’t sleep anywhere but on my chest the first three months of his life. We now have an almost 8 week old girl, she sleeps in a co sleeper at night but won’t nap anywhere but the swing. She sleeps well in it, nearly 3 hrs at a time and most of the day with short feedings/cuddles but will not sleep in the rocker like she did at the beginning or in the stroller when we go for a walk. She does fall asleep pretty quickly in the car seat when driving. I am terrified of how I’m going to wean her when it’s time to set a schedule and transition to the crib and am having major anxiety about it. I’m happy at least she sleeps off of me but I’m worried I’m creating a problem that will be hard to fix. Please help!!!
    Thank you,
    Worried Mommy T

    1. Worried Mommy,

      I hope it will help calm your worries for me to say that each child is SO very different from the next. You have discovered this already, I know. That can be a very good thing though (for example in this situation!). My question is, have you tried a Rock N Play with your little girl? If not, I highly recommend it. It helps little ones feel more secure. Also, if she liked the swing to begin with she might do better with the elevated head.
      In addition, have you tried a baby carrier for walks? It will help your little one feel more secure and get in a bit more cuddle time with you. Maybe this will make it easier for her to sleep then when she needs to sleep. Here’s an article about baby carriers if you want to read up on them.

      Hope this makes a difference!

  30. CIO (cry it out method) is an unhealthy way to get babies to sleep. It is harmful to not only the parent-child bond, but also comes along with other harmful effects and health risks. If you’re a parent, please don’t use CIO methods simply because some people haven’t caught up to current and widely available information on all child psychology sources you can find. Do the research and make the most educated decision!

  31. Heather,

    Thank you for this article. I started putting my baby in her crib at 9 weeks. She is now 19 weeks. She was only waking once maybe twice to eat. She was doing fine until the past couple weeks. As soon as I put her down sometimes she will sleep an hour others starts crying immediately. She now will wake up 2 times before midnight both of which as soon as I put her down she will start screaming. Sometimes I get lucky and she doesn’t wake up right away. Then after midnight she will wake up 2 to 3 more times, some of these are because she hungry. I nurse her on our sides in our bed at night. She general falls asleep while nursing then I wait awhile to put her in her crib again. The majority of the time she’s so asleep she doesn’t wake up right away but will within 30 mins to 2 hours. If I let her sleep in our bed which I have done once she sleeps so much longer, but I don’t want to do that. Her naps she used be able to fall asleep on her own in the crib but even those are a little harder. I am just frustrated because waking up once maybe twice was okay but now it’s like 5 times and takes a long time to get her to sleep. I went back to work when she was 12 weeks, but she was doing okay til recently. Please help.

    1. The good news is that your baby isn’t going crazy – and neither are you. 🙂 It sounds like she’s going through her 4-month sleep regression. Basically, what’s going on here is that she’s about to hit a major milestone growth spurt and her body/brain is trying to figure out what in the WORLD is going on.

      This is a stage, and it means that if it doesn’t get better on it’s own, she’s going to be ready to start sleep coaching within the next several weeks. (So either way, this isn’t going to continue forever!)

      A few things to try in the meantime… 1) Make sure she’s getting a full feeding before she goes down at night and isn’t falling asleep on the breast without getting filled completely up. Perhaps feed her in a bright room, or do a diaper change, and then put her down so she’s drowsy, but not sleeping.

      2) Make sure the room is dark and there’s a noisemaker to help drown out any little sounds that could stimulate her awake.

      3) Make sure she’s not teething a little early. Here are some teething signs to watch for, and here are some ideas on how to treat it if it IS teething.

      4) Once she’s past these milestones (she’ll seem a LOT more alert and active during the day), and you think she may be ready to start sleep coaching, this article shares my favorite method. That said, there are other sleep coaching methods we can use, for napping and bedtime sleep. You may want to consider signing up for a monthly sleep workshop and we can talk through them together.

      I hope some of this can help. Hang in there, sister, it doesn’t have to be this way forever! xo

  32. When Eli was born he couldn’t keep milk down, doctor advised that he be kept close, propped up or on his side so he wouldn’t choke. Husband and I being paranoid we kept him in bed with us, we have a cali king bed and so we had him between us, but we stayed to the edges, I didn’t want any problems moving him to his crib so we stayed away from him, no cuddles no comfort, just there to protect him. Lots of sleepless nights making sure we stayed away but close. I figured that was important, he did not cuddle him, when I fed him I sat up with the boppy nursed him and put him back into his clear sleep area, but now he’s no longer throwing up but he doesn’t want anything to do with his crib. I’ve done the trick with my tee shirt, but it doesn’t work, he does sleep best on his stomach, he sleeps in his playpen on his stomach in the living room, but not his crib and not at night. I am concerned about tummy sleeping but I can’t discount that it works. In our bed he sleeps on his back, side or tummy just fine, but not in his crib. I’m at a loss, and I go back to work Wednesday. 🙁 I’m at a loss

    1. Kate, depending on his age (is he around 4 months?) those sleeping issues may have something to do with his development – and going through the 4 Month Regression period, and less to do with the crib. (The regression is linked to his brain growing very quickly, and passes within a few weeks.)

      If the crib is in a nursery room (separate than yours) start having some playtime in there every day – in the crib while you are sitting next to him, then step out a few minutes, etc. So he begins to see the nursery as a happy safe place.

      Sleep with him a few nights on the floor of the nursery (on a blow up bed) or something, just make he’s in a safe sleeping arrangement next to you. Then put him in the crib and sleep on the floor so you’re in the room. Then (if he’s older than 20 weeks) you can do the Sleep Shuffle to help him get used sleeping in the crib. Hopefully this can help.

  33. I am at my wits end.  We transitioned a sleeping-through-the-night 4 mos old to his crib 9 MONTHS AGO and have not had a peaceful night since.  He wakes up crying every 2 hours despite a routine bedtime and only one nap during the day.  He is healthy and happy, no reflux or health issues.  We’ve tried all the tricks, CIO, pat and shush, etc.  He wakes and cries until he is positively screaming.  If we relent and pick him up, he kicks until I nurse him (yes still nursing a 13 mos old, but only at night).  His crib is still in our bedroom since we don’t want his hysterics waking our 9 yr old who needs to get up for school in the morning.  If we let him sleep in our bed, which is the very last thing we want, he sleeps soundly through the night.

    HELP!

    1. Karen,

      Heather’s Sleep Workshop is what I highly recommend. It’s a live workshop so you get to talk it out with Heather. She will help you come up with a sleep plan that fits your family. Give it a try, I really think it will be what you’ve been looking for!

  34. Ok, I’m desperate. I have an 8 month old (yes…8mo old) who has NEVER slept longer than 2 hours and that is ONLY in my arms (head at one pit, feet at the other) or co-sleeping in my arms. I have tried tried tried over and over to get him to go in the crib, INSTANT HYSTERICS, I mean he winds up and he’s gone. Cough,choke, gag, waterfall of tears…it’s over before its starts. So, let me tell you I have made the crib a happy place, he will play during the day, no problem. It’s just nap and night he will not go in it at all. I cannot do co-sleeping anymore for his own safety as he is crawling and standing. So when I lay him in his crib he wakes and stands instantly. We have let him cry, I have tried staying beside him, problem is he doesn’t wind down he winds up and this can cycle all night. I am at a loss. Help.

    1. Tiffany,

      I highly recommend you consider taking Heather’s Sleep Workshop. It really sounds like you could use her expert advice and a sleep plan that will fit your family. I hope you can check it out. Know that it is a live workshop; Heather will work with you until you have a plan!

    2. I would love to talk with you, Tiffany, if you decide to do the workshop. That said, I would also have the doctor look him over to make sure there aren’t medical issues (like sleep apnea, reflux, chronic ear infections, etc.) that could also be playing a factor. No sense trying to use behavioral modification techniques if the cause is medical. So make sure those are eliminated first, no matter what you decided to do.

  35. My 9-week old has been sleeping in the Rock’n’Play in our room for the majority of his nights and for the most part does pretty great.  We had some brief runs with the bassinet and the swing, but after about a week he would be back in the Rock’n’Play so I stuck with it.  I’ve been getting pressure from the pediatrician, my husband, and my mother that he needs to be transitioned to sleeping flat on his back.  However, he wakes/cries instantly when I put him down in his bassinet.  I’ve tried putting him down while sleepy (cries immediately), bouncing him to sleep then putting him down (wakes/cries immediately), nursing him to sleep then putting him down (wakes/cries immediately), singing to him, shushing to him, being silent with him, patting/1 hand on belly, hiding from him so he can’t see me, vibration, no vibration, pacifiers (won’t take), white noise (always a requirement for him), completely flat bassinet, inclined bassinet (receiving blankets folding under mattress on one side)… I’m not sure what else I can do.  I’m not comfortable letting him cry for more than 5 minutes at this age (while I am there singing/shushing/patting) before I pick him up again. He is a tall little dude and is just about to outgrow his bassinet, so I’m thinking I should just skip straight to the crib before I get too far with my efforts. Should I start by just having him sleep in the Rock’n’Play in his nursery (and I would sleep on the floor I guess) to get him used to the new room?  Also, he will only nap on me in the Ergo carrier currently, which is my second battle… to get him to nap on his own.  I’m not sure if I can make both of these transitions at the same time.  I would love to just stick with what works because I can get enough sleep to function, but everyone around me is guilting me into trying new things.  It’s easier said than done people!!

    1. Natalie,

      First of all, you are the mama! Go with your mama instincts! And I agree that you could certainly give your little guy more time in the Rock N Play. He can safely sleep in the RNP until he is either sitting up or reaches 25 lbs. As long as he isn’t there yet, you should be fine. It could be that he has a bit of acid reflux and that can make sleeping flat on your back uncomfortable (does he spit up a lot?). I think you should be able to transition straight to the crib when the time is right (we did this with our little one when she was 5 months old, true confession). When you do the transition you may find that a night or two with the mattress elevated will help. Find instructions here on how to do this.

      Regarding napping, I highly recommend Heather’s Napping Webinar. It’s very reasonable at $20 for a 2 hour webinar and she give lots of helpful hints!

      Hope you feel better about your sleep options now! Keep up the good work! You are taking such good care of your little one, I can tell.

  36. Hi Heather,
    I just found your AMAZING website after getting frustrated with my daughters naps. She is 8 weeks old and sleeps pretty well at night. Currently we have her in a “Rock n’ Play” at night in our room. Our nighttime routine is not very well organized but includes a diaper change, change into her pj’s and a feed. We will swaddle her and lay her down and she will put herself to sleep (sometimes she needs a soother, sometimes not). We do run a fan at night as I need white noise to sleep well. She will sleep 5-6 hours, up for a feed, then back down for another 3 hours (which usually includes more grunting and noises, but doesn’t usually require additial soothing to get her back down). I am trying to start transitioning her to her crib as soon she will be too long for the Rock n’ play, so I have been trying to put her down for naps there to get her used to it (in her room). When I see her sleep cues I will swaddle her, blackout her room, turn on a fan, and give her a soother. She will usually put herself to sleep quite quickly, but will only stay asleep for about 30-45 minutes. I usually try to replace soother, stroke her head, etc to calm her, which usually works for about 5 more minutes, then she wakes again and I repeat until she starts crying and is wide awake. She will be awake for about 30-40 min and then she shows sleepy cues and I try the nap again. After the second 30-45 min nap, she gets quite over-tired and then cue screaming!!
    I am wondering if you have any tips for a baby this age. She hates to sleep on her stomach, likes her side while she is on me ( usually that is how I calm her when she is over-tired). She sleeps on the move in her carrier, and can/ will fall asleep in the crib without dark room, and without white noise and will sleep the same length of time as with the dark room and white noise ( but I was trying to get her to sleep longer). I am also concerned about keeping “day” sleeping and “night” sleeping separate so that she can sleep in a variety of places. Does this happen naturally? Or am I in dreamland that this is possible at all?
    I just want a little freedom during the day!
    Thank you for your time!

    1. Carmen,

      The first thing you should think about is making sure she is getting a full feed when she nurses. If she is snacking then she will wake before her nap is over. Do you usually feed her when she wakes up or before she goes down? If you can feed her when she gets up then she is more likely to get a full feed. Also, I think it’s possible that she’s just not ready for the crib transition. They change so fast (like lightening!) at this age that she might be ready in a couple of weeks but I would ease off the transition and give her a bit more time. I think she’s trying to tell you that she needs the comfort of the Rock N Play for just a little longer. What do you think?

      If she will fall asleep without the dark room and white noise, that’s great! Count yourself blessed. I wouldn’t worry about the light factor when teaching day and night sleep. The best way to help babies sort out day and night is just with simple scheduling. It doesn’t sound like you need to do this now but if she starts oversleeping during the day (that would be a nice problem now, huh?) then you will want to help her shorten her naps so she will still sleep at night. Cross that bridge if you come to it, right?

      I really feel your need for the daytime freedom. Just remember that she’s still so little. She might really need the extra cuddles and the touch she gets when in the carrier, it’s great you are using it, by the way. This time is really going to fly by fast so cherish it… and if your loved ones offer to help, ask them to come over and hold the baby so you can sleep or get something done. 🙂

      P.S. Thought you might appreciate this article about the benefits of baby carrying!

  37. I could use some help. My 4.5 month old Is growing out of his bassinet, and needs to be transitioned to the crib. The problem is that we currently rely on rocking the bassinet for him to fall asleep. I know it’s a sleep crutch and I’ve tried to wean him of it but so far with no success. Sometimes not even that works and i put him to nap in the swing. Today is the first time I put him to sleep in the swing for the night! This is all pretty depressing as I feel we are going backwards and nobody gets any sleep. What could I do to make the transition to the crib possible? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

    1. Anna,

      Here are some steps to help you transition from the swing to the crib:

      1. Put him in the swing like you normally would, but turn down the swing so it’s moving slower. Do this for 2 days.
      2. Put him the swing, but turn it off the moment you see he’s asleep. Do this for 2 days.
      3. Put him in the swing to sleep, but don’t turn it on. Do this for 2 days.
      4. Put him down for his morning nap (because it’s usually the easiest) in the crib, and not the swing. Use the suggestions in this article to incline the mattress safely – it may help him with the transition.

      I know how tricky it can be to switch a habit when we’re right in the middle of it (and desperate for sleep!). Hopefully this step by step way will clear the fog and help your little guy transition!

  38. Hello,

    I could use some advice. My eight week old son sleeps great in his crib at night but not in the day. He has silent GERD. I have the crib elevated, black out blinds etc. He’s recently decided he hates his swing and will not sleep anywhere in the day except in my arms or up against my chest. I’ve tried putting him down when he seems in a really deep sleep (arms are floppy etc) but he just wakes up 15min later. Any advice on how to get him to sleep in a crib during the day? Thanks!!

    1. Jennifer,

      Have you tried a Rock N Play? Your little guy would probably do better in this. It will keep his head elevated and help him feel more secure. Give it a try and see if it works for him. If this doesn’t work I would also try using a baby carrier, at least as a back up solution for the times he refuses to sleep anywhere but in your arms. (Look at this article on how to pick a baby carrier) Hopefully the GERD will soon improve so he can settle into some better sleep patterns. Talk to your doctor if he isn’t doing better in a week or two.

  39. Hi Heather,

    My almost 5 month old baby had been sleeping great in the crib for naps and at night (up to 10 hours, 8:30pm-6:39am) up until a few weeks ago when she stopped napping in the crib. As of a week ago she refuses to sleep in the crib at night also. She starts crying as soon as we put her down, and the crying escalates to hysteria quickly. She will sleep on us, in the sling or in the stroller. We co-slept with her for the first two months & the transition at two months was very smooth, first to a cradle next to our bed, then to the crib in her room, which is adjacent to ours. We haven’t had any big changes to our routine in the last few weeks, but developmentally she has really made huge leaps- rolling over, feet in mouth, etc. It does seem like she has had some separation anxiety lately though, and I am getting really nervous because I go back to work part time in a couple weeks. I would really like to see her settled back in her crib before that transition.

    Thank you!

    1. Jane,

      I think your mama instincts are right on! Often the 4-5 month milestones really do shake up a good schedule. When your little one starts moving more sometimes sleep goes out the window, or so it seems. The good news is that she should also be ready for a little sleep training now. She has developed enough to be able to do some self soothing so I recommend the Sleep Shuffle.

      Regarding separation anxiety, Heather has a great article about this. Whether she is experiencing it now or might when you go back to work, this article will give you some ideas of how to help her through it.

  40. Hi Heather,
    I have a three month old daughter that we have only recently begun putting in her cribs for naps. Before, we were taking her on trips either in the car or her stroller during her nap times. She will fall asleep in her crib, but she can’t seem to sleep past one sleep cycle and wakes up about 40 minutes after being put down. I think the motion of the car/carrier was helping her before. Any tips? Thanks!

    1. Shannon,

      It could be the motion so if you have a swing you may want to go that route a little longer before switching to the crib. However, it could also be the cozy, secure feeling of being in a car seat or stroller (car seat in the stroller?). She might do better in a Rock N Play for another month or so until she’s sitting up. Or you can follow the instructions in this article for how to elevate the mattress and give her a little more support. This all changes, of course, when she reaches her 4 month milestones (which may or may not happen in her 4th month). Then she’ll be moving a lot more so the Rock N Play and elevated mattress won’t be safe for her. The good news is that soon after that she will be able to start self-soothing. THAT will make life much better. 🙂 When she’s ready you can take a look at this article for suggestions on the Sleep Shuffle. Just keep in mind that this happens after the 4 month milestones.

      Hope this helps!

  41. I have 4 children, and I agree with this. I’d just like to add that if you’re breast feeding, one way to add Mama’s scent is to put a burp rag that has a very small amount of your milk down under baby’s head. If you’re not nursing, you can sleep with an item (ie a burp cloth or cuddle item) before putting it in baby’s crib. One of my babies loved a tiny bear that was too big to choke on, but too small to suffocate (no bigger than my fist). These are tricks that I learned from a doula.

  42. Hi. I have a 13 mo and I swear he hates his crib! He’ll sleep in a bean bag or stroller for naps just fine but as soon as I put him in his crib for bed he freaks out. For the past 5 nights I have been letting him sleep in bed with me because he was teething and I thought it would be easier. But now he doesn’t go down until 12 or 1 am and sleeps til 10am. I’m getting less sleep because he rolls around everywhere, switching positions from side to tummy and back. I thought that since is a big baby, almost 30lbs, the crib is too small, or is it just me doing everything wrong?

    1. Perhaps have some playtime in the nursery floor…then in the crib with you playing…then in the crib with you sitting next to him while he plays…might help him overcome some of the “negative connections” he has about the crib. You want him to start to see the crib and his nursery as a positive place, not just a place he goes when you want him to sleep alone.

      Also it sounds like he’s got his day/night rhythm kind of screwed up. Either review this post to help get his nights back on track (after you’ve done some happy-crib transitions for a week) or sign up for a sleep workshop and we can talk about it together and create a workable plan.

  43. Hi Heather! We love the rock n play, but are trying to get our 4 month old into the crib. She loves have something by her face. It seems like that is the only part of the rock n play she is missing. I still swaddle her. Do you have any suggestions of what we can do with the crib to have her face touched and secured like the rock n play without risking rebreathing? Because she is swaddled it makes me nervous.

    1. First, I would angle the mattress following the directions above. She won’t be accustomed to sleeping flat on her back. Then eventually take away that pillow, so the crib is flat. (But first things first.) Another option is to take a blanket and tuck it under the crib mattress, so only the tippy tip is next to her cheek – so she can’t pull it over her face, but she can still feel the small corner. Make sense?

  44. You have lots of great tips, but I’m not quire sure how to apply them to my 6.5 month old because it seems like there are just so many factors for him. He slept great at 2 months old, but I started making the mistake of co-sleeping to get him back to sleep when he wouldn’t settle down, and now he won’t sleep any other way. At daycare, he can be put down when he’s fully asleep and sleeps for only 30 minutes a couple times a day. But I cannot put him down to sleep because he wakes up before he even touches the mattress, and no amount of soothing will work unless he’s cuddled up to me. I can get him to be half asleep, but then he wakes up within a minute and starts screaming again and fights so hard. I tried inclining the mattress thinking it might help with any burps that might be lingering. He can sleep in bouncers, but he’s getting too big and strong to use those. At this point, I’m willing to try the cry it out method, but he doesn’t just fuss or cry off and on, he’s a screamer.  It’s really difficult to tell with him when he has a burp that needs to come out, because he’ll arch his back and act like he’s in pain, yet often times he’ll be fine if I lay next to him (and lately that isn’t even good enough most times, he has to be up against me, with my arm or a pillow under his head, or on top of me). I’m on my own to sleep train him because I wasn’t ready to do it when he was 2 months old as my husband wanted. He gets breast milk, but I pump and put it in a bottle for him, and I’ve been doing this before he goes to bed and once during the night, and I think I may just have to stop doing this to find more time to work on sleep. I honestly don’t know how I’m even going to find time to shower, but I feel like it’s only going to harder if I wait any longer. Please help!

    1. Angela,

      It’s easy to feel stuck when the sleep isn’t going well for baby (and, of course, you don’t get sleep because of that!). I recommend the Sleep Shuffle. This article tells you, step by step, how to do the Shuffle. I think this could help you and your little one get to a better place. If you try it and are still having problems consider signing up for Heather’s Sleep Workshop. It is a live workshop. Heather will help you come up with a sleep plan that works for your family.

      Hope this does the trick!

  45. Last year in September when we had our child, I researched how to best soothe our baby. What I came across was the Zipadee-Zip from Sleeping Baby and it was so helpful because it provided our child the comfort of a wrapped blanket but wasn’t too restricting.

  46. Hi! I have loved reading your articles and all of these comments, they have been a great comfort! I’m in need of some advice- we finally have a handle on my 15 week old’s reflux (omeprazole had been a godsend!) and now are working on transitioning her from the rock n play to the crib (mattress elevated). She will sleep a good 3-4 hours before waking up wanting her pacifier, which leads to sometimes constantly replacing the pacifier in her mouth for the rest of the night before I finally quit and put her back in the rock n play. My questions are: 1- is the rock n play something she could sleep in in her own room safely (it’s currently next to our bed) and at what age will this transition be more successful? I feel like I am behind for sure and we waited too long to get her in the crib but I do keep reminding myself that we JUST got her reflux under control. 2- how the heck do I get her to stop waking for that pacifier every 15-20 Minutes?
    We do not swaddle her anymore as she moves around a ton in the crib. Any help and guidance would be appreciated!

    1. Lauren,

      You know your baby best, I need to start with that. 🙂 That being said, I just moved my little one from the Rock N Play at 5 months. However, I did use the seat belt religiously. If you think that will do the trick and keep her safe, I think you could give her a bit more time before doing the transition. Also, when you do move her to the crib, are you adding the slanted seat that Heather describes in this article?
      About the pacifier, you can practice with her during the day to help her learn how to replace it herself, yes, it’s true! 🙂 Just help her hold on to the pacifier and gently guide it to her mouth. She might not be ready for this yet but soon will be.

      Hope this helps with the nighttime sleep!

  47. Hello Heather, My 9month old won’t sleep in her crib. All night long She’ll complain & protest. To the point where she’s sitting up, rocking back & forth and as she begins to fall to one side she pulls backup & begins again. She finally gave in after Abt 3hrs of complaining, sitting, falling back and beginning again 3 different times. The only refirst she wasn’t crying didn’t have a major fit was b/c I was in the room w/her…note, she still complained. Husband did this last night, since I’m sick, and samething only took her longer to even give in a lil. She was going on for a long time. I don’t know what else to do. We have always put her in her crib for playtime and we’ve tried on the belly sleeping. She’s now 9 months and finally over her reflux. So I know that’s not tbe problem, but it is probably the reason we are here. We had to keep her sitting up or inclined to sleep for months. So, lots of sleeping on the couch and eventually, Mom & Dad’s bed, propped-up. Our first child was in the crib btw 9-10 weeks, found the thumb early and self soothed. I’m weary. Can you help? I’m not sure if I’m helping or harming by staying in the room. And I’m not a fan of cry it out. Though, I’d like to note. Even though she sounds as though she’s crying. She’s really just complaining….but it’s non-stop. This kid is a fighter! Oh, and we live in apartments. And she can’t be trusted on my bed anymore…crawls to the edge when she wakes up now! Fearless! No two children are alike and boy do I know it-first hand!! Thank you for listenning. Any input is greatly appreciated.

    1. So sorry that the nighttime sleep has been a struggle. I know first-hand what a challenge it can be to get a reflux baby to sleep!

      Take a look at this article. It will give you some ideas of how to handle the nighttime challenges with out having to use the Cry It Out approach. If sleep continues to be a struggle I highly recommend you consider attending one of Heather’s sleep workshops. It’s a live workshop and you will be able to talk through your specific challenges with Heather. She will help you come up with a sleep plan that will work for your family.

      You are so right about each child being different. It’s a learning curve that never ends! 🙂 Hang in there, you will sleep again someday (hopefully soon)!

  48. I need advice. My 7 months old baby sleep in her crib since she was 1 1/2, she had no problem to go to sleep in the morning after her nap routine but at ninigh time was a little bit of a nightmare even after our routine (the same that in the morning) so I started to feed her when she cry for 20 minutes. She also used to slep from 10 or 11 to 6:30 but now she would wake up 2 or 3 times every nighs so I fedd her end put her back in the cot. Two days ago she started behalf like a hole diferent baby and when I put her in bed she will get up and crawl all over the cot for hours no matter how many times i put her back to sleep and she is sleepy. In the end she end up screeming becouse i keep doing the same thing (put her back to sleep) so dad take her out of the cod to the bed and after 5 minutes she is sleep. She also do the same in the morning. The babysitter uses the pram to make her go to sleep everytime. I dont know what to enymore. Am I doing everything wrong?

    1. Lina,

      You must be so tired! I recommend you look at this article. It sounds like your little one could use a little time with the sleep shuffle!

      Hope this makes a difference for you!

  49. Thank you Heather. I will definitely ask the Pediatrician about acid reflux. Also, do you recommend a rock n play? What do you think of those for the baby to sleep in? I hear good and bad reviews about it. I’m concerned about the bad reviews, because they said that the baby’s head becomes flat in the back and some people are concerned for the baby’s spine. BUT the good reviews are saying that it is a life savor because their babies actually slept for 2-3 hours in it. And that it is helpful for those whose babies doesn’t like laying on anything flat. So I bought one to try out, and baby boy surprisingly liked it and definitely slept for more than his usual 1.5hr of sleep. 🙂 but I’m just worried now that he might get a flat head in the back and something might go wrong with his spine? I hope and pray it won’t happen. Please let me know your opinion about Rock n Play.

    Thank you
    Marianne

    1. I like the Rock ‘n Play, especially for young babies who may be struggling with acid reflux. Once the acid reflux is under control (if he actually has that), you can transition him away from the swing, but right now it’s all about survival. 🙂 If you are letting him have some tummy time during the day, you don’t need to worry about flat-head syndrome. In regards to the spine, ask your doctor, but I’ve never heard of that being an issue for parents who transition away from the swing after a few months. (My recommendation is to start making that transition in the 3-4 month age range.) My guess is that would be a problem if the swing was being used way past the developmentally appropriate age. Feel free to get your doctor’s input on that though, if you’re concerned. He would know best. 🙂

  50. Hi Heather,

    I have a 3 week year old baby boy who doesn’t like to sleep on any flat surface/crib/bassinet. Ever since he came home from the hospital he has been sleeping with me, on me, in my arms. If I do try to put him down in his bassinet, (which looks like a smaller crib version) he will wake up within 15 minutes and start to cry. I started to use the rocker that came with the Play Pen, but that was only successful 2x. Then he started not liking it and wouldn’t last for 2 hours anymore. 🙁 Is there a way you can show me pictures of how to do the “U” shape under the mattress? And where to place the towel under the mattress? I definitely would like to try this method in his bassinet. Please Help.

    1. I would hesitate to do the U shape in a bassinet…for fear that he would roll against the side of the bassinet and then be at risk for SIDS. Especially if the sides of the crib are solid and not slats. I would also definitely ask the doctor about acid reflux. Most babies who don’t like laying flat feel that way because they are refluxing. Also, perhaps hold him upright for 20-30 minutes after a feeding, that could help if he is refluxing. Hang in there Marianne, things will improve. xo

  51. Please help. I have a 9 week old that has been sleeping in her crib since about 5 weeks old. We just found out she has silent reflux and is lactose intolerant. We elevated the mattress and switched her formula. Now that she is comfortable she is sleeping thru the night about 12 hours. However, she cries every hour on the hour for her pacifier. She just started sleeping on her tummy. She was being swaddled but doesn’t seem to like it anymore. When she is on her stomach her hand will knock out the pacifit and she frantically tries to find it or get her fingers in her mouth then cries. This goes on from 11 pm to 8 am. I don’t want to take the pacifier away because it is a major comfort for her but I need help!

    1. Ashley,

      I hear you! You don’t want to take away a source of comfort! It will take some time before she can put it back in on her own but when she can then she will be able to self-soothe! You just have to decide if it’s worth the wait. In the mean time, I do have a suggestion. Have you though about switching her to a Rock N Play? These are GREAT for reflux babies! I think she will also feel more secure which might make the pacifier less necessary. It’s worth a try!

  52. So at 4 months we decided to introduce our son to his crib cause he was sleeping in the bassinet in our room and every little noise would wake me up, so I bought a wedge for under his mattress the U shape towl I tried but didn’t work he found himself from one end of the crib to the other and he has never gave us a problem sleeping till the crib, it’s the fact that their is way too much room so I took the bed part of the bassinet and put it in his crib and he’s back too sleeping threw the night, was this a good or bad idea cause he is going to out grow the bassinet in a month, so then he is going to go back to the big crib any advice on how too trick him into thinking the crib isn’t so big cause when he moves all the way from one side to the other he starts screaming his head off. Thank you any advice that works will be appreciated

    1. Joseph,

      The first thing that might help is for you to know that many babies go through a transition time with sleep right around 4 months. It has everything to do with the fact that they are moving more, some a lot more (sounds like your little guy is in the second category!). That’s good news because when he has gone through that transition he will be ready for sleep training. Heather has a lot of great resources for sleep training on the site. I recommend you read this article and this one. Then you will be ahead of the ballgame and ready for the switch to crib!

  53. Hello
    I have a 2 1/2 month old who has acid reflux and currently sleeps in a rock and play. The thing is a life saver. He sleeps a good 7 hours in it at night. I’m going back to work in a month and would like to start transitioning into the crib. I have tried putting him in the crib on an incline with towels under the sheets for naps and as soon as I put him down he wakes up. Might I add he has a hard time falling asleep on his own. He will fall asleep after being rocked in my arms. He’s even started to reject my husbands arms. I don’t know what to do to help make this crib transition from the rock and play less painful.

    1. Jacqueline,

      It might just be too early to start the crib transition. The Rock N Play is really such a great thing for reflux babies! I would recommend you give him a little more time to develop maybe even grow out of some of the reflux. However, I recommend you read this article. It will give you some helpful ideas for when your little one is ready to sleep train (usually after the 4 month developmental change).

  54. Did you swaddle her and lay her on her tummy? My 12 week old HATES the crib, loves his swing – but we’ll be traveling in a few weeks and won’t be able to take it with us. Eh! I’ve often wondered if swaddling and placing him on his belly would help him sleep, but I never knew if it was safe or not.

    1. Franki,

      No, it’s not safe! If your 12 week old is swaddled then you would run the risk of suffocation if you put him on his tummy. Instead I recommend you try a Rock N Play. It works well for little ones who prefer the swing because it allows them to sleep with the head slightly elevated (this is especially true of babies with acid reflux or just a lot of spitting up after feeds).

  55. I actually have used the “smells like mama” method on my teething 8 month old for the past 2 nights for the first time, and it has helped calm him down enough to fall asleep, at least for a little while! Along with a few hugs and kisses and “it’s okay it’s sleepytime” 🙂

  56. Hi Heather,

    I like others here are desperate for some sleep. My son is 4 1/2 months old and has been an amazing sleeper until now…he was sleeping all night since 6 weeks in his crib. The past 2 weeks have been awful…he refuses the crib and will only sleep 2 or 3 hours in there before he is screaming. The bed time process is also taking hours, last night we started around 6:30pm and he fell asleep at 11:00pm. My husband and I have been so desperate that we let him the past 3 nights sleep in our bed which I am truly against and do not want to become a habit. He has his last bottle and is super tired I put him in his crib a little drowsy and as soon as he realizes he is in there he flips out and cries, cries, cries. I should mention he naps in his pack n play all 3 times a day usually 40 min – to an hour. I do not usually pick him up right away I try to rub his belly, stroke his cheek, and I even roll up his favorite blanket to put on his cheek with his pacifier and as soon as he is falling off he startles and wakes. He hates to be swaddled and has even given me a hard time about his sleep sack lately. He is a larger baby so I am really at a loss for what to do…do you have any suggestions? Should I keep with trying the bed time routine and then stay with him until he falls asleep and then creep out of the room?

     

    Any advice would be great!

    1. Nicole,

      So sorry that bedtime has turned into such a battle. There can be a change in sleep right around 4 months (babies become more aware of the world around them and don’t want to miss out on the party!).
      I recommend you take a look at this article. Also, if your little one continues to give you a hard time I recommend you consider Heather’s sleep coaching workshops. This is a time when you can talk to Heather and get a specific plan for your family! Hope this helps and that everyone gets some more sleep soon!

  57. Hello,

    I cannot get my 9 month old to take naps in his crib. He will only nap in his car seat which he is slowly becoming too big for. At night it takes some time to get him to sleep, which is fine, but he also has to have his mattress angled. We did that some time ago when he had a bad cold to help drainage and now he won’t sleep if the mattress is flat. I am just concerned and confused on how to get him to nap in his crib. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

    1. Rebecca,

      I recommend you work with your little one on the night time sleep routine first. Here’s an article to help you get started. After you have the bedtime routine to a good place then you can tackle the nap times. When you get to that point, I highly recommend Heather’s Napping Know-How Webinar. It is reasonably priced ($20 for the 2 hour class) and very helpful.

  58. Hi Heather!

    My daughter is currently 5 months and 2 weeks old. She was sleeping great (6-8 hour long stretch at the longest) with one MOTN feeding between 3-4am then back to sleep until I woke her up to get ready for the sitter around 6:20am.

    Right before she turned 4 months old, all hell broke loose. Pedi blamed it on the 4 month sleep regression. Well, here we are, over a month later, and she’s still a monster at night. I have to rock/walk/hold her til she falls asleep then I put her down in her Rock n Play sleeper. (This is the second part of my problem by the way…she doesn’t want to have anything to do with the crib, so advice on this would help as well!) Once down, she only stays asleep for 1-2 hours then wakes up. I go in and reply the rocking/walking/holding until she falls asleep again and put her back down. She’s back up again like an hour later. By that time, I’m so exhausted and frustrated, I just bring her into bed with my husband and I. I never wanted to get into that habit, but we both needed some sleep! Well, now that we’ve done that, she always ends up in bed with us at some point at night. She’s a very restless sleeper and is kicking me and waking every couple of hours. A lot of times, I end up nursing her back to sleep, again, just to be able to get some sleep. I know I’ve probably created some bad habits but I was desperate!

    So, my questions/needs for advice…

    1. How can we work on getting her back to sleeping longer at night with minimal wakings and minimal feedings?

    2. How can I make the transition from RNP to crib?

    HELP!

    1. Tiffany,
      And this is why infant sleep can be so tricky, it’s usually not just one thing that causes the problem!
      I really recommend, if you can fit this in, that you sign up for one of Heather’s sleep workshops. She is so good at helping you look at multiple problems and come up with a step by step process to a solution.
      However, having said that, do whatever it takes to get through Christmas. If you need to nurse her to sleep, do it. Try not to bring her in bed with you if you can help it. It may create an expectation that can cause increased crying later on. Can you set the Rock N Play or a Pack N Play (some babies transition to this better than a crib, less open space!) next to your bed so you can hold her hand and you both can sleep?

  59. Please help my preemie is 8weeks old she has acid reflux we have her in a bassinet that was made for this and we set it in her crib. She does not sleep longer then like 40min on and off threw out the day and night.I breastfeed and put oatmeal in her bottle.please advise

    1. You are such a tough mama (though you might not feel like it right now)! It’s hard to start out with a preemie… I know it can be a real struggle to even get to the breastfeeding stage. Good for you for persevering! I am curious how early she was. She might still be needing a lot of cuddle time because of being so new (especially if you count the weeks from her actual due date). I recommend getting your hands on a good baby carrier. The other thing I like to recommend because it worked so well for my little one is the Rock n Play. It really helped my little one feel secure enough to sleep. I hope either or both of these ideas help! If you can, check in with your girlfriends and see if anyone has a carrier or a Rock n Play that they can loan you til you decide if it’s worth the purchase. I know this time is intense! Hold on, it won’t last forever!

  60. My ds is almost 5 months old and has been sleeping in a swing since he was 3 months. I have been trying to transition him to the crib so I started with naps. I even did the U thing in the crib. He can fall asleep okay in the crib but wakes up after 30 minutes. Eventually by the afternoon he is so tired from not napping well that I have to put him in the swing to get some rest. He used to sleep 1-2 hour naps in the swing! Is he just not ready to transition to the crib yet? I feel like he SHOULD be sleeping in the crib, but others have told me he will sleep in it when he is ready and it’s more Important for him to get rest. I hate cio. He eventually starts coughing and gets himself too wound up. What should I do? Keep putting him in the crib? Maybe start with getting a good firsr nap of the day and let him nap in a non moving swing for the rest?

    1. Michele,

      Some babies really love motion, don’t they!
      Here’s a step by step process to help in weaning him off the swing:
      1. Put him in the swing like normal, but turn down the swing so it’s moving slower. Do this for 2 days.
      2. Put him the swing, but turn it off the moment you see he’s asleep. Do this for 2 days.
      3. Put him in the swing to sleep, but don’t turn it on. Do this for 2 days.
      4. Put him down for his morning nap (because it’s usually the easiest) in the crib, and not the swing.
      Give this a try and see if it makes a difference!

  61. My newborn can sleep through 6 barking dogs, a loud TV, lights, but as soon as I put him down to sleep in the crib he wakes up, on cue, as if he knew we left. We always make it a habit to wind things down-lowering any music or TV we have on to become more of a white noise type of thing, dimming the lighting and limiting it to the comforting Christmas lights we are aware he is fond of, making sure he is fed, burped, rocked and held, given plenty of tummy time, bathed every few days or so (his skin can’t handle every day baths just yet), etc. We do all we can as first time parents to implement all the book and class knowledge we have into real life so that our baby will be as comfortable as possible. As mentioned earlier, noises and sounds do not phase him and he sleeps well through mostly anything. But as soon as we put him in the crib, he refuses to let it happen. We are doing everything you said. Is there anything else we can do? We are going to try to slight incline and maybe the rolled up shirt method once he’s a little older. However, at this point, we’re ripping hair out, practically. He just won’t sleep unless he’s curled up on mother or me. Please reassure us. Is there anything else we can do? I know it takes time, but we’d really appreciate any other advice you can offer.

    1. Sam,
      It sounds like your little guy would be a prim candidate for the Rock n Play. This rocker really helps newborns with that supported, secure feeling they are missing from their time in the womb. It’s sounds like you are doing a great job so I hope this makes the difference and you get some needed sleep! Congrats on your new little one!

  62. We are working hard at transitioning my 4minth old from the “rock-n-play” to the crib. She is an amazing sleeper 12-13 hours straight! 2-3 naps during the day. She will nap for a shorter period of time in her crib which is fine but refuses to go to “bed” in her crib.
    We have tried the elevation, the U shape, the happy play time and the cry it out technique which resulted in vomit this evening! She is getting too long for that “Rock-n-play” sleeper. She is real stubborn and determined to win! Any other suggestions?

    Thanks!

    1. Shaleene,

      Hm, sounds like you have a determined little one. 🙂 I have a four month old who is also getting close to needed to transition out of a Rock n Play (love that thing!). I decided to put it off until after Christmas and just use the seat belt. However, you have to go with your “mama instincts” on these things. I am wondering how deep your little one sleeps once she goes to sleep. Would it be possible to switch her to the crib after she falls asleep in the Rock n Play? If she wakes up in the crib a few mornings in a row she might decide it’s not so bad. Also, try to watch her as she falls asleep at night. What does she need to feel safe and comfortable? You can try to transfer this safe feeling to the crib. Let me know how it goes. I will be working this all out myself in a few short weeks!

  63. Hi my little one is 3 and a half weeks old and we’ve been having a hard time with sleeping in her own space at night. We keep a pack and play next to our bed but she hates it. For the most part she won’t lay in it peacefully for more than 5mins. For the most part she will only fall asleep if she is laying on my chest on her stomach. She loves being cuddled but I can’t get into a good sleep with her on me and I would rather her sleep in her own space. Sometimes if she falls into a deep enough sleep on me I can move her into the pack and play and she’ll sleep for a little while for the most part though she won’t settle down (she starts crying and screaming like she’s being tortured) until I pick her up and put her back on me. And last night she got herself so worked up about being in the pack and play she gave herself really bad hiccups which just made everything even worse until she was on me. Any suggestions or thoughts?

    1. Elizabeth,

      Absolutely! I recommend (highly) you try a Rock in Play. It works well because it helps your little one feel more secure. We have been using it with our three-month-old since she was two weeks old and it has helped immensely! I think it’s the best thing since sliced bread (anything that helps a baby sleep would have to be, right?!). 🙂

  64. Hi Heather,
    Help!
    As history — My 12 week old was diagnosed with reflux at 8 weeks. We carried him as he screamed all night in discomfort prior to the proper diagnosis and starting on medications (he is now totally stable on his medication). He is as a result used to being carried, rocked or breastfed to sleep. He has never soothed himself to sleep successfully. We used to swaddle him but he is breaking free and the blanket wraps around his neck so we are not comfortable doing that anymore. We also do not want to introduce a velcro or other swaddle method as we will just have to break this habit later.
    He is more than too tall for his bassinet. We have moved him to the crib. We did weeks of play time in the crib before and he loved it. And naps in the crib. He has a white noise machine in the crib.
    Now all he does is scream in his crib!!! We have tried the pick up put down and it only makes him more hysterical. We have tried Shhhh/reassurance and backing out of the room. He never settles and is totally hysterical. He does not sleep and we do not sleep.
    Help!!!

    1. Alex,

      Sorry about the reflux/sleep struggles, it’s not easy dealing with a baby with reflux!
      Have you tried the Rock n Play? It has really helped our little one, she also has reflux. It fits babies up to 25 pounds or until they are sitting up, whichever comes first. Give this a try (maybe borrow one from a friend?) but if you do not get any relief from this I highly recommend attending one of Heather’s sleep webinars. You can find more information“here”.

  65. HI, Can anyone help me. My son is 10 months old. He has never been a great sleeper in his crib, But we did have him sleeping about 5-6 hours straight, then getting up and going back down for another 3-4. but lately he HATES HATES HATES his crib, he last about 2-3 hours then wakes up screaming and will go back down for an hour at a time.
    He slept last night in my bed – and left from 9-3am – my hubby was sent to the couch. Is there anything we can do to help with this.
    He has been teething very early and has 6 teeth already and with this 7-8 are coming in. he is also very stuffed up.
    Could this just be his reaction to the cold and teething or is there anything else we can do?

    1. Kristy,

      Sorry for the delay in replying, I hope the last few nights have been better for you! It really does sound like teething! Take a look at this article under the sleep section for some helpful suggestions. Wishing you some blissful nights of sleep again soon!

  66. Hi Heather,

    My son is 2.5 months old and has co slept with my husband and I since birth. He’s our third baby but first one to have reflux. Since he is finally showing some signs of relief, I’m wanting to start weaning him from cosleeping with us at night. I read the happy crib time tip and plan to try that tm but other than that, and nap time in crib during day, what tips can you give me? I’ve tried swaddling, nursing before I put him down, and white noise.. he only lasts an hour or so…he kinda nurses through the night.. more of a pacifier thing. . He’s 15+ lbs and in my mind he should be sleeping through most night feedings soon.

    1. Caylee

      I recommend trying an in-between stage before going to the crib. Have you seen the Rock n Play? This has helped our 3 month old feel more secure and it’s great for babies with reflux. He might not be ready to sleep flat and on his own yet. Maybe ask around to your mom friend base before you go out and buy one. It would be great if you could take it for a test drive before investing (or maybe you have a friend who would lend it to you for a couple of months!).

  67. Hello. My lil one is 8 months old. We have co-slept for about a month while trying to get him into his crib… He will not go to sleep in it, we have tried different crib Soothing toys… So now we get him to sleep and then place him in his crib. This last for about an hour then he wakes up screaming. I can’t get him back to sleep but as soon as I place him back in the crib he starts screaming again. I noticed he likes sleeping on his side or stomach but he will not let me place him on his stomach to start….. The crib is already in our bedroom…. I don’t know what else to try. Thanks.

    1. Michelle, it sounds like there are a few things that need to be slowly adjusted to help minimize the screaming. I’d love to ask you additional questions to help get to the heart of what may be going on and how to fix it. If it’s at all possible, I would encourage you to attend one of my sleep coaching workshops so we can talk through how to gently get him used to the crib. One thing you could start right away is to do a “happy play time” with him in the crib during the day for a few minutes. Sitting right next to him and helping him start to see the crib is a happy, safe, place to be.

  68. I am returning to work at the beginning of December, and since our little one is now 8 weeks, we wanted to start sleep training her so she’ll have a routine with daycare. Like your little one, she’s a stomach sleeper who hates swaddling. Also she can roll over now, so I know swaddling is no longer recommended. So today I started putting her down for naps in her crib, and she sleeps about 15-30 min before waking up screaming. I gave her 5 min before going in, as she occasionally self soothes with a pacifier or sucking on her hand. I tried to pat her but this only lasts so long before she screams again when I move away. She also has rolled herself into the side slats or butted her head into the corner against the mesh bumper when I come in. I readjust her back to her stomach in the middle of the crib but the screaming doesn’t stop. I tried leaving and giving her 10min but it only escalated. Side note: checked her diaper at 5 min mark and changed it in the dark since it was wet before laying her back down. Any suggestions? Especially for the rolling around part?

    1. Ashley,

      Wow, sounds like your little one’s a busy baby! I have a three month old who has yet to learn how to roll over. 🙂 I recommend you start a sleep log. Find out what her wake window is, if you have the patience you can anticipate her wiggle waking by getting to her first. Set the timer and head in before she wakes up. You can put the pacifier back in or just put your hand on her back so she feels secure and doesn’t roll. The idea is to help her get past the light sleep time so she can sleep longer. Hope this helps! Also, I recommend you take a look at Heather’s article about sleep for some more helpful hints

  69. Hi! My baby was a great sleeper and was sleeping in her crib from 12 weeks old until 5 months old. She went from sleeping 10 hrs straight to hysterical crying all night unless I finally break down and bring her in our bed. She’s 7 months old now and will only sleep naps or bedtime in our bed sucking at the breast. Have tried everything. Please help!!

    Ps dr said she has no medical issues

    1. Laura,

      It’s great news that your baby has no medical issues. It is a trial though, to go from a full night’s sleep to chaos! So sorry! I recommend you take a look at Heather’s article about sleep here and consider attending one of Heather’s sleep webinars. You can read more about them here. Hang in there, this too will pass!

  70. Hi my son will be 3 months old tomorrow and boy is he spoiled already!!! He will usually only fall asleep at night if he is being cuddled or in his swing and takes smaller cat naps through out the day just about any where,floor, playpen, car seat, swing, etc…I think we are going to try the tshirt thing but me and my spouse spend equal time caring for him me all day him at nights so we will probably both have to wear the shirt so he gets both of our scent. Any other suggestions for the super cuddly baby?

    1. Don’t worry about him being spoiled at this age. You’re doing exactly what you should be doing for a 12 week old. 🙂 Firstly, make sure there is no medical reason for the wake ups and catnaps. Check with your doctor about acid reflux. Secondly, try inclining the crib like above and swaddling him tightly – these give him the impression of being held, even when he’s not being held. The t-shirt idea is a good one – only tuck it around and under the mattress so he can smell it, but can’t pull it over his face. Good luck friend!

  71. Hello! My son is almost 3 months old and sleeps great at night (from 8pm to 3-4am). But at some point in the last few weeks, he has developed the need to be held in order to go to sleep. In fact, the only way he will nap during the day is when he is held. If you set him down, he is instantly awake. Even putting him down at night has gotten more difficult as he will wake up if he isn’t fully asleep. I’ve tried putting him down sleepy but he will just wake himself up by kicking around and trying to play. Any suggestions?

    1. Sara, are you swaddling him? Is it possible that his moro reflex (the one that makes him flail out like he’s falling) is waking him up? If so, try a swaddle and see what happens. Another option to the crib is the Rock ‘n Play. I’ve had dozens and dozens of parents tell me what a godsend it is. It’s inclined, it moves, and it’s bundled up so babies feel like they are being wrapped in arms, even though they aren’t. It’s not a sure-thing (every baby is unique!) but it may be worth the try! 🙂

  72. My daughter has been VERY happily sleeping in her Snuggle Me Organic since the day she came home from the hospital. Which is awesome! (Not to say we haven’t had our ups and downs, but it’s really helped).

    Now that she’s almost eight months old, though, I’m wondering if I should wean her away from it. I have absolutely no idea how to do so. She has literally never taken a nap not in the Snuggle Me! Although we do cosleep at night and from about 10pm on she sleeps on the bed.

    Maybe I don’t need her to stop. It’s just that her feet are dangling way off of it!

    1. Betsey, I think you’re instincts are good. You should start thinking about how to move her out of it. As she gets bigger and starts rolling around you don’t want her to get her face lodged against the side of it – that would create a suffocation hazard (and is one of the SIDS risks). I’m not sure you can “wean” her away from it. Sounds like she’s either in it or she’s not. My guess is you’ll have to brace yourself for a rough week, and then just go for it. It will take a few days for her to understand this “new way of sleeping”, which won’t be fun, but after several consistent days she’ll start to understand. You could do without it for naps, and then use it for bedtime…but that could confuse her. You know her best. Would it be better to just switch cold turkey? Or introduce sleeping without it for naps, for a few days first?

  73. Hi Heather,

    My 6 1/2 month old daughter will not sleep anywhere but in her swing. The problem we have is that she squirms a lot in her sleep. When we put her down in the crib or pack n play she starts to squirm around and wakes herself up. She will roll over onto her belly and either start to ‘sleep crawl’ (which is very weird to see) or sit bolt upright and start to cry once she realizes what’s going on. I give her a pacifier and lay her back down and she goes right back to sleep. However, she will wake herself up again and start the whole thing over. This happens about 5-10 times a night. I’ve tried sleeping her on her stomach since she ends up rolling anyway, but she still does the sleep crawl and sitting up. When she is in her swing, the contoured shape of it prevents her from moving too much and she’ll sleep the whole night.

    I just retuned to work last week, so I figured swing sleep is better than no sleep, and resigned to let her sleep in the swing. Starting yesterday, however, she now tries to roll over in the swing (and I mean really tries- she grunts with the effort she’s putting into it). So now the swing isn’t safe and I have no idea what to do! I tried rolling up a towel into a U shape and putting in the crib, but she rolled right over it within minutes.

    Any advice you might have would be greatly appreciated!

    1. Hmmm…what a busy little sleeper you have! 🙂 What if you didn’t roll it up in a “U”, but used two towels and put it on either side of her armpits? Like a barricade on either side? Start weaning her off the swing: 1) Put the swing on the lowest level, and as soon as she falls asleep, turn it off. (2 days) 2) Put her in the swing to sleep, but don’t turn it on (2 days) 3) Ditch the swing entirely, try the double-towel-trick on either side of her, no higher than her armpits. Hopefully that will help get her out of the swing. It has to be done, either way…so brace yourself for a rough few days, but the good news is once you’ve given it a consistent no-swing 3-4 days, she should be cured. 🙂

  74. Hello!
    I found your article while searching for some advice for my 6 week old daughter, Jade. I’m trying to decide when is a good time to transition her from her bassinet to her crib. She sleeps a 5-7 hour stretch at night, and I’m anxious that moving her to her crib will disrupt this. She doesn’t sleep in her crib during the day, or her bassinet. She will only fall asleep in her swing during the day. If I turn it off, she wakes up. If I try moving her from the swing after she has fallen asleep, to her bassinet or crib she wakes up. Very unhappily I might add. I’ve tried shushing her next to me in my bed, and she will fall asleep but when I try putting her back down in her crib or bassinet, she wakes up! She will not nurse to sleep, and fights me rocking her to sleep. I’m not sure what else to do. I do not want her getting reliant on movement in a swing to fall asleep. If I lay her down while she’s sleepy she does not go to sleep on her own like my son (now 4) did. Instead, she cries.

    1. Kristin, I would continue to do whatever it takes to help her (and you) get good sleep for now. When she’s older, you can start weaning her off the swing in small steps over a period of several days. For now, the goal is SLEEP. Nothing you’re doing right now will set you up for failure later on. ALL things can be re-trained if you’re patient and consistent in your coaching! When you get to that point (at around 10-12 weeks) and you aren’t sure how to wean her away from the swing, let me know. I’ll be happy to help. 🙂

    2. My son just turned 7 months. And he just does not want to sleep in his crib anymore not even for naps. If we leave him in the crib a night he constantly scratches the mattress. Then begins to cry. Once we put him in our bed. He doesn’t wake up till the next morning.
      HELP ! I need him back in his crib again.

    3. Jeanette, I would start by sleeping with him on the floor of his room for a few days. Then put him in the crib and sleep on the floor beside him for 2-3 days after that. Then start working through the Sleep Shuffle. There will be tears, because you’re having him do something he’d rather not do. However, you can know these aren’t “I’m hurt” or “I’m suffering trauma” tears. These are “I don’t wanna” tears. Offer him smiles and verbal reassurances, then put in some ear plugs. You can still hear him, you can see that he’s safe and not in any danger, but it takes the edge off and really helps you stay calm and consistent in what needs to be done. You can do this! 🙂

    4. Ok, will do. I will worry later, and stop feeling guilty about letting her sleep in the swing. Thank You!

  75. I was highly recommended “Good Night, Sleep Tight”and also Love this book, but my son (now 6 months) only seemed to cry more if I was in the room. So I reluctantly left him to cry and he figured out how to sleep on his own. We got a good schedule down, a good daily routine, but then went on vacation. He did about normal after the first day gone and I was so pleased, but since we’ve been home (over a week now) he’s just been a mess and I can’t figure out why. He won’t sleep, will hardly calm down even if I pick him up, and nap times went from 1 hour minimum to 1 hour maximum, if we’re lucky. He sleeps great at night, and last night was almost 12 hours straight! He sometimes wakes up shortly after he goes down for the night but is easy to get back to sleep then. Not naps! I will usually bounce him, sing to him, get him calm with his head on my shoulder, then put him in bed. He used to just suck his thumb at this point and go right to sleep, but now he just cries. 10 minutes, or screaming, and I’ll go try to settle him down, but it’s only getting worse and worse (lack of sleep?). I’ve tried cuddling him longer, starting the whole process before he’s acting tired, staying at his bed and singing, etc. with no success. I don’t think he’s teething, and don’t know what else it could be. He is a very “picky” baby and has always been a little fussy. Doc basically said “he’s just a baby ” and so we’re going to a different doctor this time and I’m not even sure where to start asking him questions. Any help is GREATLY appreciated!

    1. There’s a growth spurt at 6 months, so I would take a step back and give yourself a week of extra feedings. It’s possible he’s actually hungry at night, because of this growth spurt. It shouldn’t last more than a week, though. If it’s still going on after a month, it’s likely behavioral and will require an adjustment.

      One option you can try, rather than just cry-it-out, is the time check method. This is great for highly-sensitive babies who just get so angry if you’re in the room and not holding/picking up! Check in on him after 8 minutes and offer your soothing, touch and voice. If you HAVE to, go ahead and pick him up to soothe him, but put him down as soon as he’s calmed down (before he can fall asleep in your arms). He will likely protest you putting him down. That’s okay. This is a learning process, and he’s not in danger or being neglected. Leave the room again and try to give it another 8-10 minutes before going in again. Repeat until he’s sleeping. (Some parents extend the time between checks – totally up to you.)

      Considering you just got back to vacation, you may want to wait on doing this coaching for a few days. Not only will it help with any growth spurt/hunger he may be having, he may just be craving some reassuring cuddles post-vacation. If you were really busy during vacation, he may be looking for some reassurance from you. Give it a few days to fill up his little emotional tank and make sure there’s not true hunger, and then try the timed check method. When you start, though, make sure you are consistent. Tell yourself you’re going to give it 4 days. And then stick to it like glue for 4 days. Many times parents just don’t last long enough. Then the child gets confused, which leads to more crying later on! Good luck friend, hang in there!

  76. Hey Heather!
    I am a first time mom to the most uh mazing 6wweek old little girl. Since I brought her he I have tried to put her in her crib awake but sleepy for at least one nap a day. About week 3 we had tons of family here and friends and for a couple of days it was like we were trying to get over being over stimulated. Well week 4 I really tried to get us back on track and I couldn’t get this kid to nap anymore! She would be almost asleep and I would put her in her crib and her little eyeballs would spring open like what you think your doing lady? She sleeps pretty good at night and she will wake in the evening and put herself back to sleep. She has slept in her crib for bed since we brought her home. I feel terrible about her naps though. If I leave her in there she will just cry add then she gets over tired and then i feel like I just jumped on the crazy train where I have to do whatever I can so she will sleep because an over tired baby would smackyou in the face if they knew how to control those cute little hands and tell you yo stupid pretty sure this could’ve been prevented! I spoke with my Dr’s office and they said they think she’s just a social baby… I’m just at a loss. I have tried to be consistent in how I put her down so she knows the routine but I can’t seem to figure this thing out. Her sleep cues are so subtle but she seems to get tired around 30 to 40 minutes but even if I put her in her crib and she doesn’t cry she will play. Please any advice will be great. As I write this she woke up and is playing in her crib. I think she hears us, she gets the no sleep thing from her father… I love to sleep… haha

    1. My guess, Samantha, is that she’s still recovering from the past week and is wanting some mom time. Here’s something you could try: Let her fall asleep in your arms for a few days, then when you put her in the crib, give her a gentle little jiggle and see if she will open her eyes and look at you. This way she’s still experiencing the “falling asleep feeling” again. Stand next to the crib, until she falls back asleep again. After a few days of cuddle time with mom, start putting her down drowsy but awake again once a day and see what happens. Don’t let her CIO at this age, she’s not learning anything, and it’s stressful for both of you. 🙂

      Hopefully after a few days of cuddle, things will start so slide back into normal. Don’t you wish kids knew how wonderful sleep really was? Sounds like you’re doing a great job, Samantha! She’s a blessed baby girl!

    2. Okay i am so sorry to bother you again but the kiddo has decided to not wake every time i jiggle her and had been going from zero to ahundred i lay her down sleepy eyed. Thus poor baby! even if she falls asleep in my arms she will get sleepy eyes and then wham! Wide eyed does not want to give in. I feel sk bad for her because i know she s tired but its like she does not want to miss out on anything. She gets partial swaddled because she gets really mad when we pin her arms down (who’s in charge here right? Haha). She turned 7 weeks on Monday. I feel frustrated with myself because I feel like I am lettingher down. She has good aawake times and when I see her yawning I try to get her swaddled and ready to lay down but it’s like a long process. Eight now she is laying on my chest and she had been asleep for 15 mins and woke herself up and she’s wide awake now. I am confused :/

    3. Samantha, you’re not letting her down. You’re teaching her that Mom loves her and will take good care of her. 🙂 Don’t beat yourself up too much. She’s still very young and you’re just getting to know each other. (It’s funny, how you really do have a “get to know you” period with babies!) Let her sleep whereever you can get her to sleep. Have you tried the swing? At this age, the name of the game is “sleep however”. When she gets older you can start teaching her the finer details.

      I will also share a secret…I’m working on a new webinar for newborns and young babies who aren’t quite ready for sleep coaching, but still need some sleep shaping done. I hope to launch it next week. *fingers crossed* If you’re not already a subscriber, you may want to jump on that wagon, since they will be the first to get the notice and invitation!

  77. Hi, I am currently pregnant still. But with twins and I am really confused of how to feed and sleep both babies around the same time, I understand it will be easier to ask questions when they are born but I don’t want to find myself stressed out not knowing what to do on the first night. Any thoughts?

    1. Carolina, firstly, congratulations on your double blessing! That is such a great question. It’s also a very LONG answer. Rather than skim and try to give you a 2-sentence answer (that will be worthless) I’m going to dedicate a post to discussing the different theories and suggestions people commonly use. I’m not sure when your due date is, but I’m hoping you can wait a few weeks for me to write it, make it pretty, and get it posted? I’ll send out a notice to my list to let you know it’s up. (Probably the week of June 16th.) I hope that’s okay. Like I said, I’d rather give you the long-more-useful answer than a token throw-away comment here.

  78. Hi Heather,
    Great articles!
    I’m in need of some input. We just got back from a two month vacation. We currently live in Japan and were in two different time zones during vacation. While we were gone, my almost 9 month got not only overly attached to breastfeeding to sleep but also got used to sleeping with me, since we didn’t have other options. Now that we are back, I’m trying to get over with his jet lag (he has night and day totally switched up), trying to get back to our routine and sleep training without breastfeeding to sleep. Is it too much for him at once? He was never the best sleeper, and was still waking up 1-2 times at night to feed before our vacation.
    I would like to add that my husband is in the military, constantly gone and I’m on my own most of the time. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
    Constance

    1. Constance, that does seem a lot to pile on the little guy. I would work on the jet-lag, day/night thing first. After you feel he’s got that down, then I would start helping him learn how to fall asleep on his own, by breastfeeding him, and then doing something else (like reading a book, or cuddling) before putting him down to sleep – so he’s drowsy, but not completely asleep. This article can also help you get started in the right direction. If, after all that, you’re still having trouble, I work with some families one-on-one – if you think that may be useful. You can see my sleep coaching credentials here. 🙂

      Please give your hubby a hug from me today – military families are a blessing I’m very thankful for!

  79. Please help, we have a 7 week old who only naps when in our arms, we’ve tried sush pat approach and pick up and put down for hours on end, but nothing works! Worried that this lack of day time sleep is hampering his development. Any other suggestions?

    1. Rita, I’m so sorry it’s taken me so long to reply, somehow this missed my radar until this morning. My first recommendation is to discuss it with your doctor, making sure there isn’t a reflux issue or something else going on. Particularly, have you noticed he prefers you hold him a certain way, like upright? Double check with your doctor that he’s not suffering from a medical issue. That’s the first thing. Then try putting him down when he’s drowsy, but not yet sleeping. Hang in there, I know these days seem to last an eternity, but they will pass faster than you think. Life won’t always be like this. It does improve. Once he gets a little bit older, we can start working on helping him self-regulate his naps. So there is a light at the end of this tunnel. 🙂

  80. Ok, I’m at a loss with sleeping. Since day one things were not ideal. My son came early I didn’t even have a nursery set plus I had emergency surgery after birth in which I couldn’t do stairs & was only allowed to lift the baby. Then he became colicky & had reflux & the only place I could get him to sleep was the bed. Ok, here we are he just turned 1 and is still in the bed, we’ll actually I put the crib as a side car but he still comes & has to lay on me. He is still nursing & still sleeps terribly. He wakes 3-5 times a night has never slept through the night. I am so desperate for sleep. Please some advice, thank you.

    1. Jeanine, it is completely possible to make little steps towards better family sleep. It’s not too late. I recently posted a similar comment to Kristine on a different post. You can read her comment and my reply here. Hopefully this will give you a few things to try! Hang in there, friend! Good sleep is on the horizon! 🙂

  81. Hi! I was wondering if you have any recommendation for me, My baby is 2 months old, she is sleeping aprox 5-6 hours in her bassinet from aprox 9:30/ 10:30 till 4 or 5am, but she refuses to take naps during the day, I tried the bassinnet, crib and swing, I’m exclusively breastfeeding her, and Dr said her weight is perfect for her age. Thanks in advance

    1. Cristella, I do have some suggestions – but they won’t fit well here. I’m teaching a webinar on nap coaching in a few weeks. I would encourage you to sign up and let me email you the details as soon as they are available (sometime later this week). You can see the sign up form inside my last post on the stress of motherhood. I think it will be very helpful to you! Until then, do whatever you have to: rocking, nursing to sleep, whatever, to get that LO to nap during the day. 🙂

  82. Help!
    Hi, I have a 5 month old baby girl who’s sleep habits went from great to none in the last month. She now hates her crib at night, she will nap in it during the day and she will go to bed in it around 7pm and sleep in it for a few hours, but once she wakes up… We usually sit or rock her back to sleep lay her down she wakes up…un ending cycle till 4 am… She is swaddled I do have a white noise machine. I’ve tried letting her cry it out it ends in hysterics, I’ve tried laying her down drowsy again hysterics.. We tried the u shape… No go.. So can you please please give me some advice!

    1. Celeste, have you read my article on the sleep shuffle? I think you should give that a try. Instead of going in there and picking her up or rock her back to sleep, wait a minute to make sure she’s really waking, and not just going through a partial wakening part of the sleep cycle and falling back asleep. If it’s clear that she’s headed for a wake up, go in and shush her, rub her tummy/back, and sit next to her but try really really hard not to pick her up. First of all, picking her up could wake her up even more, and secondly, going in right away and picking her up could be creating a sleep crutch that she will have a hard time getting past later on. I would only pick her up if she’s moving towards the really upset hysterical cries, and then as soon as she’s calmed down put her down again.

      Another suggestion, regarding the crib, is to start putting her in the crib for 15 minutes in the morning and the afternoon for a fun play time. You can sit next to her, or play with her. The idea here is to help remove any negative associations toward the crib by giving her pleasant happy play moments inside the crib. It helps her see the crib as a place she likes to be in, and not something negative. Try those, Celeste! And let me know if we need to come up with new ideas later!

    2. Hi –
      thanks for the u-shape towel suggestion. I’m going to try it tonight for my swing-addicted 4.5 month old. I’m curious about the “creating a happy environment” in crib idea. I’ve done that and she LOVES playing in the crib – she’ll play up to an hour, but heaven forbid she falls asleep in the crib. I’m wondering if she’s now *only* associating it with play when awake? Note, since she was a newborn she’ll sleep in crib once fully asleep from about 8 or 9pm onwards (with feedings at various times through night), but she’s always needed swing to put herself to sleep or naps. She’s been ok in the not-moving swing for about a week now.. so we’re trying to be patient, but we have an out of town trip soon so a little anxious. Anyway, thanks.

    3. Liza, you’re doing everything I would suggest – trying the angled mattress, turning off the swing and letting her get used to that…I think you should make the switch to the crib and then give yourself a few days before deciding whether it’s “working”. Also, make sure the room is very dark when it’s naptime. That will help her understand the difference between “playtime in the crib” and “sleepytime” in the crib. Good luck friend, you’re doing great!

  83. Hi Heather,
    I have the same issue as a previous poster Yvonne, about the swing. My son has been sleeping in the swing since one month and we’ve weaned him off the swing moving but he loves his swing.
    We’ve tried putting him in the crib but he also hates it.
    So i’m following your suggestions putting a wedge under the mattress and the U towel thing.
    I’ll keep you posted and thanks for your great insight.
    yvonne, whatever happened with your daughter?

    1. Yes, please keep me posted Vanessa! Another suggestion is to begin putting him the crib for a “happy playtime” during the day with books and toys, for about 15-30 minutes. If he protests being in the room alone, sit next to the crib and read or something while he’s playing. This way he begins to see the crib as a pleasant cozy place to be, which could make it easier at night.

  84. This may be a crazy question, but my son is almost 5 months and he doesn’t seem to know how to lay his head down and lay on his cheek, is that common? He will only put his hands by his eyes and kind of lay face down. I’ve tried to help him turn his head so he could see laying on his cheek would let him rest his neck a little bit during tummy time, but he fights me and won’t do it. He also doesn’t lay his head on my shoulder; it’s like he doesn’t know he can do it? So getting him to try to sleep for a little bit on his tummy is practically impossible because I don’t want him sleeping with his face down in the mattress.

    1. Kim, it could be he’s really curious about everything and just doesn’t want to put his cheek down, but I would give your doctor a call and get his opinion on it, just to be sure.

    2. Have you visited a chiropractor? My daughter has been seeing one since week 4. The doctor we use has even visited newborns in the hospital. My daughter kept her head pulled to the side. Actually turned to the side, not just leaned over from weight. After a few visits, the kinks were out. At 5 mos, she even knows how to “go with it” during adjustments. If we miss a week, I can tell a major difference in her disposition and reflux.

  85. I am trying to transition my 8 week old from a swing to her crib. She has only slept in her swing since she was born. Just last week, she was averaging 6 hours a night 10pm – 4am. We are swaddling her and putting her in her crib with a full belly. She HATES her crib! She will sleep for 2- 3 hours max before screaming her head off. We feed her, and she still refuses to sleep. Any advice?

    1. Yvonne, are you weaning her away from the swing? Try slowing the speed down over several days…then letting her sleep in the swing when it isn’t on for a few days…then sleeping on an incline in the crib (see above)… I would give that a go and see what happens. xo Heather

    2. Hi Heather, we haven’t had the swing on for weeks! I think she just likes the coziness of it? any other advice besides the swaddle?

    3. Try the swaddle, but also try propping up the mattress and using the “u” trick. Perhaps it’s the incline that she likes so much. Does she like sleeping in her carrier?

    4. She will sleep in her carrier, but only when we are actively in the car and moving. Once we come home and leave her in it, she will wake up and want out. I will definitely try the U shape thing tonight!

    5. hi heather my baby is six weeks old and i have a really hard time trying to let him sleep by his self. he slept in his crib maybe like twice since he came home. i practically have been sleeping with him every since. the only time he go to sleep is on my chest. every time i put him down he iimmediatelywakes up and start crying. i really need your opinion on what to do

    6. Kenyetta, firstly I would mention it at your doctor at the next well-baby visit, just to make sure there’s no reflux or other medical issue going on. Besides the tips above, you could also invest in a Rock ‘n Play. I’ve heard a TON of parents tell me it’s a miracle worker. It does a good job of recreating you – incline, movement, soft cozy “arms”…it’s something to consider!

  86. Hey Heather! I don’t know what I would do without your website! I need to transition my very large 4 month old from the bassinet to the crib, but I’m afraid to do so when he still has to be swaddled. He is very strong and can Houdini himself out of any swaddle, but his morrow reflex is still very much there so he still needs to swaddle to sleep. Should I just wait it out until his reflexes aren’t as bad or do you have any advice as how to wean him out of his swaddle?

  87. Really great article! I started introducing my son to his crib at around 6 weeks (this kiddo is super long and the bassinet wasn’t his favorite place to be anyway!) I put him in his crib often, even played in there with him so he’d get accustomed to it.

    We do use a wedge under the mattress because he has “Silent GERD” (Thank you Heather for explaining that one!) and we also try to vary his sleeping environment (lights on, lights low, light off, background water noise, no noise, etc.) trying to make sure he can sleep in different conditions so he’s not expecting only one way to sleep. Sometimes we even put him in the crib before he’s asleep and let him drift off on his own. Hopefully that will eliminate the hold and rock me till I’m sleep.

    We discovered his need/love of the swaddle between week 3 & 4. My son needs the swaddle to get a restful sleep and it has helped keep him secure in his crib as well. I’m not great at blanket swaddling because Elias managed to get the blanket over his head as he wrestles in his sleep! So, we opted for those swaddle sleep sack numbers and they work like a charm!

    Thanks Heather! Love your articles! You need a Mommy Talkshow & Hotline!

    Lisa Nelson

  88. We did the rolled towel thing for my son who was born with an airway defect and laying on his side made it easier for him to breathe while sleeping. Once he learned to roll oever (at 2 1/2 months, crazy kid!) he preferred to sleep on his tummy and has ever since. The U-shaped towel thing is brilliant to keep the kid from sliding down an incline.
    Also, Good Night Sleep Tight is our favorite sleep book too. We just did the “shuffle” this week for our now 7-month-old boy and it has been a rough few days but he is almost sleeping through the night again, hallelujah! I cannot recommend her book enough.

    1. Yeah, so, at 10 months he doesn’t sleep anymore….Hellllp! We were doing so good. 🙁 To be fair, we’ve had a lot of disruptions and changes lately, but we are all so very tired.

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